The Future Rachel Zoe

Dressed by NikkiDressed by Nikki

Some time last year, Nikki’s “I Dress Myself” fashion statements became kinda cool. Most of them are still insane, but I’m definitely seeing a type of style or method to her madness lately. In the midst of this style development, I’ve started letting her help me get dressed in the mornings. Gone are the days of the solid color shirt and converse. She’s helping me branch out by talking me into things like feather earrings and outfits that don’t “match” in the typical sense. And let me tell you — I AM LOVING IT.

These are two outfits she help me put together last week. She’s been wearing boots and dresses a lot lately, so we thought we’d try it out with stuff from my closet. She also encouraged the use of scarves and leggings. And best of all? She’s the one who pushed me to buy patterned TOMS. At first I thought, but they won’t go with anything! But you know what? Because they’re insane and I’m letting my daughter dress me? Suddenly they go with EVERYTHING.

Let me tell you something: SHE HAS CHANGED ME LIFE.

I have never thought about fashion or clothes before. I do a “Mark as Read” reflex if any blogs on my feed-reader do a clothing entry. I don’t go “shopping” for clothes and my wardrobe takes up less space in our closet than Donnie’s does. But now? Now I think about clothes CONSTANTLY. I don’t have the money to go shopping for a new wardrobe, but I’m keeping my eye out for fun pieces to spice up what I’ve got. Suddenly? I feel like I have a style that is more than just: Shirt. Jeans. Converse. Or Shirt. Denim shorts. Flip-flops.

I think this is both AWESOME and HYSTERICAL because – as you all know – MY DAUGHTER IS FIVE. Yet somehow, in her five years on this planet, she has accumulated a better fashion sense than I’ve ever had. And now? She’s teaching it to me. I don’t wear everything she tells me because she is still FIVE, but man, she has a lot of say now when I get dressed in the morning. She encouraged me changing my sweater the other day to an aqua one and I was told by several friends I looked cute that day. The boring brown sweater I had been wearing would not have garnered such a response.

So, here I am. I have my own personal stylist. She’s five, but she’s very affordable. And as long as I leave the house feeling awesome, she’s earned her pay for the day. Which is room and board. Because nothing is better than a live-in stylist. NOTHING.

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I Am Doing What I Hate The Most In The Blogging World…

…I’m blogging to tell you why I haven’t been blogging.

HATE. HATE. HATE.

But…I do have family and friends who kinda worry when I’m absent and I also just want the internet to know that I’m not neglecting my blog intentionally. I’ve started a half-marathon training class that I can’t wait to tell you all about. (I’m learning! Who knew?) My volunteer gigs at E’s high school have had me needing to be several meetings recently (One more to go!) in the evenings. All of this on top of my 5-mornings-a-week boot camp and Nikki started soccer.

In other words? I’ve been a bit busy.

But I want to tell you all about it! And I was going to this morning but my natural alarm clock chose to let me sleep until 5am instead of 4am. I made it to boot camp but didn’t have time to really compose the entries I’ve been wanting to put thought into.

So instead – you get this. The crappiest blog entry in the history of man.

HATE.

But – I love you all and wanted to make sure you knew that I totally have Big. Grand. Plans. For. Amazing. Blogging.

Until then, let’s all discuss any sort of rumored pagan ritual that could score us extra hours in a day. I’m willing to try just about anything at this point.

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Nap Time!

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A few weeks ago I was sick and home alone and needing somewhere to nap. My bedroom was not an option because the guy across the street had his saw out in his driveway which was all I could hear in my bedroom. I went to Wes’s room instead, because it’s on the back side of the house which has fewer noise options. I had the BEST. NAP. EVER. in his twin bed.

Friday night was a rough night of little sleep due to Wes’s leg cramps and my need to hear my phone ring at 2am when E needed me to pick him up after his Katy Perry concert. Once I finally got Wes comforted and back to sleep, I was so worried about missing E’s call I barely slept until he was home safe and sound. That gave me about 2 hours before I had to get up and run 7 miles with my half-marathon training group.

In other words? By the time the kids went down for their naps on Saturday? I WAS SPENT.

So…what did I do? Put on my jammies and decided to take a nap too. Since I was worried about the noise factor again, I just pulled out the trundle under Wes’s bed which has NOT SHEETS and an ancient mattress, and went to sleep under a blanket and with a pillow from the couch. I woke up 3 hours later. SECOND. BEST. NAP. EVER.

I don’t know if it’s the isolation of that room with only one window which opens up to the gully (no neighbors) and that is shaded (stays darker) – but it is my nap heaven. It turns out that, when I need a nap, Wes’s room is the magic spot for me. It used to be a giant bean bag in our “Man Room” (Can you tell I love naps?) but that didn’t always work out because that’s Donnie’s favorite nap spot too. Now? I HAVE MY OWN.

Do you nap? Do you have a nap spot in your house? Or are my husband and I weird because we both love naps AND we have our favorites spots which to enjoy them?

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Older.

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Nikki is in school now. And while she probably isn’t any different than she was two weeks ago, I feel like she is so much older. Talking about hot lunches and recess. P.E. and the Library. Being teased and making friends. Two weeks and suddenly I feel like she is no longer my little girl.

She’s always had a tendency to act older. She has a teenage brother so she has a lot of contact with teenagers. Add in my tendency to let her watch shows like Glee with me, and she has always cared more about style and attitude than my 5 year olds. This is both hysterical and dreadful.

But something about school. The things she talks about just make her seem like she grew up over night. She was simply outraged that no one even considered the possibility that she could have gone to the Katy Perry concert on Friday with E when a ticket became available. I mean…COME ONE. Why not?

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Am I just imagining things? Did you see school make a difference any in your child’s maturity and attitude? Did it suddenly feel like they were years older?

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The Power Of Shared Experiences

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I parent my kids in may of the same ways my Dad parented me. However, there are many privileges I had as a child that he did not, so I experienced things he didn’t have first-hand experiences with. (Just like I didn’t understand his stories of waking up before school to milk the cows.) My childhood, while still quite different from the one my children are living (We had no air-conditioning growing up! Quit your whining, kids!), it’s was still very similar in many ways. Giving me a history I’ve found to be very useful in parenting because I think the most valuable lesson I’ve been able to teach my children is that I survived the dramas they are suffering.

It’s easy for kids to forget we were kids once. While logically they understand we were kids, unless we remind them with very detailed proof, it’s easy for them to forget.

Nikki came home from school yesterday with her first “I was teased!” story. I responded immediately with my own variations of the same story so that she would understand that I completely understood where she was coming from. I used to do the same thing with E, still can sometimes. When he talks about difficulties in school or struggles with juggling all of the things in his life, I let him know that I empathize completely and share my own stories.

It’s very easy for kids to fall back on the excuse, “Parents just don’t understand.” And many times, we don’t. Our kids are going through challenges in their lives we won’t understand, but I need to do my best to try. And if I do understand what’s making them upset because we have similar stories, telling those stories will not only prove I actually do understand, it will prove I survived.

Because – let’s face it – we all have those childhood instances that felt so tragic in scope that we honestly did NOT think we’d live to tell about it later. The heartbreaks, the failures, the embarrassments. We’ve been there. AND WE LIVED TO LAUGH ABOUT IT. (Except for that time I busted my butt walking with a guy I liked, I STILL CAN NOT LAUGH ABOUT THAT.)

So, I told her about the daycare I went to after school and every summer and how the kids there loved to pick on me because I was the weirdo Catholic girl who wore an ugly uniform to school every day. And then I had braces. And glasses. And some chub. And then came the ACNE…oh, man, I was like the lottery of bullying victims in that daycare.

It made her feel better, I could tell. Especially because it was sincere. It wasn’t just an “I understand…” that can sometimes sound empty. I had stories and real sadness to vouch for. I don’t know if my Dad every got picked on, because I never told him about my own troubles. I just assumed he wouldn’t understand. And often felt his cows were probably better company than some of my peers.

So I’m glad she told me. If this is the worse she experiences? She’ll be a lucky girl. But if it ever gets worse…hopefully she’ll come to be because she knows one thing for sure: I UNDERSTAND.

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