Tag Archives: love

Oscars 2016 – Style Watch

The Academy Awards is one of my favorite nights of the year.  The glitz and glamour.  Star gazing and day dreaming.  There are a lot of dynamics that go into the Oscars each year, but one thing I look forward to the most is the fashion.

Oscars fashion can usually predict on trend styles for the rest of the year.  This year, however, there was not one particular style that went above and beyond what we can foresee for the rest of the season. There were a lot of different styles from plunging necklines to tiered skirts. Colors varied and jewels were almost non-existent. So, what were some of the favorite fashions this year?

I’ve done a bit of researching to see what us fashion junkies love and I’ve compiled my list of top 10 favorites.  If you don’t agree or have a different preference, let me know!  Here we go!

10. Cate Blanchett.  As much as I love her, this dress was not my favorite.  However, I love how this Armani Prive’ looked like something right from a fairy tale and reminded me of her role in Disney’s Cinderella.  This sea foam green dress was studded with Swarovski crystals.

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Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

9.  Saoirse Ronan.  Although the beaded pattern of this Calvin Klein Collection is not my favorite, I loved how tightly this emerald green dress fit this Irish actress.  My favorite addition to this look is the intentionally mismatched Chopard earrings.

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Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

8.  Brie Larson.  The Academy Award winning actress wore a regal blue ball gown style Gucci dress which she said was an organic fit to how she wanted to feel on her big night.  I love this dress, I was lost, however, at the pearl encrusted belt.

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Credit: REX

7. Tina Fey and Reese Witherspoon.  I had trouble choosing between these two because, well, it’s pretty obvious.  The purple dresses are nearly identical.  Reese’s custom silk Oscar de la Renta was accessorized  with Tiffany and Co. diamonds.  Tina’s completed the look of her fishtail gown with Bulgari jewels. I guess the biggest question is, who wore it better?

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Credit:  Jason Merritt/Getty Images (2)

6. Jennifer Lawrence. I expected something a little more fun from the Academy Award winning actress, but she still looked gorgeous.  Her sheer black silk gown from Dior Haute Couture looked great and paired beautifully with her Chopard jewels.  Perfectly simple and sexy.

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Credit: George Pimentel/WireImage

5. Rachel McAdams.  The best actress nominee wore a backless halter-neck dress by August Getty Atelier.  I thought she looked amazing.  She would’ve been higher on my list, but the fabric of this dress was not great.  Just look at how it wrinkled on the red carpet. I’m sure by the end of the night she needed to have someone with a steamer follow her around.

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Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

4. Olivia Munn. I’m not normally a fan or orange, but if you can pull it off, go for it!  I think she looked amazing in the Stella McCartney gown with the one shoulder caped neckline.  So minimalist.

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Credit: Getty Images

3.  Jennifer Garner. The Oscar presenter wore a black Atelier Versace dress which featured an asymmetrical neckline, half embellished bodice, and draped skirt.  This look was flattering and perfect for the 43 year old actress.  Eat your heart out, Ben!

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Credit: Todd Williamson/Getty

2.  Alicia Vikander.  The Award winning actress said of her butter yellow Louis Vuitton dress “I think if you would’ve asked 5-year-old Alicia what her biggest dream was, it was probably to be Belle in Beauty and the Beast.”  I couldn’t agree more!  And besides, if you can pull off a butter  yellow ball gown, you deserve to be treated like a princess.

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Credit: Dan MacMedan, Dan MacMedan/USA TODAY NETWORK

1. Charlize Theron.  Few people can pull off a plunging neckline like this.  The Oscar winning actress stunned in her red Dior Haute Couture, but I think the nearly $4 million Harry Winston diamonds completed the ensemble.

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Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

 

 

 

 

 

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My baby is getting married!

OK, not really.  When I say “baby,” I’m referring to my youngest kiddo. And when I say “getting married,” I mean he’s pretending.  For a time when Gus was in preschool, he would frequently include in his day his plans for marriage.  Yes, he had outside time on the big toy, circle time in the classroom, and yet he still had time when he met with a wedding planner.  He would tell me about his future brides.  Yes, brides.  It was usually a different lucky lady each time he would tell me about his plans.  He even let me know that he was willing to take down any other suitors who stood in his way of future happiness. A friend of mine recently told me that her preschool son was involved in a similar situation at preschool, which led me to wonder, why do our preschoolers want to get married? With my experience in early childhood education and 16 years of parenting, I’ve come up with a list of why I think wedding bells are in our babies’ heads.

1.  Role-play.  One huge way that preschoolers learn is through role-play.  Listening, negotiating, and compromising are challenging for 4- and 5-year-olds. Though children at this age are still egocentric, or unable to think beyond their own needs, working with others helps them develop an awareness of differences in people around them. These experiences in preschool provide a foundation for learning how to solve problems and communicate with peers. Play also helps build positive leadership qualities for children who are naturally inclined to direct but must learn how to control their impulses.* Simply said, if your child loves to role-play, CONGRATULATIONS!  This is a great leadership quality and your kiddo knows how to communicate and problem solve!  All things needed to learn and grow.

2. Your baby wants to get married because he sees what a great partnership you have with your significant other.  You’ve built-in him a role model and leader that he strives to be.  So, pat yourself on the back!  Your marriage has had an effect on your baby that you should be proud of!

3.  Your child wants to include all of his friends in this process, leading to the need to “marry” several different kids.  When Gus first told me about his plans to marry a new girl each day, I was concerned that my sweet little boy was turning into a “player.” But after looking at the situation more carefully, he is concerned with involving all of his friends.  This basically means, he doesn’t want anyone to feel left out.  Especially once I found out that this is a common occurrence in his preschool classroom.  Everyone was included in this game in some way or another.

The marrying game was such a passing phase in his early childhood years.  Now that he is a big kindergartener, girls are still cute, but kissing and marrying is yucky.  So, enjoy the lovey-dovey phase because the next time it comes around, it won’t be a game.  But I’ll leave that to another post. My teenagers are just about there. *sigh*

*http://www.greatschools.org/parenting/social-skills/1180-play-in-preschool.gs

#thankful

Today is Thanksgiving.  A day to remember what and, more importantly, who we’re thankful for.  A day to watch Santa welcome in Christmas alongside giant balloons and Broadway dancers in New York city. A day to gorge ourselves into a turkey-induced sleep coma.  All of which I will take part in.

One thing I love about Thanksgiving is how my kids have started to make their own memories. Audrey loves to wake up early and watch the parade with me.  She never eats breakfast because she wants to have that much more room in her belly for turkey and mashed potatoes.  Austen will sleep in, but will be 100% focused on family and potatoes once he is awake.  Autumn has already placed her hot chocolate order so she can sip along with me on the couch before everyone else is up.

My kids have great relationships and friendships with each other.  Of course they have their moments where they fight, disagree, argue.  In fact, sometimes it feels like that’s the norm.  It’s not, but when they’re all at each other, because they out number us parents 2 to 1, it’s a lot.  But at the end of the day they love each other and know how to show it.  In fact, they have started telling each other “I love you.”

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, I NEVER said that to my siblings.  Of course I loved them.  I still do.  But the fighting between me and my younger sister was more present than it wasn’t.  I remember my mom sometimes crying over us because we fought so much.  I never would’ve imagined how my relationship with my sister would turn out as it has.

Michelle, my two-year younger sister, is now one of my best friends.  She loves my kids the way I love my kids.  She supports me, loves me, and is always available if I need her.  Michelle has a lot going on in her own life.  She is a single mom of two kids and works in the legal department for one of the countries largest companies.  She is strong, courageous, brave, and someone I would put on a pedestal.  Yes, my sister IS better than your sister.

Me, my mom, and my sister during our annual trip to Leavenworth in 2006

Me, my mom, and my sister during our annual trip to Leavenworth in 2006

But what I love most about my sister is that she is my sister.  We will always have each other and for that I am thankful.  We’ve gone through a lot together in the last few years, but we have a stronger relationship, friendship, than I could have ever dreamed.  Michelle, I want you to know just how much I love you and how much I cherish our friendship.  This year at Thanksgiving I am thankful for you!

A Battle for Life.

My baby boy turns 3 years old today.  After having 3 older siblings, you’d think the 4th would be a no-brainer, easy breezy.  But our little August, who we lovingly refer to as Gus, had a difficult time entering this world.  My husband wrote this blog post two days after Gus’ arrival.  It still brings me to tears.  I hope you enjoy it, maybe cry with me, and realize the huge love I have for my little Gussy!

A Battle for Life.

By Duane Montague

It has been a whirlwind weekend. What was supposed to be an easy delivery turned into a night of fear and worry and a battle between life and death. Sounds melodramatic, but it’s not, because life is what we are always fighting for against the Evil One. He hates life and will do anything he can to snuff it out.

Some may call it just a delivery with complications, but I will truly forever remember the birth of my son August as a day when God confirmed for me that my children are a gift of life, precious beyond words, and each to be cherished and protected against the powers of the enemy.

We went in at 1:00 pm on Thursday, September 11, to be induced. The doctor was worried that August was going to be too big. That Robyn would have a difficult time delivering him if he went all the way to term.

We made arrangements for the older kids. Got to the hospital and were placed in a room with a great view of the outside–lush green trees and beautifully, unseasonably blue, Seattle skies. The process began, and within hours, the contractions were strong and things looked good.

But an alarming pattern started as well–with every strong contraction, August’s heart rate dropped. At first, it only dropped a few degrees, from a baseline of 145 to 120. But as the evening wore on, and the contractions got stronger, the more his heart rate fell. 90. 80. It would always go back up after, but the consistency was beginning to worry our doctor and nurse.

They decided to slow down the process. Austen had a drop in heart rate during birth, but it had rectified itself. Perhaps the umbilical cord was in the wrong place, being squeezed too tightly? I went out to the family members who had been waiting and gave them an update. It wasn’t going to happen tonight. Go home, we’ll call you.

We said goodnight. It was around 10 pm.

Our doctor came to the room and would not leave. She stayed as Robyn received her epidural, holding her hand through the process. Now the pain was less–but the contractions, and August’s reactions–were getting worse. We signed a consent for a Cesarean, just in case.

Moving from past to present tense:

At 12:23 am, August’s heart rate drops to 60, fights its way back, and drops again. In an instant, what was routine becomes a battle for the life of my son.

Robyn is moved to a gurney. There is a rush of activity, nurses coming from nowhere, the rushed conversation of “there’s someone else scheduled–no, I’ve called it–we’re going first.” Robyn is being readied to leave the delivery room and head to the OR. I have time for three thoughts, all of them involve prayer.

I call my mother, who is watching Audrey and Austen. I quickly tell her that Robyn is on the way to the OR–please pray. I call my mother-in-law and tell her the same–and to come quickly, Robyn wants her there. I quickly compose a text message and send it to a random selection of friends and family. I ask them again to pray.

By 12:34 we are in the OR, I am putting on scrubs, a mask. I am terrified. Thoughts of loss and death overwhelm me. I am going to lose either my child or my wife. Life will lose tonight.

I enter the room and see my wife on a table. She is being covered, prepped. There are three doctors, several nurses, and the team from the Infant Intensive Care Unit awaits in case they need to revive my boy. I cannot hold back the tears. I weep.

Robyn sees me. “Don’t cry. I need you to be strong.” I tell her I am not crying and I manage to stop the tears–but I am still terrified. I can’t see straight–tubes, scrubs, machines, a sterile clang of instruments. The doctors begin working in hushed tones–I focus on Robyn and try to distract her from what is going on. She is awake, only slightly uncomfortable, and getting very tired.

The noises stop. The doctors do not move.

Robyn and I fear the worst. Then suddenly, a cry. I see my boy. He is screaming, angry, scared. But alive.

He is quickly wiped off and taken to the nurses who examine him and determine that whatever happened in the womb did not hurt him. He is beautiful, loud, and pink. A little dried blood is on his nose, but he stops crying when they hand him to me. I take him to Robyn and we both cry. Life has won.

Turns out that the umbilical cord was wrapped around one shoulder, through his legs, and over the other shoulder–almost like a harness. There was no way he was going to come out the natural way. But he is here, alive, and sleeping loudly in the room next door.

Life wins. The prayers of the faithful are answered, and a little boy whose name means “Revered and Exalted,” helps me do both to the very giver of Life. I revere Him for His power, His glory, and the fact that He reveals Himself to me. I exalt Him for His life, for His nature, and for His providence.

This is August just hours after he was born. Super cute then, but his personality now is amazing!

Sleep well, August. The battle for your life has just begun.

Quinley Jean

One of my best friends just had her baby!  I’m so excited that I could just scream!  Of course I won’t do that because that would be really scary to a newborn.  But it has brought up so many emotions that I felt when my kiddos were newborns.

For example, the smell.  I wish someone could come up with a way to bottle that newborn baby smell.  I’m not sure what it is, but it is like a drug to me.  And what about those sounds?  Lip smacking and grunting sounds so cute when it comes out of a precious little one day old.

But it also makes me think of the days when my babies were more than the world to me.  When I thought they could do no wrong.  When just looking at them made me cry with joy.  And why does time make those things fade?

Well, it doesn’t fade.  It just changes.  Looking back at how I treated my kids when they were newborns makes me appreciate them more now.  I used to imagine who they would be in 1, 5, 10 years down the road.  Now I love them more for who they have become.  For the young adults that they will be.  I used to think that I couldn’t love them more than the first time I saw them.  Now I know that I love them more as each day passes.

Liz, I know you do and will feel the same love for Quin!  You were born to be a mommy and I’m so thankful that Quinley Jean is in our lives!  I can’t wait to see the girl that she becomes and the mom that you have been for a long time.  Love you both!

Me and Liz on a girl's weekend to LA in 2008. August was in my tummy. So glad my friends can share in a mommy's love!

Winnie the Pooh

2 months ago I had the privilege of being chosen by Disney as one of 16 women of influence from around the country to preview the new Winnie the Pooh movie.  When I received the email in mid-May, I immediately jumped at the opportunity.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to be wined and dined by Disney? We were put up in a 4-star hotel, fed catered meals, driven around in limos, and met with Disney animators and legends.  It was definitely an experience that will live in my mind forever.  But one of the best parts of my 3-day adventure was getting to preview the new Winnie the Pooh movie.

I have never been a huge Winnie the Pooh fan, so when news came out that a new “Pooh” movie was being released, my first thought was, “Great, another Disney ‘remake.'”  Luckily, I was thoroughly put in my place when I saw Pooh and his friends come to life on the big screen.  This is not another Disney remake.  It’s a whole new story with JUST the original Pooh characters.  It is unlike the original movie in that it is fast-paced, funny, witty, and with more “grown-up” humor than the first.  In fact when the movie ended, I was surprised and a little disappointed that it seemed over so quickly.

With music done by Zooey Deschanel, this new Winnie the Pooh adventure is one that you and your kiddos will not want to miss!  Go see it and give me your thoughts!  I would LOVE to hear them!

Honor your father and mother. And your brother and sister.

I’m sure our family is like most families.  Our kids get along great at times and not so great at other times.  Sometimes it feels like the not so great out-weighs the great.  Especially during the summer when we’re all together all the time.  So what does a parent do to maintain peace in the house?

Autumn, Audrey, and Austen all snuggled up in 2008 right after August was born.

Last year my children’s pastor husband came up with a great idea.  We call it the honor chart.  They each earn points during the day for either being honorable or dishonorable.  The goal is not for them to treat each other with “normalcy,” but with honor.  There are a number of ways that they can earn honor marks.  Offering to do someone’s chore.  Offering to help one of the younger kids with something.  Doing something cheerfully and right away when they are asked by an adult.  If they get 5 honor marks in a day then they earn something the next day.  My favorite was when my 10-year-old, Austen, wanted to use his honor marks by snuggling with my for 30 minutes before bed.  But it usually has something to do with extra X-box time or an extra TV show (they only get a 1/2 hour of each).

On the flip side, they can also earn dishonor marks.  This happens, obviously, if they are dishonorable to each other.  Arguing, yelling, short tempers.  If they earn 5 dishonor marks in a day, then they lose something the next day.

The goal is for them to earn 5 honor marks each day for a week for an ultimate prize.  So far only one of them has earned this all summer.  Austen chose to use his honor week by going to Shnoo yogurt with his dad.  Of course, Duane didn’t mind either.

Here’s what we’ve found by using an honor chart:  they will go above and beyond being nice and decent to each other.  They are happy to show honor to one another and to us.  We originally started doing this for the older 3 kids (5 1/2, 10 1/2, and 12), but August (2 1/2) has joined the honor bandwagon, too!  If he is helpful with his brother and sisters he gets an honor mark.  But the best thing about that is watching him react when he finds out he earned one.  Jumping, clapping, and cheering are among his rituals for behaving more than kindly to his siblings.

I guess the big idea is that we want our children to be more than nice to each other, to their friends, and to us.  Treat each other with honor and your rewards are more than Shnoo.  More than game time.  The rewards are peace and harmony in the house all based on biblical teachings.  Good habits are starting to be realized which brings joy to this mommy’s heart.  And that is the best reward for me!