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The End Of The Road

country style

Looking back over my posts this summer…

Man, I’ve been such a mushball.

All you need is love and family and et cetera et cetera. But honestly: that’s how it’s felt, like we’ve been existing in this little just-us bubble, and it’s exactly what we needed after a year of being separated more often than we’ve been together. I know the summer has to end – and it is ending, in just two days – and that’s OK; it’s definitely time to get home and back to reality…but I’ll miss it. I want to take a piece of it with me.

So I think I will.

The thing is, I didn’t come out here expecting to spend these ten weeks being especially happy. I expected to “get through it,” and sure, I hoped to have a little fun along the way, but I didn’t go into this thinking that it would be what it turned out to be: the best summer of my life.

And I think the reason why it was so great is that it started with a “yes.”

These past few months – years, maybe – I’ve been saying “no” too often. In my twenties, I took a lot of pride in being the girl who always said yes to everything, was always game for whatever adventure came my way, but since I’ve been a parent…I’ve kind of put that on hold. So often, it seems easier to just pass on things – turn down the dinner invitation, skip the party, stay home instead of going away – because with kids there are so many uncontrollable variables, so many things that can (and probably will) not go the way you expected. So it’s easier to just say no, and stick to what you know will work.

But this summer we said yes, even though we were scared, and it’s true: nothing turned out the way we expected.

It was better.

So that’s what I’m taking home with me at the end of it all: a promise to myself to say yes more often, to stop trying to wrestle my life down into bite-sized pieces, shapes that I can recognize. To once in awhile take a turn that I’m not entirely certain will lead us to the place where we want to end up…just because it looks like a really cool drive.

out west

cowboy hat

western style

empty road

breastfeeding

fringe scarf

On Me: Anthropologie Provo Scarf; A Pea In The Pod Tank; Free People Leather Hat; Alexandra Moosally Carrot Necklace; Melinda Maria Turquoise Earrings; Nine West Vintage America Boots (similar styles); Kendrick’s Belt.

Ten Transitional Summer-To-Fall Pieces

Ten perfect pieces to help you slide smoothly from summer into fall – each of which looks just as great right this moment as it will in a couple of months.

1. Distressed Black Jeans. Wear them now with barely-there heeled sandals and a sleeveless tank; wear them later with…well, everything. These are a must-own for fall.

2. Shirtdress. A chambray shirtdress looks adorable in the summer with flat sandals, and is a great layering piece once the temperatures drop (try it with chunky tights, riding boots and a knit vest).

3. Boyfriend Cardigan. The ultimate summer-to-fall must-have…especially if you can find one in an unusual shape, like this great knit style from J.Crew.

4. Oversize Scarf. Perfect for adding texture and color to simple summer outfits, and for layering over sweaters and tucking into jackets come autumn. (Love this print for a summer-to-fall piece.)

5. Western Booties. Wear them with cutoffs now and with bootcut jeans later, and watch every single person you pass on the street stop you to ask you where you got them (especially if you get a Freebird pair; speaking from experience here).

6. Cropped Knit Sweater. If you choose a light knit, you can wear the piece over a summery maxi dress or with shorts, and then pair it with some high-waisted trousers come fall.

7. Army Jacket. A fun alternative to the standard black leather or denim jacket, an olive-green military jacket (and especially one with leather panels) looks equally great over a t-shirt and jeans or a cocktail dress.

8. Jumpsuit. Go for a simple cut in an elegant fabric (the one pictured here is silk) and you can wear it solo in the summer, and with a sweater and heels in a month or two.

9. Over-The-Knee Boots. I’m going to insist that you pick up a pair of these if you don’t already own some (either the classic 5050s or the sliiiightly-higher-heeled Reserves pictured above) – try them with shorts and a light sweater now, and over leggings and skinny jeans all fall (and winter) long. I promise: once you own a pair you’ll barely wear anything else.

10. Mock Turtleneck. I love love love this cut (and this color) at the moment – try it with high-waisted shorts and flat sandals on a cool end-of-summer evening, and then with a floral maxi or pants (again: high-waisted with this cut) later on.

The Best Thing About Newborns

Well, there are lots of “best things.” Newborns are pretty wonderful. And extremely cute.

But you know how everyone (myself included) sort of panics going into parenthood? Envisioning sleepless nights and disastrous days of diapers and spills and no showers ever again, ever? At the very beginning, at least, it’s not actually like that. And sure, I’ve done this once before, but still: I’d totally forgotten what it’s like for the first couple of weeks after you bring a new baby home. In the days leading up to Goldie’s birth I stockpiled food and prepped posts and cleared out my schedule as if I wasn’t going to have a single second to breathe, let alone function like an actual human being until, like, 2018…but that brings me to that fantastic thing about newborns:

They sleep.

Like, all the time. So much that you wish they’d wake up, because they’re adorable and you miss them.

I feel rested! (Or at least not miserably exhausted.) I can't believe it, either.

I feel rested! (Or at least not miserably exhausted.) I can’t believe it, either.

What that’s meant is that I’ve spent the past week feeling sort of…

on vacation.

It’s very weird.

But also so great. All that frantic advance preparation I did turned out to not really be necessary, but I’m still so happy I did it, because it freed me up enough to actually spend some of our last few days in California…relaxing.

And I am not a relaxing-type person.

In the mornings, I take care of calls and write scripts and prep posts while the baby naps, but every afternoon we sit together in the sun by the pool and I read and read and read. Two days ago, I took Goldie to the nail salon and she slept through a manicure…and yesterday? She snoozed through an eyelash fill (I know, I said I wasn’t going to get them filled; they are amazing and I love them and I couldn’t help it).

It’s all very awesome, and it also won’t likely happen again for a long, long time, so believe me: I’m appreciating every single minute of this peaceful little bubble I’ve found myself in at the moment.

Still There

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A couple of days after we brought Goldie home from the hospital, I was sitting on the couch feeding her and my son announced that he wanted to go kick a soccer ball outside. “Why don’t we wait for Mommy?” Kendrick asked him. “She wants to come too.”

“Mommy doesn’t like to go outside,” Indy said, and my heart broke.

That quickly – in just days – I had gone from being my son’s primary playmate and general partner in crime to the “un-fun” parent, the one who “didn’t want” to run and kick balls, or go swimming, or play hide-and-go-seek.

I want to do those things so badly. And all of a sudden, because of breastfeeding and recuperation from the birth and the fact that now we have two children and if one wants to go outside while the other is sleeping, we need to split up and that’s just how it has to be…I couldn’t do those things.

I missed him so much I felt it like a physical pain, a tightening in my chest when I thought of all the time we spent this summer adventuring together, picking strawberries in fields or just sitting in the sun and eating pancakes, and wondered whether we’d ever have that again.

When I was pregnant, virtually all of my friends who had more than one child told me that in the early weeks, at least, what was going to happen was that my husband was going to basically take charge of our toddler while I took care of the baby. So I knew that this was the way it was going to be, but still: in those first few days after we got home I missed Indy so much that I could hardly stand it. I scrolled through the photos I’d taken of our last trip to the zoo, photos of him sitting on a ride and smiling bigger than I’d ever seen him smile, and they made my heart hurt. Because now it was his dad making him smile, tossing him up and down in the water while I watched from the shade. It’s not that I didn’t want Kendrick to get that special time with his son – of course I did – it’s that…I guess I felt a little left out.

I don’t want to stop being a part of making our son laugh. I don’t want to be the parent sitting on the sidelines in our son’s – or our daughter’s, for that matter – memories of childhood.

brother and sister

It didn’t surprise me that it hurt to suddenly spend so much less alone time with my son…but you know what did surprise me? How quickly the adjustment went from painful to really, truly okay. I can see where the future is headed, and there’s time with all four of us, time alone with my son, time alone with my daughter…just time. And watching Indy with his sister…what she brings to his life – and he to hers – is worth everything. Watching him stroke her head when she cries and say “Ssh, it’s okay, it’s okay,” watching her snuggle into her big brother’s lap…it’s just worth every single rocky moment that’s happening in the right-now.

So while we adjust, I’ve been looking for ways to make the transition feel a little easier on everyone. It’s been two weeks now, and I’ve taken Indy out for a quick mom-and-son playdate a couple of times – just twenty minutes at the playground across the street, or a run across the beach while Kendrick and Goldie wait in the air-conditioned car - and even those mini-outings have felt like taking a dose of medicine, helping me to remember that we’re all still trying to find our footing in this new life as a family of four, but that my relationship with my first baby is still there, same as it always was. Things are in flux right now, and right now the fact is that Kendrick is the one throwing him around in the pool and running with him through parks…but I’ll be back running alongside them soon.

And in the meantime, there is this:

When we drive home from camp at the end of the day, Indy usually likes to sit quietly and listen to the radio. But yesterday, he said “I want to talk to you.”

What about? I asked him.

“I love you so much,” he said. “I can hold yours hand?”

So I reached back, and held his hand the whole way home.

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Lust Or Less: Really Good Red Purse

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Nothing like a really good red purse.

Brightly colored and/or patterned statement accessories usually fall into the “less” category for me, just because they tend to either be season-specific or be the kinds of things you get sick of quickly)…but a red bag? Not so much. Because while a red bag may seem like it might not go with much, here’s a secret: red goes with everything. Really. It’s almost as versatile as a black bag, and if your wardrobe consists largely of neutrals it’s a great way to add huge style points (and color) to your look.

I think the Cambridge Satchel pictured above is cute and classic…but for me the Tory Burch is a worth-it indulgence: the contrast between the Western-style braiding detail and the elegant chain strap mean it’s a perfect work-to-weekend pick, and even though I really (really, really) love it for fall, it’s pretty much seasonless. It’s also a decent substitute for the bag I’m really lusting over (but will never own in this lifetime: this one.

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If you’re looking for something a little more streamlined (and larger), what about this Lauren Ralph Lauren Tote? At $158, it’s not totally bank-breaking for a wear-it-everyday style, and while synthetic leather won’t wear as beautifully as the real thing, I love the timeless shape, roomy interior, and tortoiseshell detail on the strap.

More red purses for  your perusal, because why not?

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