I see London, I see France

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 5:45 PM


It's Christmas night.

All traces of the many hours spent lovingly wrapping each gift have been relegated to their respective rubbish bins. All the much-loved, beautiful new gifts are put away. The roof is bare of lights. The tree is slated for takedown tomorrow.

We are unusually on-the-ball because tomorrow evening, David and I are leaving for London, along with my parents and my sister and her husband, for a week.

Without my kids.

I am unequivocally ecstatic to be going, and I surely do need the break. As I explained to Devlin this afternoon, no vocation - no matter how delightfully, beautifully fulfilling - is welcome 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every moment for the rest of one's natural life. It makes perfect sense, because it is true. I value my marriage as much as I value my children, which is a very great amount. And this trip will be very good for me and my man.

My kids are staying at Granny and Grampa Dixon's Palace of Childhood Recreation and Neverending Patience. They will have a whole playroom to themselves, a basketball court, friends and cousins to play with, and all the story time any child could ask for.

But I keep thinking: who else will know that Devlin likes his sandwiches with only the bread toasted, and the insides cold?

Who will translate Iris's many demands into modern English?

How will they get by for a whole week without hearing the special Jingle Bells they love so much, or the "squirrel song", or Boom Boom Went the Mighty Volcano?

Will they miss me too much?

Will they not miss me at all?

This last day is the worst, when I'm trying to anticipate everything all of us could possibly need over the next week. They know we're going but they don't yet know that they're probably trading up to stay with their grandparents. They can't conceive that Granny knows way more awesome kid songs that I do, or that Gramps can build even bigger, better Snap Circuits than Daddy. They can only dream of the pizza, macaroni, and pigs in blankets yet to be eaten, the lush backyard with scooters beckoning, the mountains upon mountains of doll clothes.

I know they're going to be fine. I know I'm going to be fine. Better than fine.

But I will have three little holes in my heart that just won't close until I'm home safe and sound, the second of January, with my arms full of juicy, curly babies and my family all together again.

Power Trip

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 6:53 PM


I just got done doing yoga and using power tools, all in the same evening. Feeling pretty hear-me-roar just at the moment!

The kids and I went to see Santa at Bass Pro Shop this morning. There was a line, but I've waited in longer lines to see a mall Santa, plus they charge you out the nose for the photo AND there are no snowmobiles, tractors, or boats to play on while you wait. All in all, it was a sweet deal.

Devlin was very eager to tell Santa what he wanted (his original, more realistic list, after I crushed his dream of a $300 robot from the Lego store for the last time).

Eve declined to say anything, smile, or explain her general reluctance. She often does this. She doesn't even officially dis you, she just pretends you don't exist. I'm not sure if it's an insult, or just an artifact of her head being firmly planted in a cloud at all times.

Iris was terrified at first - she, like most children, loves Santa in theory and as a lawn ornament, but isn't very keen with an actual strange man patting his lap and looking come-hither - but she is easily plied with food and Santa had a pocket full of candy canes. She deigned to stand by him, smile shyly, and ask for raisins for Christmas.

(Does anyone remember this post? Because I sure do.)

Santa, don't mess with this mama, or I'll forget to put sugar in your cookies.

* * *

Dressember 23rd:
Boots: Born
Tights (not visible, but green and awesome): Nordstrom
Striped socks: Target
Skirt: Boden
Shirt: Downeast Basics
Belt: Anthro
Cardigan: Banana Republic
Necklace: Target
Sunglasses: Sean John

Spinning, in the washer and elsewhere

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 3:45 PM


So I skipped yesterday.

I wore a dress, but you've seen it, and honestly you should be extremely surprised that you've gotten a post every day in December until now. Seriously, every day? I can hardly remember to eat every day.

On this Christmas Eve Eve Eve, I leave you with a funny from my oldest child (7 years old).

Reading the advent calendar this afternoon, concerning how though our sins may be as scarlet, we can be made white as snow, etc.

Me: So, when we do things wrong, when we hurt each other, we have a "stain" on our soul. Like when we get a stain on our clothes - ketchup, or Kool-Aid, or something really nasty, we can get those stains out. How can that happen?

Devlin, looking mortified at my ignorance in this matter: In the washer.

* * *

Dressember 22nd, Twirling Day: "and in heels, as well!"
Shoes: Steve Madden
Leggings: Last Chance
Skirt: Boden
Top: Banana Republic
Cardi: Antho
Belt: thrifted
Earrings, which you can't see but are nonetheless lovely: Aunt Holly

Wedding Dress: the Prequel

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010 at 8:25 PM


By popular demand, I present to you: my wedding photo from 2001, the original wearing of the Ever After wedding dress. Note that it was pressed before this photograph, unlike yesterday's impromptu fashion show.

By the way, if you didn't just get home from the exhilarating first performance of
Before Tonight, you are in luck because we are doing it again tomorrow. 7:30pm, First United Methodist Church in Mesa, First Avenue and Center. It's free, and it's *really* good. Don't be the last one to know about it. That would be embarrassing.

Dressember 20th, my parents' 35th wedding anniversary:

Shoes: John Fluevog (yes, I have this exact shoe in two different, fabulous colors)

Skirt: J. Jill
Top: Anthro
Belt: thrifted

Earrings and bracelet: borrowed from my mom

And now for something completely different

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 3:44 PM


Today is Wedding Dress Day in Dressember-land. And you know what? Why not?

I have a funny story about my wedding dress. At any given period in time, there is a "prevailing fashion" in wedding dresses (see: strapless, the last 5 years). When you're a Mormon girl, and require long sleeves and a high neckline for a temple wedding, the winds of fashion don't tend to blow people very far away from each other. When I got married in 2001, I knew I wanted something different than the "sparkly-white-t-shirt-affixed-to-a-white-ballgown-skirt" that was so popular then (probably still is - Mormons tend to be conservative in almost every possible way!)

But it was hard. So hard. I didn't fit in anywhere. Dresses designed for a temple wedding were boring, and dresses designed for fashion left me pulling and tugging and sure something was showing that wasn't supposed to be.

So I caved. I went to the bridal store at the mall that catered to modest brides, picked out something cute, and rang it up. There. Done. No more stress. On to centerpieces!

Only I knew it wasn't right. What I wanted was this.

Is that so much to ask?

Since I was engaged for over a year, I had plenty of time to stew over the dress I had purchased, and the more I thought about it the less I liked it. It wasn't me. It didn't say anything about me, or my life, or who I was. So I kept looking.

(My dad makes fun of me for this, but it is from him that I get the charming habit of continuing to search for the perfect *whatever* even after I have decided on and purchased one. We are never satisfied).

So I was searching eBay (for a wedding dress? who does that?) and I found a woman selling the service of making a wedding dress - the exact dress I was looking for - and because it was custom, she could alter the neckline to accommodate my requirements.

So I bought it.

I found a home for my other dress with a friend from high school, who looked radiant in it at her own wedding, and I was a fairy princess on my special day. I haven't worn, or even looked at, that dress for almost 10 years, but I figured today was as good a day as any.

It's not exactly what I would pick if I were getting married again tomorrow, but I think I did pretty darn good. I figure anyone who says they would choose the exact same wedding dress again 10 years on just isn't thinking about it hard enough!

I look a little different than I did back then (I didn't discover my "true" hairstyle until a few years later) and now I have an delightful entourage of small princess attendants following me everywhere I go, which I think greatly improves the overall look.

It's amazing what 10 years will do. I like myself so much more now than I did then. I know myself better. I know the world better. My life is fuller, happier, richer.

If the next 10 bring as much wisdom and joy and these years have, then I don't think I'll be sorry to see 40 at all.

Today was neat

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 8:47 PM


Today was a good one. And since you're here, I might as well tell you why.

1. My bathrooms, car, and kitchen are all clean. At the same time. We've already established my weakness for a sparkling/crumb-free floor, and now I've outed myself the rest of the way. It's taken me all week, but it's been enjoyable. Amazing what happens when you stay off The Internets and put your stylish little shoulder to the wheel!

2. My sister and her husband arrive in Arizona for the holiday season tonight! I sure do love those guys. If you ask very nicely, I bet Emily would finish up Dressember with me. Then again, if I do that then you will all see that she's taller, skinnier, and blingier than I am. Oh well, it takes all kinds, right?

3. Mr. Kimball is well and whole! Close enough, anyway. Tuner Gary came over to pay him a house call, and though he grimaced, groaned, and generally warned us not to get our hopes up, it appears that our little orphaned piano can hold a tune and was officially worth the money. He's got a wobbly music stand and a couple of keys that just don't seem to want to play, but I think with a little more elbow grease and some flattering words, he is going to be a keeper. Total cost: $330.

4. Haircut day, my favorite of all favorite days.

5. Granny and Gramps hosted their local grandchildren (we missed you, Bartle cousins!) at a Christmas party at their house this afternoon. They decorated cookies, made Christmas cards, went caroling, ate pizza and grapes in the living room and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. It was a raging success, hopefully to be repeated! (Easy for me to say, since I just dropped my kids off for two hours and left!) Iris was especially tickled to be invited (she is often excluded from such events due to her tendency to reduce everything in her path to a pile of rubble). She sang "Jingle Bells" with all the volume she could muster and delighted at Granny's "Danta 'At", her current favorite item of clothing.

6. Eve and I stayed out past (her) bedtime to attend a dance recital at Mesa High (Aunt Holly had a vocal solo!) The gleam in her eyes watching the big girls dance has me all excited for her to grow up so I can see her in her own recitals, and attend more actual activities that we *both* enjoy (no offense, library storytime).

Dressember 18th, featuring a pair of leggings that I thought were tights when I bought them. I'm not too old for leggings, am I?
Shoes: Ecco
Leggings: Last Chance
Skirt: Boden
Top: Anthro
Necklace: Do I own another necklace? Apparently not.

"Holiday Casual"

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010 at 9:39 PM


Er, this was my interpretation.

Post-concert, dog tired, pajamas NOW please.

Dressember 17th:
Boots: Born
Tights: Spanx
Skirt and top: Anthro
Belt: thrifted

Do I look happy in this picture?

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 7:48 PM


Because when I got home from work tonight, David had found himself in possession of a little bit of money we weren't expecting, used it to purchase a carpet cleaner, and CLEANED OUR CARPETS.

This, my friends, is the way to a woman's heart. (Or, at least, this woman's heart). I think it says a lot about how far down the slope of housewifery I have slid that nothing, literally nothing, could have made me happier upon walking in the door to find all evidences of dirty feet, ground-in raisins, and orange juice erased from our flooring.

So, just for the record, yesterday he commented on my bum-hugging skirt, and today he cleaned my carpet. What wonders will tomorrow bring?

Dressember 16th:
Boots: Born (I was wearing my new gray shoes, but the heel broke off today. Fascinating. A replacement pair is on its way, but if those don't live up to their promise then I will likely require your assistance in choosing another pair. Okay? Okay.)
Tights: Hue (I have two pairs of tights this color, and I do wash them. Promise.)
Dress: Boden
Cardigan: Anthro

He noticed!

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at 2:42 PM


I got dressed today, and David said "Hey, you haven't worn that skirt yet."

He is, of course, right. I have not. And I almost dropped over dead that he was keeping track. He has been taking most of the pictures this month, but is it just me or is this *not* a typical manly observation?

I love it.

Now I'm not an expert, but I consider myself a fashion hobbyist, maybe, and people have been asking, so here's my philosophy: dressing well is as simple as shopping with a very critical eye, knowing what is in your closet, and what things work well together. From there, it's just as easy to "dress up" as it is to wear sweatpants!

I'm a natural redhead, and everyone knows redheads are pale and freckled. But I have always thought of myself as having more pigment than most, as being maybe a little bit tan in the summer. But the daily documentation from this project has shattered that illusion, and I think the evidence clearly indicates that I need to stop putting on airs and embrace my ghostly hue. Don't argue with biology, I always say.

Dressember 15th, featuring an outfit I have never worn before:

Shoes: Miz Mooz
Socks: no idea, had them for ages
Skirt: Banana Republic
Top: Anthro
Cardi: Banana Republic

(This photograph taken upon returning from an aborted trip to Target with 3 small children. Horrible, HORRIBLE idea. I cannot stress this enough. Do not attempt. You will regret it.)

Four kinds of purple

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 9:13 PM


Tights, socks, shirt, lips.

I think it might be hokey to match your lipstick to your outfit, but since this is me and we're talking about purple, I just don't care! Your silly little fashion rules are not going to spoil my colorful fun.

Boots: Born
Tights: DKNY
Socks: Sock Dreams
Skirt: Boden
Top: Anthro

Business Time

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on at 12:51 PM


If anyone didn't get that reference, please do watch this video. You might want a pillow handy to stifle your laughter in case of sleeping children.

No, but really: I'm here to do a couple of things very quickly, and then I'll be back later with today's fashion installment.

1. I'm singing. Lots. Starting tonight. If anyone is interested, here are the options:

Tonight, 12/14 at First Presbyterian Church (Mesa Drive and University), 7 pm - Cantilena Christmas program featuring the J.S. Bach Magnificat (I have a solo - although sadly I can say that while I will be wearing a dress, it will not be anything you would want to make a special trip to behold).

Friday, 12/17 at Red Mountain MCC (Power and McKellips), 7 pm - Christmas program featuring Cantilena and other MCC choirs

Monday and Tuesday, 12/20-21 at First United Methodist Church (15 E. First Avenue), 7:30 pm - I'm delighted to be participating in two performances of Before Tonight, an original work by my almost-brother-in-law Rob.

2. Giveaway time! No, I'm not giving anything away, although perhaps I should start. Trying to win something again (for my sister!) and spreading the word about a fantastic blog that everyone should read:

Go here to check it out. The prize is a ring sling (you all *know* how I feel about those!)

Hope to see a few of you in the audience!

Dressember 13

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010 at 3:08 PM


Why, hello again, fishnets. It's been entirely too long.

Shoes: J Shoes

Tights: who knows - relic from teenage years

Skirt: Boden Top: Banana Republic
Cardigan: Anthro

Day of Rest, My Eye

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 6:39 PM


Sunday: the Sabbath, a day of rest, contemplation, peaceful service and meditation - otherwise known as the day I don't so much as have time to snap a quick photo until after the kids are in bed.


Dressember 12:
Boots: Born
Tights: Hue
Dress: Blu Heaven (from Nordstrom Rack)
Jacket: Ann Taylor
Necklace: Target


Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 3:24 PM


It's 80 degrees today.

Normally, come December I like to dress for a crackling fireside, even if we don't actually need one. But since I've taken the "dress" challenge this month, I figured if I had a chance to vary my offering a little bit more then I would take it.

Enter Dresssember 11th: bare legs, sandals, and a linen cardigan. Sorry, snowbirds!

Shoes: John Fluevog
Dress: Boden
Cardigan and jewelry: Anthro

In Neutral

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, December 10, 2010 at 6:13 PM


See, not even I wear teal and orange together every day.

I have this dress and I don't wear it often because, frankly, it's a little sedate for me. I thought I'd give it a fair shot this month and if I still don't like it then I'm sure I can find it a new home with a similarly-sized, less attention-hungry friend.

Attempt #1: Dressember 10th:

Shoes: Miz Mooz
Socks: Sock Dreams (seriously, go there, and don't say I didn't warn you)
Dress: Maggy London
Cardigan: Banana Republic


Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on at 8:27 AM


Eve walked up behind me just now, as I was vacuuming up needles from our tree.

"I'm going to a parade!"

Eve, I can only think of one parade that would welcome you dressed like that.

Elton John would be proud.

All Dressed Up and Someplace To Go

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 9:43 PM


As it turns out, a side benefit of always being dressed up and ready to hit the town is that, when the opportunity actually does present itself, you can grab your proverbial purse and head right out the door on a moment's notice.

I was warming up leftovers and grilling sandwiches (looking *fabulous* while doing it) when David came up behind me in the kitchen and said "You shouldn't eat that."

Well, excuse me, I know leftovers are not glamorous but it's got to be eaten, you know?

"No, you shouldn't eat it. And I'm not going to eat it. Instead, the babysitter is coming over and you and I are going to go eat Thai food and hear The King's Singers."

(Which very thing I may or may not have had on my kitchen calendar for months, and I may or may not have explicitly stated that I wanted to be taken to for Christmas. And which earlier that week I had been informed we would not be attending).

So, I whooped and shimmied and skipped out the door without so much as a look in the mirror - because I knew that part was already taken care of.

Dressember 9th:

Shoes: J Shoes
Tights: Nordstrom
Dress: Max and Cleo
Sweatercoat: Anthro

Rock Hammer

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 5:07 PM


I feel like Andy Dufresne.

Like I have a very, very big mountain in front of me, and only a rock hammer to dig my way out. My tiny checks on my silly little to-do list each seem ridiculously insignificant, but if I put my head down and keep going, slowly and surely they do make the beginnings of a tunnel to freedom!

Today's little check marks:

- having finally finished decorating for Christmas, move empty decor boxes from kitchen counter back to shed
- finish laundry (including handwash items!)
- fold laundry
- put laundry away (all on the same day people, this is HUGE)
- move large empty cardboard box from side of garage to recycling bin
- pick up and organize backyard toys
- reorganize ever-expanding sock and hosiery collection
- add stamps and re-post Christmas packages
- bathe all children, including hair washing
- wear cute new Christmas shoes early and spend the afternoon with a friend as reward to self for being so industrious

I think after bedtime I will finish the ironing. I might explode with the domesticity of it all.

Dressember 8th:

Shoes: J Shoes from modcloth.com (Merry Christmas to me)
Tights: DKNY
Skirt: Boden
Top: Anthro
Cardigan: Anthro

I was kind of a stupid teenager

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 9:10 PM


...but I definitely got one thing right.

I don't mention him here often, because he's a rather unassuming sort of fellow, not given to overt public declarations of love or spectacles of any kind.

I can dress cute, but I'm not as nice as I look. Today, I would like to thank my husband for taking care of me. All I have to do is ask, and he does it. He doesn't get offended or take it personally when I flap around, he just waits for me to finish and then executes a plan to make things better.

He's quiet, and reserved, and I think maybe some people don't know what a gold mine I have. Because he's also a genius, and handsome, and caring, and steady, and hilarious, and exactly what I need.

He does, quite literally, complete me.

Dressember 7th:

Boots: Born
Tights: Spanx (from Last Chance - I have an astonishing collection of 97 cent hosiery)
Skirt: Anthro
Shirt: Anthro
Necklace and earrings: Anthro (oh dear, I am outing myself here)
Jacket: Dress Barn! Can you believe it? Something cute came out of a place called the Dress Barn!

O Christmas Tree

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, December 6, 2010 at 8:48 PM


We are a proud mishmash tree family. Hodgepodge. Eclectic. Random.

We don't match our tree decor to...well, to anything. We don't have a Tuscan tree, or an Art Deco tree, or an all-white tree. My husband's parents give all their children an ornament every year of their life, and when they leave the nest they take their collection with them, so each and every one can have a Mishmash Tree of their own.

(The great thing about my mother-in-law, though, is that even if I wanted a prim and proper matchy-matchy theme tree, she wouldn't be offended. Or at least, she would never breathe a word if she was).

Granny and Grampa still give their adult children an ornament each Christmas, and one for each of their grandchildren too. David and I are proud to carry on this sweet tradition, and we look forward to choosing a token for the tree to signify that last year with each of our babies.

This year, Devlin got a red snowflake, with the reminder that he is just as unique and special as each snowflake is different from its fellows.

Eve got a nesting doll, blonde, wearing a yellow dress. (Did you know that Iris identifies many colors, and her name for the color yellow is not "yellow", but "Eve"? True story).

Iris received a soft, knitted figurine of a little girl, wearing both shoes and "gocks". I will always remember this ornament, because I chose it based mainly on the fact that I thought it would be very tolerant to squeezing, dropping, and chewing. I suppose she could cut it into pieces with scissors, or light it on fire. Nothing is foolproof.

So now I just have to keep the tree from dying and the children from breaking (some of) the ornaments for the next 19 days.

And special for you, I bring you Dressember 6th, featuring not-yet-seen items (but the shoes). Today was the first day someone asked me why I was "all dressed up" - guess that means I'm doing it right!

Skirt: Boden
Blouse: Talbots
Cardi: Banana Republic
Darling patterened hose that don't show up in the photo: Last Chance (97 cents, people!)
Shoes: Miz Mooz

So, what kind of tree do you have? Tell me all about it!

Mr. Kimball

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 8:46 PM


A few more tidbits about my piano, who shall henceforth be referred to as "he", "him", or "Mr. Kimball":

1. He is, well, a Kimball.

2. He is 5 feet long, a real "baby" grand. See how he fits right in the corner there?

3. He was built in 1935.

4. Did you know pianos built before 1930 are more desirable because most of the piano makers were either bankrupted or consolidated after the Great Depression? So Mr. Kimball is vintage, but no Antiques Roadshow moment.

5. Also, have you *heard* him? The F#5 is absolutely ghastly. An intrepid tuner and repairman is coming to pay a house call next weekend. I'm cautiously optimistic. Mostly cautious.

6. He's very handsome, in any case.

7. My kids are in love. He seems to be very good with children.

See my Christmas tree in the corner of the photo there? We got the lights up today, and tomorrow we will place the ornaments and then, my pretties, you shall have pictures.

P.S. For today's Dressember offering, I give you a sweater, belt, skirt, and boots you have already seen. It's only the 5th. Cat is out of the bag, folks: I wear the same 15 things over and over and over again. Except when I'm wearing my pajamas.

Boots: Born
Tights: Hue from Last Chance
Skirt: Anthro
Blouse: Talbots
Cardigan: Antrho
Belt: Anthro

The Fashion Bit

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 3:31 PM


Shoes: Miz Mooz
Socks: Last Chance
Skirt: Boden
Jacket: Tulle from Last Chance
Scarf: Superwash wool lovely handknit by my dear friend Kim

This day has been so full, I'm going to have to split it up into multiple posts. Because I have a commitment to uphold, and I have promised to prove I do own more than one pair of shoes, I give you Dressember Day 4.

(If the denim-on-denim look has gone back out of fashion again, please don't tell me. I just got this darling jacket and I *needed* to wear it today. All my printed dresses are light, silky jersey and I just don't fancy them come November because they are literally all I wear through the whole endless summer here).

Piano and Christmas tree details to follow...
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Dressember, or "Boots 31 ways"

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, December 3, 2010 at 3:09 PM


I promise, I do have other shoes.

Maybe, if you are nice, I will show you tomorrow when I post photos of a) the piano and b) our Christmas tree.

You don't want to miss it.


Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 9:28 PM


On Facebook yesterday, I saw a friend post a picture of herself looking *so* cute and stylish, like she always does, and she said she was doing it for "Dressember". Nosy me of course went snooping around, and I liked what I found:

"For the month of December, I am promising to wear a dress every day and documenting it with a photograph. For a whole month when people say "Why are you dressed up, are you going to a wedding? Are you going somewhere after this?" I can say, "I am doing Dressember". You only have so many dress-up days until you die. Who else wants to get in touch with their feminine side?"

Well, this just fits right in with my style and my life philosophy, so in I go like a proper lemming!

December 1: (Skirts count too, by the way). I promise this was yesterday. I didn't get the photo taken until sundown, as you can see, and I was so busy retrieving my free piano that I didn't post it until just now.

December 2: Like my new gloves? They were free too. I'm on fire this week! But I'll try not to have every picture taken by a 7-year-old on my phone.

The downside of this project is that you all are going to see how often I really do wear the same things! I think it will be fun though. If you decide to join me, I hope you'll leave me a comment so I can watch your progress!


Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on at 7:04 AM


Yesterday, David was trolling the craigslist musical instruments section, as both of us are wont to do. The first ad, right at the top of the page, said "free grand piano".

He picked up the phone, expecting I don't know what. Best case: Nigerian scam artist. Worst case: elaborate scheme to lure unsuspecting young musicians into a drug cartel, a polygamist cult, or the Mafia.

It was neither. Just a property manager with a renter who had left a piano at one of her houses, and wanted it to become the problem of the first person willing to haul it away.

David had been the first caller.

So we dropped Eve at school, drove 60 miles to Peoria as fast as we could, and decided (after some test Chopin and a brief consultation with Professor Google) that the little piano's many problems were issues we could fix or live with. We rescued Iris from the empty bedroom in which she had locked herself and sped homeward, making dozens of calls to piano movers, tuners, and repairmen.

It seemed like a dream, but the mover is going to be here in 10 minutes, and we have rearranged our house to accommodate a Kimball baby grand that appears to have been forgotten about by its owners some time in the 1970's.

It's dirty, scratched, dinged up, and painfully out of tune, but it was free, it's ours, and it's going to lead a much more dignified life from here on out.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Consolation Prize

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 2:33 PM


I know: instead of a treat to celebrate my 14th day of good spirits, I think I'll just have the kind of day that reminds me why I felt the need to publicly declare when I *didn't* feel like this for 36 consecutive hours.

My jaw is clenched, I've been crying all day, my throat is sore from yelling, my muscles are tired, my kids are oppressive, the wind is blowing in my face, and I just want to crawl into a cave and hide from everyone.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Thanksgiving Headlines

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010 at 7:34 AM


Cousins are wonderful. I have so many memories of playing for hours upon hours with my cousins as a child: dressing up as a medieval village, hunting for various creatures in the woods, making "potions" with the contents of my mom's spice cupboard. This weekend, all the Dixon cousins were together and we got a photo to prove it! (This required three adults, two basketballs, and one Indian princess costume.) I think it's fabulous.

In related news, the members of my immediate family were also photographed together (thank you Heidi!) The shocking proof:

While we were dressed, and before we got pie on our faces (literally), I got some shots of the kids too:

Other weekend notables include:

- Devlin attending a car show and Suns game with his father

- Devlin prematurely initiating our kitchen remodel plans by shattering a panel of our fluorescent light box with his souvenir basketball from said Suns game

- Girls night out (and in) for me and Eve, including shopping, seeing Tangled with my families, and mani/pedis all around

- Iris dumping out half a bottle of gold glitter nail polish all over the floor at CVS, my tights, my shoes, and herself

- David and I agreeing to perform in yet another wonderful Christmas musical event, and realizing that we need babysitting for 11 out of the first 21 days in December (that's just the days we are *both* committed)

- Me realizing, after 6 months, that just taking the start knob off the trash compacter entirely is much easier than trying to keep Iris from playing with it. What, you don't have a trash compacter? You're just jealous.

- Waking up this morning at 7:30 to the realization that *all three* of my children were still asleep. Devlin has school at 7:45. I made an executive decision to let them all sleep as long as they wanted, to shower alone at my leisure, and just be fashionably late

- My little sister Holly is having a boutique selling her darling hair adornments on December 7th. Hello, stocking stuffers. I'll see you there!

- The smell of nail polish would be enough to deter most children from using it at lipstick, but not Iris. I was so relieved that she wasn't poisoned/she didn't paint the rest of my bathroom that I forgot to take a picture

- I'm going to be an aunt again! My sister Emily is pregnant. Life is amazing.

P.S. I am still on my happy streak, but I had one really bad morning last Wednesday, and I'm not exactly sure how to tally my days anymore. 13.5? I think I will get myself a little present to celebrate 2 weeks tomorrow.

Give Thanks

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 9:32 AM


I'm actually really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year.

Living in the same city as both my parents and my in-laws is truly a wonderful blessing, and I am very deeply grateful for it. But one of the downsides is spending holidays either running frantically back and forth from one house to another, trying to contribute to (and consume!) two holiday dinners, or else choosing sides and feeling guilty about not stopping in on the other family's festivities a mere 5 minutes away.

This year, I get to do the Dixon Thanksgiving today, and the Dalton Thanksgiving tomorrow. I'm a flexible kind of gal, and really however it works out is fine with me, but I'm excited to try it this way. So far, at 10:37 Thanksgiving morning, it already feels much more relaxed. The baby is down for an early nap, the big kids are making key lime pie with their daddy, and I'm getting ready to prep vegetables for roasting and plate the massive quantities of fruit demanded by dinner with 25 of my favorite people.

We made "thankful lists" this morning. I won't tell you who contributed what, but I will put them in order so you can see where our priorities evidently lie:

Friends and family
Poofy Pancake
Cousins at Thanksgiving
Fall weather
The minivan
Being nice
Our home
The library
Money to buy Christmas presents for our cousins
Backyard toys
Swimming pool
Big tree in our backyard
Green grass
Living close to relatives
Devlin, Eve, and Iris

(I saved the best for last).

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Maybe your days be peaceful, abundant, and full of the people who matter most.

You're All My Favorites

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 9:18 PM


Once upon a time, there was a mother bear, a father bear, and three baby bears.

A first baby bear,

a second baby bear,

and a third baby bear.

And their Mommy Bear loved them so much that she took 20 minutes to compose this tiny little post, because she kept scrolling up and staring at their beautiful faces.

(Today was the eighth happy day. I wonder how many days it will take before I am not surprised, delighted, and grateful to the very soles of my feet to feel this way?)

Day 7

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 at 6:46 PM


Yes, it's true.

I have, for an entire week, kept a positive attitude and really felt *happy*.

My life is the same, but I have been able to laugh when I find Iris playing in her daddy's car like it is an arcade game, scattering cinnamon sugar all over the laundry room floor, dismantling my painstakingly assembled heirloom art project, or removing all of the Harry Potter #5 and 6 audiobook CDs from their cases (there are 40, by the way) - and that was just this morning.

I don't know why. But every day it gets easier and more instinctive. It's like I'm learning new habits, I'm training my emotions just like I train my voice, to be agile and flexible and focused. I used to be a really fun, happy person, all the time. I always wanted to be, even when I wasn't, and I could always pretend to be if I needed to. But it has been a long, hard battle for the last two years. I don't want to imply that I won't slip back into anger, sadness, and discouragement, or that anyone who finds themselves struggling should be able to snap out of it one day by reading a book or reciting a mantra. But I am so grateful for this week that I've had to look through a clear window, to see my life and my children for the unimaginable joys that they are.

I always knew it, but I didn't always feel it.

This week, I have felt it. And I am counting these happy days because they are far more precious than gold to me. I hope you'll indulge me, and maybe join with me in counting some of your own.

P.S. Wouldn't it be nice to celebrate by winning something? If you're local and you don't follow this blog yet, then you must not listen to a word I say, honestly. Go! It's great.

Something Good

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 8:56 PM


(By the way, if anyone is still counting, today was Day 5).

It occurs to me this evening that even though sometimes my shortcomings as a mother loom large in my mind, and there is so much I wish I did better - when I look at my fridge, it is papered from top to bottom with my childrens' artwork.

And what they draw, over and over, is our family.

I think we must be doing enough things right.


Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010 at 7:25 AM


I have been blogging much more for me lately, for my writing and my own indulgence, and posting fewer pictures of the kids.

That's all well and good, but then one day your baby looks like this, and, well, you just have to take a picture.

Her curls just get longer, and fuller, and curlier, and more incredible. I hate to tame them at all - it pains me to force them into rubber bands, or clip them off to the side. I like them wild and free and in-your-face.

David calls her Albert with this hairstyle. (Don't see it? I'll post another picture after she wakes up from her nap.) She has claimed this epithet for her own cause, and now proudly proclaims herself, chortling, to be "Balbert".

I know she'll probably hate those curls when she gets older. That will make my heart ache. I never want her to say her hair is ugly, or her thighs are too dimpled, or her nose is too big.

I want her just the way she is now, not knowing that flat shiny hair is the fashion, not knowing that she's supposed to tear herself down for the sake of fitting in. I want her to know that its okay to be too smart, too passionate, too juicy, too much.

Plenty of flat-ironed, photoshopped, watered-down, milktoast people in this world already.

Let your curly flag fly, Iris.

Third time's the charm

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 8:00 PM


I had a good day today. And yesterday. And the day before.

That makes three good, happy, joyful days in a row. No yelling. No tears. Just happy.

I can honestly say I don't remember the last time I had a streak like this. I have lots of one-offs, and sometimes I get lucky and get a double shot. But three? It's been awhile.


I've taken a power nap each of those days. (Coincidence?) And I've been reading a little out of this book every morning. I don't know for sure what is doing it, but I'm thinking I might just try to Groundhog Day along until my luck changes. If it ain't broke...

Some of you may not see why this is worth celebrating. I hope most of you don't. But if this sounds familiar, then jump up off the grumpy couch and do a little dance with me!

Crossing my fingers for lucky #4 tomorrow. It's Friday I'm in love!

Trash to treasure

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 7:44 PM


I've been very busy this last week, picking everyone's proverbial dumpster. Although I don't always have very good luck thrifting (I know what I want, and I know a deal when I see one, but I am picky picky picky), the Trash Gods have smiled upon me this time.

I figured I'd do one post for the entire haul, and get it over with (or allow those of my readers who enjoy this sort of thing to glut themselves properly all in one shot!)

1. Last weekend, the Fraser Fields Swap was a good time all around. Looks like Jeni is planning another one in February, so start planning to attend now, and no excuses! You've got plenty of time. I brought six items, so I took home six items (total: $0):

A bread box! I've been wanting one, and they go for ridiculous prices on Etsy or eBay. Ridiculous. And this one isn't made of oak or festooned with doves, ribbons, or intertwined hearts:

A sweet vintage lamp (yellow - can you even find it in the absolute sea of sunshine that is my girls' room?)

And by my third trip through the Swap-O-Matic, the good stuff was pretty much gone and we were picking through each others' honest-to-goodness castoffs. But that's okay, because I am resourceful and came home with three picture frames and a dirty old Buddha (I collect them). I cleaned him off and painted him gold and isn't he just the cutest thing now? The kids love him.

2. Also last weekend, I attended a "garage sale" that was really well edited (not a term you would typically apply to a garage sale - more of a boutique, really). I came home with the mirror (which has since been painted, of course) and chair I had requested in advance and only *one* teeny weeny impulse purchase (total: $35):

(By the way, I will be back in a bit for advice on painting and upholstering that little chair. Santa says he wants to bring it to Devlin for Christmas, along with the desk he had me purchase off Craigslist a couple of weeks ago, but evidently Santa's elves outsource their furniture rehab).

This set of 6 green glasses just *had* to come home with me. David says they look like his grandmother's. I say they look fabulous:

3. Random garage sales last weekend (sheesh, did I do anything else at all last weekend?) yielded a lovely little piles of books for the children, 2 very, very sparkly Barbie dresses, a necklace for Iris (which has since been reduced to a broken string and a pile of "diamonds"), and the world's biggest, ugliest wreath (no, REALLY) which has now been stripped of diseased flowers and twisty ties and painted gold - because that way I can leave it up ALL YEAR. Brilliant! (Total, including the spray paint: $6.50):

4. Today, I was on the road before the library opened, and, well, there's a Goodwill *right there*. I got an (allegedly) real snakeskin belt, a pair of roller skates, and a globe which, although plucked from the bowels of a thrift store, does post-date the fall of the Iron Curtain. Yes, I checked. (Total: $8.37):

It's really hard to take a picture of your own waist in a bathroom mirror.

5. And my crowning achievement: I, completely by myself, purchased supplies and reupholstered this item.

I love it. The fabric is perfect, I did a great job, and it is a totally easy, very DIY-able project. For once, something was actually as simple as I thought it would be!

And now, at the end of this very wonderfully busy day, all the laundry is done and I know my bed is waiting for me, with fresh clean heaven-scented sheets. If you want to smell like me (and I promise, you do) go here and pick yourself up something in the karma scent. You won't be sorry.