Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer Reading

Summer is off to a roaring start and I'm pretty proud of my spring/summer reading list so far. After basically a 4 year hiatus from reading anything longer than a Real Simple recipe, I've made my triumphant (albeit, temporary, until baby comes) return to my favorite hobby - reading! Since I quit my job in March, I've covered:

Eat, Pray, Love
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Water for Elephants
The Boelyn Inheritance
An Inconvenient Wife
The Tipping Point
The Vaccine Book
Parenting, Inc.

Plus some others that I have left off because I've either forgotten or they are so embarassingly idiotic that I don't want to admit I actually read them all the way through.

All of this while continuing to stay on top of my thrice-daily readings of my usual repertoire of Hop on Pop, Where the Wild Things Are, Berenstein Bears Go to the Doctor, Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom, and other preschoolian favorites. Are you impressed yet?

It is the last book (Parenting, Inc. not Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom) that inspired my post today on Atlanta Parent - check out the cross post since I'm off to start a new book instead of writing another blog post.

Happy Summer and happy reading to all! Keep me posted if you read anything you think I should add to my list!

Monday, May 19, 2008

In Case You Can't Get Enough of Cara...

While few of you ever comment on this site, I am developing a decent readership given that this blog was developed for family and friends. There are over 2000 of you now that have checked in at least once, but don't worry - my stupid blog counter isn't working right so I can't get into the analytics to see who you are or how often you read. So useful. I am hoping that my fans are made up of actual family and friends and not 2000 child molesters hoping to get a bathtime shot of my kids.

For those of you that don't know, I also blog for Atlanta Parent Online, where I believe I have a following of approximately 2 people, mostly due to the fact that I don't think the blog is very well publicized or maintained. I've emailed them several times and asked them to update my profile and my counter so I can see actual readership, to no avail. However, now that I've posted about it here, maybe some of you will read and tell your friends (I can dream, right?), so I guess I better slap a post up there tomorrow.

Recently I have been invited (after borderline harassment of the site's founders) to blog for Deep South Moms, which has sister sites in Silicon Valley, DC, Chicago, New York, and a whole bunch of other cities I can't remember right now. This super-cool regional forum has guest bloggers such as Katie Couric, so I am pretty excited to be allowed to post my ramblings there - hopefully they won't kick me off.

All of this started as an effort to keep family posted on the antics of Cade and Drew, but has now evolved into a secondary mission of a way to help develop some sort of a virtual following/platform for a book I am writing with a good friend who also has children close together. Our book proposal is now sitting on the desks of 17 editors (5 rejections so far), so say a little prayer for us that Baby Bunching (check out the super cool post my co-author wrote for the Washington Post parenting blog) suddenly becomes of compelling interest to the middle aged men in publishing that make decisions about what the rest of us will read.

In the meantime, keep reading and tell your friends to read too!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spoke too soon

about the peace and quiet thing. Apparently simultaneously sawing and supervising is too much for an MBA grad. I glanced out the window to see youngest son riding bikes on the driveway with nothing but a shirt on. Aaron's response when asked why Drew had no pants on?

"Well, he peed his pants."


Life After Graduation...

is rougher than we thought it would be. My oldest child (i.e. the one I married) continues to give me a run for my money. Yesterday Aaron spent the whole day with a hangover because he was out drinking and playing video games at Dave and Busters until all hours with school friends. On the bright side, he amassed over 800 points when his friends gave him all their tickets and he was able to win a giant Sponge Bob Square Pants stuffed animal for the boys. It took Aaron and me 3 years to aquire enough points to get a similar sized Big Bird toy for Cade right before he was born.

He finally started to feel better around 5 pm, but then made himself sick to his stomach playing his new Call of Duty 4 XBox game. It turns out that war games are really only fun if you know how to work the controls and properly pivot and run simultaneously. Otherwise, your character runs into a lot of walls and it makes you really motion sick.

Fortunately, he was able to rally to stay up until all hours again watching the Jazz in the playoffs -the game started at 10:30 our time. He is no doubt relieved that they lost and are out of the playoffs so he can go back to hitting the sack at a normal hour.

Poor (31 year old) baby.

This morning he was up bright and early (10:30 am) and is now doing some project out in the garage that involves sawing the edge of a piece of wood that is dangerously close to his own thumb. I'm not complaining since he has the little boys out there with him and they are playing spaceship. This means that I am free to roam the house doing chores in peace and quiet and they will be available to run for a towel and call 911 when he saws his freaking hand off.

Is this really my life?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Graduation Day is Here!

Aaron has graduated at last! His grad school education has been a long haul for all of us, starting with the moment he E-MAILED me about this time three years ago to let me know he had signed up to take the G-MAT - "just to see" how he could do. I knew it was over. Almost 7 months pregnant with Drew, I was livid. We talked about him going back to business school once before we had Cade and again before we got pregnant with Drew and both times he decided to put it off. Didn't the final decision warrant at least a discussion/phone call as opposed to an email?!?! I mean, do we or do we not live in the same house!??!

From that moment on, it has been a 3 year long rollercoaster ride. First it was the stress of studying for the G-MAT and squeezing the actual test in before the baby's arrival. I constantly fretted that the baby would come early (or worse, come ON the day of the test), but Aaron kindly reassured me that as long as I went into labor after 7 am on testing day, the testing room would be locked and there would be no way I would be able to disturb his testing anyway. Nice. As it turns out, Aaron took the test on a Saturday and Drew held out until early the Tuesday morning following.

Then came the application process. Applications, letters of recommendation, and essays for five schools. Then the agonizing waiting process. Then the acceptance process (two of which came with scholarships - a nice bright spot in the whole ordeal!). All with two children under the age of two in tow, during what was probably the most difficult year of my life. Or so I thought.

We ended up accepting at Emory, which alleviated the need for relocation and its associated hassles. It would definitely turn out to be a blessing for me, although poor Aaron has suffered a brutal cross-town commute for the past two years since the school is literally about as far away from our house as it could be and still be in Atlanta.

Then came the moment of truth - Aaron quit his job and started his school adventure. The first semester was a struggle for all of us, as he balanced the heavy school workload with his responsibilities as husband/father. Throw in his innate desire to be 19 years old for the rest of his life and the ample social opportunities associated with school and it was a pretty explosive year. In fact, we have still a dent in the living room wall to commemorate the book I threw at him in the moment that it all became too much.

But Aaron survived and so did our marriage. The second semester was better, despite the brutal interns hip interview process, and it was followed by a super fun summer in California for all of us while Aaron interned at Google. By the second year, the brutal job interview process and waiting game was old hat. We all took it in stride and celebrated when Aaron's top choice job offers came through. The spring semester of the second year brought a different pace as Aaron realized that his days as a student were coming to an end. He held down the fort academically, but really focused on making up for as much lost "fun" time as possible, including a spring break trip to the British Virgin Islands. This time, when the socializing became too much, I was able to simply point to the old dent in the wall instead of throwing a new book at him. He got the message.

Which brings us to today - and graduation at long last. We've still got an entire summer to survive before he starts his new job, but I can't help but be proud of him and of us for surviving the past two years. Although I think it would have been easier and more fun had we done this BK (before kids), I'm not sure that Aaron would have been as focused or have gotten as much out of it. So, like most major life changes, it worked out for the best. And now we are looking forward to the next two major life changes: a new baby in August and the return of a steady paycheck in the fall.