Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Strange Turn of Events

I'm working again.  For a few weeks, anyway.

Last week, a contract attorney/freelance gig kind of fell into my lap.  I hate it when people say that, but it's true.  I didn't seek it out- it came to me.   And when the question was posed to me as to whether or not I was interested, I was shocked at how easy it was for me to exclaim a big fat "Yes!"

I think I have missed working more than I care to admit.  Or maybe it's not working per se, but SOMETHING.  Something other than the tediousness of my daily life these days - the nap times and the school pick ups and the playdates and the meal preparation and the laundry and the Real Housewives episodes.  Don't get me wrong - I love the aforementioned things, but I find myself yearning for something different.  Something to make me appreciate how awesome a mundane lifestyle can be.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pic of the Week - Oh Christmas Tree

It may be a bit puny.  Stubby.  Sparsely decorated.

But it's ours.  And man, it smells good.

Just looking at it puts me in a good mood!  Yay for Christmas!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

And They All Fell, One by One

Our Thanksgiving was a bit of a bust, to say the least.  Such a bust, that I feel a mere narrative is not sufficient.  Thus, here is a timeline of the events that gave way to our Thanksgiving from hell, beginning with Wednesday:

11:00am - Go to Braden's school for Thanksgiving feast.  The holiday has begun!
12:15pm - On way home from Braden's school, receive phone call from my mother informing me that Casey has thrown up.  CASEY DOWN.
1:00pm- Decide to cease giving Casey his antibiotic (for an ear infection from the week before), in case the vomiting is due to an allergic reaction to penicillin.
1:01pm- Hope to God it is only an allergic reaction, and not the dreaded, worse than anything in the world, spread like wild fire, stomach flu.
3:00pm - Hubby comes home to begin cooking.
4:45pm - Braden wakes up from nap.
4:50pm - I rally the family (including my sister, her boyfriend, my mom, and stepdad) to get ready to go out to dinner.
4:55pm - Braden throws up.  BRADEN DOWN.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pic of the Week - Balls to the Wall


A lot of balls.  And a not so happy Casey.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SAHMs Like Bonuses Too

It's that time of year again.

I'm not referring to the time of year where you give thanks and express gratitude for all your blessings in life.  Though I suppose it's that time of year too.  

I'm referring to law firm bonus season.  It is usually right around this time each year that the first firm announces its bonus numbers. Until then, law firm associates everywhere are on the edge of their seats wondering what these initial numbers will be, and what that will mean for their bank account.

Whatever this first firm announces as its associate bonus breakdown sets the stage for all other law firms.  And whatever the numbers are, they are never enough.  The initial announcement is usually followed by outrage and threats of an uprising.  All anonymous, of course.  Then, with all the talk of outrage, there comes hope.  Hope that your firm will right this wrong and increase associate bonuses, putting that first announcing firm to shame.  This rarely happens. 

To the outside world, this whole practice must seem ridiculous, and begs some questions:  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Three squared

Today is my birthday.  I am 33.

I'm not really one to freak out about getting older, and this birthday is no different.  So what if I'm 33?  I have a few more wrinkles, and a  few more pounds.  But overall, I don't feel any different than I did when I was 25 (except maybe a bit more tired - yes, a bit more tired).

It's funny how birthdays change when you get older.  Or maybe it's when you have kids.  I'm not sure.  But they just aren't such a big deal anymore.  Gone are the days where I rally all my friends together for a happy hour and secretly tally who remembered my birthday and who didn't.  At this stage, who cares?  Half the time I can't even remember how old I am.  I think once you get to the stage where you have to mentally subtract your birth year from the current year to figure out your age, the era of gilded birthdays are over.  So if you are reading this later this week, and you realize you forgot my birthday, and you feel bad - don't.  Really.

The overblown presents and parties may be a thing of the past, but that doesn't mean I won't try and make this day as close to perfect as possible. I might as well milk it!  So my plan today is to do the following:

1) Lay in bed an extra half hour while hubby takes care of the kids (check - thanks to hubby).
2) Put Casey down for morning nap, and return to bed with french vanilla decaf (check).
3) Continue reading the Hunger Games.
4) Go to the grocery store for Thanksgiving dinner shopping (this would normally suck, but I am putting a positive spin on it by allowing myself to buy a Tony's frozen pizza for lunch).
5) Pick up Braden and then allow Braden and Casey to watch as much TV as they want prior to their nap, so that I can finish the Hunger Games.
6) Return to bed during Braden and Casey's nap and watch last night's Real Housewives of Atlanta, and will them to sleep until at last 4:00pm.  Please.
7) Gather family together to go to my favorite restaurant of all time - Chili's.  I may charade as a foodie, but at the end of the day, there is nothing better than Chili's nachos.  (Each individual nacho has its own cheese and toppings!)
8) Blow out the candles to my birthday cookie cake.  Is there anything better than a cookie cake?
9) Relax with a glass of champagne and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
10) Stop writing this blog so I can get to numbers 1-9 above.

It's going to be a good day!  And by all indications, another good year.  Here's to 3-squared.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Virtual Intervention

Do you all know what today is?  It's the 35th Annual Great American Smokeout.  It's a day to inspire smokers nationwide to quit, just for the day.  And maybe if today, then another day, and another.

There are approximately 46 million smokers in America, according to CBS news.  My mother in law is one of them.

Like many smokers, my mother in law has tried to quit before.  She has set milestones, aka, the birth of the first grandchild, then the second, then the third.  After a couple of tragic, sudden deaths in the family, she recently vowed to quit smoking at the birth of her fourth grandchild, born at the end of July.  She didn't.

It has become a part of her daily life in a way that is probably just as powerful as the nicotine addiction. When she wakes up, she has a cigarette.  When she talks on the phone, she has a cigarette (and she talks on the phone a lot).  Driving, before bed, walking the dog, etc.

I've never really broached the topic with her, because really, it's none of my business.  I always thought that if the family wanted to pressure her to quit, that it should be at my husband's initiative, not mine.  But things have changed.  Two things in fact:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Journey to the Light

As I've mentioned on this blog before, I tend to get in a funk from mid-November until March.  This funk coincides directly with the onset of daylight savings time, and dissipates when the clocks spring forward.  So yeah, it's not a coincidence.  Classic seasonal affective disorder (self diagnosed).

I've been on the hunt for one of those "happy lights" - the ones that are supposed to mimic the sun and make all of the winter funk go away.  It's all a bit hokie, but why not?  Problem is, said lights are kind of expensive (upwards of $100), so I've been a bit hesitant on splurging for something that is probably psychosomatic in nature.

A friend of mine knew of my quest for brightness, and forwarded me an email that went out on her neighborhood list serve.  Someone was selling a happy light for the bargain price of $40.  This seemed a bit more reasonable.  I emailed the woman and arranged to pick it up last Wednesday.

I had ideally wanted to wait until my husband got home from work to go pick it up, so I didn't have to drag my kids with me.  But of course, with my husband's schedule last week, the chance of him getting home before bedtime was slim to none.  So around 5pm last Wednesday, I headed out into the darkness to find the light.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Face Time

Last Wednesday my husband called me from work with a dire warning: "It's going to be a bad weekend."

In all honesty, I didn't take it too well.  My husband's aunt and uncle were coming in for the weekend. We had Braden's parent teacher conference Friday evening.  We had dinner plans.  We had a date night.  I've seen these "bad weekends" before, and at times they have entailed conference calls that start on a Saturday morning and last in excess of 6 hours.  Where my husband has to switch phones mid-way through because the battery on the cordless phone is dying.

I just wasn't up for it this weekend.

On Friday, my husband decided to work from home.  In part it was because the rest of his team was out of the office that day, and because he wanted to ensure he would be home for Braden's school conference.  But the primary reason was that he didn't think he could afford to take 1.5 hours out of his day to commute.  He couldn't spare a moment not sitting at his computer.  He was that busy.

So he stayed home.  He worked.  He went from call to call.  He was stressed.

But me?  I was loving this!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

TV Debut

So remember that crazy celebrity wedding I wrote about a few months ago?  The one with the nine foot wedding cake?  The one that is actually going to be televised on the TLC series, DC Cupcakes, this Friday at 10pm?  You may remember, I went a bit crazy preparing for that wedding.  Weight loss.  New dress.  Spray tan.  Hair and makeup.  The whole spiel.

A few weeks ago my husband got a consent form in the mail requesting consent for his appearance on the reality show.  It was addressed to him and his guest.  Ooooo, how exciting!  I knew all my preparation was worth it!

But it wasn't to be.  My husband's colleague, who actually married the celebrity bride, quashed all my dreams last week when he informed us that though my husband will make a split second appearance on the show, I will not.

WTF!  Did my husband stand naked spread eagle for some random stranger to spray his innards with a can of brown paint?  No he did not.

Whatever.  I am over it.  Because you know what?  I've already had my time in spotlight.

You probably don't know this about me, but back in 1999, I was a celebrity in my own right.  For like, a whole minute.  While studying abroad in London, I was featured on the BBC show "World of the Secret Camera," which is Britain's version of "Candid Camera."

How?  Why?  Where?  I was in London walking through a Pottery Barn type store, when I passed a shelf of glassware and heard it all crash to the ground.  Convinced I caused the demolition (because I had an enormous "I am an American backpack" on my back), I freaked and offered to pay for the damage.  Little did I know it was all a big joke and I was being filmed.  Apparently, my reaction was unique, and I was invited to be a guest on the show itself.

I wasn't nervous at all for the taping.  I was over-confident in fact.  And then I totally choked.  CHOKED.

You want to see for yourself?  Here you go (I come in after 8 seconds):

A few notes on this:

1) The reason I had a big fat backpack on was because I was on my way to the airport to go to Paris.  I met my ex boyfriend at the airport and was like, "Um, a crazy thing happened to me today."
2) Oh my God was I skinny.  No muffin top at all?  None?  Me?  How?  Why?
3) I still have that necklace.  I wore it a few weeks ago.
4) In the "candid" version of the video, where I didn't know I was being taped, I was wearing contacts.  And I looked showered.  With makeup on. And painted nails (!).  Who is this girl?
5) Shortly after this interview, five of my friends and I wreaked havoc on the green room and showed the British what 20 year old unable to drink in the U.S. girls can really do when they have access to free, legal alcohol.  They ended up giving us a car to take us into Covent Garden just to get rid of us.

So will my husband make a fool of himself on camera as I did?  We can only hope.  Tune in on Friday night to see.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We are STILL Penn State

There's an aspect of my life I haven't really discussed on this blog.  It's not because it wasn't important or meaningful.  It's just that it was a long time ago.

But no amount of time, space or distance can change the fact that I was, am, and will always be Penn State.

I came to Penn State at the age of 17, back in 1996.  I was young, naive, and convinced I was going to marry my high school boyfriend.  I thought I was going to go into public relations.  I had no desire to travel abroad, let alone study abroad.  I looked forward to returning to Cincinnati during the summers so I could hang out with my high school friends.  I had no interest in football or tailgating outside in frigid temperatures.  I was insecure, unsure, and anxious, and looked at college like a means to an end - a rite of passage I had to endure.

It's crazy to think about.

I left Penn State sans high school boyfriend.  I had a double major in Journalism and Political Science, and was awaiting my return to London, not to travel, but to live.  I left with six best friends, whom I still keep in touch with (and all of whom I'll be seeing in Philadelphia next week).  I gained a healthy respect for football, and a love for tailgating in the cold.  I loved seeing my family and missed my high school friends, but I no longer yearned for summers at home.  I was confident, I was ambitious, I was eager, I was ready to conquer the world.

And I was proud.  Proud to be a Nittany Lion.  Proud to be a Penn Stater.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Me, a Tutor

I've been in a bit of a rut lately.  Not a depressive rut or anything, but the kind of post-vacation, what am I doing with my life, how am I going to entertain the kids when it's pitch black at 6pm kind of rut.  Just a bit restless.  I have been chalking it up to getting back from Disney and having real life come crashing back, but last week I had a bit of a (small) breakdown. 

It's not that I am thinking I want to go back to work - I don't.  It's just that sometimes that existential question creeps in - how do I want to spend my time in this life?  I mean, my time - my free time.  I do have that, sometimes.  When the kids are napping, or at night, or when my husband gives me a break.  But what do I want to do with that?  Watch TV?   Eat?  Exercise to make up for the watching TV and eating?  Shop?

The truth is, I don't know.  But I'll tell you what I'm not doing during my free time.  I'm not making money.  And I'm not really using my brain. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Me Hungry

Casey is now over a year old, and I think it's official.  The "baby" weight has turned into my weight.  It's all mine.

Despite my best efforts, I am just not looking like my pre-Casey self.  And yes, I know, pregnancies change you and you'll never look exactly the same, but really?  Really?  This is how it's going to be?

This summer, I put my nose to the grindstone and said enough.  Enough!  I did Jillian Michaels every friggin day for weeks (and I hate that woman).  I counted calories - as in, every time a morsel of food or liquid went into my mouth it was recorded on a scrap of paper in the kitchen.  I bought disgusting weight watchers microwave meals and endured them.  I stopped watching Top Chef reruns, because it was just too painful.

My efforts were rewarded, and I did end up losing weight.  I got down to my pre-pregnancy weight, plus one pound.  Which I figured isn't so bad.  I'd allow myself the excess pound if it meant I could cut Jillian Michaels out of my life.

Once I had gotten to my baseline, I figured I was in the clear. I mean, one can't live like this forever, right?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Obligation

I'm not one of those people that posts on Facebook very frequently, but as I reviewed my news reel this morning, I realized that I had to post some Halloween pictures.  I just HAD to.  Because if I didn't, surely I would be the worst mom ever who wasn't proud of her children and didn't think they were cute and didn't want to share their cuteness with the rest of the world.  If you love your children, apparently that's just what you do.

And now that I have a blog, it would be even more egregious if my decked out boys were passed over.  They would never forgive me.

So here it is.  And, they are pretty cute if I do say so myself.
Woody and Buzz Lightyear with a proud mama.

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