Saturday, November 4, 2017

Halloween and Career Days and More

Halloween happened! And it didn't rain!! I was ready in my Hunters, a hot toddy in my Yeti, and a giant umbrella in James's hands, but we ended up with marvelously seasonal damp and chilly weather and it was perfect.

It feels like a lifetime ago now, but I think it's important to go back in time far enough to note that before the trick-or-treating craziness began we had a chili and dip cook-off at work and my dip won! I entered the Pumpkin Cheesecake Ball I made for our wine party last year, which I feel like is sort of cheating because who can resist a dessert dip? But still, I won in a landslide and got a picture with my boss's boss's boss to celebrate! (Along with a very nice serving platter shaped like a pig.)

So that was exciting. I don't believe I've ever won a food-type contest before. The rest of the afternoon was pretty downhill from there. I got home a little early to get the kids ready for trick-or-treating and to attend our friend/neighbor's annual Halloween party.

I love how each kids' costume reflects them so perfectly. After many years of ninjas, Landon decided to get creative and be a bulldog. I assigned that task to James and together they found a mask and spray painted a t-shirt and attached a little crumpled Winston tail. He loved it.

Claire, who has never been into make believe dress-up, decided to treat Halloween like career day and be a teacher. We bought her glasses- which she's worn every single minute she's been awake and not in school since they arrived which has cracked me up, got her a clipboard, a lanyard, and a tote bag. She looked adorable.

And then Cora treated Halloween like any other Tuesday afternoon and wore a princess dress. She stuck with Belle and I can't blame her. With a dreamy far off look and her nose stuck in a book... other than the unfortunate bit of bestiality and Stockholm Syndrome, Belle really is one of the best. Cora was skeptical of my winterizing the costume, but decided it was acceptable when I told her she wouldn't have to wear a jacket. Princess Belle does not wear jackets.

We had a chili potluck with excellent snacks, side dishes, and adult beverages. The kids ran around until we wrangled them up to go trick-or-treating. We were something of a force running down the streets.

Cora decided she wouldn't say trick-or-treat. "I just don't like those words mom." "Um, okay, how about just saying please?"

But do you know what's weird? Saying "Can I have candy please?" to a random person actually sounds ruder than "trick-or-treat." Even though trick-or-treat is basically coercion- give me free candy or I'll hurt your yard or house, saying "Can I have candy please?" seriously sounds weird. So we settled on holding up her pink little pumpkin and saying "Please."

It was very effective, and then every house she ran away from she'd yell, "I got candy mom and I DID NOT SAY TRICK-OR-TREAT!!".

It was a great night. I loved the chilly damp weather, loved our big crew of elementary school classmates, loved seeing so many neighbors and other classmates out on our streets. The only thing I did not love was that it was Tuesday and made the week seem 15 days long, but we had everyone in bed by 8:30, so it could have been worse. James and I finished Stranger Things 2 on Monday and are super sucked in to Mindhunter on Netflix right now and I will not tolerate less than 2 episodes per night.

The week plod on. It was busy and lasted forever and I kept going to bed far too late for no good reason. One thing I can tell you is that Wednesday's soup was crazy good and I will make it again and again (I used smoked turkey instead of ham, and added minced garlic at the saute onion step, but otherwise followed the directions to the letter). All 3 kids ate every bite and Cora asked for help to tip her bowl to get the very last few drops. That's pretty much the highlight of the remainder of the week (that and I got to teach barre twice!), so let's just back to the week before.

About 6 months ago, one of my favorite fellow summer associate from my BigLaw firm in 2007- when I was between my 2L and 3L year and a million months pregnant with Landon - reached out to say hello and that he'd recently moved to Fort Worth. He had been at Harvard Law and ended up choosing a different firm in NYC after graduation, so I hadn't actually seen him since I was a million months pregnant in 2007, but I was thrilled to hear from him and happy to meet him for lunch with his wife to catch up and chat about living in the Fort. Turns out, he's now a law professor at the newly purchased Texas A&M School of Law downtown (formerly Texas Wesleyan; I don't really understand law school purchasing, but apparently you can just do that, so A&M has a law school now).

We kept in touch and I became good friends with his wife, a fellow lawyer, recommending doctors, restaurants, and other necessities of life along the way. About two months ago he told me he was teaching Business Associations this semester and was hoping to get a few practicing attorneys to come talk to his students about their career paths and particular practice areas. Basically a grown-up career day. I said sure! I love talking and the more people the merrier. Plus, I do Career Day at the big kids school ever year and I relished the chance to talk to even bigger people about what I actually do instead of little kids who just heard from a DEA agent parent and are disappointed I can't put anyone in jail.

His class is in the evenings, so I worked late and then walked over to the law building downtown. He said we could chat for as long as the questions came, but if we ran out, he had plenty to lecture on instead. I figured my part would maybe last 45 minutes. Instead, we went the whole 90 and he had to cut them off at the end. It was SO. FUN. I did a short 3 minute intro on my path from UT Plan II pre-med student to law school to BigLaw to the SEC and then opened up for questions. We talked about being a BigLaw associate. The transition from law school. The decision to leave the firm and go to the government. Would I ever leave the SEC? Go in-house? Go back to a firm? What was it like to change from the defense side to the plaintiff/prosecution? How did I know how to run an investigation? What kind of discretion did I have? What do I miss about the firm? What did I wish law school had taught me? It was like an AMA on Reddit except live and in-person and without all of us wearing pajamas.

I loved it. I hope it was helpful. My friend said he got really good feedback from them after I left. They were such an engaged group and they asked really good questions. Far better than I would have known or thought to ask as a 2L. And as someone who gets caught in the occasional thought cyclone and doubt spiral and feeling like I should be doing more, it was really nice to chat about where I am right now and feel good about it. I heard my own words about what I love about my job and listened to them. It was good.

Also good was the chemical peel and facial I had at the dermatologist's on Friday (I have to have something good and non-cancery happen there every now and then and my skin is super glowy now and I love it) and then last night's Fall Festival at our school. I took almost no pictures, but we had a huge turnout and the kids had a blast. I barely saw them, even Cora just ran around playing with people and siblings she knows and then wandered around yelling our names whenever she wanted to find a family member. Intimidated by crowds of strangers she is not. Most of the fun was outdoors with the throngs of people, but strangely one of the only pictures I took was in the cafeteria after they had their hair painted. Cora went with Princess-Belle-yellow of course.

Today involved Claire's last soccer game of the season and a lot of cleaning and prep for Cora's birthday party tomorrow. I baked about 80 muffins, went to Orangetheory, and stuffed two unicorn pinatas with the kids' Halloween candy. They won't even notice.

I can't believe Cora turns 4 in a week. I adore the little human she is becoming, but her birthdays make me ache inside. I don't feel this way with the other two- it's been such a blast to have big kids, I guess I've decided they're allowed to age, but I would really prefer Cora just stay a toddler for 10 years or so. She did something this afternoon that got her sent to timeout (almost certainly refusing to clean up something I'd asked her to), and she dutifully marched over to the chair and sat down and then I got back to my party prep and forgot she was there. A few minutes later Landon walked by and said, did you know Cora's sleeping in her timeout chair? And so she stayed for the next 90 minutes until we woke her up for dinner. All refreshed, Cora immediately cleaned up her mess and cheerfully headed off to dinner. Naps are really a timeout best case scenario.

We weren't supposed to go out to dinner this month (because Disney is in it; we should really not be doing anything involving dollars this month because Disney is in it), but we found out one of our absolute favorite local restaurants is closing on Sunday, so we had to make one last visit for some frozen cucumber margaritas and chilaquiles (and chicken enchiladas verdes and their guacamole and EVERYTHING ELSE THEY MAKE because it is all amazing).

And because we love that dinner there = a date night because the kids play on the lawn until our food comes and James and I get to have grown-up conversations without their help. Basically this means we talk a lot about Donald Trump and what we're getting everyone for Christmas.

Our food was all amazing and we were so happy and then so sad it would be our last bites of it. Also, I may have mentioned that Cora is turning 4 in a week. There was a lot of emotion to go with that verde sauce.

And now I need to get to bed so I can enjoy a bit of sleep before the time change means the kids now wake up an hour earlier than they used to. Remember when "falling back" meant an extra hour of drinking after the bars "closed" from 2:00 a.m. to 2:01-now-1:01 a.m.? Me either, barely. But there will be unicorns and princess cakes and a million muffins and an extremely excited little CoraBunny in the morning and that will be wonderful even if the clock is mocking me by pretending it's an hour earlier than it really is supposed to be.

(showing Cora her cake; apparently we're both pretty excited)


  1. Love the costumes. Landon's made me lol.

  2. Interesting, I thought the A&M law school had come about organically. No idea it was basically a bolt on!

  3. If that is the photo and your boss's boss's boss is kissing you may have a good claim of sexual harassment. ;)