Friday night was the first night it was just the original 5 of us in our Kingwood house since the night before my own wedding in 2005, so that was fun- eating dinner in the dining room in our correct seats and sleeping in our correct rooms and beds, and we found the perfect wedding dress for my sister, so that was even better. I got back to Fort Worth late Saturday night (4+ hours of driving alone at night in a car with a broken radio and a dead phone; I literally ran out of things to try to make myself think about and became irate with anyone going less than 10 miles over the speed limit), so all the kids were already in bed, and because this awesome baby sleeps 11-12 hours at night now, I didn't get to see her until 6:30 a.m. this morning. I'm honestly not sure she knew who I was.
But after about an hour of bottle and cuddle time, she decided to keep me anyway.
I really missed all my favorite faces, though after the initial thrill of finding me in my bed at 8 a.m. this morning (the exclamation from Claire was pretty adorable, "Wandon look! Mommy is HERE!! Just where she's 'opposed to be!!"), they weren't really sure they needed a picture to commemorate my return. Particularly while Wild Kratts was on.
But back to Cora- is every new baby the best baby? Do they just keep getting easier because they're actually easier or because you're better and too distracted by your other children to really note the days they aren't so easy? Because Cora is like a dream and this maternity leave has been some of the most fun and relaxing and wonderful 12 weeks of my motherhood so far. We go to Mommy and Baby Yoga! I exercise! I make dinners and cuddle Cora and do a lot of wedding planning for my sister. I meet up with my best friends from work every Monday for lunch, but am otherwise relatively isolated (normally my least favorite part about maternity leave) and I haven't been unhappy about it at all.
Cora's face the first morning after she slept for 12 hours straight;
JP's and mine were equally joyful
I think the difference is that this time JP is home with me every day until noon- he's often busy on the phone or computer, but he's around, so I get the companionship and the ability to leave the house to do things like morning barre class, while still getting to spend the bulk of the day cuddling Cora while we bond over HGTV. I have loved getting to eat lunch with him every day at our dining room table, passing Cora back and forth and talking about how cute she is- I think I'm going to miss him as much as Cora when I go back to work in 10 days.
And speaking of going back to work, I'm truly sad that my maternity leave is ending, but I'm not sad to go back to work, if that makes sense. I like working and returning to a job where I have almost total control over my schedule is WORLDS different from the jumping off a cliff feeling I had the night before I went back to the firm after Claire was born. Back then I wrote this, knowing that it would be fine once I got going again, but thinking "It's just that sitting here on the outside of it all, it's a little sad and scary to jump back in. Work represents such a decrease in control over my life. Right now the only thing that messes with our plans is us. But tomorrow I return to a world where an email can interfere with a weekend and a crappy assignment can affect your mood and I have this slightly desperate desire to just to hold it all away from me."
I will feel none of that the night before I go back to this job and any time I think I miss the money or the occasional bits of glamour that the law firm brought me (I do miss the Christmas party), I think about the above and am fully consoled. But I will miss my days lazing about the house holding Cora and talking to JP through the door between the TV room and his desk in the sun room. It has been absolutely lovely.
My maternity leave should actually end this week, but I'm tacking on an extra week of vacation so we can drive to Colorado (oh yes, drive! 14 hours with my car seat hating 12-week-old) to go skiing. We've been planning and saving for this trip since I was about 2 months pregnant and thanks to a condo hook-up through a bloggy friend (thanks Dinei!), our willingness to drive and make most of our meals in the condo, and JP's big summer last year, we will be skiing for 2 days! (JP and me free on the mountain; Landon and Claire in ski school; Cora in childcare with no idea why she was dragged along) and generally exploring the snow and mountains for 2 more. We are seriously so excited. Less excited about the fact it's supposed to snow in both Fort Worth and Frisco on the Friday we'll be driving between the two, but excited to be there and do our very favorite activity with our favorite little people. It's been 2 years since our last trip and Landon still talks about it, so we are pumped to make memories on the slopes again!