Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Resolutions

It’s (almost) a new year, and with that comes resolutions and all of that. This year, for me, is all about survival… much as it was in 2012. I have this new little guy pressing against my ribs and bladder, and I’m excited and terrified of his upcoming due date in a mere 10 weeks (I’m 30 weeks today). Along with a goal of survival comes a realistic view of what I can and can’t make time for. Paying for a blog I barely keep up with is one thing I can’t make time for.

 I want to maintain a place to write and remember… but just maybe not on so grand a scale as in years past. So I have moved all my content BACK to Blogger, and you can find me at from now on. Just like in the olden days. Let’s just hope Google continues to support the Blogger platform.

(Follow my blog with Bloglovin)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hot and Ready

My freshman year of college, Little Caesars covered the campus in flyers advertising some ridiculously cheap delivery pizza deal.  Naturally, my suitemates and I called to order our pizza.  Apparently, everyone else on campus did too.  Our cold pizza arrived two hours later and made me feel extremely awful within minutes of eating the congealed mess of grease and cheese.  I swore I'd never order Little Caesars again.

Enter the Little Caesars on the way home from daycare offering a large pizza, ready for pick up, for well under $10, two hungry kids in the backseat, and a mom with no desire to whip up dinner in the mess that is the kitchen following our party...

Laura, do you want cheese or pepperoni?
Ooh, or would you like sausage?
Yes, of course!

Six minutes later, we were handed our fresh from the oven pizza, and we were on our way home.  (Gavin was sad he couldn't eat any in the car).  Was our $8 deep deep dish with sausage the best pizza on earth?  No.  But it was perfectly satisfying, both for our tummies and my wallet!

I don't get paid anything by anyone for anything on this blog ever.  Just thought I'd share my positive experience for anyone else hoping to make a few dollars go a little further this holiday season.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Santa Claus!

We hosted our annual holiday party this Saturday.  I was so excited to have our friends visit our new home (which I finally got decorated just in the St. Nick of time).  I was extra excited when I heard a rumor that Santa would be attending for a brief visit.  And extra excited when I counted up the kids coming and realized I needed at least 15 dollar store gifts for Santa to hand out!!  Cars and trucks for the boys, and surprisingly cute hair brushes and "blow driers" for the girls.

And then, of course, another storm blew through.  We got maybe an inch of snow that was immediately washed away by a torrent of rain... but the weather predictions were enough to scare away a good number of guests.  We still had a houseful though - and 10 kids!!

They were all so wonderfully, incredibly surprised and excited to see Santa at the house, and so close to Christmas!  One little girl ran up to him, gave him the hugest hug, and shouted "I love you, Santa!!"  It was adorable.





My two were just as tickled to see Santa, give him hugs, sit on his lap, and put in their gift requests.  Ok, so technically only Laura actually "asked" for anything... but her list is specific:  a stuffed Clifford the Big Red Dog like her friend at school has, and a puppy puppet.  (Done and done, little girl!)

And I just can't get over how sweet Laura and Gavin both looked all dressed up for the party.  Gavin sporting a Kevin McAllister-esque sweater vest, and Laura in a red velvet dress once worn by my little sister...  I love having so many beautiful dresses, saved by my mother, for my little girl to wear!

(And a HUGE thank you to the brother-in-law who donned the Santa suit to bring such joy to our party!!)

Friday, December 13, 2013

My Domain

There are many things I'd rather be writing about... like Christmas in the new house, finally getting our tree decorated, the OMG cute attack letter Laura drew for Santa (and put in the mailbox), all the things pregnant with #3...

But lately, I haven't found either the time or inclination to write much. Life is busy. The new house is huge - which means more to clean. Working from home is great, but hard in its own way. And the blog falls short.

Additionally, my domain is about to expire, and Google being Google, they've made it nearly impossible for me to renew it. I don't want to pay to have a Google Apps membership, since this is basically an online outlet for my deeper thoughts. I'm leaning towards moving back to Blogger (from WP), since I never got the hang of WP anyway, and a free domain name (and hosting) sounds pretty reasonable right now.

And there are times, too, where I think to myself "does anyone really care?" If I stopped writing here, would anyone notice? I'm not as active a commenter on your blogs as I'd like to be. I haven't participated in a link-up in ages (though there have been some I've wanted to). And now this domain thingy that I can't figure out how to navigate.

So what's a (crappy, largely intermittent) blogger to do?

Monday, December 9, 2013


Whoops! The seasons are getting away from me... Isn't it still October? No, that's right, Halloween has passed. So it's November, right? No? We already had (hosted!) Thanksgiving. So, it's that week following Thanksgiving. The one between Thanksgiving and the first week of December.

OMG WAIT. Thanksgiving was two days before December! We're over a week into Advent, and I am still firmly stuck in October. Despite the 7 inches of snow covering our yard and the fir tree perfuming our home. I'm obviously playing catch-up, so here are some photos from Thanksgiving. The day when we welcomed my parents, sister, younger brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law to our new home for TONS of food.








Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Little Blue Pill

My doctor and I made the decision today for me to go back on Zoloft.

I am 24 weeks along.  It's been 20 weeks since that fateful "I'm bored" positive pregnancy test.  So about 16 weeks since I last took one of the little blue pills that had been doing so much to help me stay patient - and present - with my family.

The past 16 weeks have brought a lot of change.  With change comes a lot of stress.  And I haven't dealt particularly well with any of it.  I have been snappy and anxious.  My cuticles are visual proof of my inability to sit still or really enjoy anything as much as I want to.

While the stress of finding out we were pregnant, switching jobs, moving, and working from home are starting to ease, I am facing a busy holiday season, a certain almost four-year-old's birthday party in January (with new friends whose mothers I have yet to meet), and the birth of this newest family member in March.  And I just don't think I can continue to live in this anxious, irritable state for 16 more weeks.  Let alone the inevitable six weeks of baby blues following the arrival of 3.0.  Let alone the sheer stress of breastfeeding the new guy, while mothering my other two still very young children the way they deserve.

My doctor readily agreed.  My cuticles immediately rejoiced.  And a happy mommy is a healthy mommy.  So here's to the little blue pill residing once again in my medicine cabinet.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Some moms are fingerpainting moms

And some moms are me: not fingerpainting moms.

I thought I might be! And I saw all these cute things on Pinterest and just knew I could make the same level of cuteness with some canvases and little hands.

First of all, those little canvases were more pricey than I expected. Second of all, paint is messy. And gets on clothes because some moms forget about smocks. And feels funny on toddler hands. And needs more direction than a preschooler wants to receive.

But in the end, our creations were pretty cute... If not exactly what I envisioned while browsing Pinterest.

20131117-212932.jpgCute little lefty hard at work

20131117-212946.jpgBouquets for Grandma

20131117-212957.jpgOh Christmas Tree!

20131117-213006.jpgAlmost finished!

20131117-213024.jpgThat's a person climbing a ladder, in case you couldn't figure it out (I couldn't).

But when have any of my endeavors turned out exactly how I envisioned? That's right. Never. And I'm still pretty proud of everything I have endeavored to accomplish. I just might not whip out the paints again until I forget the mess and stress of organized projects.

Note to self: hide paints from ambitious preschooler.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Tinkerbell and Peter Pan!
Neither Nate nor I got a really great picture of the kids all night, but that's because they were having too much fun to sit still for pictures!
We got to meet all our new neighbors on our street, as well as a bunch in the surrounding neighborhood.
Laura really had a great time, even though she looks glum here. She was waiting for her BFF to catch up and join us for trick or treating! Laura did have a little trouble remembering to say "trick or treat," and to not touch everything on everyone's porches. She was also a slow-poke, as she wanted to converse with we met along the way!

Gavin could barely lift his bucket of candy, but was adamant that no one could help him.  That was HIS candy!  I even tried sneaking a finger under the handle to relieve some weight, and he slapped my hand away.  Too funny!

We all had a lot of fun, and loved seeing our new neighborhood!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lots of Love :)

It's a rainy, dreary day here in Maryland, which makes me a little bummed about trick-or-treating tomorrow night... Let's hope it clears, because I did not lovingly sew - on a sewing machine! - two costumes to be covered by raincoats!  But I may day was brightened when I read Megan's post at Heartbeats and Little Feet today!  Thanks for the Liebster Award, Megan!


So here are "the rules"
1. Thank the blogger that nominated you.
2. Answer the questions given by the blogger who nominated you.
3. Nominate 5-11 bloggers with fewer than 200 followers and give them questions to answer.

1.  Gold or silver?  Platinum!  But really, it depends on the outfit.  I have favorite jewelry in both!

2.  What is your favorite candy?  Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and M&Ms

3.  Best book you’ve read recently.  I have read a few good ones of late.  I think The Book Thief by Markus Zusak should be added to the middle/high school Holocaust fiction reading list, right next to Diary of Anne Frank.  I also just read Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and couldn't put it down.  Seriously - I chose reading over gambling in Vegas!

4.  Link and/or photo of a handbag that you are currently coveting.  I am such a dork/mom... I have been really excited by the Fall line of Vera Bradley.  I never thought I'd be excited about carrying around a quilted carpet bag, but... Never say never?  How cute is Olivia PInk!

5.  A sentence or two describing a happy memory from your childhood.  Salt spray in my face on a sunny, windy day of sailing on Cape Cod.  With a fudge round chilling against the ice pack in my lunch bag waiting for me back on the beach.

6.  Three favorite online shopping websites.  I do a lot of shopping on - I love the free shipping with Prime!  I also just bought a lamp I am WAY too excited about at  The shipping was free, and speedy, and I LOVE my fish lamp.  It's so tacky whimsical, it's awesome.

7.  Something that you learned recently.  That I can be productive working from home without eating everything in sight!  Proof: it's day three of this new venture, and I haven't opened a single bag of Halloween candy.

8.  Beauty product you can’t live without.  Oil of Olay age-defying daily anti-wrinkle cream with SPF 15.  My skin is really dry, and I would be parched without some sort of moisturizer.  I like the Olay cream, as it's light, not oily, and has definitely reduced some signs of aging.  I'm only 31, but why wait for wrinkles to start fighting them??

9.  A pet peeve.  SNORING.

10.  What is your favorite season of the year?  Of the four seasons, I love Fall for the colors and smell and coziness.  Of the holidays, Christmas for the cheer and smell and food and presents and Santa.  But July Fourth for the fireworks!

And... I'm not going to nominate anyone specifically.  I had fun answering Megan's questions on this dreary day.  So if you need some cheer, consider yourself awarded, and feel free to answer the questions I did!

Monday, October 28, 2013


As of today, our family starts the new routine.  The one where we wake up around 6:45 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and leave the house around 7:30 to drop off at the new daycare.  The one where I drive home, brew my coffee, and remotely access my PC at work.  The one where for three days a week, exact times don't matter as there are no trains to catch.  The one where maybe I'll be able to roast a whole chicken - with stuffing! - for the first time in years.

The one where two days a week, I'll leave the house by 6:20 to catch the last train south... and I won't head north again till after 5:00 pm.  The one where two days a week, I'll get home after the kids have had dinner... but the one where I know they are having fun at home with Grandma.

The one where I am kinda, sorta a work at home mom.  At least part of the week.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I am afraid of birds.  (and mice, those jumping spider things in the basement, and bones...)  But birds is a big one.  One I have to deal with very frequently.  I mean - pigeons are everywhere.  All the time.  Flying, shitting, pecking... UGH.  I hate pigeons.

Sometimes I can see some fancy looking bird and think "Ok, at least that one has some pretty coloring."  And then it up and spreads its wings to fly.  Or stretches a weird, feathery, taloned foot out.  Or pecks at something.  Then I remember how horrible and terrible and terrifying birds are.

But I really didn't want my fear to affect my children's attitudes towards birds.  So I have been really conscious of my fear and hatred of birds in front of the kids.  Or so I thought until we went to the Santa Barbara Zoo last week.

lauraLaura flipped. out. over some ducks and flamingos.  The ducks (which Gavin loved) were innocent enough... until they started bathing and splashing water all over us.  Laura lost it.  I thought maybe it was the cold water drops on her legs?  But then we got to the flamingos (which Gavin loved) and she started shrieking.  I mean, they didn't smell very good.  And they are huge offenders of the weird, feathery, taloned feet problem... and they have those feathers... and beaks... and wings... OK.  There's a LOT wrong with flamingos, and I wasn't thrilled to be watching them either.  I did not flip out, I swallowed my panic and said "oh look how pink they are!"

Hours later, nary a bird in sight, Laura asked my mother:
Grammy, are flamingos birds?
Yes, they are
Well, I'm not fond of flamingos... Grammy, I'm not fond of birds.

But in my head, pushing aside my own bird issues, all I could think was "crumb buns!"  Have I inadvertently passed along my fear to my daughter?  I so wanted to shelter Laura from my own anxieties, to raise her strong and fearless.  But I guess maybe I flinch at pigeons a little too often.  Maybe I balk at touching shed feathers found on the ground.  Maybe I'm not as good as I thought about hiding my own fears.  Let's just cross our fingers that Nate doesn't have to start cutting the meat off the ribs and wings for the children as well as for me!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Capturing Happiness

Our family just experienced one of those weeks.  The kind where maybe not everything goes perfectly... but everything is somehow perfect anyway.  In the midst of our move and the furlough (yes, I was impacted), we took off for a week on the West Coast.  We had begun planning our trip long before we knew of my little passenger, and therefore the move.  So the timing wasn't perfect - except that actually it was.

With so very much going on in our lives this past month, we desperately needed our trip together.  So on Thursday the 10th, we flew to Los Angeles to see my parents and their new place.  It was my first time in California, and I was very excited to see what all the fuss is about!  We spent a day in Santa Barbara, a morning at the Farmer's Market, an afternoon at the La Brea Tar Pits, and a few brief moments at the Will Rogers State Park on the drive home.  I can't say that I've been inspired to shed my East Coast ways and move across the country, but I was in awe of the mountains abutting the ocean.

After a quick visit, Nate and I continued our adventure to Las Vegas - yet another city I hadn't yet visited!  Gavin and Laura stayed in LA with my parents for their own adventure, while Nate and I got some serious one on one time that we so badly needed.

Are all of our worldly problems solved after one week basking in each others company?  Hardly.  But what a wonderful chance for us to catch up, really talk, and set aside some of the stress of the past few weeks.  As we got ready for dinner Wednesday night, we heard the news that the furlough had ended (for now), and that I'd be able to head back to work again after our break.  A huge stress relief in itself.  We still have a lot going on (finish make the house our home, host both a birthday party and Thanksgiving within days, Christmas...), but we have all of that going on together.  As a family.

So while I could have FILLED this post with all of the wonderful photos during our week, I leave you with one.  The picture that brings me the most joy from our family vacation.  The photo of us all together, barefoot in the sand, shivering, smiling and happy.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Boy oh boy!

That's right! Baby #3 is baby boy #2! I am more surprised by anyone. This pregnancy could not be more different from my infection-ridden pregnancy with Gavin! I guess this proves that every pregnancy is different!!

Laura's a little sad she's not getting a baby sister. I have to say, I was sorta rooting for her to have a close in age sister. But I'm sure she'll love bossing two boys around, too!

In other news, we're all moved into our new house and loving it. And I'm so totally OVER being furloughed. Dear Congress: please let me go back to work!

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Second Tri

What a whirlwind of a month it's been.  Last week, my coworkers and I put the final touches on an enormous new gallery at the museum that some of us (me included) have been working on for over seven years now. That's longer than I've been married, in case you're curious.  This has been a project that has followed me throughout my various roles at the museum, from intern to executive assistant to assistant collections manager (and now database administrator).  This new gallery is a really big deal, and it's been a big part of my life, and I am so, so, so proud of how it turned out.

[caption id="attachment_2389" align="aligncenter" width="300"]At the gallery opening gala At the gallery opening gala[/caption]

This weekend, we are moving into our new home. It's about an hour from the house we have shared since 2003, and it's both an emotional move... and a really exciting weekend for me! I'm a little nervous about all the change. Not only will we be an hour from friends, favorite grocery stores, comfortable routines... I'll also begin working from home three days a week. Yeah. SCARY!

But then take a look at this kitchen!!!  I'm dying and on my way to heaven.  I just can't wait to get started!  I plan to throw a pot of chili on the stove first thing tomorrow morning, as the UHaul and our friends (our dear, dear friends) arrive to move us in, college style with beer and pizza and the chili I cook in my new home.

So in pregnancy news, I've been at the funny point where I don't feel like crap all the time anymore, but I also don't really feel the baby move a whole lot.  If I slouch (which I do) I look more fat than pregnant.  And sometimes I have a hard time realizing what all is going on in there.  So it was a huge relief to go to my 16 week (plus 4 days) appointment this morning and hear that strong, constant galloping heartbeat from within my tummy.  And even more exciting was making the appointment for the 18-week anatomy scan on Monday the 7th!  In just over a week, we'll know just a little bit more about our newest family member.

In case you're curious, I'm really convinced this is a girl.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What a pain!

I know I had lower back aches during my previous two pregnancies.  I remember stretching on the floor of my cubicle, trying to ease the kinks a little.  But I also remember that stretching helped and made life bearable.

Not so this time around.  I woke up Sunday morning and couldn't stand.  I couldn't get up out of bed to stand.  It was excruciating and impossible.  I rested as best I could, stretched when I could bear it to no avail, and even took one or two ibuprofen to try to ease things.  Yesterday, I was able to move around enough to get to work.  But once I was at my desk, that was it.  Sitting hurt.  Standing hurt.  Walking brought me to tears.  So I called my doctor.

At fifteen weeks pregnant, I am allowed to take ibuprofen.  Sweet, blessed ibuprofen!  My doctor told me 800mg three times a day.  I cried happy tears when I heard that.  And even happier tears when she recommended a chiropractor, and gave me a name and number.

I had my first ever chiropractic appointment this morning.  I had no idea the appointment would be so involved!  I had pictured telling the doctor what and where I hurt, a quick adjustment, and that would be that.  Oh no.

First, I wrote out what hurt.  Where it hurt.  How much it hurt.  If it had ever hurt before.  If my family had a history of the same hurt.  If my best friend's cousin had ever practiced voodoo.  The list went on.

Next, the nurse measured and tested my spine with a thing hooked up to a computer, to show which vertebrae were most stressed (note: all of them).  Next, the doctor felt, poked, prodded, pushed, and pulled to see what hurt, what didn't, if I was numb (yes) and where.

After the initial assessment, I was given an adjustment.  Normally, the doctor wouldn't give an adjustment on the first visit.  Normally, the first visit would be for X-rays and stuff.  But since I'm pregnant and x-rays aren't allowed, he was able to give me the adjustment instead.  He used an instrument to move things around in a very precise manner.  It felt like hammers on my back - not the most comfortable experience, but I felt an immediate change.  Next, he twisted and pulled and popped part of my back.  Followed by a large yank of my leg and hip.  A huge pop, and even more change in my back.

Still pain, oh yes.  But less... pinchy.  More dull.  A smidge less hurty.

The adjustment was followed by PT.  Some leg movements with an elastic band (that were way more difficult that I thought they'd be).  Some pelvic movement on an exercise ball (that felt really good).  Some balancing on a balance board (that made me feel like a really dorky looking surfer.

Then therapy.  OMG.  Ten minutes dozing in a dark room on a warm, cozy dry whirlpool bed.  Warm jets gently massaging my sore back with a whooshing noise that was so calming and restful and wonderful.  I was sad when the nurse came to turn it off and help me up.

I'll go back on Thursday to go over my initial test results more thoroughly and to set up a plan of care.  As of now, I made it to the train, rode the train, got to work, assisted a museum visitor, and am back at my desk (with a heating pad in place).  I'm still sore, and I feel really exhausted, but I haven't cried from pain yet today.  I'm walking a little faster than a ninety-year-old with her walker.  I consider that a win.

Monday, September 9, 2013

I'll never do...

I'm sure you have that list of things you once said, "Oh, I'll never do XYZ when I'm a parent! NEVER!"

I have had that list, too.  At the top of the list was that I was never, ever in a million years pushing one of those enormous, germy shopping carts with the toy car attached.  Not sure what I'm talking about?  See below:
And then one day, I found myself at the store with a 3 1/2 year old who begged to sit in the cart and a 15 month old who was just not setting right in the front pack when lo! A golden ray of light shone down upon the Car Cart - one of two at my grocery store - right next to the doors, waiting for me.  It was Laura and Gavin's dream come true.  And it wasn't quite as tricky to push as I feared.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Back to school

It's so funny, watching the Facebook feed blow up with back to school photos and stories.  Funny because I can't believe some of the kids I've loved for years are old enough for kindergarten, or even college in some cases!  Little cousins who sent me their kindergarten art projects to hang on my walls at college are now off to their own first dorms.  (Aside: I should have Laura send THEM some drawings for their walls!)

It's funny also because I am completely focused on Laura and Gavin's LAST day of school in less than a month.  October 2 will be their last day at the daycare that has brought so much drama to my life over the past 3 years.  I cannot WAIT to get out of this daycare.  I'll miss certain children and their moms, but we can always visit them.

I absolutely 100% will not miss the trashy owner, the rude office managers, the curriculum that I've never seen enacted.  I won't miss the director, the teachers, the tired classrooms.  Typing it all out, I can't believe we stayed at this daycare as long as we have.  But now that I have the last day of school on a calendar, I can't wait to get there!

And after a few weeks break from daycare during the month of October, I'm sure I'll be just as ready for Laura and Gavin's first day at their new school.  Maybe I'll even take pictures.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


July was crazy and exciting and terrifying and all the things with finding ourselves pregnant with a third, buying a new house, and starting a new job.

August was hard and sad and frustrating with losing beloved family members, selling a house, not really knowing how to do the new job, and really feeling very pregnant and overwhelmed with a third.

So for September, I hope only for some positive outcomes.  Some showings on the house would be reassuring.  Some progress on the new job would be nice.  I'd love to feel like I'm not completely in over my ears here, adding a third child to our mix when Gavin is still so very... Gavin.  He is now able to get out of his crib, at 15 months old.

I watched on the video monitor how he calmly placed one foot through the crib slat onto the bookshelf, hoisted himself over the rail onto the top of the bookshelf, then shimmied onto the floor and out the door.  I curse the french door handles he has been able to open for months, and am planning where to move the bookshelf.  He spent the rest of the weekend napping (and roasting to death) in a fleece sleep sack, so he couldn't get footing on the shelf.

September: Please play nice.  I need a minute.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

One week later

It almost feels cruel.  Losing such a good friend exactly one week - to the hour - after my grandmother.  But maybe Grammy was lonely and Pippi knew she was needed.  Maybe Grammy was with Pippi so she wouldn't be scared.  Maybe Pippi waited as long as she could, hoping to give us a little peace.  It's almost harder, losing a dog, than it was Grammy.  Grammy's had a hard year, an even harder summer.  We had some time, with Grammy, to know and prepare and say goodbye.  We didn't have that with Pippi, and it hurts a lot.

pippi pippi2 pippi3I am so thankful we had two months with Pippi in our home.  A chance for Laura, her biggest fan, to soak up all those puppy kisses (and a few nips).  We'll all miss her so much.  Take care of Grammy, Pip.

Monday, August 26, 2013

At the end of the day

Nate uses the phrase "at the end of the day" all.the.time.  Maybe every other sentence.  I make fun of it to him, to others, as often as possible.  But, at the end of the day, it's a phrase that comes in handy.

At the end of the day, my Grammy was surrounded by family.  My younger siblings had seen her a week or two before.  My older brother was able to introduce his newest daughter - the youngest of the four great-grandchildren.  My great-aunts sat by her bed and held her hand.  Nate, Laura, Gavin and I flew up in time for one last visit mere hours before the end.

At the end of the day, Grammy had an incredibly well-attended wake and funeral.  The funeral was just amazing.  The number of people there, and the beautiful things my brothers, cousin, father, great-aunt and great-uncle said.  Over half of my Grammy's 28 nieces and nephews were there.  Great-nieces and -nephews, and some great-greats, too.  Friends, friends of friends.  And, in an incredibly touching gesture, a bagpiper piping music up over the sand dunes in the place she loved best.

At the end of the day...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Pink is one of my favorite colors... but I was getting a little tired of all the PINK on the blog.  So I've played around with things and have a slightly edited look.  A calmer (I hope) background color, a little less stuff going on.  And, most importantly, an updated photo.  Because I have two kids - soon to be three - and the photo I've had up there for a while only showed the one.  She's cute and all, but there's more to my little family than just Laura!  Gavin deserved a spot (albeit a similarly outdated photo, as he now has hair).  Hope you like it!

Monday, August 12, 2013


Being nice.  It should be easy, an unconscious reaction to people and places.  I don't mean being polite - I mean being a nice person, a good, look-for-the-best member of society.

I'm not nice.

I'm friendly, quick to put myself on the line to make new friends.  I can small talk and chat and smile along with conversation.  But I'm also the first to jump at mean-spirited gossip.  I'm the first to gibe, and barb and tease.  The first to be snotty and catty.  And the first to cry when someone is mean to me back.

My niceness has been called into question quite a lot lately.  By those who are closest to me.  And it really hurts.  The truth hurts.  I'm not a very nice person.

My hometown has been rocked the past few years by the ravages of bullying.  Several suicides - three in my sister's class in one year alone - completely needless loss of life, young adults who couldn't believe in themselves any longer, who listened too closely to the mean, not-nice voices all around them.  Most recently, a girl at the school has been so tormented by others around her, she developed a pulmonary embolism.  A blood clot.  In her leg.  From bullying.

Bullying.  And not the physical kind we see on TV, with smaller boys shoved in corners (though I know for a fact that happens in my hometown as well).  I mean the voices and words and whispers and gossip - the kind of bullying of which I am definitely a perpetrator.  Because I am quick to be a friend, but I am also quick to gossip and snark and take a conversation about another person that step too far.

But never to that person's face.  Because I'm a coward and I'm not nice.  Saying that I'm "non confrontational" really just means I'm passive-aggressive and mean and unkind.  My meanness is the darkest place in my soul.  It consumes me.  And even as I try to be a nicer person, I know the darkness is there.  And I find myself succumbing to meanness all over again.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I know I've said it so much the last few posts, but I cannot believe how insanely, life-changingly busy this month has been. We went from a happy family of four thinking about maybe buying a house in the next year or so, to a surprised family expecting our fifth member and fast-tracking that house search.

Today, the last day of July, we received happy confirmation of a healthy 8 week 2 days old baby due March 10th. And we scheduled the home inspection of a house I never thought could be mine for Sunday.

We still need to sell our house. I'll be burying a statue of St. Joseph in the flowerbed as I spruce up the yard tonight, as the realtor takes photos for our listing tomorrow. If you say prayers for random people on the internet, please add our family to yours! We also need this home inspection to go well. Because if something shows up that will keep us from buying this house, I'll be pretty sad.

As crazy as this month was, July was pretty good to our family too.


Monday, July 29, 2013


Confession: I have never bought a house.  I own my house, yes.  But I didn't really buy it.  Neither did Nate.  I mean, technically yes, we bought the house.  But we didn't hunt for it, choose it lovingly over others in a price range, cross our fingers and hope the seller would accept our offer.  None of that happened.  Nate's friend owned it, didn't want it, and offered to sell it to Nate.  That was it.  So I graduated college, moved in with my boyfriend, and haven't left since.

So what this basically means is that I haven't really ever cared about the house I own.  Which means I haven't really cared to fix things in it... until now.  Funny how listing your house makes you want need to fix things.

Nate and I have been consumed the last two weeks by housework.  Nate has been repainting trim and doors, re-caulking windows, patching concrete, packing books and shipping outgrown baby clothes to his parents' house for the time being.  I decided to play electrician.

I didn't take a before picture.  Maybe I should have, but it was just so hideous... Just imagine the largest, ugliest four-bulb fluorescent light fixture.  The kind you'd see in a warehouse.  But put it in my otherwise lovely kitchen.  Then break the ballast to unsure it won't actually turn on beyond the faintest flicker of light.  THAT was the previous light fixture in my kitchen.  And for the record, it hasn't turned on in FIVE YEARS.  For five years, I have lazily used the accent light in the corner, the bulb over the sink, and the lights in the stove hood to cook dinners by.  We decide to move - BOOM.  New light.  Installed by yours truly.  Let there be light!
I mean, seriously.  How cool!  I did that!  And I didn't electrocute myself or burn the house down or anything.

Speaking of burning the house down.  Three years ago, my mother-in-law's space heater caught fire while plugged into our family room.  The appliance caught fire, not the socket, so I wasn't overly motivated to fix it.  But I don't think charred electrical outlet really sells a place.  DONE.  I fixed that, too.  (I also repainted the smokey paint!)
I didn't take a picture, because it really wasn't necessary, but eight years ago I replaced a bulb under the dome of the upstairs light fixture, and then couldn't reattach the dome.  The dome sat under out bathroom counter for EIGHT YEARS.  I got a new part Saturday morning, and fixed that too.  I am on a roll, people!  I do want to replace the bathroom fan, but it's lower priority at this point.

The realtor is coming back Thursday evening to photograph the house.  All efforts have been shifted into CLEAN ALL THE THINGS (and hide everything else).  We took all of the children's toys (save one dollhouse, some dress-up clothes and a few trucks) to Grandma's house.  But who needs toys when there are boxes to play in?  I think the kids will be just fine.

Need an electrician?  I'm thinking of moonlighting on the side.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


It's been an eventful week, to say the least.  A week ago Wednesday, my family packed up to start a long drive to Florida by way of Myrtle Beach for my sister-in-law's wedding.  Wednesday night, I sat at home a little bored, and took a pregnancy test on a whim.  It was positive.  I immediately called the pharmacy about the implications of Zoloft on pregnancy.  Then I called Nate to share our surprising news.

By the weekend, I was still surprised, but feeling incredibly, overwhelmingly happy to be pregnant with our third child.  I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am.  I mean, this little one throws a few wrenches in a few plans... but oh! a new member to our wonderful family!  I am almost as stunned by this feeling of complete and utter happiness as I am by the pregnancy itself.  And I know I haven't had confirmation yet... but I just know, you know?  I feel just crappy enough to know things are growing at a healthy rate.

By the weekend, I had also started thinking ahead to how we'll manage three children.  Things like: our house, my job, day care...

So on Monday, I asked my boss about the possibility of transferring from my current job (where I have to be physically present to work) to an open position, where I could potentially telework three days a week.  She went for it.  By Monday afternoon, I was submitting my resume.  By Tuesday, my boss had submitted the hire waiver to get things moving.

Tuesday, while my boss was moving my new job along (with the warning that HR can take WEEKS to process new hires), I was hopping on a plane to join my family in Florida.

Wednesday, Nate got three HUGE cases.

Thursday, my sister-in-law got married - with Laura attending as flower girl (for her fourth wedding), and me doing one of the readings.

Friday, I received the official offer for my new job.  Four days after I applied.  That has to be some sort of HR record.

Sunday, Nate and I made the decision to step up our plans to move to a larger home (in a nicer area).

Monday, I technically started my new job (but not really because I need a lot of training and this all happened so fast, I'm still doing my previous job).

Tuesday, we picked five houses to see with our realtor this coming Sunday.

Today - one week after the positive pregnancy test - I went to my first meeting in my first official capacity of my new job.

Life is moving at an alarming rate, isn't it?  I'm overjoyed, overwhelmed, excited and more than a little terrified.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How to amuse yourself when your family is away

My family has been at the beach for the last several days.  Without me.  It's been really odd, coming home to an empty house, having sole control over the remotes, eating whatever I feel like cooking myself...

It hasn't been all lonesome.  My sister came for a visit over the weekend.  We went out for pedicures and dinner with some of my friends.  I rearranged furniture to make room for a playhouse (instead of the playpen) and the beloved kitchen that's been stuck in the basement for two years.

I've also enjoyed some beautiful pictures of my family, thank you smart phones with cameras and text messages!

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And also, because I was bored one night, I discovered this.


Because everyone pees on sticks when they're home alone and bored, right?  RIGHT?!

So.  Um.  That was... a surprise...  I'm happy and everything, but very shocked.  Gosh, you mess up your pill packet one or two months in a row... How come no one told me to get an IUD?!  First doctor appointment is July 31st.  I have no idea when I'm due (February?  March?).  I don't feel terrible... but I definitely feel pregnant.  Any name suggestions??  We already used our list up with Laura and Gavin!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Blog Lovin'

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Google.  Always keepin' things real... really annoying :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

In the midst of it all

Work is indescribably busy right now.  And will be for the remainder of the summer.  Frantic, frenetic, stressful... hurry up, wait, rush rush rush... We're all grating on each others nerves, and we're only just getting started.

And then, in the middle of it all, I was able to bring Laura to work for a day.  A day that I really should have been in the hard hat area, helping out.  But instead was sitting at my desk with the sweetest helper imaginable.  She drew pictures while I updated the database.  We left at 3:00 on a day when I probably could have stayed hours late helping.  But some things are more important than work.

Laura's first day of ballet, June 20, 2013:



I got to spend the whole day with my little ballerina.  From breakfast on the train (a powdered donut for Laura!) to lunch with my coworkers to ballet class to dinner out, just the two of us.  I didn't get nearly enough done at work... and it doesn't matter a lick.


*If I don't post too often, it's because I'm trapped in a hard hat construction zone for the remainder of the summer.  Work really cuts into blogging sometimes!

Monday, June 10, 2013



This weekend, I wore a bikini.  A two-piece, tummy-showing bathing suit.  Tummy.  Showing.  All of it, in all it's post-baby splendor.

And you know what?  I didn't turn anyone to stone.  No one looked away from me repulsed by what they saw.  Did I look perfect?  Like a Sports Illustrated model?  No.  But I never have... so why should I now?

I'd like to look better in my bikini.  I hope that's obvious.  I still have some pounds to shed and some muscles to firm up.  But I wore a bikini this weekend.  My daughter was there to see me in it and compare our belly buttons.  She saw me wear something that many would be too shy to put on, and she saw me wear it with confidence.

I wore a bikini this weekend.  And I plan to wear it all summer.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


I am feeling incredibly, superbly and wonderfully confident.  Beautiful.  Self-assured.  Proud.

A whispered You are so beautiful early in the morning.

A sleepy I love you, Mommy, before leaving for work.

A spoken You look too good to have had two children from an acquaintance.

A cheerful You are looking fabulous! from a colleague.

An encouraging Good for you! from a boss.

I hear these words and look in the mirror, and see what they see.  I see beauty, love, achievement.  I see a great hair day, clothes that flatter, confidence, pride.

The more confident I feel, the more I want other women to feel the same.  So I talk a friend into going for a run.  I compliment women on their outfits.  I encourage a gym friend to feel proud of her hard work.  All of this giving and encouraging and supporting makes me feel all the more beautiful.  It's a wonderful thing.



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chore Chart

Laura's biggest challenge in life is listening.  We ask her to do something.  She doesn't. We warn her about making choices.  She ignores us.  We follow-through with a threatened punishment, and all of a sudden she loses it and can't believe this is happening to her.

And last night, after a really bad trip to the grocery store, she said it.

I hate you, Mommy.  I hate everything and I hate you.

That went straight to my heart like a dagger.  It stung me to silence.

Laura, I get angry with you sometimes, but I always love you.  Always.  Right this minute, I am hurt and angry... but I still love you.

Needless to say, Laura did not get a star in the "listening" box of her chore chart.  The chore chart - a strategy we enacted Sunday evening after a really bad day of listening.  Yesterday was her first day, so I wasn't expecting her to really understand earning the stars for her chart... but I was still pretty sad with how poorly her listening was.

We're just trying out the chore chart for now.  Experimenting to see how it works.  I have a chalkboard in the hall, so right now it has a grid on it with each day of the week, and the four chores she is expected to do each day:

Feed Ries

Yesterday, she got three stars.  At the end of the week, we'll review the chart to see if she earned a DVD of "The Princess and the Frog," which is currently balanced on top of the chalkboard as incentive.  We'll see how it goes.  If we have success, I might be in the market for something more permanent.  If not... I'm not sure what to do.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gavin's 1st Birthday Preakness Party!

On Gavin's first full  day of life, I sat in the hospital bed holding my newborn baby boy, surrounded by my family and several nurses, yelling for Bodemeister to win.  He placed, and I realized that Gavin's first birthday would be on a Saturday, and thus on Preakness.  I started planning his birthday right then and there.

Crazy?  Maybe.  But oh!  What a fun birthday party we had!  I knew from the start that I wanted Gavin's party to be all about Preakness - the horses, the flowers, the drinks, the betting, the partying... All of it!  I knew there would be fake Black Eyed Susan flowers (fake, as they're not in season in May), so a few weeks before the party I made my way to Michael's.  Only to discover they didn't have fake Black Eyed Susans.  So I bought some paint and a paintbrush and faked my own fake Black Eyed Susans.  The turned out fabulously!
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My mom flew into town a few days before the party to spend time with the kids and help out with things.  She turned my fake flowers into a beautiful wreath for the door.  Bonus: it's Steelers colors, so I can use it this fall!


You may remember I flipped out over invitations for a while there... I really wanted the invitations to reflect the horse race birthday party I was planning.  And all I could find were cowboy invitations.  Don't get me wrong - they were adorable.  Just not what I had in mind.  As I was just about to lose my mind completely, I clicked over to Paperless Post to see if they had anything at all.  They did!


Meanwhile, my mother had made gorgeous hobby horses for all of the children attending the party.  They were shipped to my house in a cardboard "corral" (painting box).  I kept them hidden from Laura until the big day.  I loved seeing her reaction to the horses!  I'm hoping my mom will share a tutorial on these hobby horses.  They were not overly difficult to make - and are just wonderful to see in action (pictures further down the post)!


I printed some jockey silks from a Word document, and wrote "Happy Birthday Gavin."  My mom and I stuck them to some scrapbook paper pennant flags and strung them on yarn for a banner.

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I found these fabulous jockey hats on Amazon for a few bucks.  The description was a little confusing as to how many hats would come (four or six) - for the record, there were six hats per order (I got twelve!)

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I made Gavin's t-shirt on Zazzle, after scanning his invitation at a very high resolution and then editing out the green background.  My photo editing skillz aren't fabulous, but I got the job done.  I was really pleased with how the shirt turned out - and I did it really last minute, and Zazzle still got the shirt to me on time!

Gavin took himself right over to his birthday present the moment it arrived, climbed on top of it, and began to tear open the wrapping paper.  So we just followed his lead and ran with it.  Gavin opened his presents as they arrived, and couldn't have had more fun with the paper and toys.  This present is a car tower for "Little Wheelies."  Laura loves racing the cars down the two spiral routes.  Gavin loves lifting the elevator up and down and up and down and up and down... Thank you to my in-laws for such a fun toy!

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I wanted the food to be authentic Maryland.  So I ordered catering from a yummy pit beef place near us.  Pit ham, pit turkey, pit beef, shredded pork, potato salad, cole slaw, BBQ sauce and buns for 25 adults - for a really reasonable price!  The best part: they delivered the food!  I am so glad I went the catering route.  I made some Maryland crab dip, cut up some fruit and veggies, and didn't have to worry a thing about food the whole day.


So for drinks, of course I had to serve the Black Eyed Susan punch!!  It was just as yummy as I remember from my Preakness Infield experience back in the day.  Yum!  We went through this whole drink dispenser, and had to make some more!  We also had lemonade, iced tea, soda and beer just to round things out.


So I went a little on the crazy side on Gavin's cake.  I ordered a horseshoe-shaped cake pan, having seen a really cute cake on Pinterest. Nate was convinced I was making a toilet cake - ahem.  I had a vision of the cake covered in Black Eyed Susans.  But again with the whole not in season thing... Thankfully (crazily?) at Michael's, I found some sugar daisies in the baking aisle, as well as some yellow and black edible paint.  That's right!  I hand painted sugar flowers for a one-year-old's cake!  My mom rolled her eyes at me so much while I was painting those flowers.  But you know what?  I think they were gorgeous and totally made the cake!  Sidenote: sugar daisies aren't actually all that tasty to eat.



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Laura made a special crown for the birthday boy to wear on his birthday.  He didn't keep it on as much as she would have liked, but it was pretty adorable!  She was so proud of Gavin all day.  I have had so much fun watching these two the past year.  They really are so close!


Gavin could not wait to get his hands on that cake.  He tried to grab the candle, but settled for a fist full of chocolate instead.

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After we got Gavin cleaned up (he needed a full bath, mid party), we took the kids and hobby horses into the yard for the first running of the Toddler Preakness!  It was HILARIOUS.  We had a "track" for them to run... and not one toddler went the right way!  We ran at least five races before the kids just dissolved into giggles and tag.  We didn't have the best weather for the party, but we made do for those races - and I'm so glad we did!  The races were just as fun and silly as I had hoped they would be!

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Laura had also requested a game of "Donkey on the Tail" in the weeks leading up to the party.  As it was a horse party anyway, I was happy to oblige.  I took that edited photo of the horse from the invitation, converted it to a PDF, and chose the "poster" option in the printer settings at 600%.  Sadly, the kids didn't like being blindfolded, so it didn't work as well as I thought it might, but it was still cute.

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Gavin had a really special and really fun first birthday.  So yeah, I went a little crazy with it... but I don't regret a single aspect of that party!  Everything was perfect.  From the invitations to the cake, I am so pleased with everything we did to celebrate our little boy!

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Disclosure: I was not compensated in anyway by any company for anything I did for this party.  I share brands and companies simply because I was so happy with the results, and I'd like to pass that along!  However, if any of these companies wanna talk, I'm listening ;-)