Adulthood Stole My Cool

New Year, New You… Not Happening

Posted on Jan 6, 2018 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, It's the Navy Life, My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute, Travel Traumas

New Year, New You… Not Happening 0

Happy New Year, Friends! How is 2018 going for you so far? Getting fit? Eating healthy? Meditating daily?


New Year New You, courtesy of Balboa Island

Good for you! I have spent the first days of 2018 stuffing my face with muffins and watching old episodes of Downton Abbey. Meanwhile there is a massive pile of boxes sitting in my family room, a not-so-subtle reminder that I still have to put away all the Christmas decorations. While most people seem to relish the New Year as an opportunity to reset and strive to be a better version of themselves, I just want it to be March already. You know, when nobody cares about that stuff anymore.

I rang in the New Year with my parents and a bottle of Nyquil. (I was in California for a quick trip with the kids while Damon stayed back East.) On New Year’s Day, instead of kickstarting a healthy diet, I munched on day-old donuts and In-N-Out. (So good, by the way.)

On the second day of the New Year, I endured a 15-hour travel day with my darling children. After a several hour delay in Dallas, including deplaning our first aircraft due to a mechanical problem, we landed home at 2:00am and waited an hour for luggage that – oops! – never actually made it on the plane. We got home at 3:30AM. Elisabeth talked at me for about 14.5 out of those 15 hours.


PJs, iPads, and M&Ms at DFW

On the third day of the New Year I went to Trader Joe’s with the rest of Hampton Roads in preparation of BOMB CYCLONE 2018. Then I slept because, again, I traveled 15 hours the day before with both my kids. Oh, and I probably have an upper respiratory virus. Whatever.

On the fourth day of the New Year it SNOWED. Gosh, I love being a Virginia resident when it snows. People lose their damn minds. Every. Freaking. Year. For all you folks making vegetable soups from scratch and working out in your home gyms – New Year! New You! – you won’t shame me into being healthy! If I’m stuck in my house with my entire family for days on end, I’m going to consume massive quantities of cookies and wine (and Robitussin PM). I don’t care if it’s only the fourth day of January. I will embrace a better version of myself when temperatures reach above 25 degrees.



On the fifth day of the New Year, I stayed in my pajamas till 3pm. Oh, I also put away two baskets of clean laundry that have been in my bedroom since before Christmas. I hesitate to add that because, well, I don’t want to seem like a braggart.

On the sixth day of the New Year – today – I plopped my kids in front of a movie at 9:00am. Ice Age. Appropriate, right? After all, it is 12 degrees outside. I started Season 4 of Downtown on Tuesday and as of now I’m seven episodes deep. As the New Year is a time for goal-setting, my goal is to finish the season by Monday. And to not leave my house. So far I am succeeding mightily. Don’t let anyone tell you I’m not a high achiever! Damon and I also started watching The Crown. I may have completely abandoned any health and wellness objectives, but when it comes to British television viewing, I am kicking butt.

2018: KILLING it.

In all seriousness, despite exhausting travel, sickness, and snow, I am very happy to welcome a new year. I was going to write a 2017 year-in-review post but in all honesty, 2017 was not my favorite year. (Two words: Adult. Braces.) We moved to a place that I just don’t love and have yet to fully adjust to, and much of last year was spent preparing for, and then recovering from, major surgery. Of course, 2017 wasn’t all bad (I finally saw Hamilton!) but I am ready to put it behind me and welcome a year that is certain to bring lots of excitement and change. (New jobs! Family weddings! Taylor Swift concert!) Resolutions or not, it’s going to be a good year. And now, some highlights from 2017:


Damon and Elisabeth went on a father-daughter ski trip. As you can see, there wasn’t a ton of snow. But they had fun!


Damon and I spent a week in Newport, RI. It was technically work, but it was a nice getaway nonetheless.


Damon promoted to Commander.


I took the kids to California for Easter, and this happened.


A lovely Mother’s Day with my babies.


A whirlwind trip to NYC to see Hamilton. It lives up to the hype, in case you’re wondering.


James turned 3! (Photo Cred: Cara)


My baby brother got engaged to this beautiful lady!


Outer Banks Vacation




Elisabeth started kindergarten. Full Day. Praise be.


First day of preschool – 3s. He was THE MOST EXCITED.




For my first big outing post-surgery, I traveled to Chicago for my 10-year college reunion. (Eek!) Reunited with good friends…


…And saw Hamilton, again.




First baby tooth, gone. Not gonna lie, this was a sad moment for me.




We got to spend Thanksgiving with lots of family, including the kids’ great-grandparents. Always special.


Post-Thanksgiving visit with our Pennsylvania family.


Awkward Santa Photos


Quick trip to California to meet my best friend’s new baby. Totally in love with this sweet (and very tiny!) baby girl. Pretty good way to end 2017.

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Recovery Update: Hangry

Posted on Sep 13, 2017 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool

Recovery Update: Hangry 1

Hi, Friends. I’m nearly four weeks post-surgery and doing fairly well. Some minor discomfort, which is to be expected. And as I mentioned in my previous post, this recovery has been so much better than my last that I can’t complain. My bruising has diminished a lot, but I still look like a puffer fish. This swelling is stubborn, man. And my jaw will be rubber-banded shut for about two more weeks. Which means I’m still on a liquid diet. Which means… I’m officially hangry. You guys – I would trade my children for a cheeseburger right now if I could actually eat it. In some messed-up, masochistic form of torture, I can’t stop watching food videos. You know the ones that demonstrate an entire recipe in about 60 seconds? Literally, can’t stop watching them. Hey, it’s 11:43pm and I should be sleeping, but instead I’m going to watch “Oven-Baked Chicken Wings 4 Ways.” This is my life now. It’s sick, I know. But it all looks so good. The trashier, more junked-up food, the better. A giant meatball filled with spaghetti? OMG I need. Oreo-stuffed donut holes? Get in my belly. Every possible variation on stir-fry you could possibly imagine? I want them all.     At first glance a Mac-N-Cheese Bun Burger looks disgusting. But after you haven’t eaten solid food in a month, it’s pure genius. I would so eat a Mac-N-Cheese bun burger. Speaking of Mac-N-Cheese, did you know there are 14,738 ways to make it? It’s true. I know because I’ve watched/read every single variation on how to do so. Quesadillas compete with Mac-N-Cheese in terms of sheer volume of recipes. Before I would’ve just thrown some cheese on a tortilla and stuck it in the microwave. Maybe a little guac if I was feeling feisty. But quesadillas can be so much more than that! They hold endless culinary potential! I would’ve never thought to make a quesadilla with flank steak fajitas or BBQ chicken and Gouda or sautéed mushrooms and spinach. So fancy! Thankfully my eyes have been opened. I now realize what...

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Recovery Update

Posted on Aug 24, 2017 in Adulthood Stole My Cool

Recovery Update 10

Hi, Friends. I’m one week post-surgery, and the hardest part is (or should be) over! First of all, thank you to everyone who sent prayers or positive thoughts or good vibes my way. Hearing from you all has been such an encouragement. Second of all, I hadn’t planned on writing about my surgery, but as it turns out I have a lot of time on my hands these days! If you’ve been following along here, you’ll know that I’ve been slated to have jaw surgery for several months in order to close an open bite. This is the second time I’ve had this surgery; the first was when I was 19. Unfortunately, my bite gradually reopened over the past decade and a second surgery was the best option to permanently solve my problem. (And yes, we’ll be taking measures to prevent a relapse again. We’ve learned a few things in 13 years!) The first surgery was traumatic. Whereas this time I had a single jaw surgery on my upper jaw, the first time I had a triple surgery (upper jaw, lower jaw, and chin.) My surgeon-orthodontist team warned me that the two weeks following surgery would be hell. There was no getting around that. I was going to be in a lot of pain, I’d probably have nausea, I’d be bruised and swollen, and I would just generally feel shitty all the time. Okay. I mentally prepared myself for two weeks. I could get through two weeks. Actually, I would do better than that. I would face my surgery with optimism and humor!     At the time I had a sorority t-shirt that said, “Cute and Fun to Date.”* I knew I was going to look absolutely wrecked after the surgery, but I was going to wear that t-shirt out of the hospital. I had to maintain my sense of humor. The surgery may break my jaw, but it wouldn’t break my spirit! It broke my spirit. Immediately upon waking from anesthesia, I found a nurse hovering over me with suction telling me to cough up blood. What?...

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Is Everyone Drinking Protein Shakes Without Me?

Posted on Aug 15, 2017 in Adulthood Stole My Cool

Is Everyone Drinking Protein Shakes Without Me? 0

In two days I head into corrective jaw surgery. I’m not going to get into all the medical technicalities of the surgery, but post-surgery my jaw will be wired or rubber banded shut for about six weeks. This means a liquid diet for six weeks. I’m not super stoked about that, but here’s the thing – I had this surgery 13 years ago*, and I managed to survive then. So I’ll survive now. Anyway, when you’re recovering from surgery you need a lot of protein and other nutrients to aid your body in healing. If I remember correctly, my former surgeon encouraged me to get 3000 calories/day during recovery. HAHAHA. Yeah, I don’t get 3000 calories/day when I’m actually eating solid food, so to try to consume that much on a liquid diet is nearly impossible. But hey, it’s good to have goals. At the time my mother – on the advice of the surgeon – went to Costco and stocked up on Ensure. I took one sip and decided that would be my last. So I subsisted on Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks (remember those?), Jamba Juice, and milkshakes. Eventually my mom started putting ice cream into the breakfast drinks and the smoothies because – CALORIES! After about a month I was ready for a change and asked my mom to blend me up some clam chowder – a weird request I know, not least because I don’t particularly like seafood. Not eating solid food for that long will lead to some weird cravings. For example, I also desperately wanted some  Taco Bell creation that I kept seeing advertised on TV (it looked like a quesadilla but was a hexagon, maybe) – but I couldn’t blend that, so clam chowder it was. Like the Ensure, I had one sip of the chowder and almost retched. Back to ice cream smoothies. It wasn’t exactly the healthiest post-surgery diet.     This time around, I vowed to be more mindful about my recovery diet. I definitely need more protein, and probably less ice cream. (Apparently sugar is bad for you?) Luckily...

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Braces: The New Botox

Posted on Feb 28, 2017 in Adulthood Stole My Cool

Braces: The New Botox 1

  “Do you think red wine will stain my clear braces?” This is an actual question that I texted my mom last night. Because I am now living simultaneously as a 13-year-old and 31-year-old. I got braces last week. This is my third round.* I would like to think now that I’m in my thirties I can accept these braces with confidence and grace. (All the magazines say you have more confidence in your thirties, right?!)   But let’s be real: getting braces at any age older than 12 sucks. In an effort to be positive I’ll admit that braces now suck decidedly less than braces when you’re 18 and heading off to college, which also happened to me. See – Positivity!     I was not so positive at my orthodontic appointment last week. Adult braces come with a host of questions and concerns you don’t have as a pre-teen. The aforementioned red wine conundrum, for instance. The reality of repeatedly being head-butted in the mouth by a rambunctious two-year-old. (Seriously. I need a mouth guard.) The fact that in my mature age, all this stuff hurts more and takes longer to recover from.** As I was contemplating all these not-positive things, one of the assistants approached me and asked, “Are you excited?” I furrowed my brow and looked into her soulless eyes. “Yes. I am STOKED. I am SO EXCITED to be a grown-ass woman walking around with a mouth full of metal. I’m going to look completely ridiculous but EVERYTHING IS AWESOME.“ (I realize that as a woman who hasn’t washed her hair in four days, perhaps I don’t have much credibility when it comes to concerns about my appearance, but alas. Vanity is a funny thing.)     I didn’t say any of this, partly because I gathered this person might not understand sarcasm. Instead I un-furrowed my brow and silently chastised myself for the brow-furrowing in the first place. Those forehead wrinkles aren’t getting any smoother. Then it hit me. The upside to all this – I’M GOING TO LOOK SO YOUNG! 31-year-olds don’t have...

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Back to School: The Happiest Time of Year

Posted on Sep 13, 2016 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pinterest Stole My Cool

Back to School: The Happiest Time of Year 3

Most of you probably saw the title of this post and thought, “Why is she writing about Back to School now? My kids have been in school for weeks!” No need to rub it in. Yes, your kids have probably been in school for a week, or weeks, or since mid-August (I’m looking at you, Floridians), but my kids just started preschool this week. As in, the week after Labor Day. BUT IT’S FINALLY HERE. MY TIME HAS COME. For weeks I’ve watched (via social media, natch) my friends across the country ship their kids off to school in cute outfits after posing with a cute chalkboard sign while the moms (usually) lament their babies growing up. Now, the first day of school cute outfits? I can get behind cute outfits. The more my kids will hate them when they’re older, the better.       But once we get to the emotional outpourings surrounding the beginning of school, I start to disconnect. My heart must be made of stone because I was literally counting down the hours until I could drop my kids off at class. I only have love for those weepy parents – I promise you, I have my emotional mother moments, too. But back to school ain’t one of them. James, my two-year-old, is in “school” six hours a week. Six out of 168. If your child is like mine and spends not only most of his waking hours with you, but also most of his “sleeping” hours, those six hours of school are a godsend. Elisabeth, my five-year-old, is now in school five days a week, or 15 hours. My sweet girl is a lover. When she’s not at school, you can probably find her with her arms wrapped around me and her head buried in my chest. Her 15 hours at school are 15 glorious hours of me NOT BEING TOUCHED.   So unless my children are going to magically turn into teenagers during those few hours spent at preschool, I’m not going to get emotional about it.     But what I really...

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