Thursday, December 30, 2010

Toddlering in the New Year

It’s the day before New Year’s Eve, and if you didn’t book a babysitter about a month and a half ago, the chances are high that you’ll be ringing in the new year with your little ones. For people like Husband and I who were unsuccessful at making New Year’s Eve cool even when we were young and childless, we’re thrilled to be spending a night in with the kids (for those of you who simply misjudged the demand for good babysitters, learn from your mistake and calendar a date in November 2011 to reserve your favorite sitter for next NYE right now).

New Year’s Eve is not a holiday designed for the kids. Kids get Christmas, and Halloween and Easter. But New Year’s Eve is all about adults. It involves getting dressed up in nice clothes, staying up late and drinking a lot of beverages that make you want to lay in a dark, quiet room all day the next day. Since toddlers are generally pre-disposed to wake up at the crack of dawn no matter their bedtime, jump into bed with you and speak as loud as humanly possible at all times, New Year’s Eve celebrations and toddlers generally don’t mix.

But just because toddlers and New Year’s Eve are not an organic match doesn’t mean you can’t ring in the New Year with your family in style. All across the country children’s museums and play places are offering “noon” year’s eve parties or special kids’ only celebrations meant to help your kids welcome in the new year on their own terms. (For ideas, check out And for those of you (like us) whose kids are probably too little for even those events, web sites like are full of great ideas of how to celebrate with your family at home.

For us, I usually take the kids to one of those indoor play places and let them run wild for a while. Since I work, we don’t get to frequent these types of places often and it is truly a special treat. But I think this year we’re going to adopt some new traditions in addition to the play place one. I know my kids are at a great age to enjoy the “Bubble Wrap Stomp.” ( And I love the idea of sharing one good thing about each person around a family meal. ( It’d be a great way to set the tone for 2011, and focus on the promises a new year brings.

What are your plans for this New Year’s Eve? Share us your ideas on the discussion tab of our Facebook page.

Here’s wishing you a healthy and prosperous new year!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mind v. Heart

Ahh…the holidays. The best time of year. And for me this has nothing to do with Christmas and New Years. I love this time of year simply because I get huge blocks of time home with my family due my office being closed. I love these blocks because it gives me a chance to do my dream job…the one job I secretly wish in my heart I could have…Stay at home Mom.

Yes its true, in my heart, this “J.D. Mom” longs to be just “Mom”.

I actually envy the women whose hearts want both the working life and mother life. You know the ones that say that even though they love being with their kids, they would work if they had the choice. They say it gives them a sense of identity, or that their kids would drive them crazy if they stayed home. I have tried to feel this way, but I don’t. I never get sick of my kids. And I don’t have much of an identity separate of being a Mom. I bet if you polled 100 people that knew me and asked them to tell you just one thing about me…all 100 people would mention my kids in some fashion. I highly doubt any of them would say “She’s a lawyer”. I actually laugh when people that know me only in my Mom role, such as the dance Moms at J’s dance class, are shocked that I’m an attorney. In fact shortly after I started at my firm, I heard a rumor that some of the legal assistants were talking about me behind my back. Know what they we’re saying? “She’s such a MOM”. Yep, that’s probably the only time that my feelings weren’t hurt from behind-the-back conversations.

So why do I work, when in my heart I want to solely be just a Mom?? Well, like so many people, I struggle with the inner battle of mind v. heart. I work because my mind tells me to…my mind tells me this is the right path…PERIOD. In my mind I know the reality that my family can’t live on my husband’s salary alone and have the life I want my children to have. And so I found myself in a conflict between my mind and heart when my first child was born…and I chose to follow my mind.

So because of my longing for the stay at home Mom job (and it truly is a job, no matter what society may say), a strange thing happens when I’m home for a block of time. It’s almost like I feel like I’m on an audition, a job interview for the job my heart wants. I try to be the best “stay-at-home Mom” I can. I clean and organize my house, cook multi-course and elaborate meals, take the kids on fun adventures, spend lots of time with my husband. And my heart secretly longs to hear my husband say after these auditions “You are way too good at this to work, quit your job tomorrow”.

In the world my heart wants, I get to do everything I want with my kids, my house is spotless, my kids eat delicious and healthy meals, and I’m not too tired at night to spend a little time with my husband. In my reality, or the world my mind chose, my house is NEVER clean (well except when company comes over), my kids stay up later than most so that I can have some time with them, Mac and Cheese and Pizza are frequent visitors to our menu, and I find myself falling asleep when my husband and I try to watch a movie together. So I must admit it is SO tempting to throw caution to the wind and walk away from my job.

But my mind stops me and puts me back to reality.

I know what you may be thinking. Didn’t I blog before that I have no working Mom guilt because of all the benefits my kids and I receive from me working? Yes, you got me. That blog was written from my “mind”. My mind knows that my kids are actually better off because I work, no matter how hard it is on me. My mind even knows that I myself am better in many respects because I work.

And yes I am also the woman that loves my job. I truly love being an attorney. I love getting in front a jury. I love working up a case. I love being a litigator. So how can I love my job but not want to do it in my heart? Doesn’t make a lot of sense does it? I look at my job as the means to live my life. It gives me the power to live the life I want…and so I love it. And obviously if I have to work I want to do something I love. I’m not going to be away from my kids for something I’m not passionate about in some way. So, I chose to be an attorney.

These internal conflicts are all par for the course in the typical, age old battle of mind v. heart. Should we follow our minds or our hearts when a conflict between the two arise?

Even though we all secretly wish to follow our hearts…I think most people if they really thought about it would agree that in this battle its best to side with your mind if there is a conflict. I know people say to “follow your heart” but should we jump into something our mind tells us not to? In my life, when I jumped into something against what my mind said…well let’s just say my early 20’s were not pleasant because of that. In fact, ignoring my mind led to the darkest days of my 32 years.

So fellow working Moms its okay to struggle with the mind v. heart battle. And its okay if you don’t. It’s okay if you are a working Mom whose mind and heart are in harmony with your life. But I wrote this blog for the Moms out there who don’t have it so easy. The ones who deal with the mind v. heart battle everyday.

Although I often say I don’t have a “choice” to work, I guess I did have a choice. I had to choose whether to follow my mind or my heart. For me I chose my mind, probably because my heart loves my children more than myself and so what’s best for them has to come first, no matter what my heart says. So I’m going to buck the fairy tales and say “Follow your Mind”. I think if you actually think about it…in the battles between the mind and heart, when we follow the mind we may complain about it under our breath, and it is often harder, but in the long run we are much happier for following the path our mind navigated.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Past

As it is the Monday after Christmas, I sincerely hope that if you are reading this you are at home, in your jammies, holding a nice hot cup of coffee (or tea or whatever) listening to your kids play with their new toys in background with nothing on your agenda but another day of rest. Unlike me, who trudged into work today on my regular commuter train in my business casual to write a brief that is due on new year’s eve (thanks for that, municipal court judge).

For me, Christmas has always been a mix of excitement and disappointment. This year was no different. Overall, I would say that this Christmas was the best Christmas I can remember. My kids were both so excited for Santa. We’d spent weeks talking about what we’d ask him for, reading Clifford’s Christmas Presents and looking at “Santa Clause trees” in stores. KJ even visited Santa, sitting on his lap and giving him a hug – a huge departure from last year’s crying. Plus my whole family came to town this Christmas – an actual first. Most years one or the other of my brothers comes to town, but somehow the stars aligned and this year we had both. This meant more kids, more presents and just generally more fun. And we celebrated. We did our usual Christmas eve exchange with lots of hors d’oeuvres and punch. We played in the snow and the kids wrested with Uncle G for hours. Some of us even got seats at Christmas mass (thanks Aunt A for being visibly pregnant).

But the very best part of Christmas for me was when my kids came down the stairs at 7:15 Christmas morning. From what I understand, Santa does things a little differently at my house. Santa comes, of course, but he doesn’t wrap any of the gifts. Instead, he sets all of the gifts up around the tree so when the kids come down the stairs they are greeted with a visual unmatched by any toy store.  When my kids came down the stairs and saw that Santa had, indeed come, they literally began jumping up and down with excitement. They were so excited they couldn’t believe their eyes. It was one of those moments that makes an impression on a parent’s heart. I will forever remember my little ones in their pink and blue footie pajamas, jumping up and down with excitement over the toys Santa brought them. Their joy was my joy. It was everything you could ask for as a parent.

Of course, the jumping up and down stopped eventually and we were relegated to taking toys out of boxes and building train tracks, but it was still a great morning. It wasn’t until Husband and I exchanged gifts that the disappointment arose.

Ever since toys have stopped being the main focus of my Christmas I’ve dreaded the holiday a bit. Like a lot of girls, what I wanted most years for Christmas was clothes. Except for Christmas, my parents never, ever bought me any clothes. I was expected to buy my own with the money I made babysitting from the time I was about in sixth grade. As a result, I didn’t own very many clothes, and I was often relegated to re-wearing things. Which explains why I wore the same dress to my eighth grade graduation and my confirmation junior year of high school. But I digress.

The point is, most years I wanted clothes. And my mom was happy to buy me clothes. The only problem was that my mom would only buy clothes from one store, and she would never buy anything from the juniors department. So all of the clothes I received were clothes for middle aged women. I know that my mom meant well, but she always bought clothes she liked for herself, without thinking about what was appropriate for her teenage daughter. As a result, I had an interesting wardrobe and spent many Christmases trying to figure out how many things I could take back without hurting my mother’s feelings. It really just wasn’t all that fun.

In recent years, the Christmas disappointment has shifted from my parents to my husband. Every year he shops for me last minute and buys lots of thoughtless things as if the number of presents will hide the fact that he just bought a bunch of crap that was piled on end caps at Target on Christmas Eve. This year was no exception. I asked Husband to buy me a white blouse to wear to work. Because I know Husband hates shopping and that he would never go to a store other than Target or Kohls to buy me anything, I sent him a link to the exact one I wanted. With free shipping. And 30% off. I even followed up a few days later with another link to another store with a similar shirt so he’d have two options, in the event he needed it.

Fast forward to Christmas morning. I had four packages from Husband. None of them contained a white blouse. Husband bought me three pairs of pajamas, a pair of slippers and a work out video. I know that Husband went shopping for me on December 23. I know because he called me to ask my shoe size (as a result, I also knew one of my presents would be slippers, which, despite the phone call, didn’t fit). As I opened the first pair of pajamas Husband tells me that he knows it is the wrong size, but it was the only size they had left. Not only is it the wrong size, but it is the exact pattern he declared his “least favorite” when we looked at them at Target a few weeks back. Following this, I opened two more pairs of pajamas that not only were a style I would never wear, but were clear indications that unlike my mom, Husband does shop in the junior’s department. Needless to say, they are all things that will be going back. And, like Christmases past, I was disappointed.

I think that I am worth more thought than a December 23rd grab and gift. If Husband hadn’t waited until the last minute, he might have had a choice in sizes. Or patterns that didn’t involve peace signs or reindeer with heart-shaped bottoms. If he had spent two seconds and clicked the link I sent him, he could have had Christmas shipped right to his door. But Husband couldn’t be bothered to think about me until there was no more time to put it off. So he bought a bunch of crap that was convenient, and now I’ll have to pretend to like it or spend time I really don’t have waiting in super long lines to take it back. Merry Christmas to me.

I’m tired of being disappointed at Christmas and being thought of only at the last second. Although I sound ungrateful, I think I’m a pretty good wife and deserve better. It’d be one thing if he accidentally bought me the wrong size or if he picked out something he’d thought I’d like. It’s an entirely different thing that he knowingly picked out something in the wrong size that he already declared he didn’t like just to cross me off his list. So I told Husband this. And he took it well. But I don’t really expect things to change. After all, this year was an improvement over the year he gave me his old cell phone.

Am I alone in the Christmas disappointment? It doesn’t seem like I’ve ever talked to anyone who has expressed anything but gratitude for their Christmas gifts. Am I simply out of line? I am grateful that we are in a position where Husband could buy me something. Should that be enough? Am I being selfish in wanting him to buy me something that shows he actually considered what I might want or like or need?

I don’t know what the answer is, but I’ve decided to remember this Christmas as the Christmas my kids jumped up and down with excitement over the toys Santa brought. The disappointment over gifts from Husband will wane like the returns line and I won’t think of them again. That part of Christmas is Christmas past. 


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Remember that scene in It’s a Wonderful Life when Jimmy Stewart runs down the street screaming his Merry Christmas’s??

“Merry Christmas Town Hall”, “Merry Christmas Movie House”.

I love that scene. Thank God you can’t hear me while reading this blog otherwise you would have to endure my Jimmy Stewart impression.

Okay, so I’m no Jimmy Stewart and if I ran down the street screaming Merry Christmas, I would either keel over from exhaustion (which reminds me that I need to add weight loss as a New Years’ resolution) or get pulled over by the Davenport Police Department. So, allow me to “Jimmy Stewart” myself in blog form today.

“Merry Christmas J, H, and L”. I cannot say enough how much my children play a role in my life. Wait a second, they don’t play a role…they ARE my life. I truly believe that my life started when they were born. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God that I have them with me. They are truly the greatest people to walk this earth and I am so honored to be their mother. I love cuddling with L, laughing with H, and accepting fashion advice from J.

“Merry Christmas Todd”. I don’t say it enough, but I wouldn’t be anywhere without my husband. He is my rock, my best friend, and my soul mate. He has taught me to love in a way that is so profound, so deep, that it has changed everything I thought about love. Sure I wish he would pick up around the house and I probably won’t stop nagging him…but I don’t regret a minute that I chose him to be my partner and the father of my children.

“Merry Christmas Mom” I am one of those lucky few that can honestly say (and not just with a Hallmark card) that my Mom is my best friend. She has always been the one constant in my life. I know no matter where I go, she’ll be there to help me. She knows me better than anyone and can read my mind so clearly, that I often pretend to think of something else if I want to hide something from her. She is also the reason I am able to be the Mom I am today.

“Merry Christmas to my Firm” I am so honored to be a partner at my law firm. I love working at my firm. The staff is amazing, my partners are supportive, and the work is exactly the type of law I am passionate about. If I have to be away from my kids, which my school debt and credit cards dictate that I do, then I want to be here. I am so blessed to own a piece of such an amazing company.

Merry Christmas to my Facebook Friends” You will often hear me mention Facebook in my blog posts. I LOVE Facebook. Not only has it allowed me to show off thousands of pictures of my children and digital scrapbook pages, but I have reconnected with friends that I would have never had the opportunity to otherwise.

“Merry Christmas Package”. My best friend is Jean, my fellow JD Mom. I met her in law school and since then she has become such a part of my life, we have nicknamed each other “Package”. In fact, she isn’t my best friend…she is my sister. I don’t get to tell her enough how much she means to me, but she is the kind of friend that understands you even when you don't understand yourself (if that makes any sense).

“Merry Christmas JD Moms”. I have to give a special shout out to Karen and Jean, my fellow JD Moms. When Karen first asked me to co-create this blog with her, I had no idea what this would become.  I mean come on…I’m just a Mom, the most interesting and thought-provoking topics in my life are “Where are Max and Ruby’s parents?”or “Why do Dora’s parents let her wander across the world alone?”. All joking aside, I am so grateful to write along with these two amazing women.

“Merry Christmas to You”. Since we started this blog in September, I have gotten many emails and Facebook notes from various readers of this blog. I greatly appreciate your comments and praise on the blog. I love the emails from the readers who say “I know exactly what you are going through” or “That SO happened to me”…because that is the purpose of our blog. We are all in this together. I know I speak for Karen and Jean when I say a special thank you to all of you for supporting our blog.

Okay, so I know this would have been so much more dramatic if I would have channeled Jimmy and ran down my street yelling my greetings…but you get the point. On behalf of myself, J, H, L, and of course my fellow JD Moms I wish you a Merry Christmas!! Please leave me some comments or send me messages with what you and your family did over the holidays…I love to swap crazy family stories (although trust me I'll always win)!!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home for the Holidays? Not Likely...

It's holiday time - YAY!!  It is time for Santa, Jolly Holiday Lights, Christmas cheer, good will towards men (and women), and (you have read from Mandi's earlier post) stress for moms.  In addition to shopping for just the right present and trying not to eat all of the yummy treats at work, I have (like many of you) the stress of traveling to see family for the holidays.  On Wisconsin...

Even when I was very young, I realized that I was extremely lucky around the holidays.  We have a very small family and everyone gathered in one location for Christmas.  My Grandma Z always came to our house and was welcome at my Grandma and Grandpa F's house for Christmas dinner.  My aunt and uncle and cousins were always there (typically after a long morning of travel) and we enjoyed spending the whole day together.  My mom always had "the best turkey ever" and there was more food then you could imagine.  Sure, there was the typical family squabbles and too much pie, but I couldn't have asked for more perfect family togetherness. 

Unfortunately, times change.  My family lives in different states and getting together over the holidays is almost impossible given school and work schedules, distance and other family obligations.  Plus, when you get married and have kids, you have a whole other family to please.  And well, my in-laws...Remember that saying "If you don't have anything nice to say..."  I am keeping my mouth shut!

So when I had A & B, my hubby and I decided to make sure that our girls always woke up in their own beds, and Santa always knows where to land.  Plus, both hubby and I grew up with this tradition.  Now, for those of you who know me, this was a little selfish on my part, as it meant we would always see my parents for Christmas (they only live 2 miles down the road).  But it does mean scheduling travel to see my in-laws. 

So Christmas afternoon, we will again make the trip to Wisconsin.  And in addition to the stress of Christmas cards, shopping, wrapping and work; I will also be doubling up on the laundry, packing and stressing out over our travels.  And don't even get me started about my in-laws' Christmas lists...

So whether this Christmas finds you on the road or snuggling by the fireplace, stay warm, keep happy thoughts in your heart, and enjoy some holiday treats.  I wish all of you the best! 

Jean Anne

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

That’s Why They Call the Dad

Today I got the call that all daycare mothers dread: I got the your-child-is-sick/hurt call. Usually I avoid these calls. Daycare is located on site at Husband’s work, so they always call him first. And so far, that’s been a pretty great arrangement. I’m good with sick kids, but I am terrible with the blood/injury stuff. I freak out. I ALWAYS think the injury is the end of the world and requires medical attention. I ALWAYS jump to the worst case scenario. Of course the worst case scenario is rarely the actual scenario, but I lose my ability to think on my feet and reason when my kid is sick or hurt. Plus, the site of my children’s blood causes me to feel a little lightheaded.

But Husband, he is a rock star when it comes to bleeding kids. He can calm the kids down and assess the damage with a cool, calculating eye. In the midst of kid screaming chaos he can make the right call about whether something needs medical attention or not. And generally, he can get everyone back on their merry way. He’s so good at what he does that sometimes he goes back to work and forgets to tell me about it at all.

But today, I was the only parent to call. Husband is on vacation from work this week, and dropped the kids off at daycare so that he could take care of a few projects at home without a bunch of little hands “helping” him. Plus, this is the week that daycare makes those cute homemade Christmas presents for mommy and daddy and I really wanted whatever it was our kids would be making. So, they went to school and daddy went home to work.

But that meant at 1 p.m. today, I got the call from KJ’s teacher. She starts by apologizing for calling me at work, which makes me immediately think KJ has spiked a fever. After all, if KJ were hurt, there would be no need to apologize, right? Every parent would want to know if their kid was hurt, so there wouldn’t be a need to apologize. Fevers are much less threatening. So I start calculating how much time I might have to get to the daycare and get him out before the one hour time limit on sick kids expires. And then I hear her say “blood.” It sinks into me that KJ is hurt, not sick. So much worse.

We’ve had an interesting run with daycare phone calls regarding hurt kids. I’m pretty sure they call Husband every time one of the kids gets injured at school and depending on the severity, they either handle it or he goes there to determine what needs to be done. It’s understandable that daycare only calls one parent. And it’s understandable that they call the on site parent. But since Husband and I don’t communicate during the day, it has caused problems from time to time when I call, say, to check on whether Sweet Pea is eating at school and they mention in passing that they gave her chest compressions when she stopped breathing after her fall today (imagine that freak out).

Today was nowhere near that bad. KJ’s teacher calmly told me that KJ fell climbing up a piece of playground equipment. She honestly told me that none of the teachers saw it, and that KJ did not bring it to their attention. She said that he simply went on playing until one of the teachers noticed blood pouring from his chin. When the teachers realized KJ was hurt, they whisked him away from the playground like the biohazard that he was, and took him to the nurse to determine the extent of the damage.

But then we hit a snag. The nurse wasn’t sure if KJ needed stitches. It wasn’t that KJ wouldn’t let them look at the cut. To the contrary, he was a model patient – he didn’t cry at any point at all. But the cut was in a difficult place, and it was kind hard to tell, so they wanted Husband or I to come look at it to see if we wanted to take him to get stitches.

I called husband and immediately sent him to daycare to pick up the kids. We live a long way from daycare, so I spent about an hour nibbling my nails and worrying about what kind of condition KJ’s chin might be in. I couldn’t work at all during that hour. All I could think about was what his face was going to look like and how were we – people without any medical training (umm, and with me being approximately 40 miles away) – going to determine whether KJ needed stitches if a nurse could not.

When Husband got to daycare and finally got a look at KJ’s chin he called me. “It’s not too bad,” he said. “I’m taking them home.” Despite not being able to see KJ’s actual injury, I immediately second guessed Husband’s decision. After all, if the nurse couldn’t tell if KJ needed stitches, how was Husband making such a quick decision? I asked a million questions about the cut. The size, the depth, the shape, the amount of blood. I asked about the thing he hit his chin on. And Husband answered, somewhat vaguely but probably to the best of his ability. In the end, I begged Husband to stop by the pediatrician on the way home. Just to get their opinion. I told him to tell them his crazy wife made him go. But he stood firm. He did not want to drive the (literally) two miles out of his way for a second opinion. He did not think KJ needed any more medical attention and he was going home. And I had to relent. I was stuck at work, he had to make this parenting decision.

It was a terrible feeling not having any control over a health decision for your kid. I felt like Husband wasn’t taking the cut seriously, and basing his medical opinion on the inconvenience of lugging two kids into the pediatrician’s office. So, I did what any good mom would do. I sent my mom to look at the cut.

Nothing can capture the relief I felt when my mom called me and told me she too, thought KJ wouldn’t need stitches. The cut was a lot larger than Husband had represented to me on the phone, but it wasn’t gaping or bleeding or any of those terrible things that require medical attention. Husband had made the right call.

When I came home from work that night I apologized to Husband for second guessing him. He had acted with KJ in mind, and I should have known he would do the right thing. Husband took it well, and actually said (and I think meant) that it was nice to have my mom as a second opinion. And he said he knew how upset I must have been, imagining the worst without being able to do anything about it. As he put his arms around me to give me a comforting hug, Husband very quietly said, “That’s why they call the dad.”


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The New Generation of "Virginia"s

It's hard to believe Christmas week is here! Are you ready?

I can see you all shaking your heads "NO" with me. Of course you're not ready. I mean come on, before you read my blog you were probably online trying to find places that can guarantee next day shipping for a gift you forgot to get!

I'm still not fact after I finish this blog I have yet another night of wrapping ahead of me. Well that is unless I run out of Scotch tape for the 100th time this month. Can they not invent a larger roll of tape? Seriously?

As Moms we're never ready for Christmas. We stop the crazy holiday chaos simply when we run out of time to do anything else. I, like many Moms, get so caught up in the details of Christmas I start to resemble that guy from the old Dunkin Donuts commercials...time to send the christmas cards....time to get ready for a christmas concert....time to wrap the presents...time for the office christmas party...time for christmas baking...time to pick out presents for teachers. Between trying to schedule christmas pictures at a time that none of the children are sick, to fighting for parking spaces at the mall...Christmas is just plain exhausting. I feel like a chicken with my head cut off most of December. 

In the midst of the Christmas chaos, I can't help but miss the holidays when I was young. Christmas was amazing when I was a kid.  The reason was plain and simple...My Mom.  My Mom has more Christmas spirit than anyone I know. She IS Christmas to me. My Mom starts decorating the day after Halloween and wears nothing but red and green for about two months straight. Not only did Santa bring us mountains of presents, but he made scavenger hunts for us to go on Christmas morning. I can close my eyes and still hear John Denver and the Muppets Christmas Together in the background while we drove to pick out a fresh Christmas tree. I can still see the Bubble lights (where did those ever go by the way) and ornaments on our tree.  We won so many contests for Christmas lights (think Griswolds), they eventually told us we couldn't enter anymore. My Mom always did everything she could to make Christmas a magical time.

But as I grew older...I lost the magic of Christmas.

Well...that is of course until I had children. 

This year marks the first year my children are actually really into Christmas. Sure they've always enjoyed it, but now they are at the age where they (well except L) understand Santa Claus.

Last week, my cousin recommended I check out Portable North Pole (  For those of you who don't know, PNP is a website where you can design a video for your children of Santa talking to them. Santa says your child's name, looks in their file (that has pictures of them in it) and knows personal details about their life. So one night while my children were playing, I made their videos.

Later that night I logged on to our email and exclaimed: "Ooh, J and H come here...Santa emailed you".  I then played each of the video for my children.

What happened next will live in my memory forever. My daughter, 4 years old, went absolutely crazy! She could not get over that Santa was talking to her! She screamed with excitement at such a level I could hardly understand her...

"Mommy, he knows my name!! Mommy, he knows where I live! Mommy he said he's coming to see me".

My son, H, watched his video. He tipped his head to the side at times and didn't make eye contact with the computer, completely shy. Although he didn't reach the decibels his sister did, I could see in his eyes the reality that Santa was REAL.

In the span of 10 minutes, I forgot about Christmas lists, mounting Christmas expenses, parties, cards, family drama etc. and just basked in the glow of true Christmas Spirit. I was brought back to my childhood.

So, yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus...and now apparently he is cutting edge with emails and videos! Thankfully, the magic and wonder of Christmas still exists and we can relive it everytime we look in our children's eyes.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Nice Mommy Vs. Mean Mommy

B commented this weekend that she wanted me to be “Nice Mommy.” I asked her what she meant by “Nice Mommy” and her response was “you don’t yell or get mad at me.” This was of course, after I had yelled at her to get her coat on so we could go to lunch. For full disclosure, the yelling came after 3 times of politely asking her to put on her coat, with no response from B.

Lately, it seems as if I am becoming more of “Mean Mommy.” I don’t know if it is the stress of the holiday season or realizing that my girls should know better, but I am less and less patience with my 4 ½ year olds. Or…my hubby thinks I am finally starting to not let the kids walk all over me.

Yes, I am guilty of being the “Nice Mommy” and giving out excuses every time my kids did something wrong. If they needed a blanket, I would go get it for them instead of making them get it themselves. If they threw a fit at bedtime, it was because I had kept them up too long and they were over tired. If they didn’t try a new food, it was because I am a picky eater. The excuses go on and on…Additionally, I often feel guilty that I don’t get to spend a lot of time with them because of work, so any time I do spend with them, I want to be happy. I don’t want to be mean – especially if we only get to hang out at night for a few hours.

But after the girls’ teachers told me I was raising drama queens, I knew something had to be done. So no more letting A & B tearing up the house or talking back (yes, this has already started). I guess “Mean Mommy” needs to be more assertive. And I don’t mean corporal punishments or boarding school, but I don’t think cleaning up after themselves or answering questions when asked are terrible tasks. Even if it means no more “Nice Mommy.”

Is anyone else in the same situation as me? Any suggestions?

Jean Anne

By the way (or BTW if I were texting this), I really like being “Nice Mommy.”

Friday, December 17, 2010


Yesterday at work I received an e-mail from a partner about a web site called ( The web site is designed to encourage people to describe who or what they appreciate in life. The site is, of course, doing this for advertising purposes – they plan to submit this list as the longest, most sentimentalist holiday letter of all time to the Guinness Book of World Records. But business purposes aside, it is an uplifting site.

As you might imagine, the things people list as being appreciative of vary widely. But for the most part, the things people appreciate most are simple things. Like, “loving someone and having them love you back” (no. 4271), “being a part of something” (no. 4214), “second chances” (no. 4155), “making it through a tough year” (no. 4590); “my faith”(no. 4546); “the chance to make a difference” (no. 4500). People also were also very appreciative of each other, sometimes listing the names of people who made a difference, other times listing descriptors like, “my rock star kids” (no. 4487), friends who come early and stay late” (no. 4295), “my mother, who works like there’s no tomorrow, for my tomorrow” (no. 4337); and “the guy who rescued me when my car got stuck in the ice last night” (no. 4133).

What a great message for this time of year. As we wrap up (pun intended) the final shopping days and start planning our holiday dinners, it is easy to get distracted by all that “has” to be done or the pressure of having a picture-perfect holiday. But no matter what’s under the tree on Christmas morning, we all have things to be thankful for.

I encourage all of you to go to the site for a few minutes today and read what people are appreciating in December 2010. It’ll lift your heart, and possibly make you laugh (see no. 4133). It’s just the thing to help each us keep what’s truly important in perspective at we head to the final holiday stretch.

And, if  reading all these wonderful things that people are thankful for in their lives doesn’t quite push you over the edge into a happy mood, remind yourself that today is Friday. And next week has a holiday. 


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Aren't I supposed to be celebrating?

As I mentioned in my last week's blog I was recently made a partner at my firm. And as I also mentioned, it was a huge career accomplishment for myself. This past week I have been starting to plan for entering 2011 as a partner at my law firm. I must admit sometimes I don't think this is real, am I really a PARTNER?

I knew I would be excited to be a partner, I mean I have wanted this for several years. But what I didn't know is that I would be dealing with a ton of other emotions on top of the excitement.

I guess I was naive back in law school when I thought that partnership was this amazing world, where you didn't have any more worries, financially or professionally. The stresses of being a new associate would be washed away and life would be good.  Even when I started working at my firm I would look at my partners with amazement...they seemed to have it all. I mean who wouldn't want to be their own boss?

Well, let me tell you now...that ideal world is not what it seems. Being a partner in a law firm is much more than a title. With the prestige comes the reality of what the term means.

Partnership is scary, plain and simple.

First of all, there are the financial worries. I am going from a set salary to a percentage based solely on what the firm brings in. No floor, just a percentage. As an employee I knew what to expect twice a I have no idea. My husband and I are its hard to grasp how our budget will work with this uncertainty. Now we are worried to spend any money, which of course is not the best situation to be in at Christmas.

Second, there are the worries of  being "cut loose". Being a partner means no more insurance, no more tax withholding, no more bonuses, or other associate benefits.  No more employer. Now I am lucky that my husband works for a union factory and therefore has excellent benefits, but still the idea of no one taking out taxes from my check scares me. 

I also started to feel a certain sense of self-doubt from this news. Being a partner means that I now own my firm...a firm I truly love and am fiercely loyal to. I have always felt an attachment to my firm and the attorneys there, but now suddenly with this title to my name I feel so much more close to it. This is MY firm. And with those feelings, comes I good enough to own this firm? Can I do this? Can I stand side by side with my partners and keep my firm's reputation strong?

Since I have been made partner, it has caused me to think about everything in my career. I suddenly have a need to do my very best for this firm. I have always done my best as an associate, but now...I feel the need to do more. It's a strange feeling...just being given that name makes you want to step up your A game.

And with all these feelings of course comes the great worry of how is this going to effect my family. Will partnership change me? Will it change my family? Will it make it harder for me to balance my life? I mean now there is so much more "weight" placed on the work side of my life scale. Can I still balance everything?

I think its funny how when you are an adult, the greatest events of your life always come with some added stress and worry. Maybe it's a sort of the "there's no such thing as a free lunch" principle. Take for example when I was pregnant for the first time with my daughter. I had never been happier, I was so excited that I was going to be a Mom, the one thing I had wanted most in my life. But in the midst of my excitement came the worry about being a good Mom. Or how about the happiness I felt on my wedding day. I was so excited to marry the man of my dreams, but as I put on my veil and did my makeup that morning, I wondered to myself, will we live happily ever after? Is our love strong enough to survive 50 plus years?

So as adults all the good things in life come with some "bad".  It's almost like the stress is the price we pay for our happiness.  I must admit I miss being a child when the good things in life came without an ounce of worry or an inch of fear. You could just be happy and enjoy your good just saw the big picture, not the details!

But at 32, I'm well past those days. Now the greatest things in my life come with the worry, the stress, the zillion questions. But you know what...its all worth it. I realize that this partnership must really be a good thing, because everything that I have gotten that has been amazing in my life: marriage, children, etc. all came with this worry.  So maybe my worry, my questions, my doubts about this new phase in my life just means that it is going to be amazing!

So buckle up...because ready or not here it comes!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gimme a Break (and Break Me Off a Piece of that Kit Kat Bar While You Are At It)

A little over 2 months ago, I got a new job.  This was wonderful news, especially in today's economy.  At first I was a little hesitant, as I would be a manager again, but I was familiar with the job responsibilities and extremely excited about the people I would be working with.  Additionally, in my welcome discussion with my manager, he made very clear that he was a family man and that family always comes before work.  What a relief!  As a working mom, it is sometimes very difficult to explain to your manager that you can't come to work today because your kids are sick or you have a school party to attend. 

So I jumped into the roll and began learning new systems, meeting new people and drafting new processes and procedures for my new team.  I was coming home energized and loving my new role.  Plus, my manager and co-workers were very supportive in both my roles as a manager and as a mom.  In this role, I was finally starting to feel confident in my abilities as a manager and in the operational risk field.  Yes - I was finding my career path and it was good. 

Unfortunately, it was (is?) too good.  While I don't often toot my own horn, I believe I am actually pretty good at my job.  In my position, I must work with various groups, gather information and distribute it correctly, all while reviewing it for accuracy.  And yes, it helps A LOT that I like to talk (or "make the chat.").  So I have been asked to work on specific projects. 

Thoughts that run through my head are: "Great - people clamoring for the new girl!  Awesome - I can really impress my manager and show that I am a great hire!"

But being wanted means that the work load increases.  It often means I don't get to pick up my girls from daycare or I leave before they wake up.  It also means my hubby gets to hear them say "Mommy works too much."  And the working mommy guilt adds up...

So when do I get to be both?  When do I get to be the great worker and the great mommy?  And honestly and selfishly, I really like my job and like being good at my job (thank goodness I don't have to write for a living - as I think that sentence wasn't written very well!). 

Sorry for the vent.  Maybe it is time for vacation?

Jean Anne

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An Early Christmas Present

As an early Christmas present, Sweet Pea has started potty training herself. That’s right. My not-yet-two-year-old is potty training herself. If I had anything at all to do with it, I’d try to take the credit. But Sweet Pea is doing it (very slowly) all by herself.

It all started about two months ago when out of the blue, Sweet Pea told us she wanted to sit on the potty. Parents who have potty trained a kid know that Sweet Pea’s request was a make-or-break moment: potty training kids go through phases where they love the potty or hate the potty and won’t go on it for anything. We knew that it was important to make Sweet Pea love the potty. So we put her on. We gave her a book to read (to those of you who may visit my home, it is a dedicated bathroom book. Please do not freak out when you see the second, non-bathroom copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar floating around my house). We gave her pape-pape (Sweet Pea’s word for t.p.) to play with. At first, Sweet Pea wasn’t sure. But soon enough, we were down to only one or two diapers a day. Amazing for a twenty month old.

But each and every week we experience a set back: daycare. Daycare isn’t truly equipped for handling a potty training toddler. Sure, the room has an attached, little person bathroom, but it is used primarily for storage. Since most kids move out of the toddler classroom on or about their second birthday, there apparently isn’t much demand for the toddler throne. So the teachers just leave Sweet Pea in diapers.

This situation frustrates me. First, because Sweet Pea is telling us that she has to go – indicating that she has already mastered one of the more difficult parts of potty training. I want to reward her for understanding what her body is telling her. And I want to reward her by letting her use the super-cool, only-big-kids use it potty. She needs the positive reinforcement, because if she doesn’t get it now, it’s going to be super hard to get it back say three months from now when she’s moved to the other classroom that does focus on potty training. And I’m frustrated because it means every Friday we start from scratch with Sweet Pea. If we could just build on the progress instead of having to start over, I’d stand a chance of getting both kids out of diapers in the calendar year 2010. A Christmas-letter worthy accomplishment indeed.

As it stands right now, however, Pampers will continue receiving a large portion of my disposable income for the foreseeable future. With no transition date set in stone and a backlog of kids, Sweet Pea isn’t moving into twos any faster. And, given her impish size, she is more likely to stay in toddlers longer than she otherwise might. So the full-out potty training process will be delayed. But in the meantime, I’m going to make the home potty the fun-est, best, big-girl place you could ever want to be. Daycare might not be excited about the prospect of no diapers, but my wallet is!


Monday, December 13, 2010

The First Cold

It was 12:30 p.m.. I was sitting in a mediation in Burlington working on settling a large workers compensation case. I saw the light of my Blackberry flashing at me. It was a message from my husband, a message I knew would be coming sooner or later…

“L is sick, he looks terrible”.

Okay, so I probably gave you all that build up and now you are thinking…so your son was sick, so what? Is this really all you have to blog about today?? Well, this wasn’t just any cold that had struck my little 6 month old, it was his FIRST.

L’s first cold had me feeling so many emotions. First of course, I pictured my little baby having to deal with the same cold I had been struggling with earlier in the week (and he couldn’t pop a pill to make it go away). But, L’s first cold was a cruel reminder that winter was finally here. I hate winter. Winter to me equals the time when daycare turns from a place of fun and education to a place of germs, colds, and hand sanitizer. The time when every day you dread walking into the daycare door because you don’t want to see the postings of what disease has hit the center. 4 years ago, I didn’t even know that humans could get Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. Now? Well apparently not only can they get it…but they get it often.

Now L is not your typical daycare kid. I mean not sick until 6 months old? That has to be a record. For J and H, they were sick within days of starting daycare. L, through every sniffle and cough his fellow classmates had, stayed healthy. But now his luck had run out.

So there I was sitting in a mediation, knowing that I could not get home to comfort L. I hated that feeling. I’m always the one that is there when my kids are sick. But this time, I couldn’t be there. Now luckily L was at home when this hit, and so my husband was there, but I wanted to be there. Come on, everyone knows a mother’s love is the only cure for a baby’s cold, right?

The fact I wasn’t there that afternoon stacked on top of my already growing mountain of guilt surrounding L. Guilt that I don’t have nearly as much of for my two older children. I feel sorry for L a lot of the time, because he came into my life during a time when my life was the most chaotic. I mean J had it easy…I was able to spend all my time with her because she was my first baby. H had it easy too because he always got my attention because he was colicky. No one wanted to be around a screaming baby, so everyone took care of J, and gave me H (hence the reason I always say H taught me patience). But L…my baby… has to deal with a Mommy that is being pulled in so many different directions.

Everyone comments how L is such a great baby. He is. I don’t just say this because he is my son, but he is the greatest baby I have ever known. He never cries, he never whines, he smiles at everyone. Easy going, happy, pleasant, and absolutely adorable. And the “cherry on top”: He has slept through the night since he was 2 months old.

But, I believe there is a reason for this perfect personality. It stems from the fact that L has no choice but to be patient because he has to wait ALL THE TIME. I just sit down to feed him a bottle and CRASH, someone gets hurt and I have to put the bottle down. I lay him down to change his diaper and there is a major brother sister battle in the next room I have to break up. While L plays on the floor, I can’t play with him because I have to scan the floor to make sure to clean up all the Barbie shoes and Polly Pocket accessories nearby. I’m pretty sure L’s first words will be “I’ll be right there” because its feels like that’s all I say!

I know my guilt also has to deal with the fact that L is my last baby. So everything he does for the first time is the last time I am going to experience that. So I don’t want to miss anything. I treasure every little moment with him. So I absolutely hate that L gets one song sung to him at bedtime when his brother and sister basically got my whole song book (but then again he doesn’t have to hear me sing dozens of broadway classics so this might actually be a good thing). I absolutely hate that L gets to sit with my husband when we go somewhere because he won’t fuss and the other two would drive my husband crazy with their toddler ways if I let him deal with them. So the norm is I handle J and H, and Todd “handles” L. The easy one always goes to the Dad of course.

I finished the mediation and rushed home to L. I put down my bag and instantly swooped in to “rescue” my little boy. He looked horrible so I called the pediatrician and off we went to sit for an hour waiting for the doctor (yes even the doctor makes poor L wait). An hour wait, just to tell me he just a cold and pink eye and so besides the drops for his eyes there was nothing he could do for him.

But I didn’t mind the wait. That hour in the doctor’s office was priceless to me. Sure, L looked like the death, but I think we both knew that this was pretty much our only time we were actually going to be alone together. And so there, I got the one on one time with L that I love more than anything. There we were sitting in the doctor’s office…no distractions, no J and H screaming for me. Just us. My heart felt so much joy just to be with him all alone. So between wipes of his runny nose, I held him close, sang him songs (he does like broadway by the way), played pat-a-cake, and explored what “treasures” Mommy had in her purse.

So buckle up working Mommies…we are entering winter. Time for frequent sick days, doctor visits, and googling the name of the recent disease listed on the daycare board to make sure it isn’t “life threatening”. Let’s just hope my life calms down a bit this winter so I don’t have to wait for another cold to get special time with my little man.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Prince Charming

Tonight, my family went to see Cinderella at the local playhouse.  I had been thinking about getting tickets to take the girls for weeks, but with Christmas expenses coming up and unsure of how well the girls would like a play, I decided it just wasn't meant to be.  But then my hubby surprised us with free tickets tonight!  And all I could think of was "Yay!  He actually thought of a family activity!"

As we watched the play, along with all of the other young girls in the audience, I remember growing up dreaming of Prince Charming.  In my version, he was tall, blond, tan and very handsome.  He held doors open for me, treated me to fancy parties and sparkly dresses, and of course, let me wear a tiara!  In this fantasy, I had servants and maids and lived in a huge castle. 

I don't know when I gave up on the ideal of Prince Charming, maybe I still haven't.  As most of you know, I am a practical person, who rarely has time for romance or dreams of servants.  I am a working mom, who must balance kids, daycare/preschool, swim lessons, dance class, WORK, chores, family time and time for the hubby.  A ball gown and high heels rarely fit into the picture.  But one day I would like to be swept off my feet, possibly waited on hand and foot.

Ok, so this free day isn't coming any time soon.  And realistically, I would just like a free hour to go get a pedicure (and comfy shoes!).  And my idea of what Prince Charming should be has become more realistic as well. 

My hubby is tall and handsome (at least I think so :)!  But he doesn't put me on a pedastal or worship me - we are partners.  We both work hard to take care of each other and our family.  And while some days, we don't agree on things, we still keep on loving each other.  Is it a fairy tale?  Not quite - but did Cinderella really live happily ever after?  And as for the tan...well, hubby is a red head, so that's not happening anytime soon. 

When I saw A & B looking up at their Daddy tonight with huge smiles and shining eyes, I thought there were actually 2 Prince Charmings there tonight.  One on stage and one sitting next to me. 

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo
Jean Anne

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wonder Woman

Yesterday, I attended KJ’s daycare winter recital. For all intents and purposes it was your traditional run-of-the-mill holiday production put on by two-to-five year olds. Much of the singing was loud and off-key. The choreography was poorly executed. There was one kid who burst into uncontrollable tears the moment he took the stage. One Pre-K class even treated us to a Christmas rendition of “Eye of the Tiger”. (In a not completely unrelated note, we also identified which Pre-K class we are going to request for KJ next year). In short, the recital was perfect and absolutely adorable.

My biggest surprise yesterday was in the time leading up to the recital. As I blogged on Monday, in order to make it to KJ’s inconveniently timed program, I needed to work from home yesterday. So, I did. We went about our morning in the usual whirlwind fashion, with me helping get Husband and the kids off to school. But unlike every other day, once they left, I didn’t have to rush around myself. For what felt like the first time since KJ was born, I was left alone in a quiet house.

Since it was still 7 a.m. and I was already set up to work, I decided to do some house chores before I got down to work. Between 7 and 8 a.m. I paid bills, did a load of laundry, ironed two shirts, made dinner (well, made a crockpot lasagna), addressed the envelopes for our Christmas cards, uploaded pictures to our computer and made a special post-recital treat for the kids. When I sat down to work, I looked at the clock and thought to myself, what the heck did Husband and I do with all of our free time before we had kids?

Now, I realize that my morning was a sprint. Part of why I was able to get so much done was because I knew that hour was all the time I had. I don’t know if it is a by-product of being a working mom or just a by-product of being a mom, but when you know you have a limited timeframe in which the kids are asleep/at school/with their dad, you take on this Wonder Woman-like persona and just knock out about a million little to-dos that have been waiting for your attention. Plus, I knew I would be returning from the recital with two tired kids and no husband (guy’s night out), so having dinner lined up was going to be key to a smooth evening. I did what needed to be done in the time allotted.

But I still couldn’t believe how much I got done. Back before we had kids, I don’t remember feeling like I had all the free time in the world. But we must have. Sure, some of our “free” time was consumed with yard work and painting and stuff like that when we bought our house. But we still do that stuff now. Certainly, if we had been half as productive back then as I was this morning we could have gotten a lot more done. Or at least gotten the master bathroom painted.

And what about before we bought the house? When Husband and I first got married we lived in a townhouse. We didn’t have to do any yard work and because I had lived there before we got married it was already decorated to my liking. What did we do with all of our free time then?

I don’t really know how we squandered our hours back in those days, but today’s little one-hour house-focused sprint made me amazed at how much better I can juggle the tasks of every day life. While a part of me longs for some time to myself to read a book, polish my nails or heck, go to the bathroom alone, I’m glad that I’ve adapted the Wonder Woman alter ego. It means that I’ve learned to do more in less time, so that I can spend more time with my kids. That’s a pretty good lesson to have learned.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010


If you do an internet search on Motherhood and Partnership you’ll find an array of websites varying from how to choose between your career and your kids, to sites that assume you must work part-time to raise your kids, to sites that show how to deal with being Mommy-tracked. Yes, in the legal profession it is a stereotype that if you are a Mother you can’t be a successful attorney.

Well today I broke that stereotype.

From when you first graduate law school, you learn about the mysterious world of “partnership”. It instantly becomes your goal, even before you truly even know what that term means. Partnership is the main goal in our profession…to work hard, put in your time as an associate and finally reach the finish line when you can be dubbed “a partner”.

But when you are a Mom, it seems like that dream, that goal of partnership, is out of reach. Why take a partner that can’t bill as much because she has to care for her children? And I think society engrains in us so much that we are going to get “Mommy tracked” that we automatically believe we will be treated differently.

Today I was made partner at my firm, after 5 ½ years of being an associate. Over the years I have imagined how I would feel when the senior partner came in to tell me I had been made a partner…I played it out in my head. And today I got to experience it.

I was sitting in my office working on a brief. The senior partner walked into my office and shut my door…”Congratulations are in order”, he said. My heart leaped, for I had known that the partnership had had their meeting the evening before. “We decided to make you a partner”. The words seemed to echo in my head for a minute.

I was made partner? Me? The attorney who has never missed a child’s program at school, the attorney who stays home to nurse my kids’ colds, the attorney who has to run out the door at 4:35 every day to pick up my kids from daycare, the attorney who’s answering emails at 12:15 a.m. because I finally got the kids to sleep??

I am the first to admit I don’t fit the normal mold of a typical attorney. But what I learned in a split second sitting in my office across from the senior partner was that that was okay. My fellow partners had made a decision that I was worth it, even though I carry a lot of baggage.

But most importantly, I made partner without having to “hide” that baggage. From the moment I started at my firm, I made it well known that I was a “Mom”. That was my life. Even before I had kids, I told the partners at my firm that I was planning a family. Did they know that I would manage to have 3 kids in a span of 4 years? Probably not, but I made it known that this lifestyle was going to happen. And after my kids came, I made it well known that I had to arrive late, leave early and deal with my husband’s work schedule. I filled my office with dozens of pictures, handmade art work, and brought my kids to my firm for frequent visits. My daughter even has set up her own desk at the firm! So in other words I fly my Mommy flag loud and proud!

But I was still made partner. I am happy that my passion for the law and my profession could shine through my “mommy-ness”. Even though I am first and foremost a Mom, I love being an attorney. I love my job, I just don’t “live” my job. I am glad I chose a firm that not only could accept that, but has supported me in that choice. I am glad my partners could appreciate the quality of my work, not simply the quantity.

I have had strong women attorney role models to mentor me through my career. I have seen others break stereotypes, and now it’s my turn. I am so proud to become an owner of a firm I truly love and become partners with attorneys I respect and believe to be the best litigators around.

So, I’m here to tell you that it is possible to fly your Mommy flag and still succeed in your career goals. You don’t have to “sell out” in order to succeed. You don’t have to miss out on your children lives. You can “have it all”. Stereotypes are just that…stereotypes. They are meant to be broken.

Tonight when I told my daughter that I was made partner, she smiled and said “Yay WE’RE partners”. I laughed and said “Yes, WE’RE partners”.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One Sick Mommy

This past Thursday I did a terrible thing: I took a sick day.  I didn't go to work (although, I did check and respond to a few work emails on my BlackBerry), I didn't post to the blog, and I actually went to the doctor.  These 3 things almost never happen. 

As most mommies know, we never get "sick days."  You remember sick days, right?  Those days when you could sleep in, miss class/work when no one would notice, someone would make you hot chicken noodle soup and you watched Lifetime Movie Network in between naps.  And if you got up to shower, that was the major accomplishment of the day.  Remember?

Now, a sick day usually involves a self diagnosis (probably from a sign posted at daycare), lots of cold/cough medicine, possibly a quick nap over lunch, and skipping a night of laundry.  If you "choose" to miss work, this means that every email piles up and that issue that wasn't so important the day before instantly becomes the hot topic everyone needs information on.  And your kids never realize you are sick, as that would make the world stop as we know it.  (Now if Daddy/hubby is sick - that is a completely different story). 

And the sad thing is, mommies need sick days.  We continually push our bodies to the limits, getting little to no sleep, stressing over work timelines and what to make for dinner, and generally taking care of our families.  But even more elusive than "me" time is a sick day.

So I am slightly proud that I took my sick day.  And my doctor rewarded me with a prescription for an ear infection, start of strep throat and the comment of "your tonsils are huge."  And work rewarded me with 45 top priority emails.

Jean Anne

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Miracle

I was recently pulled in on a case at work that is extremely messy. The case involves all of the elements that make a lawsuit especially unpleasant – angry clients, irritated lawyers and an impatient judge. The case has been pending for years (hence, impatient judge), and during that time the anger and animosity that originally lead to the lawsuit appears to have done nothing but grow. Parties now refuse to agree on even the most menial of requests and the onslaught of ALL CAPITAL e-mails is practically server-crashing (although it has been 72 hours since the last one, a new record).

I was first brought into this case for a relatively simple task: research and write a portion of a brief. I did this. In September. Someone else handled noticing the motion and getting the briefing schedule, so my work was done. Then, in November, I was asked to draft the reply brief. Again, no problem. I drafted the reply and got it on file. I was added to the service list and the onslaught of e-mail began. But even I can handle filing a few extra e-mails a day. It seemed like no big deal. Then, last week, I was asked to argue our motion. The request made sense - I had briefed most of the motion and all of the reply. I should make our argument in court. The only problem was that way back in September, someone else had set the briefing schedule on this matter. And that person didn’t have his son’s school Christmas program on the exact same day as the hearing. I did.

Navigating the personal/professional waters of a law firm is tricky. In my career I’ve noted a double standard: if a mom leaves work early to attend her kid’s band concert, she’s viewed as not committed and always putting her family first. If a father takes off early every Wednesday to coach his kid’s soccer practice, however, he is praised as being an involved father and held up as an example of the firm’s dedication to work/life balance. In light of this double standard, I’ve generally just gone about my business without offering any explanation for why I might be out of the office at any given time. I’ve taken the view that it doesn’t matter whether the doctor appointment is for me or my kids (although unless I’m pregnant, the doctor appointment is never for me. I don’t even have a doctor). I’m simply out. But bailing on the argument of a substantive motion in a hot-button, emotions-are-flaring case? Somebody was going to want to know why I couldn’t be there.

So I was left with the decision of whether to (1) try to do both the court appearance and still make KJ’s Christmas program; (2) lie; or (3) tell truth. Number one wasn’t really an option. Last year, I argued a substantive motion on KJ’s Christmas program day. The motion was complex and required all kinds of testimony. I vividly remember questioning an engineer, glancing at my watch and sweating bullets that I’d never make it in time. After some terrible, likely-to-send-me-back-to-court-on-a-ticket driving, I made it to KJ’s program, but only with about 2 minutes to spare. I did not want to do that again. So, I was left with the decision to have a “doctor appointment” which would be more acceptable, or to tell the truth. I chose to tell the truth.

And a Christmas miracle occurred. The partner who I asked to cover my – the newest, most junior person at the firm’s – court appearance said yes. Actually, he said, “Christmas program? I remember going to those. Let’s look at my calendar and if I’m free, I’ll go.” And he is. No one gave me any crap for choosing my kids over court. And no one said anything about a Christmas program being a waste of time (or that KJ won’t remember if I’m not there, which is what people at my last firm said). Instead, the partners valued my dedication to my family and approached the situation as a team. And didn’t say anything more about it.

I’m too new to know whether my firm is as family friendly as this situation makes them out to be, but this experience certainly gives me hope. My firm has taken a step to recognize the importance of my family in my life. It only seems appropriate that such a big step for the legal profession be celebrated by a choir of three-year-olds singing.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Allow me to complain...

I am normally a person of a sunny disposition and you’ll be hard pressed to see me in a bad mood. But every now and then I just get this feeling. It grows and grows and eats at me….like an illness it takes over my body...

The need to COMPLAIN.

Ah complaining…we all need to do it. But unfortunately when I get in one of these moods it feels like I’m in a big crowd of people screaming out my complaints but no one can hear me. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that it is not just me, it’s a point of nature that when you become a mother you somehow lose the right to complain. Oh sure, we are allowed to complain when pregnant, probably because our men feel responsible for putting us in a position of carrying a watermelon around on our bladders for several months. But when the baby comes out…presto…gain a baby, lose complaining.

Think about it, mothers don’t complain. And trust me, its not because they don’t want to…its because no one hears them when they do. Take the classic example of the winter cold or flu. When a mother gets sick, they are doped high to the sky on cold medicine sniffling and sneezing while chasing around after their kids, cooking dinner, working, AND cleaning. But when a father gets sick…oh my the world stops. They can’t do anything and if you force them to, get ready for a guilt trip! Now I’m not picking on the male species, since I am surrounded by them almost exclusively with two sons, a husband, two brothers, two dads, nephews, etc. But, can somebody please explain to me how the toughest of men can be taken completely out by a case of the sniffles?

Mothers also can’t complain because of the response we get when we do. The classic example here is if we try to complain about getting “me” time. When we do this, we are instantly swarmed by questions: "What's wrong?" “Are you stressed out?” “Are your kids driving you crazy?”. Yep, when we request some “me” time the world scrambles that in their brains and translates it to: “I don’t like my kids”. And that's not what we are saying...we love our children, but yet we are instantly judged if we want to go for a spa day or out shopping sans children.

But in addition to the judging, we have to face our biggest obstacle when complaining. We are 99%  of the time met with the “oh you think that’s bad”s when we complain. I get these all the time. I’ll sit down and tell someone “Oh I had the worst day…” and the person instantly says back to me “Oh you think that’s bad, you should hear what happened to me” and turns the topic to their complaint. Suddenly, I am changed from the complainer to the therapist. It’s not a competition people. I know you have problems, but can we for 5 minutes just focus on mine?

Wait a second…am I actually complaining about complaining?

I believe that I have a need to complain because I know I can’t. It’s that age old premise that if you can’t do something, you’ll want to do it more.

So allow me to complain this morning. There really is no better place to do it. I mean, you are just reading this and so you can’t give me a “Oh you think that’s bad” while I’m venting!

(1) I’m tired. I can’t complain about my lack of sleep because my husband works nights and so he instantly assumes he has less sleep than me (which is often true but not always the case). But, since L is now teething man I am tired lately!

(2) I have a ton of work to accomplish. I can’t complain about my huge caseload at work because compared to my colleagues I don’t bill nearly what they do. But, man my task list is overflowing lately!

(3) I miss my kids. I can’t complain about missing my kids when I work, because well I have no choice…I have to work, so really what’s the point of complaining about it??  But I really miss them when I’m working!

(4) I just want to come home to a clean house. I can’t complain about the fact that when I leave home in the morning the house is often clean, but when I return at the end of the day it looks like a fraternity house on Sunday morning. I’ll walk in from a hard day of work, and there are my children and my husband sitting there blind to the fact that they can hardly walk due to the mess that is all around them. They would rather trip over clothes and toys instead of simply picking them up! Is it asking too much to come home to a clean, organized, and Pine-sol smelling house?? Okay, wait...that just happens on HGTV.

(5) I really miss shopping. I can’t complain that I have not been able to shop for myself for about 4 years! I used to be one of those people that lived for the mall (I have the credit card bills to prove it). I loved shopping for new clothes, new suits, and ooh designer purses. That was always “my thing”. When I was 21 I vowed that I would never own a knock off. If I wanted a Coach bag…I’d pay the admittedly insane price instead of going around the corner and finding the knock off for $21.95. Yet here I am, about 10 years later with a knock off purse under my desk and wearing an outfit I’ve seriously owned for 10 years.

(6) I miss me. I can’t complain about the fact that I don’t get time for myself. Here’s how my attempts play out: I come home and Todd is finally home for the night. I think to myself...ok I can do some scrapbooking, or go shopping and he can watch the kids. But then I think to myself…hmm…shouldn’t I be taking this chance to do laundry or clean the bathrooms? Or if I start to get my coat on to head out the door for some shopping alone I instantly have sad eyes staring at me, coats in hand, crying “Mommy, we want to come!!” Before I know it I’m carting two toddlers and a baby seat through Target.

So to all of you fellow Moms that want to complain but feel you can’t…trust me you are not alone. And its not really that I have a life I want to complain about…because I don’t. I admit I have an amazing life and have never been happier. But even though my “grass is green”, I  still from time to time may want to complain about having to cut it (if that makes any sense at all).

And to all the husbands out there, including my own, remember to allow your wives to complain. Trust me if we do…if we are giving the chance to just sit and complain (without comment) we actually will not want to complain. I promise you that. And let me help you out…after we complain each time your line is… “Oh honey I’m so sorry about that. How can I help?”. And if you are like my husband try to say this without sounding sarcastic!

But since boys will be boys and may not heed my advice, please feel free to use me as your sounding board and leave me your complaints. Just please don't complain about the length of this entry!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mirror Moments

Today, as I was surfing the Internet looking for inspiration of something to blog about, I came across this article about how our children teach us about ourselves. 

I found it to be such a touching article. The author talks about how one day her son was sitting at the kitchen table playing with markers while she made a pie. Without warning, her son threw down the marker and cries “It’s not perfect.” The author, taken aback, wonders why her son thought his drawing neeto be perfect. He had worked hard on it and done a very good job. But then she looked at herself, in her spotless apron and with her braided-crust, lattice-topped pie and realized she was having a mirror moment: her son’s reaction reflected her own need for perfection. The author recognized her mirror moment and made the most of it, throwing away her magazine-cover worthy pie crust and having her son help her make a less eye-pleasing but more soul-soothing one.

While I can’t think of a specific mirror moment from my own life right now, I know I’ve had them. There have been times when something my kids have done or said that has stopped me in my tracks and made me think “that’s how they see me” or “that’s what they hear me say.” And I’ve certainly heard them repeat my husband. When I hear my kids parrot me (or Husband), I think about how what they are repeating reflects upon how they see me. And I think about whether that is how I want to be seen or heard. I don’t want to be the mom scolding “get your fingers off of the glass,” I want to be the mom with the less-than-perfect pie.

But being the mom with the less-than-perfect-pie isn’t easy. After a long day at work it is easy to come home tired and overwhelmed with the sheer amount of things that “have” to be done before the cycle starts again the next day. Thankfully, we have mirror moments to remind us that the most important “thing” to be done is to enjoy our kids. 


Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It’s Saturday morning. My kids are running around and playing and I’m getting ready to attack several loads of laundry.

Oh laundry! It’s everywhere in my house. I even “talk” laundry. When I hear people say things it will trigger my thought of “Oh crap, do we have clean laundry”?? Examples: “Honey want to go SNUGGLE” or “No pain, No GAIN”. Yep say that to me and I’m thinking laundry (sorry to my husband on this one). If we are on a beach during a relaxing vacation and someone tells me when the TIDE comes in…well they just ruined my vacation because now I’m thinking of the laundry I’ll have to do once vacation is over! Okay I'm exaggerating a little...but if you are a Mom like me you know laundry is always on our mind!

It doesn’t help that I live with the 4 biggest laundry users in America. My daughter, J, rivals a Cher concert with the amount of “costume” changes she makes in a day. She’s the resident fashionista and has more clothes than you can imagine. My son, L, although he can’t help it of course, is Mr. Drools…he soaks his onesie in about 45 minutes (and he hates to wear bibs). My middle child, H? Well, he is the reason they invented stain stick…I’m amazed at what he does to his clothes during the course of a day. In fact, no matter how cute a shirt is at the store…if its white, off white, or light colored…I won’t buy it for H. Period. And then there’s my husband who works in a hot stinky factory. He is the reason why you will always see me in the store opening the detergent and smelling them to make sure the smell is strong enough to battle the factory smells!

I have three pet peeves in the laundry world: the largest of which is my hatred of towels. My family obviously does not get the concept that when you get out of the shower and bath you are CLEAN…so then why on earth after a shower or a bath do they put the towels either on the floor or in the dirty clothes basket?? This means that when I come around to pick up the laundry I’ll look at the towel in the dirty clothes basket and think “Oh I should just take it out and hang it back up?” But then in the back of my mind I always think “Well wait, maybe there is some reason it is in here” and again I have a load of towels to wash. You will always see me with a scowl on my face when I wash a load of towels…Grrrr…..

#2 Baby socks…I despise baby socks. No matter how attentive I am to them when I put them in the wash they always disappear. I used to think the “sock monster” concept was a joke…well its not, at least not in this house. The sock monster is very real. I will watch myself put two little baby socks in the wash but suddenly when I am folding the laundry there is only one. Grrr….

#3 Leaving the clothes in the washer. Yes I only have myself to blame here. I usually do laundry late at night when the kids are in bed. Often I think to myself as the clock strikes midnight…ooh I can get one more load in. So, I’ll start it but then I’ll get consumed with work or the tv shows I’ve taped on my DVR and forget about it. Next day I’ll come downstairs to find the load has sat there and gotten musty and then damn…I have to wash it again!

To be honest, I actually like doing laundry. I don’t even mind folding clothes. I mean of the list of chores I engage in laundry is the most mindless so it really takes no effort. Except of course trying to figure out how to get H's ketchup/apple sauce/grass/grease/crayon stain off his shirt.  So I don’t mind doing laundry several times a week. But what I do mind…what I hate more than anything in the world…PUTTING THE CLOTHES AWAY.

Now if you are one of those who is blessed with a laundry room on your upper level near your bedrooms…I unfortunately must hate you because I am SO jealous of you!! I am not that lucky…my laundry room is down in my scary basement storage room. 2 flights down from the bedrooms. You would think the amount of loads of laundry I do in the week I would be the skinniest person in the world…but unfortunately not true!

So here’s what always happens…I fold the laundry neatly into a laundry basket thoroughly intending to take it upstairs and put it in our closets. But I’ll get sidetracked and the laundry basket will stay in the room. Now my husband and kids were born with a serious condition: “clean laundry blindness”, i.e. they can’t recognize that the clothes are folded in the basket and therefore clean. They don’t see this. So what do they do? They think it’s a dirty clothes basket and they throw their dirty clothes on top of the clean clothes. So then when its time for me to take the laundry down I eye the basket and see the dirty clothes, I haul it downstairs, pour it into the washer and of course see my perfectly cleaned and folded laundry tumbling into my washer once again. Now you would think that a person with a law school education would not fall for this more than once…you’re wrong. It happens to me all the time!

So here’s what I propose to the smart people of the world. Please invent some sort of computer, robot thing that will wash, dry, and fold my clothes and instantly transport them neatly to my closet. But since I know this isn’t going to happen anytime soon I guess I better stop blogging and get to my laundry!

Anybody else feeling like venting about laundry today????


Monday, November 29, 2010


Every day we make judgments (admit it, we do). These judgments can depend on many things: body type, where a person lives, what kind of car you drive, a tone of voice, etc. As an only child and a girl who accompanied her father to football practice, these judgments started early. In college, a female Chemistry major is (somewhat) of a rarity, so again, more judgments. By the time law school finished, I thought I had accepted most of what people had to say. But then, becoming a mom, and a working mom, no less, the “comments” started coming out of the woodwork. So, maybe because I just feel like venting or am feeling feisty, I am going to “debunk” or explain some of them:

1. “She must not love/care about her children enough to stay at home with them.” This is the one that bothers me the most. I am not here to debate working vs. stay at home mom merits here. However, because I made the choice to work does not mean I do not love my children. Period. End of Discussion.

2. “Since she is a working mom, she gets easier hours at work.” I wish! I realize my schedule is simpler than most, because I work in-house. However, I still have conference calls, meetings, presentations, etc. to attend and bosses to make happy. Now, I am not at work at the crack of dawn because I have to drop my girls off at daycare/school and I leave “early” to pick them up. But I typically eat lunch at my desk and can be seen lugging my laptop home at night. I concede that I am lucky to have “flexible” hours, but that means you may see an email from me at 11 PM.

3. “Because she earns a paycheck, she can afford anything her kids want (or her kids are spoiled).” Yes, both my hubby and I “bring home the bacon.” However, this does not mean A n’ B are wearing Burberry jumpers or have Louis Vuitton backpacks. We budget, pay the mortgage, bills, and save for college and retirement. Yes, A n’ B have the Sketchers Twinkle Toes, but only from Grandma for a birthday present (after gift cards, coupons and the BOGO ½ offer). And Mommy and Daddy continue to drive an 11 year old Honda Civic. Every family makes choices for items they want or need, and I spoil my children when I can.

4. “She won’t be making VP by 33 since she has kids.” Yep, you are probably right – I won’t be climbing the corporate ladder anytime soon. Prior to having my girls, I was ambitious. I could stay late at work and hit up the work networking function after that. I could work all weekend on research or presentations and be ready for Monday morning, asking for more opportunities. Now my priorities have changed. I will leave work with 20 emails in my inbox, in order to make it to swimming lessons. (The emails will get answered, just maybe at 10 PM).

5. “She must be completely organized” HA! I do have lists, bulletin boards and a BlackBerry for personal use, but I am pretty much just winging it. And if you ever see my house…

I am sure there are more stereotypes, both good and bad, for working moms. It’s just that this morning, this is what you get. Sorry – with sick kids and my in-laws coming – this mommy is exhausted and cranky!

Jean Anne

Friday, November 26, 2010


Ahh, Thanksgiving. One of the best holidays of the year, without a doubt. It involves all of the things necessary to make a great holiday without any of the stressors that ruin other holidays. There’s no stressful shopping for impossible gifts, no need to dress up in a costume or perform a trick to get your treat and no religious affiliation that could make for uncomfortable dinner conversations among mixed-religion families. Nope, Thanksgiving is all about family, food, football and counting your blessings. It’s perfect.

Topping off all of this perfection is Black Friday. A day dedicated to shopping. For a girl like me – who likes shopping a WHOLE lot more than football – Black Friday is a great break from reminding myself how thankful I am to be cooped up in an overly warm house with all of my closest relatives shouting at some football game on tv. Plus, it’s a great excuse for an afternoon nap.

So today, one day after stuffing ourselves with the delicious Thanksgiving dinner we put together yesterday, my sister-in-law and I are going to go stuff ourselves with retail therapy and most likely buy a bunch of things we don’t need but can’t pass up because they are such a “deal.” We’re going to get swept up in the current of crazy, and shop ‘til we drop. And we’ll spend another day remembering how blessed we are to spend this time together. 

 I hope that all of your Thanksgivings were filled with all of the same blessings.  Or at least some delicious turkey.  Now if you'll excuse me, I believe I have some shopping to do. . .


Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Thank You's

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is a time to look and reflect on all we are thankful for…and boy do I have a lot to be thankful for!!

Of course I am thankful for every day with my happy, healthy, beautiful children and wonderful husband. Of course I am thankful to have a job that allows me to be the Mom I want to be.

So this is not going to be a post about the large things that I am thankful for every minute of my life. Instead, I thought as this is my 32nd Thanksgiving, I would take time to reflect on 32 of the small things in my life…the things I always forget to be thankful for.

So here we go…

1. Thank you to Target for managing to design shoes that look just enough like the designer shoes at Von Maur to fool my 4 year old and allow me to avoid spending $100 on shoes she will out-grow in a month.

2. Thank you to the wonderful caregivers at my kids’ daycare who always remember to hug my kids and tell them “I love you” when they leave at the end of the day.

3. Thank you to Wal-Mart for restructuring your store so I don’t have to take my kids over by the toys when I just need soap or toothpaste.

4. Thank you to the Baby Einstein company for “Baby Beethoven” which keeps L entertained in his bouncy seat just long enough so I can take a shower.

5. Thank you to my Mom who always remembers to call me and ask me how I am…instead of simply inquiring about the kids.

6. Thank you Twizzlers for being the only treat my 3 year old son will go potty for.

7. Thank you makers of the DVR who allow me to watch my favorite TV shows at midnight when I finally have time to sit down and watch a show.

8. Thank you Strawberry Shortcake for making a comeback while my daughter is young so I can relive my childhood everyday.

9. Thank you to my best friends for loving my children and proving that you don’t have to be related by blood to be family.

10. Thank you to L for sucking his thumb instead of being dependent on a pacifier so I never have to have another moment of “Oh crap we forgot the binky and he’s tired!” in a crowded restaurant.

11. Thank you to Facebook for allowing me to reconnect with old friends and see pictures of my permed hair and plaid shirts posted for the world to see.

12. Thank you Crock Pot for making my dinners taste like I’ve slaved all day, even though it only took me 2 minutes to throw everything inside and turn it on high..

13. Thank you Glee for doing Rocky Horror Picture Show so I can teach my kids how to do the Time Warp!

14. Thank you Dodge company for putting automatic doors on my mini-van so I can open the doors while juggling groceries.

15. Thank you Gymboree for coming out with Gymbucks so that every now and then my bills at your store can be less than $200.00.

16. Thank you makers of spray in shampoo so I don’t feel gross if I don’t get to wash my hair every day.

17. Thank you General Mills for putting WHOLE GRAIN and VITAMIN D in large print on your boxes of cereal so I feel a little better as I pour a bowl of sugary Lucky Charms for my kids.

18. Thank you for multi-colored post it notes ( No reason really…I just love them).

19. Thank you Barenaked Ladies for coming out with “Snacktime!” So I don’t have to listen to Barney and Dora and can actually enjoy my kids’ music.

20. Thank you Nickelodeon for coming out with Team Umizoomi (a kids show about math) so I can work on my math skills while my kids enjoy their favorite tv show.

21. Thank you to Garmin for my GPS so I never have to juggle Mapquest directions while I look for a courthouse in some small county in Iowa.

22. Thank you for court reporters who can keep up with fast talking attorneys like me and after I am done make me feel better by saying “Oh, you don’t talk THAT fast”.

23. Thank you creators of “Just Dance” for the Wii, for coming up with a fun game where I can get in some exercise while I “Walk like an Egyptian”.

24. Thank you for briefs I have saved on my computer, so when a partner emails me at 10:00 p.m. saying they need a brief done by the next day I can simply copy and paste.

25. Thank you makers of the Bounce Dryer Bar so I never have to pull out another dryer sheet that got stuck in my pant leg as I sit in court.

26. Thank you online bill pay for allowing me to pay my bills without having to find the stamps I never have anyway.

27. Thank you for dark colored suits, which hide spit up stains beautifully.

28. Thank you Blackberry for allowing me to answer emails while I sit at a dance class.

29. Thank you Spaghetti Sauce for being the only “vegetables” my daughter will actually eat.

30. Thank you for the Tasks option on Microsoft Outlook which gives me my reminders that I have the appeal brief I totally forgot about due in a week.

31. Thank you Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi for making your pop taste just like the caffeinated one so I don’t feel so guilty about my 6 plus cans a day.

32. Thank you to the JD Moms blog…for giving me an avenue to vent and allowing me that chance to formally thank Post-it Notes!

Of course you know that this list is not exhaustive. A working Mom has so much to be thankful for in her life. But always remember to be thankful for the little things too…and if you’d like to share your “Thank You’s” feel free to leave me a comment!

On behalf of all the JD Moms Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We are so thankful for your support. Now go stuff yourself with turkey and stuffing and enjoy the extra days off with your kids!!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I Am Thankful For...

Yes folks, it is that time of year when we take time out to list out what we are thankful for.  Granted, we should do this more often (similar to the count your blessings theme) but, as we all know, kids, work, dishes, errands, etc. get in the way.  To give you a little idea, here is what A &B are thankful for:

A: My grandma and grandpa, mama and Jetta
B: My mommy and daddy and Jetta dog

It really is that simple for them.  Although, I do know that hubby will be a little hurt that A did not include him (he is off deer hunting, and she is a little unhappy she didn't get to go).  As for me, well, this took a little more thought:
  1. My children - I honestly don't know what I would do without them.  They make me crazy some times, but when they laugh, smile and tell me that I am their best friend and they love me, it makes me realize I am the luckiest person in the world.
  2. My hubby - yes, he makes me crazy most of the time too, but I he is my constant.  Things may get crazy for us, but we are a team.
  3. My parents - I am a spoiled rotten only child, so you know they are included :)!  They still take care of me AND spoil A & B rotten now!
  4. My family - without them, I would not be the person I am today.  I just wish we could all be together more often!
  5. My best friend - she knows me better than anyone else.  And still loves me!  I know that when we are 60 and still looking fabulous, we will still be laughing about our dancing skills!
  6. The Fab Four - best friends forever!  Now, if we could all be in the same state again.
  7. My job - in current times, I know how lucky I am to have a job.  And one where my boss appreciates my hard work AND understands the need for family time.  Amazing!
  8. A house over my head. 
  9. Health (for everyone close to me)
  10. A positive attitude
  11. Caring friends
  12. Great teachers at daycare and preschool
  13. Good neighbors
  14. My guardian angels
  15. Second chances
Ok - I am sure there are more, but for now, I am lost in happy memories.  Please take the time out to reflect on what you are thankful for.  I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving! 

Jean Anne