Why I Love My Job

I get to work with awesome people… with ridiculously cute babies.
I get to hold elaborate tastetests.
I get to pimp out my co-workers’ rides on their birthdays.
And, as if those weren’t enough reasons to love a job, ANY job, I actually LOVE what I DO.
I believe in the principle of education.
I’m surrounded by educators and students who are truly brilliant and inspiring.
I love helping students accomplish their goals and dreams.
And, I get to watch our students come full-circle- from admission to commencement.
They blossom.
They learn.

They change.
The grow.
And at the end, if we’ve done our job, they realize they have so much more to learn.
I got to watch my brother-in-law graduate from UMW.
I got to help him through the admission and advising stage, 
and then I got to watch him walk across the stage.
… I got to hand him his diploma.
 
… I got to witness the true impact of what we do in higher education…
 
… the lives that are changed…
 
… the pride in an accomplishment so grand it brings an 8-year old to tears…

… the positive influence it has on generations to come…
… and I will never forget it.
I. Love. My. Job.
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Family Pic Attempt #4,239,765

You may or may not have realized a common theme on my blog… other than my love for Salt n’ Pepa.
We can’t take a family picture to save our lives… and not for lack of trying…
Exhibit A:
Exhibit B:
Exhibit C:
Exhibit D:
(… There’s plenty more where those came from, but I think you get the picture…)
So when my friend, Stephanie, over at Higgins & McFarland Family, offered to take pics of my kids,
I jumped at the chance…
and warned her of our shotty anti-photogenic history.
To which she bravely, and wisely, replied,
“Hey, we will be no worse off if I can’t [get a good shot] either!”
This motto immediately put me at ease,
 and I have to say that family pictures are FAR less stressful when there isn’t a lot of pressure involved. 
I didn’t buy special outfits (they wore what they wore the weekend before for Easter).
I didn’t make David dress up (although I did ask him to shave).
I didn’t have to worry about whether Aidan was going to take a leisurely poop in the middle of the session, because Stephanie was volunteering to take our pics. 
The lack of pressure was nice and the kids had fun walking around the University of Mary Washington, or “Mommy’s work,” as they know it. 
They called all of the brick buildings with white colummns, “castles,” and they loved the fountain.
It was more like a playdate… with a camera… and our friend, Ms. Stephanie,
who Addi immediately ran up to and gave a big ol’ hug. 
Here are some shots from our stressfree shoot…

And Stephanie was able to get a picture that I think captures my kids and all their craziness…

as well as, a cute family pic (with the exception of Aidan who was apparently done with saying, “Cheese.”)

So for surviving the trip to Mommy’s work,
we treated the kids to Carl’s Ice Cream BEFORE we even ate dinner.

   

… hopefully, Family Pic Attempt #4,239,766, will be equally yummy.

Thanks, Stephanie!

Burst Your Bubble Balloon

My sister threw my niece, Sophie,
the SWEETEST 5th birthday bash EVER. 
(literally.  it was an ice cream themed party).
(read more in her blog here.)
But of ALL of these adorable pictures,
the one that you need to focus on,
for the point of my story,
is this one…
You are probably just thinking that those are some cute balloons, right?
… and while those balloons are very nice, the other pictures I already showcased, by far, stole the show, right?
But what you probably AREN’T thinking about,
is HOW those GIANT balloons GOT to the EFFING party in the first place.
My sister gave me 4 GIANT balloons and 12 regular sized balloons to take to Party City on Sunday morning to be filled with helium for Sophie’s birthday.

Apparently, the 17-year old employees at Party City don’t think about how customers are going to take giant balloons HOME, they just want to see how big they can make them without popping. 

So after carefully manuevering four GIANT balloons out of the doors of Party City
(which involved some strategic butt usage, shoving, and swearing),
I made it to the car only to realize (and I think you know where I’m going with this),
that there is NO EFFING WAY these balloons are going to fit in my sister’s Trailblazer.

F. Me.

(you should know that I don’t use the actual F word… like EVER… but I do use “Eff” or “F” all the time)
stress.
sweat.
tears (not really).
figurative tears of hatred.
(I actually called my sister and told her “I hate you for this,” in that loving, sisterly way that all sisters talk to each other when they are frustrated.  This comment only made my sister and my mother laugh out loud.)

customers stopped in the parking lot,
NOT to help me,
BUT to actually POINT and LAUGH at my predicament…
WHILE they were pointing and shooting their iPhones in my direction.

that’s right…
you can probably look me up on YouTube right now…
“Girl with Giant Balloons”
or
“Fat Balloons in a Little Car”
(like Tommy Boy’s “Fat Guy in a Little Coat”)

Soooo long story longer,
I did end up getting two of the GIANT pink balloons and all 12 of the regular balloons in the back of the car, but there are probably still two GIANT blue balloons floating around Party City…

… or, (and this is probably the more likely scenario), the 17-year-old Party City employees
are busy perfecting their Alvin and the Chipmunk impressions…
and will have enough helium from those two balloons to practice until Sophie’s next birthday.

Royal Wedding

While I didn’t wake up at 4AM to start watching the coverage of the Royal Wedding,
I did wake up at my usual time to start watching it. 
And when my kids woke up and joined me on the couch,
I made them watch a part of the history-in-the-making too. 
I tried to put it into terms that my kids would find fascinating and could relate to…
“Addi, she’s a REAL princess!”
“Aidan, they are getting married like Mommy and Daddy are married.”
“Addi, isn’t the Princess beautiful?  Maybe one day you will wear a pretty dress like her!”
“Aidan, that’s a prince!”
When I asked them if they thought Princess Catherine was beautiful, Aidan said,
“Ugh, she’s the worst princess, EVER, in my LIFE!!” 
(ok, that is a bit dramatic, but it was only because he would rather watch Bubble Guppies.)
And when I asked them if they thought Prince William was handsome, Aidan said,
“I don’t like Princes!  I only like Princesses!” 
Well, I guess that solves that question.
I guess my kids were feeling a bit like Wills’ and Kate’s flower girl
So I made sure the wedding coverage was being recorded,
and I let the kids watch Bubble Guppies
happily ever after.
Royal family wedding photo

Lenten Reflection

After fasting one day a week during Lent,
 and trying to rid myself of the negativity in my life
I did walk away with a few lessons…
1.  Fasting is hard. 
I like food and food likes me. 
I don’t know how people can go more than a day without eating,
and it makes me sad for people that CAN’T eat because they can’t afford it,
and really sad for the people that CAN eat,
but have such a negative body image that they starve themselves. 
I. Couldn’t. Do. It. 
But I DO appreciate the sacrifice that religious fasting is
 and that it REALLY IS a sacrifice…
not just a way to lose a few pounds
(which I didn’t- bummer).
2.  Being negative is a choice. 
When I was in college, one of my FAVORITE people of all time, Dr. Mark Warner,
 always told us to “Create a great day.” 
We controlled whether or not our days were going to be great by what we did to MAKE them great.  Y
ou can smile or frown. 
You can hold the door for that stranger or let it close in their face. 
You get the picture…
I would consider myself a pretty positive and optimistic person, generally-speaking, but I challenged myself to get rid of the moments of negativity in my life,
because I don’t like how I feel when I am being “Debby Downer.”
Well, deciding to rid myself of negativity was not always easy, but it was a choice. 
I chose to look at a situation a different way. 
I chose not to say something in the heat of the moment. 
I chose not to let certain drivers on the road affect my mood. 
And let me tell ya- it felt good. 
I actually think I ended up improving a few relationships in my life. 
And I definitely improved my road rage exponentially.
I don’t want to give the impression that I was a perfect angel throughout Lent. 
I still slipped once-in-awhile when someone cut me off on the highway. 
I still caught myself participating in the rumor mill occasionally
(have you ever REALLY stopped to think about how hard it is to cut gossip out of your life completely?).  And I can’t tell you the countless amount of times I had negative THOUGHTS… like,
“Ugh, he’s/she’s being a tool.” 
{where tool = !@#!$!}
But, even though I was thinking it…
I made the choice not to say it out loud…
87% of the time
(approximately).
So what if I looked like an Angry Mime at times?
It’s like they always say, “It’s better to be an Angry Mime, then it is to be Charlie Sheen.”
What?
No one says that?
Give it time. 

Bunny Hunt

At what point do you just give up and say,
“I can’t post about Easter anymore, because it happened SO long ago?” 
NEVAAAAAAAAH, NEVAH, I SAY!!!
So let me recap (in a LONG way) my Easter weekend with my three little Peeps.
On Saturday morning we colored Easter Eggs at the in-laws.
We turned these boring ol’ hard boiled eggs…
into one-of-a-kind works of edible art…

It was a messy process…
… but my kids all took it VERY seriously…

well, MOST of my kids took it seriously…
But they were ALL proud of their colorful creations…

… and so was Aunt Kricky…

After the kids’ rest time, we went back to the in-laws for dinner… and WIIIIIIIIINE. 
Mmmmm, it was delicious (the wine AND the dinner). 
We also had some pretty BIG belly laughs, like I usually do with my in-laws…
but we came out of the evening with some pretty memorable quotes.
“Awkward balloon.”
“Awkward sock.”
“Awkward stripper.”
Yes, I realize all of these quotes start with “Awkward,”
and you can’t possibly understand why it made us laugh so hard,
but I can’t explain it without showing you the hand motions involved with the quotes. 
You’ll have to take my word. 
(Please refer to number 13 of my first post.)
(Hate to say “I told ya so,” but…)
Anywho, on Sunday morning the kids woke up to their Easter baskets from the Bunny.
Aidan’s Basket
Kaia’s Basket
Addi’s Basket
Aidan wondered how the Easter Bunny got into our house to drop off the baskets without a key.
I was stumped… I mean, Santa has the chimney, but what about the Easter Bunny?
Before I could reply, Aidan said, “Did he wiggle his nose?”

Sounds good to me.
After rummaging through their goodies,
they got dressed in their new Easter clothes,
and we left for 8AM mass.
Church was so full that we actually ended up standing outside for the entire service with about 25 other people, but it was perfect for the kids who enjoyed being outside where it was more relaxed they could get away with running around and playing.
At the point where we were supposed to offer each other a sign of peace, Aidan proceeded to approach one of Aunt Kimiki’s friends and say, “Hi, I’m Aidan.  Nice to meet you!  I’m five years old!.”
He’s not going to have any problems making friends in Kindergarten!
After church, we went to Grammy and Poppy’s house for an Egg Hunt and brunch.
But not before realizing that the Easter Bunner had left some goodies for the babies there too!
It was only 9:30AM and these kids had more sugar than they knew what to do with…

Before the hunt, we figured it was time to ATTEMPT another round of family pics…
Yes, I think ATTEMPT is the appropriate word…

This might actually be the best one…
But believe me when I say,
for every picture that I posted here,
there are another EIGHT that are 10 TIMES as bad…
(sigh.)
Here’s one of the kids with their cousin, Kait…
And here are some other glorious shots…
My sisters-in-law with my Pops…
Proud Grandparents with their babies…
Happy couple…
Uncle Danny, Aunt Laura, and cousin Kait…
And pics from the FIRST egg hunt of the day…
We ate a tasty lunch and then started reading Table Topics’ questions…

If you don’t have Table Topics, I would strongly suggest getting a cube. 
They are conversation starters that bring up old memories or
topics that you’ve never talked about before with your loved ones. 
There were a few tearful moments, but mostly,
it reminded us how lucky we were to have such a close family.

Then, it was time to bring the kids home to rest.
Even though we had mostly sugar all day,
we all needed some down time.
(Even Mommy took a break on the couch.)
Then, we went to my mom’s house for another egg hunt and a yummy traditional dinner that always reminds me of growing up- ham, boiled potatoes, and HOT LETTUCE.
Mmmmm, to die for.
The kids didn’t like me asking them to WAIT
so I could take a picture before they started their second egg hunt of the day…
Kaia has a competitive edge to her that I wasn’t sure existed until Easter…
 she threw a fit when she thought that other people were taking her eggs and “winning”…
(it reminded me of when I was little and I would change from my easter dress into my track uniform
before my grandma’s easter egg hunt with all of my cousins)
Here she is at the beginning of her second fit of the day (yes, she had one at Grammy’s too)…
… but she slowly got over it.
Addi got Daddy to do all the heavy lifting (smart girl)…
Then, I witnessed my Kaia-boo growing up too quickly…
as she kissed…
the tree.
Maybe she thought it would turn into a prince??
After a long day, we returned home to find a bunny in the driveway…
We told the kids it must’ve been one of the Easter Bunny’s helpers that came to make sure we all had a happy Easter.
To which Aidan replied, “Daddy, go get your gun!”

RUN, BUNNY, RUN!
It gives a whole different meaning to Easter HUNT!