Monday, September 30, 2013

Medicine Abuse - A Scary Reality

My kids don't like medicine.  Even with the fruity flavors and the promises of feeling better and the various bribes I offer them, it's always hard for me to get them to swallow it down (without half of it spilling out of their mouths).  It's always a pain, and a responsibility that my husband and I tend to hand off to each other (It's your turn.  No, it's your turn!).  It's the kind of thing that I hope will get easier as they get older, and logic will set in.  This may not taste good, but you need it.

Right now my kids are innocent and young and the thought of them taking these medications unnecessarily and voluntarily - for a purpose other than needing it, seems incredibly far fetched.  I mean, they won't even open their mouth for it now!  But I know that there will come a time, someday, years from now, when they will learn that some people take these medications not to get better, but to get high.

And that prospect scares the bajeezes out of me.

I still remember when I first heard of this phenomenon, back when I was a teen myself.  I was in college, and some guys at a party were handing around some cough medicine.  What on earth?  I remember thinking.  Are they sick?  I was ignorant, obviously, but I eventually learned what they were doing.  I never tried it myself, but I did get immune to the shock of seeing others do it.  In the next few years, I would see it again.

October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month.  As part of this, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association is highlighting its Stop Medicine Abuse campaign, with the goal of alerting parents and community members of the dangers of teens abusing over the counter medicines.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Getting Caught Up in it All - The Private School Question

Way back when, forever ago, my husband and I moved from New York City to Washington, DC. There were a variety of reasons for this move, but one of them was that I really didn't want to raise my children in Manhattan.  I didn't want to deal with the crowds, the constricted living spaces, or the competition for good schools.

I had heard enough around my firm about preschool applications and kindergarten applications and people waiting at 6am in the rain in a line around the block on sign up day.  My sister, an English PhD student at the time, had been hired by parents to write their kindergarten application essays.  That's right. Parents in Manhattan hire PhD students to write their application essays (well, not all of them, but just a few is enough).

We moved to the DC area, and eventually ended up in a neighborhood with excellent public schools.  It was one of the main reasons we chose our house, in fact.  Mind you, I don't really know what makes a given public school "excellent," but the district is consistently rated as one of the top in the country, so that was good enough for me.  I am a public school kid, and so is my husband, so it only made sense that our children would attend public school.  I never really considered anything else, actually.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tending to My Nest

Pregnancy Weekly defines nesting as:

“[A]n uncontrollable urge to clean one’s house brought on by a desire to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world.” 

Yeah, I think I know something about that. 

Prior to getting pregnant, I always thought this nesting thing was a bit of a farce.  Along with PMS and baby blues and all sorts of other “hormonal” behaviors.  After three pregnancies, I’ve been proven wrong.  Very wrong.  And I am here to attest that the nesting instinct is alive and well. 

It started for me back in June.  I had just finished a seven hour drive from North Carolina back to DC – just me and the kids.  I was exhausted.  I unloaded the car, got the kids situated with a show, and then, instead of unpacking or relaxing or checking the mail or starting the kids’ dinner, I decided it was the perfect moment to update Casey’s baby book.   I spent 45 minutes cutting out pictures and filling in information about his first birthday party.  Yes, it had to be done that minute. 

That was my first hint that the nesting was being kicked into overdrive.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hearing His Voice

Sometimes it's funny how the past comes flooding back in an instant.

When I was 16 years old, I had my first real boyfriend.  I fell, hard.  We both did.  By senior year in high school, we were inseparable, and we decided we wanted to go to college together.  We applied to many of the same schools, and ultimately decided to both go to Penn State.  Looking back on this, I would never advise it to anyone today. Be free!  I would say.  Experience college and life and don't tie yourself down!  I can tell you that if someone gave me that advice, way back when in 1995, I wouldn't have listened.  I was completely in love and was absolutely convinced that this man - this boy - would be my husband.  He felt the same.

Against all odds, we stayed together all through college.  There were many bumps in the road, for sure, and many break-ups and reconciliations and some random "lets date other people" periods in there.  But we ended college, in some ways, much like we started.  We parted ways almost immediately after that.

I was ready for us to break up.  In some ways, it came as a relief.  Having been with the same person for almost 6 years - from age 16-21, I think that much of the reason we were still together was out of habit, and out of fear of doing anything else.  He decided to move to LA to pursue a career in the television/movie industry, and I had applied to, and been accepted to, the London School of Economics.  We didn't even really talk about staying together. We knew it was over.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Memorializing a Family of Four + a GIVEAWAY!

These past few weeks I have felt overwhelmed by nostalgia for our cozy little family of four.  Soon, there will be five of us.  And while that is great, and wanted, and will make life all the more interesting and amazing, I feel it's okay to get sentimental about the loss of what is right now.  The four of us.  Just us.

I've been wanting to get family pictures done for a couple of years now, but I just haven't gotten around to it. Once I got pregnant, I figured it would just make sense to wait until after the baby was born - after all, any family of four photos would soon need to be replaced by family of five photos. But then, a few weeks ago, a local photographer (Anna Carson Dewitt) reached out to me to see if I was interested in doing a complimentary photo shoot and giveaway on my blog (view her website here).  Given my nostalgia and sentimentality and pregnancy hormones generally, I jumped at the opportunity.

We did the photo shoot a couple of weeks ago and got the photos back a few days later.  Anna did a phenomenal job.  Of course, she did have some cute subjects to work with...

These two boys... brothers.  Soon another one will join their clan.  But for now, for today, they are two peas in a pod.

They love each other so much, even if they don't show it all the time.  And knowing that they have each other, with the inevitable shift in my attention in a couple of months time, is a relief.  And a gift.

Today, these boys are my babies.  My everything.

And today, I feel like luckiest person in the world.

I love my family of four.

But it will only get better...

I'm so glad I have these photos to memorialize this "in between" time in my family's life.  Perhaps once my pregnancy hormones go away I can manage to look at them without crying!

And now for the giveaway...

One lucky reader in the DC area will be able to experience Anna's talent firsthand!  Anna is giving away a 60 minute photo session, with 30-50 digital images for you to keep!  To enter the giveaway, please do two things:

1) Like my Facebook page (click here), if you haven't already AND
2) Leave a comment either here or on my Facebook page with your email address.

I will select a winner at random, and the giveaway will close on Tuesday, September 24th at midnight.

Good luck!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I don't write that much about my decision to leave my law firm job anymore, for a couple of reasons: 1) I don't want to be a broken record - I've written about it A LOT; and 2) I don't think about it that much anymore.  Truly. This whole blog started as a way for me to vent and find connections and, in all honesty, seek some kind of validation about the whole thing.  But in the years that have passed, I have stopped thinking about it all that much.  I have found new connections, new outlets, and I no longer feel like I need validation.  I am at a place of peace about the whole thing, and in fact, I sometimes look back at old posts of mine and cringe.

Lately, however, I have been inundated with emails from women asking me for my advice about their own career path.  Some ask if I think they should leave their current jobs.  Some have recently left their current jobs and ask me what I suggest they do to maintain a network.  Others have recently found out they are pregnant and are in a state of panic as to how they will balance their career with a family.  I am, in many ways, honored that people are seeking my advice, but in some ways I don't feel I am necessarily the best person to give it.  After all, who am I?  I am just your average girl that happens to write a blog and also happens to have left a career to stay at home.  But I try my best to put myself in their position, and give honest, sincere advice.

To really understand where these women are coming from, I have to put myself back in time.  I have to remember the struggles I faced, what it was like when I left, and all the insecurities I felt.  I have to remember that I felt so alone and unsure and, in many ways, like some kind of failure for even considering leaving my job.  I have to remember the main reason I started this blog - for some kind of validation about my ultimate decision.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Colds and Allergies and Fake Allergies Too

I have never myself had allergies.  Ever.  I guess I should consider myself very lucky.  But as a result, I've never really understood them.  When people sneeze and cough and wheeze in the spring and early fall, how do they know it's not just a cold?  I mean, truly, how do you really know?

I suppose I never really cared, until I had kids and started being wary of sick people coming to the house and being around them.  When you, or your child, is snotting and hacking all over my home, and you tell me it's just allergies, are you sure?  Really?  Because as history would have it, my kids seem to have "caught" allergies on several occasions.  

My suspicions of allergies generally only were exacerbated when I met my husband.  First, there's his fake fruit and nut allergies.  He claims that he is "allergic" to apples, but not cooked apples (or apples that have been peeled).  He claims that he is "allergic" to nuts, but he will eat peanuts, or cashews.  (And it's worth it to mention that nothing happens to him if he eats the aforementioned foods - he just gets a "scratchy throat."). He claims that he is "allergic" to dogs, yet I have never once seen him sneeze or react in the presence of any dog, let alone our dog.  And... you guessed it, whenever he comes down with a cold or sore throat - it's not an illness.  No, it's allergies.  (And yes, I tend to catch these "allergies" myself shortly after he comes down with his symptoms).  

(Sorry, honey.  I kid.  Kind of).  

Unfortunately, it took my son getting hit hard with allergies last spring for me to really start to believe that this whole "allergy" thing might not really be a farce.  

It started gradually.  A slight cold, a sniffle.  But then, Braden woke up one morning looking like he had been punched in the face - in both eyes.  His poor eyes were so swollen and puffy and red that I could think of nothing to do but put ice on them.  I sent him to school that day, and he came home even worse - crying and scratching and begging me for some relief.  After a frantic call to my husband (and a quick apology for doubting his allergy allegations all these years) and our pediatrician, I high tailed it to CVS to pick up some kids allergy medication.  The first didn't work so well, but after some trial and error, we did find one that did the trick.  It wasn't fool proof, but it allowed him to play outside and not experience extreme discomfort.  (Please click here for an overview of over the counter allergy medications and how to use them).    

Come early June, it was all over.
Now, I hear allergy season has returned.  And the quintessential question arises again - allergy or cold?  

Luckily, OTC Safety has some advice in this regard.  

If you find that your little one does have allergies, here's a great cheat sheet as to how to use (and not to use) allergy medications.  

So far so good in our household, for the most part.  My husband starting sneezing yesterday.  "Allergies," he said.  I suppose we'll see...

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All the opinions reflected here are my own.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

When 5 Years Goes by too Quickly

I remember when I was young the years passed slowly.  It seemed like it took forever to turn 16. And then even longer to turn 21.  In fact, I remember starting college and thinking that I would be there forever.  Four years - an eternity.  It was almost as if I couldn't comprehend the concept of four years, and a chapter of my life, actually passing me by.

When I eventually graduated, it was a shock.  I couldn't believe that all that time had come and gone.  Up until that point, the passage of time had been elusive to me.  Graduating from college was the first time in my life it had really caught up to me.  The first time that, looking back, the years had gone by quickly.  Much too quickly.

Once you reach a certain age - and I'm not quite sure what age this is, perhaps it's different for everyone - years start to pass you by.  One right after the other, each one providing a shock and a reminder that this thing we call time is actually limited.  I think that's because once you reach a certain age, we stop changing the way we used to. Sure, there are subtle changes - a few pounds, some gray hairs, some emotional growth, or even some drastic change in circumstance, but by and large, as adults, five years doesn't mean much.

I still have clothes in my closet that I wore five years ago.  I still watch some of the same TV shows I watched five years ago.  And when I look at pictures of myself five years ago, I don't look that different. My circumstances have changed, for sure, but in five years I haven't acquired any groundbreaking new skills.  Or learned any new languages.  Or made that many new friends, for that matter.  I still have the same favorite restaurants, the same favorite foods, and I listen to much of the same music.

But watching a child over a five year time period.... it's nothing short of fascinating.  The changes are so drastic.  The years are so different - so much more meaningful, and so much more full.  In becoming an adult, I had forgotten how the passage of time transforms.  Until five years ago.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Keep Thine Head Down

My last ultrasound was at 24 weeks pregnant (about six weeks ago).  At that time, my wee one was sitting pretty in the transverse position - head at my right side, feet at my left side.  NOT the prime, head down, ready to birth position.  I didn't think much of it at the time.  But as the weeks have gone by, and I have continued to feel the kicks at my left side, and a big hard ball at my right side, I have started to get a little concerned.  Is this baby going to be breech?

Here ye, here ye, I will not have a c-section (the method of delivery for a breech baby).  I simply WILL NOT.

It's not that I'm so against a c-section in theory.  It's just that I've already had two pregnancies, with two head down babies, with two uncomplicated vaginal births.  I know what it's like to go through that kind of pain, and to mess up things down there.  I am prepared, yet again to go through pain and mess up things down there.  

I shouldn't be going through new things this pregnancy.  This pregnancy should be straightforward and standard.  The three hour gestational diabetes test was change enough.  No c-sections. No complications.  No thank you.

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