Thursday, October 25, 2012


I have a problem updating this blog. Not because nothing blogworthy happens in my life or anything... but maybe because of that? I go to work, I babysit the girls, I teach piano, I go to football games, I go to bars with my friends... and what happens between all of that? Not a lot? Is it the events that I write about? Or is the fodder in between them more important?

My Lily and my Emma are still the most adorable, most precious, little girls. That hasn't changed.

I drink a lot more coffee these days, but I spend a lot less on it. I recently figured out that I really like iced americanos, but I'll take a simple doppio espresso, too.

My dad and stepmom hosted a barbeque last weekend where I met a girl who was best friends with some girls who I went to middle school with. Small world! Even had that not happened, the night would have been a win from the hugs I received and the delicious ribs I ate... YUM.

I saw AWOLNATION in concert last week and their live performance blew me away. Seriously. So good. Their CD got me through my last big paper in college, and I listened to nothing but it for about a month. Even their opening bands, Zeale (an indy rap artist) and Imagine Dragons (up and coming alternative), were just freaking amazing. Probably, overall, one of the best live events I've ever had the pleasure to attend.

And speaking of CDs I listen to nonstop, lately it has been the new Mumford & Sons album, Babel. Track 12 is a song called "Not With Haste", where it culminates on the lyrics, "Do not let my fickle flesh go to waste / for it keeps my heart and soul in its place / and I will love with urgency / but not with haste". I don't meditate, really, but I've been thinking about those lyrics a lot lately, wondering if I understand the difference between urgency and haste.

I sat in the back room during my break this afternoon, drank an espresso, and spent my ten minutes reading a book. It was awesome. I went back to a crazy busy store, but felt like I had actually spent way longer away from the register.

A coworker of mine likes to make a lot of blonde jokes (about me) when customers ask about whether we still have our blonde roast. People will say stuff like, "Do you still have blonde?" and he'll respond "Well, she's more of a strawberry blonde..." I've been quite lonely since I graduated college. Being around people who like to laugh and joke and sometimes poke fun at me, the new girl, means the world to me.

There's another girl at the store who started just before I did, who has recently reached out to me. She's lonely too, and so we usually grab drinks about once a week. I like having friends again.

One of my piano students in particular has been doing so, so well this semester. It's a complete turn around from last year, and I am so very proud of her. I worry about all of my students, but her in particular has suddenly started to understand a lot of the concepts I've been teaching her for the last year. I think it has to do with many, many things, not the least of which is that she is a year older now (6) and that she knows me well, but when I challenge her to try something new and she can do it, it makes my heart burst with pride.

I don't know what I'm going to wear for Halloween. It's not my favorite holiday, but I figure I should dress up as something. I work next Wednesday, so I'm hoping my manager will let us wear silly hats or something.

I used a new recipe to made bread earlier this week, but it turned out really awful. I need to buy some more flour before I can try again, but I was really looking forward to all of the delicious toast I was going to have this week.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Into my fourth week at Starbucks...

I've discovered something relatively recently: I like working.

I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before, I guess some part of me still assumes I'm a student or something, with more urgent things to accomplish like papers to write or tests to study for, but I like being productive. I like feeling useful and needed. I like getting dressed and leaving every morning. I like having a pile of green aprons in my back seat. Occasionally, I enjoy reclining in my bucket chair and watching a whole season of a TV show in a day (Side note, have any of you seen White Collar? It's on USA Network, and I am currently obsessed), but if I were to do that all the time, I might go crazy. 

I really like working at Starbucks!

Of course I'll make the best out of any given situation, but I can't help but think that this job fits me pretty well. I get to interact with people on a daily basis, am presented with challenges that are easy enough to overcome (your quad venti half caf three pump extra hot extra foam white mocha will not defeat me.) And as a bonus? Free coffee. Yes, yes. I like the free coffee.

I like my coworkers and their funny creative drinks. Like Jeff, who works a lot of the same shifts as me (who worked for Bux about 10 years ago and then took a break to do some other things, but came back to it eventually) gave me a drink he created called a "Lazarus" the other day. "I won't tell you what is in this," he said, "but it'll raise you from the dead." It had something to do with multiple shots of espresso, caramel syrup, and whipped cream. It changed my life. 

Every time I go, I have fewer questions. The espresso machine is still a little scary, to be honest, but I can bounce between making drinks and working the register and brewing coffee and doing whatever else I need to with relative ease. I still have a lot to learn... goodness knows I do, but I will pick it up soon enough. 

And do you know what the best part about working at Starbucks is? 

They spell my name right! (Related: does anybody remember the Siobhan/Chiffon debacle of 2010?)

Okay, that's not really the best part. Really, the best part about working there is that I get to continue doing the things I love to do, like editing, teaching piano, and babysitting on the side. It's a little like being a superhero: One person by day, another by night!

I've been able to see Miss Emma and Miss Lily a few times since starting at Starbucks. And, honestly, I miss those girls. So much. Lily spit up on me the other day, and although it was still pretty gross, it was oddly like coming home.

I can't believe I have things to update you on already, but Lily can crawl (although she doesn't do it very well yet) and has two words: "Mama" and "Uh-oh!" She loves to be loved on, but won't hesitate to push your face away, like, "Enough of that! Go away! I have things to DO."

Moments later, she attempted to requisition my phone for teething purposes.
"You guys gave me a toy phone, Stefanie, but this one is MUCH SHINIER." 
Miss Emma is learning how to write. Her favorite letters are H and E. And honestly, she is the bossiest of all bossys. She loves to tell me what to do. I do it anyway, because I can't deny her a darned thing.

What a big girl! I gave her ice cream after dinner because she was so good for me!  (And because I can't deny her a darned thing...)
Miss Lily has FOUR teeth now. Count 'em: FOUR.

Also, LILY FREAKING LOVES BATHS. (Which, really, I already knew!)
And in case it wasn't already obvious, Lily is the most expressive baby I know! She loves to smile.

But then she pulls out faces like this that make me laugh so hard, I make them my iPhone background.

Apparently I took her toy away while simultaneously kicking a puppy and telling her that Santa isn't real.
I had the pleasure of babysitting the girls at their grandparents' lake house recently. It was a gorgeous day, but pretty windy, so the video below has a lot of white noise from the wind. If you watch it, you will find irrefutable evidence that both of the girls are the most adorable and most precious girls on Earth. (Emma found plastic eggs, so we went on an easter egg hunt while Lily hunted for ones she could chew on!)

Emma is Lily's favorite person, and Emma loves her baby sister more than anything. I do so love these girls!

Of course, Katie would tell you that I couldn't possibly love the girls as much as I love Gabrielle, our apartment's petite doggie mascot (who is currently chewing a bone underneath my desk). 

To be honest, I would beg to differ... but come on. 

Look at that face.

Could you say no to that face?

(She wants you to throw the toy, in case you hadn't gathered that.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Dread Polo Shirt Returns...

Middle and High School were pretty great in various and sundry ways, but those seven years weren't exactly a high point for me in terms of fashion. (Nor have the past four years been particularly fashionable, but let's move past that together, shall we?) Uniforms and then a strict dress code damned me to the dread polo shirt for years, and for a woman as, well, busty as me... Polo shirts aren't my favorite fashion statement. In fact, I joke that my overall aversion to khaki, corduroy, and collared shirts date back to then. Which I realize isn't that far to date back, but nary a khaki pant has embraced my behind for at least four years. The moment I graduated I put together a Goodwill bag of most of my school clothes and kicked them to the curb with gusto!


It's back with a vengeance. However, the polo shirt does bring with it some good news...

I have a job!

Who wants some coffee?

Some of you may already have been made aware of my new employment. Those of you who have been have my mother to thank for that. I've been keeping quiet about it until I actually started, because I wanted to dedicate a whole blog post to it, but "I HAVE A JOB!" in big, bold words and nothing else to accompany it seems to leave something lacking, doesn't it? 

Tomorrow I go back for more training. Today, I went over the Partner Guide, but perhaps tomorrow I will get to don an apron? 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Introducing the new digs

It's taken a while to get everything unpacked and put away, and not everything is done yet... but here are some long-awaited pictures of my new apartment! It's a fabulous place!

The front door with the well-loved welcome mat. 
Our key rack with the lovely ladies of London reminding us to bring umbrellas with us when it rains. (Just kidding, it never rains!)
Inside the front door! The door is reinforced with metal on the inside, which makes it magnetic! So naturally, we have some magnetic poetry sticking to it.

The living and dining room. Cozy couch featuring the adorable Gabrielle.  And I need a longer curtain rod so I can hang curtains over the far window!

Looking toward the kitchen. Look! I have an ISLAND!
Unfinished, unpacked boxes of DVDs, video games, and Katie's record collection. We should be getting a shelf at some point to accommodate these things. 

Madam Gabrielle, Katie's adorable pup! 

Dining table featuring the pretty new placemats that I still haven't taken the tags off yet. I bought these at World Market with Duncan's help. 

My fabulous kitchen! It is a joy to work in, and did I mention I have an ISLAND? 

Our pantry/laundry closet. 
The white board that survived my college years!  Katie's birthday was the 16th, and I drew her a picture of a cake and Hagrid... which she won't let me erase.
Pictures of Gabrielle and Topher that I gave Katie for her birthday. 

Our built-in bookshelf, featuring the requisite Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter shelves!  Below them, we have a shelf for cookbooks and a shelf of books we deemed worthy enough of putting out for the public to adore. These include the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, The Complete Poems of Winnie the Pooh, He's Just Not That Into You, Texas: All Hail the Mighty State, and the Complete Works of Shakespeare, among many others. Makes us look fancy, smart people, right?
My bathroom, which is a little messy because I still haven't found a good system yet.

My shower curtain, which features an atrociously inaccurate map of the London Tube system... but which I bought and love anyway.
My room, which is sort of mostly unpacked! 
The other side of my new bed! I love my new comforter!
My little stuffed friends, who hang out in the wire frame of my headboard.

My bookshelves, which I still haven't finished alphabetizing yet.

My framed landscape of the UT stadium over my closet! This photo was taken last fall, and I am in the picture on the bottom flag!  This was a crazy day, and I am so grateful to have participated. I will miss running the flag when I go to the games! 

So that is all for now! I hope you all come visit. I'd be happy to make you dinner or a cup of tea. :)

(I didn't take pictures of Katie's bedroom, mostly because she isn't here to give me permission!)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dear Lily

Dear Lily, 

At the moment, you are upstairs napping, though I have a feeling it won't be for that much longer. These days you nap like a champ... just not for too long. Except for last week when we were a house full of sick people, (darn stomach bug Emma brought home from daycare!) you refuse to sleep for longer than about an hour and twenty minutes. But that's really alright, because two shorter naps in the day mean one catnap in the early evening, and usually you catnap on me. 

You must know that I looked after your big sister Emma when she was your age. At first it was hard for me to not make comparisons between the two of you. After all, you look just like her... but your stunning good looks are about where the similarities end. You are more active, more impatient, happier, fatter, stronger, more talkative, and more stubborn than your big sister. You will give her hell, and I will do my best to warn her when she gets a little older. 

Baby, I will never forget the first time you smiled when I walked in the front door. I will never forget the way you used to get this big silly grin on your face after you sneezed, as if you were saying "Did you hear that NOISE I just made?!" I will never forget the way you never failed to get your leg stuck in your crib during naptime. 

I will never forget the first time I figured out that I could throw some towels in the dryer and sit you in front of it to distract you. I'll never forget the first time you clapped for me, or waved at me, or stuck your tongue out at me. I'll never forget the first time I took you to the park and put you in a swing. You could have swung for hours, just like your sister.

Miss Lily, I love your sister Emma very much. I love her with all my heart, and could never imagine my life without her in it (nor my car without her carseat, though apparently I'll have to give that back!) But Lily, know that you have irrevocably squeezed yourself into my heart too, with every squeal, every smile, and every sneeze. 

I printed out some of my favorite photos of you and Emma and put them on my wall. Even though I won't see you every day anymore, I will always have you in my home, and in my heart.

P.S. Be nice to your sister, please. She knows how to throw a really good tantrum! 


Today is my last day on the job. I wrote Emma a note three years ago when I finished looking after her that first summer, and so I thought I would do the same today.

There will be tears when I leave. There are always tears when I leave... but I know that it won't be for long. These girls, this family, will have me in their life (whether they want it or not!) I've warned them that they may have to shove me out of their house.

Lastly, for your viewing entertainment, please enjoy this video below of Lily trying so hard to crawl, and being adorable in the process.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Subject Totally Predictable

So I am in the midst of moving out of my college apartment... so instead of blogging about that, I thought I'd blog about Emma & Lily. (Patience, a blog about my new place will be coming soon enough!)

I don't know if you know this, but they're my favorite girls!

Miss Emma, who is the Queen of all Busy Bees around. 

And Miss Lily, who is the Queen of Vomiting All Over Me and Still Being Precious.

She will be 7 months old this week, on Thursday to be precise. She has two teeth, loves to leave bite marks, and is the smiliest of all baby girls.

Except when she's not smiley. I love crying baby shots, but I mostly am sharing this one with you because LOOK! TEETH! 

Careful, she's a biter!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Existential Crisis

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how I have nothing to blog about. 

Which is absolutely untrue, when I step back and give myself a reality check: I have an awesome job, I'm in this crazy (very bloggable) transitional phase in my life, I'm moving in a week, I'm applying for jobs... but when I open the blogger post page, my fingers hover over the keyboard and I get stuck.

Why have I been experiencing such writer's block?

I have a hard time talking about things that aren't going well in my life. Don't get me wrong, nothing is going horribly awry right now, it often feels like nothing is going wonderfully right, either. I'm in a post-graduation rut that I can't seem to climb out of, and as August approaches, it's not getting easier. I think August, especially the end of the month when I'm not going back to school, will be a tough time. I cannot remember the last time I did not return to school in August.

I've been going to school and measuring my worth by my academic successes (and failures) for so long that I am suffering some serious existential drama: Who am I? Who am I without school, without grades? Am I actually equipped for the real world? 

Logically, I know that many people have gone through this exact thing. I am not special. But I sure feel special, and alone. 

And so I try not to think about it too much. I try to deal with it in microscopic portions, telling myself that it will all work out in my favor, but it won't work itself out if I sit on my rear and panic.

Baby steps. With Mom's help, over the weekend I applied to several jobs. In a week, I'm moving into a new apartment, which will hopefully help my transition away from school (mentally and geographically!) Also next week, I'm going to the beach for a few days! In the meantime, I'm packing up one apartment and ridding myself of a great deal of clutter. 

And in the meantime, I'm hanging out with this adorable, sweet baby girl. 

Lily not only has one tooth now, but two! And she is trying out her consonants and sounds. Her favorite word last week was "Ma", but this morning she was saying "Ni" a lot, which tells me that she's obviously joined the ranks of the Knights who say Ni! over the weekend.

It feels good to write about my thoughts. I'll try and keep this in mind over the next few weeks and months. I would also appreciate any advice you beautiful readers might have for me!