Tuesday, August 31, 2010

FAQ: Should I Have a Baby in Law School?

I was sitting down to write my new "Frequently Asked Questions" page when I realized two things. One, this question must be included as it is by far the most frequent email that I get from readers, and two, that the answer is way too long to put in an FAQ. So I'm going to write out my thoughts here and then link to it along with a crib notes version on the other page.

If I wanted to be both rude and completely honest my answer would be, "I have absolutely no idea whether you should have a baby in law school." That question is so deeply personal and the answer depends on so many things that only you can know. But I understand the impulse to ask it because in the middle of my 1L year I sent out four emails to women I didn't know, but who the dean of students told me had had babies in law school, and each of them were nice enough to write back. I knew even then they couldn't tell me what to do or how to do it, but that's not really what I was looking for, nor do I really think that's what the people who email me are looking for- I just wanted to know that someone had done it and that I wasn't completely crazy for wanting to do it too.

So instead, I usually ask that if you took law school out of the equation entirely, would you still want to have a baby now? And if the answer is yes- if you are in a very solid place with your significant other, if you are in a financial position to support a child, if you think you are ready to take that enormous leap into a physically and emotionally exhausting unknown- then don't let law school stop you. If there is anything I've learned from having Landon it's that there is never a perfect time to have a baby and that you can do far more on far less sleep than you ever imagined possible.

And law school can be a great time for lots of reasons. You have the flexible schedule of a graduate student. Yes there's lots of work to do, but it really doesn't matter when you do it. Our first year with Landon was very difficult and there were a lot of doctor's visits involved and I am so glad I was a student and not a full-time attorney while trying to take him to all of them. I continue to be glad that I have had to balance my family and my career from day 1 and that was able to be at the firm for nearly two full years before taking my first maternity leave.

As for any advice I'd give, this is once again hard because it is so personal. So with many grains of salt and the huge caveat of "every situation is different," here is what I'd say to a good friend if she asked me for my thoughts:

1. Wait until after 1L year. 1L is so difficult- you're learning a new way to read, think, and write and it took 98% of my time and energy to stay afloat by the end of that year. I think I was very nearly clinically depressed by Spring quarter and I cannot imagine wading through that while being pregnant or caring for a newborn.

2. Make friends. Always a good idea and not one you should do with ulterior motives, but this is another reason why I'd recommend waiting until after 1L year, particularly if you're in a new city. The friends I made 1L year are the reason I was able to graduate law school at the end of 3L year (really) and they also gave me reasons to look back on that year and smile. They were amazing- my support and my family in a city where we arrived knowing no one.

3. Arrange for more childcare than you think you'll need. Originally, I thought I would only need 20 hours of childcare for Landon- after all, I was only in class for 12, sure I wouldn't need much more than that! Yeah, no. The idea of studying at home while watching your baby sounds great, but I found it nearly impossible. Babies are jealous and demanding masters. Landon knew when I was looking at a law book instead of him and he didn't like it. Also, I came to love the newfound separation between school and home, which was excellent practice for my future as a lawyer mom. I rarely took books home 3L year and instead got to spend all of my home time just playing with my baby boy. (Though I did write most of a 35 page research paper while he slept on my chest after a surgery.) I also used that childcare time to make phone calls, talk to professors (those relationships were invaluable when I had to drop nearly all my classes Fall Quarter because of our DCFS nightmare), and see my friends. I learned early that making time for yourself and your friends is still important- really, even more important than before.

4. Stay positive and trust in yourself. This applies to anyone having a baby at any time, but it's particularly important when you're also in grad school and most people think you are insane for purposefully getting pregnant. Once people found out I was expecting it seemed like all they wanted to tell me was how hard babies are and, from what I could tell, how horrible it was going to be. And those were all people who had kids! Family, strangers, it didn't seem to matter- I quite seriously couldn't figure out why any of them had more than one child if it was so bad. So, while of course it's going to be hard, and of course you can't really understand how hard it's going to be until you do it, it is also completely wonderful and if no one else will tell you that, I will. Also, you know yourself, your spouse, and your personal situation better than anyone else, don't forget that.

The last thing I can say is maybe the most important. If given the choice to do things over, and even if the universe could guarantee that I would get to have the exact same Landon 3-4 years later, I wouldn't change a thing about the timing of his birth. I found being pregnant while working to be much harder than being pregnant as a law student. And while there have been days where I wished I was a carefree new associate who didn't have to (and desperately want to) get home to see her kids before bed, I think it has been a huge benefit in figuring out how to manage my career from the beginning.

So that's my extremely long answer to a question that really can't be answered. I hope that maybe a little piece of it will help someone looking for an answer of their own.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Grown-Up Getaway

This weekend JP and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary (and the 9th anniversary of our first date) by spending a night at the Hotel ZaZa in downtown Houston. We drove over Friday afternoon to see my dad's parents for a little while and then headed over to my parents' house for pizza and bed.

On Saturday morning JP and I left the kids in the competent care of their grandparents and headed downtown for our first night away together in nearly 2 years. We checked in to our beautiful room, got lunch at my old favorite Mexican place (we lived downtown for a few months before we got married), and then headed to the pool where we wasted the next five hours of the day. I started and finished a fluffy new romance novel that I picked up at CVS on our way back from lunch, JP read some terribly boring and historical non-fiction volume that probably had no romance whatsoever, and we both spent a lot of time people watching. There were a LOT of old, almost certainly very rich, men with young, very good looking women with large sunglasses, tiny swim suits, and multiple bottles of champagne. It was a good time. At one point someone at the hotel dropped a few dozen blown-up beach balls off the 12th story roof of the hotel down to the 2nd story pool. Of course the first thing I thought was how much Landon would have loved it. We also got complimentary popsicles, sunglasses, and flavored waters. I almost ordered a margarita but balked when I overheard the $12 price tag. We may be living it up as a temporarily child-free couple, but I couldn't let go of reality quite that much!

We headed back to our room around 4 and were surprised to find a complimentary bottle of champagne, bowl of raspberries, and chocolate covered strawberries for our anniversary. Many glasses of champagne and a decadent daytime nap later, we headed out to dinner at Backstreet Cafe. It was delicious and we finished out the evening with free drinks at the hotel bar. Later on JP fell asleep easily, of course, and I laid in the extremely comfortable hotel bed reading through your comments on my last post on my blackberry. Thank you for all of them. I woke up early this morning and for once vowed to be a good wife and not immediately wake up JP to entertain me. Instead, I put on workout clothes and headed to the hotel gym. (I don't want to jinx it by dedicating a whole post to my new and shocking dedication to the gym, but I've gone six out of the last seven days and I haven't had a cookie or french fries. I have also made lots of new delicious recipes full of fresh produce. But pretend like I didn't just type that because that usually means I will stop doing it immediately.) After my work out I did wake up JP because seriously, who can sleep for over 10 hours? That's more indulgent than a $12 margarita. We rounded out our stay with breakfast for two in the hotel restaurant (also free - these poor hotels, desperate to get people to vacation in Houston in August, have fantastic weekend getaway packages).

It was wonderful to get away for 24 hours and it was more than wonderful to get back to my parents' house and hug my children. We missed them and talked about them a lot, but we also managed to spend lots of hours not missing them and not talking about them. It was perfect. So thank to my parents for giving us our first night away in a very long time and for making Landon think he was at a particularly awesome summer camp (pancakes for dinner! four books before bed! a new bird house that HE MADE! maybe with a little bit of help from Papa.). Now we're back for my last week of maternity leave. I'm suddenly desperately sad that it's ending, but that's a post for another time. For now I'm just going to enjoy the afterglow of our mini vacation and the fact that after 9 years I enjoy JP's company as much as ever.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Zombie Mommy

My insomnia has been trying to kill me. It had been doing pretty well with my sleep. Being pregnant while working completely wore me out, and I continued to sleep pretty well after Claire was born, but for the last two weeks I have spent nearly every night laying in bed, usually with a sudden headache, absolutely unable to fall asleep.

It sucks. A few inches away JP sleeps soundly and immediately, and I just lay there, struggling to keep my eyes closed and my brain empty, desperately seeking an unconsciousness that won't come. I can't figure out what changed. I don't think there's anything I'm particularly worried about, besides maybe money, but I'm always worried about that on some level. (My student loans combined with our two kids' daycare payments equal over 50% of my take home pay each month. That doesn't include the mortgage, car payments, JP's loan payments, food, health expenses, insurance, and a million other things. It will be better when JP has a job with a paycheck, but that's many months away. But still, we're careful budgeters and I really don't think that's what is keeping me up, it just lurks in the back.)

I've tried reading before bed, not reading before bed, taking over-the-counter sleeping pills, taking benadryl, going to bed earlier, going to bed later, and a few honest attempts at emptying my mind before sleep, but sleep just will. not. come. I don't usually have any trouble staying asleep, I just can't GET to sleep, and it's really started to wear me out. Yesterday I walked around feeling almost hollow on the inside I was so tired. I can't even blame my new baby- she sleeps 11-12 hours at night!

So for those of you who have struggled with insomnia, what works for you? I'm willing to try just about anything.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Under Construction

I've wanted to add a few pages to this blog, like an About Me and FAQ page, since I always love those on other peoples' blogs, but I am html challenged and didn't know how to make it look pretty. Luckily, blogger finally updated their design options and ta-da! I can have pages with at the click of a button! They're listed at the top of the blog, above the most recent post, and below my title. They won't show up in your reader, so if you'd like, here is a link to the recently completed About Me page. I'm still working on an FAQ and a list of my favorite posts. I already have a few questions to answer based on emails I get, but if you have a question you'd like to see in the FAQ, leave me a comment either here or on that page and I'll try to address it.

And just so this page isn't only about boring structural things, here's a video I never posted compromised of clips of Landon meeting Claire in the hospital. I can't believe that was less than 3 months ago.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Better than Christmas

Or at least almost as good as Christmas-- the first day of school! When I was little I counted down to the first day for weeks- the special new school outfits, the school supplies, the pencils that hadn't yet been sharpened! I almost got teary in Target the other day just looking at the brightly colored school supply aisles. (Side story: my mom and dad took a trip to Office Max a few years ago and my mom later told me that my dad got a little choked up as he said, "I was just thinking how much [LL] loves this stuff." Pens and binders- closer to the emotions than you'd think). Anyway, today was the first day for Texas public school kids and my own daycay kids.

I can't believe it was a full year ago when we started at Neighborhood Center. Switching to that Center was one of the best parenting decisions we've made so far- I'd say that, and being super strict when it comes to discipline and behavior with Landon, are the two most critical things to our overall happiness and the ease of our life. My favorite thing about NC is just how warm and friendly it feels. The walls are bright and colorful and the teachers are so smiley. It's small enough that the teachers get to know kids outside of their own classes- we walk down the main hall with Landon and I swear every single person knows him. It makes him feel like a rock star- a happy, bouncy, rock star.

(Lanman with his Spiderman lunch box and Spiderman big wheel that simply HAD to be in the picture)

Today was Claire's first day too. I had set up a lunch with one of the partners I work for, and I had a few errands to run, so we decided to make today a part-time trial run. We toured her classroom at the open house last Friday and really like it. There are 8 babies, four between 6-10 months and four between 3-6 months, and 3 teachers. Two of the teachers have been there for 13 years each- they loooove their babies! I handed Claire over to the lead teacher when we walk in and the Biscuit gave her a huge smile.

Clairebear picked out a pretty pink lunch box

I wasn't emotional about dropping her off- I'm not back at work yet and knew I could pick her up any time I wanted, plus I know she's perfectly happy there, but I do miss her WAY more than I expected. With Landon, dropping him off at Maya's that first time made me want to cry with relief- I needed that break, but with Claire, everything has been so stress-free that all I felt was a little sadness that I'd miss some of her smiles. I'm running to the gym now (I finally got motivated when I realized how much it would cost to buy all new work clothes; exercising and not eating cookies is much cheaper, even if way less fun), but then I'm very excited to go pick her back up.


Oh man, that picture makes me want to skip the gym and go get her now.

Trying to survive Sunday's 104 degree high

That one does too. I'm never going to fit into those clothes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Backyardigans

The high today was 103 degrees. The weatherman on the local news did everything short of ordering people to stay inside to avoid a toxic UV ray overdose, so of course Landon begged to play outside, thus proving my theory that toddlers are impervious to heat. JP was coaching a swim lesson and Claire was sleeping, so I set up a little resort in the one shaded corner of our backyard. And by resort, I mean a 2-year-old blow up froggy pool, a faded lawn chair from craigslist, a hose, and a baby monitor. It was awesome.

Blowing up the pool was an adventure. I believe that love is putting your mouth on the valve of a plastic frog that's been wadded up in a corner of your garage, probably serving as a nesting spot for various disgusting insects, for nearly a year. But Landon looked at me like I was made of magic for making his froggy come to life, so that made it almost worth it-- at least after I spit a few times and rubbed my mouth with a beach towel.

After we were all set up, I decided the dogs needed to join in this fun family experience. Due to last summer's record breaking heat wave our dogs have turned into inside-only pampered pups who only go out to pee and then beg to come back in. I filled a big bowl with cold water, brought out some new tennis balls, and dragged the dogs out with us. Tex tried to act like he was having fun, but Rosie spent her time sitting next to me and looking overheated.

WTF woman, WTF.

After twenty minutes I gave up and let them back in. They spent the rest of the afternoon watching us through the kitchen windows in air conditioned comfort.

Landon kept asking me when Claire was going to wake up. He was so excited to show her his pool and he had all sorts of plans for how they were going to play together. I barely had the heart to tell him he was still about 12 months ahead of himself. He loves his sister fiercely and is always looking out for her when he thinks we're falling down on the job. Yesterday I was lectured for not feeding her fast enough. Claire had been crying for about 12 seconds while I finished doing something, and Landon ran over from his play room to tell me, "Mommy! She's hungry- you have to FEED her!" And then he stood there and waited for me to get the bottle and attend to Claire before he returned to his trains. It's a good thing he's around- poor thing looks like she's about to starve to death.

Luckily, after about an hour of Landon filling and dumping his measuring cups, the Clairebear woke up. As always, she was super excited to see me. I brought her outside and tried to explain to Landon that she couldn't swim with him, even if he was a good swimmer and knew how to teach her, but she could watch. He thought that was okay, but only if he could keep running over to touch her toes with his wet hands so she could feel like she was in the water. It was so hot that the water nearly evaporated before he walked the 2 feet over to her chair, so I figured it wouldn't bother her much.

And I think she may have even liked it:

(this picture is definitely going in my office)

It turned out to be a really great afternoon. The only way it could have been better is if a snow cone truck was parked in our driveway and I could fit into my old swim suit. Two things to work towards.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Message from Biscuit

Hi guys! I'm the Biscuit.

I know, it's a totally ridiculous name, I take no responsibility for it. See my mom calls me Clairebear, which sometimes gets shortened to C-Bear, which one night my dad turned into Sea Biscuit, which immediately got shortened to Biscuit. And the Biscuit stuck.

Things are going well here. It's Family Camp this week because my big brother's daycare is closed to prepare for the new school year. He's super excited about his new classroom and EXTREMELY excited that I will soon be going to his daycay too. I'm not so sure about it- I mean, I have no doubts about my ability to woo my teachers, I'm completely adorable.

But I'm also having so much fun just hanging out with my mom all day. We spend lots of time staring at each other and smiling- huge smiles. Seriously, you should see how ridiculous my mom gets when I smile at her, it's really kind of embarrassing. But I keep smiling at her anyway because it's funny to watch her coo and squeal like that. That, and smiling itself is super fun- it's a workout for my giant cheeks and triple chin.

Did my mom tell you that I'm an awesome sleeper? Because I am. I mean I still have the milk protein allergy and the reflux just so my parents don't take me for granted or anything, but I sleep for nearly 10 hours every night and I wake up so HAPPY. My mommy or daddy pick me up and I'm like, "OH HAI!! IT'S SO GREAT TO SEE YOU!!" Because I like those two crazy kids an awful lot.

Do you know who else I like? My big brother. I save my biggest and longest smile marathons for him. He likes to touch my feet and rub my head and kiss my cheek and pretty much just be near me all the time. I'm like his mascot, it's awesome. The other day when I cried for an entire TWO minutes because my parents were doing something frivolous like making dinner and couldn't attend to me immediately, my big brother lined my play mat with his four beloved animals (Puppy, Ducky, Loon, and Teddy), and four of his biggest most special trucks. It didn't actually help my situation (my diaper was a teensy big wet and I REALLY don't like that), but my parents thought it was really sweet.

Well, that's it. I just wanted to say hi and lodge a formal complaint against my ridiculous nickname. I'll try to come back again in the future to keep you all informed about what's really going on around here, but I gotta admit that right now I'm one happy baby. If only my mom would stop making that annoying "nom nom" sound while pretending to eat my cheeks. I mean really, they're not food and it robs me of my natural dignity.

With love and biscuits,

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Worthless, Wonderful Day

I did nothing today. I began with good intentions. I was up early to get Claire from her crib when she woke up at 7 (10 hours straight! and she's up in her own room now, which is marvelous). She did her usual 15 minutes of spastic excited smiling when I first picked her up and then we snuggled in for a bottle and waited for her brother to come downstairs. JP was at morning practice, so I got Landon settled with his cheerios and milk when he came downstairs with his personal menagerie at 7:30. Both kids were full of good cheer and it was a happy morning all the way until JP took Landon to daycare at 10. It was "dress up" day and Landon chose to wear his fire fighter hat, a green shirt with an alligator, his blue and black plaid shorts, and purple sparkly princess shoes (well, he didn't have the shoes until he got to daycare- every morning when he arrives he kicks off his shoes and trades them for a pair from the dress-up bin). He was also carrying his yellow duck (each morning he gets to choose one of his four beloved animals to bring to daycay for nap time). I wish I'd taken a picture.

Anyway, I had plans to exercise, take a shower, run a few post-vacation errands, and get my camera checked out by a professional. But then I queued up all the shows I'd DVR'd while we were on vacation, including 12 re-runs of The West Wing that air on Bravo in the mornings. Claire was being smiley and adorable so we cuddled on the couch for a while. Several hours later I was on the 5th West Wing episode and I realized I should at least get up and brush my teeth. A few hours after that I made a sandwich and drank a diet coke. Next thing I knew it was 5:00 and I probably hadn't walked more than 200 steps all day. I quickly did some push-ups and sit-ups and felt better. Clairebear thought my push-ups were hilarious- she was laying next to me and liked to see my head go up and down.

I am usually a very active person. Even when I'm home I'm organizing things, cleaning things, or just walking back and forth trying to find something to do. At one point, I believe around 3:00, I struggled with feeling guilty and lazy for doing so much nothing all day, but then I just decided to embrace it. I go back to work in three weeks and if I'm ever going to spend an entire day being unproductive and cuddling with my baby, now is the time to do it. Claire spend a total of maybe an hour out of my arms and it was marvelous. Even dinner was lazy- last night while preparing our steak dinner I also made a big pan of chicken and spinach lasagna, all I had to do tonight was heat it up. I closed out the day with a long bath with Claire (she looooves them and just snuggles in my arm in the warm water for as long as I'll stay in there) and some couch time with JP. I don't think I've ever done this much snuggling or sitting in 15 hours, but it was lovely. For one day at least.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Little Cabin in the Big Woods

It's 102 degrees in Austin today, so suddenly the 90 degree weather in Siren sounds delightful, even one without air conditioning.

As I said before, it was a lovely trip. I don't want to bore you with a long narrative, and since our days were so interchangeable, it would be hard to recount anyway. So instead I want to share a few of my favorite pictures- ones I will undoubtedly return to many times just to smile and remember.

This is one of my very favorites. My grandma raised 4 children while living all over the world, far from her close-knit family, and frequently on her own while my grandpa flew fighter jets in Vietnam, and even though I know it must have been so hard at times, she has never complained. She looks back with happiness on times that I think I would still be whining about, and she does it by living with a stubborn insistence on finding the good. Finding it and focusing on it to the exclusion of the bad. She is my inspiration to do the same.

This is JP and Landon building a sand fortress. It was an impressive piece of sand architecture until an "extreme weather" storm destroyed it our second night there. I love watching the two of them together and this is one of many pictures that reinforce why contributing to our separate "vacation fund" savings account is important, even though that money could, and perhaps should, go to about 12 other places.

Clairebear was such a joy on this trip. She slept a solid 8-10 hours each night and woke up so happy each morning. Landon always woke up starving and mad, but when you pick up Claire she looks up at you with the most delighted expression, like "oh, helloooo there!! I'm so happy to see you!" I can change her diaper, change her clothes, and then let her snuggle in for a bottle. And she smiles so much during that first feeding that the bottle keeps falling out. It's a pretty fantastic way to start your day.

It was also wonderful to spend so much time with Landon. He's such a fun kid- so good (my grandparents couldn't get over it) and loving and happy. He was best buddies with my grandpa within minutes and one night as we made a quick trip to the local Dairy Queen, Landon exclaimed, "oh, but I didn't hug grandma!". He rectified that as soon as we got back.

JP loves antique shops, so we drove to a few other local towns to peruse their shelves of old junk (or shelves of valuable and important historical artifacts, depending on whether you're talking to JP or me). JP gave Landon a stern talk before we entered the first one, that he was to look but NOT touch. Later, as I was walking through the store with the little guy, I picked up an old tea pot and Landon very seriously reminded me that "we look but don't touch mommy!". Then he shook his head as he walked away to find JP and Claire. Cracked me up.

My camera broke on Day 5 (tear, lots of tears), so I don't have any pictures of our last few days or our night spent in Minneapolis. We went to the Mall of America to pass a few hours and Landon fell in love with roller coasters. Legoland was pretty cool too, but a giant working Lego clock couldn't compete with being slung around a car track at high speeds. I had seriously underestimated one ride and thought he would be scared once it got going, but after one circuit where his eyes bulged out of his head, he got a huge grin on his face for circuit two. JP and I also rode on some of the "big kid" coasters and I have to say that while I still love scary rides, my body is more fragile than it used to me- my brain was rattling around in my head for hours after one of them.

I hope my grandparents will be able to continue spending their summers up at the lake for many years to come, but just in case I am so very glad we got to spend a few days up there while it is still their place. So much of my love for Siren is wrapped up in their love for Siren that I can't imagine it without them. The history will still be there- all those summers we traveled there when I was a girl, and I'll still be able to show my kids the farm where my grandpa was born and grew up and the little shop where my grandma would buy anything marked "Made in Sweden," but it will be different and I'm glad I got another summer trip to a place that always stays just the same.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

There and Back Again

Sorry for the long absence- I think it may have been my longest since I started blogging 3.5 years ago, but we've been escaping the Texas heat wave in Siren, Wisconsin, which was of course experiencing its own heat wave. The upside was that Wisconsin's kind of heat wave involves temperatures in the low 90's as opposed to the 100's. The downside was that my grandparents' cabin doesn't have a/c.

I have a lot to say about our trip, but I have 6 suitcases that need unpacking and I have never failed to fully unpack from a trip within a few hours of coming home. I've never had to deal with more than 2 suitcases before, but I like a challenge. So until I can spend a bit more time with my laptop soaking up its big screen and fast internet connection (I've subsisted on blackberry-only internet for the past 7 days, the withdrawal was harsh), I will just write a quick note and leave you with a few unedited pictures.

In sum, the lake was beautiful and the family time was absolutely fantastic. I spent less than one waking hour away from my children and I missed them the whole time (I was doing laundry in town, washing all the sheets we slept on so my 80-year-old grandma wouldn't have to do it after we left; also I secretly enjoy the novelty of the small town laundromat). Our seven days reinforced why family vacations are so important and even though it was financially irresponsible to take this one, I don't regret it one bit.

I was worried about the travel beforehand- two kids and the long itineraries seemed like a potential disaster, but it all went perfectly (well, except for a nearly lost suitcase on the way there and a really lost suitcase on the way back- I should have worried more about my luggage than my children). Last Friday involved leaving the house at 5:00 am (and waking Landon up 3 hours early to do so), a shuttle ride from off-site parking, 2 plane rides, a 2-hour layover in Denver, a 2-hour drive to Minneapolis, and no nap, and he was perfect. Not one tear or even a frown- he was excited and cute and perfectly behaved. He remained uninterested in the DVDs I had so hopefully packed, but he happily passed the time coloring pictures, "reading" books, and trying to show Claire everything on the plane and out the window. He was most concerned that she enjoy her trip.

Today's trip back home involved much of the same- a super early morning, 2 plane rides, a shorter layover, another shuttle ride, and a drive home that took him 3 hours past nap time. He was wonderful yet again and this time we even got him to watch 45 minutes of a DVD, so for the first time since I became a mom, I got to read on a family plane ride! Claire did great too- no crying, just lots of sleeping and smiling, and she slept 8-9 hours every night at the cabin! (But NOT in the hotel room in Minneapolis last night, though it really wasn't her fault.) It was a wonderful, relaxing week, and while Claire is the reason my eyes are bleeding today, I forgave her when I saw this picture transferred to my laptop from my (now broken) camera:

Clairebear, stuffed like a sausage into her ballerina bathing suit

It makes me smile every time I see it, but now it's back to unpacking and catching up on So You Think You Can Dance before the finale tonight. I can't wait to write more- I have missed this blog and you all so much!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

2 months!

Claire turned 2 months old yesterday. Her doctor appointment was today, and because I use my blog to record all major life events, here are her stats:

Weight: 13 lbs (97th percentile)
Length: 23 in (75th percentile)
Head: 41 cm (95th percentile)

My baby has a huge head (and body, really), but she still showed off her strength for the pediatrician with her baby push-ups on the exam table. The doctor noted that she was drooling already and said her lower gums were a little swollen so she might be teething. That had better be one area she doesn't take after her brother- Landon was "teething" for about 6 months before any teeth showed up. I would take him to the pediatrician begging her to find something wrong that we could fix and she'd so, no, I think it's just his teeth glacially making their way through his gums. She's already got the milk protein allergy and the reflux, so surely she wants to strike out on her own in some area!

She's been having quite a bit of trouble with the reflux- we're using the Prevacid, Zantac, and adding rice cereal to her formula, and I think we now have it under control. You can hear the liquid come up her esophagus after she drinks but she's no longer arching away from it, so that's an improvement. She's such a stoic little thing- she still rarely cries, but instead makes sad little squawking noises after she drinks with her mouth turned down in a big sad face. It's one of the most pathetic things I've ever seen.

But, on the super fun positive side, she smiles constantly and it's just adorable. Her chubby cheeks and multiple chins make the smiley face even better. Even if it's three in the morning and you're exhausted and your insomnia is trying to kill you and your eyes burn when you try to open them, her smiles make me give her a goofy grins back in return. Landon also loves them and he always announces when she's smiling to the rest of the house.

So far Claire's favorite things are her baths, getting her clothes changed, and eating. She loooooves it when you lay her down on the changing table to change her diaper or change her outfit (or, often, both). She gives you a series of big smiles and you just know she's thinking, "oooh which of my pretty dresses do I get to wear now?" She even smiles as you're pulling clothes over her head- I really do think she likes getting to wear different outfits throughout the day. Which may also explain why she likes to poop on them.

Even with the reflux, she has been such a joy. Landon remains a doting big brother and it has been so funny to hear him parroting back some of the little endearments I coo at her. When he got home from daycare yesterday he bounced up to the chair where I was rocking her and said, "hi little lady!" in this sugary sweet voice which is apparently what I sound like when I talk to her. And then when her face started to look said he said, "oh, no sad face!" which is also what I say. Cracked me up. It is still so fun to see the two of them together.

And perhaps most joyous of all? On Tuesday night Claire slept from 9 pm to SEVEN AM. 10 hours!! And then last night she slept for 9! I love that baby girl!

(These are obviously not recent pictures, they're just a few more shots from our newborn photo session nearly 2 months ago. I need to get better about using my camera on these random days while we're hanging out at home! The most recent pics I have are here.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Legal Happy

I haven't paid this much attention to my blackberry since my maternity leave began. The federal judge who heard the challenge to Proposition 8 which banned gay marriage in the state of California was handing down his opinion today and I couldn't wait to see what he ruled. And YAY!! he found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

And of course it is. As Judge Walker wrote in his 136-page opinion which lays out "in precise detail why the ban does not pass constitutional muster": "Because Proposition 8 disadvantages gays and lesbians without any rational justification, Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." He also notes that the law "fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license." And you don't get to do that. You don't get to deny a group of people a right conferred by our secular government just because you don't like them or because you think the Bible tells you to do so. You just don't. And that's a fantastic thing about our constitution. It's why separate but equal doesn't still exist in certain states, it's why laws against interracial marriage were struck down by the Supreme Court (and, side note, the supporters of those marriage bans also used religion and the supposed negative effects on children as justification for them, arguments that have reappeared in today's debate), and why, I think, sometime in my lifetime gay men and women will be allowed to get a marriage license from their city clerk.

So I'm happy. It's a good opinion. I continue to completely not understand those who support measures to legalize hate and seek to deny a government right, a right that comes with a myriad of legal benefits, to a certain group of people who just to be able to get married. And I nervously wait to see what the Supreme Court ultimately does with the case.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Papa's Project

One of my favorite things about my dad is that he's always moving. He always has projects on the horizon and when he talks about getting something done, he not only does it, he does it perfectly and without cutting any corners. He can't let a car leave his driveway without washing all the windows (for example, as we were waving goodbye and backing out of their driveway last weekend, my dad emerged from the garage with his windex and a rag, and by the time we reached the bottom of the driveway our windows were sparkling). He comes up with an idea of something to do with the house and a weekend or two later it's done. He built my mom a full Biology book storage unit out of our old living room bar area (my mom owns over 30 college Biology textbooks that she reads in full and incorporates into her high school lessons- college towns and their accompanying bookstores are as dangerous as a DSW for her), he turned their stand-up shower into a closet because my mom had takeover the one they were supposed to share, and despite a complete lack of engineering or mechanical training, he has fixed every appliance and car problem we've ever had. I think he's very good in his financial career, but it's his hobbies (and my mom) that keep him happy.

Outside of his projects, his lake house, his dogs, and my mom, he also loves being a dad and grandpa. He was always the dad in the pool tossing all the kids around or creating games for us to play in the yard (a favorite being when he'd mow the lawn in a crazy pattern and let us play in the "maze" for a while before having to mow it all over again in 110 degree heat to make it smooth). When we were visiting last weekend he took Landon on big adventures through the green belt, helped him fly a remote-controlled helicopter he pulled out of the garage (no idea when we acquired that), and then, while Landon was sleeping and all the girls were downtown seeing Wicked on Saturday night, he made this special sign:

It has all of Landon's favorite things: a helicopter, a boat, an airplane, and his pets- a slightly chubby Tex, a Lilly, and a Rosie with her longer hound-like nose. It's a work of art.

He signed the back and now it's hanging proudly above Landon's bed.

He said as soon as he knows Claire's favorite things, she'll get one too.