Friday, June 29, 2012

The One Where We Miss Our Flight

By the time you're reading this, I will be 75% through my Disneyworld Florida vacation, and probably running on fumes after three days of park hopping.

But I'm writing this?  Sitting in the airport for going on 3 hours, because we I did the unthinkable.

We missed our flight.

Leisure time at the John Wayne Airport
(Because they wanted to share, Sister Singer is reading Castmember Confidential by Chris Mitchell, Sister Swimmer listening to The World As I Know It by Jason Mraz, and Hubster engrossed in One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School by Scott Turow.) 

In the most uncharacteristic thing I've done in years, I managed to memorize the time of our departing flight to Florida wrong, and never bothered to double check.  Granted I was traveling with three other adults who could have checked the time also, but that's neither here nor there.  It was my fault, I had taken charge of all of the details of the trip, and the feeling of messing it up is mortifying.

Wanna know how we found out?
Sure you do.

We waltzed into the airport a little after 6:00am, for what I thought was our 7:24am flight, thinking we had planned it perfectly and would get through check-in and security right at the time boarding started.  We waited about 30 minutes in line, and when we tried to check-in on the self-service computer, an error message popped up saying something along the lines of too close to departure time - please contact representative.  Thinking the machine had an error, I asked the first agent who walked by for help, who asked us when our departure time was.  When we answered 7:24am, he informed us there were no flights departing at 7:24am that morning.

Obviously now (not in the days or hours prior to departing, of course - that would be silly) was the time to confirm our flight time, and when I looked up my itinerary on my phone, I was horrified - I had mistaken the time, our flight was departing in 20 minutes.

People who have zero sense of urgency?  Airline customer service agents, for future reference.  There was zero mention of getting us quickly checked in and back to the gate - our only option was to rebook for a later flight.

After lots of apologies, a few tears on my part, and an initial verdict of having to split our group of four into two different planes - we were rebooked for an 11:45am flight, still brining us into Orlando late tonight.  (I'm pretty sure the tears helped, FYI, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.)

A bumpy morning it's been, but I was so grateful for the grace my beautiful mature Sisters handled the situation with.  I would not have been quite so understanding at their age.  Handsome Hubster however...he's just sad he won't get to meet Mickey tonight.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

When Amber Was 18

Hey there Stress Case lovers!

I'm Amber, and I blog over at Brunch with Amber.

Brunch With Amber

I am a 20something living in Dallas, TX. I blog about everything and anything. My blog is kind of a mish mash of it all. I promise you'll be entertained. ;) Come see me!

I don't know about y'all, but I am SUPER jealous that Casey is at DisneyWorld. I have never been. I was deprived as a child, obvs. Okay, maybe I wasn't TOO deprived. 

I did have a pretty fun time in high school. I grew up in a TINY town, and we made the best of what we had, which meant we often did things that would get us in trouble but rarely ever got caught. ;)

Here's me and my gorgeous little sister (whose name is also Casey!) 

A big group of us at some random house party - those are the MOST fun times, I tell ya!

Remember that small town I said I grew up in? Well, there were A LOT of pastures and backyards. We had bonfires and parties out there too. That's why we never got caught. ;)

Oh the silliness that comes when you mix 18-19 year olds with a few beers!

This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of me and my best friend. I just can't believe how young we look!


Oh prom. Aren't those the best memories? It's one of the most important times in a high school girls life. I know that I had the BEST time at prom. 

I was a cheerleader all throughout high school which is something I miss terribly, even after being out of school for so long. I had a hard time finding pics of me in my uniform online, so this is the best ya get. I'm on the far right. Yes, I look like a 12 y/o. Don't judge!

I learned so much at 18, and had more fun than I probably should have. But ya know what? I wouldn't trade those years for anything!

Thanks for having me Casey. Hope you and your sisters are having an amazing time! xoxo

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When Ashley Was 18

Hi Stress Case readers! I'm Ashley from Indecisively Ashley. You may remember me from my first guest post on Casey's fab blog, here. If you don't remember that post, please, please go check it out! I blog about anything and everything. Whether it be about my kids, my family, sharing recipes, parenting dos and don'ts. I really just blog about whatever I feel like and use my blog as an outlet. I hope we can be friends :)

By the time you're reading this, Casey is most likely enjoying some fun in the sun or taking snapshots with every character at DisneyWorld! I know that's what I will be doing if I ever have the chance to visit the Magic Kingdom. I just can't help it. I love Disney characters.

Reminder: Casey is my cousin, so obviously her twin sisters are my cousins too. Surely I didn't need to tell you all that. But in case you didn't know, now you do :) I remember when they were really little and now they're 18 and have graduated from high school. Is it even necessary to mention how old this makes me feel? No? Well, you get to hear it anyway.

I've been out of high school for 11 years now. Enough said. Ya'll want to know what I looked like at 18 years old? Check out this really old photo I found! I'm on the left and the lovely lady next to me is my cousin. I was actually 17 here and turned 18 about two weeks after I graduated. Do you ever go back to photos like these and think to yourself "What in the world was I thinking"? I do it all the time. I mean seriously, what was up with my hair and makeup? Geez. And I promise you I had not been drinking or smoking anything. I was not that girl. My eyes just looked like this from all the crying I was doing. Yep, I was an emotional one during graduation. So ready to move on yet so sad to say goodbye to so many friends. Oh, the memories. 

I often think back to my Senior year in high school and wish that I had really listened to what my parents and other adults told me before I was out on my own. Or to take it a step further, what would I tell my 18 year old self if I could travel back in time?

After some deliberation I came up with 5 things I would tell my younger self if I could:

1. Take chances. Don't sit around waiting for something because you're afraid. Afraid of failing, afraid of what people will think, or afraid of the uncertainty behind it. If you do nothing, nothing will happen. Always remember that no matter how things turn out, it always ends up the way it should. You can guarantee you'll learn something at a minimum. But you also just might find that you made the best choice by taking that chance instead of passing it up. (Sometimes I wish I would have stuck with my initial International Business degree and studied abroad in Portugal or Brazil. I even took a Portuguese class. Then I switched majors. Go figure!)

2. Do what you love. Career advice is a tough one. But one piece of advice I would have given myself is to follow my heart and figure out what I really love doing and go for it. Don't just pick a major that sounds nice on paper or is popular. Follow your interests and values, figure out what you're passionate about.You don't want to get stuck with mounds of student loans that you have to repay while working hard for a job that doesn't make you happy.

3. Make smart financial decisions. Start saving early. Really early. Don't get sucked into what seems like the fabulous world of credit. Just because you can pay the minimum doesn't mean you can pay the balance. Trust me, I learned the hard way and am still dealing with my mistakes. And invest in your future early. I finally started a 401k and wish I would have done it sooner and started investing (even if it's a very small amount at first). 

4. Be the best person you can be. Respect yourself, elders, minors, and everyone in between. It's not so much what you say but how you make people feel. Making contributions to other people is one of the greatest rewards in life. Be the best version of you.

5. Surround yourself with good people. Stay in touch with your closest high school friends, make tons of friends in college, and invest in keeping good people in your life. People that will always be there to support you. You'll need that support when you land a new job, lose a job, get engaged, etc., etc. So, there you have it. If only I could transport myself back in time. If only. Maybe some other recent graduates can take some of this advice and run with it! Now, if you could all hop on over to my blog that would make my day extra special :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When Kate Was 18

Hi StressCase readers! This is "Cute Apartment" here, ie: Kate, from Diary of a Blonde. Check it:

Whenever Nurse Bestie asks me to guest blog I jump at the chance. I was especially excited to write about what life was like when I was 18. I'm 26 now so it's crazy to look back to see how much I've grown and how far I've come since then. I'd like to say that it wasn't that long ago but it was... Almost a decade, and boy does it feel like it. I'm so old that I didn't have any digital photos of when I was 18, everything had to be scanned. So please excuse my picture quality and read on StressCasers. And enjoy!

When I was 18:

I thought I was with the man boy I was going to marry. We had been together since we were 15. He was my first for everything and he was my best friend. Although we are still friends, we hardly speak anymore. Crazy, I just received a high school graduation announcement in the mail from his triplet siblings who were just youngsters when I was 18.

My parents were still together. I think that their separation was for the best, but I remember a time when we were really happy together as a family. It was nice.

(This was the photo on our family Christmas cards the year I was 18.)

I went to Prom. We didn't do the whole stretch limo thing, and to be honest I think we might have only been at the actual prom for like 20 minutes. We were horny teenagers and went straight to our fancy hotel. My dress was beautiful though and I'll never forget the look on my dad's face when I came down the stairs. I felt like a million bucks.

I graduated High school.

I remember on the way home from the graduation rehearsal driving home to get ready, listening to this John Mayer song:

And wondering where on earth my life would take me. If only I knew what was in store!

I got my first new car! I had a 1999 Civic, and for my graduation present my grandma bought me my very own brand new 2004 Civic. I'm still driving it today, and while it has seen better days, it's been nothing but a good car to me.

I went out of the country to Cancun with my boyfriend to celebrate our graduation and took advantage of Mexico's 18 year old drinking laws.

(Our Hotel- The Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun. Say that 5 times fast!)

I suffered my first heart-break with boy above. I was moving for school and he was staying. It was a mutual decision but hurt nonetheless.

I moved away from my small little town for college. By myself. To the beautiful city of San Diego. 

(I took this photo, and it has always been one of my favorites.)

I studied fashion design, worked at Abercrombie & Fitch and found my own very cool new group of friends. I was hot stuff!

(I was so happy the moment this photo was taken. I remember feeling so independent and cool.)

Coincidentally 'Break Away' by Kelly Clarkson was a hit song when I left home. 

You better believe that I sang that song at the top of my lungs every time it came on the radio.

It's funny. As I'm writing this I am reminded at how great my life was, and still is, but it's nice to sometimes look back and remember. Thank you Casey for giving me the opportunity to reminisce about my life, when I was 18.


Monday, June 25, 2012

When I Was 18

Being that we are off to Florida tomorrow on our big Disneyworld vacation in celebration of Sisters Singer and Swimmer's 18th birthdays and high school graduation, I thought I'd share a little bit about what my life was like at 18.
When I Was 18...

I spent my 18th birthday and many subsequent nights drinking dancing my ass off at an 18+ club in LA that we loved to frequent.  We liked to rent a hotel room for the night so we could stumble to the club and back, and not have to beg for someone to drive all the way to LA.

I spent a week in New York City (for the second year in a row) with an extracurricular I was heavily involved in all throughout high school, Model United Nations. 

I was dating a boy who I knew I would never end up with, but who was kind and mild-mannered, who probably never knew what was coming for him when a wildchild like me (at the time, I've really calmed down since 18) came waltzing into his life.  We are not friends now, but he was nothing but nice to me, even after I broke his heart, and I will always wish him well.

I went to prom.  In fact, I went to nine dances during my time in high school, including three proms!  I love dances in high school, and senior prom was no different!

Best Friend Fashionista joined my family for a graduation trip to Cancun, Mexico!  We had the time of our lives, especially loving the drinking age of 18!  We clubbed, spent time in the sun, and even went parasailing!

I was working at Ruby's Diner with people I loved hanging out with at work and outside of it.  The years I spent getting to know these people were unforgettable and we will always have a bond because of it.

While punching the time clock, I met this fabulous girl, who quickly became my close friend - Cute Apartment!  We clicked right away, though I was usually reluctant to new people at work.  A story that is sure to be told on the blog someday!

I went to my first college party, visiting Ms. Does It All at San Diego State - the party school.  Best Friend Fashionista and I would end up frequenting her school quite a few times, while also getting our party on at her alma mater in Irvine.

I visited my long-time friend, Ms. Art Teacher, in San Francisco.  She and I had talked about going off to college together in SF, and I chickend out, completely afraid to leave home.  While there were times over the years I regretted that choice, I know it ended up being best.  Everything happens for a reason, right?

Best Friend Fashionista and myself had a quintessential college experience when we headed to Santa Barbara for Halloween.  Never heard of an SB Halloween before?  You can read all about it HERE.

I loved these years of my life.
I especially cherish how many people from these years are still huge parts of my life - it's so fun to have common memories with people.

I'll be a little MIA for the rest of the week, due to the fact that I'm off to Disneyworld!  But don't worry, I've got some awesome ladies coming in to share some of what their lives were like at 18!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Club Friday: Two Kisses for Maddy

Oh.Em.Gee, Y'all...
this book.

From Amazon:

Matt and Liz Logelin were high school sweethearts. After years of long-distance dating, the pair finally settled together in Los Angeles, and they had it all: a perfect marriage, a gorgeous new home, and a baby girl on the way. Liz's pregnancy was rocky, but they welcomed Madeline, beautiful and healthy, into the world on March 24, 2008.

Just twenty-seven hours later, Liz suffered a pulmonary embolism and died instantly, without ever holding the daughter whose arrival she had so eagerly awaited. Though confronted with devastating grief and the responsibilities of a new and single father, Matt did not surrender to devastation; he chose to keep moving forward-- to make a life for Maddy.

In this memoir, Matt shares bittersweet and often humorous anecdotes of his courtship and marriage to Liz; of relying on his newborn daughter for the support that she unknowingly provided; and of the extraordinary online community of strangers who have become his friends. In honoring Liz's legacy, heartache has become solace.
From Me:

If this book sounds completely sad?  It's because it is.

But in one of those amazing reads, even though it makes you completely sob like a crazy person while reading a book, way.  It is horrifically sad - sad in a way that makes tears come to my eyes just writing about it.

But an amazing story, written by an even more amazing author and father.

Some of my favorite quotes:

"I tried to remember how beautiful she looked.  Holding her hand there on her bed, I kept repeating, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."  I knew it wasn't my fault, just like it wasn't anybody else's fault.  But I wasn't apologizing for her death.  I was apologizing for what could have been, what should have been, and for what she was going to miss as our daughter grew up."

"Though I thought I had no tears left, they once again started to flow as I brought the pillow and the shawl up to my face, taking in her scent.  Her perfume was so deeply embedded into both objects, I swore I wouldn't let them go until I'd sniffed every last bit of her from them.  It was remarkable how the smell filled me with hope - hope that I'd be able to sleep through the night, hope that there'd be a dream during which Liz was still alive in my mind.  I ached for just one moment in which this wasn't my reality."


Do yourself a favor and read this book, be grateful for your life with your loved ones, and cry an ugly little cry - the tears are worth how incredible the book is.

(One suggestion: don't finish reading this book while you're waiting for your husband to get out of emergency surgery.)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lots of Link Love

Lots of Link Love 
Like Tara, I think it's important to emphasize the importance of community in the blog world and not only focusing on ourselves and our own blogs, but to spread lots of blog love to those who deserve it.  Every other Thursday, I will highlight the posts over the last two weeks that touched me, made me laugh, pulled at my heartstrings, and inspired me. 

What links are you lovin' this week?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Emergency Surgery and Parking Lot Breakdowns

A few weeks ago, my wonderful Handsome Husband had to have an emergency abdominal surgery to remove his appendix.

Everything went a-okay, and lucky the dude is making a stellar recovery in no-time!

Here's how it went down:

6pm Tuesday night: HH starts complaining of stomach pressure and pain.
We sort of assume it's gas, and he takes some gas relief meds, and tries to get some sleep.
Throughout the night he gets awful sleep, poor guy was tossing and turning every ten minutes.
7am Wednesday morning: HH is still in pain, and decides to take the day off work to get some rest.

11am Wednesday: On my way back to my clinic after a meeting, I call my Hubster who is still complaining of pain.  Worried, I have him call his doctor and get in to see her.  (HH has been seeing the same physician since he was born and always gets in to see her right away when he needs to.)

2:30pm Wednesday afternoon: Handsome Hubs calls me, tells me his doc is pretty sure its appendicitis, and that he is going straight to the ER at our local hospital (steps from my work, as in we share the parking lot).

By 5:00pm Wednesday we had been told it definitely was appendicitis (after a CT to confirm), and we were taken up to Pre-Op around 5:30pm.

At 6:00pm I gave HH some good luck in surgery kisses, and by 6:45pm the surgeon was coming out to tell me all went well.

In those 45 minutes, I freaked a little.  Up until then everything happened so fast that I didn't really have time to worry.  Not that worrying was really necessary as an appendectomy is a very routine surgery with a very small risk of complication.  However, there is still that risk.  And those 45 minutes gave me lots of time to think about them.

There was also the fact that there were about five families in the waiting room, and I was the last to get my good news.  Once four families got theirs, I started wondering about odds and if there was any way I could possibly get good news after all of them had.

I started to think what would happen if something went wrong, if somehow I lost my sweet HH suddenly.  Surely, everyone knows life is not guaranteed and that you can lose the people you love any day, but being confronted with it like that, having to wait to hear whether your loved one is waking up from surgery, is a bit different.

But thank God, he was fine.  I saw him after surgery, spent a few hours with him post-surgery, and then headed home per his instructions (I seriously considered breaking hospital rules and sleeping in a chair bedside with him, but he insisted I head home).

And then I got into my car.
And then I lost my shit.

I cried an ugly cry like no other.
I sobbed at my steering wheel like I haven't in a long time.
And why?

(I'll be honest and say that I think this breakdown was highly influenced by 2 things other than the below: 1. PMS, and 2. A book I had just finished at the time, Two Kisses for Maddy, in which a spouse becomes a very young widow suddenly - Book Club Friday post to come!)
I cried because I realized I could lose this man at any moment,
and that terrifies me.

My life would never be the same without my husband in it - he is my main source of laughter, encouragement, love, intimacy. 
He brings such joy in to my life, that I can't imagine my life anything but dark without him in it.

My husband is my best friend, and I don't mean that to insult my other amazing female best friends.  I mean it to do nothing but praise a man who puts up with me every second of every day.  He deserves an award for his patience and caring with someone who is not always the same towards him.
He is truly and unequivocally the love of my life.

So I cried because even though on that day he was fine, I could lose him (and any of my loved ones, for that matter) at a moment's notice, and how effing scary is that?

After a sufficient crying sesh (sometimes you just feel so much better post cry, don't you?!), I pulled myself together and got myself home, as we do. 

And since then, I've been attached to his hip.
Okay, not really - but for a good 72 hours I practically was.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hey Baby, What's Your Name? {Part 5}

Last time I promised to reveal how YouTube Star got his nickname.  First lemme introduce you to one of my Handsome Husband's very best friends:

YouTube Star is hilarious, kind and incredibly smart.  He is from Los Angeles, and him and HH met while playing soccer in college.  YouTube is a few years younger, and will be graduating very shortly and I know he will do big things in the real world!  He is generous, and welcoming, and I've loved getting to know him during the years HH and him spent playing soccer together and the years that have followed.  (Also, last I heard he was single and God knows there's no way he's staying on the market for long!  Ladies of San Diego, get at me - maybe there's a love connection waiting to happen!) 

How did he get his nickname?

That is really thanks to HH, and the rest of the soccer team, who a few years back (way before Harvard Baseball attempted creativity and failed with their Call Me Maybe video) decided to make a music video during one of their team road trips.

YouTube Star was one of the breakout stars of the vid (along with Pink Glasses Kid, and my husband, The Ginger as they were referred to in the comments most likely posted by preteen girls on YouTube).

Here's a treat for you today, readers:

I present to you,
the video that turned YouTube Star and my husband into a (shortlived) YouTube sensations.

Wanna read how others in our lives got their blog nicknames? Check out the last installment of this series HERE.

Friday, June 15, 2012

#RIVERBASH2012 Bound!

By the time you're reading this, I might be half-way through a four hour desert trek to Arizona.

Maybe you'll read this while I'm standing in front of the vodka aisle, trying to decide if one bottle will work - nah, let's get two just in case.

Maybe I'm already river-side lounging with a Bud Light in my hand, and country music in my ears.

Or perhaps I'm in the kitchen with my Gardening Mama getting some grub ready for Saturday.

Because you know where I definitely will be tomorrow?

A name entirely too dramatic for what is really a family getting together, boating around the Colorado river, drinking some beer, and goofing off.

The thing I'm most looking forward to?

Seeing this girl!
(And kicking her ass in beer pong.)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Letter to My Sisters on Their Graduation Day

Dear Sisters Singer and Swimmer on Your Graduation Day,

Today, you graduate high school.

Something many have done before you, and many will do after, though that doesn't make it any less exciting. 
Or scary.

This is the ending of the only life you've ever known - a life filled with parents helping to make sure you get fed, get to school on time, and have money to pay for the things you need; and the beginning of a life you're about to start - a life where you are in control of every little detail of your daily existence from the food you put in your mouth to the people you choose to keep company with.

I can't even believe we're here - watching you walk in cap and gowns.
(One because it feels like just yesterday you were in diapers, and two because it is a painful reminder of exactly how many years ago I was sitting in the same graduation get-up saying goodbye to high school.)
I remember when you were babies.
I would hold you both, and pretend you were my little babies.
I especially loved once you were toddlers and I could convince you to call me Mommy every once in a while, sufficiently freaking out people in public who saw three-year-olds calling a nine-year-old "Mommy".

But I wasn't your Mother,
I was your sister and I took great pride in that role.
I have loved helping you get ready for dances, dates and big events.
Listening to you talk about boys,
and vent about the kind of fights every teenage girl gets in with their friends.
It has been a joy watching you grow up.

{At Sisters Singer and Swimmer's 8th Grade Graduation}

I remember spending hours wondering what you'd both be like when you grew up.
What would you look like?
What kinds of interests would you have?
What would you end up making your careers out of?

Well you're both more beautiful than I ever could have imagined,
and your interests couldn't be different from one another (but for a shared love for Disney, that is).
But you've both completely found your passions.
And that?
Is something to be grateful for - some people are triple your age and still don't know what they love.

I'm so proud of you both, you've turned into such wonderful young women with a future full of so many options.

I have loved watching you sing, act, and improv your ass off on the stage the past four years.
Yes, I bitched and bitched when the shows would sell out and I'd be left sitting on a folding chair, and I gave your team crap for not not being more prepared.
But that has not once hindered the amount of joy I felt in my heart watching you in the spot you feel most comfortable: the stage.

You are so determined it's crazy.
I feel like you could become the President of The United States if you really wanted to,
because when you put your mind to something, you never give up.
I love how you thrive on being part of a team, part of a group.
It's sweet and something that some people suck at - you are truly a team player at heart.
I cannot believe my sister is an athlete.
So unlike me, and so freakin' cool.
I know you will acheive eveything and anything you decide to go for in college,
I just can't wait to see what that will be.

I guess with my six year lead in life, I should have some kind of advice for you?

Don't worry if you don't feel like a grown up yet.
I still don't.
Sure, I pay some bills, and oh yeah - I got married, but I'm still waiting for the day when I all of the sudden feel like like I should really be trusted to run my own life.
You'll get there (hell, maybe before I do), and when you do, I want to be watching.

Stay inspired.
Never stop doing what you love.
And if what you love now becomes what you used to love, find something new to inspire you.
Never stop singing, doodling, or finding creativity in the monotony that can be adult life.

Never lose touch with your high school friends.
Hold on to them like they are a piece of you, because you know what?  They are.
And I promise, promise you, there will be times when the only thing you have in common with them is your shared history.
But that is enough.
Because the people who saw you through high school, who allowed you to grow up without letting you grow apart, are the people you want surrounding you.

Love your family.
If you don't already know it, there will come a day that you realize how insanely lucky you are to have a family that's not absent, insane, or (at least not completely) dysfunctional.
Things are not always perfect, but you have a family that loves you and supports you in whatever you choose to do - which not everyone does.

Truly try not to care what other people think.
If your goal is to please everyone, you will never ever succeed.
Focus on yourself, and making you happy - that will be most important to the people who really matter to you anyway.

Love with your whole entire heart.
Love someone so much it hurts.
Be prepared for heartache, but don't let it deter you from the feeling of being on clouds when you love someone like you should.
Don't get bitter - just get better.

Listen to people when they are mad at you, they tell you your flaws.
You can let it destroy you, or you can let it rebuild you.
Choose the latter.

It's never too late to start over.
A friendship, a relationship, a career, college.
If you want something, go for it - even if it means going back and repaving the road you already built for yourself.

Above all else,
know that I will always be there for you.
It doesn't matter where you go,
what you do,
who you marry,
what you believe in,
I will always be here,
with my arms open wide,
ready to hold you like I did when you were babies.

Love Your Big Sister,

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