I completely forgot to mention the new hair!
Saturday morning, I packed up the kids and took them to the hair salon where they were shockingly well-behaved (with the aid of a couple of the stylists and some very nice random guy with two kids of his own who helped redirect Alex a couple of times while I was in the chair). They both got haircuts and treats.
And I got new hair. New cut, new color.
I haven't tried coloring my hair... pretty much ever. I've had highlights done, but they were so subtle it was barely noticeable. This is all-over color. Dark auburn. Like mahogany. It looks like dark brown until you get it under bright light, and then you can see the red -- which is just perfect, really.
Alex was highly amused by the process. Or at least, he was highly amused by the sight of me sitting there with dye on my eyebrows (yes, I did the eyebrows along with). "Mommy!" he squealed, several times, "your eyebrows are red!"
And then I got it cut. Short. Too short to put in a ponytail any more, but long enough to cover my ears. I haven't had hair this short since the 8th or 9th grade -- and back then, my stylist refused to acknowledge my cowlick, so it looked... lopsided. This cut accepts the cowlick's tendencies and works with them. And, much to my surprise, it looked good even after I'd washed out the careful blowdrying and styling product. I do have to be careful to shape it a bit while it's wet and not touch it while it dries, or I end up with 70's wings over my ears. But I've already played with it a bit, and I can make it sleek or shaggy or even out-and-out wild if I'm willing to put a little gel in it.
People keep asking me, "What prompted the change?" and I keep having to answer, "It was just time." Or else they say, "Do you like it?" which makes me wonder if they don't. But I don't much care if they don't, because, well... I do.