Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Little Man

I don't do much post-processing on my pictures. I'll remove some red eye and do the occasional bit of cropping and brightening, but my lack of photoshop and free time gets in the way making the digital works of art I see on other people's websites. And in general I like that. I sometimes think that in ten years people are going to look through their photos and wonder what everyone actually looked like.

I took this picture at JP's banquet Saturday night. I almost deleted it because Landon is looking away and I was just fooling around with the settings, trying to take a decent picture without the flash. But the more I look at it the more I love it. This is one of his default expressions- a semi-thoughtful look, with eyes wide open taking everything in. I was playing with it in Picasa and for the first time ever, liked the black and white with a spot of color effect. His cheeks are flushed from the heat and the background is muted and I just keep clicking on it and thinking, "yep, that's my little man."

And then I'm bowled over yet again with how much I love the curly-headed, tantrum-throwing little monster.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Coach of the Year

On Saturday JP's career as head coach of our local summer league swim team came to an end. His team won the championship for the first time ever and did it by 150 points. Landon and I attended the banquet at the pool that night and it was so wonderful to see how much the kids and parents adore him. He was always surrounded by people, laughing and joking, complimenting kids on their swims- somehow managing to know each of their times and how much they had improved (there's 250 swimmers on the team, between ages 6-16). Several people came up to me to tell me how great he did and how much fun they had this season. One parent, a dad, even came up to me to thank me for my role as Mrs. Coach. He said he knew how much time JP had dedicated to the team, and how that takes away from family time and he really appreciated my behind-the-scenes work.

It was so nice to hear because it really was hard. Since April I've been on my own every night with a generally over-tired tantrum-throwing toddler. JP has come home about one second before Landon goes to bed and on many of those days I've tossed him our cranky child and headed off to our room without a word. That sounds terrible and I've really tried not to complain too much because there are single parents and moms with husbands serving in the military overseas and moms with husbands who don't help out 1/10 of what JP does, but dammit, it was hard. Our family just works better when the two of us are together.

But back to JP -- my favorite part of the evening was watching him hand out the awards to the kids. When the team manager introduced him all the kids swarmed him for a big group hug. The team manager then took back the microphone and said that in 13 years with the team, she'd never seen the kids do that before! It was very sweet and just made me feel so proud of him. I coached summer league in college so I knew what we were getting in to when he accepted this job. I also knew he'd love it, knew he'd be good at it, and knew it would help his company (he's starting a swim school, more on that later). But even knowing all that, I was unprepared for how much he was in his element. I'm glad I got to see it- I came home with a happy, exhausted Landon and even greater than normal feelings of love and respect and pride in my husband, the Coach.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dear Google, the light-hearted Friday edition

I did one of these not too long ago, but I have a few google searches that are too good not to share. What I always have to keep in mind is that someone opened up the google webpage and typed in this exact phrase looking for answers. Cracks me up.

~ dear google, please give me a random food to eat for lunch: Quite possibly my most favorite search that ever brought someone to my website. I wonder what they decided on... the puffy pancake?

~ big name in french fries: As a fellow french fry lover, I understand turning to the internet for help in french fry research. I have been known to look up restaurant menus or reviews in hopes of seeing a picture or description of the fries before deciding to dine there (my favorites are seasoned curly fries, thick cut steak fries with a crispy outside, and lightly battered fries). That said, I'm not sure what "big name" you were looking for.

~ how do i force myself to study for the lsat: What do you want Google to tell you? You just have to decide to do it. Or don't and let luck take you where it may.

~ paying for duck soup daycare vacation: ???

~ lag liv bitch: Are you asserting or asking? Actually I hope it's neither one, though it's interesting to wonder how I come across to those who don't know me outside of these posts. For background purposes, I believe I'm generally thought of as a nice person.

~ is it bad to swallow a handful of ibuprofen: Yes. And if I had just done that I'd be calling poison control, a doctor, or googling something more likely to result in a scientific answer like "ibuprofen overdose" because those keywords aren't going to get you anywhere helpful -- like my blog.

~ nymph craving baby: Intriguing.

~ how to pass texas bar exam: You pretty much just have to study.

~ im 11 weels pregnant and feel horrible with like headaches and stomach pains: While stomach pains and heaches aren't funny, the inclusion of the word "like" in an internet search is.

~ things i don't like: You need to look this up?

So there you are. The internet can be a funny place. Have a great weekend and if you live down here where it insists on remaining 105 degrees (plus humidity), stay cool!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I just typed out a whole post about how absolutely terrible my evening was. It was 105 degrees, Landon screamed almost non-stop from the moment we got home, my cul-de-sac was taken over by emergency vehicles and my neighbor tried to kill herself and may have succeeded. It was horrible and I threw Landon at JP when he finally got home from coaching and burst into tears on the driveway.

But I don't want to publish that post. The Landon stuff, while frustrating as all hell, is temporary, and my neighbor's story is too awful and not mine to tell. And after writing out the whole thing I cried again, cuddled with JP, watched The Fashion Show, and decided not to share any of it with you. Not because it isn't important or because I'm not still affected by what I saw, but because I think sometimes you have to choose to focus on the good, the little things - the frivilous.

And today, the bulk of it, was actually a really great day. Work is good, the assignments are interesting, the flexibility is real. I wore heels again and an outfit that made me feel good (the shirt below, black pants, white cropped jacket). I like what I'm doing. I went to a real salon with a real stylist (I'm normally a quick trim at the mall kind of girl) and lost nearly 6 inches of hair. I told the stylist I wanted to look like an attorney -- a young attorney, but not a swimmer or a student any longer. I told him I had to be able to style it in under 5 minutes with a toddler attached to one leg and two dogs running in circles around me if necessary. And I still had to be able to pull it back in a rubber band. And then I closed my eyes and let him do his thing. And I think I like it.

I don't hate it and the reaction at work was overwhelmingly positive. In fact, two partners stopped by my office to say they'd heard there was a great haircut nearby, so that felt good. I left work after a happy hour feeling light-hearted and happy and then felt it chip away when Landon started a continuous stream of raging tantrums as soon as we left the daycare center. And then he choked and stopped breathing on some graham cracker honey bees in the back yard right before I locked us out of the house. And then a fire truck, ambulance, and four police cars took over my cul-de-sac.

And now I wonder if I should publish this draft either because I've gone and ended up talking about some of the bad and maybe frivolity doesn't belong. But it must- because I tried to type an all somber email and felt it was too heavy to share, and then I tried typing this one and still ended up including the sad. It was just an odd day and the awful ending doesn't eliminate the happy beginning and apparently I need to share both.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Highlights and Lowlights

I couldn't decide on a tone for my post this morning. On the one hand I had a wonderful evening yesterday and still feel a pleasant afterglow from the fun and giggles. On the other hand my body is fighting sleep like it's the Norman invasion and I need an IV of caffeine. I also have a lot of work to do and prefer to use my spare internet time to research recipes and toys for Landon's birthday party, so we're going with a list of the good and the bad that's floating in the forefront of my mind right now:

The negative:

  1. My insomnia is trying to kill me. It's close to succeeding.
  2. The high today is 102, tomorrow's is 104, and Friday's is 103 and Saturday's is a cool 100. And summer just got started.
  3. I had to stop and get gas this morning. I hate getting gas. Absolutely hate it. I will drive for two days on Empty with the little red light yelling at me until I finally pull over and fill up. The delay makes no sense- I'm going to have to get gas at some point and waiting that long only makes it take longer because the tank is really and truly empty. Getting gas is not physically taxing and delaying risks running out on a 104 degree day with a toddler in tow, and yet I continue to do it.
  4. I am having moments of bitterness over our lack of vacations. I would like a surprise pot of money or a kind benefactor/family member to take us somewhere. Please.
  5. I still can't wear heels and have only two pairs of pants (neither of which I like much) that can be worn with flats. I'm going back to heels on Monday because my back is 99% better and I'm spending entirely too much time standing in my closet thinking of new ways to wear the same clothes.

And now for the positive:

  1. I left work at 5:30 yesterday and took Landon to the neighborhood pool. We were there in all our pale skin, sunscreened and swim-suited glory by 6:15 and had a blast. JP was coaching so we got to wave at him in between splash sessions in the baby pool. This was the first time Landon really got into the swimming thing - so far he's preferred to run around on the grass behind the pool and pointing out the WAWA! every five seconds. But yesterday he played (and squealed marvelous giggly squeals) in the fountains and under the water-dumping buckets in the baby pool. He crawled around the 8" deep water chanting some special song to himself and found it hilarious when I would crawl next to him. I showed him how to blow bubbles in the water and he really loved that trick. JP joined us after practice was over and we didn't get home until 7:30. It was so fun and so different from our normal evening routine that I couldn't help feeling like it was a weekend - it was so hard to remember being at work in my lawyer suit for 8 hours earlier in the day.
  2. Even after we got home, last night was lovely. Landon was all funny and cuddly and non-tantrummy. We read books and had big family cuddles on the couch. He went down without protest at 8 and slept in until 8:15!! Swimming is a magical activity.
  3. I have a new research project - buying a car. My car is 11 years old and gets terrible gas mileage so it will qualify for the about-to-be-signed "cash for clunkers" bill. With that $4500 rebate and dealer incentives, it seems crazy not to at least look around. I'm planning to switch to something smaller and non-SUVish with a great warranty and MPG rating. I'm currently thinking about the Hyundai Sonata, let me know if you have thoughts.
  4. Seriously, last night was lots of fun. I feel very refreshed for a Wednesday morning, like I just had a day off.

That's all. Ending with the positives just put me in a good mood, so yay for that. Back to work!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Big Boy Room

I have so many things I want to write about but I've been so busy -- busy keeping up with my work, busy chasing Landon around the yard and playgrounds, busy cuddling and talking with JP until the wee hours of the morning, busy marveling at my nearly 2-year-old and planning his birthday fiesta... just busy. And even though I have one post in particular that I want to write- that I have been writing in my head as I fall asleep the way some people count sheep, it's late and I'm copping out with pictures of Landon's big boy room.

We finished the room a month ago, just before my friends flew into town. Our enthusiasm for the project waned considerably by the time we were installing the old living room ceiling fan by flashlight at midnight on a Tuesday and putting on the last coat of paint very late Wednesday, but we got it done and I'm so happy with it. I spent less than $150 on the decor (linens, curtains, window hardware, rug, pictures, frames, decorative pillows) and I think it's a room that can grow with him. Someday when he falls out of love with trucks (hard to imagine, but I suppose it will happen), we can take down the pictures and change the curtain tie back and truck sheets and suddenly it's just a blue room with navy blue and khaki comforters ready to be re-personalized according to his new love for skateboards or sports or classic novels.

The wooden bins are from Land of Nod and were all I could find to fit under the low, long window sill. They're serving as bedside tables and storage and Landon already loves putting his toys and books inside. I think they'll remain useful for some purpose or another- I can imagine one day stacking them in the laundry room to store sandals and other things (can you tell I spent two days justifying their purchase inside my own head? I thought up all kinds of future uses for them).

These are my favorite touches- the truck tie-backs (also from Land of Nod, on clearance for $7) and the truck pictures (from a lovely woman on eBay). These are Landon's favorite things too. When we walk in the room he exclaims "BUSSSS!!!!" and points with great force towards the pictures and the curtains. It's been a month and he still reacts the same way every time. He carried the sheets around in their plastic packaging for weeks before I put them on the bed. Given how little JP or I cared about them growing up, it's so funny to see how much he adores all wheeled vehicles. We still need a dresser and maybe a desk or shelves but we can add them later. For now his clothes can go in plastic drawers in the closet and it'll be a long time before I allow writing utensils anywhere within his unsupervised reach.

We haven't made the transition to him actually sleeping in the room. He still likes his crib so we're not in any rush. We did go out and buy a new mattress for him yesterday so maybe we'll start reading books in there at night and maybe practice lying down together. I'm not sure how it will go, but there's no need to push it so I'm happy to follow his lead. I do want to try before he gets attached to his crib out of pure stubborness but I think the excitement of BUSES! OMG BUSES! on his sheets will help woo him over.

Between this and potty training (another things he's nowhere near ready for and we're not pushing) I'd really rather freeze him as he is right now. I never thought about how hard this growing up/transitions stuff is on the parents. It's a constant process of getting used to something and then having the rug pulled out under you and starting over. I wonder if that's how it feels to be a toddler too?

I can tell I'm getting tired because my writing is becoming needlessly deep. I'm off to bed and promise more substantive content sometime soon!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Froggy Fun

This is our 10-day weather report:

As you can see, it is bloody freaking hot here. And it's only June. The really bad heat won't hit us until mid-July and then it will wear out its welcome through September.

This used to be okay. As a kid I spent hours in the pool or playing in the shady greenbelt behind my house. As a teen I still spent hours in the pool and even more as a lifeguard and swim coach. As an adult I used this magical time 100+ degree weather to stay indoors and catch up on picture albums, reading, and TV watching. I'd move slower, wear as little clothing as possible, and wait for our two weeks of Fall to arrive sometime in November.

But now I have a Landon, and Landon loves to be outside (or "adda" or "outda" as he constantly refers to it). It would be cruel to deny him this love for running in circles and getting all sweaty, but there are soooo many afternoons and evenings where I find myself asking "Landon are you sure you don't want to go inside? Maybe for a snack? Snacks! You love snacks! Snacks are inside, let's go!" He never falls for it and then I'm left all hot and sticky and feeling mildly guilty. I can't wait until he's old enough to go outside and play without adult supervision; I'll just sit by the kitchen window or maybe out on the covered porch, sip my lemonade, and wait for him to come show me his most recent boo boos.

This past Sunday Landon of course wanted to spend every waking moment outside and it was of course 10000 degrees, so I headed to the garage to find last year's froggy pool. And find it I did! Landon had a blast, I sat 3 feet away under the porch, with one eye on my new book (one recommended by you all) and the other on Landon's water shenanigans. There was a decent breeze and we spent nearly 2 happy hours together without suffering from heat stroke.

The froggy pool had a strong showing, but I don't know if it is up for the challenge of the August and September heat. We may need an upgrade by then.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Doctor's Orders

I just got home from the most emotionally and physically painful shoe shopping experience of my life. A pair of pewter not-quite-cute flat shoes now sits on the table in front of me, between my muscle relaxers and heating pad, and I'm eyeing them all with no small amount of bitterness. I've never worn flat shoes to work. I have very long, very narrow feet that become clown-like in flat, closed-toe shoes, the added height and angle of a high heel just flatters my feet so much better. And I love wearing them- love being even taller, love the clicking of the heels on the stairs, love how the extra 2-3" looks with my pants and skirts. I am just not a flat shoe kind of girl. Sure I have my flip flops and sandals for weekends and playing with Landon, but my lawyer costume requires heels.

But yesterday I woke up with a sharp twinge of pain my back. I ignored it, figuring I'd slept funny, and then suddenly in the middle of a 10:30 meeting something inside my back popped out of place and I couldn't move- couldn't finish pouring sugar in my tea, couldn't pull my chair in to the table- I just froze in my seat for several minutes until the partner leading the meeting stopped mid-sentence and asked if I was okay. I took some Ibuprofen and hoped it would get better on its own, but after spending an evening unable to bend or twist (man was Landon pissed about that) and a rough night not sleeping, I made a doctor appointment first thing this morning.

Dr. Flat Shoes told me that I'd strained some muscles in my back and that I'd need to rest, take muscle relaxers, and NOT wear high heels for a while. She also lectured me on my extreme lack of flexibility- when laying on my back I couldn't even hold my leg straight up in the air. She said that is going to lead to more back trouble as your hamstrings and other leg muscles help support the back, so now I am also the proud owner of a booklet on back stretches. I hate stretching. I have always been so inflexible. JP stretches every night and I usually just sit on the couch and observe but I suppose now I'll have to join in the painful fun.

This whole experience has made me grumpy, though I did have one enjoyable moment today- reading your comments on yesterday's post out loud to JP and watching him blush and get all flustered. He's shy and has no idea how to flirt with anyone but me (I was his first girlfriend and had to ask him to kiss me at the end of our first date), so he's not used to flattery. I considered the comments an early Father's Day present. And now I must get back to work. I'm logging in from home so I can test out the effects of the muscle relaxers, but tomorrow I will stand up straight and face the legal world from my natural height. I wish I could have found a cuter pair of shoes.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Other Woman

I used to joke with JP that I'll never be jealous of another woman, I know full well how devoted he is to me, but my goodness am I sometimes jealous of that chlorinated hole in the ground he can't go three days without. Now, eight years into our chlorine-filled love triangle, I've realized that I don't resent the time JP gives to swimming or even the sport's importance to him, I resent the fact that he takes the time to do something I don't. All the excuses I list for not finding time to work out apply to him as well - when he was doing investment banking and I was the student, they applied to him 10x more than me and yet he still swam at least 4 times a week. Most of thosee days he'd get up for Landon's early morning feeding around 5 a.m., put him back to bed and then drive straight to the pool (a trip that added 45 mins to his already hour long commute). He's never let his self-imposed practice schedule get in the way of his roles as husband and father and in realizing that I've been able to stop the occasional comments or eye rolls.

I reap a few benefits from JP's swimming habit. One, it keeps him healthy and helps battle his family's very bad history of heart disease. Two, everyone needs a passion and there are worse ones out there. Three, as a former swimmer I usually enjoy the sport's continued presence in my life. Four, it keeps him looking like this:

I'm not going to lie, I enjoy #4 quite a lot.

This weekend JP decided to register for a big meet at UT's Swim Center. The TSC is a famed natatorium in Texas. As a little summer leaguer I dreamed of one day swimming there and finally did for four high school States and a few other big meets (and then again as part of the team). Even after years as JP's cheerleader and not a swimmer myself I still feel my pulse quicken when I first walk through the doors. Some great swimming has taken place in that pool.

I wasn't sure how well JP would do at this meet. It's been a long time since he's trained properly or competed, but he insisted that he's stronger now than he was in college even if he doesn't have the same level of endurance. And I should never have doubted- with Landon and I cheering him on, he finaled in both his events and got second in the one he swam again tonight (he had to scratch the other, as an "old man" he didn't think he could do both twice in one day). Here he is with his game face on:

It was fun to be back in the stands, though it was the first time I'd ever sat down and not known any of the other spectators. It was even more fun to hold Landon in my lap and say, "Look, there's Dada!" when JP was called to the blocks. I thought back on all the meets I've watched him swim, starting from my freshman year of college, and I'm not sure I ever thought I'd be taking our nearly 2-year old son to watch him race in the same pool. We were both very proud. Or at least I was very proud. Landon probably was too, but he was mostly busy racing up and down the ramps, waving to all the swimmers on deck, dancing to the music for the championship heats, and humbly accepting the crowd's applause. I think he enjoyed his time at the TSC almost as much as his dad.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Suzy Breadwinner

Every day this week I've come home from work to a spoiled, happy Landon who launches himself into my arms with a cry of Mama! Mama! He lets me snuggle him and is then walks me all around the house, never wanting to be more than a few feet away from me, but not willing to be held when he is so busy. I love that moment and look forward to it the whole drive home.

Also every day this week when Landon throws himself at me, my grandmother-in-law immediately remarks on how POOR Landon hasn't seen his mother ALL DAY and he missed me and loves me and Oh look at how he can't bear to be parted from you. I've choked back many a reply, including things like "I do it because someone has to pay the mortgage and your grandson's enormous grocery bills" or "Not everyone can marry a millionaire like you did." I hold back on variations of the former because they sound mean-spirited towards JP and I don't begrudge my current position as sole income earner; he put in his time with the investment bank so I could attend school full time and I'm happy to do the same for him, especially since this is also allowing him a chance to fulfill his life long entrepreneurial dreams. I refrain from the second because she has since lost all that money and it's something of a sore subject. I also try not to be a mean or cruel person which frequently leaves me smiling and nodding or staring blankly in another direction.

These daily exchanges have reminded me of something I can whole heartedly thank my mother-in-law for -- besides adoring my son and proclaiming him to be the smartest, handsomest, most perfect child ever born, she is completely supportive of the fact that I have a career. She has worked full-time since before she was married and it's just a non-issue for her, like it is for JP -- in their minds, of course I would work, why wouldn't I? It's a view I appreciate.

There is one thing that bothers my MIL about my job- my salary. Before we got married she sat JP down and told him that he better go get his MBA and he better get a good job because our marriage was doomed if I made more than him, after all, she would "never have married your father if he hadn't made more than me!" JP told me this later and we bothed laughed, thinking it an absurd statement to make, but then yesterday I was flipping through some magazine (Parents? Parenting? something like that) and in the "Coming Next Month" section there was an article promising to help marriages in which the woman made more than the man. I immediately showed it to JP, shocked to find his mother's words supported in some way. I've now mentioned it to two male colleagues and both admitted it would be odd if their wives made more then them- not a marital problem causing level of odd, but still something to get used to. I remain rather befuddled by the fact it would matter at all.

In other work news I'm now staffed on an exciting securities litigation matter. I just gave away a huge amount of my nerdiness in that sentence but I love securities law and the tangential Madoff connection in this case makes it all kinds of fun. I'm also dragging JP to a summer recruiting event tonight at a country club- there will be margaritas, a Mexican food buffet, and putting contests. JP always looks wary at the thought of a room full of lawyers, but he seems to enjoy being married to one so I'm sure he can handle it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Tempest

Well, my tongue is not bleeding. Things are actually going quite well- I've been working, JP has been coaching and attending investor and company meetings, and Landon has been followed and adored as though he is the sun and my in-laws must orbit (very, very closely) around him. I've held back multiple times on explaining the concept of personal space and the fact that even though Landon is little, he is still a Person and deserves to go five seconds without being touched, patted, and/or smothered. But he's a trouper and they don't see him much so as long as he doesn't look freaked out I'll continue to hold my tongue. It helps that I'm gone all day, and that I know despite any other failings and irritations they love Landon very, very much.

I did have one interesting exchange during the first hour they were in our house. JP's grandmother is 92 and has lived with them since her second husband died when he was in 7th grade. She is very blunt, frequently cruel, and always colorful. When JP's parents were upstairs fawning over Landon, she sat down on the couch across from me and said, "So, what do you think of the gays?"

I shot JP a look of WTF combined with Help! and a dash of Here we go... JP, who was safely esconced in the study, replied with smug amusement and a "You knew what you were getting into when you married me" shrug of the shoulders. And because I did and we are now legally joined in a union no grandmother can put asunder- and because I kind of enjoy the fact that I am not what his grandmother thinks I should be, the conversation continued something like this:

Me, amused: What do you mean?

GIL: Well, you know, marriage!!

Me: You mean, do I think they should be allowed to?

GIL: [nods]

Me: Yes, I think in a country that purposefully separates church and state, with a government that has decided to regulate marriage as a civil matter and grant a host of benefits along with it, they have to be allowed to.

GIL: But then they can have children!

Me: They already can- anyone can have children, you don't have to be married. If anything, allowing marriage helps those children by showing some acceptance and legitimacy for their family and extending those civil benefits that come with it.

GIL: Hmph. One of my friend's daughters is.. [whisper] gay [/whisper] and she has a daughter!

Me: Okay... well, she can do that.

GIL: Hmph. I don't like it.

Me: Well, I guess it's a good thing we don't get to control what other people do based on what we like.


GIL: Is Landon potty trained yet?

And with that, she declared victory and I went into the study to pantomine the act of strangeling someone to a greatly amused JP.

Today Landon is taking an Austin Duck Adventures Tour with his grandparents and since three of his favorite words are Duck, Wawa, and Boat, it should be a big hit. I will continue to work a lot, be a gracious, constantly cleaning hostess who does not initiate political discussions but will respond to them, and spend a lot of time drinking wine and kicking warnings to JP under the table at dinner. Given past experiences, things couldn't be going much better!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Calm Before the Storm

My in-laws (plus grandma-in-law) arrive any minute for an eight day stay. I don't have a whole lot to add to that statement. My house is spotless, yet waiting for my mother-in-law to take a sponge to my microwave or other random item she thinks is unclean (it's not) and I'm waiting for her to comment on my weight because she has never failed to do that either. I know they are beyond excited to see Landon (we haven't seen them since Thanksgiving) and JP and I plan to work as much as possible to maximize their time with the little guy and minimize the time we all spend in the same room (that sounds meaner than it's meant to, things just get... tense when JP is around his parents for too long). I'll miss my usual Landon time, but he'll be spoiled and loved and it's only a week. In the mean time I'll rack up some billables, take advantage of a few date nights with JP, and probably bite my tongue enough to make it bleed.

Yesterday was our first day at home without guests in a few weeks so we all soaked up some down time together. Landon was full of dance moves and smiles as we finished decorating the upstairs and installed our last ceiling fan (we only bought one fan, we just moved a few others around to better suit the rooms). I think by now I could hire myself out as a ceiling fan installation expert should I need some extra cash. Last night JP and I watched Milk (excellent movie) and cuddled and didn't open either laptop for the entire evening. It was delightful. This morning we all went to church and then Lowe's and I just felt so happy and content and irritatingly suburbian the whole time. I may occasionally long for the city, but my goodness do I love this life and my little family. It was so nice to have a day to work on to do lists and laugh.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I Need a Pause Button

I attended my first evening recruiting event last night and although I had fun and it was good to laugh and talk with co-workers and summer associates, I missed Landon like crazy. Once again it just amazes me how sharp the drop-off is between me being okay with my schedule and separation from Landon to desperately wanting to stay home this morning just to play with him and soak up his funny, frustrating, snuggly self. I miss dinner with him usually no more than once a month (and so far, never because of mandatory work, usually it's a firm social event of some kind) and it's so hard each time- if not that night, definitely that next morning. It doesn't help that I got a ton of Landon time over the last week with Memorial Day, taking Wednesday off, and leaving early Friday, so I felt like I was going through withdrawal. My goodness I love that little man.

I uploaded these pictures into blogger a few weeks ago. I was marveling at how much he's changed in the nearly 23 months that he's dominated my life, stolen my sleep, and wrapped me oh-so-tightly around his chubby little finger.

And now they just make me want to sneak out of my office and break him out of daycare, which would probably make him mad because he doesn't like to be picked up before snack time and he has a music class at 3 pm that he loves. I suppose it's best that I'm crazy busy (I'm eating a very late lunch over my keyboard as I type because my brain requires some kind of break from the madness all over my desk) and this afternoon is going to fly by. It'll be 5:30 before I know it and Landon and I have big plans to visit our favorite park and then water all the trees in our backyard. Usually he only succeeds in watering his shoes, but the chore makes him feel very important.

I like my job everday and love it some days, but I require my time with Landon. Interestingly, Landon, with his fondness for the roof over his head, shirts with buses on them, and fresh fruit and other food products, requires that his mama has a job. Most days this all works out just fine and I'm lucky to work at a firm that doesn't care that I leave by 6 every day, but there's always a bit of tension between my roles as mom and attorney and it's hard to have them out of balance for even one night.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Graduation Gifts

In the comments to my post yesterday, Melissa asked, "What would you recommend as a graduation gift (on a budget) for a fabulous girl just out of law school?"

And I really didn't know. I just got money for my law school graduation and given that we were facing a summer with no income, that was exactly what I wanted. I do kind of wish I had a thing or two to memorialize that occasion, though I suppose the diploma hanging in my office does a good job of that.

I think jewelry is always good. Whenever I travel I'll buy a unique, usually inexpensive (now that I think about it, it's always inexpensive) piece of jewelry to wear when I get back. And then every time someone compliments me on it I can remember where I got it or why I got it and it brings a smile to my face. The jewelry doesn't have to have anything to do with where you're traveling or the occasion itself, it's just a happy reminder on its own. This can be especially nice because I'm assuming your friend will be starting work soon and it's great to have some work-appropriate jewelry to jazz up simple work clothes. So a simple necklace with a bit of color or striking pendant could be a nice "oh thanks, a friend got me this for my graduation" gift.

If she's not a jewelry person, than maybe something for her office? (assuming she has a job of course) A nice picture frame or desk accessory helps personalize the space she'll be spending a lot of time in. Her office will probably provide some supplies but if it's like my office they're very basic and could definitely be improved. One thing I love is a set of bookends for my bookcase- the office supply ones were ugly, light black plastic and instead of those I now have a sturdy silver set holding up my old casebooks and new CLE materials. It doesn't sound exciting, but I appreciate those every day my books aren't falling over like they used to. I also have a snow globe with the Austin sky line that I love and I would really love to have one of Chicago to commemorate my law school days. Hmmm, that would be a good Christmas present, I need to get JP to read this blog...

The attorney next to me received a gorgeous, deep red leather laptop shoulder bag from her husband when she graduated and eight years later she still uses it. Given its quality and looks, I doubt that was a budget item, but it's another idea. If you don't care if it's a permanent memento, you could also do a gift certificate for a manicure or pedicure for her to pamper herself during or after the Bar. I would have greatly appreciated that one.

So those are my thoughts for someone on a budget. I'm sure there are better ones out there, so if anyone has given or received something they loved, chime in!

Monday, June 1, 2009

My City

I live in a beautiful city. I loved Chicago and still miss it dearly, but that doesn't change what I feel for Austin. I have to keep reminding myself that part of what I miss about Chicago is a life and lifestyle that is no longer my own. I miss meeting friends for drinks and then walking home along the Chicago River watching the lights from the buildings dance on the water. I miss walking to shop, leisurely wandering from store to store, rarely buying anything but just soaking up the sights and energies of State Street and Michigan Avenue. I just miss walking in general- I used to walk for miles and never noticed the distance.

But now, with a Landon who is obsessed with being outdoors, who needs space to run and a driveway to draw on, Austin is the right place for us. I love our dogs, our backyard, our space to spread out, and I especially love our big kitchen and back deck that call out for dinner parties and backyard cookouts. I miss living downtown almost everyday, but I'm filled with contentment about where we are now.

One of my goals when JP is done coaching and before he goes back to business school (or doesn't, that's still up in the air) is to spend more time taking advantage of Austin. We did this little hike yesterday- took about an hour of our time, including driving there and back, and it was so fun. Landon was a very serious hiker and marched around the rocks with a focused expression.

Lovely isn't it? My never-been-to-Texas law school friends were shocked at how green Austin is, I had to remind them that Texas is a huge state with many varied terrains. We had a wonderful time together drinking margaritas, hiking Mr. Bonnell, swimming in Barton Springs, shopping on South Congress, eating Tex Mex and breakfast tacos, and talking until I was hoarse. I'm exhausted- the tequila tasting until 2 a.m. Sunday morning might not have been the best idea, but we had a great time.

And I greatly enjoyed having another photographer in the house because for once, I got to be in the pictures!

Landon was very sad to find his lady friends gone this morning. I was too. Luckily we have a long list of plans for their next trip to my new city.