Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The A, part Almost Done

I pulled a few out of order because the answers were either too long or too hard, so if your question is missing, it is pending in part III.

Irrelevant, but fun from Monday

I would love to know some of your favorite quick weeknight dinner recipes!

I described most of them here. Now that I have time to cook (and we're not eating out), I've been making about 3-4 brand new recipes a week and filling in the other days with tried and trues: tomato cream sauce over pasta or ravioli, stir fry over rice, chilis and soups, and the occasional breakfast night. I try to do a night of chicken, a night of beef, a night of fish, and a few vegetarian meals. We eat a lot of pasta and a lot of vegetables, and when I do use beef, it is almost always for chili or a nice meaty pasta sauce. We usually do homemade pizza on Fridays. I have an easy crowd- JP loves leftovers (as I do) and the kids are great eaters. Landon told me last week when I made the Southwestern Quinoa Salad I described here that it was his "very favorite dinner" and we should have it every week. There is no way I would have touched that at his age, so I'm very thankful I have two kids less picky than I was (and probably still am).

Please do a post on your favorite/top blogs?

One of my big blogging regrets is that I no longer have the time to find new blogs. There are some great, frequent commenters on my blog and I'm sure I'd enjoy many of theirs, but I can barely manage to write in my own on a regular basis. Not having access to blogs and personal email during the day has really impeded my ability to waste time on the internet in the same way that I used to. But I do have a few long-time favorites that I try hard to stay up with:

  • Go Fug Yourself: celebrity fashion with a delightful amount of snark and talk of sandwiches
  • Tom and Lorenzo: high fashion, celebrity fashion, and the best television recaps on the internet (Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Project Runway, and others; they used to recap Glee, until it took a turn for the terrible a season ago).
  • amalah: because she's hilarious and curses in her blog as much as I do in my head
  • Academomia: PhD, three kids, funny as hell.  I've met her several times in Austin and have now hooked her up with one of my friends who has a little boy who might love weather nearly as much as Becca and her brood.
  • Magic Cookie: my first blawg, the woman I emailed the day before I started mine to ask, "hi, how do I start a blog and make people read it." and she actually wrote back. She had a baby in law school too and now has two kids and has lasted in BigLaw many months longer than I did.
  • And all the others listed in my blogroll in the sidebar on the right! I don't have any in there I don't still read every time they post.

You mentioned in a recent article an online savings account you used to save for you ski trip. I am definitely interested in something like this and would love to hear more about it!

We've had an online savings account at Ally bank for several years. When we opened it they were offering by far the highest interest rate in the market and we were banking all my summer associate money for 3L year when we planned to have a baby. Now their rate is pretty average (so, low), but we already have the account and they make it easy to set up autodrafts from your regular checking account into multiple Ally accounts. Plus, because it takes a few days to transfer funds between banks, it has kept us from dipping into savings too quickly in the past. For the 2012 ski trip, we had $300 drafted out of our checking account at the end of every month for a year into our "Family Vacation" Ally account. That account is now empty, but I hope we can get it started up again soon.

Any new shoes recently? :)

Sadly no. The shoe budget was the first casualty of the government lawyer lifestyle. I purchased one (1!) pair of shoes in all of 2012. A beautiful pair of tall, black leather, 3" heeled boots (with built in 1/2" hidden platform, so they're quite comfortable) that I ordered steeply discounted and magically in my size on zulilly with my grandparents' Christmas check. $55 for $150 boots. It was a Christmas miracle and I wear them a lot (with tights and skirts/dresses during the week and over skinny jeans on Fridays). Someday when I return to private practice I will glut myself on designer heels. Until then, I've unsubscribed from zappos, dsw, and emails because the memories were just too painful.

I was wondering the other day what happened to Rosie? Did you ever talk about her?

Rosie has had a new mom in Austin since January last year. In short, we felt we were never able to give Rosie the bottomless amount of love and attention she needed (and after such a horrible early life, she deserved all of it) and when a friend of a friend was looking for a dog after her longtime canine companion passed away, we thought it might be a good fit. They are both very happy together and we continue to get the occasional picture and update. (And I think Tex likes having JP all to himself.)

Do you ever feel cheated / bad about not having had a natural childbirth (I do; you seem more balanced than me about it)?

Not even the tiniest bit. I'm really the wrong person to ask because I absolutely did NOT want a natural birth and would have been extremely upset (and unprepared) had I ended up with one.

Both of my birth stories were perfect for me. With Landon I had a midwife I adored- a woman who was calm, knowledgeable, and whom I trusted to help me make decisions regarding a process that yes, involved my body, but about which I had no training or experience. Working with a certified nurse midwife meant that all of my check-up appointments were scheduled in a block twice as long as the office's OB appointments (she worked in a practice with 5 other midwives and 4 MDs) and I just always got the feeling that she truly loved women and loved working with them. Illinois allows CNMs to deliver in hospitals, so I felt I got all the benefits of a midwife during my pregnancy and labor (she was in the L&D room far more than an OB usually can be, she let me turn the lights way down, she doesn't use stirrups and doesn't break apart the bed as OBs are more inclined to do, JP was a big part of the process and always felt very involved and welcome; I loved her) and I still got to deliver in a hospital (a definite deal breaker for me) and have an epidural (another absolute deal breaker). And, since I ended up going into labor a surprise 5 weeks early and Landon was born unable to breathe on his own (another big surprise), it turned out to be a damn good thing I was only 1 level up from a top notch NICU. As long-time readers know, Landon ended up developing very bad bruising covering his head, sides, and feet due to delivery trauma, spent 12 days in the NICU getting his heart rate to regulate and learning to breathe on his own (and get off the feeding tubes, IVs, etc.), and then a whole bunch of other bad stuff happened when it was discovered he had partially healed rib fractures at 10 weeks old. In the end, the only cause that was ever agreed on by more than one specialist was that the fractures must have happened during birth. And so we decided all future, hopefully full term babies were coming out into the world via a different route. Claire was a planned c-section and it was also a really great experience. I know some people really hate the idea, but I've had surgeries before (one on my hips in high school; they're narrow, turned in, and generally messed up, so it wasn't shocking that Landon probably only made it out because he was premature and still suffered damage along the way) and I am happy and comfortable with doctors and hospitals. I loved my OB, who took great care to get me full-term, and I felt the OR was full of excitement and happiness for the birth of our baby girl (who, they discovered was wedged up against my pelvic bone and had a deep groove in her forehead because of it; Claire was 1.5 lbs. bigger than her brother and had never dropped, she wasn't going anywhere). It was a perfect day and we got to experience the joys of a sharing our hospital room with our new daughter and taking her home with us when we checked out, two things we missed out on with Landon. Should we have another baby, it will absolutely be another planned c-section and the thought doesn't bother me in the least.

Have you done any depositions or in-person interviews at your new job? How did they go? You've mentioned before being more shy in person than you come across here.

I've done a number of formal interviews, in-person and over the phone, since coming to the SEC, but nothing on the record. It's amazing how much less scary it all becomes when you aren't charging $400 an hour with a partner charging $800 an hour standing over your shoulder with their steady stream of opinions about how you're doing it wrong. In the high stakes litigation my firm generally did, depositions were a really big deal and there was rarely a time the client was willing to let an associate do one. At the SEC, we take interviews and testimony all the time and we can bring the witness back as often as we need, so there's usually a lot less pressure surrounding the whole thing. You start to realize, hey, I'm smart, of course I can do this! And you do and it's good (and it's really fun to remind the witness that it is a crime to lie to an officer of the Commission).

(Also, to the last point, I don't think I'm more shy in person, I'm really not shy at all, but I think I'm less confident. Or I was. I'm not sure that's true now, after 4 years at the firm and nearly a year at the SEC I'm a lot more comfortable and confident in my role as attorney and signer of subpoenas.)

Are you sleeping better? If yes, what worked? I struggle with insomnia too and the times when you've had it, I've wondered if it's pure stress.

No, I am not. My insomnia is definitely exacerbated by stress, but falling asleep in less than an hour or two has been a lifelong struggle for me. Exercise helps some, a regular bedtime helps too, and drugs help the most but not always. It's a continuing battle (and/or cage match) and I'm the loser far too often.

Landon seems like an amazing big brother, but I wonder if he had any trouble adjusting when (and before) she arrived. Any act-outs? Any advice you have to impart for any parents transitioning from 1 to 2? Thanks!!

He really didn't. We didn't do too much prep before Claire arrived, mostly because I didn't think the baby would be real to him until she showed up, but we did read this book a lot toward the end. He loved hearing about "our baby" and how he was going to be a big brother and could help us take care of her at first and then play with as she got bigger. He was super excited about the whole thing and from the day Claire was born, has been her biggest fan (of course, he didn't have to get up with her at 3 a.m.). I think it helped a lot that he stayed in his daycare throughout my maternity leave. He loved school, loved his friends, and the LOVED getting home to check on his "babyclaire." He's also just a super mellow kid who wants everyone to come to his house, play with his toys, and like what he likes. Claire fit the bill with all of that and no one was happier than Landon to have her around. After 2.5 years of sibling love and adoration, they have just now started to purposefully needle each other for the pure entertainment of making your sibling scream. It's annoying, but it brings back memories of me and my siblings, and I know we had a good run of pure peace while it lasted!

You mentioned that Landon wasn't quite ready for kindergarten last year. How is his progress?

Great! Honestly, he probably could have started on time, but that wasn't clear back then (plus we moved here the week of Kindergarten sign-up and didn't know the schools yet, etc.). He's made great strides in pre-K this year with his letters and reading, but the biggest change has been his newfound interest in learning them at all. His love of school has started to expand beyond his love of people and playtime and I think he is going to love Kindergarten, which from my memory, is a great combination of all of the above.

Have you kept up taking barre classes?

I was! and I really liked it. Unfortunately my 10 class pass ran out and another one isn't in our budget of Not Spending Anything Unnecessary Ever (except the surprise pair of Tall workout pants at Costco), but I miss it and am thinking we might just have to make room. It's a great class and is the only form of exercise I haven't found completely objectionable or loathsome since I stopped swimming.

Would you mind listing the paint colors you chose in your recent bathroom and bedroom remodels?

Not at all! Our bedroom is Sherwin Williams Silver Strand. It was the color we used in our Austin bedroom and I adore it. Our bathroom is Sherwin Williams Divine White. I like the color, but I now wish we'd used Silver Strand in there too, just because the tile on the floor is already so light and neutral. Our living room is Kelly Moore Bird Bath Blue. I picked it during a 20 minute lunch break the day the room was supposed to be painted. I love it. The kids' room is Kelly Moore Simply Heaven, another quick pick, but a lovely shade of bright blue that looks great with the navy and bright pink comforters.

And now, to bed, to fight the good fight against my body for the sleep my body so desperately needs. Last night I gave up around 1 a.m. and spend an hour reading the Downton Abbey wiki pages on my phone. I now know everything that is going to happen in Season 3, but it was better than staring at the ceiling or poking JP awake to tell him I'm not asleep yet. He loves it when I do that. Night!


  1. Unsubscribing from shopping website emails is a great help! I did the same when I started getting serious about wanting to make extra payments on my student loans. Without all the sale emails taunting me, new purchases aren't on my mind and I save a lot of energy by skipping the I-want-but-I-can't-have inner monologue.

  2. Quick comment on the kindergarten issue: My daughter is a few months older than Landon and is in kindergarten, and I have to admit that the length of the day and the focus required totally do her in almost every day. It's a great experience, though -- I don't regret it. It's just that I can see how young she is for it. When I went to kindergarten, the day was literally half as long. I would have never known the complexity of issues like this if I hadn't had a child, that's for sure.

  3. Me?? I'm so honored! You're one of my favorites too.

    1. You never forget your first love :).

  4. oooh! I'm excited to try the Southwestern Quinoa Salad! It sounds great! My one attempt to make quinoa led to my decision that I did not like the taste but maybe with the right ingredients :)

  5. My library has some Pure Barre fitness DVDs. I like the classes I go to better at my local pilates studio, but they work when you can't make it to class--still plenty of leg shaking while I rest my hand on my kitchen counter! I wonder if the FW library has something like that?

  6. I love reading these! And I'm honored to be on your blog list. Thanks for the link!

    Barre class sounds like so much fun! I hope you get to go back eventually!

  7. I forced D to make the quinoa salad - yummy!

  8. My son is an April '07 baby and we held him back. It a decision I fretted over (graduating from HS at 19 still shocks me), but I'm so glad we did it. He needed another year to be able to write his name, start reading, and just mature. He'll go into Kindergarten this Fall with so much more confidence I could literally cry. Good luck! From a neighbor in Arlington. :)