Thursday, April 28, 2011
(* The most delicious pancakes in the whole entire world. My friend and her husband brought us a Vosges chocolate assortment when they visited Austin last weekend and it is all amazing. I meant it when I said they shouldn't have, but man I'm glad they did!)
I'm waiting for another round of edits, so I have time to share this embarrassing story from earlier today. I'll start off by saying that I very rarely, really never, get flustered at work. I feel generally competent at what I do. I have a lot to learn, but I do okay with what I have and I have no problem with feedback, constructive criticism, or a complete re-working of a 30 page brief I labored over for 3 days. There's a separation between my work feelings and my real feelings. Both can make me happy, but work doesn't often make me sad, and even if it does, the level of sad is much shallower than my range of emotions in my real life. This is all healthy and good.
But then today, I hung up on a partner. On accident. And then I did it again. And then I hung up on our local counsel, also a partner. It was awesome and ruined at least three hours of my afternoon. You see I've been working on this case for months, but in a discreet area that caused me to work with only one other person while otherwise being the master of my own domain (a domain of 7-10 contract attorneys). But then I wrote a motion to compel that won and suddenly other people on this case, who are on a different floor from me, realized I was on the case and could be contacted for other case-related work. So the big partner, who I've only ever spoken with in passing, called me directly from her cell phone at 3:12 this afternoon. I answered because I thought it was the daycare number. It was not. She then asked me to conference in our local counsel in a faraway state. I had never called him before and had to frantically search old emails just to find the number. Then I stared at my phone and realized I had never conferenced anyone- I'm always in someone else's office when they do that. Shit. I pressed hold, got a new line, dialed, got local counsel partner, tried to rejoin, and hung up on my partner. Then I did it backward, keeping local counsel partner on the phone, calling my partner, and hanging up on local counsel. It was terrible. I was flustered. I put the phone on mute (my partner was still on the line) yelled for the secretary who sits closest to me, who is actually not my secretary, but who is a good friend of mine, and frantically pantomimed the universal motions for "Holy hell I hung up on two partners and one is still on the line and probably wondering how I can manage to type words in the right order and will now never want to work with me ever - HELP." When my friend ran over, my partner hung up on me, in her case, probably on purpose.
I pulled myself together, called local counsel, explained our question, got an answer, and called my partner back. I then got a big new project due tomorrow morning. I'd like to think it was a vote of confidence, but I'm really pretty sure it was punishment. I will not be sleeping. I'm supposed to be packing for an out of town trip with the kids and JP (we leave in 12 hours), but I'm not doing that either. I'm also not watching my Thursday night shows, the end of Steve Carrell's run on the office, or the 100th made for TV movie about Will and Kate.
Don't hang up on partners.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Easter! It happened! Three days ago actually. Work has been kind of insane, in part because I didn't do any work over Easter weekend, making the weekend that much more awesome and my Monday and Tuesday that much more intense. At 11:00 yesterday I realized I'd been at work for 3 hours but hadn't sat in my desk chair for more than 5 minutes. And of course I picked yesterday to wear my favorite platinum 3.5" heels, even though I normally stick with 3 inches for work shoes. My feet were annoyed, but not quite angry. Calvin Klein makes a comfy pair of pumps (which are even comfier when bought on clearance).
But Easter! It was low key and lots of fun and my goodness I love days that I can laze about and soak up my children. The pictures tell the story:
My BatKids, ready to come downstairs to find their Easter goodies.
(The matching pj's were an early Easter present, and Landon was SO excited about them.)
Clairebear found her basket first. Mostly because she's brilliant, but also possibly because it was "hidden" in front of the wall of the play room, about 3 feet from the foot of the stairs.
After a brief survey of the basket, Claire went hunting for eggs.
And found two that matched her pj's perfectly.
I was so proud.
After assisting his sister, Landon found his basket behind the laundry room door.
He was most excited about the $1 Transformers book and $3 jelly bean bunny toy; both have traveled to daycare each day and he has curled his little body around them each night before falling asleep.
Claire escaped a second attempt to get a sibling shot with both kids looking at me and crawled off to find more eggs.
Then, very suddenly, it was time for church!
I bought this dress in March of last year. I was buying Landon a shirt at Children's Place and for the first time, wandered over to the girls' section of the store. I saw this adorable little blue and yellow Swedish dress (in my family anything with blue and yellow in it is automatically dubbed "Swedish") and knew my daughter needed it, even if she wasn't due for another 3 months and wouldn't wear it for another 10 months after that. I just love it.
3/4 family shot, with squinting and "we're going to be late for church" stress
My favorite; her loves her with all of his 3-year-old little boy heart.
We decided at the last minute to travel to San Antonio to eat Easter brunch with my four grandparents at their army retirement community. JP got sick on Saturday night, so it worked out perfectly that my sister drove over with us and JP go to spend 5 quiet hours sleeping in a sudafed-induced haze- a feat that would be impossible on any regular Sunday. My brother also joined us, so we got a grandkid, great-grandkid picture to send my parents:
After a tasty brunch and visit to my Navy grandpa's new vegetable garden that he lovingly tends to every morning, we headed home with two kids who slept the whole way up I-35.
It was a great day. Relaxed and fun, complete with family, pretty dresses, and a 100% increase in my Transformer knowledge. Sitting here at my desk surrounded by too much to do, it all seems very far away...
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Today, after three years of membership and two failed attempts, we finally made it to our church's Easter Festival in time for the egg hunt. In fact, we arrived 45 minutes early. Luckily, Landon is a preternaturally patient 3-year-old.
With the extra time, I attempted a picture. Neither child was interested in looking at the camera, but I kind of love how the imperfect result captures the way the two of them interract.
Landon wanted Claire to get eggs with him, and even tried to coach her on egg finding basics, but she decided she'd rather chew on the eggs after he found them for her.
It was a good plan, though in spite of being the first kid in the field, Landon only came back with four eggs. He wanted orange ones and then he wanted to open each egg before picking up another. The other children were less picky and simply grabbed everything in sight. It was all over in 60 seconds.
Landon seemed please with his booty and shared all four eggs his with his sister. He also gave her the plastic cross he found inside one egg- I think it really adds something to her outfit.
More fun was had:
And then it was time to go home for Claire's nap, Landon's lunch, JP's swim lesson, and my work. I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow- Landon is so excited about the Easter Bunny. He's a little concerned the bunny might hop in to his room, so he told me to make sure his door is closed really tight. We've baked two kinds of cookie and one type of muffin and plan to meet a law school friend of mine who just happens to be visiting Austin for dinner later today.
Every time I write one of these recap type posts- posts I can't imagine many people find interesting, but which I must write because they give me a record of these days that go by so quickly and which prove to me months later that we did more with our free time than go to the grocery store, put away groceries, and clean up after making use of the groceries-- every time I write one of these, I always find myself wanting to end with "Life is good". Because really, when I look at the overall- the simple fun that makes up our every days, it is exactly that. I think that's why I find blogging so restorative, even if I frequently have to do it at the expense of sleep. It reminds me that in and among all the small stresses (my job, my loans, my in-laws), and even the big ones (JP's job, JP's job x 1000), the day-to-day is truly good. And when the stresses are keeping me up at night, blogging the mundane before bed keeps this at the forefront of my mind: We are happy, healthy, and whole. We are blessed. Life is good.
Happy Easter/Passover/weekend to everyone!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
After a weekend of family, baking, entertaining, and working, I billed 12 hours on Monday and 16 hours yesterday, so it's been pretty busy around here. On the plus side I've worn two of my three new dresses and received more compliments in those two days than I normally do in a month, and it turns out feeling good is even more effective than caffeine at keeping you going on very little sleep. On the minus side, I missed family dinner last night for the first time ever because I had to stay at the office. I did not like it, but it's so rare that I really can't complain too much. I made it home ten minutes before bedtime, gave the Biscuit a pat on the head, read Landon a book, and then logged back in and worked until 12:30.
But back to this weekend. We've been investing in our great outdoors. Two weekends ago we ripped out a bunch of overgrown plants in our front yard and I gardened for the first time ever, planting 20 beautiful orange flowers that I have grown very fond of and check on every day. We also tore down the playscape in our backyard, which had rotted in the years since the original owners put it up. We posted the gravel on craigslist, offering it free to to anyone who wanted to shovel it, and after 5 takers and 8 truck loads, it was finally gone. On Saturday morning JP and Landon tilled the area, shoveled dirt, and planted sod.
While the boys were working hard outside, I baked the world's most delicious carrot cake inside. Then Landon and I ate cream cheese frosting by the spoonful until JP interrupted the fun and started rambling about cavities, so we moved on to decorating.
Then we decorated the rest of the kitchen for Papa's 55th birthday party.
After Clairebear woke up from her 4 hour nap (yes, 4 hours! It is awesome and yet I miss her so much by the end- I'm fine at work all day, but knowing she's just right upstairs and I could be playing with her makes me want to go up and make a bunch of noise outside her bedroom door), she finger-walked all around the kitchen table and then tried to rile the honey badger.
My parents and siblings arrived and the birthday celebration was simple and perfect. We had pizza and salad and my dad's favorite cake. He loves having all his kids under one roof, so when you have that plus an adoring grandson and a smiley granddaughter, you get a very happy Papa.
We took my parents hiking on the Greenbelt, which they loved. Landon was an excellent little trail master and Claire suffered quietly through the immobility of the baby bjorn when all she really wanted to do was this:
Yes, the Biscuit is vertical. She stands up all on her own, in the middle of the floor, and can hold her position for over a minute. If you call for her, she squats down gracefully to her hands and then takes off in your direction, with a face that flips between great joy and fierce determination. But sometimes, when properly motivated, she will take a step or two before making her controlled descent.
All in all it was a lovely weekend, and even though I worked 6 hours on Sunday, I got to do it from my kitchen table while watching my two little ones giggle and play. And they really do play. The interaction between the two of them continues to be the very brightest spot in what was already a pretty bright life. I'm exhausted, but can't help smiling right now just thinking about them.
Alright, I've caught up on my DVR'd shows (Glee was a huge disappointment, I agree with this review completely), two missed glasses of wine (not a disappointment), and my pictures and blogging, so it's time for bed. I need to rest up for our next discovery deadline and my upcoming Easter Bunny duties! I can't believe there was ever a time I really believed that a giant bunny hopped to my house and hid my Easter basket and eggs, but Landon is totally on board and I can't disappoint.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I have way too much work to do on way too little sleep to write any of the posts buzzing around in my head, so I'm going to cop out and post something someone else wrote. A famous, funny, and awesome someone - Ms. Tina Fey. You may have already seen it, but my co-worker sent this poem to me last week and it made me giggle on an otherwise crappy afternoon. Hopefully it will do the same for you (or, even better, make you giggle on an already awesome afternoon).
The Mother's Prayer for Its Daughter
from Bossypants by Tina Fey
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the the Beauty.
When the Crystal Meth is offered,
May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half
And stick with Beer.
Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the nearby subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock N’ Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.
Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.
Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes
And not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.
May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.
Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.
Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long,
For Childhood is short- a Tiger Flower blooming
Magenta for one day-
And Adulthood is long and Dry-Humping in Cars will wait.
O Lord, break the Internet forever,
That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers
And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister,
Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends,
For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord,
That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 a.m., all-at-once exhausted,
bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck.
“My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental note to call me. And she will forget.
But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
(Has anyone read the book? The reviews are really good and my dad loved it; it may be my first non-fiction book purchase since I was in school and forced to read them.)
Friday, April 15, 2011
That should say "shopping spree," but I didn't quite want to admit that's what happened yesterday, and since I also did a whirlwind closet clean-out from 8-9:30 pm last night, this could also be "spring cleaning," so I'm going with Spring Spree. It's really most accurate.
It started when I was reading my morning emails in bed yesterday (I prefer not to rise until I know what I'm facing for the day) and saw that Ann Taylor was having a "40% off the whole store" sale. I go through phases with Ann Taylor. Nearly everything I've bought from there has been very well made and has lasted a long time, but it's very expensive and I frequently go months without liking their collections. Lately though, it's just been "on" for me. I stopped in at lunch and ended up with 12 things in the dressing room, all of which I loved and which looked really great on (and I am a very tough critic). In the trying-on process I realized I was back to my smallest size and felt I should celebrate by spending money. I walked out with 5 things -- 3 work dresses, a blazer, and a woven shirt. Two items were already on sale and everything got an extra 40% off, but wow, that's still a very unusual amount of money for me to spend at one time. But I was GIDDY. I absolutely loved every single item and I felt prettier just carrying them around the mall. I was giggly all afternoon, gave JP and the kids a fashion show, and then, once the kids were in bed, embarked on a full closet clean-out, organization fest just so my new dresses would have a nice place to stay.
The end result:
I go through my closet regularly, but now that I realized I could fit in to all my old clothes, I pulled out all the in-between-sizes I had lurking around for early pregnancy/postpartum and ruthlessly removed items I used to love but haven't worn in years but keep around because I think there must have been some reason I loved that shirt and maybe I'll want it again. My goodwill pile is enormous and will make some career-oriented woman very happy. I know no one sees your closets, but it makes me happy on the inside to know everything is hanging nicely as it waits for me to visit.
Someone asked how I organize my shoes in a blog comment a few weeks ago, and this shows most of it. We had this flat wall in the closet next to the door frame that you really couldn't do anything with, so I nailed 2 big shoe organizers straight to the wall. I keep almost all my daily heels there, my flip flops/sandals are in a laundry bin on the floor, my boots are lined up along the back wall, and my fancy dress shoes are in their boxes on little shelves in JP's half of the closet (he loves that my pink satin rhinestone pumps are next to his suits, it adds some brightness to that corner).
This morning, as happens when you've realized your body is different and whole new sections of your closet are either opened up or closed off, it took me forever to get ready. I was trying on things I hadn't worn in two years. Even though I could hear the seconds ticking away in my head, I had so much fun- so many new outfit combos are available to me! Clairebear helped. I finally settled on this: jeans, crazy striped asymmetrical shirt that is really so unlike me I can't imagine what made me buy it but I love it, my new blazer, and black pumps. I've never had a blazer that wasn't part of a suit and I just love this one. It's hard for jackets to look good on me because of the broad shoulder, narrow hips, wider waist issue, but I think this one does.
I even rolled up the sleeves to reveal the black and white polka dot lining and show how much I'm pushing my fashion boundaries (I think I generally look put together, but I am very boring). I love clothes that make you feel good all day- this jacket does that and I can also wear it over two of the dresses I bought (and a million other things of course, but I'd never mastered the jacket over dress combo until these items). I really can't wait to wear my new dresses, I love them so.
As an extra part of the Spring Cleaning part of my Spring Spree, I also put photos in these frames I bought at Marshall's a few weekends ago. I felt our living room walls were still a teensy bit bare, but I didn't want any shelves or knick knacks or anything like that, so I went for pictures. Plus, we didn't have any in that room. The frames were very inexpensive and go perfectly with our light fixtures and general downstairs decor. JP had a heck of a time hanging them (there was lots of cursing and glaring- apparently cheap frames don't hang so well), but they look great now!
I read your comments on the bluebonnet post and picked the photo of the two kids just looking at the flowers because you're right, it's so sweet, and then I added the "good" picture and the fraught picture. The two larger prints are my two faves of Landon and Claire and while I initially said I'd update them in a year or so, I'm no longer sure I will.
My parents and siblings are coming over tomorrow to celebrate my dad's 55th birthday. I'm baking homemade carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and a few other things. It's going to be fun and delicious, and I'm totally going to make them admire my new dresses.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I woke up in Chicago today- woke up in a Four Season's hotel room, with a full view of the lake, with the bright sun bouncing off the water and straight into my eyes. I sprang out of bed and slammed the black out drapes closed, but there was at least 2 seconds before I realized how early it was and how little sleep I'd gotten and how scratchy my eyes and throat felt, that I just felt happy. And now after two extra post-sunrise hours of sleep, I'm back to pure happiness. I really truly love this beautiful city.
I flew up yesterday morning to attend a 1L recruiting event at the law school. I went to this event last year at 6 months pregnant, and while that was fun, it was a whole lot more fun without the big baby belly and with the drinking of alcohol. I love recruiting - love talking about being a lawyer, love talking about my firm (which, even if I have occasional bouts of job dissatisfaction really is a fabulous place to work), love talking to law students, love excuses to be back in Chicago on the corporate expense account doing all of the above... I only wish I could stay longer. But I made the trip count- I flew in early so I could meet two of my best friends from law school for lunch, one of whom lives in Chicago and one of whom lives in NYC but was here with her own firm for the event. I wish I could force all my law school friends to move down south- law school gave me the closest group of girl friends I've had since middle school and I miss them so much when we're scattered around the U.S. (and we really are scattered: Chicago, NYC, DC, Boston, LA, Austin). But at least I'm comforted with our regular visits and the fact that time disappears any time we're together. After lunch I spent over an hour walking around my city. I miss walking and I really miss living in a city with a bustling downtown.
I headed to the southside at 4, and at some point during the cab ride I realized that I've now been out of law school for just about as long as I was in it. That struck me for some reason. I'm really a lawyer now, and I like it. I've never looked at the law students and wished to be back in their shoes. I miss my friends, I miss the life of a student, and I now have an appreciation and almost awe for just how much the University of Chicago taught me how to think about the law, but I'm quite happy on this side of the JD. The event went very well. I was by myself because the UChicago hiring partner couldn't make it, but that was just as well because I got to be much less formal and just have fun chatting with all the students who came by my table. After the event I took two of our future summer associates out for dinner. It was a Tuesday night, so I assumed most restaurants would have plenty of tables, but no, apparently lots of people eat out at fancy places at 8 pm on Tuesday. Given my usual Tuesday night routine of working on the couch while watching Glee and maybe enjoying a small glass of wine, this kind of blew my mind. A mid-week social life, what?
Dinner was lots of fun. I like our two summers a lot, though neither of them will be in the Austin office. We finished up at 11:30 (11:30! pm! it was madness) after a dessert of warm brownies with homemade chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (We ate at Gilt Bar- if you live in Chicago, go there and order the roast chicken, it's insanely good. I've never had my mouth water over a chicken entree, I'm a steak girl all the way, but this was pretty much the best chicken I've ever had in my life). I've been sleeping terribly the past few days- getting 4 and 5 hours of cobbled together tossing and turning, so I took two strong sleeping pills, crawled in bed, and prayed for some rest. And I got it- at least until the sun came up.
So it's been a good trip. I loved being back in the law school- without the stress of being a student, it's really a lovely place. Several classmates were there with their firm, so it's a mini reunion of sorts, and I got to see a few old professors. The only downside is losing an entire day and a half of billable hours, but it was worth it. And now I'm heading home in an hour to my little Clairebiscuit, who I really missed, and my Lanman, who no one could believe is about to turn 4. I can't either. In my mind, the time since I've graduated always feels like about a year, it's really hard to believe it's been three.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
For those who don't live in Texas, it is a requirement of state citizenship to place your small children amongst a patch of bluebonnets (our noble state flower), and take pictures to post on your fridge and facebook feed. The flowers grow in mass around here, particularly along roads with very high speed limits, so the highways in and around Austin are littered with people snapping photos of their color coordinated children bravely trying to smile as cars fly by at 85 miles an hour. It might not be our smartest tradition, but it's an important one, and the flowers really are pretty.
We never attempted these photos with Landon- he's not a native Texan, something I'm inordinately proud of, and I just never felt the need. But now we have our little Texas cowgirl and suddenly I felt compelled to get a picture of the two of them in a bed of blue flowers. I spied a patch of them in the little field across from Costco (really, drainage ditch; climbing down was not our classiest moment, but I refuse to take them next to the highway- the Biscuit moves quickly and without warning), so we stopped by yesterday evening on our way out to dinner. It didn't go quite as planned.
Setting the scene: Landon has been promised fruit snacks if he behaves and smiles; Claire has been promised nothing but is usually a reliable smiler so no one was worried about her.
Landon: Look I'm smiiiiliiinnnggg, I'm smiiiliiinnnggg!
Claire: Um why am I on a bunch of prickly green stuff? What? Smile? I have never been expected to perform under these conditions.
Landon: Clairebear, it's okay, just smile. I've got fruit snacks riding on this.
Claire: No, seriously, what's going on here?
Landon: See Claire, this is so fun, you love it.
Claire: I do not.
Landon: Yes you do! So much love!
Claire: Can I eat them?
Landon: Actually, I'm not sure.
Mommy: Lets move to a new spot.
Claire: I hate this.
Landon: The fruit snacks are going to be worth it. The fruit snacks are going to be worth it.
Claire: Why do you keep saying peek-a-boo? Get me off this grass!
Landon, to self: What if the fruit snacks aren't worth it?
Landon: Okay, this is itchy, I don't want my fruit snacks.
Claire: I hate fruit snacks.
Mommy: Please guys, just one picture!
Landon: Okay Claire, we can do it, just one picture. Do it for my fruit snacks.
Claire: I am fraught.
Mommy/Daddy: Peek-a-boo!! Cheese!! Please just smile!! ... Landon why is your foot in the air?
Mommy: Whatever, I'll crop it out. That's a wrap. Fruit snacks for everyone!
Thursday, April 7, 2011
My little Clairebear turned 10 months old on Monday, bringing her within two mere months of her first birthday, and making her mommy very sad about the swift passage of time. Because I don't know how it's possible, but our little baby Biscuit has gotten even more lovable and full of fabulous and I need her to freeze in this baby, pre-toddler stage for at least 3-4 years.
At 10 months, Claire is busy. She has no regard for her own safety. She is constantly moving. She has much to say. She will not be ignored. She is playful; she will chase you. She will crawl straight off your bed, fall to the ground, and keep on crawling. She hugs. She wants to help. She will smile over her shoulder with a mix of joy and devilment before crawling full speed towards the nearest electrical outlet, yanking out your phone charger, and popping it in her mouth. She can do anything anyone bigger can do, and probably do it better.
She falls asleep in seconds, she wakes up happy. She eats everything, including many inedible objects and every food product we have given her. She grabs at her hair when frustrated. She squawks when she wants the food on your plate. She smiles all the times in between. She wants to do everything her brother does. She does everything her brother does. She loves her dogs. She adores her daddy. She stands unassisted. She tries to walk. She falls down smiling. She giggles. She wants to bump foreheads. She is fascinated by the shower. She alternatively loves and hates the bathtub. She likes music and bops up and down to the beat. She wants to be chased. She likes to be held, except when she wants to go faster than speed at which you are carrying her. She is fierce. She loves her mommy.
She is the mighty Biscuit. And she couldn't be move loved, nor could she love us more in return. For all my amazement that she's already ten months old, most of the time I just can't believe we've only known her that long.