Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Weekend Untethered

Yesterday, while driving Landon and Claire to a bounce house for our most recent toddler birthday party, I heard a thunk noise somewhere on the top, rear part of my car. Odd, I thought, that almost sounds like something got blown off my roof. A few moments later, as I continued traveling 72 miles per hour down Mopac, I thought about calling my mom to see how her Saturday was going. Suddenly, a blast of "oh shit" hit me. It all came together -- the thunk, the fact that I often my blackberry on the roof as I put Claire in the car, remembering how I hurried around to strap Landon in on his side and then hurried back around the front of the car to get in so we could leave and not be late. That thunk was my blackberry. There was no turning around, especially with the two kids in the car, and it had probably been run over a few times by now anyway. So I guess that's one to avoid work on the weekends...

It's weird being technologically cut off. My work blackberry is also my cell phone, so I can't get texts (my brother adopted a dog on Saturday and was a little hurt that I didn't respond with compliments on the pictures he was sending of his scruffy little mutt) (his adorable scruffy little mutt) or personal calls. Thank goodness we have a land line so I could at least call JP when we got back from the party to inform him of my missing but presumed dead phone (he coaches all day on Saturdays). Hopefully our IT department can hook me up with another one first thing tomorrow morning. I wasn't expecting any urgent work emails this weekend as both my cases are busy but not in crisis mode (not that I know of anyway...), but I don't like going in to work blind. It has been rather freeing to only answer calls when I'm home and to only check gmail when I open up my laptop, but I couldn't last this way long - I like my tether.

In between birthday parties, and probably due in part to my ignorance is bliss approach to missing work emails, we've enjoyed a nice weekend of family time. Yesterday I got to sleep in until 9:30 (something that should really be in bold, large font, followed by lots of exclamation points), and this morning I let JP sleep in while I fed and entertained the kids. At exactly 9:29 I decided it was time to wake him up, so I put Claire to work:

At first she was like, Is this really okay? He looks like he's sleeping and I don't want to be rude.



And I said, Oh yeah, it's fine, just fall back and smile at him. He can't get mad at his little Biscettios.

But, um, I'll just wait way back here.



Claire: Hai daddy!!! Thank you for bouncing my crib mattress for 45 minutes when I woke up at 4 a.m. and thought it was morning time.



Wasn't that fun? Good morning to you again!!!!

Not to be left out, Landon jumped into the fray:



Claire: please don't crush me

Morning wrestling practice! Claire is small, but uses her fierce grip and tiny lobster claws to great advantage.



The tide turns as Claire gains the upper hand...



The Biscuit is champion!




I love our mornings.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shoes and Skincare

I have so many things I want to write about- your questions on this post, an email question from a reader about going to law school, the situation with my in-laws (or really, the end of any situation since we have unilaterally cut off that relationship), a very intriguing non-work opportunity for me to write/publish something, my conflicted thoughts on JP's job search... I even half partial drafts for a few of the topics. I've just gotten so busy at work, and with Claire being sick and up at night (thanks for your comments, we are asking our pediatrician about a recommendation for an allergist or immunologist today), and JP coaching a million swim lessons now that the end of the season is approaching, and the return of my skull crushing headaches, I seem to log off my work laptop at 11 pm and crawl into bed without even the energy to flip the little power switch on the top of my kindle. Which is not to say things are bad- they're not. The kids are fabulous (even if puffy eyed in Claire's case), I enjoy my work (even if it's all IP related right now), and I'm glad JP has so many lessons (even if it means I'm alone all day Saturday and most evenings; why do these kids have to attend schoool? It would be so nice if he could coach during the day). I just haven't had time to blog and I miss it. I also miss commenting on other people's blogs (which I'm still reading, I promise!) and being a part of this community.

So, sadly, this post won't have anything to do with any of the above, because writing about any of the above requires more thought and time and finessing of words than I can give at the moment. But it still contains important blogging content.

One, look at these shoes:

Are they not gorgeous? They were sent to me by a reader (and by "sent" I mean the link, not the shoes, because that would be crazy; also awesome, I wear a size 10) because their color is "Biscuit" and as the mother of a Biscuit, she felt I should be aware of them. I LOVE them. I lust after them. The colored stacked heel. The perfect neutral color. I click on the link multiple times a day just for the eye candy. If our family finances involved two incomes and/or did not involve 2 kids in daycare and 2 graduate degrees worth of loans to pay off, I would buy them. They would be my first pair of shoes that cost more than $70, but I would do it without adding them and then removing them from my online shopping cart 50x like I normally do with any purchase over $50. I would click checkout without hesitation and I would obsessively track the shipment online until they were in possession and on my feet. I would love them and take good care of them and smile every time I looked down while wearing them.

Sorry, got a little carried away there. I just like shoes, you see.

Item two is skincare. In the last year or so I have decided to start acting like a grown up and start taking care of my skin. I'm proud to say that in the past 8 months I have been very good about washing my face every night and morning and using moisturizer. The problem is, I haven't found products I like very much and most of the ones recommended in magazine articles are too expensive to just try out and risk not liking (and taking the time to return it, if that was an option). I don't mind spending some money (though no matter how good the reviews, I just can't see myself spending more than $25-30 on any individual product), but I need some solid recommendations to support my purchase.

I have dry, sensitive, very fair skin. I am not prone to breakouts (ever, really), but I feel that lately my skin looks... dull, if that makes sense. It feels a little oily by the end of the day, but starts out very dry in the morning. I feel like it's not living up to its full potential with the products I'm using (which are currently the Clinique 3-step, #2, with extra mild face soap).

I like Clinique's extra mild face soap. I'm ambivalent about the "clarifying lotion" (the pink liquid). I think it dries out my skin, but it doesn't burn or anything and it makes me feel cleaner so I keep using it. I hate the dramatically different moisturizing lotion. It feels watery but makes my skin feel like it's covered in something heavy. Also, it doesn't have SPF which with my fair skin, is not good. I have tried Oil of Olay products, including their Regernerist line (the regenerating serum), and while I like the idea of a serum of my dry, neglected skin, that one made my skin feel oily and heavy and dull. I've used their regular moisturizer with SPF and like it, but don't love it. I also used Aveeno's skin brightening lotion and skin clarifying lotion and liked, but didn't love either one.

So, any recommendations? I think I really just need a moisturizer I like. And maybe a serum, because aren't I supposed to be "protecting my skin now before I age" or something? Do you use a different product for night v. day? I always feel weird putting on a lotion with SPF at night, but I guess that doesn't matter. I currently have 4 different lotions in my medicine cabinet which I hate because (1) I hate spending money on something I don't use to completion and (2) I hate having more than 1 thing in any category. It's medicine cabinet clutter. My dream is to get rid of everything I'm not loving and replace it all with a single product (or two, if it's an am/pm thing) I use every day and recommend to my friends. Any ideas?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Big Brother to the Rescue

Things have been good here. Nothing special going on, just a lot of working and hanging out and watching our kids be kids. I've said this approximately a million times already, but watching the two of them together really is fabulous.





(Landon, trying to teach Claire to crawl)


The Biscuit has terrible allergies. Her eyes are red and puffy and her nose is constantly running and she wakes herself up coughing and it's so pathetic and sad. She's on liquid albuterol and zyrtec and I think it's helping, maybe. She's been waking up earlier because of the coughing and this morning was no different. I was tired, JP was tired, but luckily our live-in Landon-nanny popped into Claire's room at 6:45 and read her books until I trudged upstairs many (many) minutes later.







When I opened the door, Landon was cross-legged in front of Claire's crib reading (or, "reading") Clifford the Firehouse Dog. He was telling her about the stop-drop-and-roll routine and she was cracking up. Fire safety is so silly.



Landon will also run in to her room to turn on her music mobile if she's fussing early in the morning. This almost always puts her back to sleep, and he gets it done long before JP and I have registered the fact that she's crying, debated whose turn it is to climb upstairs to deal with it, and then actually climbed up the stairs and dealt with it. Our little nanny toddles back to bed until Claire starts making noises again. Then, Landon races back in (his room isn't next to hers, so I'm not sure how he hears her before we do through the monitor) and the two of them laugh, read stories, and just generally entertain each other until their absentee parents finally go up to get them. I'd feel guilty about our using our 3.5 year old as early morning childcare, but he does it on his own and he always seems so proud and happy when we come in the nursery. I consider it restitution for all the sleep he stole from us during his first 10 months of life.



Landon is very into super heroes right now. Since he's never seen any movies or TV shows with them, he doesn't really understand what they do and he gets their various powers and catch phrases all mixed up. He has a Batman cape and he wears it running around the house exclaiming, "it's Batman to the rescue -- to infinity and beyond!" I always think of that when I hear him run into Claire's room in the morning: Big Brother to the rescue, for infinity and beyond.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Work Talk

Work has suddenly exploded. I've been temporarily turned into an IP attorney, which I'm less than thrilled about it, but it's hours and good work and I'm still at the stage where I'm glad for any experience doing just about anything. I didn't work one minute of the 3-day MLK weekend, which was glorious even if it's killing me right now. But I got to work this morning at a time when I'm usually still asleep, and I was so productive that I'm giving myself lunch off to search the internet and catch up on blogs.

Thanks for some of your questions on the last post. I have thoughts, in some cases many thoughts, on what you asked, I just haven't yet had time to write about any of it. Then Kelli sent me an email with a question that has come up before and is an issue I think every blogger (and to a lesser extent, every facebook poster and twitterer) thinks about: how do you decide where to draw lines for how much you reveal about work? Kelli, currently a SAHM, has received an opportunity to work part-time in a corporate/professional position from home. She says, "I would like to write about some of this on my blog, as I transition from being a 100% SAHM, to something in-between. I've noticed that you do talk about work, but not in too much detail. Do you have any advice/words of wisdom for how you decide what you will and will not talk about on your blog when it comes to your professional life?"

So, talking about work. I have a somehow looser stance on this than some of my other lawyer bloggers that I read. Fundamentally, I feel like I'm allowed to talk about the fact that I have a job and I'm allowed to talk, in general terms, about what I do in that job. It's my life, I talk about it all the time, and I think it's okay to transfer that conversation to this particular forum. Being a working mom is a big part of who I am and being a lawyer is a big part of that part, and I feel that I can share this aspect of my life without violating attorney-client confidentiality, ethical obligations, and/or concerning my firm's HR or PR departments.

I work for a large law firm- people know we exist, we have an entire website dedicated to advertising the fact that we exist and that we do the types of work that we do. I have a page on that site that talks about the type of work I do and the types of cases I have worked on. So I think I can say "I'm working on this securities class action and blah blah blah." I would never reveal a client name (even though that is also frequently public since there are articles about our representation all the time), nor my firm name (even though it would be incredibly easy for anyone who reads this blog to figure out where I work), because that gets too close to a landmine of confidentiality issues and I enjoy whatever googlenimity that I still have. Plus, those details aren't relevant to my discussions about my life as a working mom. My blog is fundamentally the story of me, and while my firm doesn't know about it in any official capacity (though a few of my friends who work here read it), I don't think it would be a problem if they did. Several people I work with have family/kid blogs. They use their real names and don't talk about work/life balance like I do, but I think the basic guidelines are the same. As long as I'm not bad mouthing my firm or our clients or revealing privileged information, they're not going to care.

So that's a general overview of my approach to talking about work. I treat it as a component of my life, because it is, but I don't get into details on assignments or legal issues because (1) they're not relevant to my discussions of babies, cookies, or shoes, and (2) because talking about legal issues is my job, not my hobby, and this blog falls squarely in the "fun/hobby" part of my life (also (3) there are ethical issues with giving legal advice, revealing client confidences, etc. that I steer clear of, but I don't think steering clear requires you to never mention that you work at all). So I talk about how work affects my life, what my schedule is like, what effects I think it has on my children and my mothering. I reveal my industry because it's fundamental to where I work and what I do. I occasionally mention my assignments in general terms - i.e., I'm working on a brief (or motion to compel, document review, etc) because sometimes that comes up, usually in an offhand way (I think of drafting a blog post as a conversation with myself; they're riveting).

So if I was Kelli, I'd absolutely talk about setting up a home office, the logistics of working from home, what I was doing for childcare, how the transition was working, how I arranged my hours to best suit my family life, and anything else along those lines. I guess it's more of the ripple effects from working that I talk about; the actual work, the center of the circle, is more talked around than talked about. I think you could go further than I do, but part of it is that explaining my particular legal research memo is only going to be interesting to a very small subset of people (occasionally excluding even me) and, in my view, it's not worth risking revealing too much when the gain is so small. In a field where confidentiality is less of an issue, I probably wouldn't be so careful -- though still, I'd always wonder, do I need to add these extra details? what's being gained? what's being risked? Stating that "I'm working a lot on a memo" and then moving on to why I bothered to bring that up (ex: because it means I haven't been able to post about the fact that Claire now likes to whisper "dat dat" noises while smiling at you like you're sharing a secret and it is AWESOME) is usually all I need to say about the work part. (This post notwithstanding, I usually try not to ramble too much or add too many unnecessary details, detours, etc.)

My hour is now up, so I need to get back to work (though I'm disappointed Amalah's Top Chef All Stars recap isn't up; if Top Chef is the best part of my post-8 p.m. Wednesday night, and it is, then her recap is the best part of my Thursday morning), and I'm not going to edit this as I should, so maybe pretend the conversation that I just had in my head was one I had with you out loud and can't now be scrutinized for misspellings, grammatical errors, and the million ways it could be edited down.

So now it's your turn, any advice for Kelli?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tidbits

Things have been busy-- a fairly mundane busyness, with no single item seeming like it deserved it's own blog post, but with enough going on to keep me from writing anything more meaningful than a description of the busyness.  I try to save you from those kinds of posts whenever possible, but nearly a week has gone by and I have to write something. Landon is taking his nap, JP just got up from his nap and is sitting on the couch with Claire watching football while she chews industriously on a small stuffed duck.  I am still in pj's at 2:30 pm, a rare case of sartorial weakness that is a direct result of Claire's refusal to sleep much of last night (and the 5 prior).  But I will at least throw on jeans with my sweatshirt before we head to Costco later today. I still have standards.

But before we leave the house for our one and only outing of the day (it's raining, or we would at least also include a walk or SOMETHING), here's what's happened this week:
  • Claire has 2 teeth!  The growing of them was by far the worst thing that had ever happened to her in her life and she shared her feelings, loudly, with all of us all of throughout Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights.
  • Then Claire got some shots, a fever, and bad case of runny nose hacking cough allergitis.  These sniffling, coughing, gagging good times have been shared with us all of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.  She likes to share her feelings. Thank god she's usually happy.
  • I got 4 fillings on Thursday and my gums still hurt where I got shot up with a particularly brutal stab of Novocaine.  I hadn't had a cavity in years and years but suddenly had 2 at my last check-up.  I need to ease up on the candy.  Luckily, cookies don't cause cavities, or so I tried to explain to JP when he glared at me as I polished one off while describing my painful 2 hours spent in the dentist chair.
  • I made this soup for dinner last night.  As per the reviews, I increased the chicken broth, added diced onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, used 1/2 cup of flour and skim milk instead of cream for the roux and it was amazing.  Just like the creamy chicken and wild rice soup at Panera.  I want to make it once a week until it gets winter is over.
  • Due to budgetary limitations imposed by having a second child in daycare, we have almost completely stopped eating out.  I missed it at first, but have to admit we are saving a ton of money (and probably a ton of calories) by making nearly all our meals at home.  Thank goodness for the internet and places like foodnetwork.com, allrecipes.com, and Tasty Kitchen (via the Pioneer Woman) - I'm finding some delicious things.  Next up for the week is Shepherd's Pie, Chicken Tacos, and one of our new favorites, Lamb Gyro Meatballs.
  • I'm working on a pro-bono police brutality case at work.  I'm glad to be involved, and the upcoming depositions are going to be interesting, as well as a learning experience, but on my gosh this case makes me so mad!  The story is so awful that money doesn't seem like nearly enough to make things right.  I see red every time I read the pleadings. I wish more creative equitable remedies were a possibility.  
  • I've decided to properly decorate my office.  I already had some picture frames on the shelves and my diplomas on the wall, but I spend a lot of time there, and after 2.5 years, it should be homier.  I bought a lamp on clearance at target (I don't like overhead lights, but lately it's been too gray outside to keep them off) and am ordering some beautiful art prints in February as my birthday present.  I can't wait to frame them and get them on my walls.   
  • Landon has started wearing his cowboy boots everywhere.  He calls them his "howdy boots."  Cracks me up.
  • JP and I have switched places on the family planning front.  I've decided 2 is perfect; he's certain we need 3.  In a different life I think I'd have 4, but in this one, these 2 that I have seem just right. 
  • This poster made me laugh:  (really, all the demotivational posters on that site are pretty funny)


Well that's my so little to say! I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend and I will strive for better content next week, hopefully including a post about my very favorite shoes, which I think I have to retire, and one about this corporette post on lawyer moms and planning for babies. As always, if there's anything you want to hear about, feel free to leave a comment on any post or the FAQ page. Sometimes I do better when I have a prompt rather than trying to pull something from my tired, mom of a teething baby brain (which this post probably proves; bullet points always mean I'm scraping the bottom of the blog posting barrel).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Little Moments

This is going to be one of those "for the babybook posts" that, without video or being able to hear Landon's voice and inflection, probably won't be nearly as entertaining to anyone else as it is to me. But he's growing and changing and I feel like I just have to get down a few of the things he's been saying lately. And sadly, since the phrases seem to leave my head almost as soon as I've chuckled over them, I had to copy most of these from my facebook statuses over the past month. I wish I wrote things down more often. It's these little moments in our regular every days that I want to remember.



My handsome little man is 3 1/2 and continues to be such a source of joy, fun, laughter, love, and so many other things (including the occasional frustration). His daycare class is becoming more of a preschool with a schedule and "lessons" and a theme to the week. He is loving this. Over the Christmas break when daycare was closed for 10 days we could actually see a change in behavior by the end. Nothing we couldn't handle, but it reinforced my belief that "school" with its activities and challenges and friends helps him to be the awesome little kid that he is. (I was going to say toddler, but he's not a toddler anymore is he?)



So, a random collection of Landon's December exclamations:

While driving home from the grocery store without any preamble or further explanation: "‎Santas are better than penguins, but snowmen are pretty good."

While looking at the stockings hung over the fireplace: "Mommy, which foot is mine?"

At dinner: "I love Santa. Santa is good. He doesn't bite or hit."

As I turned on the radio in the kitchen, with his face lit up like he was glowing: "Are we having a DANCE PARTY?!"

While running in the door after JP picked him up from daycare: "Mommy, all the dinosaurs are 'STINCT! A big rock hit them and they're all DEAD! What are we having for dinner?"



He remains the consummate big brother. He truly loves Claire and is excited when she wakes up, when they can play together, when she does a new trick - he's like a proud papa. He goes in her room in the mornings and entertains her for up to 30 minutes, depending on her mood, and JP and I just lay in bed and listen to them through the monitor. I don't think there's a feeling of obligation for him, he just honestly likes being around her. And she adores him in return. Watching the two of them together is my favorite thing.

Two nights ago Claire was up on all fours in the living room, practicing her rocking pre-crawling skills. JP and I were in the kitchen cleaning up from dinner and we looked over to see Landon crawling around her saying, "It's like this biscuit, you do it just like this!" And then, "Good job! Good job biscuit!"

They get to take their baths together now in our big tub, without JP or I joining in (a new development as of a week ago) and they LOVE it. Last night they were both in the tub and Landon looked up at me with this huge grin, saying, "Mommy look, she's splashing! And I'm splashing! We're splashing TOGETHER!" And he was so excited I got a little misty-eyed. I love that they have each other.

JP walked in as I was looking at them, all choked up for no reason I could explain, and I remember thinking that if my life was a romance novel, he'd walk over, know exactly what I was feeling, put his arms around me, and think the same thing. We'd gaze at our giggling, splashing children, full of love and happiness, and know for at least a moment that life, or at least this little slice of it, was absolutely perfect.

And then he surprised me and did just that.

And if I hadn't just written that down I know it would have been forgotten a few days from now. It was a minute in an otherwise unremarkable Monday, after a dinner of chicken parmisan and before a reading of The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor. I was nursing a splitting headache and JP was stressed about his job hunt, but as we stood together in the doorway of our bathroom watching Claire beat the water with fierce concentration while Landon laughed and cheered her on, it truly was perfect.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Electronic Observations

We used a Groupon last night to head to Hula Hut, one of our favorite Austin restaurants. Landon loves eating out and I love that we can always count on him to behave whenever we do. Clairebear doesn't seem to have an opinion one way or the other, but she does enjoy the extra people who might smile at her so she can smile back. Also, Hula Hut has lights strung around the ceiling, so she spent a lot of time trying to figure those out.

As we were waiting for our meals I looked around the restaurant. It was early and there were lots of families with kids of various ages. I started noticing that almost every kid had some kind of electronic device. iPhone, iPod touch, Nintendo DS, whatever- I don't know them all, but nearly every table had at least one kid playing something. And it made me a little sad. I'm sure it makes meals out easier, and everyone was certainly quiet, so it's not that I felt judgey towards other parents or their kids, it was just kind of sad that at the 3 tables nearest to us, none of the kids (ages 7-10ish) were talking to their parents and no one was talking to them. It reminded me of the last time we ate out when JP and I noticed a booth next to us where every member of the family: mom, dad, son, daughter (both in their early teens), were on their iPhones from the time they ordered their food until it came to the table. No one spoke to each other. Again, maybe they spent all day in deep discourse with each other about all sorts of things, but the visual still made me a little sad. I hope we never do that. I know I'm more connected to my blackberry than I should be, but I do keep it away from the table at dinner and try not to check it much between dinner and bedtime in the evening. I can do better though. So can JP. I smacked his hand during church today when he pulled out his phone to respond to a text during the sermon. I think we can all go an hour without being reachable.

I worry about drawing electronic boundaries as our kids get older. When JP and I were in middle school and high school all calls came through the house. There was always the risk that a parent could answer, parents generally knew when and with whom their kids were on the phone, and you couldn't talk too late at night or during meals. When we went on family vacations, that's what they were- it was just us, somewhere, spending time together completely cut off from our friends and the trappings of home. And it was wonderful. When we visited grandparents, it was just us spending time with them, entertaining ourselves with whatever we found in their house (our favorite being an old record player with a sing-a-long children's record, it was awesome). Now with texting, facebook, etc. I feel like that pure family time will be nearly impossible. There's always some game you could be playing, a friend you could chat with... I don't think it's all bad- I'm a big fan of social media (obviously, as you're reading my blog) and go through withdrawal if I go an hour without checking my email, but it's something I worry about, particularly with the kids. I guess it's just another boundary you have to set.



I'm thinking about this because Landon got his first electronic game type thing for Christmas. He's never shown any interest in our laptops, cell phones, etc., but I saw this Fisher Price iXL gaming system on sale at Target the day after Thanksgiving and thought we'd try it out. And he loves it. (I just looked on Amazon and it's listed at $90- that's crazy. It's great, but I got it for $60, and only felt like that was acceptable because I had my grandparents' $50 gift card for him. I don't think I'd buy it on my own for any of the prices it's listed at right now.) Anyway, for those interested, it's compact, simple, pretty sturdy (it's been dropped on tile and survived), and has 6 play options: tracing or drawing letters/numbers, following along with a story, drawing pictures, listening to music, playing adventure games, and looking at pictures (I uploaded a bunch of Claire for him to flip through). You can buy additional games for it and it's definitely one of Landon's favorite presents. So far it's a long car ride toy (since Landon still doesn't really watch TV or movies, it made the trip back from Houston after Christmas much easier; long car trips make me so jealous of the parents of kids who like movies) and a playing inside at night after it's dark toy. It doesn't go out with us to restaurants or for short car rides, and thanks to his 3-year-old attention span, he doesn't really play with it for too long during the day anyway (unlike his dad who apparently spent all of his waking, non-school time playing video games from about 3rd grade through 12th; that will not be happening in our house). So we don't have to care too much yet- it's a neat little toy, and he likes drawing pictures and hearing the Batman story, but I can't help but feel like it's all beginning...



Claire still just needs a box to be happy

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pants, post baby

I'm back at work today, cured from my strep throat thanks to the medical miracles of amoxycillin, prednisone, and ibuprofen, and I'm happy. Not so much because of work (though it's good, my New Year's brief was met with good reviews from the partners and client, and I actually got to talk to our client today, which sadly, is a rare thing for a 3rd year in litigation), but because of pants.

On a whim, I reached back into the recesses of my closet this morning and pulled out my favorite brown pants. Actually, they're my only brown pants, but they're also my favorite. They're my magical $7 pants, that I purchased from Ann Taylor in January of 2009, long before I got pregnant with Claire. I'd assumed I would never fit into them again. I actually almost gave them away in our last goodwill load. I didn't even have the goal of fitting into them again. I'll admit, I thought it would be nice, but the weight I was at post-Landon was a result of an extremely high (and extremely unusual) amount of stress in my life and I assumed I would never hit it again. And I was totally okay with that.

I used to weigh myself every morning. I did it not because it changed anything I did that day, but because it was ingrained habit. Kind of like how some people start out the day with a cup of coffee, I started out mine on the scale and if I ever skipped it, it was weird not to know what the number was as I went about my day. Until this week, I hadn't been weighed since my 6 week post-patrum checkup. And oddly enough, I think the past 6 months have been the healthiest attitude I've ever had about my body. Nothing earth-shattering, just a general feeling of it's okay. I'm eating well, because I like good food, and I'm eating dessert, because I like sugar, but I'm not eating specific quantities of either because I feel like I should, or because I've already "ruined" my healthy attempts for the day so I'll just screw it and have 3 more cookies, or because I "deserve" a treat because of something else I did. I just eat. Because I like food.

As I said, not earth-shattering.

Then I got weighed at my strep throat urgent care appointment on Tuesday and was shocked to see I am exactly where I was a few months before I had Claire. Still more than 12 pounds up from where I was after all the DCFS stuff and the move and the Bar, but that's fine, I don't think I will ever naturally get back there. But I am back where I was 18 months ago. My body is different. I have a long c-section scar, some extra "softness" (because it sounds better than flabbiness or squishiness, as Landon called it the other day) in my stomach, and much more "softness" in my legs, but I've pretty much fallen back into my old shape. I'd like to be stronger. I used to be very strong from my swimming, and my arms are still strong from holding my 90th percentile Biscuit, but my legs hurt after 2 flights of stairs. I'm trying to walk more. In college and in Chicago I walked all the time, but here (and our 100+ degree 5 months of summer are partially to blame), we almost never do and I miss it. So that's my goal for this year- more family walks.

But right now I'm wearing pants I love and which make me smile because I'm wearing them, and it may be superficial, but that's all I've needed to be happy today.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

7 Months

I have strep throat and have spent the day in a feverish haze of kindle reading, and being half-asleep, dreaming about the books I'm reading on my kindle (the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward. Holy crap they're good. Also addictive- I've read 3 in 3 days and am on the 4th. And they give you really weird semi-conscious dreams.) I now have antibiotics and steroids for the swelling that is threatening to cut off off my ability to swallow, so I should be feeling much better soon.

But enough about me. Guess who turned 7 months old today?



The BISCUIT!

I thought I'd let her take it away from here.



Hi guys, it's me! The Clairebiscuit. My mommy took a bunch of pictures of me in a row to catch all my funny faces right now.

This is my, "what is on my head?" face.



A profile shot of my "I'm trying to decide if I like what's on my head" face.



(I decided I liked it.)

Here's my "Holy geeze, it's my big brother!!!!!" face.



A modified form of my "yay for big brothers!" face, complete with big brother.


My super focused, super concentrated, "I need to hit that" face. Because sometimes it's important to hit things with your palm stretched out all flat. It makes some noise, shows some action, you know?



And then there's my "what was that?!" face.


And finally, my much used, super happy face.



Do you know why I'm smiling?

Actually, I have no idea, I just like being happy. An elf on TV once said, "I just like smiling, smiling is my favorite."

He is a wise man. Happy 7 months to me!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1-1-11

Happy New Year! It's been a crazy few days, what with the drooling, teething, night-waking baby, the hysterical meltdown by my mother-in-law accusing me of everything from not loving (or even liking) my husband, not respecting my own mother, and "using anyone I can to get ahead", the writing of a complicated legal brief by myself for the past days, a flurry of post-Christmas returns (yay for store credit for spring shopping!), and the hosting of a small New Year's Eve party last night, I haven't had nearly enough time to blog (or read the 15 new books waiting for me on my Kindle).



(pics from last night: Claire and her doggie)


But enough about all that. I sent off my first draft of the brief at 4:00 today (kicking off 2011 with 8 billable hours, woo hoo, kind of) and am now watching the Biscuit pseudo-CRAWL around the playroom. She only goes backwards, but she does it in wide circles, so while her view keeps changing, she still can't get her hands on the plastic piece of broccoli she so desperately wants. I should go get the video camera, because it is very cute, but I'm cross-legged on the floor and feeling quite cozy with my laptop on my knees and my increasingly (and frighteningly) mobile baby beside me.



(that's a smile, really)


2010 was a great year, obviously, with the addition of our little Clairebiscuit, and I'm pretty excited about 2011 as well. There should be fewer changes than in past years - no moves, no graduations, and no babies, but hopefully some small good ones- like a new, paying job for JP and some manual labor re-landscaping we'll (he'll) be doing in our backyard. I know Claire is going to change so much in the next year, as will Landon to a slightly lesser extent, and I look forward to all of that too. As for me, I hope to expand a bit more in my practice area at work and get more involved in legal things outside of my office. I'd love to get in shape, etc., but I'll be realistic and say that I hope to continue to eat pretty healthfully (while still indulging in my cookies, a world without a cookies is not a world in which I wish to live) and to start back up with the family walks we were taking every night before the time change.



(when Landon saw Claire's shirt, he ran upstairs to change into his Superman shirt so they could match)


Our New Year's plans were simple, but fun, as fits the budget-conscious, slightly sleep-deprived, parents of two that we now are. We had friends over for dinner with their kids, so I got to make appetizers (Mexican Cheesecake!) and decorate the table and bar area, which I love doing, and we didn't have to go anywhere. The kids played, Clairebear smiled, the adults drank wine -- we had a great time. Our next door neighbor had a few fireworks going off in the cul-de-sac so we watched those, watched the kids play some more, and then at 8 everyone left and our Superkids went to bed. JP and I stayed up a while longer playing Scrabble, drinking a bottle of red wine, and toasting to the East Coast New Year's before heading to bed. We're boring. Also happy. Life is good.




Happy 2011 everyone!