Thursday, April 29, 2010

This Week On... Law School Live

Time for a little update...

* Tomorrow is B's last first exam. A week from tomorrow, it'll all be over and we'll be on our way to Williamsburg for a fun one-year anniversary vacation.

* That same weekend we'll be celebrating Mother's Day (settle down-- for our Moms, not me), my sister's birthday, and her graduation. Being a Mom of 2.5 herself, it's quite the weekend for her.

* Just made amazing cookies in an effort to use up lots of our random pantry items. Tonight's cookie of choice? Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting. Sounds complicated, but it's not. And it's delicious. Bake me.

* Due to my weird work schedule and the above-mentioned empty pantry, B & I let Papa John make us dinner tonight. And it was delicious.

* Two weeks from Monday we move out of our apartment.

* My car is packed for my weekend Atlanta trip with winter clothes, B's bar review study stuff, and a desktop computer. Plus a shower present and hopefully clothes for me, if I remember to pack. If I could talk B into coming with me, I'd be all set.

* When I come back on Sunday, I'll be bringing the top layer of our wedding cake with me. Good? Bad? Ugly? We'll see!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting

Note to Self: Never wear the skirt with the frayed hem while babysitting.

N, age four: Your skirt has strings. It needs to be sewed up. My Nana could help you.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Things I've Learned from Babysitting

1) Blogger, Word, and every other application I have do not recognize "babysitting" as a word. Gah.

2) Rules and boundaries are in place for a reason. Sharing, counting to 10, and walking the party line are usually a very good idea.

3) Breaking the rules is ok too. "Three stories? Ok."

4) Too much information is a bad thing.
"My tummy is getting full, I can feel the food backed up in my chest. I think I could move it back out to my mouth if I wanted to."

"You know, cows can do that, move their food back and forth from their tummy to their mouth. It's like, all the way down, then 'occupied!' and back up."

"Ha ha! Occupied! Occupied!"

I'm sorry, parents of N.

5) Some days are just hard.
"Today is a good and a not-so-good day."

"That's ok, some days are like that."

"It was the worst day with my friends ever."

6) Punishment, in some form, can be necessary.
"I'm sorry you're strapped in the stroller like your baby brother, but when you don't listen and run directly toward traffic then you end up strapped in the stroller."

7) Kids know themselves better than we think.
"Ok, this place isn't like yesterday. We have to actually sit at the tables and eat; can you do that?"

"No, I don't think I can today. We better go eat in the park."
Editor's Note: He's three!

8) Don't rush. Did you know that it can take a child 37 minutes to eat a mini pack of Skittles? It can. And you can rush them, but not much, and then they're frustrated. Do you know how many Skittles come in said mini pack? Approximately 17. Maybe if we all ate like kids, we'd be a little better off.

9) "Crying it out" is hard. But I'm sure it's harder on the parents than it is on me.

10) Sometimes your hourly rate will feel like highway robbery ("He napped for three hours!") and sometimes it'll feel like chump change ("Yes, he's definitely teething.")

Friday, April 23, 2010

Love These Guys!

So you know that B is doing big things these days. Graduating law school. Approaching one year of marriage with me, a sucess by any standard. Pulling his weight in the couple vs 1 million peppermint patties (thank you, Sam's club). But I haven't told you what his brothers are up to.

Middle brother there is in the process of purchasing his first house. His first house! Did I mention he's a younger brother? We're super proud, especially because he's in D.C. and, from what we hear, home buying is a different beast there. Good luck, K! Here's hoping you find exactly what you want, with plenty of room for us to come visit!

And brother there on the right? He's graduating college early, enabling us to go celebrate his very existance by attending various ceremonies for his double major amidst our tour of wine country. Thank you, J! Once we have a house, you can crash with us anytime. Until then, see the above paragraph. :)
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This week was nuts. B had his last day of class and is already knee-deep in outlining and prepping for his final round of exams. To busy myself and keep out of his hair, I took on all but one babysitting jobs that I was offered. To wit? I found myself sitting...

8 hours Monday
7 hours Tuesday
12 hours Wednesday
12 hours Thursday
5 hours Friday

Great for us, we bought fun things at Sam's to help B prep. Beer, chips, approximately 1 million peppermint patties... you know, the usual.

Today was a great day. I sat for two boys, a three year old and a 14 month old. We went to the kids' museum, played in the park, had a hot dog picnic, then took a 2 hour walk. Whaaaa?, you ask? Well, they fell asleep 15 minutes in and I'd be damned if I was stopping before one of them woke up. I'd rather deal with screaming calves than screaming monkeys!

I have a gig tomorrow night for four hours (ah! A breeze!), but otherwise I'm getting some of my freelance work done, meeting up with the Smith family, and going to bed early. The other night B woke me up at 10 pm from my deep slumber on the couch to tell me to go to bed. It went something like this.

B: Baby, I'm going to put you in bed, ok?

Me: Nooooooo... it's not even 10. It's not even a respectable hour yet.

Running Watch: Beep!

B: Now it's 10. Let's go to bed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"All Growed Up"

Today is B's last day of classes in law school and, quite possibly, ever. Hoorah! Guess where he wants to go to celebrate? Boston Market. Sign me up for some mashed potatoes!

Love you, B! Congratulations!


Sooo, this post needs a longer back-story than I have time for. Long story short, I constantly lie when you wake me up. It's a combination of trying to pretend I wasn't asleep and my deep fall into dreamland, and it's generally humorous.

Of course, now that I have someone to document every moment of my random wakeups, these stories start to come out.

Pause there. Confession #2: I am constantly convinced my alarm isn't set. It's one of my few OCD compulsions but boy is it strong. B is perfect for me. How do I know? He checks my alarm every night, even after he's seen me check it three times in a row, convinced I've somehow shut it off during my "test checks."

This is, of course, problematic on nights when he's up late studying and I have to be trusted to set my alarm (and leave it alone!) by myself.

Confession #3: I hate bright lights when it's totally dark in a room. Ok, now we can move forward.

So last night, B comes into bed after I've been asleep for who knows how long and I hear myself think I'm asking this:

Me: B, can you check my alarm? I didn't want to put the bright light right in front of you, but I'm afraid it's not on.

Cool and collected, right? Sadly, B (and the universe) hears this:

Me (batting the night stand for my phone then holding it in front of his face with my other hand over it): Are your eyes ok?

B: What? They're fine. You're dreaming.

Me: It's bright! How are your eyes?

B: Oh, I get it. (pause) Yes, your alarm is set.

I literally fell asleep to the sound of him laughing himself to sleep. I'm so glad you love me this much, hon. God help us if you didn't!

Adventures in Babysitting

Having dinner with N, four years old:

N: Did you know? I'm Spiderman.

Me: You are? Right now?

N: No, only at night.

Me: What's your favorite thing about being Spiderman?

N: That I can throw webs really far. Did you know that I also have another name?

Me: What's that?

N: Peter Parker (Editor's Note: Sounds like "Petah Parkah")

Me: Wow, that's a lot to keep up with. Do you have a girlfriend?

N: Yes. Her name is Mary Jane.

Me: Does she know you're Spiderman?

N: No. I only play with her during the day.

Me: Do you know any other super heros?

N: Yeah, Batman lives next door.

Me: So this is the safest street in town.

N: Yep. Do you know what the yuckiest bug ever is? A fly. It tastes with its feet.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting

Note to Self: When you promise kids that you'll go swimming "next week," they will remember, you will be forced into the water, you won't own a suitable swimsuit for swimming with a 7th grade boy, and you will borrow your husband's Underarmor shirt to hide the fact that you have a belly button piercing.

Good to know.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Favorite Wedding Memory

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Sienna Says...

This was the exact moment that Sienna tried to explain to Chuck that he was actually already sitting in her car. A moment later Chuck shrugged and wandered away. I wonder what would happen if they went to Disney World and busted on the characters for being too big, or already being on their t-shirts...

Happy Thursdays!

This Thursday, while my sister defended her dissertation, B & I got to take the kids to Chick Fil A for lunch (yum!) and chocolate milkshakes, then home for naps. When they woke up, we learned that my sister had passed. Yeah!!!

Nana offered to take us out to celebrate. Guess where we went? Chuck E Cheese's. No kidding. The kids had never been and they LOVED it. Guess who else loved it? I'm just saying, he's tall, handsome, and has a killer arm for skeeball.

Sienna loved riding the toys that moved, though my sister pointed out that she didn't actually like the movement part, just the part about putting the "pennies" in the slots.

Ella tried everything from the water gun fight to the ball pit to the fishing game.

We all played basketball, skeeball, air hockey, and, of course, ate the three-ingredient pizza. It was such a fantastic way to celebrate such a fun night. B and Tim worked hard to ensure the girls had enough tickets to get little necklaces. Little did we know that they'd pick the stick-on earrings (10 tickets) and suckers (also 10 tickets). Finally my sister went on a bendy-straw shopping spree, just to make sure all the tickets were used.

Driving with Sienna

Wiggles CD playing...

Sienna: We already heard this song today.

Me: Ok, I'll put on the radio.

Ke$ha song starts playing

Sienna: My Daddy plays this song! Will you play the tick-tock song again with my sister gets in the car? She really likes it.

Me: I'll try, but it's the radio, so we have to wait for that song to have its turn again.

Sienna: ...Please?

Me: Maybe Uncle B will have it on his phone when we pick him up.


Sienna: B, do you have the tick-tock song on your phone?

B: What song is that, Sienna?

Sienna: Tick tock on the clock and the party don't stop.

B: Bahahaha... Yes, I can get that for you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Swinging with Sienna

After 1.5 hours of swinging at the playground...

Me: Sienna, maybe we could take a break and have a snack.

S: No, I'm ok.

Me: Well, my arms are a little tired from pushing. Do you think we could take a little break.

S (benevolently): Hm.. Ok. But my arms don't hurt.

Me: But I've been pushing you, so mine are tired.

Two minutes pass...

S: Can we swing some more?

Me: Sure!

S: Are your arms still tired?

Me: Yes, but maybe we'll just swing super high instead of super-duper high.

S: Ok. But this is really low.

Me: I know, I'm getting you up there.

S: You are! You're doing it! You're getting it!

Nothing like having a two-year-old cheering squad!

UVA Softball Tournament

B & I had a blast this weekend at the softball tournament in Charlottesville. Every year, about 50 teams from law schools across the country descend on UVA for a three-day softball (and beer) bender. We love it because we get to see old friends from college and this year was especially amazing because instead of having crack-of-dawn games and cold, windy weather, we had late afternoon games and gorgeous sunshine the whole weekend long.

We arrived on Friday in time to check in, stop by Wild Wings (the hotspot for the tourney), and get to the field in time to hand out the first bum-whupping of the weekend. And by "we," I mean Duke, as I spent most of my time in the lawn chair nursing a sweet tea and a growing suntan.

They won twice on Friday night and didn't play again until Saturday at 5 pm. B & I took advantage of the morning and hit the outdoor mall for amazing pizza and a hearty dose of local culture. I love downtown C'ville! We stopped by the farmer's market and resisted buying every last plant of basil in the place.

After another victory on Saturday, we headed straight to a fabulous Irish pub where we toasted our good fortune and played hour upon hour of shuffleboard. Again, let's clarify that the "we" is used loosely. B & his partner ran the table for over 3.5 hours. That's longer than Titanic. It was almost sad to force them to leave!

Sunday they got a good couple of games in before we lost, knocking ourselves out of the tournament. We got home around 4 and unwound for the rest of the evening. All told, it was a great weekend. B's hip and shoulder are still recovering from various over-use and impact, respectively. We aren't the kid we used to be, but heavens if we aren't more fun now. :)

11 Months!

Woah, we're way close to rounding that one-year milestone. Until then, here's a recap of our fabulous 10th month leading into our 11 month anniversary. Love you, B!

We started our month with a night the beach, then a weekend trip to Columbia, SC for a St. Patty's Day festival with a few of our good friends (B's high school friends and their lovely better halves). We drank our green beer, enjoyed our pizza, and listened to Robert Earl Keen as the sun set over the Columbia streets.

Once we got back, we gave notice on our apartment (!), hosted a dinner for all future 11th circuit clerks heading our way next year, and then headed off again, this time to Texas, where we celebrated the marriage of one of B's frat brothers at a super fun Houston bash.

The next weekend, we headed back to the beach where we helped B's parents spring-clean the condo and enjoyed a few meals with his Mom's side of the family, plus got a little sun on the side.

We stayed home one weekend (woohoo!) before heading out on the 9th for UVA in Charlottesville to the annual law school softball tournament. Where has the month gone!

Oh yeah, we also rocked our classes at school (B) and continued "excelling" (says B) at random jobs including babysitting, editing a cookbook, and writing two travel blogs.

...Why does this suddenly sound like a Christmas letter?

So now we're heading toward the big 1.0. Any advice on how to celebrate? I should mention that between now and then we're packing, moving, going to Atlanta for a wedding shower, taking finals, and babysitting (to date) 126.5 hours. Can I say it? Holy Crap.

Fun times ahead, here we go!

Mostly Better!

Thanks for the prayers. The little one is feeling a lot better and is at home. Keep her, and all the monkeys, in your prayers.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Say a Prayer

One of my nieces is sick. Please say a prayer for her today!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

You Know Your Husband Loves You When...

He puts in the final round of edits on a 333 page cookbook you're proofing before you get home from babysitting. You can keep your dozen roses any day if I can have love like this!

Fun with the Monkeys

This week has been a little nutty. I was off on Monday morning, so I had all morning to do as I pleased (can't really recall what I actually did!), then hung out with Baby H that afternoon. On Tuesday, I got up and hung out with my niece Sienna for the morning and, as always, she was a hoot.

I don't know about the rest of the country, but Durham has been nailed with some severe pollen. B and I washed our cars on Sunday and you can't even tell. His Jeep looks like he went mudding in green sludge. Yuck.

So anyway, off Sienna and I go to the park, where we proceed to climb, swing, dangle, and crawl over, on, and across anything in reach (as well as learn about table saws, but that's a different story). When we got back to the house, she flopped on the porch and asked me to "draw" her, a game where the girls trace each other's bodies, then draw in the clothes-- like paper dolls, only a a life-size scale!

Well, when she got up, I realized I didn't even need to use the chalk. There was a perfectly-shaped Sienna outline in the pollen. "Sienna," I asked, holding her by the pinkie, "Would you like to take a bubble bath?" "Ohhh," she said, "in Daddy's bathtub?" And why not?

So off we went to the bathroom, where I tried my best to wipe off her little legs (which looked like she had on yellow-green leggings) before plopping her in the massive tub and letting her literally swim around for the better part of 20 minutes.

Oh Spring, I love you, but seriously, can we have some rain to get rid of this yucky dust?

Off to hose my car off. I hate even touching the handle to get in these days!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

B & I had the best Easter, best in my memory for sure. We got up this morning and met Mom, the monkeys, and my sister and her husband at church. Going to their church is really fun because I get to see some of the kids I sit for, and boy are they adorable all dressed up for Easter!

We grabbed lunch after church, then B & I enjoyed an afternoon by the pool (it was 90 here!), then washed our cars before getting the fun news that my sister's family was on their way over for dinner, with Indian takeout, to boot!

We had dinner outside by the playground while the kids ran around, the perfect way to finish a celebration of a day. Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting: Star Wars

Me: Ok, I give. You're going to have to explain all this Star Wars stuff to me.

B: (long pause) I could, but then you'd know how much of a nerd I am and I just can't see that being good for me.

ADventures in Babysitting: Star Wars

Me: Ughhh, so tired. Can't go play Star Wars today.

B: What do they make you do.

Me: I have to be Derk Smalls and chase them around.

B: You mean Darth Mal?

Me: Whatever. Do you think they'd let me be Ghenghis Khan, the fat one that just sit in a lump on the steps?

B (jaw drops): Do you mean Jaba the Hut?

Me: Sure.

B: I'm not sure we can stay married.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I hate to do it this way, but it's the only way to get back up to speed! Here are our highlights from the past few weeks...

St. Patrick's Day! We spend the holiday of B's saint (appropriate, no?) with a few of his high school friends and their lovely better halves at the St. Patty's Day festival in Columbia, SC. B and I went down there thinking the "festival" would be what most places have: a few bars in a row with green beer. Don't get me wrong, we were stoked!
So imagine our surprise when we pull up and realize that they're closing off the entire downtown for a festival that begins at 9am with a parade. We ended up getting down there around 11, heading through the fences, and finding the streets lined with beer venders. Beer in funny glasses? Beer in discount refillable mugs? Green Beer? Don't mind if we do!
It was a perfect catch-up weekend, and one in which we were all asleep by 11 that night. Well done St. Patty's Day, if you ask me!

Work! These days, I'm doing a lot, namely babysiting for five families around 30 hours a week total. Now that spring has sprung, it's wonderful! We go outside, build obstacle courses, swim at the community pool, take walks, have picnics, and take some really great naps.
I had to convey to B that, while these all sound like wonderful activities (and they are!), there are still plenty of diaper changes, tantrums, eye-to-eye intentional conversations, lunches fixed (I hate touching those tiny canned hot dogs), and cleaning up. I think it's best captured by our exchange the other night:
B: Hey, there's something green on the back of your shirt.

Me (freezing): I'm going to need you to be more specific, because I've seen a lot of stuff today.

B: It looks like pen.

Me: Oh. Thank God.

Let's just say I shower a lot and toss all my clothes into the hamper as soon as I get home! This week was fun; I called B to see if he wanted to come over and go for a walk with me and my seven-month-old charge. It was fantastic! He and I got to talk, the baby thought we were talking to him, and we got a little exercise to boot (ok, ok, I was tired of pushing the stroller so I made the call... :))

Nana's Here! I've had such a blast hanging out with Mom a little while she's been in town. She and B hit Trader Joe's yesterday so she could take home some fun wine and sample some of their yummy fare. I wonder how we get a franchise started in Alabama...
Mom's really here because my sister is finishing her PhD, which she just turned in yesterday on April Fool's (of all days!). She'll have to defend later (on Tax Day, if you can believe it), but this is a huge milestone. I know Easter's going to be great around here!

Beach Weekend B & I headed to the beach this past weekend for a night to help his parents get it ready for the season. It was so nice to be outside in the sunshine getting things marked off the list while enjoying the great view of the ocean. Sign me up to help every year!
While we helped a little, we spent a lot of time having great meals with his parents and catching up with the rest of his family, who were also in town to help. We've missed them. Hope they come see us in Florida!

Big Move Our next big move is upon us and will be here before we know it. By mid-May, B will have graduated, we will have packed and hit the road for his little brother's graduation, one of my friends will have had a baby, and three more will be several weeks closer! Sure, we're feeling blessed, but definitely keep praying for us!!

Feeling Blessed

Over the past few weeks, I've really been feeling blessed. Busy, but blessed. As you might remember, I've got a few balls up in the air. I'm editing a cookbook, editing a business book, managing a social media campaign, redesigning a website, writing for two travel blogs, and babysitting. Boy am I babysitting.

I was feeling bad and a little stressed about spending so much time away from B and wanting to accomplish all I was doing in a top-notch style (except, of course, for the wording of this blog. too tired to edit thoughts!). And then I started making choices.

I could either hang out with Mom while she was in town and go to the science museum with the girls, or I could stay home and work. I made the choice to go with Mom and suddenly one of my moms didn't need me one morning. Found hours! I made the choice to go with B's family to the beach for a night to help get it ready for the season, and got up at six the morning we left so I could work for five hours before getting in the car and working three more. A full day's work and I still got to spend the afternoon on the beach!

These days, and maybe it's the Lenten season talking, I really feel God blessing both my intentions and my time. I try to get my priorities in order, and I feel like he's rewarding me for that, which is such a wonderful thing! And I know that you're suppose to keep church and state on their own turfs, but I found myself feeling overwhelmingly blessed when I found out we'd be getting a tax return that would replenish the coffers we used to contribute to my Roth. Again, rewarded for trying to do what's right for us and our future.

Not exciting, but peace-bringing, that's for sure! B's on the golf course today and I'm uber-jealous. But not jealous enough to go. Just jealous enough to stay inside with a glass of sweet tea and read People magazine. Ah, the life.

Adventures in Babysitting

Things I've Heard Myself Say This Week:

No sitting on the baby's head.

Penises belong in the bathroom. (Isn't that from a movie?)

Things I've Had Said to Me This Week:

If someone asks to see your penis, you have to say "I'm sorry, it's a private part." (age 3)

And my favorite:
Three year old: You hide the Easter eggs and I'll find them!
Me: Ok. Count to ten then go looking.
Three year old (each time he found one): Hm, you can do better. You can do better. You can do better. I really think you can do better.
Me: Well, you've only found three eggs and I hid eight, so we'll see, right?