Thursday, November 30, 2017

Day 30: The Last Hurrah ((cue finale music))

Another NaBloPoMo in the books.

This year has been a year of change for our family.

In January, our house was burglarized (read about it here), so I started the year on edge and freaking out about door locking more than ever. Read about my OCLD here.

In April, I turned another year older, and realized that I was wearing my “cheater” reading glasses more often than I wasn’t. And I was using them to do more than read. Getting old sucks.

In May, I took a month-long sabbatical, that truly put my life in perspective. I was happier, and more relaxed than I had been in a long time. I was more patient with my Little and Big Misters. I liked myself more. I got to shop at my favorite stores in the middle of the morning during the week. I got a taste of the “Ladies Who Lunch” lifestyle and I LOVED IT. If you missed it, read about it here.

In July, we said good-bye to Vito. I wrote about this heart-breaking experience on my Day 1 post (grab your tissues, friends). The other day I dragged out the holiday bins and lying inside was Vito’s bone-shaped stocking. Every time we light a fire in the fireplace I expect him to sneak up and elbow his way in until he’s spread out on the run in front of the fire, hogging the heat.

In August, I started a new job at the Surrogacy agency we used to start our family. I found myself working from home and living in leggings, learning a new skill set, challenging myself and finally eating dinner with boys each night. When I go into the office every other week, I get to visit my girls and my most favorite city, Boston. Do I miss working crazy hours and having a long commute? No. But I do miss my coworkers, who made the madness bearable.

In September, Little Mister started Preschool. And potty training. And having an opinion. Can someone please tell me how that happened?

And here we are, on the cusp of December. It's the busiest – and my most favorite – month.

There’s shopping to be done. Cookies to be made. Presents to be wrapped. Trees to buy. Sanity to be kept. But it’s the most wonderful time of the year for a reason.

Grab your loved ones and hug them tight. Put down the phones and pick up your kids. Don't just LOL but laugh out loud. Burn your tongue on hot chocolate. Breathe in the sweet scent of pine. Kiss your loved ones good night.

Thanks for spending NaBloPoMo with me.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Day 29: Did someone say cocktails?

When our family comes over for a night or holiday, Mr. KK is our bartender.

When asked what they'd like to drink, each family member gives the same answer: "I'll have my usual."

And each one has a different usual:

  • My Dad: Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks with a twist
  • My Mother: Absolut Sea Breeze, light on the cran, lime twist
  • My Mother-in-law: Tanqueray and Tonic, extra lime
  • My Father-in-law: whatever we're serving (he's not picky)
But when Mr. KK gets to me in the ordering process, I usually freeze up.

Why?

Because I don't have a go-to drink. Sometimes, I'm in the mood for beer. Sometimes, after a long day, there's nothing better than a big glass of red wine to unwind. But beer and wine aside, when Mr. KK and I are standing in the middle of a crowded bar, I stand there like a deer in headlights not knowing what to order.

We are now entering, however, the season of the cocktail. When you more or less have a cocktail in your hand 24/7, unless you're sleeping or sick.

But what's a girl to do when she doesn't have a go-to cocktail?

Enter: the KK Special Cocktail.

Here is the secret recipe to the most amazing cocktail on the planet:

The KK Special


2 parts vodka
2 parts freshly squeezed grapefruit juice*
1 part aperol

*If you can't use freshly squeezed grapefruit juice for this cocktail, I strongly recommend you ordering/making something else. It makes THAT big of a difference.

Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until the shaker is so cold it's giving you frostbite on your fingers.

Pour into a coupe glass.

kk special on the right. Mr. KK's Manhattan on the left.

If you don't have a coupe glass, go and buy one (kidding! sort of.)

You may garnish this drink with a thin slice of grapefruit, or even a rosemary sprig. The grapefruit juice gives it a nice citrusy kick, while the Aperol gives it that bitterness you expect.

You're welcome.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Day 27: #sorrynotsorry Santa

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we can focus on what is truly important: CHRISTMAS.

Our Little Mister is finally at the age where he "gets it". 


His first Christmas, he was just a few months old, so while we got an amazing photo with Santa holding him, the holiday itself was pretty boring with him.



Year 1: "Who is this guy?"



His second Christmas, at just over a year old, he didn't understand the whole idea behind "Santa" yet. So when Santa came to visit him, he was petrified of him. We managed to get a photo of him on Santa's lap, but the look in Little Mister's eyes said, "I don't trust you and I'm about to cry in 5...4...3...2..."


Year 2: "I don't trust this guy."



Last year, we understood the concept of Christmas, and that Santa was going to come and bring presents. We practiced saying "Ho! Ho! Ho!" in preparation for Santa's annual visit to our house for pictures. While we didn't run away from Santa screaming, we didn't run and jump on his lap, either.

Year 3: "Do we know this guy?"

THIS year, however, we are ready for Christmas. We talk about Santa, his reindeer, and how he's going to bring presents.

We also talk about how Santa is keeping an eye on all the kids. We are using Santa to instill good behavior in our child.

And I'm not ashamed of it.

In fact, in our house, Santa is LITERALLY keeping an eye on Little Mister. 


Santa also keeps an eye on me to be sure I cook with real butter.


"Time to brush your teeth. Santa is watching!"

"You don't want Santa to see you doing that, do you?"

"Santa doesn't like hearing the word, 'NO!'"

So far, Santa has proven to be an excellent scape goat.

Not sure what's going to happen on December 26th, but for now, we'll take it.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Day 26: What I Did on My Month-Long Sabbatical

One of the perks of my last job was that being a huge data conglomerate, they were constantly looking for ways to keep up with the Joneses of cool tech companies.

First, the rolled out unlimited PTO.

That's right, no limit on vacation days. (Which is awesome in theory, but impossible to manage).

Then, they unveiled The Sabbatical.

If you had been at the company for 10 years, you could apply for a month-long sabbatical for personal enrichment. 

A month off? Paid? No strings attached? Where do I sign up?

Well, I DID sign up. And in May of this past year, I took a full month off from work.

And it was awesome.


Me and Little Mister, on my last day of my sabbatical, kissing freedom good-bye.
Man, we had fun together.
(Not pictured: Me, later that night, depressed as all get out)

The last time I had 30 straight days of not working was when I was on maternity leave, and I had a human being strapped to me for the better part of each day, so that didn't count.

To answer the question 'what do you plan to do on your sabbatical' on my application, I had written "Begin writing my novel". And because I hold myself to high standards that when I say I'm going to do something I do it (I'm looking at you, NaBloPoMo), I kept my word.

Here's what this Type A, always-on-email, can't-sit-still girl did with a month off:


  • I started my novel. That part was true. I told myself I would write for at least an hour each day; some days, I wrote for 3 hours straight. I wrote about my childhood, my grandparents, me and Mr. KK. I got to around 30,000 words. And believe me, I have more to say.
Me, practicing "happy writing hour" at our neighborhood beer bar.

  • I spent time with our Little Mister. He still went to daycare 3 days a week, but the other 2 days we played, went shopping, went to the park. We were deep in our Nemo phase, so I took him to Boston to see his godmother and we went to the aquarium. He would have moved into the touch tank with the sting rays if I let him.



We chased bubbles!
  • Unbeknownst to me at the time, I got to spend lots of quality time with Vito, who we would lose two months later. My writing buddy would lie on my legs or lap when I was on the couch typing. I totally crashed his 21-hour-a-day nap lifestyle.

  • I shopped. And shopped. 3-hour trips to Homegoods. A full morning wandering aimlessly in Target. 
Fun at Mommy's Happy Place.
  • I cooked. I tried new recipes, and resurrected some old favorites. For that month, we got a taste of what it was like to eat dinner as a family. Little did I know it was foreshadowing to present day, when I'm working for home and we eat together every night.
  • I hung out at night with Mr. KK. Because I was able to get everything done during the day, we didn't have to spend our nights folding laundry, packing lunches, running to the store.
  • I exercised. Sometimes.
  • I hung out with my father-in-law. He made his daily pilgrimage to our house, prepping the yard for the garden and even starting the planting. We'd walk the yard and discuss plans.
Garden supervision.
(NOTE: adult beverage in that cup for our daily afternoon walk)
  • Sh*t got done. Oil changes. Items that had been in my car for a month got returned to stores. The linen closet – which was supposed to be organized while I was on maternity leave – was finally cleaned out and restocked. 
  • I enjoyed amazing beer. In the afternoon.
  • I was happier. Without the stress of working and commuting, I felt lighter and more present.
In fact, I was so busy each day, I couldn't help but wonder: "How did I ever work? When did everything get done?"

But, like everything else, you figure it out.

I went back to work refreshed (which lasted all of 5 minutes), and thoroughly depressed (which lasted much longer). My month of fun was over. When asked if I finished my novel, I could proudly say that while I didn't finish it, I made a good dent.

I spent time with Little Mister, doing a ton of stuff and doing nothing. But I got to be "Mom" 24/7, no distractions.

And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Day 24: kk's favorite things

What better day for my annual Favorite Things list then on the biggest shopping day of the year.

Here goes, folks...kk's favorite things of 2017!


1. Anthropologie initial necklaces.
These are a mix of cool and dainty. I can't tell if I should get the "M" or two "k's".



2. Mahabis slippers.
The LOOK awesome. And from what I hear, they FEEL awesome.
3. Anthropologie Fringed Wrap Scarf.
For all those days working at home that I won't turn on the heat. And the color is so beautiful...just enough to make the long days of winter a little brighter.


4. Scout Uptown Girl bag.
I first fell in love with Scout bags after buying a large beach bag when we were on vacation last year. They are roomy, durable and come in a million awesome colors and patterns. This one is perfect for carrying all of Little Mister's toys, snacks and extra change of clothes when we're on the go.


5. Boden Rosalie Sparkle Flats.
Flat because you need comfort when you're hosting, but just enough sparkle to be the life of the party.



6. Stainless Steel Bowls from Target.
How have I gone this long without a proper stainless mixing bowl???
 7. Le Creuset Butter Crock.
When my baby wants soft butter, he'll get soft butter. Plus, it's the same turquoise color as my Le Creuset pants!
8. W&P Design The Cheese Knife.
We just celebrated Thanksgiving with 4 different types of cheeses. How awesome would it have been to only have to use one knife? This knife works for all cheeses so you only need one knife. Genius.

9. IDEA spatulas.
You can never have enough spatulas. Especially when they come in fun colors like this.

Because when you get old, you still want to look good at the beach when you're trying to read.
Happy shopping, every one!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Day 23: So very thankful.

For someone who didn't eat any turkey, 
he sure is good at the Thanksgiving nap.

After a long day of cooking, eating, drinking, laughing and reminiscing, it is with a full belly that I head to bed, mentally preparing myself for our annual Black Friday shopping trip.

Today, I am thankful for our families, who defy the "norm" and actually like each other enough to spend holidays together, and not just for show.

I'm thankful for Mr. KK, who has put up with my shenanigans for yet another year, and has adjusted rather nicely to me working from home and wearing pajama bottoms all day and accosting him verbally when he gets home when I haven't spoken to anyone in 10 hours and really need to just TALK.

I'm thankful for our Little Mister, who did his best today to make me NOT thankful by overusing the word "NO" to me right up until the minute our guests showed up. I'm thankful for his quirky personality, and ability to make me laugh when I want to cry. I'm also very thankful for nap time.

I'm thankful we got so many good years with Vito, and we missed him on our first Thanksgiving without him.

And lastly, I'm thankful I can go to bed.

Happy Thanksgiving, interwebs.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Day 22: The biggest going out night of the year!



Scene: the night before Thanksgiving, 17 years ago.

Me and Mr. KK, in a hot bar, vying for the bartenders attention to keep the drinks coming. Out late, but it didn't matter. We didn't have anything to do on Thanksgiving except go to one of our family's houses, drink more, eat turkey and nap.

Scene: the night before Thanksgiving, 10 years ago.

Me and Mr. KK, venturing out for a few drinks and something to eat at the neighborhood bar. Home by 10pm, in pajamas by 10:10, sleeping by 10:30.

Scene: the night before Thanksgiving, 3 years ago.

Me and Mr. KK, prepping to host Thanksgiving while caring for a one month old. Trading beers for burp cloths, and cocktails for crying. Baby down for the night around 10pm. Up at 3am for a feeding.. Might as well get up for the day.

Scene: the night before Thanksgiving, this year.

Mr and Mr. KK, prepping to host Thanksgiving, trying to enjoy a drink while entertaining a toddler. Already in our pajamas at 7pm. Watching the Cars moving with Little Mister at 8pm. Asleep by 8:30, while Little Man continues to watch TV.

No matter how you celebrate the biggest party night of the year, enjoy it!

Happy Almost Thanksgiving!