Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lose Weight Dammit!

"Lose weight, dammit." Yep, this is what I say to myself every morning as I stare into the depths of the evil mirror.  "Mirror, Mirror on the wall.  Who's the frumpiest of them all." Again, that would be me.

Normally, I say these words and then do nothing.  I loathe myself as I crawl through yet another day of stagnant activity and over indulgent eating.

So this morning, I finally ventured off to the gym, for the first time in months.  My clients will just have to wait.  I need this for me, except the entire time I'm trudging through the workout, I'm looking around comparing myself to every other person in the room.  "At least I'm not like that guy."  "Oh, I wonder if she has kids.  Nah, probably not, she looks too darn good."  "I hope I look like her when I'm that age."  "Yikes, it could be worse."

It's funny.  In high school, it was the popular girls and magazine models that were the measurement for my self worth (physically at least).  Of course, that ship has sailed.  Now, I find myself envying non-moms or those who freakishly and miraculously revert back to cuteness 10 seconds after they give birth.  Just look at their stretch free skin and perky boobs.  Maybe my goal should be to simply not look like a mom.

Reality check, ladies.  I am never going to look a 22 year old again.  Ironically though, until recently, I was still hanging on to my size 2, extra tiny pre-pregnancy clothes.  Even if I did get back down to my former weight, a good 20 lbs from where I am now, my form is so drastically different, they'll never fit the same.  Off they went to the Goodwill.  It was a sad and dreary day when I let go of pre-existence and embraced the reality of my forever frumpiness.

However, just because I'm never going to look like a super model or even a B-list celebrity, it doesn't mean I have to walk around unhealthy and self-loathing.  If I don't like what I see, I should stop the laziness and put my butt in motion, literally.

So I thought I'd throw out an idea to my fellow supermoms.  Why not be each other's accountability?  Whether you are doing Weight Watchers or another diet program (names of which have completely left my brain), planning on working out at the Y on on your Wii Fit, let's support one another; help each other reach our  goals.  What do you say?  You in?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Frappachino Happy Hour All This Week

Drop by a Starbucks between 3 - 5 pm each day between now and May 15th for half price However-You-Want-It Frappachinos.  It's like they knew it was my birthday this week.  So sweet of them to honor me like that. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Just the Motivation I Need

Owen on Spring Break
Side Note:  Madison got her cast off today.  Okay, now continue. 

First of all, let me apologize for not being the diligent blogger I once was.  I guess when I started writing for Patch, I allowed my personal blog to fall to the wayside.  It's funny how that happens.  The other mitigating factor is that Strategic Victory, my company, has been exploding with new business.  I've barely been able to keep my head above water in this new life as stay-at-home, work-at-home, work-out-of-the-home mom. 

However, not matter how busy life gets, I can't forget about my escape hatch, which just happens to be writing.  It's a release for me, a sanctuary of sorts.  When Penny, my editor at Patch, told me that they were going to be linking to local blog sites, I thought this might be the motivation I need to get back into blogging regularly.

Madison's uber curly hair and bag over her cast.
And look at I am, blogging.  I'm not even going to try and catch you up on the last three months.  It would impossible and probably quite boring actually.  But here's a brief recap:  SVC (my company) took on 12 new clients. Blake finally stopped peeing in his pants (almost). I worked for Senator Jennings in Annapolis during Session. Madison broke her arm and we didn't know it for almost a day.  We drove 18 hours to Florida for our first Spring Break ever.  We took on an intern at SVC.  Nana & Papa kept Madison and Blake at their house for a week giving Neil and I almost kid free time.  My princess is one tough cookie and my middle child seems to be the wimpy one of the lot.  Neil went camping with a bunch of guys from church, giving him two weekends of fun in one month.  The first was a kayaking festival.

What else?  Who knows?  I can barely remember yesterday, much less highlights from the last 3 months. The point is, I'm let's hope I can stay that way.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pampered Chef Fundraiser

What a great way to help raise money for More than Moms.  We come, we shop, we get great kitchen and dining tools, and MTM gets a check.  How much easier can it be?

When Tiffany, one of our sponsors, called and asked if we could do a show on the 21st, I asked if we could do it as a fundraiser even though we don't have tax exempt status.  She said as long as we have a checking account and are recognized at the state level, we're good to go.  Check and check!!!

Here's how it works:  we'll have a normal cooking show, food to sample, recipes to take home, and products to test out.  Then 10 - 15% of our total sales come back to us in the form of a check. So it's key to not only get as many people as we can to my house on the 21st, but we need to spread the word, have friends and neighbors order online, circulate it around Facebook and Twitter, and whatever we can think of to increase our sales.

Check out TIffany's website to see the newest catalog. You can order online if you can't make the party.  So can your friends and family, even if they live far, far away. Just put in More than Moms as the organization/host.

Let's make this first fundraiser a big one.

Also, check out the guest special for February.  It's AWESOME! Think Free Batter Bowl.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow, Snow Go Away, Don’t Come Again Some Other Day

As a thin layer of ice covers the region, yet another school day is delayed.  I’m starting to think we may never get back to normal.  I should be thankful that we haven’t been hit with back to back blizzards, but these incessant, miniscule storms that continue to wreak havoc on my semblance of routine are just about to drive me crazy. 

Am I alone in this?  Sure, as a kid, I’d live for these days, especially in Georgia where they were rare to say the least.  However, as an adult, as a parent, I’m really starting to resent the onset of winter precipitation.  I find myself cursing the weathermen when they even hint at a winter storm watch, praying as I lay my head down at night that I’ll wake up to find they were dead wrong.

I’m a work-at-home (most of the time) mom with three kids and to-do list the size of Mount Kilimanjaro.   Schedules are important, not just for me but for the kids as well.  When nature calls for a shake up, I find myself scrambling to manage the chaos that ensues. I guess that makes the name of my blog a bit like a premonition.  It really is the Hills of Chaos, huh? 

At the same time, I have to remember that my first priority is to my family, my husband and my kids.  Sure, being a mother comes with certain super powers, but controlling the weather is not one of them. The to-do list will have to wait.

On days like this, I have to redefine my idea of productivity.  If I can make it to the end of the day without having inflicted intense emotional damage on my children, then I say that’s one successfully productive day. 

So enough blogging for now.  I think it’s time to build one magnificent fort in the basement.  I’m sure my boys will lead the charge. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hillary and Betsy Go Viral

Okay, maybe we haven’t hit the big time quite yet, but this article in the Catonsville/Arbutus Times is a good start.  Lauren Fullbright, a journalist for Patuxent Publishing came out and interviewed us in early December, wanting to tell the story of how we went from political activists to business owners.  We were super excited to see it published in today’s paper. 

Betsy and I have been continuously involved in every aspect of the grassroots movement in Baltimore County for the past 18 or so months.  Last July, we started Strategic Victory Consulting in which we offer marketing and event solutions for small businesses and political organizations. 

At the core we’re writers.  Through the Whisler Campaign and efforts within the PVRC, we’ve learned to take our skill sets to the next level by using free media and email marketing to not only promote political candidates but also small businesses and nonprofit organizations. 

We love what we do and feel extremely blessed to be able to assist people and businesses that we’ve come to respect.  We just want to see us all succeed. 

Photo courtesy of Phil Grout.

Monday, January 10, 2011

There’s a First Time for Everything

Here I am sitting in a Starbucks in Annapolis waiting for my first day of work to begin.  It’s nerve racking really.  You’d think a confident woman such as myself would be geared up and raring to go, but walking into a completely new situation has put me a bit off kilter.  Driving down 97, I suddenly realized that I had absolutely no idea where I was going.  I’ve never been to the State House before, except to gather on a lawn with a few thousand fellow Marylanders to voice our concerns for high taxes and forced healthcare. 

So I called Nicole, a fellow Jennings team member, to direct me to a parking garage.  Turns out I’m a little early as no one is scheduled to be in the office until after 10.  Oops.  It’s all good though, I found my way to a Starbucks after driving around Church Circle a few times.  Now I’m settled in jotting down my thoughts before heading to Maryland’s own little Capitol Hill.

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what to expect.  Nothing like a new situation to stir up all this unsettling emotions.  It’s not the same as walking into a Central Committee  or PVRC, where I know 90% of the people, where I’m familiar with my surroundings, where I know what to expect.  Nope, this is entirely different. 

Granted, I’m totally blessed to be working with the likes of Senator JB Jennings.  Plus the fact that I already know half of his staff, like Rich Reinhardt and Nicole Ossola, is a much appreciated bonus, especially considering I don’t think I know anyone else in Annapolis. 

Here come to the self doubting questions: Am I dressed okay?  Do I stand out like a french fry on dieter’s plate? Am I going to say something completely up surd and become defined by my stupidity?

Give me a week or two and this whole process will become second nature.  I do tend to adapt well to new situations.  Let’s just hope I can fake my way through these first few moments.  You know us women; we’re good at faking things.  Not that we always have to, but it’s nice to know that we have that innate skill. 

Session starts Wednesday, which is my first official day.  This, this is simply orientation, and who’s suppose to know what their doing during orientation, right?  I’m taking this morning to get my bearings straight.  Come Wednesday I plan to be an old pro, or at the least, ready to pretend like I am.

So here goes nothing.  Watch out Annapolis.  Hillary is here and I’ve decided to take you by storm. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

I Got A Job, or Should I Say Another Job?

As if I don't do enough, right?  Actually it's quite perfect and fits right into my evil plan to someday conquer the world.  I know y'all think I do too much already, but this really does fit into my master plan.  That is, it would, if I had one.  So I'll stop beating around the bush and get to the point.  I've been offered a job working one day a week for State Senator JB Jennings down in Annapolis.  I start next week.

I'll pause for y'all to recover from the shock and awe. 

This is an amazing opportunity for me to grow professionally, both in experience and contacts.  We all know that in politics, it's not so much about what you know but who you know and their opinion of you.  I don't make the rules, I just hope to benefit from them.  Of course, taking this job is not without it's sacrifices. 

I had to, hold your breath, find childcare.  There, I said it.  Me, the epitome of a stay at home mom, who, granted, never stays at home, but you get my drift.  Even Neil said, "I thought you were dead set against putting the kids in childcare."  I am, and I'm not.  What I can say?  I'm a conflicted woman.  

But this situation works out quite perfectly.  I was able to find a friend, a fellow mom, who was willing to come up every Wednesday and watch my kids.  Here's hoping we're still friends after she spends some quality time with my beloved monsters.  I'll be the first to admit that my kiddos can be a handful (or two).

Of course, by the time I pay for childcare, gas and taxes, I won't actually be bringing home much money, but my main purpose is more about building up my knowledge and contact base.  And I'm selfishly hoping to bring more exposure to Strategic Victory in the process.  In fact, that's really the end goal, to build up the business. 

So what will I be doing?  I'm not entirely sure, but I know I'll be opening mail and packages, which freaked my mom after yesterday's little scare.  Speaking of, I love when my Fox News picks up a local story.  Between the weather and suspicious packages, my mom must think we live in a war zone up here.  But that's not all I'll be doing.  I'll have the unique pleasure of handling communication efforts, which is quite perfect because I happen to be an excellent communicator (at least some of the time). 

Enough news for the day.  I've already over extended myself with two posts in one day, give that I haven't posted otherwise in over a month. 

Merry Belated Christmas and Happy New Year

What’s up folks?  Mommy put me, Blake, in charge of the Christmas Letter. Be prepared for one bumpy and chaotic ride.  I’m not exactly a focused child, except when it comes to watching He-man.
Let’s see.  We started out the year being buried under snow.  Owen and I thought it was pretty stinkin’ cool.  We made a huge slide in the front yard for all the kids in the neighborhood to play on.  It was taller than all of us combined.  Madison and Mommy preferred to stay inside; their loss.  Daddy taught us how to shovel, which was super cool.  Bottom line: we like snow.
After we dug out, like in May, Nana and Papa came up and built a ginormous fort in the backyard.  Too bad they took off with us before we could break it in.  Mommy and Daddy had almost an entire week without us.  It’s the least we could do for them.  We like them.  Then Mommy came down, after a pit stop to see her old friends, Jo and Ang.  She picked us up and whisked us away to Grandma’s house in Florida.  Guess what? She lives at the beach.  We all liked playing in  the sand, but there was no way I was going in the water.  That’s just silly.  Grandma drove back with us and we arrived just in time for my third birthday party.  All my friends came over to play on our new fort and they brought me tons of presents.  I really like presents. 
During the summer, we headed to Ocean City with our friends Betsy and Paul.  It’s the first time we’ve been to a Maryland beach.  It looked the same as the one at Grandmas and I still didn’t go near the water.  Mommy and Betsy spent a lot of time talking about some business thingy.  When we got back, they started it up.  It’s called Strategic Victory Consulting and they help out small businesses and political organizations (whatever those are).  Mommy calls herself a work-at-home mom now, which is weird because we thought she already was, what with her mom’s group and neighborhood association.  Oh and let’s not forget her politicking on the Whisler campaign (he lost, by the way).  She was also elected to the Republican Central Committee.  Again, it’s all Greek to me, but it makes her happy. 
Daddy stays busy as well.  He actually got to go kayaking more this year, not as much as he wanted to, but enough.  Owen and I actually got to go with him once.  It was awesome.  I see a future there. Daddy also took us camping for the first time ever, leaving Mommy and Madison to fend for themselves.  You know, seeing how Mommy used to practically live outdoors, she’s become quite the home body.  We’ll break her out of it sooner or later.  Daddy, on the other hand, really is an outdoorsman.  I want to be like him when I grow up. 
As fall approached, it was time for school.  Owen started Kindergarten.  It’s weird not having him around all the    time.  However, I got to go to preschool this year with Mrs. Gail.  I’ve made tons of new friends and finally got over my fear of swimming.  Now I jump in all by myself.  Madison doesn’t get to go to school yet.  She’s too little, but she does get to hang out with Mommy all by herself.  I’m a wee bit jealous, but I’ll get over it.
Now we’ve come full circle.  We’re cuddled up on the couch, sipping hot cocoa and watching the snow fall once again.  It’s almost Christmas and Santa will be coming soon, but that’s not the most important part.  Christmas is all about baby Jesus who came to be my friend and live in my heart.  Santa brings presents to me just like those wise men brought presents to Jesus.  If I were Jesus, I’d rather have a Tonka truck than gold, incense and myrrh, but that’s just because I don’t know what those things are.  Maybe Jesus liked to play with them.

 From All of Us to All of You, Merry Christmas.  See you in 2011.
The Pennington’s

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family Photo Time

I'm done with studio photo sessions.  Done I tell you.  Every year we pack up the children and head to whatever studio has the best offers, and every year I wonder why we did it.  The posed shots never turn out as you quite hope.  In fact, most of the time we end up sending out our Christmas card with some random candid shot taken by a friend, an unposed shot that captures a more realistic view of our family.  You know, the one that embodies the dysfunctional chaos of our lives.  So then what's the point of going to Target or JCPenny's in the first place? My point exactly. 

This year we did something a bit different.  We scheduled a session with a friend of our who happens to also be a photographer.  Actually Betsy and I hired her to do some professional head shots for Strategic Victory and thought we'd throw in some family photos as well.  So on Sunday, we gathered our families at a beautiful stone church right in Catonsville and let Kasey perform her magic.  I haven't seen all of them yet, but from what I have seen, I'm certainly pleased.  And for the price, not even Target could beat it. 

When you go to a studio, you typically get a package of prints and you pay per pose. For us, a typical session with several different poses costs us upwards of $50 or so, and that's with my super frugal shopping skills.  If you want the rights to the photos then you're going to be dishing out several more precious pennies.  With Kasey, we each bought a mini-session for $35 and we got the rights to 5 different poses.  Plus we were able to choose the time and place.  Never again will we venture out to a store studio like Sears.  Why when we have a such a gem right under our noses?

This might seem like an advertisement for Kasey Caruthers photography and in a way it is.  However, my point is that there are other options available.  We no longer have to enslave ourselves to the traditional cheesy background scenes and overpriced prints.  I mean, seriously, there are way too many deals to be had with online print shops, why would I pay upwards of $15 for a 5x7?  That's just insanity.  I'm just saying, that's all.  (Bonus point if you can tell me what movie that line comes from)