Archive for the ‘Career’ Category

Penis Parties- April 7, 2014

Monday, April 7th, 2014

This weekend one of my best friends loaded her luggage in my Jeep and we took a road trip to the beach for the first time in awhile. Sara and I were off to celebrate another long-time bestie, Colleen. After a string of jerks  Colleen found Thomas. I knew when I met him that he was one. I was very fortunate to be able to go to the party since my aunt and uncle live a mile off the island. I was five minutes away from Henry if he needed me. It was the first night I spent away from my little 5-month-old.

photo (91)Kissing the bride.

Of the girls in our grade in the sorority, I was one of the first to get married. Let me assure you, I didn’t plan for it to be that way. Before I met Greyson I was convinced I wouldn’t get married until my 30’s. Love changes the best laid plans. It’s hard to believe it will be nine years this month. Colleen is one of the last to get married. We laugh about the differences between planning a wedding at 23 (me) and at 32 (her). For example, Colleen bought her own awesome Jimmy Choos to wear down the aisle because she makes her own money and she can. I didn’t ask my parents for Jimmy Choos since I was only two years out of college, poor and counting on them to pay for everything. I wouldn’t change anything, but don’t tell my parents or my husband that I do envy the maturity of Colleen’s wedding.

This is the only photographic evidence of my bachelorette party that I will share. It is edited to protect your fragile eyes. Yes, it is a blinking penis necklace.

bachelorette necklace

 

My party consisted of dinner, then a game of “Pin The Penis On The Hunk” and so many shots. So. Many. As each friend walked down the aisle, there was some ridiculous celebration or another. One girl wore a “Suck for a Buck” t-shirt covered in Lifesavers. For another friend we hid paper hearts with guys in bars and the bride had to go up to them and ask if they “had a heart on.” Some cowboy beefcake stripper boarded the party bus for my sister. The stories go on and on. All of these were during my twenties.

This weekend we had the privilege of staying at a family friend’s beautiful island mansion. We strolled on the dock, went out to a nice dinner and stopped at one bar. It wasn’t crowded. We danced for a bit, had a few drinks and were back at the house by 11:45. There was only one penis thing. A penis cake. This one had fondant and was baked by an actual chef. We laughed, remembering ten years ago when we bought some Betty Crocker mix and baked penis cakes for another friend.

I looked at Colleen’s happy face and realized this is so much better. We were silly college girls, then funny twenty-somethings and now we’re experienced. We’re wives, divorcees, mothers, professionals and still friends.

I looked at the cake and thought about that stupid blinking necklace and said, “You know, my relationship with the penis has changed now that I wipe a tiny one all the time.” The passage of time, penis by penis.

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Candidate From My Past- February 6, 2014

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

The news that former American Idol runner-up and Raleigh native, Clay Aiken was running for congress in North Carolina brought a smile to my face yesterday. I watched him in numerous TV interviews during his media blitz. His red hair, familiar native twang and sparkly eyes reminded me of another time. A quirky phase I went through in my life.

His campaign announcement video via You Tube
 

I have already voted for Clay Aiken. Oh, yes. I was one of millions who voted for him back in 2003. My roommate and one of my dearest friends, Sara and I shared an apartment near campus. I was 21. I turned 22 that summer. We were college seniors who were just a summer semester away from graduating when we watched every episode of American Idol. Okay, I made Sara watch every week because I was captivated by this kid from my home city.

He had a nice singing voice. We were just two years apart in age. I knew some people he knew and he just seemed like a really nice guy. I loved seeing a hometown kid succeed on the nation’s most popular show. I joined the message boards and encouraged Clay support with my AIM icon. I bought the Rolling Stone magazine with his picture on the front and made Sara go to a Kelly Clarkson/Clay Aiken concert with me where I may or may not have bought a t-shirt. I understood why girls were all about him. He was non-threatening and charming. Unlike some of the “Claymates” however, I was not surprised when he came out a few years later after his fame from the show had faded. I was happy for him that he felt like he could say that he was gay and be who he was.

Am I a little embarrassed of my silly infatuation in 2003? Of course. I was a little too old for that. But, I think the reason I had a summer fling with Clay Aiken was that subconsciously I was clinging to my last bit of lighthearted, teenage fun. Voting for a contestant on a reality show was a welcome distraction from my first real-world scary, frustrating job search. That was the summer I ended my internship, finished my final classes of undergrad and had interviews for a real jobs at TV stations. That was the summer I said goodbye to my college friends and moved back home with my parents because that’s where the job was and I had no choice but to face the startling, adult reality that I had no money and no where to go. Little did I know, when summer turned to fall I would fall in love with the man who would eventually become my husband. I quickly left the room at my parents house for an apartment I shared with him. Stashed in that girlish closet were old prom dresses, sorority photos and even a Clay poster taped to the inside of the door where no one would see the evidence of my fandom.

photo (75)Me and my husband in Oct. 2003

Yesterday, the 32-year-old woman that I am now rocked the baby and wiped the nose of the three-year-old I have with that same man I met the year Clay Aiken became famous. I reminded my husband that he went with me to see Clay at the NC State Fair and the Raleigh Christmas Parade back then. He laughed and rolled his eyes telling me that he must have really been in love to have done all of that. We watched one of his interviews  last night and listened to his views on issues he wants to address as a potential congressman.

I can’t vote for or against Clay this time. I live one district away, but I wish him luck and thank him for bringing back memories of a funny, fleeting time in my life. I wondered how his political career would pan out and wondered if I would remember the day he announced he would run for office. I think this may be a funny, fleeting time in my life too. It is the first week of my life as a stay-at-home mom. I’m sure I’ll look back fondly.

Good luck Clay. While you campaign to get voters to mark your name on a ballot, I will always remember when Ryan Seacrest campaigned for you and I called a 1-866 number over and over, just to be a silly girl for just a few months longer.

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20-Something

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

I share an office at work with two girls ages 22 and 24. I love it. They are wonderfully sweet and kind, like all my coworkers. They are very hard working women and are learning so much. I joke with them that my pregnancy symptoms are catching whenever they talk about “craving” a food or “feeling tired.” They are more than kind when I am carrying a bunch of stuff or complain of being hot in the office. They look out for the pregnant woman.

Most of the time I don’t even think about how I am 8 to 10 years older than they are. You know how it is when you get to be an adult, you don’t even notice age difference that much anymore. That is, unless you and your fellow 30-something friends are PSYCHED about the New Kids on the Block/Boys II Men concert and they look at you like you have five heads.

Leaving them on Friday after a discussion made me all reflective about life. Ashley is 22 and just finished college. I love hearing about her leaving her sorority sisters and starting a career. I know that unsure, exhilarating feeling. I was so focused on making it in my chosen profession while learning what it meant to be an adult. There is no other time like it.

I realized this May that I graduated college ten years ago. Ten years! I’ll be 32 next month. Sometimes the last ten years feels like an instant. Sometimes age 22 feels like a lifetime ago. I was telling Ashely how I wouldn’t go back to being 22, that 32 was better.  No, I wouldn’t go back. I love my life now. I have so much more than I ever thought I would. My husband, my family, our house and my career. In the last ten years I married my husband, accomplished my life dream of being a television news reporter and started my family.

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Senior year sorority formal, just before graduation in 2003. I was still 21.

No, I wouldn’t go back, but I wouldn’t trade being 22 for anything in the world. I’m starting to think that even though my bank account was always overdrawn, I got too much sun exposure and drank too many cosmopolitans, 22 may be the smartest I ever was.

It was age 22 that I met the sports anchor at the news station and allowed myself to fall unabashedly in love and dive into a life with a man because I just felt like it was right. I knew that we were meant to be together. I didn’t give a second thought to the fact that we had only known each other 7 months when he asked me to be his wife. I instantly said yes.

2004. We were engaged. I think I was 22 or 23.

2004. We were engaged. I think I was 22 or 23.

I was telling Ashley how hard it was starting my career in news and being the youngest person in a newsroom with older, hardened and seasoned professionals. I frequently kept 1 Timothy 4:12 in my head. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

Even though my focus has changed and I have typical 30-something worries about toddler TV-time and a mortgage, my early 20’s will forever be precious in my mind. Those were the times that I made all the decisions that led me to the happiness I have now. Ashley and Kelsie serve as that daily reminder for me and they are a blessing.

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Kathleen, Ashley and Kelsie. We are in good hands if they are the future of PR and communications.

 

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A Letter to the Governor of Mississippi

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Dear Governor Bryant,

I bet you’ve had a weird day, today.  Were your PR and Communications team running around like mad men? I bet their mouths dropped open and they whipped out their Blackberries during that Washington Post Live event. They hoped their calls, texts and Tweets were the extinguisher to put out the firestorm you started.  How many reporters have called your office for comment and response since then? I would wager to guess at least some of your staff are still at the office in crisis mode tonight.  The local news media in Jackson is probably swamped covering this story and getting reaction for the evening and night news.  I wonder how busy they are at the Mississippi Republican Party headquarters?

You knew what you were doing when you said it.  You knew it!  The event was focused on improving children’s literacy by the third grade.  The moderator asked you how American education had “become so mediocre.”

Your response? “I think both parents started working. And the mom is in the work place.”

Your backpedaling began immediately.  You went on to recognize you would get a ton of emails about this, knowing it was a controversial statement and would likely offend millions of working mothers and their families.  In your defense, during the backpedaling you did say that US students were behind other countries because they invest more in education.  Okay, I agree with you there.  That could be a good explanation.

Your statement meant journalists and fact checkers went into overdrive today too.  This ABC News report cites statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the National Center for Education Statistics.  The OECD finds 67% of US mothers with children under 15 work outside the home.  The NCES states that 77% of Finnish mothers work outside the home, but Finland ranks higher in reading than American students.
Sounds like you were right with your backpedaling, Governor.  I also heard your wife worked outside the home for decades, even while raising your kids.  I think I speak for everyone when I say, “Huh?”

Governor, my heart is with all the working PR, communications, news media and political advisors that are working overtime tonight because you said something so ridiculous.  I have to imagine a number of them are working mothers and not able to be home tonight with their children.

Sounds like you are contributing to the mediocrity of those children because their mothers aren’t at home.  Way to go.

For the record, I wrote this after my child went to bed.  Fingers crossed, my working after hours won’t make her fall further behind the Finnish.

Sincerely,

Amy

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The Place I Choose to Leave My Kid Everyday

Friday, February 8th, 2013

daycare 2

Back in the day when we were kids, I think  “daycare” was somehow a bad word.  It was sort of like “Oh!  You go to DAYCARE?!  Your mom has to work?!  Are you poor?”    I thought of daycare as a place where a woman in curlers and a bathrobe kept kids fenced in her front yard with rusty old playground equipment while she went through a pack of Salem Lights.  That was before she took the dirty children inside to watch “The Young and the Restless.”   This of course, is my misguided perception.  I’m sure there were many quality daycare centers 30 years ago.

Now it’s like,  “Where do your kids go to daycare?  Oh, really?  They don’t?  Well they won’t be ready for kindergarten if you don’t start newborn baby curriculum!  We’re at Yuppie & Hipster Montessori.  We pay twice our mortgage payment every month to send the kids there, but it was important for us to have Jasper and Kinsley in a full-time Mandarin immersion program.”

I had a babysitter during the day when I was little, then my mom stayed home when my little sister was born.  Mom went back to her career when my sister went to kindergarten.

I’ve had some readers and friends ask me recently about how I found Charlotte’s daycare and why we go there.  The short answer?  That’s where we were able to get in when I had to go back to work after maternity leave.  We like her school.  I’m really glad she’s there.  It was a great decision for us.

Waiting Lists– In a previous post about giving advice to pregnant women, I mentioned you have to get on the waiting list at a daycare, pronto!  Like, in your second trimester.  We were on the waiting lists at five different schools.  It was $150 fee to get on the waiting list.  You can kiss that money good-bye.  You don’t get it back.  I toured each of these and got absolutely no guarantee from any of them that she was in until after she was born.  Quality infant classes are tough to get into.

Stars- In North Carolina there is a Star Rated License program.  I’m sure many states have similar licensing programs.  To me, it seems like sort of a crock.  Why?  It’s just really confusing, first of all.  Secondly, you get one star if you meet state standards.  So, any other stars are ones the schools apply for.  Huh?  I have friends who sent their kids to a “Five Star” facility and were very unhappy when they discovered some unsanitary practices being covered up.  They said they were fooled by the shiny, pretty new building.  Also, your school could meet state requirements with one star, but then have a bunch of other accredidations instead of the stars.  You just have to check into it.

Don’t get me wrong, I think stars are important, but a lot of it has to do with the amount of education the teachers have.  A lot of Charlotte’s teachers are in school, have Associate’s Degrees in Early Childhood Education and are working on their bachelor’s degrees.  They are just young.  Others may not have gone to college, but have been in childcare facilities for decades and have great experience working with children.  Their schooling automatically knocks the  star rating down even though they are awesome teachers.

Charlotte’s school has three stars.  This stressed me out and made me feel like a terrible parent for awhile until I looked into the system some more and realized the relatively insignificant things that bumped up the rating for a facility.  I think you have to take the ratings with a grain of salt.  By-the-way, my personal research into price showed very little difference in tuition prices for schools with 3 to 5 stars.  Oh, and religious-based schools just have to meet a state compliance standard and don’t have to do anything with stars if they don’t want to.  Again, take the stars with a grain of salt.

Programs- I like the variety of things they offer.  Charlotte’s school has a pool with swimming lessons starting at a certain age,  gymnastics, theatrical performances and art.  I do wish there was more foreign language, but they do some Spanish lessons now that she’s in the Two’s Class.  I seriously couldn’t believe it when I got her first “Report Card” when she was like, 5 months old.  They discussed how Charlotte was doing with Infant Curriculum.  Huh?  For real?  Yep, they assessed how she was holding up her head, doing tummy time, responding to her teacher’s facial expressions and other baby milestones.  It cracked me up.

Now Charlotte will come home and put her head on the ground while lifting her leg.  When we ask her what she’s doing she says, “I do Yoga!”  Yes, they offer Yoga and Zumba for toddlers.  I keep thinking, “Yoga, Zumba, afternoon naps with classical music and snacks?  Um.  I wanna be in daycare!”

Food- We chose a school that offers a menu.  I figured if we paid this much, the price better include feeding my kid.  There are some places you have to pack their lunch everyday.  There is no way we are going pack her lunch everyday.  I will when she’s in elementary school so she can experience the “lunchbox novelty” and I won’t stress over public school food.

I was worried about the school menu until I looked at it.  At her school they include veggies, fruit and whole grains in every meal.  Um, yeah.  That’s often better than what she gets at home.  At first I didn’t like tater tot Fridays once a month, but then I realized it will be almost impossible to raise a child who has never tasted a tot.  The school menu made us branch out with what we feed our daughter.  She ate taco salad at school and decided she loved it.  Huh?  I never would have guessed that if it weren’t for the school food.

I also think this is where positive peer pressure comes in.  Her teachers said kids who may not eat veggies at home tend to eat them when the whole class is chowing on some green beans.

Socialization– Every kid cries sometimes when their parents drop them off at daycare.  It’s inevitable.  But, I’ve noticed a bit of a trend.  The kids who started daycare at 18 months or 2 years seem to cry a lot when my kid doesn’t even know that I’m gone.  Charlotte and most of her friends have been there since they were 3 months old.  They know we’re coming back.  They also know the toys in the classroom are super cool and they don’t have all these playmates at home.

So that is why  and how we chose our daycare.  I’m am seriously not an expert on this.  What did I miss?  How did you choose your childcare?  What do you like about your daycare?

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