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My Husband, My Hero.

17 May

Today is the day. Our journey as a “law school family” is done, in just a couple of hours. As we speak, my hero, my husband, is sitting in a room with all sorts of other people, taking his last and final exam in law school.

He has sacrificed. He has endured. He has achieved. He has accomplished his goals.

Together, we have made it happen, and happen well, and it’s finally over.

I’m sure it’s easy to wonder why it’s such a big deal, and why I act like an excited puppy about finishing “grad school” but anyone who’s been through law school as a particular form of grad school, knows just how intense is. In law school, your grades and your efforts directly affect your earning potential and ability to create the future you want to have. There are an abundance of lawyers in Los Angeles, and not an abundance of decent jobs.

Before we started the journey, I had a co-worker who’s fiance had just finished law school. She was telling us about how he had $250,000 in school debt and was getting offers at companies who wanted to pay him less than $50K/year. She was stressed out, because they were planning a wedding and didn’t know how they were going to pay for it. In some parts of the country, $50K would be a decent living, but when you have a quarter million in school debt alone, and live in Los Angeles, it’s impossible. Now, I understand that though he finished school, and passed the Bar, his ability to get a good job, were probably limited by factors I understand now, grades being one of them.

We heavily processed this when we went into this new world, making a decision that we were going to have to give everything over to the process and let the process give us everything back. It worked. Our plan to sacrifice everything to make these 4 years of school turn into a successful 40 years ahead of us, worked.

My husband is in the top of his class. He’s worked tirelessly to make sure that the debt we’ve accrued will have a plan for attainable pay off, and that our family will be able to have a stable future.

Through all of it, he’s balanced the act of being top of his class, with being a loving father and husband. We have all sacrificed, but he’s worked double time to make sure that the kids, while they don’t see him for days at a time sometimes, know that their daddy loves them. The days we have been able to spend together have been the best days. He started this journey with one infant son, and is ending it with 2 small children; A 4 year old who only knows what it’s like to have a daddy, with books and a full backpack as his best friends, and an almost 2 year old who wakes up early in the morning, every morning, looking for the 20 minutes he gets to see his dad. Sometimes, he is there in the morning, and sometimes, he would have already left an hour before even the early riser would wake up.

This has been the hardest experience of my life, and I can’t believe it’s over.

 

My dear sweet husband, I’m so proud of you. I can’t believe it’s over.

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New Year’s Eve at 7:00PM?! YES PLEASE. 

31 Dec

Yo mamas (and papas)! Guess who just hit the lotto on how to do New Years Eve at 7, instead of waiting up till 9? THIS GUY.

Netflix FTW

I have not once let my now 3yo stay up for New Year’s Eve because, well because I can barely keep my eyes open myself and really need a little downtime sometimes. And also, because it’s late! And 3 year olds melt if they’re up too late! Couple that with getting to pop some non-alc bubbly and you’re talking sugar rush before bed. Not. Into. It.

But, he’s 3 (almost 4) and I’m starting to feel guilty about not letting him party like it’s 1999 2016. I mean, at what age is he going to be like, “you’re lame for never letting me understand New Year’s Eve”?

So, in my tired haze of returning from our holiday travels at midnight, with a baby who decided to rage until 3:30am (cuz, thanks for that), as soon as the baby went down for a nap, I popped my sleepy self onto the couch with Mr. 3yo and turned on Netflix… AND THEN I SAW IT!!!

2017!

Wait, WHAT?! We can do NYE any time we want?? NETFLIX SAVES THE DAY!!! (again, and again with these guys).

So, there you have it. Ring in the new year without having to disrupt your whole rhythm and still get to sit on the couch with your partner watching (dare I say) a whole movie before smooching it out at midnight… or 10:00pm. 😂

Happy New Years (EARLY)!!!

 An Open Letter to My 40th Birthday

24 Jun

Dear My 40th Birthday,

When I was young and oh, so naive, I was afraid of you. I was so afraid of you in fact, that I used to say “I will ‘go out’ right before I turn 40. I mean, what’s left to live for? I don’t want to get old and 40… 40 is just young enough to not be old, but any longer than that, and it’s all down hill.”

Yes, I said those words. Over, and over, and over again.

Now, you and I are joining hands together in just a few days time. I will meet you, My 40th Birthday, and instead of being afraid of you, I will welcome you with very open arms.

You see, every year has brought me more and more of what I wanted in my early life, while I was still dumb and afraid of you. I spent my 20’s looking for love and career and being broken by failed promises. I figured out my career and met my husband shortly before I turned 30, got married at 35, started our family at 36 1/2 and completed our family at 39. Sure, I have more wrinkles and more financial obligations. Sure, it will never be practical for me to make leather journals and aspire to sell them like a true Gypsy in farmer’s markets just to earn enough money to sleep in someone’s spare room. Sure, I don’t crash diet every other week, and I’ve got lots of extra padding now. But, those wrinkles are from 40 years worth of memories; laughing with my husband and kids and squinting in the sun. My more practical job has earned me the ability to have a nice house of my own and care for my family financially. My padding? It’s proof that I’ve held 4 babies in my body and 2 babies in my arms, and that I’ve been able to sustain those babies in good health for their first years of life.

I no longer want to “end it all by 40”, I want to start it all more intensely. I want to be able to handle more and accomplish more and be present more and provide more and enjoy more.

My 40th Birthday, you are just the beginning of my life. I welcome you.

Love always (or for the next 10 years anyway),

Stephanie ❤

Monday Mom Confessions: The TV Edition

13 Apr

“It’s impossible to do everything right all the time.  Admitting that is freeing – and it’s also encouraging to other moms in the midst of intense seasons.”

~ Kristina Slaney; FamilyWorkLife.com

You’ve heard it a thousand times; “you’re a bad parent if your child watches TV before they’re 2 years old.”

I call bullshit.

If my son didn’t start watching TV before he was 2, I would still be un-showered, un-kept, and totally disheveled. Did I mention that I also have a full time job? I don’t think they would appreciate the “homeless” version of myself that I would have been, if I didn’t introduce the TV to my son at an earlier age.

Let me back up.

I started out completely against screens before 2. Then, my son recognized Elmo and I had no idea how. I had never shown him the crazy red muppet and somehow, Elmo was his buddy, his pal. My early talker (late walker), requested this “lovable monster” so many times a day… So I caved and turned on Sesame Street. He squealed with delight.

After a few minutes, I turned it off, because I felt the motion of the show was too fast for him still. He cried and cried. Sorry, buddy.

Showering pre-TV: 

Before the introduction of TV, my son sat in the bathroom with me every day while I showered. I would haul his high chair into the bathroom, load him up with books and a snack, get in the shower and leave the door open. I spent my showers freezing my butt off as the cold air hit my warming skin under the hot water. But, I did this every day from the time I went back to work, at 14 weeks post partum, until he was 15 months old, and learned to walk. No longer did he want to sit in his high chair and read books. My showers got shorter and colder and more stressful, resulting in days of “oops, I forgot to rinse the conditioner out!” and “I’ll never shave my legs again” and “did I actually use soap today?”  I would literally cram a shower into 1.5 minutes, trying to stop him from climbing out of his highchair the whole time.

I had to do something. I need about 10 minutes to shower in the morning. 20 if I want to get completely ready for the day (no more makeup or hair drying for me at this point). So, I introduced him to the TV and he loved it (duh).

We were very selective on the shows we let him watch and timed everything in a borderline obsessive manner.

We looked for “slow animation” shows that weren’t totally brain destroying and things that would occupy his senses without overly stimulating them.

Here’s our list of first shows:

  1. Turtle Tales: Sammy’s Adventures: This is a great movie about humans rotting the earth/water for sea animals, as told my an old man turtle (Sammy), as he relives his adventures with his best friend, Ray. The story is sweet, the music is good, but the animation is SLOW and mostly takes place under water, so it has that delayed movement feel to it. This is still a favorite movie for Remy, except now, he screams “SHARK!!!! SWIM AWAY SAMMY!!!!” as he watches it. This is available on Netflix or to download on iTunes, if you need it on an iPad for travel purposes.
  2. Jonathan Bird’s Blue World – Turtles: A common theme, Remy loves turtles. All of the Blue World TV shows are awesome, educational and beautifully shot. Remy calls Jonathan Bird, “Rocka Bird” and knows more about turtle life (including their mating and egg laying/hatching) than I knew at 37 when we first discovered the show. Another favorite episode is “Sully the Pilot Whale“. There are a ton of other videos here as well: Rocka Bird on the Youtubes. A nice thing about this, is that it’s YouTube based, so you can watch it on any device you own.
  3. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood : The Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood legacy continues with this cute little animated tiger, named Daniel. Every episode has a “lesson” and a cute little 1 line song to go along with it (songs like, “Keep trying, you’ll get be-et-ter!” will be used in our house for as long as it takes Remy to continue to try to do something himself, instead of always asking one of us to do it for him). Super slow animation and really sweet nostalgia as you hear the theme song, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” play. Available on Netflix, PBS Kids App (if you don’t have it yet, you need it), and the PBS Kids channel on Roku/AppeTV.

So, there you have it.

Now, at slightly over 2, my son knows how to use a remote control, knows how to sit and watch a show and yes, my showers are longer and better, and I can actually “park him” when I need a break, or need to do the dishes without him wanting to be picked up or played with. He watches several other things now too, like Dora the Explorer and The Cat in the Hat, among others. Sometimes I even let him watch TV on an app on my phone, while we snuggle away the early morning hours, when my pregnant booty needs just a few more minutes of sleep!

Mama needs a break sometimes and this is our way of ensuring his safety, while making sure I can still function/don’t smell bad.

Monday Mom Confessions – The Dirty Truth

30 Mar

“It’s impossible to do everything right all the time.  Admitting that is freeing – and it’s also encouraging to other moms in the midst of intense seasons.”

~ Kristina Slaney

How many times have you heard the phrase “wash your hands” in your life?

Me too.

I wash my own hands all the time and almost every night after dinner, you know what I think?

“I didn’t wash my son’s hands before dinner!!”

Best part? He uses a fork when he wants to, but if he’s super hungry, he eats with his hands. Yes, the same hands the played on the floor, were at daycare all day, and the same hands that pet not one, but our two dogs… All those germs… Right into his mouth.

I’ve even splurged and purchased soap just for him (Kandoo’s foam soap) and I still forget sometimes!

To be fair to myself – and so you don’t call the cops on me – it’s not a nightly thing, just a few days a week. Cuz that makes it better right?

I am the worst mother of all time. 

DISCLAIMER: I started planning/writing this post a week ago and somehow, I’ve remembered to wash his hands every night before dinner since. #accountabilityworks 

What’s your mom confession? Post in the comments or link up from your blog! I’d love to share stories, cuz mama, the struggle is real.

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