Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Survived My First Day

Well, my first day back to work came and went. It was largely uneventful. I was fine during drop off until #3's teacher, while holding her, held up her little hand and said "Bye bye, Mommy - have a great day!" The tears started and I did my best to get the heck out of there and to my car, where I had a moment. But it didn't last long, because I had to pull into my parking garage next door and go right to my office. Luckily I brought a box of tissues.

My day consisted of phone calls to get my system access back, which went surprisingly smooth, and trips to the back file room to use my breast pump a couple of times. My company used to have lactation rooms, but no longer. So I use a back file room with a door that locks. There is a table and chair in the back behind a row of file cabinets, so if anyone else came in, I'd be hidden and have some warning. It worked out well.

There was lots of work to do - there aren't many people in this week, and the work is rolling in. I'm glad I decided to go back this week - the numbers in #3's class are down, so she is getting lots of attention, and I am able to get acclimated without the usual daily incessant barrage of phone calls and emails from impatient clients that don't understand that thorough legal work TAKES TIME.

All in all, it went well. Whew!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to the Real World: Maternity Leave Fades into a Memory

So I'm heading back to work TOMORROW, December 30. This is my last 24 hours of maternity leave. JV took #3 for her first day of "school" today. She is going to the absolutely wonderful day care run by my company, right next door to my building (JV works 2 blocks away). I am home with Diva and Daredevil today, and we all admit it's a little weird to be here in the house without #3. We will go pick her up after lunch, so her first day is not too long.

So I avoided the first drop off at day care, but I will be doing it tomorrow. It's hard to tell how I will react at drop off time. With my previous 2, I was perfectly fine until I got back to my car, then it was uncontrollable waterworks. I know it is silly. They both had perfectly wonderful caregivers, but I still cried anyway. I think no matter how wonderful your child's caregivers are, it's just damn hard to leave your little baby with strangers. I know she will be fine, it's just something I have to go through. This time, though, I have to walk next door to my office. I don't think many people will be in, so hopefully they won't notice the tear-streaked makeup lines on my face.

What I am looking forward to when I go back to work:
  • The work. It's challenging, and I like it
  • The sense of accomplishment that comes with the work
  • A paycheck. It's been a while and we certainly need the money
  • Social and professional interaction with adults
  • A little 'me' time (my office has a nice cafeteria and gym)
What I am not looking forward to:
  • The commute (A 13 mile drive takes me 45 minutes each way. The traffic is absolutely ridiculous)
  • Dressing up (my pre-pregnancy work clothes are either too big or too small, and I've been in denial about going back so I haven't bought anything new)
  • Sitting at a desk all day (I wish I could work from home from at least some of the time, but I can't - that is a sore topic among my peers and I and worth another post)
  • Day care costs - $208/week for #3, and $130/week total for after care for Diva and Daredevil - ouch
So, I will try to enjoy this time home today with Diva and Daredevil, though we are all counting the minutes til it's time to pick up #3. We miss her something awful!

Monday, December 22, 2008

For all my Girlfriends: Thank You!

If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I'd be hard pressed to get from one day to another without my Girlfriends, even if I don't see them or talk to them every day, just knowing they are there if I need them is a huge comfort. And when I say Girlfriends, that encompasses both friends and female relatives. I hope they know I am there for them as well. This moving video says it all. The speaker, Kelly Corrigan, has a book called "The Middle Place". Love you girls!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Stealing: The Sreaming Masses' Meme

Sunday Stealing: The Screaming Masses' Meme

Here's this week's meme. To get in on the fun, visit Judd over at Sunday Stealing.

1. What is a nickname a former (or present) lover gave you? My husband calls me "babe" sometimes.

2. How do you style your hair? If you just would say "cut" what style is it? Blow dry with a big round brush & finish with flat iron. Inverse chin length bob

3. What's your least favorite Christmas song? Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer or Elvis' Blue Christmas

4. How many colors are you wearing now? 3 Navy blue, grey, orange

5. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Either - depends on the situation

6. What was the last book you read? Parenting Inc: How we are sold on $800 strollers, Fetal Education, Baby Sign Languages, Sleeping Coaches, Toddler Couture, and Diaper Wipe Warmers and What It Means for our Children

7. What's one piece of fiction that changed your life? I read mostly non-fiction nowadays, but when I was younger I read all the Stephen King books. I loved them, but they made me afraid of the dark! Being in the basement at night by myself still creeps me out!

8. If you are attracted to someone who is already in a relationship (or married), what might do you do? Keep it to myself and move on

9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy recently? My son struggling at school. He's doing better now. I'm so proud of all his hard work.

10. What's your favorite dessert? Cheesecake or anything chocolate

11. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? Too long.

12. Name one website that you visit daily. Why do you read it? New York Times. I live in a small town, so it makes me feel a little bit more worldly and informed

13. What was your last job before either you are at home or at another job?? I work as a paralegal in the Legal department of a large corporation.

14. Do you like to clean? Not really, but I like the results and sense of accomplishment

15. What was the last song to get stuck in your head? "Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine . . ."

16. What's the last movie you saw? Theater: High School Musical 3 DVD: Baby Mama TV: 28 days (where I heard the "Jeremiah was a bullfrog" song)

17. Pirates or Ninjas? Pirates. I love Captain Jack Sparrow.

18. What is your least favorite thing to do that you have to do everyday? Clean up the trail my kids leave everywhere.

19. Best time of your life? Tough one . . either my college years or now, while my kids are little . .

20. What are you most looking forward to in the coming year? Watching my kids grow . . .

Have a great week.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Works for me Wednesday: Cheap Extra or Replacement Car Keyless Remotes

This is my inaugural Works-For-Me Wednesday. Read more about it at RocksInMyDryer

Here's my tip:

My keyless remote for my 2002 Yukon XL died recently. Not battery-dead, really dead. In trying to replace the battery I broke the little piece that held the battery inside it, totally screwing it up. Totally not fixable.

I called my local GMC dealer to see about replacing it. The price for a new one was over $400, so I thought I was out of luck.

Now that I have 3 kids, one of which is carried around in a infant seat, a remote has become oh-so-important. So one day I checked E-bay. I found and bought one that matched my truck (same FCC ID) for $16.95 + 6.95 shipping. That's right, $23.90 total. A little less than $400!

I have to program it myself, but the instructions seem simple:

For most 02 GMC trucks:
  1. get in truck and close doors
  2. insert key in ignition
  3. press and hold unlock button on driver's door
  4. turn vehicle on and off (as far as you can without starting) twice
  5. release lock button on door. Door locks should unlock and lock to indicate programming mode
  6. hold lock and unlock buttons simultaneously on remote you want to use. Make sure it is the correct code for the vehicle year. Repeat #'s 5& 6 for additional remotes\.
  7. Then turn the ignition key on and off to end the programming mode.
Need an extra keyless remote for your car? Check Ebay or other auction/store sites. Make sure the FCC ID matches your current remote and that the seller gives you programming instructions.

Check out the other fantastic ideas at Rocks in my Dryer. Have a great week.

UPDATE: I got my remote in the mail, and followed the instructions above to program it. The programming took all of 30 seconds, and it works PERFECTLY! I am so happy with it I ordered another for my husband, whose had lost his.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Brie with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This is an easy and elegant appetizer for a holiday party. I've made this a few times and have gotten many compliments. Happy holiday partying!

  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 oz. julienned sundried tomatoes
  • 1 large brie wheel
Combine all ingredients (except brie) in a jar and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (the more time the better, but at least 1 hour)

Bake brie at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Pour jar mixture over brie once out of the oven. Serve with crackers or bread rounds. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Stealing: The Christmas Meme

Sunday Stealing: The Christmas Meme

Head on over to Sunday Stealing to see more meme participants or join the fun yourself.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper for Christmas. Any other time, though, gift bags!

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real. We make a Griswolds day of it . . riding on a tractor, trooping through a tree farm to find the perfect tree while sipping hot chocolate, ceremoniously cut it down, etc.

3. When do you put up the tree? It varies, but we try to do it as soon as possible after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? A weekend or two after New Years' Day

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Merlin game . .I'm such a geek. I know I'm dating myself here, so here's a pic.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My dad. My brother and I joke about how everything we buy him (except for car wash coupons and Outback gift certificates) winds up collecting dust in their basement, the "Land of Misfit Gifts"

8. Easiest person to buy for? My kids

9. Do you have a nativity scene? I have one that was my grandmothers', Diva has her own, a gift from my mom

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, although email sounds fabulous to me

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Early in our marriage, my hubby attempted to buy me clothes. Since then he has been forbidden to do so. I don't care to dress like a stripper. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

12. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Turkey with all the trimmings

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? After Thanksgiving. I really can't get into it unless there's some pressure.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not that I know of.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My grandmother's cherry nut cookies. I've tried to make them myself but they just never taste the same.

16. Lights on the tree? Yes - white and multi-colored

17. Favorite Christmas song? The Charlie Brown song, I can't remember the actual title.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home in the morning, go to my parents' for dinner, they live 5 minutes away.

19. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Both - we open gifts from JV's parents on Christmas Eve, and everything else on Christmas morning.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Free Shipping Day: December 18

Check out http://www.freeshippingday.com/. Many online merchants will be offering free shipping on December 18, with arrival guaranteed before Christmas. More merchants are being added to the list every day. Happy holiday shopping!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Buy $25 restaurant gift certificates for $3! (No, that's not a typo!)

If you go to www.restaurant.com, you can buy $25 gift certificates to local restaurants for $10. If you enter the offer code BELLS, the price reduces from $10 to $3. Seriously! $3 for a $25 gift certificate! There are some stipulations, such as minimum purchase amounts and days of the week they can be used, but what a deal!! Enjoy!

Update: I just bought a $25 gift certificate for a very nice restaurant in my area for $3. Be sure to read the terms and conditions ... in most cases you can only redeem 1 gift certificate per visit (i.e. you can't buy 3 gift certificates and try to use them all in one sitting to get a free meal, like I was thinking we could do). It's still a great deal though - the web site has restaurants in most cities! A great gift idea if the site has your friends and families' favorite restaurants.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Amy Poehler returns to SNL as Hillary!

Amy Poehler, who, had a baby, like a few weeks ago, is back on SNL and looking fabulous as Hillary Clinton in this funny skit. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Send a free card to the troops from Xerox!

This is very cool. If you go to this web site, www.LetsSayThanks.com, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it send it to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. I just did this and it was very easy. The designs are very cute, and you can pick one of many messages, or make your own.

You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services. How awesome would it be if we could get everyone we know to send one? It is FREE and only takes a few seconds.

Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we support them. Please take the time to send a card and pass the site on for others to do so. Thanks for supporting our military!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Check out my 2nd blog!

With all my spare time (not), I have created a new blog. Check it out at http://mrandmrswannabeskinny.blogspot.com/

JV and I want to lose weight. And instead of pledging any more money to Weight Watchers or buying any more diet books or exercise videos that will eventually collect dust, we started a blog where we will weigh in each week. We are thinking it will keep us accountable if we have to weigh in to the blogosphere each week.

I've got a head start on JV in that my weight is 20 lbs lighter than when I got pregnant last November. No real explanation for it other than I had kidney stones in the last month of my pregnancy and have been nursing #3 since she was born, therefore burning an extra 500 calories a day. But I have to wean her soon since I'm going back to work at the end of the month, so that calorie burning will stop. I know I am going to have to work really hard to keep that weight off and lose another 22 pounds, which is my goal.

So now I'm really going to have to watch my weight and start exercising more. No more root beer floats several nights a week, and no more chicken wings (my current obsession) whenever I go to a restaurant.

27 Days to go

I have 27 days left before my return to work from maternity leave. Where the heck did the past 4 months go? I had such lofty ideas on what I was going to do with my time off. Let's do a little progress check on my to do list:

  • Start selling our excess stuff on Ebay. Progress made: I bought a postal scale, creating more clutter. I did, however, make a couple hundred bucks selling some books and dvd's on half.com. It's a bit less labor intensive than Ebay.
  • Go to the gym every day. Progress made: none. I go there twice a week to take Diva and Daredevil to their dance/karate classes. I have been wary of adding #3 to our membership in order to use the babysitting because I think they are going to try and increase our rate. (Our club tries to gouge you for every little thing.) While the weather was nice, I was taking #3 for long walks outside every day, but now it's too cold for that. I've used my treadmill a couple of times, but not as much as I should.
  • Clean out cabinets/drawers/closets that are full of stuff. Progress made: minimal. I have cleaned out a few drawers, a couple of closets, and gave 5 shopping bags of clothes to Goodwill. A start, but there is much more to be done in this category.
  • Organize our basement. Progress made: none. Our basement is still a disaster area. And now I need to get the Christmas stuff out. I SO need the show Clean House to come visit and make over the basement.
So now it's down to the wire, and I go back to work in a few weeks. I am looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I love being home with #3 all day and getting Diva and Daredevil off the bus every day, but I also miss my work, which I love, and the social aspects of going to the office. And of course there's the feelings of guilt about leaving #3 in day care, although where she will go is wonderful and right next door to my office. So I'm conflicted, to say the least. I hope the next few weeks don't fly by as fast as the last 16, but I'm sure with the holidays they will!