Diagnosis for my Micah: Angiocarcenoma a really long word for BENIGN! Best word ever, after such a hard month.  Micah is still recovering and Grace now is being treated for pneumonia, but Benign is like my HardCore friend Renee say’s, The Best Kind of B Word.

After the last very hard post, I need to take a moment, breathe, and be shallow. 

I think I’m having a slight crisis. I might not be in style.  I think this because I wore a sweatshirt a week ago to the grocery store that Stacey and Clinton on TLC’s “What Not to Wear,” secretly taped and verbally assaulted on one of their fashion-backward subjects. I saw the show the same night I wore the shirt. I don’t think it was a coincidence.  It was even the same color.

And now I’m questioning everything I wear. Does this fit right?  Is this bunching?  Are my legs even whiter wearing this skirt? 

And I admit it, most clothes I buy for myself are usually on sale and I wear them too often. I’ll also admit I went into a store last summer  to buy a shirt to wear to a Reunion  and ended up buying shirts for Chris and the boys, a dress for Grace, and a pair of clearance flip-flops for myself.  Why were they on clearance? They are bright pink and since Jonah almost wears the same size shoe as me my flip-flops keep disappearing. I’m hoping the pink factor will help.

But to be honest I’m not quite sure what to do. I don’t have the funds to change my style,  and I think most of the time I look at least presentable. I can’t see myself wearing a nice jacket and button up shirt in the car pool line. Why? Because that would ensure that I will spill coffee on it.  Or something. Or anything.  That’s what happens to me.  In fact one of the first times Chris and I hung out I was wearing a smiley sticker on my shirt to cover up the food smudge above my right boob.  Chris even suggested I name this blog: “Boogers on my Shirt,” because not too long ago he stopped me before I walked out the door because the back of my shoulders had the contents of someone elses nose.  Awe-some!

But maybe it’s like Mascara. Maybe I’ll test it out and suddenly be good at it.  Suddenly find the right fit.  By a reader’s suggestion I bought  Mary Kay’s Mascara.  It goes on very clean and does extend the lashes.  So I do like it. .  And maybe, just maybe different mascara’s work better for different people. Because I’d only give it a 7, tops.  I think my sister Kaitlin can wear any mascara and it looks good. My sister Hannah doesn’t need mascara her lashes are so dark.  I think my sister Melissa could care less about mascara and buys what’s on sale.  My current favorite is still Maybelline Falsie’s.  But I will add my friend Koya got it and it wouldn’t come off…she got plenty of compliments wearing it but after 4 days it was an issue. Maybe that’s why I like it, less work for me.

Back to clothes…If something has to be ironed, dry cleaned, and cannot just be hung up in my bathroom which is as fancy as I get…yeah not going to happen. And secretly I kind of want to be fancy, but I don’t know if it is exhaustion or laziness that keeps me from wearing things that are in style.  And just because something is my taste, it may not be someone else.  

I don’t really usually look at people and judge them…well I do if they wear shirts with wolves on them, and socks with sandals, or shirts that say inappropriate things and women who wear tight clothes just shouldn’t…What I’m trying to say is I may not be an expert on clothes but I do have common sense. 

 So  I spent the month really looking at people, and doing my best not to compare myself to them. Studying fashion and Me.

Some observations and insights from someone with just some fashion sense:

This past year I have led a meeting at U of O and now that our niece Mikaela is there I am on campus more often. The girls have two uniforms; pj pants or legging’s or as Kaitlin calls them, beloved stretchy pants.  To date I cannot pull off stretchy pants and while I’ve dreamed of showing up at my kid’s school in my robe and pajama pants I am holding out until they are in middle school. Our amazing babysitter Jessica who moved to New York, mostly wore sweats, and one of the reasons I miss her is she always told me if something didn’t look right. But she is a hip hop dancer, so unless I can start learning to pop and lock,  I don’t think I can pull off sweats in public.  But I want to give a shout out to my friend Stacey who hearts sweats as much as I do…mostly because we send each other texts that say, I heart sweats.

At the preschool, there are two uniforms; work out clothes or jeans and boots.  A lot of the moms there are the athletic moms you want to look at, and the rest in boots with warms jackets, most of them wear  a baby on their hips.  The preschool is a funny place, it kind of has an in crowd.  I would know, I’ve been there 8 years in a row and every year there are the it family’s. They hang out together, go to Pizza after school, and the mother’s are all beautiful.  One year, there were the tennis girls…they all played tennis and talked about tennis.  They all wore matching tennis skirts, and I knew I looked dowdy in my boot cut jeans and running shoes.  I have never been in the in crowd. I get invited to things once in a while, but usually I am the Mom on the outside looking in…I wonder if it’s because they are jealous of my mascara.

At the kid’s school, I don’t usually get out of the car, the rules of the carpool line are very stringent and something you don’t mess around with. Us Mom’s will yell at the occasional Grandma and the Dad who will break the rules. And of course there is the Mom in the PT Cruiser and the Dad who wears his blue tooth with pride: I’m calling you out. You break the rules! And yes I’m the crazy person yelling at you in the carpool line.  And guess what, when I yell at you I’m usually not wearing a bra. So there!

And there is this whole Sins of Fashion thing. At every photographed sacrament in the Catholic Church that I am a part of I seem to be having my most off fashion day.

Example one: Jonah’s Baptism.  Imagine me weighing 50 more pounds and deciding to save money and “color” my own hair.  Spun Wheat comes out Pippy Long Stocking Red, which wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t wake up with a huge pimple under my eye, that made my eye swell.  Matched up with a khaki skirt, and a shirt that tied up the front with a leather string…Oh yeah, A pirate with a black eye.  And to top it off half the people there asked if I had a black eye. Arrrrrrrr!

Example two: Daniel’s Baptism.Still 50 some pounds heavier I was so excited for Daniel’s baptism because I fit into some slacks that I loved. Only the black shirt I wore didn’t cover this perfectly accessible pouch of pillow in my front which was completely and totally accentuated.  And while I know I had just had a baby 3 months earlier, I was wearing the completely WRONG thing. And so I talked to every one at church and spent a long time talking to the Duck Quarterback Kellan Clemens and his fiancée, who I’m sure were thinking, “Is she really wearing that?” But the worst part is no one said anything, so I had to see the pictures afterwards, and they weren’t digital. 

I’m going to pause for a moment and say I looked good at Micah’s baptism.  I wore a simple dress, and it was black, and we took no pictures because it was very small.  It was strangely comforting.

Example 3: Grace’s Baptism. It wasn’t a train wreck or half as mortifying as the previous fiasco’s, however unless you are a cast member in the 80’s hit Miami Vice you should never ever wear a white jacket that looks like you stepped off the set.  Ever.

Example 4: My niece Madison’s First Communion.  I wore these really unflattering tan pants and decided to try some old semi-spanx to hold in all the stuff I was still working on after Grace was born…needless to say they rolled down during mass and stayed there. And I was afraid to move or adjust, but I knew they were rolled down and so did my loose skin breaking free at last. 

Example 4: My niece Mikaela’s confirmation.  My disclaimer on this is that I was running a fever that entire day, but we didn’t know it because it was 100 degree’s in the church in Medford. When we returned home my fever was 102 and I had my first round of strep throat.  On the way to the confirmation we stopped at Old Navy and I zipped in and bought a shirt off the clearance rack.  Speaking of racks, I was breastfeeding and barely could squeeze into it. The pants I wore were the same one’s I wore in the example before, clearly not learning anything, and I only brought one pair of sandals that had chunky heels and made the pants into high waters.  I didn’t have to see pictures later, I knew the whole time…

Example 5: Nathaniel’s Baptism.  This was less than a month ago.  And actually I still like my outfit. Super cute tights with high-heeled Mary Jane’s and a simple black dress. My hair looked good, the only thing was the dress was an empire waist…I want to believe it looked better than it turned out in the pictures.  Poor Amy had to delete pictures on her Facebook because of her insecure friend.  I looked pregnant, and I’m not.

With all these sins and crimes what’s a girl to do? First of all I received some gift cards for my birthday with the only disclaimer that I could not spend money on anyone else.  So I went and pretended I had Stacey and Clinton and all the stylish people I know with me. I bought things that I’d wear again, that I thought were flattering and that fit.  It was the first time I’d bought clothes in over a year, well clothes that weren’t running clothes.  And I like them.  And I was reminded that no matter what I wear, if I don’t feel good about myself and my own skin nothing will fit right.  And maybe all the people who I think look so much better, might feel the same way I do. 

If I’m not loving the skin I was born in, that is a much greater sin. And if all I can see when I look at a picture is focus on my faults, I am stealing joy from my life.  Recently a friend complimented my shirt that says, “My Husband Rocks,” as being perfect for me, because I’m cheesy.  You know that’s not such a bad thing, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m not afraid of looking cheesy.  So maybe I’m not fashionable, but at least I wear clothes. I have a long way to go…but I plan on wearing sweats anytime I can get away with it.