Little Guy had his first ever elementary school concert yesterday. He and his fellow first graders recited a poem about Friendship.  As I have had a pretty bumpy 6 (plus) months, and have relied on my friends to listen, bitch, comfort, counsel, hug, understand, and support me….I dedicate this post to my friends.



A friend is a person who wishes you well,

And keeps all the secrets that you like to tell.

Friends share their toys and their storybooks too,

Friends can be older or younger than you.

Friends can be real or made up in your mind,

But they’re always thoughtful and always kind.

Friends can live nearby or very, very far,

But your friends are your friends, wherever you are!
~Risa Jordan


Getting Hosed

Call me a traditionalist. Say that I’m a glutton for punishment.

I like pantyhose.

I like how they make my legs smooth and shiny.  I like how the “control top” keeps things “together” a la spanx. I like how during a New England Winter, it ads that extra layer of warmth.  And along the lines of New England winter, they add color to my pasty white winter legs.  (But just for MORE information, I don’t wear hose in warmer weather).

So I have to admit, that over the last 15 or so years I have rarely purchased pantyhose/nylons. For four years, I lived in California—no need for warmth or tanned-looking legs—I had the real thing going on. The last 10 years, as a stay-at-home mom, I rarely had an occassion where I needed pantyhose/tights.  Once a year …….maybe.

But now that I’m working, I seem to be wearing more skirts, and hence need pantyhose.

My Go-To store…..mainly because of convenience and reputation for “good deals”… Target.  Do you know how much ONE PAIR OF PANTYHOSE COSTS AT TARGET?!?


A Pair.

And they are NOT super-strength that last for several wears.

I don’t want to date myself here, but last time I was buying pantyhose/tights “in bulk” I was paying $3-5 per pair.  GRANTED….. that was a WHILE ago, and I have to take inflation into account….but I really don’t think the technology has improved (clearly) or the material is in short supply.

Sigh.  Seems like I have to go to the mall and start some comparison shopping. For Hose.


The Winter that Wasn’t

Looks like we’re heading to another beautiful spring-like winter week here in Suburban Boston.  By the end of the week, it’s reported to be in the 50’s (again).  I almost wished I hadn’t put my feet in hibernation for the winter season, because I’m thinking sandals or flip-flops might be in order!

Sad, of course, for Hubby who is taking T-Man and Little Guy for a short ski-vacation at the end of the week. Granted, it won’t be 50 deg in New Hampshire (I think), but it will probably be like skiing in mashed potatoes.  I’ve heard from lots of people that the only place to find snow in New England is on the ski slopes themselves. The areas just outside of the ski resorts are as barren as my front yard.

Remember last winter? Record snowfalls?…..a snow storm every three days?

Here is the snow pile from January 13, 2011

2 weeks later....Jan 27, 2011

In comparison, here are this year’s TWO snowfalls….

January 10, 2012

Our second snowfall this year…..

Enough to make foot prints in

And now, it is February 20th, and here is my front yard…….

Pretty……barren, huh?  Being a life-long New England Girl….this is strange to say the least. Perhaps Mother Nature is just trying to even things out after last year?  But I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind one good dumping….just to go sledding, have a snowball fights, stay home from school…..isn’t that what winter is supposed to be like?

Mommy Fail

Everyone knows that being a Mommy is quite possibly one of the hardest jobs.  The rules change, there is no manual, unexpected things happen. We all try our hardest, but sometimes come up short.

One area which I have come up terribly short this year is Little Guy’s Birthday. It’s in the middle of February.  Every year I feel like Little Guy is gipped in some way.  It’s too close after Christmas, I have 3 January Birthdays to deal with first,  the ho-hum cold dreary days of February aren’t very motivating, and then I”m usually focused on planning a short little ski get-away for February break.  Very low on my priority list is Little Guys’ Birthday.  And this year, because of M-Man’s broken arm…..we don’t even have a present for Little Guy!  (but he is SO hard to buy for as he only plays with what his brothers have or sports….and we really don’t need any more balls in this house!)

HOW TERRIBLE OF ME!!!  He is such a ray of sunshine, such a happy guy, and his Bday takes a back seat!!

Luckily for me, he is also very low key. He has *never* asked for a huge party at an (expensive) venue with his whole class.  He’s very content and pleased-as-punch to just invite 3 or 4 of his closest mates for a little get-together.  This year’s fete was a sleep-over, where I invited his friends 2 days before. And can I tell you? They had the BEST time building Lego, playing video games, and playing football in the front yard.

And…..the Birthday cake….I was inspired by fellow blogger who tried to make a LEGO cake for her son’s Birthday.  I’m not a great baker.  (if you have a good memory, you’ll remember I really don’t like to bake.) But because I strive to be a good mommy, and I know good mommy’s make beautiful cakes for their children’s Birthday, I have on occassion tried to create for my own kids.

For T&M’s 7th Birthday, we were living in England, and the boys wanted a Knight-themed party, so I built a castle.

And for Little Guy’s 3rd Birthday, when he was going NUTS over tractors, I ordered a Tractor cake pan from the US and  spent HOURS decorating the Famous Tractor Cake:

This year’s attempt at the LEGO brick cake…..well…..take a look and feel free to comment (NOT)

But the beauty of it is, the kids don’t care. Little Guy loved it…..and he had a great 7th Birthday!!  His smile takes away this Mommy Fail.

And on a side note, I’ve already got NEXT year’s party all planned….and I will call the Baker!  Cheers, all!

Broken….for a little while

QUESTION: What do you get when you have 3 boys, 2 skateboards, a dog, and a tennis ball all outside in February?

(Sounds like a Horrible combination, eh?)

ANSWER:  An ugly mess that results in a broken arm

Last Thursday, yet another mild winter day for us in Suburban Boston, my children went outside. First it was just Little Guy and M-Man, playing hoops. But things weren’t going so well between Little Bro and Big Bro, so T-Man declared “I’ll go outside to keep the peace!” (Thanks T-MAN!)

Not five minutes later, I hear this God-aweful continuous howling outside. Mommy-instinct KNOWS it’s bad.  I run to the front door and open it, but T-Man is yelling from the Basement “M’s Hurt.” Apparantly, Little Guy was getting back at Big Bro by throwing the tennis ball near where he was skateboarding. And the dog tackled M-Man off the skateboard. (BOYS………..ERGHHHHHH)

I find M, lying on the driveway on his left side, unable to move his left arm (did I ever mention, he’s a lefty?).  I get him to sit up, and I check his arms for swelling, bleeding or bruising, but I don’t see any.  I move him into the basement and get him some ice, but Mommy Spidey-sense is telling me that ice isn’t going to help this one…..He’s still howling in pain. And his elbow is starting to swell.

I pack the kids up and go to the local urgent care. I call my mom to get T-Man and Little Guy since it’s around dinner time, and we all know how emergency rooms can be. All in all, we didn’t wait long to be seen, or have X-rays taken. But the shocker was when the doctor came into our exam room, and without going near M-Man, looks at me at said, “I strongly suggest you take him to Children’s Hospital for evaluation rather than an orthopedic around here.”  EXCUSE ME?

I ask, “What exactly did you see in the Xray that you are sending us to Children’s? Now?”

I didn’t understand his Latin medical terminology, but I did hear surgery and pins. Oh boy. I call my mom and text hubby (who is on a plane back home) that we’re heading into Boston.

Dr. Urgent Care was right. M-Man required surgery to place pins in his elbow as he damaged his growth plate. He’ll be in a cast for 4-6 weeks.

And even with a cast from his knuckles to his shoulder, M-Man still wants to play with LEGO.

Our experiences the last few days reminded me of a few things.

First, M-Man is just an AMAZING kid.  Ok, I already knew that. But my time with him re-affirmed it!  Although at first impact, I’m sure his pain was a 20 on a scale of 1-10, by the time we were asked at Urgent Care, he said it was an 8.  By the time we reached Children’s Hospital, he said it was down to a 6. And after 5 hours in the Children’s ER, he stated it was a 4. And throughout the entire evening….throughout the entire 48 hour stay at Children’s….he was smiling the whole time.  He was such a trooper.  His spirit is awesome (and contagious). A total joy to be around and take care of.

I am also extremely grateful to be living 20 minutes away from one of the best, if not THE BEST, Children’s Hospital in the world.  The level of care and compassion is truly second to none. This is the third time (second for M-Man) that our children have had to go to Children’s. I have so much confidence in the expert care they provide. However, taking a trip to Children’s Hospital can be heart-wrenching–seeing so many children who are sick, or disabled, or need the specialized care that only Children’s can provide. It makes me appreciate so much that my children are strong, healthy, thriving children. THANK YOU GOD.

The next few weeks should be interesting. But M-Man is young, healthy, drinks his milk. And with that great spirit, how could he not heal quickly?

Taking up a good chunk of real estate

Miss Lily is cramping my style.

Here is a description of her nightly sleeping habits, which she developed when we stopped crating her at night (which was probably about 6 mths old; she is now 3.5 yrs old).

Every night, we go upstairs to bed. She curls up on HER bed, tighter than a ball of yarn.  She’s a cold dog. A Chilly Lily. We cover her with her blanket.

And then EVERY NIGHT, somewhere around 2am (I think), she jumps on our bed. She would curl up in a tight little ball as not to disturb Mommy or Daddy, and hence not get kicked off.  Her actions were “If I lie here in a small little ball, they won’t notice, I won’t bother them, and I can be warm and comfy.”

I am a very deep sleeper. Honestly, I rarely (.0009999%) feel/hear her jump onto the bed.  But at 5am, or 6am, my legs need to be stretched out after being folded/bent for several hours. Clearly my subconscious knows when Lily jumps up and makes accommodations for her.  :>)~

Hubby, on the other hand, is a very light sleeper.  I have no idea if he knows/feels when Lily jumps on–especially since it’s on my side of the bed. But if he did know, I’m beginning to wish he’d kick her off.

WHY? you ask.

Hubby has been away on business trips 3 out of the last 4 weeks.  With such spacious accommodations, I take advantage of having the WHOLE BED TO MYSELF.  I like the middle, and I  like his side, as much as I like my side.  For a not-so-smart-dog, Lily has clearly noticed this too and also taken advantage of the situation.  (plus, the fact that we have a thick down comforter AND the flannel sheets on, how could Chilly Lily resist?)

She DOES NOT curl herself into a tight little ball anymore.  She spreads her long, lean body out and takes up as much real estate as she pleases.  Clearly, when Hubby was gone, I didn’t notice. I still had the rest of the bed. HOWEVER……with Hubby home, I am cramped. I WANT MY BED BACK. MY REAL ESTATE. She has her own bed……go away mutt!

The Return to Work Experience

Because I documented my desire to return to work as well as the details of my job search, I figured I should write about my Return to Work Experience.

Since December 12th, I have been working for a Social Service Agency who aids the Elder community.  My title is HR Administrative Assistant, but my duties are much more of a Recruiting Coordinator. I am happy to report that I was actually able to find an organization that would let me work from 9am-3pm.  For now, this is a temp assignment so it is offering me a “taste” of returning to work–to see how I like it, how I handle it, how it affects the family.

My first 10 days were mostly administrative Grunt-Work—filing, filing, and more filing.  I would have been tasked with data entry, but my supervisor was having problems getting me access into their HRIS systems.  I pretty much impressed/surprised them with the speed and efficiency of my filing skills.  ;>)

I then went away for 10 days for the Christmas holidays, so I consider my “First Day of Real Work” as January 3rd.  My supervisor had fixed the HRIS issue, so I now had the ability to go into the system and update evaluation dates, change of addresses, new job titles.  I was also given the responsibility of handling all the job postings and resume intake, as well as meeting with candidates, sending out offer letters, and much more.

There have been times  when I have wondered if this is actually a 30 hour a week job.  Either it is not, or I am too quick and efficient, or they just haven’t given me the “meat” of the job yet.  I can’t say that I’m being “challenged” but I am feeling very productive. Luckily, over the past 2 weeks, I have been given more and more responsibility and autonomy. My supervisor and the HR Director are *very* pleased with the high level of detail and integrity I show in my work.  I am constantly being complimented, and have been asked to extend my assignment from March until the end of May.

How has my return to work effected our home life?

Well, for starters, I haven’t heard any squawking from the peanut gallery.

My morning routine with the boys is *exactly* the same.  Lily and I take the boys to the bus stop each morning, and she and I go on a quick walk.  Lily gets the raw deal, as her walks are quite short now, and she is home alone for 7 hours.  The boys now take the bus after school, instead of my picking them up.  When the boys come into the house, they grab a snack and start their homework. On occasion, I have to remind them that their “unwind” time was the 30 minute bus ride. And each night, I make a nice dinner for the family–sometimes it’s casual, sometimes I go all out–just like before I worked.

I have done a few 7pm grocery trips during the week, and I have done “full grocery runs” on either Saturday or Sunday.  It doesn’t bother me all that much, but it’s definitely not the same as going to a nice, quiet, relatively-empty grocery store at 9am on a weekday.

What I have noticed, and perhaps this does bother me a little, is that since January, I have done a ton of errands on Saturdays or Sundays in between basketball games, church, or other commitments. When I mentioned this to Hubby, he hasn’t noticed. But I guess this is the reality of a working mom.

I have been able to keep up with housework.  Back in December, I called a couple of housecleaners. One did come for a meet-and-greet, and I played phone tag with the others. I try not to make phone-calls at work, so I say “I’ll call when the boys do their homework.” But I forget, and the next day I kick myself. But just like before I worked, I divide the household chores into different days, rather than cleaning the WHOLE HOUSE in one day/night. And it’s worked for me. But I am HAPPY TO SAY, I finally did another meet-and-greet with a house cleaner, which came recommended by 2 friends….and I really liked her….so she’ll start this week! (YAY!)

Where do I go from here?

Although I am capable of doing more than just administrative assistant work, I am happy that I decided to re-join the workforce in this capacity. I will admit that I very much underestimated the changes–laws, technology, procedures–in the last 10 years.  This has been a great refresher and tutorial all in one.  I know I’m not “manager” material (yet), but I’m looking forward to a bigger challenge.

The HR Director talked to me the other day about whether I would be interested in staying with the company on a “permanent” basis in a full-time role (the role/title/job description is still being ironed out).  As flattered as I was, I had to turn down her offer because I *really* don’t want to work 40 hours.  I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed filling 6 hours of my day with work I enjoy doing, being part of a team, being appreciated….but still able to come home, meet my boys at the bus, help them with their homework, and make a nice meal where we all sit together and share our stories of the day. I don’t want to give that up. I’m very fortunate to be in a position that I don’t have to work 40 hours (or more). And as I told hubby recently, By me returning to work, I am not breaking the family. If anything, I am enhancing the family because it shows my kids that “Yes, mommies are smart too. They can work.” I’m not deserting them for a job. I want to work while they are at school/work, as not to break the balance or the FAMILY WE CREATED.

I am fortunate to be working with 2 very lovely, dedicated ladies.  I plan on working at this agency through the end of May, or longer if they need me. Maybe they’ll change their mind and want to offer me a perm PT position? If not, that’s ok. I have thoroughly loved this experience, the “taste” of returning to work. And I will know what I enjoy doing, and can focus on that, and find something that “fits”.

Here’s to the future!

A conversation with Little Guy

Recently, Hubby and I had some alone time with Little Guy. And the conversations just put a big smile on my face. We were talking about all sorts of stuff–LEGO Wii games, Basketball, skiing, and other popular little boy topics. Little Guy asked if we could do something special on Monday since there wasn’t any school due to a holiday.  Hubby responded that he would be leaving for a business trip on Monday.

Little Guy: Oh, I didn’t know you were taking a trip, Daddy.  Where are you going?

Daddy: England

Little Guy: Can I go with you, Daddy?

Daddy:  Why do you want to go with me?

Little Guy: I want to go back to England so I can practice my football (soccer).  When are you coming back?

Daddy: I’ll be back on Thursday night.

Little Guy: That’s great. I won’t miss any basketball.  (Obviously, school wasn’t an issue)

Daddy: (chuckling)  I think that’s great that you want to go to England to practice your football.  But I’m not going to that part of England where we have friends (where we used to live). I’ll be in London this trip.

Little Guy:  (in a very soft voice) If we have no plans to go to England any time, how can I become a great football player?

Daddy: But I’ll be going to England again soon, and this time I’ll be staying where we have friends.

Little Guy:  Can I go with you on that trip??

On the Job

I started my job on Monday!!

I have received many texts, emails, and FB posts from friends offering CONGRATS and Well Wishes, as well as questions of “How was your 1st (or 2nd) day?”

It’s a little too soon to tell, but for the most part….all is good.

The commute is great for me–it’s between 20-25 minutes in each directions–all “reverse” commute.

The two ladies I work for are very, very nice. Both mornings, the HR Director, once she settles herself in her own office, comes out and sits down across from me at my desk and asks me how things are going, asks about my boys, etc. She is being friendly and trying to establish a relationship. I very much appreciate it.

The Benefits Manager is very nice as well.  She is usually on “high” speed because she has so much to do, but she doesn’t mind if I interrupt her with questions or ideas. She stops and listens. I appreciate that too.

So far all I’ve really done is filing–all sorts.  Apparently, I’m very good at filing, as I finish my tasks within an hour and a half.  Each day I have provided suggestions or ideas that the HR Director and Benefits Manager hadn’t thought of, and they each wanted me to implement the change. Nothing monumental, but just something that was so intuitive to me, and it works!

Although my hours are 9am-3pm, I have been “done” with all my tasks by 1:30 each day.  I know it’s still the early stages of my employment and I am hoping that more “meatier” stuff will come my way in the coming days. Or maybe they just over-estimated how long it would take someone to do the tasks.  Hubby keeps telling me I have to pace myself better!

I think there was an expectation of sorts (by me? by Hubby?) that I would be tired from working 6 hours a day, PLUS coming home and helping with the Homework, making Dinner, doing Laundry, and everything else that falls under my umbrella. Surprisingly, I have had MORE energy!  I haven’t fallen asleep on the couch yet! When I come home and the boys finish their homework, I am *looking* for stuff to do.

So far the VP is happy, the boys are happy for me, and Thomas Inc. is running smoothly. All after 2 days.

I’ll keep you posted if anything changes!  ;>)