Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Time I Found a Dead Body

My story begins Monday at noon, when I took Lucas and Jenna to our local library in Rocklin. Upon arrival we realized the library was closed. Our library has a somewhat large body of water next to it that is enclosed by a metal fence. I decided to let Lucas throw rocks into the water through the fence, since he was upset about the library being closed. I was standing near him, holding Jenna. As I looked across the water I saw something strange. It looked like a dead body.

I saw what looked like two red shoes, a black pair of shorts, and a large dark torso. Floating facedown in the water. I squinted and tried to make out what I was really seeing. I read a lot of murder mysteries, so I assumed my imagination was getting the best of me. The apparent body was all the way on the other side of the water, so I really couldn't get a good look at it. The more I looked, the more I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. The torso looked so large that I started thinking it must be a log and not a body.

Just then a man walked towards us and sat down. I wanted to ask him if he saw what I was seeing. But then my crazy mind (remember, I read murder mysteries) started working overtime. I thought to myself, what if he is the murderer, coming back to watch over the body? If I revealed to him what I saw, surely he would dispose of me as well. I was also just nervous about being all alone with my kids and a man I didn't know. So I took the kids and left.

I texted my sister in the parking lot to tell her what I had seen. She told me to tell someone, but I said I really wasn't certain about what I had seen. Later that day I told Adam about it and he just laughed at me. After that I kind of forgot about the so-called floating body.

This morning I got a text from my sister. She had just driven past the library and said there were police everywhere. Oh my gosh. Could I really have seen a dead body?? Why didn't I trust what I had seen and called the police?

My sister stopped to ask an officer what was going on, and he confirmed that they were pulling a dead body out of the water. My sister told him about my text to her the previous day. He took down my information and called me soon after.

The detective asked me to describe what I had seen, including what the man was wearing. He asked about what time I was there, and what the man looked like who came and sat down near me. He then took down my name, birth date, and phone number. It was like something out of a bad movie.

I feel badly for the victim and his family, and I hope the police can figure out what happened.

You can read the news story here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Stitch Fix Secrets and Tips

I am in love with Stitch Fix. You all probably know this. I can't believe that my 19th box is scheduled to arrive next week! Over the past two years I have received 18 boxes of clothes from Stitch Fix, and I have kept a total of 20 items. Those 20 items are a good mix of unique pieces and nice basics that I reach for all the time. I've learned a few things along the way that I thought I'd share with you. I also have a couple Stitch Fix secrets that I think you'd like to know......
1. Use the referral program! First up is perhaps my biggest "secret". When I signed up for my first Stitch Fix box, the thing that made me nervous was the prices. They were definitely a little bit more than I was used to spending on clothes. I shared my experience on my blog and on Facebook, and a lot of my friends were interested in trying Stitch Fix for themselves. So I shared my referral link. And people started signing up! See, when you try Stitch Fix for yourself you are given a unique referral code to share with your friends. Every time someone signs up using that link you receive $25 in Stitch Fix credit. To date, 37 people have signed up using my referral link. Of those, 29 people have actually received a box, which means I got referral credit for those 29.  29 multiplied by $25 equals $675. Yes you read that right. I have received $675 worth of free clothes! The referral program is absolutely fantastic, and one of the main reasons I have been able to continue my Stitch Fix addiction! Thank you to all of you who signed up using my link.
2. Be honest about your body. I think a lot of women don't want to try Stitch Fix because they aren't in love with their current body size or shape. I understand that investing in clothing if you are losing or gaining a bunch of weight doesn't make sense. But we all have parts of our body we aren't in love with. Be honest in your style profile and you tell your stylist exactly what you want to hide or show off. For example, I have referenced the fact that I am very short-waisted with wider hips that sit high on my body, giving my mid-section a thicker boxy shape. So my stylist knows to send me tops that work with my specific body type. Don't be afraid to try Stitch Fix because of your body. The right fit and cut of clothes can make you feel really good about yourself, even when you have "trouble spots"! (For the record, I have done Stitch Fix while pregnant as well as post-partum, and I'm glad I did.)
3. Find a great stylist and leave feedback. I had a few different stylists before I found my current one. She is absolutely fantastic so I have requested to keep her as my permanent stylist. Yes, you can do this! I always make sure to write specific feedback after each fix. That way Heather knows why I send back certain items, and she can fine-tune my next box to be even better.

4. Use Pinterest. I never used Pinterest until I started Stitch Fix. But now I have a board specific to Stitch Fix that I update regularly with styles that I like. Here is my Stitch Fix Pinterest board if you're curious: https://www.pinterest.com/snullmeyer/stitch-fix/ You can even get creative and post pictures of yourself, or a picture of the current clothes in your closet (something I've thought about doing).  I write little notes under each outfit I pin, telling my stylist exactly what I like about the items, and what types of styles I'd like to see in my boxes.
5. Stitch Fix has amazing customer service. Out of 18 boxes, I have only had 1(Fix #3) that I was really disappointed in. The style was way off, and 2 items had defects. I emailed the company and not only did they refund me my $20 styling fee, but they sent me a replacement "fix" the following week. I was so pleased with their response! I also recently purchased a shirt that got a snag after only wearing it one day. I e-mailed Stitch Fix to inquire about an exchange, but they no longer had that shirt in stock. So they offered me a full refund, no questions asked. What other clothing company does this?
6. You can peek....but don't! Once your fix ships, you have the ability to go online and "peek" at your items' names and prices. I will confess that I used to do this before receiving each box. But I found that it took some of the fun out of the experience. Other than convenience, the absolute best part of Stitch Fix is the fun surprise factor! Knowing what you will receive ahead of time sets you up for passing judgment about your items before they arrive. I have since changed my ways and I no longer peek. It is better to wait and see the items in person before forming an opinion. Each box that arrives is a complete surprise!
So there you go...a few tips to help you with your Stitch Fix experience. As always, here is my referral link if you decide to sign up for Stitch Fix! https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3168832

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Smoothie Boy

My kids are funny in that they will go through phases with their foods. They get hooked on something and then that's all they want to eat. Right now Lucas is known as the "smoothie boy" around here. He has had the same exact smoothie every day for the past 2-3 months.
Without fail, he asks for his smoothie within an hour of waking up every morning. We have our little routine. He gets out the equipment, I get the ingredients. He shakes the bottles and pours with my help. He counts to ten while pushing the hand-held blender. I give him the option of two cups to drink out of, and he always chooses the same one. He puts the straw in, and I put the lid on. He takes a sip and says "like it!!". Every single morning. He is a creature of habit when it comes to his smoothies!
Here's what I put in Lucas' daily smoothies:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup plain kefir
1 banana
1 heaping TB Peanut butter
Handful of spinach
Pretty healthy right?? And yet Lucas absolutely loves it. I'm pretty sure he is single-handedly surviving on these smoothies. He typically eats crackers for lunch and the boy hasn't touched his dinner in at least a month. But he sure does love his green smoothies, so I keep making them for him every morning.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Jenna: 10 Months

My sweet Jenna, you are already 10 months old today! It's hard to believe you've been in our lives for almost a year now.
This month was a rough one for you. You were sick twice, had your first ear infection, and had surgery. Needless to say, I didn't take a ton of great pictures of you this month. Although Lucas changed the setting on my camera to black and white today, and now we have some cute colorless pictures of you!
You are recovering really well from your surgery! We have your post-op appointment next week, so we'll know more then. But for now you don't seem to be bothered at all by your incision site.
This month was a rough one in terms of sleep. Between being sick and having surgery, you were up a LOT at night. I'd say you're waking up anywhere from 2-6 times per night, which is tough because you used to sleep all night long! I'm usually nursing you back to sleep, and when that doesn't work, I'm bouncing you and pacing your room until you get drowsy. One day you cried yourself to sleep, but that usually doesn't work. Naps are also getting worse. I'm hoping this is just a bump in the road and that I get my great sleeper back soon!!
Ever since Ryan started Kindergarten, you have been spending a lot more time with your big brother Lucas. I'm happy to say that not only is he learning to be more gentle, but you seem to genuinely like him more!
You definitely started moving around more this month! You scoot around really quickly. You also started pulling up on things, up to your knees. You love holding onto my hands and standing up, and then "walking". You are still really wobbly and weak though!
Along with your new mobility comes a lot of curiosity. You love getting into things you shouldn't! You are getting bored with your baby toys, and instead you love playing with your big brothers' things. Bad timing, since Ryan loves playing with tiny legos now. Mommy does lots of picking up and vacuuming!
You are getting sillier every day. You love waving, playing peek-a-boo, and dropping things onto the floor for people to pick up. You also now clap on command, just by hearing the words "clap clap".
You had a major growth spurt this month! At your first pre-op appointment you weighed 17 pounds. About 4 weeks later you went back to the doctor and weighed a little over 18 pounds. I can definitely see you chunking up in your tummy and legs!
And I know the reason behind the chunk.......you eat absolutely everything! Whatever we are eating for our meals, you will eat as well. This month you tasted foods like fried chicken, olives, feta, blackberries, grapes and hummus. You still dislike being spoon-fed.
Jenna Mae Nullmeyer, I love you so much. You are such a perfectly sweet addition to our family and I love the beautiful little girl you are becoming.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Recent School Lunches and "Brain Food"

Now that I've got a month of Kindergarten-lunch-packing under my belt, I thought it'd be fun to show a little recap of some of the lunches Ryan has been taking to school. I think I've figured out how much food to send him, and I'm hopefully striking a good balance between sending foods I know he will eat, and including a few foods that are new for him.

So here is a look at what Ryan has been eating at school lately. Nothing is super original or creative, but I try not to pack the same things over and over. I want Ryan to get used to eating a variety of foods and not expect to just eat his same favorite foods every day.

Peanut butter waffle sandwich, homemade popcorn, and mandarin oranges. Snack was a banana applesauce pouch.
Leftover pan-fried chicken with ketchup for dipping, raspberries, and a homemade whole wheat banana chocolate muffin. Snack was a string cheese.
Homemade "lunchable" of triscuits, cheddar cheese, and Applegate organic ham. Also included raspberries and a fruit strip. Snack was a banana.
Two homemade mini pizzas, apple slices, and a homemade whole wheat chocolate chip cookie. Snack was two triscuit peanut butter "sandwiches".

So here is our new problem. Even though I'm packing foods that I know Ryan likes, he keeps coming home from school with a mostly full lunchbox. And every time I send him any sort of treat, it always came back home untouched. What?? When Ryan came home one day from school recently and I saw that the only thing he had eaten was his fruit, I knew something strange was going on. This was so unlike him! So I sat him down to get an explanation.

After much prodding, Ryan finally told me that he was too nervous to eat some of the foods in his lunch. He told me the teachers instruct them to eat their "brain foods" first. I am assuming these are foods like fruits and vegetables. Ryan has become nervous that if a teacher sees him eating something that is not a brain food, he will possibly get in trouble. While I love the effort the teachers are making to ensure the kids eat their healthy foods first, I need Ryan to understand that he can and should eat his full lunch. It's pretty laughable that a child of mine is worried about his lunch being unhealthy! If only he knew that his cookie is made with whole wheat flour and half the amount of sugar. Sweet boy.

So I keep reminding Ryan to eat his full lunch at school, but he continues to bring most of it back home. And he doesn't really eat breakfast, so that's a long time for someone his age to go without eating. I'm hoping he becomes more comfortable eating at school soon!

What do you pack in your kids' lunches? Do they eat some or most of their food?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Jenna's Surgery

Jenna had her surgery this morning to remove the cyst that was on her skull. It was a day I was dreading. But at the same time I just wanted the procedure to be over with, so that I could stop worrying about the bump on Jenna's head. (and find something new to worry about!)
Our day started at 2:15am, when I woke Jenna up to nurse her one last time before her surgery. I then set my phone alarm to go off at 4:15 to give her clear liquids in a sippy cup, per the nurse's instructions. Unfortunately my phone alarm didn't work and I missed the 4:15 feeding. Jenna was pretty thirsty when she woke up and it was hard to resist nursing her. We arrived at the hospital around 6:30am, and the nurses assured me that Jenna's wouldn't become dehydrated from missing those clear liquids.

After we answered a million questions the surgeon's assistant took Jenna from my arms at about 8am and we were told to wait in the pediatric waiting room. Jenna started crying when I passed her off and it was so hard to just walk away and leave her. Adam and I stood and prayed together, and then sat and tried not to worry.

We were told the procedure would take under an hour, but didn't hear from the nurse until 1.5 hours had passed. By that time I was getting really nervous that something had gone wrong. The nurse called us and said the doctor would be down to talk to us in about 20 minutes. 45 more long minutes passed before we saw the surgeon.

The surgeon talked to us as we walked to see Jenna, and once I saw her I kind of stopped listening to the doctor. So the details about what he said are a bit fuzzy. Basically, he is very confident that what they removed is in fact a dermoid cyst. It was bigger than they originally thought, because what we were feeling was only the top part of the cyst. The rest was lodged down in her skull bone, and he estimated that it was around 2/3 the size of a marble. They had to remove a little bit of her skull bone (why do my children keep losing pieces of their skulls??), but he is pretty confident the bone will regrow in that spot. The surgery ended up being more involved than he had originally anticipated. Once they had removed the cyst they would see that it had a tail. It went inwards towards her brain cavity, and then branched out from there. Without opening up her head further and doing exploratory surgery, the surgeon had no way of telling whether more of the cyst existed within her brain.

So our next step will be an MRI in a few months to make sure no more cysts exist inside Jenna's head. I'm assuming this will mean more anesthesia and more worrying and more questions. But right now I'm trying not to think too far ahead, and just focus on Jenna's healing.

When I first saw Jenna, the nurse was holding her. She looked very pale and groggy and sick. Her hair was plastered down to her head from a combination of sweat and some sort of medical ointment. Her eyes had red raccoon circles around them from being taped shut, and I could see the incision on the side of her head. When Jenna saw me she started crying a hoarse cry. I immediately got to hold her and although she smelled funny and had a ton of wires coming out of her, I didn't want to let her go or stop kissing her. I thanked God that my sweet girl was awake and okay.
She immediately nursed on one side while we sat in recovery. But when I switched her to the other side, she started screaming and crying. I later realized this was because it hurts her to lay on that side of her head. Jenna was pretty upset getting out to the car but then she seemed to be in a daze for the next hour. She just stared out the window and seemed really groggy and out of sorts. After a while at home Jenna perked up. She is taking Tylenol for pain management, but is overall a very happy baby! She was really hungry within a few hours of being at home and she wanted to eat and play as usual.

I'm extremely thankful that Jenna did so well during surgery and I'm also thankful that the doctor is confident they removed a benign cyst. Our prayer now is that Jenna would have a speedy recovery and that she would get a clean bill of health after her MRI. Thank you for all your prayers!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stitch Fix Review #18

It's my favorite time of the month....Stitch Fix Review time! I actually skipped getting a box last month because I didn't feel like I needed any more summer clothes. Instead, I updated my Pinterest style board with lots of sweaters, jeans and scarves, and patiently (or impatiently) waited until September to receive another box. Is anyone else ready for some Fall weather? For some reason I get pretty excited this time of year about updating my wardrobe and adding in a few new pieces for the change in seasons. In fact, this was the same week two years ago when I received my very first Stitch Fix box. There's just something about packing away the summer shorts and pulling out the comfy sweaters that gets me excited about a new season of fashion.
A brief review of what Stitch Fix is: Fill out a style profile about your body type, style preferences, etc. Schedule a "fix" for whenever you want. (This is not a monthly subscription service!). Your stylist gets to work curating a box of 5 surprise clothing items, based on your style profile and your specific requests. You try on your goodies in the comfort of your home. Keep and pay for what you want. Send back what you don't like. Shipping is FREE both ways! Oh and if you keep everything you get 25% off your entire box of clothes! Once you sign up for Stitch Fix you receive your own referral code to share with your friends. Every time someone signs up using your referral link, you receive $25 in Stitch Fix credit. It's a pretty sweet deal! Here's my link if you want to try Stitch Fix for yourself:

A couple weeks ago I went through my entire closet and tried on everything I own for colder weather. I packed away a few things that are too big on me now (fun!), and gave away a few items that I really don't wear anymore. I assessed what I was left with, and based on that, I crafted a pretty specific note to my stylist this month. I asked for a pair of colored skinny jeans (olive, burgundy, etc), a pair of bootcut jeans, a kimono or similar lightweight cardigan, and any other transitional pieces she thought would fit me well. Here is what she sent!

(Two side notes: First, for these pictures I tried my best to style each item based on Stitch Fix's suggestions on the style cards. Second, I am a bit late to the bootie trend but I recently bought a pair and I love them. Now I want more!)

Abela Open Cardigan by Skies Are Blue
This cardigan is a beautiful color. It fits really well and has some cute darting on the back. I'm just not sure how I feel about the 3/4 length sleeve on a cardigan because it seems like a cardigan should be long-sleeved. But I did ask for transitional pieces, and I can see this cardigan being perfect to throw on in the morning for the next couple months. Status: UNDECIDED

Chelsi Crochet Back Knit Top by Market and Spruce
I absolutely love this top! It fits me well, the material is silky soft, and the back is beautiful. It is a tan lace overlay. Adam affectionately calls this shirt a "mullet top" because it's business in the front and a party in the back. Haha. Although I love this top, my sister said that it looks "too much like me". What do you think?  I'm leaning towards keeping this one. Status: UNDECIDED

Avo Multi-Stripe Knit Henley Top by Pixley
This was my least favorite item. While I do like stripes, I didn't love these wide stripes on me. The color combination was okay, but felt more "spring" than "fall" to me. Also, the shirt is a bit too tight in the chest area and just looked a little young on me. Status: RETURNING

Collen Straight Leg Jean by Liverpool
These jeans! Okay, so I have never bought a nice pair of jeans in my life. The most I have ever spent on a pair of jeans was $35. I typically buy mine at stores like Target or Old Navy. If I'm buying a more trendy style jean (as you'll see in the next pictures), I don't like to pay much at all. The distressed jeans I'm wearing below were $12 from Target. However, if I'm buying a more classic cut and style of jean, I think it makes sense to invest a little more because they will likely be worn over the course of many years. These jeans by Liverpool are really nice. They are a straight leg cut in a darker wash, and unlike anything in my closet. Their price is a bit higher than I am used to paying, but they feel like such good quality! They fit really well, although they are a bit long. Can anyone tell me the right way to cuff up straight leg jeans, and what kind of shoes to wear with them? I'm pretty sure I'm keeping these! Status: KEEPING

Gideon Polka Dot Sweater by 41Hawthorn
I'm completely undecided on this sweater and I need your help! I was excited to receive a polka dot sweater, but when I initially tried it on it felt a little too busy. I think I would love it more if the dots were larger and more spaced apart. So I tried styling it a few ways, and I feel like it has a lot of potential as a laying piece. I saw a few people online wearing it underneath a puffer vest, and now I really want to buy a puffer vest this year! One bonus to this sweater is that I could wear it reversed, so it's like getting two sweaters for one. What do you all think? Is it worth it to buy a sweater that I would likely not wear on its own?

 And that's Stitch Fix number 18!! I welcome suggestions on what I should keep. And once again, here is my referral link for those of you interested in trying out this service for yourself. It is so much fun and I definitely recommend it for giving your Fall wardrobe a little boost!