Thursday, April 28, 2011

Five Gift Ideas for the Royal Wedding

As you may have heard about 8 million times in the past few months, Prince William and Kate Middleton are getting married.

A royal wedding!  How exciting!

Don't they look so happy?  [Note:  Happy and uncomfortably forced into an awkward pose sometimes look the same.]

Sadly, I was overlooked on the royal invitation list.  It's okay.  I was too busy not caring to attend anyway.  

But for those who were rich fortunate enough to get an invitation, here are five gift ideas for the couple who has everything:

1:  For Princess Kate:  How about a lovely bedazzled neck brace for when that huge crown puts too much of a strain on her delicate frame?

2:  Or, what about a big giant poster of Princess Diana to hang throughout the royal home as a reminder that she will be compared to Princess Diana for the rest of her life?

3:  Now, we all know Kate loves her some hats.  

Okay... you get the point.  

So, what about adding another hat to the collection?  Something that says, "I can wear this hat if I want.  You know why?  Because I'm the future queen... and I do what I want."  

If any hat in the history of hats has ever made such a statement, it'd be this one.

4:  Now, we can't forget the groom.  For Prince William, I recommend a disguise so that when he feels the need to get away from the old royal ball-and-chain he can roam around without being recognized.

Before awesome disguise:  "Haye, look.  It's Prince William... at the bar!  I'm telling Kate!"

After awesome disguise:  "Haye, who's that dork!?  Oh wait, who cares?!"  Such a classic gift.  And one that keeps on giving!

5:  And finally, a gift for the couple.  Recently William and Kate have announced that they would love to add to the royal family in the future through adoption.  

So, if you need a gift for the couple, might I recommend one of the Duggar children.

...or possibly even one of the Jolie-Pitt children.

Let's face it... neither family would probably even notice one of them were missing.

Mama’s Losin’ It
This post idea came from Mama Kat's Writing Workshop.  Be sure to stop by there for creative inspiration!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


[edit:  Several of you have complimented/asked about his choice of headwear.  It's a hooded towel (equip with wings and tail) depicting the night fury dragon from How To Train Your Dragon.  It actually came in last year's Easter Basket and he still loves it.  Here he is with it on in April 2010.  Please note:  The red plastic cups on the table were from dying Easter eggs, not playing beer pong.  ;)]

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Versatile Blog Award

I was awarded the Versatile Blog Award!

I know what you're thinking, it's SUPER cheesy!  Duh.  That's one reason I love it.  Plus, I'm just honored that someone would think of me.  :)

When given this award you're supposed to:
1:  Thank the individual that gave you the award, including a link back to his/her blog in your post.
2:  Tell your readers seven things about yourselves.
3:  Pass along the award to 15 recently-discovered new bloggers.

1:  I was given this blog award by Johanna from Moms Tree House.  I found her site a few weeks ago and really enjoy it.  [My favorite part of her blog are the weekly writing prompts.  I mentioned them in my post here.]  So stop by there and take a look around.

2:  Seven things about myself:
  1. I am a lefty, but play all sports right handed.  
  2. I graduate law school in 233 days.  (But who's counting?)
  3. I never cook.  NEVER.  That's my hubby's job (and he does it well.)
  4. I've had The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss memorized since I was three.  
  5. I gave birth to twin boys as a gestational surrogate (meaning I wasn't biologically related to the babies) in March 2008.
  6. People often tell me I'm very intimidating, which is crazy because I'm constantly in awe of all of those I know and just how amazing they are.
  7. The saying I try my best to live by is, "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle."  
3)  Pass along the award to 15 recently-discovered new bloggers:

Storm Damage to the Base

Last night a severe storm hit parts of the south, including our state.  Ten people have been confirmed dead and there are many missing.  We knew the base had been hit by a tornado but we didn't know the extent of the damage until this morning.

My husband is in the military and my son goes to daycare on base.  I went to take him into school this morning only to realize what exactly had happened.  I will say that it could have been a lot worse and thankfully no one was injured on base (as far as I know).  So I snapped some pictures before turning around and heading to class (with my five year old).  

Trees were down in the residential area of the base.

This tree was completely uprooted.  It's hard to understand just how large this tree is.  But, notice the power line toward the left of it that's leaning?  

Here is another photo of the same tree pictured directly above, this time from further away.  Notice how small the red car to the right of it looks next to this massive tree.

Several power lines were down all over the base.

In fact, this was my first indication that his school might just be closed today.  Roadblocks?  Check.  Down power lines?  Check.  Taking 5 year old to sit through 4 hours of law-school classes?  Check.

But, because his school was still a little further down that road, I didn't know if just a small section was blocked off, so I decided to try the other side.  (Can you tell I really didn't want to torture the child by bringing him to class with me?)  But, this is what I found when I tried to enter on the other side.  

On our detour through the base to see if his school was open we really got an idea of the extent of the property damage.

Dozens of vehicles were completely totaled by the storm.

Many roofs were damaged as well.

This was a small building.

It's hard to tell from this photo but the cart returns were very mangled (if not missing) and some of the glass had been shattered in the shopping center.

Unfortunately, tornado season is in full-swing and many more dangerous storms will be crossing through  the south over the next week.  Please keep all of us in your thoughts and prayers.  

And if you're located in an area that's notorious for tornados or dangerous storms during this time of year, please have a safety plan in place.  My son, my sister, and I practically set on top of one another last night in our hallway closet as this tornado ripped through the base, as well as another town less than 30 minutes from us.  And despite how uncomfortable it was, we'll do it again when the time comes!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Saving the Planet: A Sliding Scale

Okay, I have a confession to make but you have to promise not to judge me.  You promise?  Well, then lean in.  Close.  Closer.

I've never participated in Earth Day before.  

(BTW, that was my attempt at cyber-whispering.  Just go with it.)

Now where were we?  Oh yes.  I'd just admitted that I'd never participated in Earth Day before.

Is that a crime?  Depends on who you ask.

So, let's ask George.  (Note:  I did't actually know George Carlin but if I did I'm almost certain he'd like me calling him George.  And again, just go with it.)

George, do you think it's a crime not to participate in Earth Day?  What's your opinion on all of this "saving the Earth" business?

[Video contains profanity]

Hmm.  Well, I think we can all agree that George doesn't think I've committed any crimes.  And I happen to think the man is a genius, so maybe I'm not so bad after all.

However, all [well, most] humor aside, I decided that I need to start becoming more conscious about the environment.  Don't get me wrong, I'm with George.  I don't think we're going to destroy the planet.  I think that's giving humans entirely too much credit.

To me, Earth Day or "being conscious about the environment" isn't about "saving the planet."  I think of it this way.  I may not be on a diet, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't pay any attention at all to what I eat.  I may not be counting calories, but I know not to make a habit out of eating ice cream everyday.

So what's my point?  I view everything on a sliding scale.  I can believe that there is no way to "save the planet," even that the planet doesn't need us to save it, while still realizing that I need to make better habits and teach my son to just be conscious.

What will we do to be more environmentally conscious you ask?

Ah.... slow down little grasshopper.  Earth Day isn't until tomorrow and it shall be revealed to ye then.

Update:  Want to find out what changes we made on Earth Day?  You can read about it here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Muse

"A muse is someone who has such an influence on another that he or she becomes the focus and inspiration for that person's creative work."

My sister, Stevie, is such an inspiration to me.  And, I absolutely love taking photos of her.  Because she's so naturally beautiful, I often find myself spontaneously saying, "Oh, stay right there while I grab my camera."  I'm so thankful to have her in my life, and now in my home.  I love you Stevie.  

Picture {Perfect}

This post was inspired by Ordinary Miracles and the Crazy 8

Shh... Vinny is sleeping.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The ABCs of Being a Student

I've been in school my entire life.  Seriously.

I started elementary school, well . . . let's just say it's been a while.

In fact, just to give you a frame of reference this was the #1 song on the Billboard Charts the week is started kindergarden.

And this was at the top of every kids' Christmas list to Santa:

Okay, so now that we've established that I've been in school a really, really long time I'd like to share a few things with you that have taken me, well, a really long time to figure out on my own.  


  • Never, ever buy a textbook from the campus bookstore unless it's a do-or-die situation.  They're extremely overpriced.  Type in the ISBN into google or amazon or buy used from a friend.
  • Post your books on immediately after the semester ends if you plan on selling them.  (It's simple.  You just set up an account and type in the ISBN, which is listed on the back of the book.)  Books are replaced with new editions very often.  If you don't list it immediately, you risk having another paperweight around the house.  
  • And speaking of making the decision of whether to sell or keep your books:  unless you found the layout of the book so helpful that you'll reference it in the future (either for class or your profession) get rid of it!  You'll be forced to buy way more than you have room for, trust me.
  • If a book is recommended by the professor, rather than required find someone who's previously had the class to find out if you should purchase it.  Chances are, you won't ever use it and you won't be tested over any material in it or else the professor would have required it.  My vote: 9 out of 10 times, pass them up.


  • If you're not a morning person, don't enroll for morning classes and magically expect that you'll feel like going.  You won't.
  • Think ahead.  If I take "x" this semester instead of "y" will "y" still be available for me to take next semester?  Some courses are only offered once per year.  This requires planning.
  • And speaking of planning, know exactly what classes you plan on taking, exactly what you need to do to register for those classes online, and the exact minute registration opens.  Registration at my school is online and each class is assigned a number.  I write out the numbers of the classes I want as well as alternatives in case I don't get into the courses I want.  Then, I set my alarm (our registration is always at 7:15am), wake up in the morning, grab my list, log online, and am ready to go.  This insures that I almost always get in the classes I want.
  • Try to keep one day class free if possible.  I usually try to do this on a Monday or a Friday so that I have a longer weekend.  Some people prefer Wednesdays so that it breaks up the week.  Think about what would make the semester easier on you.

Costs of College

  • There are people whose jobs are to help you with your financial aide.  They know you don't know all of the answers, or even all of the questions.  Use these people!  Make appointments with them.    Take a notepad and pen.  And ask tons of questions.
  • FAFSA is the federal government program that will help you pay for college.  You'll fill out a form and the government will send the information straight to your school.  Almost 100% of my undergrad and doctorate have been funded through the use of this program.  
  • Avoid private loans, such as loans through banks.  Stick with the government grants/loans.  Trust me on this one.
  • Don't forget to research scholarship opportunities.  You'd be surprised what's available.  Ask the HR department if your corporation offers them.  Ask the colleges you're applying to.  And don't forget to visit your state's website for scholarship opportunities as well.  
  • College is expensive enough as it is--don't add to the costs if you don't have to.  For example, do you really need to go out of state?  Or, can you take your basics at a technical college and then transfer them to the university you want to attend?  Many times, this is possible and can save you thousands of dollars.
  • Find out what your tuition entitles you to and take advantage of it.  For example, my college has a gym with workout equipment and a huge pool.  It's free to all students, so if you live near campus there's no reason anyone who attends there should be paying for a gym membership.

The Kitchen Sink 
  • Friends.  Make them!  If you're shy, find at least one person in each class that seems nice and ask him for his phone number/email.  Make a deal, "I'll take notes for you when you're absent if you'll do the same for me."  You'd be surprised how helpful this will be when the professor decides to make a sudden change in the syllabus while you're not there.  And you'd also be surprised how many of these "strictly business" relationships turn into lifelong friendships.
  • Absences.  Find out the attendance policy up front.  If you know you're going to be out, let your professor know as soon as possible.  Despite what they say, many of them won't count it against your total if you let them know up front.  Also, keep track of your absences on your calendar.  And use your absences wisely.  Spring 2010 semester, I had to allot my absences perfectly so that I didn't miss any of my son's t-ball games.  Think about these things in advance.   
  • Involvement.  Whether you're 18 and going off to college or in your mid-forties with kids at home going back to college--get involved.  Colleges have activities to fit all interests and lifestyles.  For example, many of the activities I've participated in are ones in which students are encouraged to take their spouses and children, such as baseball games or luncheons.  Seek these opportunities out and have fun with them.  Many are funded by your tuition anyway, so you might as well enjoy them!
  • Student Discounts.  Tons of stores offer these, so make sure you get your Student ID while you're in the campus bookstore not buying books.  Most campuses supply your ID for free.  Keep it on you and ask around.  Many places offer student discounts:  movie theaters; local sports events; amusement parks; department stores; auto insurance companies; and more.  One of my favorite places to shop is Express.  They offer a 15% discount to students who show their ID.  Now that makes me happy!  
Alright, well I hope someone found this helpful.  If you did, please let me know by commenting below. 

This post idea came from Mama Kat's Writing Workshop.  Be sure to stop by there for creative inspiration!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Godfather

As you may have read, #22 on My 30 Before 30 List is to watch 100 of IMDB's Top 250 Movies.  

Tonight I crossed my first movie off the list.  

Meet The Godfather.  He's a nice guy, loves his family, and takes business seriously.  

How would I sum up the movie? 
In one word:  long.  
In three words:  good, but long.

Rather than going into some typically boring movie review and pretending people will read it, I'd like to tell you a few things you may not know about the movie courtesy of, you guessed it, IMDB.
  1. The body count in the movie is 18 (including the horse).
  2. Speaking of that famous horse scene, the head used was real.  It was obtained from a dog-food factory.  (Yuck!)
  3. The film was shot in only 62 days.
  4. Marlon Brando stuffed his cheeks with cotton wool during his audition for Don Corleone to make him look like a bulldog.  For the actual movie the actor wore a mouthpiece to get his well-known look.  
  5. The cat held by the Godfather in his famous opening scene was a stray Marlon Brandon found on the studio lot.  
  6. Marlon Brando apparently refused to learn the script and read most of his lines from cue cards.  

So, 1 down 99 to go to reach my goal!  Think I'll make it?  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Messy Purse

What do the contents of my purse say about me?  Well... let's take a look inside.

What is it?  Highlighters.  Lots and lots of highlighters.  

What does this say about me?  It says I'm in law school, and that I read, a lot.  As I read a case I highlight specific parts in different colors to help me focus on what's important and recall the case quickly when I get called on in class or while studying for finals.  

Green:  The Facts of the Case
Yellow:  The Issue (What's the question the Court has been called upon to decide?)
Pink:  The Rule (Think of it as the law the Court applied in the case.)
Blue:  The Analysis (Think of it as the way the Court applied the facts to the Rule to decide the outcome of the case.)
Orange:  The Procedural History & Conclusion (What did the lower court decide when they heard this case and what did the court that's hearing it now ultimately decide?)

What is it?  Wrappers. Crystal Light energy to-go packet wrappers and Fiber One chewy granola bar wrappers to be exact.

What does this say about me?  Well, besides the obvious--I need to clean my purse out--it says I'm really busy.  

It also says that I try to watch my calories; there's only 140 Calories in the granola bar and only 10 calories in the energy packs.  [I say this as I'm eating ice cream, but no one needs to know that so shhhh!]  Many of my classes are during lunchtime so I'd rather have these guys handy than hit up the vending machine. And, I'm only a bottled water away from an energy kick anytime I need it!

What is it?  My inhaler and reading glasses.

What does it say about me?  Well, that I'm a nerd, duh!   

What is it?  To-go pack of tissues and stickers.  

What does it say about me?  That I have a five-year old and have learned the hard way to be ready for runny noses and to entertain him at a moment's notice.  

What is it?  Chapstick.  Glorious, glorious chapstick!!

What does it say about me?  Well, you may think it says that I have crazy, dry lips, but really it just says that I'm addicted to chapstick.  The thought of reaching in my purse and not having any with me is terrifying, so I tend to have way too many on me at one time.  

So, there it is.  Interesting stuff, I know.  ;)  

This post idea came from Mama Kat's Writing Workshop.  Be sure to stop by there for creative inspiration!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Interviewing Maddox

I stumbled upon a blog entitled Moms Tree House today, and the author does something really neat to encourage writing.  She suggests writing topics once per week for fellow bloggers to write on and then creates a place on her site for them to share their writings with one another.  I think this is a fantastic idea, especially for new bloggers like myself, so I've signed up to participate.  

For my first weekly-writing prompt I chose to interview my little guy.  In case you've never met him allow me to introduce the star of this post, and my life.  

World, this is Maddox. 

I asked Maddox three short questions and wrote down his answers verbatim.  Enjoy.

#1)  What are mommies for?  "Moms are for babies, to feed them; and to clean up dog throw up and poop and for taking care of dogs."  [I said, "Is that all?  Is there anything else moms are for?"  "Nope.  That's it."]

#2)  What do you want to be when you grow up and why?  "I want to be in a licking contest, where I lick things with my really long tongue.  Or, maybe be the guy who passes out the candy at Halloween."

#3)  What is one thing you hate and why?  "I don't like when [classmate's name] at school destroys stuff."

Such enlightening answers from my five year old, huh?  Okay, so they may not be enlightening but they sure are sweet.