Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A-B-C Meme

I got tagged by PT-LawMom for a meme. I've never done one before and Day 2 at the firm was much like day one- filled with food, fun, about 30 minutes of work, and then bowling, so I don't have too much to say about it. I don't think my formatting is going to come through as pretty as her's, but here's a bunch of random info you may or may not care to know about me:

A - Attached or Single?
Permanently attached

B - Best Friend?
A couple of them. I made three of my very closest friends before 4th grade. I never moved growing up so I've always been surrounded by people who have known me for most of my life- many of us even went on to the same college. Law school was the first time I found myself in a place where I didn't know a single person- it was a little scary but exciting at the same time. I found out, to my relief, that I can make new friends and I've been amazed at what a wonderful and supportive group we've created in such a short time.

C - Cake or Pie?
Cake- preferably confetti cake with white frosting.

D - Drink of Choice?
alcoholic: frozen margarita, non-alcoholic: diet coke

E - Essential Items?
Internet access, husband (is he an item?), chapstick, books, comfy sweatshirt

F - Favorite Color?
Blue, all shades

G - Gummie Bears or Worms?

H - Hometown?
One of the Houston suburbs.

I - Indulgence?
Frozen yogurt (gelato is even better if I can find it)

J - January or February?
February- it's short and contains my birthday, a school holiday or two, and Valentine's Day (which I hesitate to add b/c I think it's silly, but it is a great excuse to treat yourself and your husband)

K - Kids?
First one due August 9th and we'd like to add a few more later on (as soon as I forget my apathy-bordering-on-dislike of pregnancy).

L - Life is incomplete without?
Family and time spent outdoors

M - Marriage Date?
September 3, 2005

N - Number of Siblings?
Two- little sister and baby brother.

O - Oranges or Apples?

P - Phobias/Fears?
Moths- they absolutely terrify me and I have no idea why. I'm cool with all other bugs, snakes, etc., but if a moth flies near me I freak out.

Q - Favorite Quote?
"Love is friendship caught on fire."
"Some people follow their dreams. Other people hunt them down and beat them mercilessly into submission."
"To love is to place our happiness in the happiness of another."

R - Reason to smile?
My amazing husband- there are still nights when I lay next to him and can't fall asleep because I'm so perfectly happy.

S - Seasons?
Fall- I'd never experienced Fall until I moved to Chicago. I love the crisp air, the changing leaves, and that "first day of school" feeling

T - Tags?
Anyone who's interested. I like learning more about the bloggers out there.

U - Unknown Fact About Me?
I'm incredibly insecure about my looks- I was not the pretty sibling and that ugly feeling will probably never fully go away. I'm even more insecure about my weight (including a mini eating disorder battle in college) even though I've never been big. I also had a severe stutter as a child. It's gotten better, but there's still several words I get stuck on.

V - Vegetarian or oppressor of animals?
Carnivore, but won't touch veal, duck, pate, or foie gras (for animal cruelty/cuteness reasons)

W - Worst Habit?
Biting my nails

X - X-rays or ultrasounds?

Y - Your favorite food?
Impossible question, but a short list: pizza, sushi, perfectly ripe fruit, and sandwiches

Z - Zodiac?

Day 1: Food, Fun, and 3" Heels

Yesterday was my first day at the Firm- I was in my office for a total of 30 minutes, ate 3+ meals, and have yet to receive my first assignment. Life as a summer associate is going to be pretty sweet. Apparently we will be taken to lunch every day and so far I have a dinner/evening event every night for the next two weeks. It's completely ridiculous and over-the-top and I cringe thinking how much money is being spent and how many other ways it could be used (like if they could just cut me a check for how much they'll spend on me this summer or if it was donated), but it's part of the system. I get to enjoy a pampered summer and then I'll bill enough to pay them back for it later- I might as well soak up the good part now.

As I remembered and hoped, the office is beautiful, the people are friendly, and everyone is either excited or unconcerned with my pregnancy (much like my law school classmates). At the dinner last night one of the partners was carrying around his 10 week old son (that part of the event was at his house) and I couldn't believe I was going to have one of those in 10 weeks. He offered to let me hold him and I actually jumped back- he looked so breakable! (and adorable, perfect, angelic, etc.). He was all curled up in his dad's arms and I started to understand how a parent could just stare at their baby for hours at a time.

I wore 3" heels for my first day which ended up being 13 hours long and I had to stand up for most of it. Surprisingly, even in the heat and humidity, my feet and I did just fine. Everyone was very impressed and they all think I'm quite tough. Today I'm going down to 2.5" and hopefully I'll be at my desk a little more as I should be getting my first work assignment. I'm actually pretty excited about it- finals were only 5 days ago, but I'm ready to think again. Just maybe not too hard.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


21 hours of driving, 859 country songs, 5 gas station fill-ups, 3 food stops, and 1 questionable hotel later, we are safely in Austin, Texas. We drove till midnight the day of my Public Land final (I saw "we", but JP drove the whole way), got up at 7:30am and got to Houston at 4pm just in time for my baby brother's graduation party. We got to see most of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, so that was lots of fun. The graduation was long (950+ students), but I'm glad we were able to be there. I can't believe the little guy is all grown up and heading out into the world. My dad is having a tough time with it- the two of them are so close that we all ache for my him a bit. It's like his best friend is moving away. BB (baby brother) is really athletic and just naturally shares a lot of my dad's interests- fixing cars, building stuff, fishing, golfing, boating, etc. He has lots of friends and is quite the popular guy, but he's always had time for his dad. Looking at the two of them at his graduation party, I hoped that JP and I are able to have that kind of relationship with our kids- actually being "friends" while still very much being the parent.

We drove up to Austin yesterday- I didn't realize how much I missed it. JP practically teared up when we saw the Tower. His old teammate is putting me up in his guest room (a fantastic guy I'm going to arbitrarily name "Steve" so that I can protect his privacy while not constantly typing out "JP's old teammate"). His home is beautiful, it's very close to the Firm's office, and he won't let me pay rent. He also happens to love gourmet cooking and is preparing a delicious-smelling Bolognese sauce right now. As I sit here on the couch with JP, listening to Steve play guitar, and waiting for a bunch of the other guys from the UT team to come over for dinner, Chicago and finals seem so far away. It really is wonderful to be back in ATX.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

All Finished

I'm done with my exams. The car is packed and JP is picking me up at school in 5 minutes. The next time I walk in this building I'll no longer be pregnant, be mother to a 6-week old, and a 3L.

I'm not even sure which of those three things I'm happiest about.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

1 Down, 2 To Go

Well, Freedom of Religion is done. It wasn't the "easy reading check" the professor promised, but it wasn't terrible and I think I did well enough. That class is the first time I've taken an exam in law school that wasn't 100% of my grade and that made a huge difference in the stress level. Our 2 papers due during the quarter count for 70% so there's only so much damage the exam can do. I went home afterward- it's just too hard to go right back to studying after taking a final. I stayed productive and spent 4 hours packing, cleaning, and organizing. I am now completely packed for Texas and I went through most of my stuff I'm leaving behind to see what could be donated to Goodwill rather than packed up and moved to the new apartment.

I've noticed that now I'm in the third trimester I tire easily again. After standing up and packing for the whole afternoon I was exhausted. Like the "I can't keep my eyes open" kind of tired. I ended up going to bed at 8:30 having not even looked at my outlines or notes for my other 2 exams. I got nearly 11 hours of sleep and today I'm going to throw myself into studying for Rhetoric of Race which is at 2pm. After that I'm going to have to force myself back up to the library to study (cram!) for the closed book/note disaster that is going to be Public Land on Thursday morning. (That's also why I packed last night- there's no time to study Thurs. morning so I can't take the time to pack tonight.) My plan is to drive JP's car to campus tomorrow, have him load up my car while I'm struggling through my final, head home immediately afterward and get on the road for our 1000+ mile journey through "America's Heartland" (as JP enthusiastically calls it). I actually enjoy road trips with him- he drives, I read out loud, and we both eat lots of snacks and sing along to the radio. It's 18 hours of quality togetherness.

Now- off to the library!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Who Is That Woman In The Mirror?

I stopped at Old Navy on the way home from my midwife appointment yesterday to buy a swim suit. I'm hoping to take up swimming again this summer because it's going to be 300 degrees in Austin and I think it will be nice to feel weightless. I was in the dressing room trying on various maternity swim suits when I caught a look at myself in the mirror (which I had been avoiding), and I immediately thought- who is that woman? She has huge thighs! Her arms are flabby! Her back is flabby! What the hell happened to me?! I can handle the belly- it's big and it gets in the way sometimes, but it was expected. This squishiness that is now spreading elsewhere is not acceptable. The other day I noticed my legs touched when I walked- ah! When did that happen?

I couldn't buy the suit. I've decided the only swimming I'll be doing is in my bathtub where no one can see me and I don't have to wear a swimsuit that squishes any squishiness to make it look even squishier. I may change my mind when I actually get to Texas and start melting - perhaps I can find an old fashioned bathing costume...

Side note: I have my first exam today at 2pm. I haven't finished my outlines. I haven't read the outlines that I have finished. I can't figure out why I'm not at all concerned about this. What am I going to be like as a 3L?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pregnancy Brings Out the Polite in Cabdrivers

I had my 6th midwife appointment today (with glucose tolerance test- that orange soda drink was something I would have loved at age 7, but found nauseating as a grownup). Afterward I decided to walk home- it's a little over 3 miles and this week I'll be sitting on my butt in the library studying, sitting to take exams, and sitting in the car to drive to Texas, so I thought I should take advantage of the exercise (the fact that this meant I cold stop in Gap and Old Navy on my way home was pure coincidence). I was at a busy corner of Michigan Avenue and like a good pedestrian, patiently waited for the little white man on the crosswalk sign to tell me to go. I started walking and suddenly a cab driver thought the red light had a hint of yellow left in it and gunned it across the intersection. I was in the middle of the road, he stopped, I stopped, gave him an evil glare, and he rolled down his window and in heavily accented English said "I'm so sorry ma'am". A sincere apology! From a cabbie! I have never witnessed such a phenomenon. I suppose having a big pregnant belly stick out in front of you can bring out the politeness in people.*

*It also tends to bring out a need to touch you and ask personal questions, but there really has been a marked increase in smiles and politeness around me in the past few months.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Wanting Both, Revisited

I wrote the post "Why Can't I Want Both" last week and a new post on Ms. JD echoes a lot of the same sentiments. This one especially focuses on the "And why is it assumed that kids will so fundamentally change me and my goals, but not JP?" point I made. Here's the bulk of the Ms. JD post:

I graduated from law school on Friday. Woohoo! Only not so much, because I spent half of commencement stewing over the less-than-inspiring words of our commencement speaker. About halfway through her speech, our speaker, an extremely accomplished public interest lawyer and mother of two, changed course and addressed her comments to the women in the graduating class. "You can have it all, as long as you are willing to compromise," she encouraged us. I know I have to compromise. But I think I'm going to have to compromise, because I'm an adult, not because I'm a woman. And as far as having it all is concerned, I'd probably have to compromise a lot less if all the men in the audience were being asked to listen up too. Maybe if people were telling them that they would have to compromise to get what they want, they would be more prepared to do so?

I thought the contributor made excellent points. Of course there will be compromise, but it's not because I'm female, it's because I'm (going to be) a parent. JP will also be compromising because he's going to be a parent too. I'm so thankful that I have a husband who was raised by two working parents and who fully expects to do (and does!) his share of all the housekeeping and child rearing duties.

This is one of my complaints with the women's initiates hosted by law schools and firms. I think women's programs are important and I've really enjoyed them- coming from a family without career women, it's been great to hear the stories from women lawyers and have the opportunity to network. However, always advertising programs about the work/life balance in terms of women's issues holds us back from achieving that much sought after balance. Programs and initiatives aimed at helping women balance children and work need to be "parenting initiatives" and firms need to offer them as such. It doesn't help me be a lawyer and mother if the firm is flexible with my schedule, they also need to be flexible with my husband's. If I'm allowed to leave early to finish work at home, but it's frowned on when he does, I will always be the one starting dinner. I will always be the one who can stop to run errands on the way home. I will be the one doing the balancing. Until my husband is seen as the other, equal half of the parenting team, I won't just be comprising, I'll be miserable (and so will he!). I think firms would have greater success at retaining women if they helped all parents balance their work and home life.

Jon Stewart study break

I only got through 1/3 of my Rhetoric of Race outline yesterday (in order to have any chance of finishing my Public Land outline, I had to finish Race), but I still headed out to Rosemont with JP to see the Jon Stewart show. After getting used to seeing him dressed up and suave-like on the Daily Show set it was funny to see him in khakis and a long sleeved t-shirt alone on a blank stage. He did some general stand up and a lot of political stuff. I love his humor because it's smart- I find myself withing that the very people he's mocking would listen to him and take note. Two of my favorite quotes of the night (I really wish I could remember more):
  • "It's not torture, it's freedom tickling" when referring to the administration's knack for re-phrasing some of their more evil doings
  • "Why are they so afraid of this so called 'Gay Agenda'? What do the gays want? To get married and serve in the army. Yeah... damn hippies!"

The second one really hit home with me- what are people so afraid of? What is the gay agenda? They want to do two relatively conservative things. I have a LOT more to say on this topic as it's one I'm quite passionate about, but it'll have to wait until this summer when I have more time. Besides, by that point my blogging will be rather repetitive- I can't talk about work, I'll be hot all the time, I'll continue to be freaked out by how huge I'm getting, and I'll be constantly missing JP, so a nice post about gay rights will spice things up a bit.

Back to the futility that is my outlining.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Plugging Along

Yesterday was my last day of 2L classes. While it makes me happy to type that, it's hard to really celebrate when you only have 3 days before your 3 exams. In a burst of productivity I finished my Freedom of Religion outline yesterday. It's the shortest and easiest one to do, but still, it's something I can check off. Today I have to start and finish Rhetoric of Race beore we leave for the Jon Stewart show at4:30. That leaves 2 days for Public Land. Definitely not enough, but it's all I've got. I also have my 6th midwife appointment with glucose tolerance test on Monday and I need to run a few errands downtown (potentially impossible goal: buying a maternity swim suit that doesn't make me feel like a whale). So really, public land needs to be mostly done before my Sunday night shows.

I'm plugging along with a distinct sense of not really caring. Not the fake "I don't care" that you tell yourself to avoid panicking when deep down you know that you do. And it's not a complete lack of caring- I don't want bad grades, but despite the fact that I should be close to freaking out over how little time I have left to learn so much, I'm just chugging along in a calm manner. My public land outline may not even get done. I may not have time to memorize those religion cases. But at the moment I can't say that bothers me much. I think it's because these classes just don't sound as scary- they're not Antitrust or Admin or Securities. I have to keep reminding myself that they're worth the same number of credits and the grade matters just as much. There's a good chance I'll wake up Tuesday morning feeling a bit panicky, but for now my mind is more occupied with thoughts of the move and Texas and the baby than these pesky finals that are standing in the way of me and my crazy/fun summer.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I feel like I'm back in the 1st trimester. Even after a solid 8 hours of sleep, I feel so groggy and sleepy during the day that my eyelids close involuntarily during class and when I'm trying to studying. When you put off outlining until five days before your first final, it's imperative to be productive during your waking hours. I do not have time for exhaustion- unless it's the well-deserved "I just finished outlining for all of my classes" kind of exhaustion.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Overwhelmed. Baking Cookies.

There's a LOT going on in the next 8 days.
  • Thursday: Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy season finales
  • Friday: classmate's wedding
  • Saturday: Jon Stewart "concert" (or whatever you call a comedy tour stop)
  • Sunday: Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters season finales
  • Monday: midwife appointment
  • Tuesday: Religion & the Constitution final (CLOSED BOOK)
  • Wednesday: American Law and the Rhetoric of Race final
  • Thursday: Public Land final (partial CLOSED BOOK) and beginning the drive down to Texas
  • Friday: finish drive down to Texas, watch baby brother graduate high school, spend the next 5 weeks in Texas working, and then return home to an entirely new apartment in Chicago in July
I realize it's a little ridiculous to include TV show finales on my list, but I'm going to watch them, so I might as well be up front about it and plan accordingly. But the point is, there's a lot going on. I had no idea my public land final was closed book. I already had no idea how to outline or study for that class and now I'm even more at a loss. It's a collection of topics that we voted on as a class to study with tons of statutes, cases, and handouts mixed in. How to organize? How to memorize? No clue. Religion is another mess. We weren't allowed to have laptops during class (SO painful) so I have no typed notes. I could never be bothered to take hand-written notes because I was too busy pining for my laptop, so I suppose I need to go through the casebook that we read almost in entirety and create a casechart that I can memorize. I don't want to do that because (1) I think memorizing things for law school is stupid, (2) the exam is only 1/3 of our grade because we also had 2 papers due during the quarter, and (3) he promises the exam will be "a really easy reading check." I'm thinking that I'll outline half of the cases and hope that's enough to get me in the middle of the curve- my paper grades are high, so the exam can bring me down a little. (I kind of love how any emotional attachment I had to my grades ran out sometime between winter quarter and now.) Rhetoric of Race is also a mess, but there's only so much I can worry about. It's open note and my notes are pretty good. It is only 1.5 hours (rather than 3) so there's less time to search through my notes, but I'm an expert at "ctrl +f".

At some point I also need to pack for my 5-week sabbatical in the Lone Star State, a.k.a. "The Friendly State," a.k.a. "The State Responsible for Making Bush a Political Figure and Inflicting Him on the Rest of the Country," a.k.a. "The State That is Hotter Than Hell in the Summer Especially for a Woman Who Is Seven Months Pregnant," and a.k.a. "Home." While I greatly prefer packing to outlining, there's not much I can do since I only own a certain number of maternity clothes and I need to keep wearing them until I leave. That's going to have to be a last minute thing- but not too last minute since we really have to get on the road within an hour or two after my last final (also my hardest).

After realizing all of this today, I was determined to come home and Be Productive. I ended up staring at my laptop for 2.5 hours trying to create my Public Land outline, but I couldn't figure out how to organize it and therefore couldn't start it. I didn't bring home any other books and since I can't start packing, I needed another way to feel productive without doing school work-- which is why there are now cookies baking in my oven.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why Can't I Want Both?

So I was talking today to a well meaning person (WMP) about JP and my future plans. I talked about how despite being initially reluctant to return to Texas, I'm now excited about moving to Austin. I'm looking forward to being able to afford a house (yay! a semi-permanent address without "Apt ##" after it!) and being driving distance away from my family. I mentioned that the only reason Austin could be semi-permanent is if JP ends up with a post-MBA job in Houston or Dallas because there just aren't many finance/business related jobs in Austin, but hopefully he'll be able to find something because we both prefer it so much to the rest of Texas. The conversation then went something like this:

WMP: Well, as [other women] have found out, when your husband gets a great job you just have to go and eventually you'll get settled in with your kids and their activities, and several years will go by and you won't be able to imagine living anywhere else.
Me: Yeah, but I'll be working too and probably making more than JP, at least initially, so his job isn't the only factor.
WMP: Oh but you don't know that you'll be working. When you have kids I think you'll find things like a career just aren't nearly as important to you, so you'll need to go where JP has a job.
Me: (thinking lots of things in response, but changing the subject instead because this truly is a Well Meaning Person)

This irritated me on so many levels! Why can't both matter to me? I understand that having kids changes your priorities, but I've already made it rather clear that my family has priority over my career- from how I've chosen to approach law school, to starting my family now, to picking a firm I think (hope) will be compatible with our family plans, and to being open to other future career paths. And why is it assumed that kids will so fundamentally change me and my goals, but not JP?

But I think what upsets me the most is the assumed frivolity of my career (as a side note- that's why I mentioned earning more than JP. It's not something I think matters or would normally point out, but I really wanted this person to understand that my future career is substantive- that it can support our family and in fact will be supporting our family while he is in school). I think my career is seen as the expendable one by many in my family and hometown- as this path I'm on to busy myself in between undergrad and having kids- and that I'll drop this little lark once I look at my baby and come to my senses. This completely ignores how difficult law school is, how much having a career matters to me, and how much I can contribute to our family and society in general with these skills I have worked very hard to acquire. If I was looking for a lark to occupy myself for a few years, the University of Chicago law school would not have been at the top of my list (and think of all the other fun things I could have done to acquire $120K in loans). No woman in my family has continued working, at least in a traditional sense, after having kids. They were each thankful to have the option to leave their jobs and stay home, and they're all fulfilled mothers. Every time I talk to one of them I feel like I have to defend my plans (or remind them of my plans) and then just nod along when they imply that I'll change. It's true that I don't know how I'll feel once I leave my baby in the arms of the daycare provider, but I also can't believe that my personality will so fundamentally change after childbirth as to not want, to not need, my career.

This post isn't against those women or men who choose to stay home, it's against those who assume that I will do so. I don't know what my future holds, but I do know that as important as having a family is to me, having some sort of profession/career ranks right below that. To be a happy and fulfilled wife and mother I need that in my life. I don't need to make partner and I don't need to work at a top law firm (or any firm), but I need something organized, adult, intellectual, and outside the house. I know that to the depths of my being and JP does too- he's said that if we decide one of us needed to stay home, it would have to be him before me- for everyone's sake.

So I don't know how to respond. I want those close to me to understand how much this matters to me, but I don't think I can argue much with the statement that once I am a mother I'll change my mind. I'm not a mother yet and they are, so instead I secretly get annoyed, continue pleasantly with the conversation, and rant to JP later that night. I can ignore the staying at home v. working mother message boards by simply not reading them- you can't judge someone based on a chat room post and I refuse to read the comments of people who do so. But it makes me sad that those who actually know me are so dismissive of the concept that my career and my children can both matter to me.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Parental Sacrifice

Our son isn't born yet, but JP and I have made our first official sacrifice as parents. His company is celebrating their 20th anniversary and sending all employees and spouses to the Four Seasons in Costa Rico for an all-expenses paid 4-day weekend. All Expenses. Four Seasons. Costa Rica. The dates: August 29-Sept 1. Our baby's due date: Aug 9. So we RSVP'd no. You can't abandon a 2-week old and I know that when the time comes the thought of leaving him for a few days will be unimaginable (well, there might be moments when it sounds pretty good, but we still couldn't imagine actually doing it).

That weekend also happens to be our 2nd wedding anniversary. If we hadn't decided we wanted to start our family this young, we'd be sipping tropical drinks poolside, exploring the jungle, snorkeling, eating, and soaking up our time together. Instead we'll be figuring out project baby, not sleeping, and eating take out. This trip represented our first "oh my god what have we done" realization that our lives are going to be pretty different. We're grown-ups... and parents! Our lives aren't just about us! But I already feel like we've changed. It actually wasn't with much regret that we accepted the fact we couldn't go. There's even a consolation prize- this trip means that JP gets an extra few days at home with the baby. I expected to feel some real sadness over saying no- it is a pretty amazing trip and JP has worked so hard and really deserves that vacation- but all I could think about was the fact that we will have met our son by then.

I know there will be more cool trips, and when we're back in Texas grandma and grandpa will be close enough to babysit. Plus, an advantage of having a baby at 24 is that I'll only be 42 when we send him off to college- plenty of time to visit all kinds of exotic locales with JP!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day all the mommies our there and a special Mother's Day wish to the moms in my little blogging community: Citations, Magic Cookie, Transmogriflaw, Zuska, DesiMom, Shelley, and Butterflyfish. This time next year I'll have a 10-month-old (who will totally be decked out in a "I Love Mommy" onesie for the occasion) - pretty amazing!

For my first mother's day, JP bought me tickets to Jon Stewart's comedy tour stop in Chicago next Saturday night. Since I still haven't caught up in my reading, or done anything close to studying, it's probably the last thing I should be doing the weekend before finals and the moving madness, but it's going to be so fun! We watch the Daily Show every night before going to bed- it's become a tradition we both really enjoy. The "special correspondents" are the only part of the show that sometimes falls flat for me, so I'm looking forward to a corespondent-free evening of Jon Stewart and politics.

Today we're going to make a big breakfast, I'm going to think about doing the reading that was due last week, we'll go to the grocery store, make dinner, and then get Coldstone before cuddling on the couch to watch our Sunday night shows (Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters- they're officially my shows, but JP has secretly become as involved as I am). We're a bit boring and predictable, but I like things that way :)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Passing Notes

I have one class in which laptops are banned. The class also happens to be taught by my most obnoxious professor. It's unfortunate because the topic should have been fascinating. Our class discussions even manage to be quite good until the professor interrupts by launching into a thirty minute oration on what is, without fail, the most boring part of our discussion. This happened yesterday- we were talking about the constitutionality of Ten Commandments monuments on federal/state grounds. Somehow he picked up on a "Hobbesian backdrop" and the sermon began. Without AIM or google chat to assist us in communicating with each other, a classmate sitting in front of me held up his spiral with the words:

"So bored. Fake labor now."

Of course a snort of laughter escapes me right as the Professor mentions "enormous religious strife and killing."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hello, Third Trimester

So here I am at Week 28. My weight gain has calmed down (1 lb. last week rather than 3, with no conscious change in eating or activity), my belly is substantial, the baby kicks, punches, and wiggles around regularly, and I feel great. I'm not uncomfortably large yet or experiencing any of the more unpleasant symptoms associated with the end of pregnancy (although I have noticed that I tend to feel 10 degrees warmer than anyone else- living in Texas for five weeks should be all kinds of fun this summer). Our apartment is literally covered in baby stuff. The reason we're moving in June is because there is no room in our cute little loft for anything more than what is in there now, so the crib, carseat, carseat base, carseat stroller, cushy umbrella stroller, and seventeen baby shower gifts are all piled in the middle of our living room. Lilly thinks it's a big jungle gym of fun, but the clutter is driving me nuts. We have access to our new place this weekend and are going to move a lot of it then.

Everything continues to go well with being a pregnant law student. I haven't actually told many professors about my pregnancy, but it's pretty obvious now anyway. I also never officially talked to the administration. I think they'd be positive about it, but I had no idea how to initiate the conversation. I'm doing fine, I don't need anything, so what am I talking to them for? A benefit of going to such a small school is that the administrative deans are pretty responsive to individual needs- I'm certain if there had ever been a problem they would have accommodated me. (That's also the reason I never talked to most of my professors throughout the year- I was able to attend and stay awake in my classes and I wasn't expecting any help on the exam, so unless I neeeded to miss class for a midwife appointment, the topic just never came up. Whenever it did, they were all very congratulatory.) All my classmates continue to be interested, supportive, and very complimentary of my maternity wardrobe :)

The next few weeks are going to be insanely busy. I really need to start emphasizing the second half of "pregnant law student." There is only one more week of class and then I have three exams in a row starting May 22. Immediately after my exam on Thursday we will start the 1000 mile drive down to Houston for my baby brother's high school graduation. We'll go to Austin on Sunday to move me in to JP's old swim teammate's house and then JP will fly back to Chicago on Monday. The next weekend I have a baby shower in my hometown and he'll be moving us to the new apartment. The timing worked out quite well- I get to eat cake and open presents and he gets to pack, move, and unpack! So to sum it up, in the next two weeks I will be: catching up on all my reading, preparing for exams, packing for a 5-week stay in Texas, packing the apartment for a move, calling to change our utilities and address, soaking up quality time with JP, and saying goodbye to our beautiful "newlywed" apartment. But what did I do yesterday? Went to Target to register for some more baby things, went to another maternity store in search of a khaki skirt, and watched 2 episodes of the not-nearly-as-good-as-project-runway-or-top-chef Bravo Show "Shear Genius". Denial? Perhaps. Reveling in ignoring school and focusing on being pregnant? Aboslutely.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The (No) Sex Post

I've been debating writing this post for a while. On the one hand it's something I really wanted to get other people's comments about, but on the other, there are people who read this blog and know me in the real world and I didn't want to subject them to unwanted knowledge about my sex life. I've decided that during pregnancy everything about you becomes somewhat public- you can go to any health website, click on a pregnancy week, and learn All about what's going on with my body. I also realized that people can exercise their free will and simply click the little red X and close this webpage, thereby avoiding any undue emotional trauma, so here goes...

Everywhere I look- pregnancy books, websites, movies, and tv shows- doctors, authors, and actors have told me I won't be able to get enough sex during my second trimester. They cite increased blood flow, sexy hormones, less exhaustion, and no more morning sickness, and promise things like "many woman experience their first orgasm or multiple orgasms!". Just a few weeks ago, a character on "Brothers & Sisters" (one of my new favorite tv shows) was in her second trimester and practically attacked her husband any time he was within a few yards of her. JP and I saw all this and thought "ooh, that will be fun!" I expected my sex drive to go through the roof, and JP, already a big fan of pregnancy thanks to the doubling in boob size, was already adjusting the number of kids he thought we should have.

But then my sex drive plummeted- like through the basement, underground, and resting somewhere in the earth's core. I still think about it as much as I used to, I'm still as attracted to JP as I used to be, and I still want it as much on a mental and emotional level- I just have absolutely no physical response. It sucks, quite a lot. While searching the internet for any website with some acknowledgement there are women who don't become sex crazed while pregnant, I found a survey of a few hundred magazine readers (I think it was "Self" or one like that) and well over a third reported that their sex drive decreased while pregnant. That at least made me feel like I wasn't an asexual freak, but I can't find anything else like that! Everything just has generalities about how "many women" find their sex drive increases. I asked my doctor and she said many of her patients have complained of the same thing- it's just hormonal and things should get back to normal after the baby is born.

I have a wonderfully understanding husband, but this is frustrating for both of us. It's gotten to the point that I'm looking forward to working in Texas because at least then I won't have to feel bad about our lack of a sex life- we can blame the 1000 miles between us! And it's not like we Never do it, I think 10 days is our longest pause, but I really miss physically wanting to.

I don't have any friends with children and this just isn't one of those things that comes up in phone conversations with my mom, so I'd really like to hear other people's experiences, or the experiences of your friends, sisters, etc. (please feel free to comment anonymously). Did anyone else feel this way? When did your sex drive come back- later in pregnancy? after the birth? I can't imagine the infant sleep/feeding schedule is all that conducive to a hot sex life, but I just want to want it again! And as long as we're talking about it, how long after the birth did you resume sex? While that seems like a really long way away, I'm hoping that at least then I'll feel like "me" again and things can get back to normal. Or as normal as it can be with an infant...

Monday, May 7, 2007

Baby Shower Fun

So yesterday was the big baby shower- it was some of the most fun I've had since law school started! I am blessed with such incredible friends- it's hard to believe I didn't know any of them two years ago. My hostess could have an alternate career as a gourmet chef and caterer. She made four kinds of fancy tea sandwiches, scones from scratch, lemonade squeezed from fresh lemons, and so much more. I got some darling gifts. You would never think we were a room full of highly educated future power lawyers- our vocabulary consisted of "ooh" "aah" and "that's So cute!". It was a really, really fun afternoon.

Being surrounded by such supportive, enthusiastic people has made such a difference during this pregnancy. I thought I would be pretty much alone- my family and all my old friends are 1000 miles away and I knew I'd be the only pregnant law student at UC. But while I do wish my mom was closer (as much for her sake as mine), I'm not overwhelmingly homesick like I thought I'd be. My friends and classmates are so interested and excited about having a law school baby- I literally get choked up when I think about how wonderful everyone has been!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Law School Prom

Despite last year's disastrous prom experience (which involved me and about 2 bottles of wine...), JP decided to risk being my date one more time. Luckily, pregnancy is pretty good protection from an open bar. I'm so glad we went because we had a BLAST. Great friends, almost great food, and a really great DJ and dancing. I had a bright red dress and fantastic 3.5" gold heels. The shoes stayed on for about an hour and the rest of the night I just danced barefoot. JP loves to dance and is actually quite good at it (especially compared to his wife). We boogied down for three hours- being six months pregnant wasn't going to keep me off the dance floor! I may not be any good, but I still have fun!

Friday afternoon a bunch of us skipped class and went to the Cubs game. That was also a lot of fun- and the craziest thing happened. I went to buy a drink and heard my name being yelled above the noise of the crowd- I turned to find one of my former U.T. swim teammates! I hadn't seen her in years as she had returned home to California after college. She happened to be in Chicago for the weekend visiting her boyfriend's family and they decided to go to a Cubs game and sit 3 rows behind us in the bleachers. It was crazy! She had known JP from the team also and couldn't believe we were married and expecting a baby! It was so great to see her- it just added to the fun of the day.

This afternoon is my law school baby shower. I'm so excited (it's my first baby shower to attend ever) and I'm so lucky to have such great friends. Despite spending 5 hours in the library yesterday writing a con law response paper and getting upset over something I'm glad I decided not to blog about, this is one of the best weekends I've had in a long time!!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Lawyers in Iraq

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend an alumni "roundtable" event with a UC grad who volunteered to go to Iraq and help set up the justice system there. He was an assistant attorney general in Wisconsin and basically just "raised his hand" when they asked for people to help- he said he felt that even though he was a civilian, when you can do something to help, you should. It was a fantastic talk and I wish more people had attended. It was especially great to get a non-political, non-military perspective of the war. He didn't say what his politics were and he never answered any of the questions in a way that would reveal whether he was a democrat or republican- he just answered from his own experience living in the country for 18 months. I left with so much respect for the civilians over there trying to help- we hear a lot about the soldiers, and of course I had an enormous amount of respect for them, but there are a lot of non-military over there as well. It also added a new dimension to the "pull out" plan- I hate this war and want the soldiers to be able to come home- but the US has made a big mess of a lot of things and the minute the soldiers are gone all the civilians have to leave too.

He talked about the de-baathification (Bremer's biggest mistake and there's a large pool of mistakes to choose from) and how that eliminated nearly every qualified judge in the country. If you were anyone who valued living past tomorrow of course you were technically a Baathist. Anyway, you can't have a stable country without some kind of judicial system and you can't have a judicial system without judges. Not only are there not many judges to start with but they're a huge target for terrorists and insurgency groups. You could hear the frustration and sadness in the alum's voice as he talked about these brave men he had met with who were gunned down in a marketplace weeks later. He talked of the tens of thousands of pre-trial detainees kept in awful conditions all around the country that have no chance of due process until there are judges that can hear their cases. In addition to the civilian lawyers there are oil men, economists, financial advisers, etc. all helping to rebuild a country that we had a large part in tearing down. I can't say the entire idea of going to Iraq was wrong (well I could...), but it was most definitely wrong to go in with the arrogance that we'd be out in 6 weeks (or "certainly not six months" in the words of Rumsfeld) and with no understanding of the country and its culture.

There's a lot more I'd like to write, but it's basically frustration with the government combined with awe for the people who are working hard to make it better.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Today was Chicago's "Hinton Moot Court" finals. I watched them last year and remember being amazed by how articulate and composed the finalists were- even under rapid fire questioning from some very prestigious and intimidating judges. I was excited about attending this year because I actually knew all the finalists - and they didn't disappoint. Watching them was a sudden reminder that we're really going to be lawyers in a year. They were so self-possessed and confident while arguing their cases- they'll definitely do a kick ass job representing their clients in the real world. My school has some very impressive people and it's fun to have the opportunity to watch them show off their impressiveness.