Teddy Coat Temps

Alternative Title: proceed with caution; prepare to be hugged. Often.

My Teddy Bear Coat: purchased in 2017 to feel the best kind of extra, worn in 2018 to feel on trend. And I ain’t even mad. Isn’t that the way it always works?

I remember swooning, then doubting because who needs to look like an oversized 4-year-old’s plaything, really? And answering myself before leaving the mall that day that I, indeed, do need to look like an oversized 4-year-old’s plaything. I really do.

While not being the most discreet, no-one-will-notice-me-wearing it piece in my closet, this teddy coat has gotten some lovin’ once I adopted it from the racks of The Gap last January. Including a good, long soak in an Italian rainstorm last year.

Temperatures in Dallas are rarely teddy-level low, so I take advantage every chance I get to wrap up in it. Once I saw the forecast smiled favorably on Ole Teddy, in it was stuffed into limited suitcase real estate. (Unforeseen bonus: it doubled superbly as wine-bottle cushioning for the trip home. Win.)

While mine has been sold out for eons, these are links few that catch my eye right now:

OneTwoThree

Shopping for outerwear well after the season is NOT uncommon for me. While I lose the luxury of shopping with sizes fully stocked + the allure of wearing immediately and often, my wallet (and husband, lol) thank me greatly.

Feeling Unresolute in 2018

Has anyone been overwhelmed by the concept of resolutions this year?

Or perhaps, have you felt stuck in a season of life where the only thing you’ve got together are your thighs because on a laundry list of things you can’t seem to get together you haven’t managed to get together the whole regular gym thing?

Phew. Solidarity.

I’m never one to shy away from a hearty, healthy self evaluation (#ENTJ, baby). But this year, we’re halfway to February and anytime the conversation starts, my brain transforms into a tipped over, particularly competitive game of Scrabble. I’m talkin’ Ivy League level words flying, here.

I don’t know what 2017 did to fragment my brain to Scrabble chips (lie #1, I have some theories), but there are oh so many goals looming over my head I haven’t known where to start. I’d like to mash the pause button for a good, long week to tidy up the playing chips, and see where the universe spells out I should begin remaking myself. But in lieu of a real-world pause button or a cosmic partnership with Hasbro that spells out life journeys, I finally gave myself one morning to sit down with a really healthy grapefruit (lie #2, it was a donut), to cut the anxiety and sort out this resolution business. Because need I remind you twice in two paragraphs, ENTJ, not having a plan is most unRobin. And too many social media motivators have told me I need to start somewhere. 

So, I just started writing crap out. That is a very Robin way to handle a mental tailspin. In fact, it’s the telltale sign of a tailspin. I made a long (long) list of resolutions I’d like to tackle given pure, unadulterated, inhuman levels of follow-through. Then I looked for themes, which personal issues were were systematically caused by another issue, and so on. Tryin’ to hit the root of the resolutions, if you will. For me, the theme was eliminating anxiety in 2018.

I’d like to draw the line here and not let the Internet into every dark and twisty negative space in my brain. I also don’t think you’d really care to read every one of my goals, either. I will tell you, I skipped right past things I know I *should* be doing like slow down on the coffee intake, or cut calorie-laden breakfast food (prepackaged and otherwise because LOL, PopTarts, I just can’t quit you) and went straight for what I knew would stick.

Example: buy good coffee beans. It may seem like more money on the front end, but I’m much more likely to drink more coffee at home instead of out if I buy good coffee beans. This ultimately saves money + I’ll be less tempted by more caloric coffeeshop cappuccinos/lattes. Ta da. Two birds, one coffee bean.

If I’m being completely transparent, I wasn’t going to publish this post. I wrote the top half, but thought the world could be spared a good, long Robin Ramble, so I considered it shelved. That is, until I was having a conversation with a much younger coworker who said, “When I’m your age, I really want to be as together as you are.” I LAUGHED. I think I snorted and laughed in his face.

Flattered as I may be, I don’t want to give anyone ever the impression I feel like I have “it” together. In fact, more often than not, I don’t. For many women, the ultimate goal is marriage. I have an awesome marriage, but even that isn’t always perfect. I have doubts about my career plan. I get nervous at parties. I get discouraged when a dress doesn’t fit exactly the way it did in my head. Someone who has “it” together doesn’t feel that way. Right? Lie #3, sort of.

Not to fall into a philosophical table tennis game of Chidi proportions, but on one hand, we’re human. I think we ALL feel that way. Striving to feel like “it” is ever completely together is an impossible feat, because we are a spiritually, intrinsically fallen people who need Jesus.

On the other hand, that doesn’t mean we don’t try. Sometimes though, we try to bridge the gap of our imperfection to the joy on the other side every January 1 by our own power, through these pesky resolutions. When in fact, this should firstly be through Christ, and then through listening to what He tells us about ourselves, and ways we can be the best versions of ourselves on earth, to His glory. Enter resolutions.

This process starts with contentment in Christ.

God gave us Paul in Philippians to look at as an example. Paul wasn’t starting BBG for the 7th time because he didn’t like the shape of his thighs. He was imprisoned for his faith and faced serious trials and tribulations. And he chose contentment.

Philippians 4:11 -Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

This man is writing a Thank You note from prison to the people of The Philippian Church, and he still fought for contentment. Like, what a brat I can be, feeling overwhelmed from beneath my down comforter, sipping freshly ground coffee, worried about my dress size. I find Paul seriously motivating because contentment in Christ is a struggle for me.

Long exhale. This post is weird, but a necessary conversation I’ve felt a tug to start with anyone who feels like you’re riding in the boat of feeling unresolute this year so far. And to offer a reminder that I’m preaching to myself daily, to seek contentment, and quit feeling like I have to have “it” together, but to take realistic steps to self improvement to the ultimate glory of God.

Home (décor!) for the holidays 


I don’t have a living memory where I wasn’t obsessed with Christmas decorations.

I do have the living memory of giving my favorite vintage, ceramic reindeer in my mom’s bathroom a White Christmas a la my brother’s baby powder + the well-earned punishment that followed said blizzard. 

It made them look awesome. (Agree to disagree, Mom.)

The familiar lights and characters of the holiday season have always filled me with so much joy. Pulling down the stockings, toy trains, and familiar trinkets from their dusty attic furlough was always one of the best days of the year. So far, adulthood hasn’t much squelched the childlike wonder I feel from a good nativity snow globe. 

I know this isn’t unique, which is half the fun! I know so many friends who feel this way, and I love that about this time of year. I’ve had so many conversations about decorating homes over the weeks proceeding Thanksgiving in preparation for the season, and I’ve come to one conclusion: when it isn’t on Mama’s dime, and it’s your mantel to figure out how to fill, it becomes a little daunting. There are so many Santas to choose from in the world. So. Many. Santas. And Santa can hold a hefty price tag. 

I’ve been thinking through my conversations, and wanted to share a few of our conclusions + my personal opinions to hopefully alleviate any anxiety you too may feel on decorating for the holidays! (Because Christmas is too fun to be ruined by anxiety.)


TIP #1 Do you like it? Then, it’s perfect. That’s my biggest tip, therefore tip numero uno. Who the heck cares what the Internet says? If it’s your style, it’ll show. And it’ll be cozy for you. And it will be perfect. 

(Thinking that’s kinda hot garbo, Robin, I came for real tips? Yeah okay, here’s a few more.)


TIP #2 Pick a theme. The hottest thing right now, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, is a white Christmas situation with extremely muted cremes, whites, golds, and silvers (ahh five-year-old-Robin, ahead of her time.) And it’s beautiful. But it isn’t actually very me. I decided I wanted warmer, more traditional colors and pieces, with maybe a little glitter here and there. So when I was shopping and planning, I knew to steer clear of the white-washed décor aisles, despite how lovely and chic it truly is! Because it doesn’t match my vibe. 

What I’ve gleaned from watching my own mother-in-law, mom, and sister decorate year after year (and stalking every influencer who shared every styled coffee table because #addicted) is that themes matter. Whether it’s White Christmas, Rustic Christmas, Traditional Christmas, Beach Santas Rockin’ Board Shorts On Boogie Boards Christmas, narrowing down what your’e looking for makes the glittering, overstuffed and overflowing holiday aisles at Home Goods less daunting. 

TIP #3 Have patience, oh twenty-something on a shoestring budget. Odds are, your mother didn’t fill her home with Christmas Glee in one fell swoop of a Hobby Lobby excursion the year she got married, and it’s okay if you don’t, either.

Holiday cards inscribed,”This year, your Christmas Gift is looking at my coffee table. Kisses! Enjoy!” will likely not fly too well with the fam. Or your landlady regarding rent. If it isn’t in your budget, it’s okay. Rest easy in that. It’s really, actually, truly okay.

My goal every year is to add a few pieces, then calm down and enjoy them + the pieces I bought last year. There will always be places I feel like I can do better, but I try and remind myself I don’t have to. There’s always next year, and there’s always post-Christmas sales.

Still have an appetite bigger than your budget? Crafting is totally on the table. Here are some trees I did a couple years ago that were too fun, and way more in-budget that year than a set of sparkly bottle brush trees would have been. And people still got presents, and rent was paid, and I lived.

I also promised myself I wouldn’t beat you over the head with a toothy “Jesus is the reason for the season!” virtual grin, but y’all. Actually. Jesus is the reason for the season. And I’m a sucker for a rhyme. 

There is nothing wrong with a beautiful tree, but becoming consumed with picking or affording the perfect garland is a sure-fire way to snatch that Christmas joy right from your heart. 
So,

TIP #4 Don’t forget to celebrate our Savior coming to Earth for us. That is literally, actually, the point. It’s kind of a big deal, and if you profess Christ as your savior and believe that Christmas is the day we commemorate Him becoming flesh to eventually die for our sins, don’t fret the tinsel. Keep your heart turned to Christ, and hug your family. And just bask in the glow the season, because it’s far too short not to. 

Comfy Leather Legging Look 


I cautiously dipped my rebel toe into the leather legging trend a couple Falls ago with a front-panel-leather, back-panel-ponte situation just to feel it out (and like commit but not commit), and I determined it required infinitely fewer cool points to pull off than I had anticipated. (Ever adventurous, I am.)

So, this year, I took the full Rebel-Sandy dive with Cat Woman expectations resembling the eloquence of a Ross Geller reality, probably, but the verdict’s in and I love these things.

I feel tres chic and muy trendy + kind of like I’m wearing pajamas because at the end of the day they’re leggings. And didn’t Ross Geller teach us all that comfort + functionality is of supreme importance, after all? Ponte lining let’s you hold the baby powder, and if you aren’t tracking with this reference, stop reading right now because it’s more important that you swap over to Netflix instead. (Friends, S5EP11. Good for laughs. You’re welcome.)

Ultimately, this is the short story of a girl experiencing the fitting room magic of finding the perfect pant and inexplicably leaving them behind, having the opposite of buyer’s remorse, going back to purchase only to find -DUN DUN- her size sold out.

And rejoicing and purchasing without batting a mascaraed eyelash the moment they restocked.

The End. (Ever the storyteller, I also am.)

Every girl and her mother and her dog and cousin and her style assistant and her hair dresser own either the Spanx or the Commando high-waist, hold-ya-in and look awesome leather legging this year, it seems. And color me influenced – I’ve been unabashedly green with envy. My front panel pants weren’t cutting it anymore, and to be honest, were maybe an inch to short in the inseam all along anyway or maybe I shrunk them. I needed a back panel. I needed a longer inseam. I needed to be held-in-and-looking-awesome in 2017. But not for $100. 

Enter Loft. Almost always. 

Affordable with a flash sale which is bound to happen always (like today!) + far exceeding the quality of poorer budget-options I had given a go (here’s lookin’ at you, BP at Nordstrom, tsk tsk), these have quenched my thirst for cool, so I had to share because they’re half off right now. 


Plus! Contrary to popular beliefs, leather pants don’t have to be party pants. Dressed down with some mules and a tunic, totally daytime. (Praise-Hand-Emojis-Forever)

Leggings

Sweater 

Of Bookends and Duplex Additions


I’ve been going-on-37 for about as long as I can remember. Instead of one of those “youthful-inner-child” spirit animals that make you a hoot at parties, I got landed with an inner-old-lady who enjoys tea, and crochet, and classic literature who also sometimes makes me use phrases like “hoot at parties.”

This inner-old-self-phenomena made for a really strange kid. Young Robin was weird. I crocheted on the regular. I entered (and won once!) adult-level poetry contests.  My favorite book was (is) Gone with the Wind. I had a moderate-to-concerning obsession with TLC & HGTV interior design programs. I also  l o v e d  TV Land. One Saturday, my mom awoke to find me writing a research paper on Abraham Lincoln. On my own accord. For no reason at all except to compile all of the research I had been doing that week “for fun.” I think I was ten.

And on brand, one of my favorite places on the planet earth was Barnes and Noble. Near the greeting card section, B&N stocked home accessories, completely swooning my tiny old lady heart.

If you haven’t had enough Robin Fun Facts today, here’s your bonus: I have also been obsessed with monkeys since from birth. And during one thrilling B&N adventure, Little old-lady-hearted, monkey-obsessed, design-on-the-brain Robin discovered heavy, ridiculously overpriced brass monkey bookends in a glass case. The end. all. of cool bookends. Because bookends, duh, were really cool.

I begged  and begged my mother for them. And like a good, sane mother, who clearly thought she was witnessing a fleeting “I see it and want it and will forget about it in two days” pleading fit, said, “Your birthday is coming up. If you still want them this badly then, you can use your birthday money for them.” And we left, bookendless and broken hearted.

So for my ninth birthday, I used every last dollar I was gifted + every cent I saved doing chores for over a month to purchase heavy, overpriced brass monkey bookends.

 

In their shining place of decorative glory on my bedroom dresser, my best friend came over that day, took one look at them, and curtly informed me it looked like they were sitting on the toilet. In my bliss, I did not care.

And while my tastes have changed ever so slightly over 16 years, and my living room isn’t littered with stuffed monkeys and boy band posters, the bookends always find a home.


I haven’t much outgrown an appreciation for reading and physically bound books, either, at 25-going-on-37. I also married a bookworm-grad-student. Our storage runneth over.

I’m not much for whims, but on a recent Half Price Books excursion, I suggested we had to figure out our book situation. We had both agreed we really wanted a bookcase for ease of access + home aesthetics.

 

One Target Detour was all it took, and Austin spotted a piece that has really tied our duplex living space together. It’s felt like the missing piece we didn’t know the space was missing, and is one of my favorite additions to our new(ish) home. We don’t have the square footage to pull all of our books out and not suffocate, but it’s felt like a good start + freed up a box space in the closet + gave the monkeys a proper home.

 

I’ts technically console table that I can’t recommend higher for a functional pop of character in a small space.

How To Be A Wildflower + creative habits 

When Instagram was new (new to me new – #EarlyMajorityAdopter4Life, cozy right behind the curve), and sharing grainy, low quality screenshots of inspirational Pinterest quotes was the rage, I shared this snippet of wisdom with all of my 27 followers:


(#Creativity. Wow. What a hashtag. What an image. Those mighty juices were flowing, y’all.)

Unbeknownst to me, these two cents nestled their roots somewhere nice and deep in my long-term memory, and I’ve found fewer quotes pop in my head as often. Mr. Law’s words were supplemental to an idea drilled down by great mentors and professors through college, which in so many words, is that “one does not simply begin spewing creative genius.”

Sitting in a silent white room, with a blank white sheet of paper (physical or digital it may be), is the best way for that paper to stay blank. Or conversely, filled with so much nonsense, it was better off clean.

Creativity does not happen in a vacuum. Some of your best, creative, most award-winning thoughts may actually happen in the shower (take that, Nick), but I’m willing to bet this is part of your system of creative habit all along, whether you like to think of it that way or not.

Because I might sound like esteemed Creative Guru #1 right now, let’s back up: I don’t know how to unlock anyone’s creative genes so that they begin, actually, spewing creative genius. I also don’t think any guru who may attempt to someday stake this claim with you actually can, either. I don’t even know if creative genius is ever –per se– spewed.

Dialing down to what gets your creative whatever in gear is like finding face wash. The market is nice and overwhelmingly saturated with thousands of face washes and skincare product options, but what is there only one of? Your face. What does it take? Trial and error, and finding exactly which clean skin cocktail works for your face. Not her face, not his face, not Jenifer Aniston’s face -your face.

All I know is, my face really likes philosophy Purity cleanser, and surrounding myself with lovely, inspiring, colorful, life-giving tangible books when I need to jump-start my creative juices. A new favorite I picked up a couple of weeks ago: How To Be A Wildflower by Katie Daisy.

General theme: harnessing the magic of experiencing nature through the eyes of a child, about calming down and taking note of the little things around you, and branching out and doing naturey-type stuff on the regular. Kind of right up my alley -minus the whole experiencing serious nature stuff– but it’s as inspired as I’ve ever been to almost think about going camping since reading Wild.

Thumbing through pretty pages, but also reading particularly well-versed authors and various bloggers, is also part of keeping my mind in a creative place. I also try to write a little something every single day because it just makes my soul feel better.

I keep little notebooks and scratch paper within reach nearly always, and have very full iPhone notes. And a very active Spotify account, because, music.

When I’m out of practice jotting stuff out, reading, or taking time to look through photographs and illustrations of artists and artisans far more talented than myself, I feel it, and I feel sad and rusty.

There isn’t a magic switch to make the acne go away the morning of the big day with the big thing you wish you didn’t have acne for. It’s a bit of a commitment, that pesky standard hygiene thing. With diligence + removing your makeup nightly + using fresh Clarisonic brushes + whatever whatever -there’s a good chance you’ll yield good results.

And there isn’t a switch to make your brain creative. It truly does take habit.

Is it a sure fire way to wake up with the radiance of Chrissy Teigen and the glow of a thousand Kylighters? Heck-to the-no.

I could read How To Be a Wildflower thirty-eight times, cook all the things in all the coffee table cookbooks, write every thought I’ve had the last twelve hours, and all that comes out are stick figures and weak meme punchlines for words. And the pimple is there, right before prom. It happens.

It doesn’t work that way all of the time, but it works for me. Maintaining and trying to keep my mind in a creative space, and develop creative habits, is personally extremely valuable.

I try and stay away from the sad and rusty place, but if I get there, these are all things that help kick my brain back into a space it can start being inspired to make again (and are great preventative tools for me, to begin with.)

And I’m kind of with Monet -fresh flowers never hurt, either.

High Five for Friday(ish) 04

(belated! by 3 days! but who’s counting?)

With last week planted firmly in my rear view, I have no intentions of wanting to rewind and relive. It was that sort of week. But! It is these kinds of weeks, in my humblest little opinion, that are the most important to hunt for “sprinkles” -and not let a half baked HF4F post wither in the elephant graveyard of forgotten posts, however late it might be. Because also, I make the rules, and need an excuse to share my new sunnies with you.

Top 5 highlights of last week:

1. I work with some really amazing people, one friend particularly who noticed I was pretty radically “off” one day, and surprised me with this small planet of a cupcake and sweet card. Thanks for being a true gem, Cari, and getting me one heck of a sugar high.


2. The number one way I feel better after a long day is soaking in a fancy tub with a glass of fine wine and going for a fancy facial eating breakfast food. As fancy as I’d like to pretend I may be, my natural state of relieving anxiety is cleaning + eating pancakes.

Alex & I discovered a g.r.e.a.t. diner within walking distance from our duplex, and I was able to drown my sorrows in syrup a-plenty.

3-5. Walking for wine and shopping local with two of my favorite humans at the Bishop Arts Wine Walk.

I could have been having a particularly wonderful week, and this would have easily been the highest of highlights. I just love the community/neighborhood/culture down in this little corner of Dallas. (And anyone who will let me drink wine in their boutique.)

New sunnies? Artisan jewelry? Organic local handmade soap? win win win. Cheers.

Thrifty Dining Table Makeover

This is less of a DIY How-To Makeover Your Table, seeing as that would imply I’m somewhat of a chief expert on the subject of making over tables. (Pause, cue laugh track.)

I would love to go elbows-deep in projects like this and earn my real DIY Wings someday, because it’s a whole heck of a lot of fun for me, and I don’t think I’m half bad.

Plus, the result? I really, really love it. (“How many really’s?” My mother would tease me growing up, when I excitedly double-really’d in a conversation.)

TWO REALLY’S here, Mom, two really’s. Maybe three.

Rather than considering this your holy grail table tutorial, consider this an aggregate source of my sources, with maybe a sprinkle of inspiration on the side.

A coworker buddy of mine moved recently, and as his move occurred around the same time as our move, there have been home-makeover cubicle-talks aplenty in recent months, and he introduced me to the ever-addicting world of buy-sell-trade apps. Think Craigslist, but better, and there are a lot of them.

While you were wondering what I was doing at any given minute in the past two months like I just know you were, you would win a lot of dollars betting that I was trolling buy-sell-trade apps. A brief timeline of the “you should take a look at these apps” conversation-day with my friend:

7:59am: friend tells me to look at apps.
8:00 am: app LetGo downloaded.
4:30 pm: met family to pickup table from app.

Time wasted: 0 minutes, approximately.

I scored this beauty for $30: bonus future-Picasso red-pen etchings on the top and alphabet-sticker legs absolutely included. This is a photo of the table in its best light, and I’m kicking myself hard for not taking better photos that would showcase the “what the heck are you thinking” notions that HAD to have crossed my sweet husband’s mind as he unloaded this gem. It was bad, and I probably should have negotiated lower.

But at the LetGo meeting, I super gelled with the sweet, small family of 6 who had loved this table hard through 4 children and many cousins, and the mom threw in an electric sander, free of charge. I left feeling, despite the evenings of elbow-grease I knew I was facing, like I came out with a great deal.

The piece has awesome bones. It’s structurally super sound, and has a foldable leaf for more dining real-estate that I’m obsessed with. It folds out from the middle and hides underneath; ideal as an apartment-dweller with limited space for trivial things such as table leafs.

As great as I thought it looked structurally, when my brain takes hold of an idea, I have to be careful. I easily have the confidence of ten Chip’s in my ability to DIY a whole roof over my head, and a very short track record of actual projects to prove I can do this.

This confidence stems not from a collection of participation trophies, millennial though I am! But my dad actually teaching me how to sand, stain, and use a hammer from a very young age. (In addition to a vested interest in HGTV from the time I was like eight). I would spend hours at the workbench he built himself with old scraps of wood, sanding them to perfection, staining, and hammering nails at odd angles until I made a Keychain Holder! A Necklace Holder! A Letter L For No Good Reason! And these are some of my fondest memories I have with him growing up. My dad is an expert gunsmith, and I love that he taught me the parts of this craft that I found interesting.

Therefore, sanding was not something I needed to really research. In sanding, the smaller the number, the heavier the grain -aka, the more coarse your wood will feel, but the better to strip crayola drawings with, my dear. Start with the smaller number, and do the job several times, graduating to a larger number each time so the wood begins to feel smoother and smoother with the finer grains.

I left bits of “character” on the surface of the table because that’s the look I was going for. I don’t have to worry about nicking or scratching it myself and creating an eyesore this way. Also, Farmhouse Chic is kind of *the* thing.

I layered two types of stain (jacobean and dark walnut), an idea from this great place, to get the color I was looking for, and because I thought it would add a little depth. I sealed with a clear polyurethane, and will likely reseal again several more times real soon when life settles down. (I just needed the project to be dry, and not look like crap, and be out of my Bustling & Unpacking A New Duplex way for a bit).

The legs + piece under the table top (professional name) received a face-lift with a couple coats of handy-dandy chalk paint, no sanding required, and sealed with the same polyurethane. I read an awesome comparison of Home Depot brand chalk paint vs. infamous Annie Sloan paint here, and went with the Home Depot brand at half the cost. (Thrifters, unite!)

The industrial-style chairs we virtually stole on a weekend furniture deal from Target (this wood and natural metal style sold out now), and the place mats are also Target of many moons ago.

I found the the aluminum charger plates at Pottery Barn to tie natural metal up into the place settings, but the centerpiece + napkins + rings are the brainchild of my mother-in-law and I working out the visual details of the space.

Napkins & rings are simple from World Market, but her idea for me to antique for something milk glass for the center really set off the look. (Thank you, Lula B’s Oak Cliff, for making all of my/our milk glass centerpiece dreams come true.)

Meals are so incredibly central to community, and for us, that is supremely important. We wanted a centralized place that was inviting, spill-friendly, and as un-cramped as possible in our space to be able to break bread with friends, and I hope we met that goal. By Robin standards, I’m thrilled with my $30 table to these ends.

Growing Pains

“Hey Michael, go get me some milk!” a bossy 12-year-old-Robin chirped from in front of the living room television. This was not uncommon. In fact, as the middle sibling, I knew my rights to practice the skillful art of bossing that had been exercised on me for years. It was the natural order!

Dutifully, Michael slid his Bob-the-Builder-undied bottom down from his perch on top of the back of the leather sofa, and scampered toward the kitchen.

He reached the entryway, and that’s when he stopped. I looked at him. He pivoted to look at me with the bewildered self-actualization of one discovering their self-autonomy for the first time and said, “No… get your own milk!” And resumed his position on top of the back of the couch. I argued, relented, and sighed.

The jig was up. My baby brother wasn’t a baby anymore. He was growing up, and that meant fetching my own snacks from the kitchen. He was too smart for his own good. It happened so fast!

But as quickly as that moment came, nothing compares to the eye-blink seperating splitting a cookie-jar’s worth of Oreos together after a day of hide-and-seek and the moment Michael walked the stage a fully-graduated 18-year-old, 6’3″ human man last weekend.

(I swear I just picked him up from basketball practice… the hip older sister with a license who stops for ice-cream on the way home! What, he has his own license?! He’s driven himself to practice for years?! He buys his own ice-cream?! Someone, quick, make it stop!)

The get-your-own-milk moment isn’t when he stopped being a baby. This he-shaves-and-drives-and-is-gradating moment is, and realization hit me all over again two months ago when my mom asked me to shoot some senior photos.

There’s a lot I miss about being kids together, but as less of a Mom #2 and babysitter now and more of an equal, there’s a lot I love about my grown-up relationship with my brother, too. I couldn’t be more proud of his goals, dreams, sense of humor, and gentle heart. And I love him.

Meet Kendrick 

“Let’s take our calm, sweet puppy into this random meadow for some photos while he’s still tiny!” AK and I thought on day 7 of our newfound pet-parenthood.

 

Immediately after being released onto the damp grass, however, Kendrick Lamar Karber became a wet bullet of fur streaking around our feet, circling the field, and back again in a burst of manic energy we had never seen the little guy exert before.
Why we chose the wettest day in February?

 

Sheer naivety, Pet-Parents. Sheer naivety.

 

In our defense… We had grown quite accustom to hours of lap naps, lazy tug-of-war games where *we* did the pulling and he did the clamping-onto-the-end-of-the-rope-with-tiny-teeth and starring at us, and a general abundance of mellow puppy snuggles during waking hours -so it was nothing short of shocking to see our puppy be a puppy. 

 

Equally assuring, though, that he wasn’t broken.

 

But we knew he wasn’t! He’s just becoming fully-puppy the more comfortable he is around his new home, but full-Kenny: affectionate, people-loving, and mellow in the very best way that makes him a top-shelf apartment puppy, and perfect addition to our little Karber family.

 

 

And smart. I thought it would be, like, harder having a puppy? He’s taken to potty & crate training like his human-mommy to shoe shopping and it has been quite a surprisingly easy affair.

 

The #1 debate we have with everyone is Kendrick’s breed.

 

 

We know Mom was Shih Tzu/Yorkie, and Dad was Chihuahua/Question Mark. Coined by my father-in-law: he’s shi-yorkuahhua.

 


To me, he just looks like a dog: a precious, breed ambiguous, tiny dog.

Like if you walked into an elementary school classroom and said “everybody draw a dog now!”I think 90% of the drawings would look something like Kendrick. Big eyes, four legs, floppy ears, and a happy wagging tail.

Good parents we are trying to be, Kendrick’s big day was followed up with a “it’s good for you, trust us” traumatic experience:

After which the cold shoulder was given for a ten-minute eternity. He really showed us.