Sunday, June 29, 2014

Food, Princesses, and Splashing

I haven't posted a menu in a while, so we'll start there. Cora assisted me in my shopping today while the kids helped JP with yard work (Claire graciously volunteered to shop with me, but JP and Landon were not having it and off she went with a giant dust pan to scoop up the leaves Landon sweeps into piles on the walkways and patio).


It was Cora's first time in the big baby seat and she was VERY excited. There was much squealing and pumping of legs and "holding" of mommy's list.


I swear I'd put her in my purse and take her everywhere I go if I could. I think she'd be a real value-add in my settlement meeting tomorrow and testimony on Wednesday.

I actually had testimony last Friday and the night before it, JP and I went to bed too late, as always, at 11:55 p.m. At exactly 11:58 p.m. he jumped out of bed to throw up, and remained in that mode until nearly 4 a.m. I stayed awake the whole time in solidarity and noise/light sleep sensitivity. He finally passed out and then I finally passed out and then Cora started crying 80 minutes later. I soothed her, stumbled back in bed, and woke up 25 minutes later to get ready for work. It was rough. But the point of this little paragraph was to say that, while doing better, JP is still not very into food so we should have leftovers for the first time ever. This week's menu relies on it:

Sunday: penne with vodka cream sauce; garlic bread
Monday: caprese quinoa (I'm making it up with quinoa, grilled diced balsamic chicken, cut cherry tomatoes, tiny balls of fresh mozzerella, fresh basil, balsamic, olive oil, and salt and pepper)
Tuesday: leftover penne with vodka cream sauce
Wednesday: Greek pasta salad (cold cooked penne and this salad with double the dressing)
Thursday: Greek pizzas (naan broiled with feta and mozzarella and kalamatas) and leftover pasta salad

In other happenings, I read an article about the importance of reading to children and thought somewhat smugly, "Check! We're really good about reading!" And then I remembered we had a third child, and right after she was born we shifted to having our oldest child read to our middle child while we cared for this youngest child and then the new division of labor kind of stuck and oh my god our 7 month old has only been read to like a dozen times. So we got right on fixing that. Cora was all, what is this "book" you are referring to?


Oh you're reading words? Out loud? That have some rhyme and rhythm? This is so nice! Let's do this again.


Also happening this weekend, Queen Elsa Claire went to a princess birthday party.


Cora came too.


And like any good third baby, she partied hard and took a nap where she could get it.


JP took Landon to another swim meet over an hour away where he dropped time and won both events again! It is so fun watching him succeed in a sport, especially one I actually understand.

Today there was more swimming, but of the non-competitive variety.


And we found a new outdoor pen for Cora: pack 'n play + toys + mosquito netting leftover from a long ago camping trip. I thought she'd hate it, but she happily crawled around and squealed inside it the whole time L & C swam. And after all the giant mosquito bites she's gotten in the last few nights, including one on her beautiful bald head, she's going to be spending more time in her outdoor bug pen. When Landon saw it he exclaimed, "Mom, it's like a princess bed!" Sure, just like.


There was a LOT of swimming/choreographed jumping.


It is so fun having a water-safe, water-confident, able-to-jump-and-swim-and-play-like-a-pro-while-mommy-sits-on-the-patio-in-the-shade-and-reads-a-book Clairebear.


I hit the lowest weight I've ever healthfully been on Friday and felt so good and strong and did extra yoga before bed (still LOVING yogadownload.com) and woke up feeling amazing, and then I didn't get to go to barre once this weekend and found myself eating an alarming amount of pizza and pasta and skittles. Barre makes me eat less and better and that is only part of its magical powers.

We took family pictures this morning and I'm anxiously awaiting our proofs in a few weeks. It was supposed to be mainly about the kids, but I decided at the last minute that JP and I should be in a few of them, so I found two somewhat complimentary outfits in our closet this morning and my hair was terrible and it was so hot and sticky outside and I'm 99% sure I'm going to hate any picture I am in. But the kids looked amazing. I loved their outfits more than any outfits I've ever found for pictures and they were very cooperative despite the heat and 60 minutes of "smile!" they were forced to endure. A few good portraits of the big kids at their new ages (we never got pics of them at 6 and 3) and some personality-filled shots of Cora (she's changed so much since her newborn shoot!) are all I wanted, and I think I'll be happy there, but I'm secretly hoping photoshop can change everything about my hair and sweaty red face so I can love the pictures I'm in too.

And now to bed. This week is going to be crazy at work and then it's off to Gruene, Texas on Friday for my sister's wedding weekend! Prepare for some adorable pictures of a flower girl, ring bearer, and Cora in a dress with pink chiffon. There's also going to be a margarita machine. I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pink Camo Pants and Other Happenings

After 6 months of 4-5x/weekly barre attendance, and washing my single pair of ankle-length leggings (the Lululemon ones JP bought me for my birthday) nearly daily and always regretting it the few days I don't and have to resort to my much-less-loved backup workout capris, AND after ordering leggings from Gap, Athleta, and Target and returning all of them for not being as awesome as my bday Lulu leggings, I FINALLY gave myself permission to buy another pair. And, for whatever reason, had decided that Today Was The Day. So this morning, I tucked my beloved pair of leggings in my purse as an example and brought a friend along during our lunch hour (with promises of stopping at Jimmy Johns on the way back in for a #12 EZ mayo), to ask the first sales associate I could find for another copy of those leggings exactly.

Unfortunately, they sold out of that pattern six months ago, but the "Wunder Under" legging is a mainstay and there was a new pattern. A new pattern that was ON SALE. It was pink. It was camo. It was nothing I ever imagined buying in my life.


I adore them.


My new pants, my new top, and the little towel I bought because it was up by the cash register and I was remembering how much I sweated last Friday in hot barre.

I wore my new ensemble to barre tonight and my pants were basically the talk of class, and then I felt like I had to live up to them and didn't even cheat during the hardest relevé squat chair combo EVER. So a good investment already.

~~~

Landon has also had some athletic happenings! When we left off last week, I was about to head out to an 8-hour swim meet where I didn't know a single person, an hour out of town, with all three children by myself. I packed the car with a folding chair, a baby bjorn we got before Landon was born and never used, a bunch of towels, a little cooler of snacks, a backpack of books, cards, and coloring books for each big kid, and a diaper bag of diapers and chew toys for the poor dragged on baby, and headed out at six-f-ing-o-clock in the morning to Granbury, Texas.


Once I found the pool, loaded down the big kids like little pack mules, and figured out how to get Cora in the bjorn, I spent 10 minutes trying to find our team (there were 3 involved in the meet and I'd never met anyone on our team, so there was some trial and error), a very sweet woman, who did turn out to be on our team, took pity on me. Three seconds in to the conversation she realized I was "Coach JP's wife" and BAM, I had like 25 best friends. You guys, JP, my beloved little introvert who gets almost ovewhelmingly stressed out before any social engagement is like a minor god in the Fort Worth amateur swimming community. EVERYONE knew him. Everyone thought he was wonderful. Everyone's kids had taken lessons with him. I suddenly had holders of Cora and entertainers of Claire and cheerers for Landon. It was awesome!


And even more awesome, Landon swam his two events like a pro, despite having never been on a ready bench or jumped off a block before, and the WON both events overall! By multiple seconds! I know JP is a swim coach and we're both former nationally ranked swimmers, but he's been so busy coaching other kids and I'm so busy taking care of Cora and/or reading my latest Kindle book by the pool that neither of us has actually given him any instruction in over a year, and even that was more about water safety than stroke technique. But his technique on Saturday was beautiful and he was so fast and I was so excited and proud! Claire, intrigued by all the clapping from the stands that wasn't for her, immediately announced her intention to sign up for swimming next year.


And so our first swim meet went much better than anticipated. And I found out later that JP was getting up-to-the-minute texting updates from all his swim parents, so he knew Landon's times before I did. And after an internal compromise of "we'll try to get him to one meet this summer," we're now trying to figure out how we can attend all the rest of them.

~~~

Speaking of Claire, she has recently been inspired by the emergence of my inner yogi and taken to dragging out her old nap mat and doing some yoga all by herself. I found her like this on Sunday afternoon:


Wouldn't she look adorable in mini pink camo leggings? Thank god Lulu doesn't make kidswear or it would be one more thing I'd have to resist. [Edited to add: omg they do.]


~~~

The Corabunny has had a cold for FOREVER. It had thankfully resisted turning in to any other kind of infection for weeks until today when we landed a diagnosis of conjunctivitis. She has had a fever off and on for the last five days, and though we thought she was getting better, she was unusually fussy and clingy at a birthday party we went to Saturday evening.


Or maybe that was just the beer talking.


Either way, she passed out before cake.


And I got the rare chance to snuggle her. Usually she's WAY too busy crawling at the speed of light, pulling up on things and yelling because she can't get down, and squealing and squawking and chewing and smiling and tracking her big brother and sister with her eyes while desperately trying to do everything they do. But even a "fussy" Cora is a 98% delightful Cora. Here she is, that same night, modeling her latest in Honest Co. diaper patterns. I felt the anchors were necessary for the granddaughter of a retired Navy captain.


Though she'd really look smashing in some pink camo.


And then we wouldn't want JP and Landon to feel left out. Pink camo leggings for everyone!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Random Round-Up

1. My sister is getting married in two weeks. Claire is the flower girl, Landon is the ring bearer, and I am the Matron of Honor. JP will be holding Cora in the second row, trying to keep her from crawling off to get under Val's skirt during the vows. I flew to Houston for her bridal shower last month and never posted any pictures, so here we are: mom, Val, and me in Ktown at a beautiful (and delicious!) shower thrown by blog reader and longtime friend Ms. Debbie:


My sister is actually 2 inches taller than me, but I was wearing 4" heels and she was wearing flats, so I got to dominate in that one.


I gave her and Billy two hand-engraved champagne flutes from Uncommon Goods (you can find them here). They're beautiful and the minute I saw them when Uncommon Goods reached out to me for the sponsored post, they reminded me so much of their life in Golden, Colorado and their affinity for artisans and unique items for their home. Billy is a welder and creates beautiful things out of metal, so I thought champagne flutes might not be something he'd be making himself.


2. Do you feel there's been too little Cora around here? Does my new favorite picture of her help?


I stuck her in the bathtub for a quick rinse a few nights ago while the big kids were still in the pool with JP and realized it was the first time she'd ever been in the tub alone. When I turned on the faucet to add a little more water, her face got this perfect mix of concern and wonderment at the water pouring into her space, and as always, she clasped her hands for comfort. It was all I could do to take the picture instead of snatching her up and giving her GIANT kisses. I just cannot even with this baby.

3. Cora again! I forgot I never posted these pictures either. In her 3 minutes out of the pen on Sunday, Cora managed to crawl at high speed over the playroom, get under/inside the big kids' coffee/art table, and basically discovered the Forbidden Playroom was EXACTLY as awesome as she always suspected.


OMG I'm here. I'm in the big kid room. This is awesome!


Yes! YES Big Sister, I have escaped from the mother and I am HERE!


Oh. Hi mom.

Once removed from the choking-hazard-filled playroom and put in the much more boring TV/Yoga room (and stripped of her drool covered dress), she protested by removing her headband and eating it.


I was distracted by her glorious thighs of thunder and found the whole thing adorable.

4. Flashback Friday- last week when it was time to get ready for work, I dragged my insomnia-suffering-self out of bed and went into Cora's room to discover this:


Remind you of anyone?



Traditions! I love when they happen on accident.

5. On Wednesday Landon cheerfully informed me that I looked like I had a baby in my tummy. When I exclaimed, "Landon! That isn't very nice!" he looked confused. "But we LIKE babies!", he replied, looking annoyed that he had to defend the compliment he'd just given me. I then tried to explain that no grown-up wants to here that their tummy looks big and really we just don't ever comment on people's bodies, ever, and we ESPECIALLY don't ever tell anyone that they look like they have a baby in their tummy, ever, EVER. Life lesson. And then I decided that maybe I didn't like that yoga top anymore.

6. Speaking of exercise, my favorite super hard barre teacher has decided that Friday morning is hot barre. Holy Mother of Pearl- no A/C and so much sweat pouring out of me I wasn't sure how my body had any water left, but I have to admit it felt pretty amazing, though next time I'm bringing a towel and a whole lot more water.

7. Also speaking of exercise, I'm now into yoga! YOGA! I've never really liked yoga, though I've pretended a few times in the past. Now that I'm a little more flexible and way stronger and can actually hold all the poses the way you're supposed to, I'm discovering it really is a good workout! And still somehow soothing. I joined www.yogadownload.com for $10 and get unlimited streaming yoga classes and I've been doing one every night and sometimes one in the morning when I wake up too early. Rather than lying in bed mad at the world because everyone is sleeping and I am not, I do 20-30 minutes of morning flow yoga and watch the sun rise out our giant TV room window. It puts me in a way better mood and I've been finding I sleep much better the next night because of it. Sometimes I think my body just doesn't need as much sleep as I think it does, and working with that, rather than laying in bed hating it, has been the most effective insomnia solution I've found in a while.

8. I'm taking all 3 kids to Landon's all-day swim meet tomorrow, by myself, an hour away. I volunteered to coach JP's swim lessons for him so he could go instead, but he said I didn't have enough training. I'm excited Landon will get to swim, but I haven't been this unexcited about a Saturday in a long time. We have to leave at 6 a.m. and Cora had a fever all day today. Makes me want to eat a headband in protest.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Now and Next

I started writing this two weeks ago and couldn't reach any kind of conclusory paragraph, so I let it marinate, but I still don't have anything but the circular bit of rambling that I started with. I spent about a week at the end of May musing on my personal career path. It started with a long lunch discussion with a high-up boss about post-SEC career options, a few departure announcements from colleagues, a phone chat with a blog reader who is applying for an SEC position in different regional office, and a random call from a partner I used to work for at the firm who had a question about a case I worked on in 2011.

I've been at the SEC for 2 years and 3 months. I wrote about the changes that working for the government has brought to our lives at the 18 month mark and all of it remains true. I was going to pull a quote or two but found myself just highlighting all of it as I read. (I just tried again and yeah, all of it is still so very true.)

When I started 2+ years ago, I assumed I'd be here for 3-4 years- just enough time to build some expertise and age out of the associate years and then go back to a firm as a partner or counsel, or, at worst and for the right firm, a senior associate with a promise to be partner or counsel within a very short time frame. I never, for even a moment, thought I'd remain in Fort Worth or with the government for more than 5 years. We researched good elementary schools and bought a house fully anticipating a move- hopefully a permanent one this time- before Landon hit middle school.

And then I started the job. At first blush, it was both substantially more and markedly less awesome than I'd hoped or expected. On the one hand, I own my investigations. I am the partner. I am also the senior associate, midlevel associate, junior associate, paralegal, secretary, and copy clerk. I'm also the client. I control the schedule and the scheduling. If one of my children is sick and I can't come to work, there is nothing I can't move off my calendar so I can spend the day cuddling and watching Frozen on the couch. There is nothing more life-changing for a working person, and specifically a working parent, than that. On the gaining experience front, it's like being thrown into the deep end of a whirlpool. I develop my own case strategy, take all my own testimony, draft subpoenas, and negotiate everything, from document production to settlement. It is extraordinary to think of how much more I've done in the last 27 months than I ever would have been able to do at my large law firm. And not just as a midlevel associate- I'm talking ever. I have been in meetings with 6 partners from 3 top law firms and me, a would-be-6th year associate, leading the discussion. I have a blast when I get to do things like that, and on that front, the job has far exceeded my expectations.

But there are things I miss about my work at the firm. I miss writing- sometimes desperately. It was something I was good at, known for, and I miss it for that reason alone. And it was something I loved. It couldn't have been more different than the run-on writing I do on the blog, but I think it combined the two best parts of me- my love of playing with words until I have the perfect sentence that packs the most powerful persuasive punch, the building of paragraphs and sections and arguments, the challenge of trying to make a skeptical reader nod with my every page. And my love of the absolute- the analytical, the factual, the bare bones essence of the legal argument I need to make, and how I get to weave that together with facts and case law and legal holdings. Brief writing ruined many of my nights and weekends, and there were times I stared at a blank word document in absolute disbelief that I'd be able to make something out of my stack of cases and impossible facts and have it all to a partner for first round edits in 1 or 2 short days, but the words would come, and days later, bleary eyed and thoroughly sick of whatever argument I was making, I'd read the final To Be Filed draft and think, goddamn, this is really good. I love this job.

So I miss that a lot. I also miss the big case teams- talking over strategy and timelines and task lists with a group of super smart people. There was a high in working too much and when you did in a pack, you could lose sight, at least a little, of how sad it was that you talked about billable hour totals like a badge of honor. There was a feeling of importance to being needed all the time- the constant demands and blackberry dings. I miss the extras- the fluff that made you think working at a big law firm wasn't so bad- 24 hour copy, editing, mailing, and IT support, fancy travel, the firm Amex, free lunches, a pretty office in a pretty building. I'm not going to lie, the fluff helped and I most definitely didn't take any of it with me to the government.

The writing is the only thing I miss enough to consider going back for. As I wrote when I decided to leave, and as I've said many times since, I really did like my job at the firm. I didn't like the unpredictability of it or lack of control I had over my own day-to-day life, and I wished I could do less of it while still working on the kinds of cases I was getting to do at my firm, but I did like the actual work. And I liked the money, of course. Though as I add in the government benefits (amazing and cheap health insurance, loan repayment, 401K matching, etc.) the BigLaw money is less of a draw than I thought it would be. But as long as I'm examining things, I must admit that I liked the feeling of doing something others said I couldn't. Magic Cookie touched on this in a post about real life in biglaw, "I spent a lot of time thinking that staying was 'worth it' because statistics SAY I will not survive Biglaw, and I cannot ADD to those statistics. I stayed for lots of reasons. I didn't know what else to do. I didn't know if anywhere else would be better. I was ashamed of giving up. I still wanted to believe in the system, and in the merits of partnership. I still wanted it all to be FOR something." She stayed longer than I did, but that line of thinking is still a siren call for me.

And yet, when scheduling testimony in April I called the girls' school to ask when the Easter egg hunt was going to be so I could tell counsel I wasn't available that day. I did the same for Landon's Kindergarten awards ceremony and his last day of school. None of those events would likely have been things I'd have tried to attend while at the firm. I worked with good people and attended my share of kids' events, but there's a subtle ding for making everyone you work with aware of the fact you need to step away to do kid stuff, and even if you end up not being able to go, and you miss it without complaint, there's still that tick mark for "kid event" by your name and you have to select the events worth those marks carefully. Field day and a midday half-hour awards ceremony probably wouldn't have made the cut. But I LOVE that I can do those things without penalty or complication now. I love that both JP and I are in a place where we can volunteer and be part of all the things. Everyone in both kids' classes knows that we are Claire and Landon's mom and dad and at least one of us is always a volunteer or enthusiastic observer of all school events. I love that and they love it too, and with every year they get older that has only become more important.

I'm very lucky that my current career step manages to be a step up on the career ladder while also being a huge positive step up in my personal life. At some point, it may be a career step to the side, but it will always benefit me in getting future positions in-house or at a firm. I've received a few recruiting calls since the switch- one for associate general counsel at a hedge fund and another two for law firm senior associates. I'm always glad to know options are out there, but none of the three were tempting. No matter what, I'm staying where I am for at least 2 more years. There's more I need to do here to have all the experience I think I need. After my recent musings, I think it's more likely that I'll be here for 10 years+, something I never would have thought even a year ago. I just don't know how I could walk away from it. The pay is good, the experience is great, and even if I do miss aspects of law firm lawyering, there's plenty I don't miss too and my life, oh my life, I don't think I can beat it right now. JP and I were sitting by the fire pit in the backyard last Thursday night, watching the flames and chatting, and I just thought, there's never going to be a time in my life where I'm not going to want time for this. I'd arrived home with the 3 kids by 5:00, made a fresh and healthy dinner, watched them play in the pool, gone to barre at 7:15, come home at 8:45, poured a glass of wine, and was now sitting with my beloved in the firelight at 9 and I can do that EVERY NIGHT. Even when our kids are grown and gone that schedule sounds lovely. Living a multi-dimensional life, having time to do nothing, finding new hobbies, putting vacations and kid events on your work calendar and knowing you'll be there, these things mean even more to me now than they did even 6 months after I started.

The pull of a potential partnership at a BigLaw firm is not dead for me. I get a small pang when I talk to senior associates and junior partners, but while this job may not fill my every need as a lawyer (brief writing! prestige and female partnership statistics! being my natural dream-killer defense attorney self!), it does fill my every need as a wife, mother, barre addict, yoga newbie, amateur photographer, voracious reader, and wannabe chef. And for now, that is exactly what I want for the next.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Kid's Dad


Father's Day! It never seems to get quite as much love or annoying "World's Toughest Job" videos, but it's a special day in the LagLiv house as we celebrate our JP. I'm not going to say he's THE best dad ever, because there are a lot of great ones out there, my own dad included, but I really don't think there could be better. That he comes home after 8+ hours of teaching crying kids to swim in the hot sun and immediately scoops up Cora and hugs Claire and asks Landon about his day and truly wants to dive into the kids' evening routine, instead of pouring himself a drink and sequestering himself in his room like I would want to do, amazes me every day. He was so excited to spend extra time with Landon at the pool last week when our nanny never materialized, and just said "I'm going to miss him on the deck this week" when I mentioned Landon would be starting camp on Monday. He went to eat lunch with Landon almost every Friday at school and now knows all Landon's classmates and all of the teachers at his school. He frets over the kids growing up too fast and tries to think of ways to spend more time with them. He adores our family vacations and can think of nothing more fun than throwing all the kids in the car and driving somewhere awesome to hike and climb on things. He rakes leaves for hours before inviting the kids to jump in them and then re-rakes them again. He waits to run errands until the kids are home just so he can take them with him- he's taken all 3 kids alone to more places on his own than I have (x 10, at least; I enjoy a good solo errand). He's funny, playful, and adventuresome- the parenting yin to my yang, and is still the disciplinarian that molds our kids into the awesome little people they are, while always, always letting them know how much he loves being their dad.




He is Cora's absolute favorite person.




And mine too. For someone who didn't want kids when I met him, and who definitely did NOT have any sort of role model for being an involved, affectionate father, we pretty much hit the jackpot.


There's a lot out there about how hard motherhood is. I rarely agree with much of it, but I think that's because I have a husband who is ALL IN with this parenting gig. So maybe being a mom is hard (and sometimes, it certainly can be), but done right, so is being a dad, and when you're both in the weeds and the details and the discipline and the cleaning of millions of tiny clothes and food containers, the hard isn't so hard, and then fun is a hell of a lot more awesome. So today I got to honor a father who makes me love being a mother, and that's a pretty amazing deal for all five of us.

And that last line is totally what I'm writing in his Father's Day card next year. Happy Father's Day JP!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Snafus of Summer Start

Summer started this week and I cannot believe we're only one full day in.

On Monday, we woke up to a huge thunderstorm and Claire's terrified, shaking form in our room at 5:05 a.m. She's gotten a lot braver about storms, but there's no way she's sleeping through thunder shaking the house that close to morning. JP calmed her down and tucked her back in her bed ("Did you go in Landon's bed?" we asked, relying on our delegation method of parenting. "Yes!" she cried, "But he doesn't know! HE DOESN'T KNOW!", affirming my belief that Landon could sleep through an active tornado in his room because he had no idea a screaming sobbing Clairebear was trying her hardest to shake his arm and make him move over in his bed while lightning flashed and thunder boomed all around.), but it was too close to my own wake-up time to go back to sleep myself, so I hovered in the frustrated in-between, not gaining any real rest, but also not just calling it a loss and getting out of bed to accomplish things.

And so the day began. I got to work late because it was pouring and then I took most of the afternoon off to pick up Claire for her 2:00 4-year-old check-up. From there we raced to pick up Landon from his last day of school at 3:00, ran a few errands (birthday presents for the 3 birthday parties we have to attend in the next 2 weeks), swung home to get snacks and pack for the evening's activities, and piled back in the car to go back to daycare to pick up Cora and then drive out to the JP's pool to attend the parent meeting for Landon's summer swim team at 5:45. He then had an intrasquad meet from 6-8 pm, though when JP finished coaching at 7 and I could finally take the girls back home for dinner, the kids still hadn't started their races. I got home with Claire and Cora at 7:30, fed them a hasty dinner and tucked them in bed, and then fed myself cereal and cleaned up the house. The boys got home at 9 (9!) and Landon was too tired to eat so he just went to bed. I helped JP with his work until after midnight (SO many emails due to the cancellations from the severe scattered storms all day) and we both collapsed in bed around 12:30.


racing suit!

And so endeth Kindergarten and starteth our summer break.

On the upside, Claire's check-up went great. She's very tall (98th percentile) and averagely weighted and she chatted cheerfully with the doctor all about her favorite foods and love of Frozen. The shots gravely offended her, but the bouncy ball from the treasure chest made up for it. And Landon had a great last day of Kindergarten, and he won both of his races at the intrasquad meet! Including butterfly, which he's never swam before, ever, not even in our backyard pool. But he legally swam the whole 25 yards and looked great (JP ducked out of his Board meeting just in time to watch and shoot some video- did I mention JP also had to present at a Board meeting at the pool that night? Super fun Monday.).


Claire was convinced they'd draft her in the meet at any minute
and insisted on wearing her goggles for the whole 2 hours we were at the pool

Tuesday also began early because a very confused Cora, who had gone to bed much too late Monday night, woke up much too early yesterday morning. Landon started his morning swim practices (he's supposed to be from 3-3:30 in the afternoon but can't do that because he has parents who both work, so he'll be going to the 8-9 a.m. makeup session every day), so JP needed to drive him out to his pool at 7:30 to watch him practice, drive him back home to drop him off with the back-up care nanny I'd scheduled for the week (he starts camps next week), and then driving back out to the pool to coach lessons from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. So I had to take the girls to school, something I haven't done in months, so we got out the door late and then I got stuck behind a coal train that stopped on the tracks for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES. 45! Minutes! Just dead stopped. And I was boxed in by other cars and Cora was very confused at the turn this day had taken, so I put the car in park and crawled into the back to feed her and then she fell asleep for her morning nap. We got to daycare late, I got to work very late, and then I got a call from JP at 9:00, just before I was supposed to step into a meeting, saying the back-up nanny wasn't there. What?! I called back-up care and they couldn't find her either, so JP threw Landon back in the car with a few snacks, and drove BACK to the pool where Landon swam and watched swim lessons until 3:00 when I left work early (I'm out so much vacation time this week and I've actually been at work both days!) to go get him. We ran errands- can't waste an afternoon off, no matter how reluctant an afternoon off it is- and then picked up the girls. I made dinner (these enchiladas again, SO dang good) and then let the kids swim while I fed Cora outside. She was exhausted and fell asleep while on duty in her lifeguard chair, so I kicked the kids out of the pool, supervised showers, tucked Cora in bed, and changed into barre clothes so I could run out the door at the exact second JP pulled up in the driveway to make it to 7:15 barre class on time.


Lifeguard no longer on duty

And so endeth today. Our backup nanny never called the company back, so we still don't have care this week. Landon is going to spend a lot of time at the pool with JP; luckily it's a short week and Landon likes to swim and makes friends easily (he already had a gang of boys by the end of today. I have to go to be at work like a real full-time working person tomorrow and I am not taking any routes that cross train tracks (nearly impossible in Fort Worth, but I have one). We're trying to figure it out if we can sign Landon up for any of the swim meets, but they're all an hour away, 9 hours long, and I'll be alone because JP coaches all day Saturday. Most of this post basically sums up why we are terrible about signing the kids up for any activities. JP and I were Division I college scholarship athletes and our kids will be lucky if they play one sport a year.

On a random, adorable note, Cora has decided she needs to walk. She pulls up on everything, starting late Friday, and cruised- CRUISED- along the couch Sunday morning. She looks ridiculous every time I see her vertical- her feet are so tiny and chubby and can't possibly hold up a whole body, but hold her they do. She's a fierce crawler, but I figure it's only a matter of time before she's walking everywhere like real people and I freak out about how she's my last baby and she's not allowed to hit milestones that early and we need to put a low roof on her pen like a veal.


So tiny!

But she is so proud and so darn adorable that I can't help but enable her.



Last night ended with an incredible barre work out (legs shaking so much!) and found me sipping champagne and logged into work from my kitchen table doing law things through complicated excel formulas. JP and I finally went to bed about 11:30, but Diana Gabaldon's latest book in the Outlander series- Written In My Own Heart's Blood- came out yesterday and I'm weak, so I read even later. Cora woke up loud and cheerful at 6:05 this morning and how can it only be Wednesday?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Little Bit of Landon

I thought we'd focus a bit on the original focus of this blog from back in the early days- baby Landon!


Baby Landon who "graduated" Kindergarten on Thursday! I can't write that sentence without air quotes because the whole concept of a "graduation" program for the automatic progression across the hall to first grade is ridiculous, but WHOAH did JP and I find out that most parents seem think it is a VERY BIG DEAL. We walked into the auditorium 5 seconds before the start, thinking it was pretty impressive we were both even attending to find an explosion of balloons and flowers and stuffed animals. We took one picture and offered Landon a hearty handshake.


Not that we aren't proud of him, because we are- it's been an awesome year and he's an awesome kid, but I felt like all those bouquets of flowers the tiny "grads" were getting should really be going to the teachers. But speaking of school, we've had such a hard time tracking down Landon's friends in the summer for his July birthday parties- everyone scatters from daycare and many friends were moving on to new schools, and then last year he was going to different camps every week all summer, so I promised him that this year we'd do an early party with his school friends.


I'm so glad we did! I finally got to meet some of the parents of kids in his class and I got their contact info for future pool play dates. We kept things simple- a shark theme, blue gatorade, shark snack mix, assortment of gold fish, and a little bowl Swedish fish that was every kid's favorite stop at the snack table. We set up the inflatable slide, threw a bunch of toys in the pool, and turned on the Pandora "Tween Mix" ("No Frozen!" exclaimed Landon as I went to turn on the music).



For my put-some-effort into it treat, I did blue jello cups with gummy sharks grinning inside. Stuffing the gummy sharks inside the partially set jello messed up the smooth tops, so I added a bit of whipped cream and a fish on top to simulate the surf. So fancy.


I usually do the baking myself, but having just come off Claire's party and knowing that I could make something homemade for Landon's real birthday in July, I decided to outsource to the Kroger bakery. They usually do a good job and I just wanted a simple cake with a shark on it and "Happy Birthday Landon." OMG. There is no picture of the result, something I regret as I could have sent it in to cake wrecks, but it involved a gallon of blue gel, the worst hand-writing ever, uneven swirly edging, and fuzzy- FUZZY- non-edible fabric cut into lopsided shark fins standing up in the gel. I showed it to the manager as I was checking out and she immediately said, "Oh dear. Is half off okay?"


So yeah, no pictures of the cake. The kids didn't mind though! Everyone had fun and there was minimal splashing in the face and/or pool toy fights. Win!

After everyone left we cleaned up and opened presents. One of the moms works for radio shack and has the best toy closet. I love how Claire is applauding.


Cora got sprung from her pen and she immediately crawled over to sit by Landon. He is her favorite person.


And he's pretty fond of her too.


I took these on Saturday morning before the party. Little has captured the relationship between Landon and his sisters better:



He's like their mini dad- so patient and tolerant and pretty well wrapped around their fingers.


Oh, baby Landon. He gave us such a tough time as a baby- his prematurity, reflux, million ear infections, random eyebrow cyst, two surgeries, and a total of 25 days in hospitals, combined with our utter inexperience as parents (and JP in investment banking with an 1+ hour commute and me in law school and good god we barely survived that) made for a ROUGH first year. Even then his sweet personality shone through and oh how we've just gone up from there. From the mellowest and happiest of toddlers to an awesome big kid who couldn't be a better big brother. We used to think he had a lot of JP in him, and maybe he still does, but the older he gets the more we see that really he's just HIM- we may get a little credit on the nurture side, but the nature is pure Landon James.

He's a far more generous and patient big sibling than I was. He's a very fast runner (he won the 50-yard dash against 1st and 2nd graders at field day last week) and likes sports and games, but isn't the least bit competitive like his dad. He loves people and draws kids to him with a magnetism neither JP nor I ever had. We took him to a new camp every week last summer and just drove off knowing Landon wasn't the least bit concerned with the "I don't know a single person here" situation, something my parents could never ever have done with me! His teacher has told us about how other kids look to him in the classroom and he's always dictating the games of his gang at recess. He likes being right, but being wrong doesn't bother him for more than the second it takes him to absorb whatever the right answer was and move on (unlike his obsessive mother and stubborn father).

He's an artist and a reader. He loves his friends, but doesn't seem to mind that it's only family time on the weekends. He loves to be outside, ride his bike, swim, and climb in our trees. He's JP's wing man- on their weekend morning runs (Landon bikes the 5 miles) and all car rides and errands and, less enthusiastically, his second hand for all yard work. He throws fits and stomps his foot and cools off when left alone in his room. He does not want or need alone time and is never happier than when surrounded by people. He likes hugs but not kisses before bed. He's getting older, but he's still our little boy.


Almost-7. We've come a long way.