this used to be my playground.

Alright, back to blogging. One of my best friends just* got married and it seems that I needed a honeymoon after the influx of activity. For the mama of two, the level of socialization (with adults) is at a bare minimum most of the time. There are a few lucky days every few months that Jason and I get to enjoy one another as adults, but mostly we are busy practicing our ABCs with our newly two year old and contorting our faces to make K.O.G. (King of the Grumps) smile. For the wedding, I was a bridesmaid, and also volunteered to make 600 buckeyes for her guests' favors. I wanted to contribute, enthusiastically, to her day and I wanted to make sure she had everything she wanted. So, we made buckeyes, set up tables, covered chairs, tied bows, had a spray tanning party (so worth it), had a wonderful rehearsal dinner AND took part in a beautiful wedding. After all this excitement, mama needed a rest. Dishes were in my sink for days following while the laundry and dust both stacked up. Yes, I got to all of it but it didn't happen until days after so its back to blogging. Lucky for you...I have lots of stories. I apologize if I fall asleep telling them.

In preparation for HER bachelorette party, I went down to Cincinnati and browsed the Urban Outfitters for something non-mom to wear. For every day work/mothering I wear some variation of this outfit.

flats, ankle jeans, striped tee...i know, SNORE.

I knew it wouldn't do. I was going out on the town with a slew of single girls and I might even have to break out the heels that have hidden in the back of the closet constantly being trumped by their more comfortable cousin, the flat. There are turquoise slingbacks, snakeskin peep toes, leopard stilettos, Kelly green wedges and many more that are sadly neglected and deemed inappropriate for my current lifestyle. Urban Outfitters and Anthropology have always been two of my go-to stores. Not too exclusive or expensive or snooty or trendy. "JUUUUUUUST right!" exclaimed Mama Red Riding Hood. I often used to ground myself from entering said stores for fear of spending rent money on black rompers. However, I haven't visited this store in a few years. Sure, I have bought the occasional bag from the website, but only if it could house diapers, wipes, sippy cups, and burp cloths. I was excited. There was money put aside for this fashion influenced venture and I was sure that I would leave the store holding a bag filled with ruffles and plaid.

So, I walk in the doors and stare at the room of splendor and wait for the clever shoe related repartee that the faux hawked, neon denim wearing employees and I usually have. I waited and nothing came. So, I snuck over to the short skirts and imagined my post-pregnancy legs donning a two inch inseam and turned away, abandoning the idea. Tight jeans and heels would be a good solution to this outfit dilemma but all the jeans were either hot pink or frayed from the crotch down. Alright, I thought, I'll have to go back to accessories and peruse the earrings and necklaces for something that will make a non-mom statement. Passing the cash register area, I smiled at the college-aged girl in the booty shorts with knee high boots and thought. The girl was probably twenty-two and beautiful and I instantly felt ninety-seven and completely out of place. I felt like shouting over to the girl that I was merely shopping for my teenage niece (who does not exist)or adorable high-school aged neighbors (who do exist, and are rather adorable). But, NOT for myself, heavens NO. No self-respecting mom would ever pay attention to trends or choose fashion over practicality. I was a fraud. I felt selfish that I had taken the afternoon off of being a mother to try to reconnect with my former self.

When I finally reached the accessory table I was having a full-on panic attack. I was a short five years older than the girl at checkout and I no longer belonged at a place I would have called home some years prior. This is a place that would make me forget the dreamy guy that dumped me, a place where I would pick up a peacock feather clutch and all would seem right in the world. What happened to that girl? I grabbed a pair of peace sign earrings and bolted for the cash register. It was like I didn't want to be spotted, I didn't want anyone to see the sweat on my brow or hear the rapid pants escaping my lips. If no one discovered my discomfort I could leave the store and never have to accept or acknowledge the transformation that has taken place. After nervously handing the girl my debit card and muttering some clumsy quip to kill the silence in which I was sure she could sense my weakness, I grabbed my pathetically tiny bag and ran.

Outside I could breath again. Inside my car I could relax again. No one caught me. I drove away and snapped this picture, that was supposed to be of my former playground...but turned out perfectly beautiful anyway.

There was alot of thinking that ensued. I know I make different choices now, I make better choices. Instead of ankle boots, I buy baby slings. I read actual books before falling asleep instead of 40 pages of pretty pictures. But, if the progression continues I will be thirty and shopping at Chico's and have nary a concept of Marc Jacobs or Zac Posen. I don't want to be that girl, or woman. Sure, the days of buying $160 pair of jeans on a whim have gone. But, alas, I feel myself conforming to what a mom "should" look like and I, my friends, am not a conformer. Its hard to resist, especially when the Official Uniform of moms in our neighborhood is khaki capri pants and a Lily Pulitzer wrap top (uck). How do I wear biker jackets and boyfriends jeans at a library story hour where pearls and cardigans reign supreme? I feel out of touch with my own style and have actually caught myself lusting, yes people, lusting, over a pair of classic fit khaki trousers from the GAP. I found myself thinking, "wow, those would be really comfortable!" Since when have any of my decisions been based on comfort or practicality? Where was that sensible side when I bought a one-size-too-small pair of patent leather platforms because they were OH SO FREAKING CUTE? And MOST importantly, what's next...granny panties with worn out elastic? Where did my individuality go, my desire to be a little different?

Well, for this particular bachelorette party I did find an outfit. It was cute. It was already in my closet. I was proud and I felt like myself, even though my post pregnancy love handles threatened to overflow the muffin top capacity of my H&M jeans. That's me in the white jeans, vest and (I think some sort of special introduction noise is needed) HEELS. They were tall too and oh-so-very uncomfortable. However, my feet quickly displaced the feeling of pain with that of familiarity and they were happy to be strutted upon.

Cute. Yes? You think so? I'm glad. Thank you. Aren't my friends lovely as well?

There are oh-so-many things that have changed. In my young twenties, I spent hours on iTunes, researching the best new band. Or browsing the Internet for my next concert tickets. Or, trying to uncover the city's coldest beer, cheapest shots, best dart board or largest number of Photo Hunt booths. I spent too many dollars of a student loan on boots instead of books. Now, I spend the evenings reading blogs(most of which are either parent or food related) and books, watching movies, picking up rattles and puzzle pieces or tackling the laundry. Its not an exciting life. But it is. Oh, yes it is. The moments I spend with the kids and my husband are overflowing with fulfillment, laughter and love...like the white foam spilling over the edge of a draft beer poured too quickly.

I've made a new commitment. Not one to the kids or to my husband, I made those long ago (and I will never waver). This commitment will be to myself.
I will not lose myself in motherhood.
It will not engulf me.
It will not consume me.
It will not drink me dry.
This is not to say my parenting will suffer from this new commitment. We women must realize that our children are an extension of us, they are not US. We were us before they were them. I want my children to know me, not a shell of my former self in an attempt to conform to The Mom Standard. My New Mom Standard states I will dress myself in a style that represents how I feel: young, passionate, and pretty. And, if studded ankle boots supersede Easy Spirit Loafers at the next story hour and I am forever banned from The Official Mom Society - my children will know me and to this mama, that is a much better thing.

*her wedding was at the end of June. Yes, its take me a while to push the Publish button.


Glazed Lemon Cookies

the batter comes together in a breeze.

Oh me, oh my lemon is one of my favorite flavors. Perhaps it tops the list. There have been a few close competitors that have stolen my heart for weeks or even years. Pistachio and I have had many steamy love affairs. Peanut butter has swept me off my feet. Bittersweet chocolate and I were sweet on each other for a few months. And, though the love continues, lemon is a constant. When dining, I am constantly in search of the perfect lemon dessert. In my personal baking endeavors, I am in search of the perfect lemon cookies. I thought I might have found it when I stumbled upon these puppies. Though I will continue my hunt for the perfect lemon cookie, these ranked high with me.

glazed and ready to be packed up. i did these and another variety for a wedding rehearsal dinner.

I tried these a while back and the cookie itself was far too cakey for my liking. However, my mom's friends enjoyed them and begged for the recipe. So, if you like a cakey cookie perhaps you want to go there. As for me, I like the results with this attempt much better. The cookie is light and crispy, almost like a sugar cookie. I would prefer a little more chew but perhaps for a light dessert accompanying a few fresh strawberries and fresh whipped cream, they would be ideal. I envision these as a great brunch dessert, after a delicious frittata and a green salad. The zest adds quite a punch to the cookie and the glaze, which is nice. These cookies look like an average iced treat but the lemon flavor will definitely surprise you. My daughter exclaimed as she took a bite, "Tart!" They also look beautiful with the zest very visible in the icing or glaze. The glaze takes quite a while to set so make them ahead of time if you plan to stack.

the finished product.

Hopefully, I will be sharing many more lemon sweets with you in the future...perhaps I will acquire a new love interest.

STAY TUNED: 600 buckeyes for a beautiful bride/best friend's wedding and the funny treats I made for her bachelorette party.