Monthly Archives: October 2012

Remembrance

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I only know what it is like to lose a pregnancy. I’ve lost two.

The only evidence of a child who was much wanted and lost. RIP Babies Jaffe, 3/12/2006 and 3/6/2010.

How to put into words what it’s like to lose a pregnancy? It laid waste to my world. Twice.

In February of 2010, I found out Darcy and I had conceived a child on our own.

The discovery was so specifically wonderful: I loved being a mother so, so, so much. I was thrilled. But I was scared. I knew how easily pregnancy could be snatched away from me: I’d had a miscarriage in 2006 before the twins were born. A “chemical pregnancy,” whatever that is.

It didn’t feel like a chemical pregnancy to me. It felt like the very ruin of my life, the ruin of hope, success, my very lifeblood. We visited Rhodes shortly after, and I was struck by the stark, crumbling, ancient city battlements. They looked like how my soul felt.

The best moment of that trip was when I discovered beautiful flowers blossoming in the cracks of the ancient, war-torn, forlorn walls of that citadel. Somehow, joy finds a way. A way to survive.

I remember. I remember our lost children. I remember the blossoming of the love we both had for the world, for the future. I remember how much I loved Darcy: how much I wanted our love to endure. I remember hope.

I remember, because if I don’t, no one else will. I remember, because I want to tell you all, the 1 in 4, you are NOT alone. We all remember. I remember, because these brave women have inspired me to remember.

I remember, because love is never wasted. It will endure. I will love those children for as long as I am here, on this earth.

I love them. And I always will.

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Filed under Miscarriage

Fall Family Fashion Show

The kids and I decided to dress up and take some photos of our fall finery. Darcy played photographer.

Turtleneck: INC. Shrug: Banana Republic, 2006. Skirt: Banana Republic, 2006. Belt: MiL bought in Italy in the 90s, boots: Hunter, new.

Pin: my grandmother’s.

My son took this photo!!

My daughter’s outfit: Dress, Gap Kids. Necklace: unknown. Bracelet: J Crew. Headband: Janie & Jack. Sunglasses: unknown.

My son’s outfit: Pirate kerchief: unknown. Shirt: H&M. Shorts: Gap Kids. Shoes: Crocs.

We had a fun time, and it reminded me that we have only ever taken a family portrait once. And we didn’t love it. Do you invest in formal family portraits?

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Little Fish Fry: Fashion Edition

My daughter loves clothes. (Shocker, replied no one.) She chooses her own outfits. Lord forbid I suggest anything!

Today she wanted to run into puddles and dodge raindrops. Unfortunately, there were only clouds to be had, but she enjoyed dressing for the occasion anyway.

We’ve gotten a lot of use out of a size 3 raincoat we bought when she was two: we rolled up the sleeves for a long time. Now, the coat is getting too small. Items I buy new for my kids: raingear (which can last a long time), shoes properly fitted, bathing suits, undergarments, socks. That’s about it! I buy a lot on sale and on consignment, and I buy big sizes that they can grow into. The problem with twins? No hand-me-downs šŸ˜¦

In this outfit: Western Chief raincoat, 2010. Horse rainboots, Western Chief, 2011. (Yes, they are on the wrong feet. Yes, she knows. No, she will not change them.) Dress: Janie & Jack, 2010.

Kids clothes: what do you buy new? Do you buy at consignment stores?

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Thrifting, Consignment and Reuse: How-To and The Recycled Wardrobe Week

A Half-Baked Life had an interesting post about Freecycling, and a point about not wanting to go shopping.

So this week I decided to talk a little about how to buy for longevity, and what I buy at different stores, thrift stores and consignment shops. Also, what to keep in your closet and what to throw out. And, I back up my words with actions with my wardrobe this week.

I had a friend who always looked so chic and pretty. She tended to look timeless, wore what made her figure look good, and her clothes looked expensive yet, of the moment. I finally asked her what her secret was. She took me shopping to demonstrate. She taught me to buy a lot of dark, solid colors, which didn’t pill or show stains as much. She told me to buy the most expensive fabric I could afford (cashmere at the top, then silk, then wool, then blends, then cotton), she mentored me on the value of an excellent white button-down shirt and she told me that a lot of trends recycle, and advised me to keep the classics: animal prints, black cashmere, good purses, and stylish shoes, which she considered works of art, akin to fine paintings.

I also entered the world of thrift stores: in Montana, I found the brown cashmere coat featured below from the 50s with cool buttons and a fur collar. (Probably real: I don’t buy fur, but reusing old fur from 70 years ago is OK for me. YMMV.) It was $3! A friend in the fashion business appraised it for at least $300, so that was cool. When I thrift, I usually am looking for things that are silly to purchase at full value. (For example: this spring I bought a pastel-colored wool sweater and cream colored blazer, items that will wear and show stains easily. I feel guilty and foolish buying such items new, both for the planet and for my pocketbook.)

Items I will buy at full price: a black cashmere turtleneck sweater, an excellent-fitting pair of jeans, a flattering pair of black pants, well-made Italian flats, a perfect black pencil skirt and: a camel colored trenchcoat that wears beautifully. I have never found the latter, by the way. It’s an obsession.

Items I will buy on sale: gorgeous shoes of all colors that make a statement, colorful coats, designer clothes and jeans for special occasions, well-fitting dresses that flatter.

Things I’ll buy at Target, Payless or Wal-Mart: pajamas, scarves, bathing suits, exercise clothes, fun shoes on trend.

SO, those are my shopping guidelines. Here’s this week’s wardrobe, inspired by my vision board and mostly using clothes not bought this year.

I am loving the trend of graphic black and white prints and this sweater, bought by Darcy last year for me at Anthropologie on sale. (And which went missing until I did the closet reorg.) The black turtleneck, silk, INC, I bought full-price in 1999. Leggings, H&M, from 2010. And, the Tod’s suede studded flats which I bought in 2006.

Orange = fall, right? This sweater was another Darcy purchase for me at Anthropologie last year on sale. Tank top, Marc Jacobs, 2010. Jeans, Old Navy, 2011. Necklace, Banana Republic, 2010. OK, so the short boots (Payless) and the cuff (H&M) I bought this year šŸ™‚

It was HOT yesterday! So I brought out a dress I bought in London in 2011 (from Jigsaw), my Pareo from Target (bought this year) and a pair of shoes I found on a consignment shopping trip with Bodega Bliss last year. They are Cole Haan. Not sure the year?

And today, it was drizzling. Bizarro. I threw on my raincoat as a dress (Marc Jacobs, 2010) a pair of black tights (not pictured) and my Cole Haan loafers from 2009.

Friday’s outfit is pure fantasy, again. We don’t have a sitter, and we don’t have anywhere fancy to go. But if we did: I’d wear this animal print dress from 2000 (Jones New York), my wedding pearls, my $3 cashmere coat from the fifties (consignment store in Hamilton, Montana) and these cream shoes I bought at Karen Millen in London in 2002.

What rules do you have when you shop? Are there certain things you will never buy on sale? Do you thrift? What are your tips?

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A Fall Style Makeover

My red polka dotted dress, Old Navy

I got a tremendous amount of feedback (for me, anyway) about my post “Playing Dress Up.”

Some of you emailed me and tweeted me, asking which fashion bloggers I followed. A lot of you told me you too were inspired to organize your closet and put together an outfit planner.

For my part, I wore my planned outfits and I have never received so many compliments (since the twins were born, anyway) about my appearance. I even got cat-called today when I walked past a construction site!

Here’s the thing: I LOVED fashion in my teens and twenties. I used to design a vision board that would inform what clothes I would buy and wear each season.

Then I gained weight after infertility treatments and I haven’t been able to return to my desired trim size since the twins have been born. So I thought I didn’t deserve to wear pretty clothes.

You know what? That’s BS. EVERYONE deserves to look nice, and find a style that works for them.

SO, per your requests, here are some of my resources…

Fashion Bloggers I Like:

I adore Atlantic Pacific. She takes risks, she embraces trends yet has an inimitable style all her own. Also, her outfits are FUN. I loved most of all what she wore to the Kentucky Derby.

New on my radar is Tomboy Style. I wouldn’t describe my style as tomboy in general, although I do love flats and button down shirts. But I like the woman-empowering ethos and philosophy here, and I LOVE the profiles of stylish tomboys of the past, like this one of Pat English, a lion tamer in the 40s.

The Blonde Salad is an Italian fashion blogger, and she does have a decidedly continental flair to her outfits that is unique. This is the best outfit I’ve seen this year. I love, love, love everything about it, especially the necklace and boots. Perfection.

Advanced Style is truly inspiring. Ari Cohen is a street scene photographer who finds the most stylish women in NYC: and they all are over 60. I can only dream of being this chic.

Sunglasses, Kate Spade

Vision Boards

I created a Fall Vision Board, for the first time in ages. It’s on Pinterest, and you can check it out here. I am really inspired right now by black and white solids, black and white graphic prints, the color camel, a Coach satchel bag that I bought in the 90s (my first “investment” purchase) that is now lost (sad face), short boots, polka dots and dashes of red and orange here and there. And red lipstick. Lots and lots of red lipstick.

Vintage Coach satchel

Do you pin outfits on Pinterest or plan Vision Boards before you go shopping? How do you plan your clothes shopping? Do you do it around season? AND I’d love to follow you on Pinterest! Let me know in the comments your Pinterest account.

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Playing Dress Up

Something that’s making me happy right now is planning my outfits after doing a FULL reorg of my closet. I had purchased some new pieces of clothing for fall, but found some “vintage” pieces (i.e: clothes and shoes I have been hoarding, some even from high school in the 90s!) that work surprisingly well with new items.

I put together a week’s worth of outfits and it has been making pre-school drop-off much more fun. I’m not sure why, but looking cute and feeling put together adds an extra something to my morning. I was feeling bedraggled wearing yoga pants every day.

The denim shirt is from Gap, circa the early 90s!! The peach cords are new, from Old Navy. Flats, new: from Tahari. The necklace is new, from Lucky Brand.

I had totally forgotten about a pair of suede studded Tod loafers that I bought deeply on sale about 6 years ago for my birthday! I love them, but they were hidden from view. So, yeah, I created an outfit around them: guilty šŸ˜‰ Shirt, Lauren from 2005. Denim skirt: Old Navy, from 2003.

Grey beaded top and cords: Banana Republic, 2010. Scarf (actually a Pareo!) from Target, this summer. Grey flats: Payless Shoe Source.

Top: INC from late 90s? Aqua jeans: Paige Demin, new; necklace: Lucky Brands, new; Shoes: Marc Jacobs, 2010.

Well, I could dream about wearing this on some swanky date night with Darcy, but alas. We don’t have a sitter. Dress: Old Navy, new. Shrug: Banana Republic, 2008. Shoes: Aerosoles, 2006. Pearls: wedding present from my parents.

Do you plan out your outfits in advance? Do you find wearing cute clothes boosts your mood?

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Filed under Discovering joy, My Favorite Things

“We Will All…Fall”

“We are all vulnerable, and we will all, at some point of our lives (pause) fall. We will all fall. We must carry this in our hearts, that what we have is special. That it can be taken away from us, and when it is taken from us, we will be tested. We will be tested to our very souls. We will now all be tested. It is these times, it is this pain, that allows us to look inside ourselves.”

Coach Taylor, Friday Night Lights

Life is brutally hard, sometimes. For me, anyway. I have found great solace lately in focusing on the positive, whether by changing my thought patterns or through my own vision. Seeing with my own eyes the dazzling natural beauty we are surrounded by, observing the goodness of the mundane: it helps. I use my curiosity about the world to wonder why my tomatoes didn’t grow very well this year, and why my chard did. I enjoy satiating my own children’s curiosity by exploring topics they want to know more about. I make their lunch with homegrown apples and carrots and fine organic yogurt from our local creamery: this makes me happy. I keep up with the laundry, taking pride in the excellent folding I do. I provide the twins with fresh, downy sheets and towels and underwear and socks. I rearrange my closet with cute, pre-arranged outfits, complete with jewelry and shoes, to make getting out the door easier. I try to outfit our life with beauty.

Even reading the list above makes it easy to remember that I did some good today, even though I failed more than I succeeded, that I feel so alone in my day-to-day life. That I feel so achingly responsible for everything and everybody.

Infertility and loss (and did you know that it was pregnancy and infant loss remembrance month?) is when I fell, to quote Coach Taylor. Those experiences tested me, severely. They isolated me. They made me look inside myself.

Today I was chatting to Darcy about my college experience (a four year sojourn in one of the most beautiful places on earth where I made many friends and spent most days in yellow sunshine), as opposed to the miserable East Coast weather and highly academically competitive university he went to. He often thinks I went to the wrong school: that those sunny, mellow years didn’t suit my personality or make me as tough as I need to be. I don’t know: in some ways, he’s right. But in other ways, I’m glad I have that bedrock of happiness to look back on.

Because when I fell, first during my illness and then my failed IVF cycle and loss, I needed to remember what happiness was. Happiness was running on a warm abandoned beach with the surf gently beating a slow tattoo, while I gazed upon a sailboat harbored, glittering in the sunlight. Joy was boarding the EuroStar and arriving at the Gare du Nord, and noticing that even the ugliest buildings in Paris had beautiful architectural details and balconies that welcomed coffee breaks.

Parenting twins is not parenting triplets or quads. But it is the Mt. McKinley of parenting, especially when your husband works such tough hours and the kids are testing boundaries like those Velocirapters in their pen in Jurassic Park. My children are wonderfully bright. But precocious as heck.

Sometimes my mood goes from zero to 100 and back all in one hour. How can my mood swing so dramatically based on parenting? Yet it does.

Somedays, like today, I think about all my friends still in the trenches and I grit my teeth.

I think: I am lucky. I am lucky.

***

I am lucky.

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