Stitch Fix, Spring Edition!

I have a confession: we didn’t run the 10K that we had signed up for this past weekend.

And I have no regret. Between our weekend filling up so quickly, coupled with the fact that Evan’s knees have been bothering him (I guess you hit 30 and fall apart…) and my realization that I was just not at all motivated to run right now, we ditched our race.

So technically, my “reward” of a new Stitch Fix for running a 10K became just a fun spring surprise :) My friend Lara’s family came over this weekend to have a co-garage sale with us, so I had some friend input on this new Fix – always a plus over my so-not-interested husband. I had a new stylist this time, and I have to say that Barbara just ROCKED it! And she wrote the sweetest accompanying note, so she just may be my new permanent stylist :)

So here’s what I got for my third Stitch Fix…cIMG_8921

How cute is this Pixley Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress! But is it me? And the back is a little more “open” than I usually like to go. But it’s so cute… and bonus – Brenna-friendly! We all know I love a good stripe. I think yes on this one?!cIMG_8926

The Market & Spruce Julia Utility Jacket was such a disappointment – because it was SO CUTE…but just a touch too big in the shoulders/sleeves. I love it so much that I think I’ll ask if there is any chance they have it in a petite size… to accommodate my short alligator-like arms :) It’s exactly what I’m looking for in a spring jacket! (And it looks fantastic with the striped dress!)cIMG_8923

The Bancroft Leighton Metal Bauble Necklace was love at first sight! I don’t have anything like this, and I like everything about it. Done and done – it’s staying put right here on my neck.cIMG_8925

On to the next items… dressy tops!

So I love this pop of color from this top! I think my two other tops that I’ve kept from previous StitchFixes have been from 41Hawthorn, which this top is too, so I clearly like their style. This one is the Rosa Tab Sleeve VNeck Top. The color is fantastic, and I love that you could dress it up or down. I think I’m going keep this one… thoughts?cIMG_8920

And lastly… Lara and I oohed when I pulled this top out. It’s the Tucker Split Back Blouse from Renee C, and it’s such a fun pattern (and another Brenna-friendly top!) I think this one might be a keeper too, what do you think?stitchfix3

If you’re interested in giving StitchFix a try, I’d love for you to sign up with my referral code! Here’s what I tell all my friends – I absolutely LOVE it, and I tend to be a more frugal type of shopper – there are different price points you can pick, so I chose the least expensive. Most of my items have ranged from the $20s for the jewelry up to the $70s for the jackets. The tops have averaged in the $40s, which I will pay for a nice top that I love. I’ve already gotten their worth times one hundred out of the items from my previous fixes. Because they do tend to be on the higher side of my personal price point, I definitely only stick with the items that I absolutely love, and it’s worked well so far. No regrets at all! Some of my friends invest a little more in their wardrobes and it’s been fun to see what they get too… and then I always tell them I’m just going to borrow from them ;)

If you’re new to Stitch Fix, you fill out a profile with your sizes and personal style info. They send you 5 items, and you have 3 days to decide what to keep. You can write a note to your stylist and request certain types of items. You can schedule regular fixes, or like I do, just every once in a while when you want to go “shopping”. I think I’ve made a purchase at the mall once since signing up last fall… Stitch Fix is so convenient – and so exciting when a new package arrives!

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How being a ‘health advocate’ has changed me

Before Brenna was born, I was fairly timid.

I’ve always been on the shy side, and I like to observe instead of jumping right in. Being a reporter in my early career was often a struggle for me, for as much as I loved the writing, the approaching and questioning didn’t come naturally to me at all.

But with the arrival of a child with severe and specialized health care needs, I became something new: an advocate.006

Just as with Connor but on a much more critical scale, this tiny baby relied on me and Evan to learn, anticipate and respond to her needs. Needs like deciding whether or not to undergo surgery, realizing if her skin is becoming infected, monitoring temperatures in every environment, and even answering people’s questions about her appearance.

And becoming an advocate whole-heartedly changed me. Frankly, I became a fierce, loyal and protective Mama Bear.

Filling the role of health advocate came with a strength and a courage I never knew I had. I no longer became afraid to tell doctors what to do or what I thought… and I can think of at least three off the top of my head that we decided were not working for us. Prior to Brenna’s birth, I may have been not happy with a doctor but continued to go to them to avoid awkwardness – now I know there are always other options.

I’m not afraid to challenge recommendations or give my input or question something, because I know my children better than any doctor does (and I’ve come to realize that a really good doctor will truly value your opinion – and am grateful to have a whole medical team now who does that.)

And along the lines, something funny happened: this newfound courage within my health advocate role began to seep into the rest of my life. And what happened is that I became more confident and comfortable with myself.

I don’t apologize for being myself anymore. You probably won’t hear me say that I’m “sorry about the mess” if you stop by because we actually live in our house, and I’ve come to realize that people don’t really notice the messes in our own homes like we do. I don’t mind wearing outfits over and over if I love them because guess what? No one really notices or cares. People aren’t studying us as much as we self-consciously think that they are.

I’ve given myself more grace. I’ve given myself more permission to just be – to not be constantly doing chores or working at the computer, but to take more hot baths and read a good book. I finally lit those candles I’d had for years, and I now use the expensive platters that were wedding gifts 8 years ago (even if it is just on display in our living room!). I’m learning how to say “why not?” more often – which can be difficult for a structured, Type-A personality like me.

with 20 minutes until preschool pick-up, I opened up a book in the sunny backyard

And I’ve become more willing to lead. In earlier years, I always left the leading up to other people – stronger people, more popular people, more outgoing people. But by listening more closely to where God is calling me, I’ve discovered I actually like leading, in all kinds of ways.

Courage is not living big without fear and doubt – it is living big despite fear and doubt. And through being her advocate, Brenna has given me the gift of experiencing real confidence and courage.

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For The Kids: IlliniThon 2015

As I announced that after being tube-fed for a year and a half, Brenna was now weaned from her tube and eating completely by mouth, hundreds of college kids erupted into cheers and applause- and then laughter when Brenna lit up and started clapping right along with them.

That room full of college students didn’t sit down for 12 straight hours this past Saturday as they danced and played games at IlliniThon 2015, an annual event that raises money for St. John’s Children’s Hospital – the place that quite literally saved Brenna’s life, on numerous occasions.

We got to speak to the group at the University of Illinois and share our story and experience at St. John’s on Saturday evening, and someone must have given our kids 10 cups of coffee, because they were running all over the place, dancing and giving high fives and talking to everyone. Brenna’s team was Monster’s Inc., and under her IlliniThon t-shirt, she was sporting her “Boo” PJs (the little girl character from Monster’s Inc.) And someone gave her Minnie Mouse headband that she still doesn’t want to take off :)

Connor got in on the Monster’s Inc. action with his Mike Wazowski hat – and the college students kept calling out “Mike Wazowski!!” all night to him, which made him laugh :)

With Lauren, one of the IlliniThon exec board members – in Mike and Sully hats!

This girl could not get enough of the attention and fun. She was the life of the party. We were super awesome parents and forgot her shoes, so she ran around for 3 hours in her footed sleeper, loving every second of it. 

And we got silly in the photo booth :) Evan put on Minnie ears to match Brenna, and then she switched and opted for a princess crown and flower to hold. He rocked those ears nonetheless!

And the whole day with months of planning leading up to this huge event was all “For The Kids”! The grand total raised for St. John’s Children’s Hospital was…IlliniThon total 2015

Over $127,000!! WOW!

It’s just amazing to see how groups like this spark such change and such action. I got emotional several times while talking to this group, because it’s incredible to see how much they care – these 20-year-olds who could be lying in the sun on the Quad are stepping up to say “we want to help families in need and kids who are critically ill” and are taking action to make this happen. We were approached the whole night by kids saying they follow this blog, or how moved they are by Brenna’s story and how much they love her. We were so thrilled to be a part of this fantastic event and can’t wait to go back!