Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mini-Rant re: Law School

I strive to be an optimistic and positive individual. Despite hearing horrible things about law school, I have tried to maintain that mindset throughout my application and selection process.

Keeping that in mind. . .

I am so sick of the negativity that arises when people ask me about law school. I'm to the point I just don't want to hear it. In response to my comment that I was excited for law school, I had one individual state, "You shouldn't be."  WHAT?! I am taking the initiative to further my career and to expand my knowledge base. I know law school will be hard, but come on, man. I can be excited for the opportunity of self-improvement.

I'm not stupid. I know law school is going to be a lot of work. I'm not under any illusion that this will be a break from life and a nice three year vacation. I will have to work harder than I am now, say no to social events, say no to family events, etc. I will have internships/externships during summers and breaks and won't get to sit around binge watching Netflix the entire time. I. Get. It.

So, if you don't have anything supportive to say, shove off.

**NOTE: If you are reading this, I am very likely NOT referring to you.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer winding down-ish.

Our 2nd Beach Boys concert! Much closer to the stage this time and just as entertaining!
Ben and I are finally reaching a point where our summer is winding town and hopefully turning into glorious fall days spent with our babies, family, and friends. I think we have had a whopping 5 weekends (MAYBE) of being home over the weekend since the end of May-ish. We have enjoyed our many activities and adventures, but I think we are both ready for some down time.

This coming weekend we will be heading to Spring Green, Wisconsin to go to the American Players Theater to see Death of a Salesman written by Arthur Miller. If you have never gone to APT, you must add it to your bucket list. Now.

In the weekends that follow we will be heading to MN for Tescia's bachelorette party, attending Brucemorchestra here at home, and attending various concerts which include the Dixie Chicks (Johnna and me), The Piano Guys, and Grace Potter. So maybe we aren't slowing down. . . but at least most of these activities are in Cedar Rapids. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mitchell Hamline School of Law - Graduating Class of 2020! (Inshallah. . . )

The decision has been officially made! Ben and I will be moving to the Twin Cities next year so that I can attend Mitchell Hamline School of Law!

Initially, I planned to retake the LSAT and apply to the University of Iowa. If I were accepted there, we wouldn't have to move and Ben would already have a job. Plus, we would remain close to family and friends. After much thought and discussion with Ben, I decided that is not the road I would like to take. Moving away from Iowa will force me to go outside of my comfort zone and explore new options. There are so many facets of the law that I haven't had a chance to experience and I think going to a larger city would allow more opportunities for growth. 

When making the decision of where to attend law school, I also took into consideration what doctoral programs would be available to Ben in the area. I researched what programs were offered and came to the conclusion that the Twin Cities would possibly be a good fit for him as well. He already has plans to do some certificate program through University of St. Thomas over the next few summers. Obviously, when it comes time for him to start looking into doctoral programs I will support his decision to go wherever. While it would be nice to not have to move, a new adventure is always exciting. Our initial thought, though, is that we will be in the Twin Cities for approximately five years. Maybe more. Maybe less. Meh.

Anyway. . . It feels wonderful to have a plan. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bookworm 4.0

So it has been since January of 2014 since I have posted about books!! With school starting in the summer of 2014, I didn't really get that much time to read for fun. Plus, I began reading the Outlander series, so that consumed my free reading time for about 2 years! So here we go. . . 

1. The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

It has been so long since I read the first and second book in this trilogy, that I honestly can't remember too terribly much about the plot. What I do recall is that the main character is a witch, there is travel through time (with her vampire boyfriend), and I loved the books! I recently purchased the third and final book in the series and plan to reread books one and two so that I can refresh on the story line and finish the series.

2-9. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

This series is amazing! It is so well written and you are very easily able to fall in love with the main characters. It is the story of a woman who accidentally time travels to Scotland in the 1700's (her time is approximately 1946 ish). There is so much to this story throughout the eight books that I don't feel I can really sum it up in a short paragraph, so I'm not going to try. I highly recommend this series. It is quite the undertaking because each book is quite lengthy, but it is well worth the time. It took me two years to finish the series, but I could have finished sooner had I not been in school at the time. It is also now a series on Stars, I think, so you can check that out as well!

10. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

This book was okay. The main character, Louisa Clark, is likable and you grow to love Will Traynor, the quadriplegic man she takes care of for 6 months. It is a fairy predictable book, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.  I chose to rad this one because they recently released a movie based on the book. I will likely rent the movie when it comes out, and I generally like to have read the book before seeing the movie. 

11. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I decided to read this because there had been a significant amount of hype over it. I had heard that if you liked Gone Girl, you would enjoy this book.  Well, I thought Gone Girl was okay, so I read this one. I was never really into this book.  I kept reading just so that I could figure out the twist of the book, but I didn't ever feel invested in the story. 

12-14. Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James

I put off reading these for quite some time. I always said I would never read them because they were trashy and not worth my time. After talking with a friend who had read them 3x through, I decided to read the first couple chapters of the first book to see what the hype was about. Well. . . I was hooked. As everyone has said who has tried to convince me to read these, the story line is actually really good! I was intrigued by Christian Grey's story and wanted to learn more about what happened to him in his childhood. I became interested in the love story between him and Anastasia. I couldn't put these down! The down side of these books are that the writing is not great. In the couple of books, the main character says "Jeez" so many times I could just punch her. There is also a lot that could be discussed about her whole world seeming to revolve around a man, but why think so much about higher end trashy novels? 

Up next I plan to read Escape by Carolyn Jessup and Laura Palmer that talks about leaving a polygamist lifestyle. One of my guilty pleasures is watching Sister Wives once in a while and so I was intrigued by this book. I also plan to read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg since it came highly recommended by my soon to be SIL. And the book One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First year at Harvard Law School by Scott Turow. I've seen it on multiple reading lists for different law schools, so I'll give it a whorl. 

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


I have been asked on multiple occasions why I decided to take a year in between getting my bachelor's and starting law school. One part of the answer has to do with financial security. I want to take extra time to build our savings so that we don't have to go as far in debt, because trust me - we will have plenty of it after law school! Another part has to do with my marriage and time spent with family/friends. The past two years I have been absent quite a bit. I said no to many things and feel as though I've neglected my relationships. I want to take a year to nurture those relationships. The biggest part of my decision has to do with my overwhelming anxiety.

I have struggled with depression and anxiety since high school. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I shut down. I have struggled with this the last two years and I am so proud of myself for not crumbling completely! Working full-time, going to school nearly full-time, and trying to manage my relationships was hard.  Really hard. Because I took classes during spring, summer and fall, I never got a break from the constant feeling of being on the verge of failure. That's how I feel when I'm at my max - close to failure in some aspect of my life. I start thinking I can't do it. I get anxiety about my anxiety and worry that I'm not good enough, not smart enough, and that I'm going to fail. That is crippling. SO - a year of returning to a normal playing field is much needed before embarking on my law school adventure. I am optimistic that while law school will be difficult, I will feel less overwhelmed because I will not be working and can focus solely on my education.

Mental health is such a taboo topic, even still as many celebrities and other well known individuals have begun to reveal their personal struggles. I am a deeply private person and it is hard for me to be open about this topic, especially since I do feel shame surrounding my issues. Why do I write this post then, you ask? Because at least here you can read it, know my reason, and I won't have to feel uncomfortable trying to explain and justify my decision.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


It is a goal of mine to be better about updating the blog. I really enjoy being able to look back on posts and take a moment to remember things that have passed and maybe revisit a memory that I have forgotten. 

That  being said, there are many things that have happened the past few months!

1. Barry Manilow came to Cedar Rapids on April 8th! Mom and I attended his concert and it was fantastic! We were given glow sticks upon entrance. Ha.

2. April 23rd we leased a 2016 Chevy Equinox. Our Mountaineer required about $2,500-$3,000 worth of work, and we decided instead of putting that money into an older vehicle, we would prefer to trade in for something we could rely on. We did a two year lease, so if we find we are drowning my 1st year in law school, we will be able to cut it loose. Let's hope that isn't the case! 

I named her Shelly.

3.   On April 30th, Ben and I went to a Garth Brooks concert. It was AMAZING. I have loved Garth since I was a little girl and have always dreamt of seeing him live! Garth was actually my first ever cassette tape. :)  If at any time Garth is within reasonable distance to my location, I will be going again. Ben thought it was really good and was a great sport in putting up with my obnoxious self. The tickets were randomly selected for you, so we ended up in one of the back balconies. No one around was standing/dancing/singing, but that didn't stop me! While I didn't stand, I danced from my seat and sang until I was blue in the face!

Waiting for Garth to start!

4.  Graduation. Did a post here. Here is a nice post did Ben on my last day of classes:

5.  May 27-30th Ben and I traveled to Lanesboro, MN to camp, kayak, bike, and enjoy the outdoors! It was our 2nd time to Lanesboro. We stopped at Aroma Pie Shoppe in Whalan, MN and enjoyed a couple slices of pie (BJ - raspberry cream; LJ - chocolate cashew) and coffee. 

1st time out on the new kayaks!!!
6. June 10th we took the puppies to a 5k Doggy Dash that raised money for the local animal shelter. It turned out to be a fairly warm day and both dogs were ready for naps after the event!

7. We spent Father's Day down in Ft. Madison with some of Ben's family.

8. June 24-26th we traveled to Omaha for a visit with our friends Joe and Julia. We got to meet their new cutie, Leo, and enjoy some time catching up. 

9. On July 2nd we traveled to Wisconsin to the Alpine Valley amphitheater with Johnna and Danny to go to our first Dave Matthews Band concert. Alpine Valley can hold 37,000 people and the concert was SOLD OUT. It was such a fun experience!! 

Johnna, Danny, Ben & me. 
That catches us up to this weekend, for the most part. 

Ben and I decided to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary this weekend because he will be leaving for Andy's bachelor party on our actual anniversary (July 14). Yesterday we decided to take the kayaks out to Lake Macbride and to try bringing the puppies. We've been wanting to take them camping with us, but we always worry about what we would do with them if we took the kayaks out or went on a bike ride. So we hit up Petco for a couple of doggie life vests and went to the lake! We packed a lunch and had a nice picnic prior to our voyage. 

After a nice picnic lunch, we unloaded the kayaks, got the dogs fitted for their life vests, and pushed off. Grover was completely fine in the kayak. He didn't appear to be nervous, but actually seemed to enjoy it! I think that in his seven years with me he has learned that I will fiercely protect him and not let any harm come his way. 

My sweet little copilot!

Odie was not quite as fond of the kayaks. Ben struggled to get him into the cockpit initially, but finally got pushed out into the lake. It wasn't very long before Odie jumped ship and tested out his personal flotation device! He swam around for about 20 seconds before he made his was close enough to be to grab the handle of his life vest and pull him back into the kayak. He then refused to move from Ben's lap and chest for at least 45 minutes. 

Calming down a bit, but still not totally impressed, I think.

I'm so glad we decided to try the dogs in the kayaks out on the lake instead of a river the first time. I think we will take them out a few more times on the lake before attempting a river. Side note: at some point Odie peed the boat. On Ben's lap. Once Ben dried I said my usual, "Something smells like piss."  It was Ben. Bahaha. 

After getting home from our kayaking adventure, we showered and went to supper at The Bluebird Cafe in North Liberty. We enjoyed breakfast for supper and then made our way to play putt putt. Ben thought up the idea for putt putt because I have mentioned several times that there is a neat course (neat for Iowa, that is) at one of the golf courses, but we have never gone. 

We also exchanged gifts yesterday. Ben gave me an absolutely gorgeous necklace and diamond earrings! He is awesome. I gifted him the complete series of Battlestar Gallactica  (which he happened to find earlier in the week in my secret hiding place - aka the back seat of the car. Oops) and a daily journal for a couple that spans 3 years. 

Now it is Sunday and while I initially had motivation to get things one, that has flown out the window. I wanted to pulls weeds around the house, but then it started raining at 10 a.m. and has been raining on and off since then. A day of reading, coffee, and laundry it is, then. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


May favorite! Maple bacon cake!!!!
Ten years after graduating high school, I finally graduated from college! Graduation was held at Carver Hawkeye Arena on May 14, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. While I am not thankful for the piles of student loans that I am facing come November, I am thankful for the winding road I took to achieve this degree. My college journey was punctuated with life experiences, both negative and positive, and they have all played a part in getting me to where I am today. I am blessed with amazing family, friends all over the U.S. and world, a job I love, a home of my own, and two sweet babies (my dogs).

Ben snapped this photo while waiting for the graduation ceremony to begin. I was tired and lacking coffee. And obviously lacking excitement. 

This wonderful man has had to put up with my antisocial behaviors for the last 2 years. I feel he deserves quite a bit of recognition for this graduation as well. He helped to keep me sane when the stress of trying to do everything (work, school, family, social life, marriage, etc.) perfectly made me feel overwhelmed. 

I always love my time with my mummy. Our quality time the past two years has taken a hit due to school (for both of us) and work. She, too, helped to keep me sane throughout this process from beginning to end. At the end of the graduation ceremony, the graduates were asked to look at their family as the speaker discussed how they helped get us all there (or something like that. . . I was not being a very good listener!). I waved up at my mummy and she later told me, with tears in her eyes, that I wave the same as I did when I was a little girl. I make note of it because it is a memory I want to keep. :)  I will always be her little Lyndsey! 

What happens next is fairly unknown. I have applied to law schools and secured a seat for the class of 2020 at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. I have a year to make decisions and figure out what I want. I will use my year wisely to refresh and reconnect with my neglected family and friends. Currently, I am looking forward to a summer of kayaking, camping, all things outdoorsy! 

[P.S. I am an official HAWKEYE ALUMNI!]

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Anxiety Revelation

Since submitting my law school apps, I have felt nothing but anxiety. As mentioned in my previous post, it's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster!  

A couple nights ago while reading before bed, it occurred to me why I am having soooo much anxiety regarding law school. There is of course the normal stress that change can bring, but I also will be leaving a job that I love, with people that I love working with. By leaving the job, I am removing my ability to successfully support myself. BOOM! There it is. The thought of not being able to support myself is terrifying. I am absolutely blessed with a loving, hardworking, husband who is more than willing to work to support both of us for the next few years. That isn't the issue - that is wonderful. I think I have some deep-rooted need to know that no matter what happens, I can take care of myself without needing anyone's help. If I'm being honest, without needing a man's help. I have trust issues when it comes to males. I'm sure anyone with a psychology background can psychoanalyze the crap out of that paragraph. 

It helps me to know that after law school, Ben and I will reverse roles. He will dive full-time into a Ph.D. program of his choosing and I will bring home the bacon. It is also incredibly helpful that I feel solid in our marriage and that we are both on the same page in terms of our commitment to one another and our wanting the other to succeed. I basically need to enlist the help of a therapist to straighten out the crazy that goes on in my head. Understanding that this is what is causing me significant amounts of stress and anxiety actually helps to relieve it a bit. Thank goodness.

Of note: I have been accepted to a law school!! I have only heard from one of 8 that I applied to. Hopefully I see some more admissions roll in!

Monday, March 28, 2016

One year with Odie!

We adopted our sweet terrorist one year ago today! We love our little snuggle puff!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Emotional Roller Coaster

Now that I have submitted most of my applications to law school, I have been on quite the roller coaster ride of emotions. As typical with my generation, I enjoy instant gratification, so having to wait 3+ weeks for a decision is driving me mad.

Day 1: Submit application. Feel proud of self and excited! 
Day 2: Check status of application a gillion times per hour. Feel confident. 
Day 3: No one is going to say yes. . . I'm not going to get in. This is going to be awful. 
Day 4: It doesn't matter all that much. I plan to take a year off anyway. I'm fine.
Day 6 & 7: What if I get in? What if we have to move? Change is too scary. I'm going to go vomit now.

Week one down. At least two to go. 


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Personal Statement

After attempting to write my personal statement for my law school apps for 6 months, I finally finished a draft this past weekend. It is horribly sloppy, has incomplete thoughts, and needs a lot of work, but it is drafted!

Ben has graciously gone through and provided notes on things to revise or add. He has listened to me spout out ideas of what I could include in my personal statement for the last 6 months, so he has a good idea of what I want to say and reminded me of things that I inadvertently left out.

My goal is to be able to submit my law school applications within the next two weeks. Exciting times!

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Time passes so quickly!

I haven't posted in almost three months, I think. This is what we look like now:

Courtesy of SnapChat filter.
Just kidding. :)

My lack of posting is not for lack of things happening in our lives. More like lack of time / lack of want to log on and write. 

I still have not completed my law school applications. I have a self-imposed deadline to complete those by the end of February. I think the first due date coming up for applications is in April and some schools even allow you to submit applications as late as August. I am to a point now where it is stressing me out more to not know what I will be doing than the thought of rejection. The applications themselves are very easy. Obtaining the letters of recommendation was easy. It is writing the personal statement that is a huge challenge.  BUT Ben will be at a conference in Seattle this weekend through Tuesday, so I will have plenty of time home alone to work on this thing and at least get a draft completed. I have many, many first drafts which consist of about 2 or 3 sentences. 

On another note, we went to Chicago last weekend! As an early birthday present to Ben, I purchased tickets to the opera Der Rosenkavalier by Strauss. We went up Friday night and stayed through Sunday morning.  We walked around the city, got a couples massage, went to supper at The Berghoff (German restaurant before going to a German opera!), and attended the opera. We ended up leaving a bit earlier than originally anticipated because there was a winter weather system moving in and we wanted to get home safely.  We truly enjoyed our time in the windy city! We had never done a couples massage before and we both truly enjoyed it. We did the deep tissue massage and I was sore the next day. I also had some bilateral hip pain going on after the massage which was uncomfortable, so I think next time I would discuss that with the massage therapist prior to the massage.

Here are some lovely photographs of our time in Chicago:

Ready for our couples massage!
One of the ladies at the spa said y hair is gorgeous. :)
Supper at The Berghoff - a German restaurant in Chicago.
I chose a German restaurant before going to the German opera!
Ben had steak, potatoes and asparagus.
I had sliced beef with a sweet and sour gravy, mashed potatoes, and veggies.
Wined and dined and ready to go see Der Rosenkavalier!
Isn't my hubby handsome?!
We did, unfortunately, hit some snow on our way home from our weekend away and ended up sitting in stand-still traffic for 3 hours due to a massive car accident. (No fatal injuries, thank goodness.)

Other things that have been happening in our life:

I started my final semester of undergrad!!! I graduate May 14th at 9 a.m.! I could have had the 1 p.m. slot and slept in if my name were still Watznauer. . . Just saying. . . lol

My sweet babies after a weekend at the farm. Pooped!

Odie and Grover became BFF's. They now look out the window together, play, snuggle in the same vicinity, share doggy beds, and sometimes chase one another. It is a nice change from Grover snarling at Odie allllll the time. [NOTE: Grover still snarls on occasion. Odie normally deserves it.]

Odie earned our trust to remain out of his kennel during the day when we are at work. After about a month of free roaming, he betrayed our trust and is now back to the kennel. In his lifetime he has destroyed 5 pairs of my flats, 2 pairs of Ben's shoes, too many Kleenex's to count, a few of my school books, multiple puzzle pieces, multiple pens, a bajillion toys (those are ok to destroy), and I'm sure many other things that have slipped my memory. Most recently he tore into a stack of text books I was going to take and return for a bit of moolah. We have noticed that we can predict when Odie will be destructive, and most of the time it is when we tick him off because we are leaving. So. . . kennel.

Ben has continued to learn and grow in his new position this year. He has liked this job from the get go, but as the year has gone on I have noticed that his enjoyment has increased. He has had the chance to establish working relationships with his teachers and gained their trust. They have also gained experience in the classroom and are able to actively participate in their conversations and various interactions. As I said, this weekend he is in Seattle for some conference from today through Tuesday. If you want more information on how things are going with his career, feel free to ask him about it!

As for my job, I continue to work hard and am learning more each day! It has been pretty busy at work. I had a deposition at the end of January to prepare for and then a hearing from this past Thursday that both kept me quite occupied during the working hours. I went to both the deposition and workers comp hearing with the attorney I work with and it was great to be able to see how my hard work was used in both situations. Advice to attorneys: take our paralegal(s) to hearings, depos, witness interviews, etc. It will improve their work ethic and work product!

This is all I can think of at the time being.


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