Wednesday, December 17, 2014

27 Months (Twice Over)

It's an inside joke between my husband and I.  Every time there is a task that we don't want to do - say change a diaper or clean a dirty pan that's been sitting in the sink or be the designated driver - I sing my little jingle.

27 months!

That's how long I was pregnant with our three boys.  3 x 9 (full term babies) = 27 months.  Twenty seven months of creating and living for another human being.  Of dealing with nausea and pain and blood draws and hemorrhoids and stretch marks and peeing 5 times a night.  And then somehow ejecting each of the three babies from my body.

So you want me to change some urine soaked sheets at 2am?

27 months!

And now, 27 months has new meaning.

Last night, I breastfed Colin for the very last time.  At 13 months, it was time.  I didn't want to wean, to be honest.  But for a number of reasons, I did it anyway.  I thought I was going to cry throughout the whole feeding.  After all, I sobbed with both of his two older brothers, both of whom I weaned at 7 months.

But I didn't.  Instead, I did some mental math.  7 months + 7 months + 13 months = 27 months.

Twenty seven months of pregnancy.  Twenty seven months of breastfeeding.

And now, it comes to an end.  I think the finality of it all is what kept my tears from flowing.  It was just too much - too significant.  If I had let my emotions run wild, I feared I would lose myself a bit.  I didn't really want to go that deep.  Because there will be no more pregnancies.  No more breastfeeding.  And no more babies.

A chapter is ending.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Tis the Season of Giving Uncommon Gifts + A GIVEAWAY

I've been a bit bah humbug with holiday gift giving over the past few years.  For one, I've stopped doing it with certain people altogether.  After several years of basically trading cash via gift cards, my sister and father and I all mutually agreed to stop with the madness!  No more gifts.  Same goes for the hubby - if we want something, we just go to our joint checking account and buy it for ourselves.

But then there's always that danger of becoming a huge asshole come holiday time should the person that you have mutually agreed to not give gifts to actually gives you a gift (I'm talking to you Dad, sister, and hubby).  Then you feel really bad, and angry at the same time.

But we said no gifts!  

Oh, but it's just a little something. 

It's like those birthday parties that say, "No gifts, please."  Bullshit.  Everyone brings a gift.

So I am always on the lookout for "a little something" for my loved ones to avoid the aforementioned anger and self loathing.  And this year, I've found my source!

I received an email a few weeks back from someone at a company called Uncommon Goods, to see if I would be willing to review some of their products for the holidays.  I looked at their website and was intrigued - their stuff is kind of funky/awesome.  Uncommon, if you will.  It also seems to be a nice company - their seasonal workers start at 50% above the minimum wage, half of what they sell is made by hand, and one third of their entire collection incorporates recycled and/or up cycled materials.

So sure, I'll take some stuff!  Lets go shopping!

I perused their website, which is organized well for Christmas gifts (click here), stocking stuffers (click here), and gifts under $50 (click here).  I think I spent a good hour scrolling through all the products, which were, again, uncommon.  I selected three gifts for my sister, father, and husband (so now you are on notice - you are all getting "a little something," and if you don't want to know what it is, stop reading now):

For Dad, an eye glass holder (he will love this).  

For my husband, wine pearls (For those times when you have white wine that hasn't yet been chilled, but you just can't wait any longer, and you don't want it to get all watered down by ice. Finally, a solution!  And, they're kind of pretty.)

And my personal favorite, for my sister, a wiener dog oil and vinegar set.  (Full disclosure - I bought these with her in mind, but after getting them, I may keep them for myself.  I mean how awesome are they?  So Rachie, no need to get me a "little something" because you may not have something in return.)

And now you too could live the wiener dog dream!

Uncommon Goods is offering a $50 gift certificate to the lucky person who wins this GIVEAWAY! Here's how to enter:

1) Like me on Facebook (if you haven't already) by clicking here.

2) Leave a comment (on the blog or on Facebook) and include your email address.

3) Enter by Thursday, December 11th.  The winner will be notified via email on Friday, December 12th.

And even if you don't win, I highly recommend checking out their website for some great gift ideas. In addition to their wiener dog oil and vinegar set, they also have an F-Bomb paperweight and row boat salad bowl, among other things.


I received free products from Uncommon Goods.  All opinions reflected are my own.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Our House

We bought our house in December of 2007.  We were told, at the time, that it was "a great time to buy."  It was our first house.

We didn't love our house when we bought it.  Our price range didn't allow us the luxury to buy the quintessential dream home.  Rather, it was, to be frank, the least disgusting of everything we had seen.  It wasn't huge.  It wasn't updated.  It was one level living.  There was no master bath.  But it was clean, and bright, and in a great neighborhood with a great yard.  And anyway, we figured we would move to a nicer house in 2 or 3 years.  With our dual incomes, we were on a pretty good trajectory to eventually upgrade.

We closed on December 15, 2007.  Two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant with our first son.

We settled into our house and prepared for a baby.  We painted the nursery a pale green and spent a ridiculous amount of money on crib bedding.  We bought a glider and I remember sitting in that glider, still pregnant, resting my hand on my growing belly and daydreaming about what our son would be like.

In September of 2008 my son entered this world and became our new housemate.  Life changed.  I went back to work.  We got a nanny.  I got pregnant again.

I decorated another baby room, bought another glider, and in an extreme bout of nesting, convinced my husband that we needed to renovate our entire kitchen and bathroom.  We did, and it transformed our house.  It looked fantastic.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Eating, Drinking, and Netflixing

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  

It doesn't have the materialism and franticness of Christmas.  Or the food limitingness of Passover.  Or the freaky bunny mascotness of Easter.  Or the guilt illicitness of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  Or the fire hazardness of Hanukkah.  Or the almost not holidayness of St. Patrick's Day, Valentines Day, and Flag Day.  

Not to knock the aforementioned holidays.  I celebrate them all.  But I have a soft spot for Thanksgiving.  

I love the eating.  It took me until my adulthood, but there is really nothing better than the perfect Thanksgiving bite.  A piece of turkey with gravy, with a bit of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce - all in the right proportions of course.  

I love the drinking.  Who doesn't love a holiday where day drinking is acceptable?  Wine, beer, whatever, it's perfectly acceptable to have a constant flow.  After all, no one is driving.  Where would one go?  Everything is closed!

Which brings me to the only downside of Thanksgiving - everything is closed.  It's one of those holidays where one tends to go stir crazy by around 5.  

I think there are some football games on Thanksgiving Day or something.  But I loathe football, the sound of football, and basically any sport on TV.  And I hate the Macy's Day parade even more.  Ditto on the Hallmark Channel.  So generally, my family and I end up surfing On Demand for movies, trying to find something that is agreeable to everyone.  Which is hard, because our audience spans generations, from age 1- 77.   

This year, I am a blogger for the Netflix Stream Team.  So I am all over Netflix these days (especially since being a Stream Team Member means that I get a free Netflix subscription and iPad!).  I've done a bit of research, and I've come up with a list of ten family movies that are perfect for viewing on Thanksgiving Day.  

Here was my criteria:  1) No Disney movies.  I see enough of those every damn day.  So no Frozen, Lion King, Little Mermaid, and the like;  2) They must be appropriate for ALL ages.  This doesn't mean that there won't be subjects the little ones won't understand, but there won't be anything to give them nightmares either; 3) Nothing depressing, dark, or Blackfish-ish.  Only uplifting subjects are appropriate for Thanksgiving; and 4) They are available for live streaming on Netflix.  

Without further adieu, here is my list (in no particular order).  Please feel free to add or critique in the comments!  

1) Ghostbusters

2) The Nightmare Before Christmas

3) Jumanji

4) Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

5) Annie

6) Hook

7) Who Framed Roger Rabbit

8) School of Rock

9) Freaky Friday

10) Hugo (Note, I have not seen this one, but hear it is amazing).  

What will you all be watching on Thanksgiving?  Whatever it is, enjoy!  Eat, drink, Netflix, and be merry.  

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Monday, November 17, 2014

When the Baby Leaves Him

I've never completely understood the exact time frame of the baby terminology.  When does one go from newborn to infant to baby to toddler to child to kid?  At the beginning, people tend to use the labels interchangeably.  But as children grow older, the options for terminology dwindle.

My six year old and four year sons can hardly be considered babies or toddlers anymore - they are pretty set at the term child, or kid.  But when did that happen?  I assume there was a time that they were in "transition."  But right now when I look at them, I no longer see a baby.  In fact, when I see pictures of them as babies, it's hard for me to reconcile that they are the same person - that that baby I once held in my arms has morphed into something so different.

Colin turned 1 last week.

I still call him a baby.

He still has those adorable a baby thunder thighs, complete with symmetrical thigh wrinkles where the fat has buckled.  It is still hard to find his neck under his big baby head and pudgy cheeks.  He still smells like a baby and his hair is silky and smooth after a bath.  He babbles and coos and slobbers.  I still nurse him, and while doing so he likes to caress my cheek or poke my mouth.  He is still small enough that I can hold him comfortably on my hip for long periods of time, and he still falls asleep on my chest every other night or so.  And when I put him down to sleep and peer in his crib, he looks like the most peaceful sleeping baby.

But there are signs.  Signs that the baby is leaving him.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Never Any Time

I'm reminded of my favorite scene from Saved by the Bell.

Photo taken from
Oh Jessie Spano, I am channeling you.

I've got a lot going on.

We bought a house.  Yup, a house.  That's kind of a big deal.  It's only a half a mile from where we currently live, but it's bigger.  And nicer.  And I will have a bathroom I don't have to share with three mini-people.  Hooray!

Way back before I was an adult, I used to think that buying a house was simply that - one purchases a home.  That was before I understood inspections and mortgages and appraisals and oh, the fact that when you buy a house, you also have to sell your current house.  This is our first go round with that, and it sucks.  Lets just say last night I painted four doors.  It was hypnotizing.  I wanted to keep going.  More doors, more doors.  My husband had to stop me.  Shannon, put the paint brush down.  

Right now there are two different handymen working outside.  A storage unit will arrive this weekend.  And then the house goes on the market next Wednesday.  The same day we leave for Disney World.

This weekend, I will be hosting a baby shower for my sister on Saturday.  And then on Sunday a first birthday party for Colin (holy crap, how did that come so quickly).   I'd like to make a slideshow montage for him, as I did my two other children, in time for the party.  My friend from Australia will also be visiting, so I will take her out for a night on the town on Friday.

I have two different sets of papers to grade for the class that I teach.  And a blog that I like to write.

All of these are good things.  I mean ALL are good things.  So this is not a woah is me.  It's just a, I am in the middle of a whirlwind and just trying to get by.

Things that have gone to the wayside:  Showering.  Screen time limitations.  Returning phone calls and emails (sorry about that).  Playdate reciprocation.  Halloween candy regulation.  Blogging.  Thank you cards.  Getting gas.

I made it with 14 miles to spare!
Whilst writing this post, Colin just ate a piece of dog food.

Someday soon I will write eloquently and deeply and wittily.

Just not today.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Few Firsts

1) My first time taking a weekend vacation with my husband in a long, long, long time.  Definitely the first time since I've been a mom of 3.  I have been counting down the days until this weekend getaway to Miami, but yet, as I nursed my baby this morning before I left, I got tears in my eyes. What is with motherhood?  How is it that you can want a break so bad, but then when said break arrives, you are heartbroken to leave?  (Don't worry, I left anyway.)

2) My first time blogging from a flight.  Did you know that you can get wi-fi on a plane now?  Is it weird that I find solace in this, because then should the plane go down, I could live blog about it? And write out my last words?  (Yes, this is morbid.  Yes, I have a major irrational fear of flying. No, I did not have a drink or take any xanax.  Yet.)

3) My first post for the Netflix Stream Team.  As a blogger, I get a bunch of random emails to promote things, review products, etc.  Most of it is junk.  But when I got an email to promote Netflix (and it actually turned out to be legit) I jumped at it!  Why?  Because I am a Netflix junkie. And because, in the interest of full disclosure, I get a free year subscription to Netflix as well as a nifty I-pad mini to stream shows.

I discovered Netflix about two years ago.  It's an on demand streaming system whereby you can watch thousands of movies and shows (for the reasonable price of about $9/month).  At first, it took over my life. I put my books back on the shelf in favor of all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad, all available seasons of Mad Men, all available seasons of the Walking Dead, both seasons of Orange is the New Black, both seasons of House of Cards, and then countless documentaries and movies. It became my guilty pleasure - as soon as I put the kids to bed, I would retreat to my bed, get comfortable, and log in.  There was always something good to watch. I did go a bit overboard, sometimes staying up until 2 am watching something, or watching Blackfish, that Sea World documentary, with a bottle of champagne on New Years Eve.  (Very sad, infuriating documentary, and not really New Years Eve festive.  Don't go to Sea World!).

My kids have loved Netflix too, and unsurprisingly, can navigate it on the iPad better than I can. They love to watch back to back episodes of Handy Mandy and that asshole Caillou.  Of course, I do try and limit their screen time, but it is great to have in a pinch (for long car rides or doctor waiting rooms or any afternoon I just can't deal anymore).

The only problem with Netflix is it can be overwhelming.  There are SO. MANY. CHOICES.  So what I'll aim to do each month is give suggestions of what to watch.  For this month's post, see above.  You much watch all of those series before you move on to other things (seriously, they are all so good.  But if you have to prioritize, do Breaking Bad first).

I should touch down in Miami in about an hour or so.  Forecast is for rain - lots of rain.  But I honestly don't care.  Give me a hotel room and a bath and my Netflix and I will be happy as a clam.

Any suggestions on what to watch?

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Four Years Ago You Rocked My World

Quite literally.

I thought I knew what it was going to be like having more than one child.  I was wrong.

I thought there was no way I could love anyone as much as your older brother.  I was wrong about that too.

Our first months together were HARD.  We both struggled.  We both lost a lot of sleep.  We both cried.  A lot.

And then we bonded.  Big time.  And before I knew it, I couldn't imagine a time when you weren't there.  It's as if I had known you forever.  As if you had been here all along.

I fell in love hard.

And the awesome thing is that it happens over and over again.  I fall in love with you every single day.  And I love discovering who you are.

You are unique, that's for sure.

You are the pickiest eater I have ever seen.  And yet you are obsessed with toy food.  You've been known to sleep with a plastic tomato or hamburger bun, and you are being a hot dog for Halloween this year (your choice).

Casey's Halloween Costume
You refuse to smile for pictures.  EVER.  But then sometimes, I can crack you, much to your own chagrin.

You are quiet - figuratively and literally.  Sometimes you speak in a whisper, and you are not one to gush with your emotions like your big brother.  But that means that when I do get an "I love you," it means so much more.  I melt when I hear those words.

What you don't say in words, you make up for in cuddles.  You are the cuddliest boy I know.  You always want to be close to me.  And even though I probably shouldn't carry you around anymore, it's hard for me to say no.  So I'll keep doing it until you stop asking.

You are so brave.  You have been poked and prodded by needles and sat in ER waiting rooms more times than I'd care to admit.  But you rarely cry.  And you are easily pacified by a lollipop in any situation.

You suck your thumb and twirl your hair.  And it is adorable.

You are a boy's boy.  You are all cars and trucks and balls and superheroes.  You rarely play with girls, though you do have a soft spot for a girl named Lila.  You blush when you talk about her.

You acclimate to social situations ridiculously easily, because you don't overthink it.  You are just yourself.  For lack of a better word, you are chill.  You are already cooler than I ever was.

You love Disney World.  And roller coasters.  And youtube videos of both.  (But especially Disney World).

You have an innate talent for naming that tune.  You can tell a song after literally one beat of music. It kind of freaks your daddy and I out.

You cry every single time you take a bath.  Every.  Single.  Time.

You are an amazing little brother.  When Braden is at school, you sometimes cry and incessantly ask when he will be home to play with you.  Sometimes the two of you sleep in the same twin bed, just because.

You are an amazing big brother.  It took some time for you to warm to Colin, but you are coming around.  And as a mother, it is beautiful to see.

You are a momma's boy.  You and I have an inherent connection that only the two of us understand. Sometimes I will hear you cry, and watch someone else try to comfort you, but I know it's me that you need.  And when I pick you up and embrace you, I can feel you relax into me.  You and me, me and you.

You are such an individual.

You are such a character.

You are a such a source of infinite joy.

You rock my world.

You are Casey.

You are 4.

And today is your birthday.

Happy birthday, my baby boy.


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Monday, October 6, 2014

Why did YOU leave?

My very first post on this blog, a whole three and a half years ago (holy crap, that's crazy), was devoted to why I left a big law firm to stay at home with my kids.  (You can find it by clicking here). It was picked up by Above the Law, a legal news site/blog, which is why people actually started reading this blog.  It's still my second most popular post (behind my post on why lawyers are so miserable, which, who knew, is a very popular google term).  

I occasionally reread my introductory post myself.  I'm not sure why.  I suppose it's a reminder as to how I got where I am, though when I read it, I find it hard to reconcile it with my current self.  I've come a long way, and I've chronicled it as the time has passed (here and here and probably a hundred other places I have forgotten about in 3.5 years).   If anything, what I've learned in the years since I first started this blog is that my story is not that unique.  SO many women have faced the issues I have faced in the legal profession.  And a lot of them, like me, have left.  

So why did you leave? 

The freelance network that I am a part of, Montage Legal Group, is conducting a survey to collect information about what law firms can do to retain talented attorneys.  And while it is useful to talk to attorneys still working in law firms, the better source is probably those that have actually left.  

So, if you previously worked at a law firm or legal job and left due to dissatisfaction, or if you think your law firm missed an opportunity to retain you...

It takes five minutes, and your responses are anonymous and confidential.  (Just click here).

And, if you really want to share your experience, consider writing it out and sharing it here on my blog, via the Your Turn Series.  

Either way, put your "story" out there!  It's a freeing thing (I speak from experience!).  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Clinical Trials and Emotional Tribulations

For the past two weeks, I have been living, breathing, eating, sleeping, and existing in all things food allergies.

I don't know quite where to start.

I guess the beginning.

A little over a year ago I wrote a post about how my son, Casey had been diagnosed with a peanut allergy.  (He has a RAST score of over 100 - the highest you can get.)  I haven't really mentioned it since.  In part because it's not always on the forefront of my mind, and in part because I didn't think it's the kind of thing that people want to read about.

But it has become part of our daily lives and then some.

We've had meetings with his teachers and his camp counselors about how and when to use the epi-pen.  Every time he goes for a playdate, I have to have a discussion with the parents first.  Same goes for birthday parties, soccer classes, babysitters, and pretty much any time there is food and kids around.  I have written a detailed plan for all family members whose homes we visit, which includes where they need to place their nuts, what they need to do at a restaurant, and what the initial signs of an allergic reaction may be.  I have more epi-pens than I can count, stored in all sorts of places - both cars, the kitchen, the school, and in various baby sitters' purses.

Notwithstanding all this, Casey, had an allergic reaction to macaroni and cheese from the Cheesecake Factory back in July.  (There had been cross contamination with peanuts).  We had to use the epi-pen for the first time, right in the thigh.  Then we sat at the ER for four hours to be monitored.

It was at that point that I decided enough was enough.

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