Thursday, October 8, 2015

Stitch Fix - My First Fix

Anna June has a great wardrobe, and everything seems to fit. She has clothes for every occasion and wears them with style.

Although I do have a lot of clothes, I don't love everything. I shop online sometimes, with mixed results. I have a great fashionista friend, Michele, who helps me when I need it, but I don't often ask.

Enter Stitch Fix, a fashion delivery service that takes your preferences into account and sends you 5 pieces each time. You can keep what you want and send the rest back, paying a $20 fee per transaction that can be applied to the price of the pieces you keep.

I filled out a survey about what my preferences are and what types of activities I do, entering my sizes and other information. You can enter a link to your Pinterest board. Mine is called "Imaginary Outfits." It's like sending someone magazine clippings with sticky notes.

When I got my first Fix, I felt like my stylist, Michelle, "got" me.

Here's my review:

Let's start with the loser:
The gray jeans.

This is my fault. I really, really wanted Stitch Fix in general to work for me. They go up to size 14. Sometimes, I can wear a 14, but not every time. Evidently, there are other services for plus size fashion, but Stitch Fix does not at this time cater to larger women. I could not get into these jeans at all. AND they were $98. Luckily, I have a pair of gray jeans from Zulily.

Closer, but no cigar:
The gray and white top

I liked this top's material, even though it was wrinkled in the package. But when I saw the dreaded "hand wash" directions, it went in the send back pile. Our lifestyle needs clothing that can ALL be tossed in the hamper, the washer, and the dryer until I eventually put it away. Every weekend I wash "delicates" on the "hand-wash" setting in my washing machine. I hang them to dry on the shower curtain rod in AJ's bathroom for about 24 hours. Ben comes in to the bathroom and declares, "Your clothes smell like mildew." I say they do not. So hand wash shirt, I don't need you.

Even closer, but I didn't take a picture:
The purple dress

It was sleeveless and flattering. But it also was wrinkled and couldn't go in the dryer. And I already have a purple dress.

So very close:
The statement necklace

I liked this necklace. But the price was $35. I just couldn't do it, thinking that could buy me half of another dress, and I have costume jewelry pieces. So I sent it back and then, I found a similar one at Payless for $7. Score!

The winner:
The Honeycomb navy dress

Even though this dress is "hand wash," I made an exception. I liked the color, design, and fit. I really needed a new dress, as my beautiful green dress from Target had met its demise.

I sent this to Michele my friend (not Michelle my Stitch Fix stylist) on Instagram and got her approval, and my pal Bertha agreed. It was $68, $20 of which I had already paid.

The take-home:
Trying on clothes this way was much less awkward than a dressing room. I could really take my time to decide rather than being pressured in-store.

I still think the subscription service is a win. The next one is due at the end of October. Lucky me!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Our All-Star

Well, technically she's not an All-Star (they don't do that in Fall Ball), but Anna June's performance on Sunday may have earned her a spot on a team if one existed.

Anna June was a the pitcher position again. She didn't quite have the arm for third base, but she is paying attention, which is critical at pitcher. You have to know what's going on in the game, and how to field. We spent almost our whole lunch on Sunday discussing hypothetical fielding situations, and when it was game time, she was ready.

First off, Anna June caught a pop-up. If you've never had a kid play 7-8 year old ball (or younger), you will know that this almost never happens. They are not known for their catching skills. They get better as they mature and practice, but almost no kid catches a ball in the air for an out. But Anna June did. We were so excited. I was almost bursting with pride, and, frankly, surprise. We've seen play after play of almost catches, and we've seen her stop lots of grounders, but we had never seen her catch a ball in the air in a game. Never. I think she was surprised, too - it was almost like she didn't know what to do with it once it was in her glove. She didn't have to do anything: it was the third out!

We were amazed, as were our fellow parents in the stands. We were all so excited.

And then, she caught another fly ball for another out.

And then she did it again.

That's right - THREE outs of the game were because AJ caught them in the air.

And that's not all.

Early in the game, Anna June stopped a grounder and threw it to second base (to a kid named AJ, I think). That was another kid she helped get out.

PS - We've had to call her Anna June at baseball, because there's another AJ on the team!

And then, she stopped another ground ball and got it to our first baseman, who got another kid out. Amazing.

Don't think her prowess was just limited to defense, though.

Once, she hit the ball, but was thrown out at first. The other two at-bats were solid hits. She even was able to score one of the runs.

The team got their first win, 16-8, against the Southside Cubs. Incidentally, Anna June's the only girl in their age group at Southside, so she was the only girl on either team in this game.

Since it was their first win, it was the first time that a game ball had been presented. The coach got the ball and wrote her name on it in Sharpie. At the team meeting after the game, he presented the ball to Anna June.

Afterwards, we asked her if she had been surprised. "No," she said. "I could see my name on the ball!"

The other parents were really excited for her, and told us to get her a large ice cream sundae! She declined, opting instead for pretzel goldfish crackers at home, and then dinner at Rusty's.

It was a great day!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Anna June made a pumpkin from a coffee filter the other day. She told me that sometimes, she likes to make "seasonal" crafts.

She cited her turkey from last Thanksgiving.

And she mentioned her snowman from last Christmas.

Fittingly, I had to take down the Easter artwork from the fridge to hang the pumpkin.

Happy season!

Monday, October 5, 2015


Halloween is still weeks away, but Anna June is ready with these creepy fingers.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Best

Anna June is not the biggest football fan.

We're OK with that. I will have to admit that because we haven't yet watched an entire Packers game this season. We've been watching (and watching AJ play) baseball, we've been working and doing things around the house. And naps - we love our naps.

But anyway, on a recent Sunday, Ben was wearing what should be considered a Wisconsin Sunday outfit: Packers hat and cap.

Just so you know, the Packers are well-represented here in Alabama! We hope they win today!

PS - Birmingham actually does have love for the Packers, dating back to Bart Starr's amazing years with them. Speaking of Starr, there's a heartbreaking and fantastic article on him here on ESPN's site. When I was a kid, I just thought he was a car dealer - I had no idea what a legend was out there selling Hondas.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

It's Fall Ball, Y'all

Anna June signed up to play fall baseball at Southside in the two-team 7-8 year old league.

The teams play each other, as well as other parks in the area, including Huffman, Clay, and Fultondale.

Fall Ball is very different from the traditional baseball season. Because of when it starts and ends, the cutoff dates for ages are a little different and several players come up from the 5-6 league to 7-8. Like I said, it's very different.

Anna June is the only girl in 7-8 from Southside playing Fall Ball.

One big change is that she's playing infield.

The first game, she played third base. We realized, because she had never played infield, she didn't understand force plays. Now she does.

(photos courtesy Aunt Liz)

The second and third games, she has played the pitcher position. This league is still "coach pitch" but a kid also stands at the pitcher's mound to field balls. Anna June has done well stopping balls from getting past her. Her first time at pitcher, she learned about covering first base. Her second game, she learned about covering home. In both games, we learned that wearing the protective gear is cumbersome, but deemed necessary.

Anna June's team is the Angels. They wear these hats and shirts, along with gray pants, navy belts, and navy socks.

 (Photo courtesy Coach Shaw)

So she had a cleats, a glove, and a helmet. We had also promised that if she stuck with baseball, we'd get her own bat. Then the zipper broke on her bag, so we got her a less-girly and more practical baseball bag, which has a spot for her bat.

Fall Ball is less formal. For example, the schedule wasn't able to be finalized for the whole season before opening day. There was no evaluation beforehand to make the teams "fair." There's only one practice per week (usually) and one game per week. So we had one practice, and then we had one game. "That's Fall Ball!" they told us.

At the first game, the coach was to come with the jerseys and caps. He arrived at game time, leaving parents panicking over lack of uniforms and leadership for their kids.  "That's Fall Ball!" we heard.

In the Spring, the concession stand is run by a person with experience, with parent volunteers supplementing on a set schedule. The day our team moms picked to help was a day that was rained out, with the rescheduled date on a weeknight where the concession stand was not open. So I had my first concession stand duty for a 3.5 hour shift! (That's Fall Ball, I assume.)

The schedule has changed several times, including the time of our game in Huffman for Week 3, causing at least one player to miss game time. Another game was cancelled so we'll play our in-park rivals. After the season started, a child who had never played baseball before joined the team. Rolling with it, evidently, is the name of the game in Fall Ball.

At the first game, Anna June had 9 fans in the stands! She had 4 at the second one, and just her dad and me at the third one (an away game). All games have been losses so far. Every game shows some improvement on the part of our kids. In the first game, AJ got a hit and was able to come in to score a run. She also got a hit in the second game. She's come close to making some big plays, and we'll expect to see more in the future.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pinteresting Dinner

Anna June has baseball practice on Tuesdays. We always go out to dinner on those days.

But last week, her coach called an extra practice on a Thursday! He was aiming for a scrimmage game with the other team, but there were not enough kids who could come on such short notice.

Actually, AJ would have been one of them, because there was a PTA Board meeting (called by me to review teacher grant applications, so I couldn't miss it), and a work outing for Ben. So Nana came to the rescue, picked up AJ from school, and got her to practice on time.

I showed up when there was only 10 minutes left of their hour-and-a-half long practice. Nana filled me in.

Anyway, we got home and on the menu was soup and sandwiches. AJ had helped me pick out something from my Pinterest board when we had been planning the menu the weekend before. Undeterred by the late hour, I set out to make grilled cheese and heat up some chicken noodle soup. Good thing we're not on low-sodium diets, but that's another story.

She did her homework while I cut a carrot and a cucumber, and assembled the final product.

The picture we were going off of is here.

I decided our grilled cheese may be a little greasier than our model, but I was determined not to let the cucumber wilt in the produce drawer.

Here is the first one I made, for Anna June:

Here is the second one, for me:

By that point, my iPad screen had turned off, so I cut this one upside down. Also, I was unable to get either the raisins or the cucumbers the same size, so this owl does not look wise - he looks shady.

Either way, I am very proud that with some help from Nana, we got everything done.