Thursday, July 28, 2011

10 Minute Ramble Update

My August:
  • Palo Alto, CA: Aug 1-3 (prep of 30(b)(6) deposition witness)
  • Seattle, WA: Aug 9-11 (taking depo of other side's 30(b)(6) witness)
  • Palo Alto, CA: Aug 15-17 (final prep and depo of our 30(b)(6) witness)
  • Somewhere, NC: Aug 17-19 (taking depo of other side fact witness)
  • Chicago, IL: Aug 24-26 (interviewing 2Ls at UChicago's OCI)
My today:

Claire sent home with a fever yesterday afternoon.  I dumped everything on my desk in a box and raced to daycare.  We snuggled and worked fairly well together. This morning she seemed all better, so we called back-up care and had a nanny come to the house to hang out with her while JP and I had crazy days at work.  I worked non-stop all day.  I drove home at 3:00 to check on Claire and give her more tylenol for what we assumed was teething.  She was super hot with a temp of 102.8.  She was happy when I arrived, sobbing when I left. I had a 5:30 call with the President and CEO of our client, the general counsel of our client, the general counsel of the parent company of our client, and our 30(b)(6) witness. I was the only person on the call from my firm and it took four days to get all these people to find 1 hour of time to talk to me.  I could not miss this call. I hated leaving Claire.  It was the first time in 3 years I honestly felt that working made me a bad mom.  The nanny was rocking and singing to her, I believed Claire was safe and being cared for as best anyone who isn't me or JP could do, but it just freaking sucked.  I got back to work, shook myself off, and prepped for the scariest call I've ever hosted by myself.  I got text updates from the nanny every 30 minutes telling me the Claire's fever was going down.  When the call began at 5:30 it was down to 100.2.  The call went well and I came home to a much perkier baby eating macaroni and cheese by the fistfull.  She's sleeping soundly with a temp of 99.5.

My internal struggle:

I hate that I left her this afternoon.

I hate that I'll be out of town over half the working days in August. 

I hate that because all my trips are during the week, I'm not actually missing that many hours with my kids.

I really like my job. I love that I'm getting the experience and responsibilities of a much more senior associate.   I love that I've earned my way to a spot on the core team of a complicated, sought after case outside my usual practice area. When I am in my office, I am completely happy 90% of the time.

I hate that it means I don't get to sleep and my DVR is full of shows I can't watch and I miss my kids so damn much.

A friend asked me yesterday if I thought I'd go part-time now that JP was working. I was shocked she thought I'd want to.  I don't. 

I don't know how to reconcile that with the fact that I also hate the borderline out-of-control litigation schedule I have right now and I really really hated that I had to leave Claire today.

I don't know.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lunch Break

My 10-year high school reunion is this Saturday. I knew it was coming, but was still surprised this morning when I realized that July 30th was only 5 days away. The dress is "cocktail attire," and while I have a lot of lovely work dresses, I wasn't happy with my few rather worn cocktail dresses. I tried on the one I wore to my firm's "prom" back in 2008, but I couldn't zip it up more than 2 inches past the waist. It's probably good that I can't fit in to something that was skin tight even at my unhealthy post-Bar skinniest, but it was still a depressing moment.

So I decided to give myself 60 minutes out of the office today at lunch to find a new dress. I found this one in 10 and I LOVE it.

Ten minutes after that, I found these shoes. I love them even more than the dress (and only 2 units of love less than I love my rainbow shoes).

Are they not 4.5 inches of fabulous? (and way better than the shoes they put on the dress model above?)

I am suddenly VERY excited about this reunion. I'm making JP go because I figure anything without kids can be called a date night, even if 100+ other people are going to be there. Plus, he's hot and I want to show him off. (I should really make him read this blog every now and then, I say such nice things.) And, since I've decided the only thing that can make my dress look better is a glass of champagne, he's going to be my designated driver.

I tried on my dress and shoes when I got home from work today. Landon clapped and told me I looked like a princess, Claire was unimpressed, and JP just stared. Success! And I can wear the whole ensemble to the annual firm formal this fall AND to my friend's black tie wedding in the spring. And I don't need any jewelry besides a pair of gunmetal grey studs I already own! It was one of my most productive lunch breaks ever- forty minutes after leaving work I was on my way back with a dress, shoes, and to-go bag of tacos (the dress and shoes, while lovely, were not filling) feeling giddy with my post-shopping high. A high which was soon crushed by a mountain of work and depo prep and emails.

On an entirely unrelated note, I finally picked up the video camera when Claire and Landon were playing with the dump truck. I feel like it captures both the adorableness of the two of them together, and also shows how they restore my soul. Work is crazy and JP and I are still figuring out this new life we're living, but when we sit down to dinner together as a family or when I hear the kids giggle and shriek together, the shot of happiness I get keeps things feeling more balanced than they really are.

I can't watch that video without laughing. And watching it, with my two children playing in the house my husband and I bought together, makes high school feel a whole lot further away than just 10 years!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Alternate Means of Transportation

Claire now prefers to travel by dump truck.


Fast is her favorite.


But sometimes it's nice to go slow, to better contemplate life and the ways she can top her own awesomeness.


Sometimes she just sits in the truck bed, resting her legs before her next run up the stairs or other attempt at mayhem. Other times she'll go searching for her dump truck and will push it, hunched over with a determined look in her eye, to the room we're all in, just to climb in the back and hang out with us for a while.


But my favorite is when she climbs in and yells "LA-NA!" In moments, her Landon comes running to push "his baby" wherever she wants to go.


I love the watching them come up with new ways to play together, separate from JP and me.  Their combined giggles make my heart happy and the time they spend together not only enables me do things like make dinner and maintain my sanity, but with each loop of the dump truck through the kitchen and every laugh and delighted shriek I hear coming from the play room, they actually restore my sanity (and my smiles).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Untenable, part Bacon

I billed 10 hours yesterday. JP worked 16. He left the house at 5:30 a.m., before anyone was up, and I left with the kids at 7, making them the first ones at daycare and me the first one on my floor at work. I left the office at 5:30, collected the kids and their many accessories, and got us all home about 6:05. Once there, I started dinner and the daily cleaning of all the tiny food containers from their lunch boxes, when suddenly, I noticed the back door was unlocked. Hmmm. We have a housekeeper who comes twice a month and I realized she must have left it open after cleaning the window on the door. I made a mental note to talk to her about it, let the dogs outside, and got back to dinner. About 10 minutes later my home phone rang. I ignored it, intent on boiling water before Claire pitched a starvation fit, but then I heard a teenage girl's voice over the answering machine saying, "Hi... I think I might have your dogs?... I found them near the [super busy intersection half a mile from our house]..." I grab the phone, run out in to the backyard, and sure enough- our back gate was wide open. Our gate has never been open. And it was open on the day that my back door was also unlocked. Panicking on several levels, I talk to the very nice girl who picked up my giant dogs (in her 2-door civic, no less; "I just opened the door and they jumped in, they seemed very excited about it") and said she'd be happy to drive them over. I ran out to the driveway to meet her, thanking her profusely as I hear Claire is screaming from her highchair because I've left the house. Landon runs after me, another big stray dog comes over and jumps up on him, knocking him to the ground, and then my neighbor's dog gets out and runs over just as the very kind stranger pulls up in her car with my dogs' heads jutting out the window, barking at the 2 new dogs now running up to my garage. Eventually everyone's dogs go back to their owners, I thank the girl one last time (turns out, she's a lifeguard at the community pool and knows JP from all his coaching), and I get back in the house to start making dinner at the time I normally have the kids in the tub. We continue on with the evening, and I eventually tuck both kids in bed at 7:45. Then I clean up the kitchen, call the house keeper, pack the next day's lunches and snacks for the kids, and get back to work, emailing one of our 30(b)(6) witnesses with a list of tasks to do to prepare for his upcoming deposition. JP gets home at 9 and eats over his laptop while continuing to work, and we're both in bed around 11.

This morning JP left at 5. I got up at 6:30 to an email from my 30(b)(6) witness who is now refusing to cooperate and wants to withdraw from the depo. I shuffle the kids through the morning routine, increasingly panicking over how much I have to do at work. Landon flips out because he can't see the end of Curious George. I pack his breakfast to-go and get them both in the car and start driving to daycare, pondering what happened with my witness and how mad the senior attorneys will be at me when they find out he's defecting. Like he does every morning, JP calls to talk to the kids through the bluetooth in the car. Unlike every other morning, I burst in to tears and pull over on the side of the road. Claire's happily yelling "dada! dada!", Landon wants to know why we're not moving, and I can't figure out what I'm crying about. JP asks what's wrong and all I can say is I can't do all of this by myself. And I just want someone to tell me I'm doing a good job, but there's no one to say that, and right now I feel like it would probably be a lie anyway. I try to get a hold of myself and JP seems rather stunned by the change in our usually jolly morning convo, but he sympathizes and says he'll figure out a way to be home more, and oh by the way, I'm about to step in a meeting, I'm actually standing outside the door for my quick "hi," are you okay to keep driving now?

The kids go to daycare, I go to work. Though I don't normally do breakfast, I need some sort of comfort food and it's too early for candy. I head down to the cafe, order 3 strips of bacon, and clutch them in my hand while riding back up the elevator. I lock myself my office (with my bacon) and get to work. Hours later, things are a little better. The witness situation had nothing to do with me, and really, it's all going to be okay. I wish I could have written about Monday or Tuesday mornings, when everything went so smoothly and the kids were so adorable and Landon was pushing Claire around the house in his giant dump truck, or Monday night when we had a nice dinner together and played a game of memory before having family story tickle time on Landon's bed. Overall, more days are like that. But the days that aren't feel so overwhelming so fast, leaving me wondering how is it possible to work this much, at home and at the office, and still feel so lacking?

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Very Batman Birthday

So, Landon's birthday weekend! It happened, it was super fun, and it was all over and cleaned up by 12:30, leaving us with 36 hours of weekend to enjoy.  I'm think I'm in love with morning parties.

We went for a Breakfast with Batman theme. It started because Landon wanted all of his friends to come to his house and he's really in to superheroes, but I had no idea what to do with 15-20 4-year-olds (we're still at the "invite the whole daycare class" phase).  Then a co-worker mentioned a Batman party she'd done for her daughter's fourth birthday (four is the year of the Batman, apparently), a party for which she hired Batman. As it turns out, you can rent yourself a Batman (a kid appropriate Batman) for half the cost of going to a bounce house!  Who knew?!  I threw in the "breakfast" idea because I like alliteration, kids like breakfast, and it's too freaking hot in Austin in July to do anything after 12.

Invitations went out (thank you tinyprints for letting me design an invitation at 1 a.m.) and the list-making began!


The real birthday was Friday.  It began with opening presents (Batman backpack and lunchbox from Papa and Gigi!) and ended with pizza and a cupcake. 


It was a great day, made awesome by a voice mail left from Batman wishing Landon a Happy Birthday and a good sleep before meeting him tomorrow!  Landon was so excited he replayed the answering machine message AT LEAST 50 times.  He stood on his little step stool, tummy resting on the kitchen counter, finger hovered over the "play" button, ready to press it as soon as the current recording ended. On replay #52, I decided it was time for our little batman to go to bed.

(The red construction paper rectangles are the lasers coming out of his eyes, because Batman has fricking laser beams attached to his head.)

Saturday morning - party time! We were up early to prepare for the 9:30 start time, but luckily we kept things pretty simple.  The banner is courtesy of my friend Meredith who was making one for her son's 4th birthday party and mailed one to me because I was busy and stressed and she is awesome.  It's still hanging in our kitchen window.

Lots and lots of muffins.  Baked lovingly (from a box) by me.


Adult beverages (champagne was still in the fridge).


Fruit, sausage biscuits, muffins, cake, and a birthday boy -- we're all ready for our friends!


I had the table on the back patio set up for mask decorating (white mardi gras masks, adhesive jewels, and feathers), but all my pictures of that area have other kids and I try not to post pictures of other people's kids on my blog without knowing their thoughts on the matter.  And since I have a semi-private, non-facebook linked blog, it's hard to get thoughts.

After 30 minutes of mask making, muffin eating, and general merriment, Batman walked through our front door.


Holy geeze you guys, it was like a superstar had appeared. Kids were Freaking Out.  Landon wanted to know why he had a suitcase.  Also, where is the Batmobile?


Batman announced it was time to play with the parachute!  Kids are distracted by bright colors.


Then, magic! Batman has many talents.


Batman posed for pictures with the kids and then it was time for cake. (aka: CAKE!!)


Then Batman had to go. The kids were again VERY curious about how he was getting home. I kept them from finding out Batman drove a civic by decreeing no child was allowed in the front yard without parent, and then possibly suggesting they run to the backyard to see if he was flying away.

They ran to the backyard but just missed him.

And then, just like that, it was 11:00 and the party was over!  The goodie bags were given out, the kids were still smiley, and no naps were interrupted. Oh, and my house looked like this:


We told Landon we had to spend 30 minutes cleaning and then we could open presents. JP and I dealt with the kitchen and the leftovers while Landon made great progress on the play room (which I finished once we tucked our little ones in bed at 12:30).


He received many great superhero-themed toy items (making me very glad that we never buy him toys and very aware that his friends' parents know way more about cool toys than we do). Claire carefully recorded everything so we could write thank you notes on Sunday.


All in all, it was a really fun, relatively stress-free celebration of our little four-year-old.

Now I just need to figure out what to do for JP's 30th birthday coming up this fall...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Lanman

You've come a long way buddy.

From a preemie with respiratory distress syndrome and a troubling habit of forgetting to breathe, to a very cute, but absolutely exhausting baby:

To a sweet, funny, occasionally extremely frustrating kid, and a seriously awesome big brother.

I truly can't believe you're four, but I also can't believe we've only had you that long. Happy Birthday buddy, we love you so!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


It's been a few days since I've posted. We got back from Galveston around 2 pm on Monday. The kids finally went to sleep at 10:45 that Sunday night and have since reverted back to their normal fall-asleep-immediately-at-7:30 selves. Thank goodness because I feel like we're barely hanging on right now and kids who fight bedtime are simply not something we can handle.

The adjustment to JP working full-time has been... difficult. I don't think it would be so bad to have two normal working parents. But having a full-time BigLaw litigator with a busy deposition and upcoming trial travel schedule + a full-time business division leader with a 45-60 minute commute and an 80+ hour work week is simply untenable. Luckily my job is both very flexible and very close to home. I can leave every day at 5:30 and get the kids at 5:45. I can clean containers, sippy cups, and lunch boxes, chop and prepare food for the next day's lunches, make dinner, feed the dogs, serve dinner, clean up dinner, do bath time, read books, tuck the kids in bed, feed the cat, do laundry, and then log back in to work the extra two hours I missed during the day because I did the daycare drop-off and pick-up and I hate making the kids leave the house too early in the morning. I can do all of that, and it's fine and the kids are happy and our schedule hasn't really changed, but I can't do all of it forever.

JP is leaving the house at 5 a.m. and getting home at 9 p.m. (and then working at the kitchen table till 11 or 12). Some days he makes it home in the middle of dinner, most days he doesn't. Some days he can be there in the morning, most days he can't. I miss him, miss our time together, miss his help- and hate that when I'm frustrated and tired of doing everything, I can't even yell at him because he quite literally cannot do more. We call him on the phone at night and Landon asks where he sleeps. Claire cried when he picked her up yesterday. Not. Tenable.

I don't know the point of writing this, except perhaps to gift it to those who liked to tell me I had it too easy or my blog should come with a warning label. As I say every night when he calls and tells me resignedly that he'll be home late again, "it is what it is." I knew I'd feel the loss of JP as an awesome stay-home-most-of-the-day husband, but I understood that he wanted to pursue the career he went to business school to begin. I'd want that too. And we knew he'd work a lot, but we had no idea he'd work this month. Apparently there's some sort of crisis because he said all of his co-workers are complaining a lot about the unusually high hours. I hope it changes soon. Our goal is to make it a year. In one year we can pay off all my student loans with an interest rate of 7% or greater (nearly $60,000 worth; sadly, not quite half my total). I'll make myself calm down about the rest of it (I've never even had a credit card balance before, debt stresses me the f- out) and we'll reevaluate. If his schedule doesn't change by September, we'll reevaluate sooner. I can't do 100% of the home/child tasks and my job, and when push comes to shove, I still make twice what he does, so if one of us needs to make a change, it has to be him. Plus, while he genuinely likes his work and his co-workers, it's killing him to see so little of the kids (and I can't imagine they appreciate it much either).

Two nights ago, when I was talking to JP on his 10 pm drive home (because his commute is now the only time we can talk), he asked how daycare pick-up went. "Good," I said, wanting to move on to a discussion of our weekend plans. "But what did Claire do when she saw you?" pressed JP, "Did she smile and clap? or just smile?" "Umm, both, I think?" "Did she run up to you or did you walk over to get her? Did she give you a hug? Was she holding her favorite green snail toy?"

Wow, I thought, as he made me recount in great detail exactly how the Biscuit greeted me, he really misses them. And he misses being part of all the logistics that I want to complain about. And then, after years of wishing he had a traditional, steady-paying corporate job, I found myself saying, "have you thought about starting another swim school?"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Summer Vacation

Three weeks ago, when JP and I were both working way too much, I decided that our plan to forego a family vacation in order to spend money solely on our high-interest grad school debt was a terrible idea. This revelation came to me at 1 a.m. and by 1:30 a.m. we had a condo booked for two nights in Galveston. It's not exotic, but I didn't want to waste much time traveling (4 hour drive), didn't want to do much research (I'd stayed there when I was a kid), and didn't want to spend much money (only 2 nights and bringing all our own food). Landon was thrilled and JP and I were getting pretty excited ourselves.

A week later JP found out he absolutely couldn't miss work that Monday. That stunk, but we decided to take two cars so the kids and I could stay the 2nd night (the condo had a 2 night minimum with no refunds). We remained doggedly excited. The four co-workers who sit closest to me in the office had returned from their fabulous destination- Italy, France, Colorado, and Disneyworld, so I was even more determined that our sad little vacation was going to be FUN.

And it was, until right now. It's 10pm on my solo 2nd night, and Landon is awake in his room watching a movie after crying FOREVER (it blew his mind to see a bedroom with a TV in it; a way bigger shock than the giant freaking ocean out his window), Claire is in my bed sleeping fitfully (a first for both of us; she usually sleeps like a rock and I've never had one of my kids in my bed before), and I'm thinking we should have taken one car, left today, and eaten the cost of the condo. I don't think my kids have ever fought sleep this much. I'm so tired (stayed up way too late the last two nights reading) and they're both in that hellish wakeful, yet exhausted and very tearful place.

--- 45 minutes later ---

And now it's 10:45. I found Landon watching the credits of Toy Story at 10:15; apparently he's like his mama and can't fall asleep during movies. He's now calm and quiet and hopefully drifting to sleep in his room. Claire, after waking up every 5 minutes to cry and attempt to stand up in my very tall bed, is now calm and quiet and hopefully asleep in her pack-and-play in the 2nd bathroom. Back when JP said he'd have to head back Sunday, I'd thought, well, we'll miss you, but I'll just spend my Sunday night leisurely sipping a glass of wine and writing a blog post about our trip as I listen to the waves crash on the beach. Ha, no.

But up until 8 pm today, our vacation had been going so well. We planned nothing out in advance, and but for a 90 minute, $3 sojourn around the Strand this morning (Landon got a mood ring), we've either been on the beach, at the pool, or playing on the balcony looking out at the beach. I still hate salt water and think of sand as my personal nemesis, but I'd forgotten how much I loved a good ocean breeze and the sound of the waves hitting the shore.

And now my kids truly are asleep and I must follow, so here's My Summer Vacation in pictures and 40 words or less:


and frolicking,


and swimming,

working (constantly, poor JP)

and exploring,

breakfast and cartoons in bed,

wave watching.

and lots and lots of precious time spent together:

(making it all so worth it.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Landon, right now

Landon turns 4 in eight days and I'm starting to realize how very much you forget from kid-to-kid and year-to-year, so I'm going to try to capture the essence of the Lanman by sharing a few stories and conversations we've had in the past few days. Because, while I know I've written this so many times, he's just so much fun right now.

Landon remains the consummate big brother. He is always concerned for Clairebear's happiness and well-being, even as she now shuns most of his affection. JP and I frequently hear Landon trying to direct Claire to some super fun activity, imagine Claire walking fast in the opposite direction, and then hear Landon saying, "okay, let's go do that!" As we joke, he just wants her to love him, and Claire, she just wants to rule the world.

Claire has recently taken up hitting. She thinks it's hilarious; we do not. The other day, she walked up to Landon and popped him on the head. We scolded her, but Landon said, "it's okay Mommy, when I was a baby I hit my big brother too." It took us a little while to straighten him out on that one...

Later that day he suddenly said with a sigh, "Mommy, Clairebear isn't a baby anymore. Pretty soon she's going to be a big kid like me. We need another baby." I suggested a goldfish.

His teacher just got married and is on her honeymoon. When I picked him up from daycare yesterday he said, "Mommy! We saw a picture of Ms. Ari getting married and she was BEAUTIFUL."

Then, "Did you and daddy go on a honeymoon?"
Yes, I said, we went on one later.
Landon, "But who watched us?"
Me, "You weren't born yet sweetie."
Landon, "What?!"

For as utterly laid back as he is and as well behaved as he is, he is not at all apathetic or lackadaisical. He excitedly flits from one activity to the next. He has opinions about everything, they're just very rarely negative (JP says he gets that from me). He loves to play superheroes, loves to "help" me cook, and LOVES to play outside. I think he has inherited his dad's athletic skill. He was holding a hat for JP to toss a ball in the other day. He asked for a turn to throw the ball and then proceeded to make all five shots he attempted, with JP moving the hat around. We were pretty impressed.

At almost-four, he goes to bed at 7:30, wakes up around 6:30(ish, we really don't know exactly when he gets up, but we'll hear him in Claire's room trying to make her laugh around 6:45), and takes a nap from 2-4 on weekends but never naps during the week at daycare. He eats all vegetables, all fruit, all carbs, and some meat. He plays on his own, but prefers to play with Claire or one of us. He loves his extended family and daycare teachers and always wants everyone to come to our house (again, definitely something he gets from me and not his dad). He has a stubborn streak that is identifical to his daddy's and watching the two of them butt heads on a regular basis is both amusing, frustrating, and a frightening glimpse of the teenage years ahead.

We got him a bike for his 4th birthday present. Since last weekend was the only time we could shop for one, we gave it to him a few days early. He loves it. I nearly had heat stroke following behind him on all the bike rides he requested over the weekend, but he did a great job on his new wheels. I think one of his friends must have recently gotten a bike because he told us over and over, "It's okay if I fall. Sometimes when you get a new bike, you fall down a lot, but it's okay. My helmet will keep my head from being bonked." He never did fall, but it cracked us up to hear his little pep talks about how that was okay.

I started this post two days ago and have been trying to pay attention to the less positive aspects of this age because I keep unintentionally leaving them out. The difficult moments are just so brief, or dealt with so quickly and completely (i.e. misbehavior, sent to room, apologies and reunions, moving on), that I honestly don't think of them when I think of him generally. But I'd say he still has one fit a day (more on weekends when we're together all day, probably an average of 2 or 3). Lately, it's like he's picking a fight because one isn't naturally available to him. For example, he'll request something reasonable for breakfast, I'll say okay, and then he'll suddenly cry out in a whiny voice, "but I wanted [new unreasonable thing]! You're not being fair!" And I look at him like he has a different head. Because, for that moment, it's like he does. I give him a chance to reconsider the tone of voice, to use his words to talk about what else he might like, and then send him upstairs if he can't get back on track (right now, he needs to go upstairs to restart 1 in 4 times or so, usually a look or warning snaps him back). We're pretty emphatic that the whiny voice (or any yelling, acting out, etc.) is not tolerated in the common family areas, but he is welcome to throw a fit in his own room with the door closed if he'd like and we look forward to having him back in the kitchen when he's done with that. He rarely takes us up on our offer.

He's such a kid now. Sometimes when I go to tuck him in at night, I see vestiges of that chubby cheeked little baby I held for hours on end nearly four years ago, but mostly, I just see a fun, independent, sweet KID. A kid who dresses himself every morning, puts his pj's away, puts on his own shoes, carries on long conversations with me, and talks incessantly about going to kindergarten- an event that is now only a year away.

And while I rejoice in his independence and budding big-personhood, I do love the little reminders of how much he loves and needs us. Last night JP had a meeting until 8 p.m. As I tucked Landon in bed at 7:30 I told him daddy would come give him a kiss when he got home later. I meant that daddy would come give a sleeping Landon a kiss when he got home, but when JP climbed up the stairs at 8:45 he found a little Lanman with his eyes WIDE open, like he was trying so hard to stay awake. And when JP came to sit by him, Landon slowly got a huge smile and whispered, "daddy you're here!". JP ended up turning on the light and reading him a few books before coming downstairs at 9 to eat dinner and change out of his work clothes. And while I had fleeting concerns for Landon's next-morning behavior, I knew JP needed those 15 minutes even more than Landon did.

So that's almost-four for us. But for a few daily, temporary bouts of madness, it's a pretty awesome age. He's still learning so much and is so excited about everything, he always makes the every day more fun. He's nearly beside himself with excitement over our trip to the beach this weekend. The first thing he asks in the morning is "how many more days?" and two nights ago, when I tucked him back under his covers at 11pm, he muttered "I'm going to the beach..." I hope Galveston lives up to his expectations, but one of the fun things about four is everything still does.