Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 0's

I just realized (while sitting at my desk at work, nearly alone on my floor and trying to decide whether I'd rather push through and finish this motion or go home now and work a few hours from there tomorrow) that when this decade began I was 16.


I was a baby.

A baby with her first boyfriend, who had received her first kiss only 6 months prior, spent most of her time swimming, and planned to go to med school, be a doctor, and get married at 30.

And then I graduated high school, broke up with the first boyfriend (who was a great guy and whose positive influence on me and my self-esteem I am just fully beginning to grasp), had hip surgery, went to college, drank a lot, met JP at a bar after the first week of class, fell head over heels in love, quit swimming, got mono and spent 5 days in the hospital, fell even more in love, drank more, went sky diving, broke up with JP for a hellish few months, adopted a kitten, got back together with JP, decided to go to law school, graduated college, decided to get married, planned the wedding, finally got engaged, toured all around Europe for 5 weeks, got married at 22, moved to Chicago, started law school, had a baby at 24, graduated law school, bought a house, moved to Austin, adopted two labs, passed the Bar, started working in my first full-time job, became a litigator, and got pregnant again.

Whew. It's been an amazing 10 years. There's been some bad stuff in there, but mostly an enormous amount of good, and 2009 has been a great cap to an eventful decade. Nothing too big happened (besides the getting pregnant part, but that'll be bigger news next year), we mostly just floated along in our happy lives. We've found a groove that works for us most of the time. I love my job, I adore my family, and I'm nothing but optimistic about the future.

Now if only I could finish this motion...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Peacocks and Playing Hooky

I'm having a hard time believing that Christmas is over and today is a work day. I took off yesterday and was continually perplexed by all the emails buzzing on my blackberry- I kept forgetting it was a Monday and there were people in my office actually working on legal things.

I've been busy too, just not on anything billable. On Saturday I cleaned the whole house and carefully put away all our Christmas decorations in labeled bins. My mother-in-law was horrified as she keeps most of her Christmas decor up year-round, a practice that horrifies me. JP installed the gorgeous new ceiling fan I picked out for our bedroom (our old one was ugly, didn't match, and made a clicking noise that was slowly driving me insane) and hung up my pretty picture frames on the walls. Our bedroom is now complete and I love it. It's like a modern little hotel room totally separate from the rest of the house.

On Sunday we went to Green Pastures for brunch. If you live in Austin, I HIGHLY recommend heading over one Sunday. It's a little pricey ($35/person) but it is in a gorgeous historic home on 7 acres, the service and food are incredible, the highly alcoholic milk punch and homemade juice blend are included -- and, best of all, the grounds are home to a few dozen peacocks (or "peafowl" as I just learned from their website; only the male is a peacock, the female is a peahen). It's great for a special occasion and Landon was enchanted by the Christmas decor, the piano player, and especially the "big birdies".

Landon: I want to give it a kiss.

Mommy: I don't think peacocks like kisses. Let's just look. From a distance.

This peacock refused to show me his pretty feathers. Apparently I am not attractive as a mate.

The albino peacock dug himself a little hole - I wondered if the other peafowl made fun of him.

We managed to get another good picture of the 3 of us (3.5?)- of course the only two I got this year were both taken after we sent out our Christmas cards. I've decided that the two pregnancy pounds I've gained so far are split among my cheecks and my boobs, which seems odd given that the baby is in neither of those places. But I still like the picture, Landon looks so proud to be wearing his new "I'm so handsome" sweater vest.

Last night we ate at Z Tejas and Landon kept sticking his head under the table. When we asked what he was doing, he said, "looking for the peacocks!" We thought that was a great idea and he stayed busy looking for those wily birds for most of dinner.

The in-laws left early this morning and while the visit went fine, eight days is a very long time and it's very, very nice to have our house back to ourselves. JP no longer has his angry eyes on all the time and I can relax for the first time in a week and enjoy a quasi-day off while working in the study. The boys are building a comlicated train/block city in the play room and I can watch them from my desk. It's cold and rainy outside, the dogs are at my feet, and Lilly is in her Nordstrom box. All is well.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Magic

This has been such a fun Christmas. Having a two-year-old who is a little ball of delight with no idea that presents are involved in this time of Christmas lights and Christmas trees, which were worthy of clapping and much celebration all on their own, has been just beyond awesome. I drove to Wal-Mart early this morning to pick up a few things and almost exclaimed, "oooh lights!" to myself in the car.

To tell my favorite parts of our Christmas story, I first have to take you back to Christmas Eve. I had a nice little outfit for Landon which involved a button-down shirt and sweater vest. The vest caused great protest, and while attempting to convince him to wear it, I told him how handsome he would look. This had no effect, but we still managed to get it on him by the time we left for church.

Many hours later, after a long and delicious dinner which ended with Landon "resting" on a little couch by the coat closet, we were back at home getting him ready for bed. As I pulled off his vest and unbuttoned his shirt, he suddenly looked up at me and said, "I'm so handsome mama?"

Sometimes he makes me want to hug him so tight and them freeze time for at least 3 years so I can properly soak him up.

Even later that night, I played hostess and co-Santa Claus, and set the table for Christmas brunch while JP assembled one of the morning's big ticket items- a Spider Man big wheel from my parents. It came in many pieces.

Once the gifts were wrapped and assembled, we left the Julbock on duty and headed to bed drunk on the power of being Santa Claus and filled with excitement for the next morning- excitement which had nothing to do with any presents we might be receiving ourselves. (The Julbock is a Swedish straw goat that guards the presents; Landon fell in love with him when we decorated the tree and gave him pets every night before bed.)

Christmas morning was a bit overwhelming. Landon's living room looked very different and everyone was staring at him.

But he caught on. As it turns out the stocking thing is pretty fun. As is opening lots of presents. One such present was Dinosaur Roar!, an awesome pop-up book that makes Landon giggle.

He also made out with a big red chair with his name on it (he's very into his name right now and likes it to be on everything), a Little People farm, Mr. Potato Head, a few puzzles, the painstakingly constructed Spider Man big wheel, and from his boring parents- a 529 college savings plan. Someday he'll find that cooler than the big wheel, I'm sure of it.

We spent the rest of the day eating (brunch was delicious and full of quiches, fruit, and sugar cookies), going on walks, and watching Madagascar 2 ("Sir, we may be out of fuel." "What makes you think that?" "We've lost engine one, and engine two is no longer on fire." I freaking love the penguins.).

The dogs got treats, two toys, and lots of pets for Christmas. Lilly got a box top. She was thrilled.

I hope you all had a fun and restful few days- if you can manage to have a two-year-old around for your next holiday, I highly recommend it. Even with three in-laws in my house and the all the tensions and baggage that comes with that, the past few days have been more fun than I've had in a long time. I can't wait until next year when we'll be experiencing this with two kids!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Traditions, old and new

I took a forced mini-break from blogging. All the posts I wrote in my head on Monday through Wednesday were neither happy nor positive. I was extremely busy and stressed at work. I was angry at the internet for ruining a loving tribute to my husband and keeping me up at night thinking of responses to rude and frequently incorrect commentors. I cried on the way home from work on Tuesday because it was 6:30 and I'd just found out JP hadn't started a dinner that took 90 minutes to cook and I'd been so busy I'd skipped lunch and I was starving and pregnant and my in-laws were landing in Austin in 30 minutes and I was stressed out beyond belief. It wasn't a good few days.

But today? Today was an awesome day. I finished up all my work last night and then curled up with JP to watch The Hangover. I can't remember the last night we spent more than 30 minutes together on the couch. I was so relaxed it felt sinful.

Also on Wednesday, in between exchanging drafts on a brief that's being filed Monday, I whipped up a triple batch of my great-grandmother's Swedish sugar cookie dough.

It was hard to allow my counter to get this messy without stopping to clean it up, but I persevered. I also ate a few cookies worth of dough- I forgot how much better it is when it's homemade. And when it's my great-grandmother's recipe.

Today, we baked and decorated the cookies. I had never made my great-grandmother's cookies by myself. Once I started, I realized that while I'd decorated these cookies in every year of my childhood, I'd never actually watched my mom cut and cook them. It was tricky. And messy. And took a very long time.

But it was so fun to know I was recreating a piece of my childhood for Landon. I even had Christmas music playing loudly in the background- all CD's that my brother copied from my mom's albums the first year JP and I were married. I'm not even sure I like many of the songs, they're just such a part of Christmas I can't imagine December without them.

This is what happened when I turned my back to take a few trays out of the oven. Landon pushed over his step stool and picked up the cookie cutting where I'd left off. He's such a good helper.

The decorating was done swiftly as we took a break between baking and icing for Landon's nap-time and mommy and daddy's gift wrapping time. We resumed at 3:00, knowing we had to leave for church at 4:00. JP and I were all about efficiency, but Landon took great care with each cookie. He was so proud of each finished product and he kept looking at JP and my cookies and encouraging us saying, "oh, they're so pretty!" I adore this kid.

After church we broke with my family's traditions and switched over to JP's and ate Christmas Eve dinner at a very fancy restaurant. The bill was probably more than what I spent on all the presents I bought combined, but it was very tasty and it's the kind of thing my in-laws really enjoy. I had to break my firm "no kids at nice restaurants" rule, but Landon was extremely good and since it was Christmas Eve, most of the tables had children at them.

In my family we normally open all our gifts on Christmas Eve, but we got home from dinner a little after Landon's bedtime, so we tucked him in and put off everything until tomorrow. It's a good thing I'm so grown up now or I wouldn't be able to stand having to wait another 12 hours.

I hope you all are enjoying a wonderful holiday. This is our first year to play Santa and I love being this excited about Christmas. I can't wait for tomorrow morning!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Pretty Lights

One of the most wonderful things about this holiday season has been Landon's overewhelming excitement over every part of it. He's old enough to know something special is happening, but too young to know he's supposed to expect presents at the end of it all. There is such an innocence about his joy that it has made things I've long since stopped finding impressive suddenly more exciting than I ever remembered.

Take Christmas lights. They're pretty, I like them, but I can't remember when I last stopped my car to exclaim over them. But now I find myself pointing them out to Landon like I've never seen mini lights on a string before.

I didn't realize it, but apparently I frequently refer to the lights as "so pretty" when Landon is in the car. Friday, when Landon and I were walking around our circle to admire the lights he stopped in front of one very decorated house and said reverently, "Is it so pretty mama?" And as I stood next to my little man, I honestly thought it was one of the prettiest things I'd ever seen.

We decorated our tree a few nights ago. It's not a very big tree, but I think it's very handsome.

Landon was so excited about the ornament placement- another thing I'd forgotten was so fun. He fell hard for a red ball and kept moving it from one branch to another. Then he pointed out every ornament for me to name, over and over, until it was time for bed.

Tonight we visited a home in our neighborhood, the self-dubbed "Griswold Family Trail of Lights." It was awesome. Landon nearly passed out from excitement. And I got a huge kick out of their next-door neighbor's decoration.

The trail went all the way through the family's backyard and side yard. I promised Landon we'd go back every night until Christmas. As we drove away he said, mostly to himself I think, "It was so pretty."

JP's Present

We spent 8 hours at various car dealerships yesterday and I cried at one of them.

Not because I was pregnant and tired and hungry (though I was all of those things) and not because I had entertained a toddler for 8 hours (though I'd done that too)- and not even because JP had been playing one dealer off another for hours and couldn't make up his god damn mind about which car he wanted. No, it was because of his answer when I walked him over to a corner of the dealership and demanded to know which car he wanted. See one had fancier features than the other- it was the first car we saw (at a different dealership), the only one he test drove, and I knew he loved it. But the other one, which was also very nice, had been bargained down to a ridiculous price that would have cost us $3,000 less over 6 years. I no longer cared about price, it was 8:15 and I wanted to go home. But he looked at me, so torn, and said, "I can't do this to my family. I can't make us pay more just because I like the upgraded car."

I blinked at him a few times, a million things flooding into my head as to why he could absolutely ask us to pay an extra $40 a month so he could have the car he loved -- things like the fact that he always deposits his birthday and Christmas money into our account and then never spends it; that he hasn't bought new clothes or shoes in four years; that he eats a PBJ at home every day rather than buy food at school like I always did; that he goes out with friends and doesn't drink to avoid a bar tab, saying he can have a much cheaper beer at home; that he never, ever questions my purchases even during all the years that he worked and I didn't; that even before we were married and I lived off him and our money really was his money, he never once referred to it that way; that he never asks for anything... But mostly I thought of Chicago and how he worked such long hours and had a 60-90 minute one-way commute and he still got up with Landon every other time he woke up. Even though I was a student and I could (and did) skip class and sleep. Even though he woke up early to swim at cheap pool that was 30 minutes in the wrong direction. Even though there were mornings that I was so exhausted I'd stay in bed and start to cry and JP would get up and do another feeding even though he was even more tired than I was. And then he'd go to work for 12 hours and come home and get right back in the rotation with me. He never once referenced the fact that I was a student and he was working full-time and I was the mother and I had more free time- he just did it. Because he was the other parent and why wouldn't he?

I thought of all that and started crying (I'm crying again now typing it out)-- then gave him a hug and spent 2 minutes trying to tell him through my blubbering that we were leaving to go back to the first dealership and driving home in the fancy car because it had everything he wanted but wouldn't ask for. As I was choking that out, JP was looking at me like I'd lost my mind, Landon was looking worried, and I started to laugh because my nose was running and I had no kleenex and I was a ridiculous mess.

An hour later we drove home in this.

We ended up with a pretty good deal since even though I no longer cared how much it cost, JP did, and he called up dealership #1 on the way over to tell them how low we got dealer #2. They knocked off another $1,000 and JP felt better. I was just glad we could finally go eat dinner.

But it is a beautiful car and JP is so excited. The first thing he did this morning was go into the garage and then run back into our room to tell me the whole garage had a new car smell. We drive our cars forever (before last night both of our cars were more than 10 years old) so he better soak up that smell while it lasts. But it is nice to have a car made this decade and to know it's under an all-inclusive super extended warranty for 6 years.

And mostly, it's nice to know one of the most amazing and giving husbands and fathers I know got something he so wanted and deserved. Even if I had to make a fool of myself in front of ten random car salesman to get him to understand that.

Friday, December 18, 2009


I am back at work and feeling better. Yesterday was very, very bad. The Vicodin and sleep did not help and I woke up with a headache worse than anything the previous three days had given me. By the time I got to the doctor I could barely move or turn my head without blinding pain. We talked through my history of headaches and she gave me the number of the "headache doc" in Austin and told me to make an appointment asap. In the meantime I was to try a strong muscle relaxer first (since in the past my headaches were helped by stretching and massage) and then if that didn't work in 24 hours I could fill the prescription for Imitrex, a migraine medication. I went home, took the muscle relaxer and laid down on the couch. About thirty minutes later the doorbell rang and I sat up without thinking-- the pain hit me so hard I neatly threw-up and then I blacked out. I took the second pill (I could take up to 2 in the first hour if needed) and went to bed at 4 p.m. JP woke up me up around 10 to give me another pill and I slept until 7 a.m. this morning.

That's 15 hours of sleep. JP must have canceled his lessons, picked up Landon, made dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, put Landon to bed, and checked on me. I have no memory of any of it though JP said that I said "night night" to Landon when he came in before bed. I hate that I missed an entire day- it's very disorienting. But one of the many advantages of having a husband who is as involved in the daily running of the house and child as I am is that he can handle everything on his own without any trouble at all.

Today I still have some echoes of the headache if I shake or move my head too quickly, but it is nothing like it was yesterday or the days before. I am extremely behind in my work, but everyone has been very understanding and my assignments have been reduced to bare essentials. I've also had deadlines extended, but with Christmas coming up I'd rather get them done sooner than later. Landon's daycare Christmas party is today and we don't have presents for the teachers, so JP is just stopping at Starbucks to get everyone gift cards. It's not very personal (I'm hoping to write some cards real quick at the start of the party), but who doesn't like free over-priced coffee? We're still car shopping tomorrow, but I've resigned myself to it and we'll find a way to cut back more each month to afford it. JP's business situation still sucks in a huge way, but it should all end soon.

So it's better. When I went up to get Landon this morning the first thing he said was, "Mama still has boo boo?" He said it very quietly and then gave me lots of kisses on my head. I'm so lucky to two such great men in my life to take care of me. And thank you all for your kind comments over the past two days. I'm hoping to keep this headache at bay through the rest of the holidays.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Down. Very Down.

We're three days in and my week has been so bad I called in for narcotics.

It's not quite like it sounds. I have a medical need. On Monday afternoon I started getting a headache. And by "started getting a headache" I mean sharp pains started shooting around in my forehead. I've had frequent, terrible headaches since 9th grade, so I just took some tylenol and tried to ignore it. By that night the ache had settled in the back of my head and was so painful I could barely blink or move. I woke up Tuesday morning with the same pain, but worked through it all day by taking tylenol and telling myself it was helping. Last night it was so bad I started to get scared. This morning it was still there so I gave in and called my doctor. She was concerned and prescribed two Vicodin and told me to go home to bed, and if I don't sleep it off, I am to come in to the office tomorrow morning for testing.

While I've been battling this horrific headache, we found out that JP's car needs $3,000 worth of repairs. Since it's worth only $3,500, and will probably just keep needing more repairs, we've resigned ourselves to replacing it- we might as well put that $3,000 towards a few months of car payments. I am extremely unhappy about this sudden unplanned expense, and maybe even more unhappy about spending my one weekend at home pre-Christmas and pre-inlaws at various car dealerships. I should be excited about one of us owning a car that was made in the last decade, but the truth is I couldn't care less about the model or age of our cars, I just want them to run, and I would so much rather direct that monthly payment to my loans or our retirement accounts. In fact the whole idea of picking out and paying for a car at the last minute is too stressful for me to think about right now, so we'll move on to the next thing.

JP's partnership is still winding up and it remains painful and fury-inducing to watch. It is also deeply disappointing to see someone I thought was a friend turn into someone I want nothing to do with. It is sad to me that Landon will soon forget about someone he used to call uncle. And most of all it hurts to watch JP do the work to dismantle his dream.

Work is fine, but extremely busy and my leaving at 2 p.m. today to hide in bed is not helping. My personal to-do list is completely out of control thanks to hosting Christmas and being away for the last two weekends, though at least a lot of those items are things I would like to have done and not things that must be done. My work tasks are not so optional and stress is going to set in if I don't get started on some of them soon.

My in-laws arrive in 6 days (and are staying for 8) and I feel too emotionally raw to handle it. This week has just so thoroughly sucked and my head has hurt so badly without a break- I was even aware of the pain as I slept.

This might be my worst blog post ever and I'm sorry, I'm just down. I'm rarely down and I don't like it. My parents never tolerated self-pity and I was raised to always, always see the positive, or if there is truly none, to have hope and work towards changing the situation. Maybe if this Vicodin and a good night's sleep do their magic, I can start thinking that way tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I left out one special little detail about Landon and my trip to Houston. On Saturday night I got back from the bridal shower around 12:30 a.m., had a terrible stomach ache (possibly related to the three cake pops I ate), and fell asleep a little after 1 a.m.

At 3:15 there was a loud wail and cry for MOMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEE coming from my brother's old room. It was Landon and he was pissed. Once I calmed him down, he was wide awake. He wanted nothing to do with the strange pack 'n play on the floor of the strange room and kept asking to go on a walk to the park. I explained that it was dark outside and everyone was sleeping. We walked to the window to investigate the darkness. Landon nodded his head seriously and asked if the sun was hiding. I applauded myself on our ability to reason through problems, and told him, yes, the sun was hiding and it would come out after he went back to sleep and woke back up in the morning. He nodded again and then said, "I can walk in the dark." Damn the infallible logic of a 2-year-old.

From then on nothing I did mattered. I tried lying down next to his pack 'n play on the floor, which worked until I got cold, thought he was sleeping, and tried to crawl out of the room. Many minutes of screaming later I tried sleeping in my brother's bed next to the pack 'n play. Every five minutes Landon would ask where I was and then he'd want to chat. We tried walking again but he threw a fit when I wouldn't let him have his morning breakfast bar. "It's not morning yet," I explained reasonably. Landon responded by throwing the biggest tantrum he'd thrown since June.

I called JP at 4:45, crying, while Landon flopped about on the floor next to me. I kept asking him why we were doing this again. I'd forgotten what it was like to be this tired, to want your child to sleep so badly it hurts. I was reliving Landon's first nine months and was certain I couldn't survive it a second time.

At 5:30 my mom came upstairs. I had put Landon back in the pack 'n play to scream while I sat up in my bed staring catatonically at the wall with the lights on. She took the little demon downstairs so I could sleep and drive back to Austin without killing us both. Landon never went back to sleep and acted impervious to my glares when he bounced cheerfully into my room to say good morning a few hours later.

I rounded out the morning by feeling more nauseous than I had in weeks and throwing up repeatedly in my parent's bathroom. The last time I threw up was 1L year after I drank two bottles of wine at law school prom. I'm sure it was somehow Landon's fault.

Yesterday I had my 14 week check-up. JP told Landon that mommy was going to the doctor check on the baby, and Landon said he wanted to give it a kiss. (I'm pretty sure he thinks there's a ready-made baby hanging out at the doctor's office just waiting for us to take him/her home.) He settled for giving me a kiss and huge hug and then waved and blew kisses as I backed out of the driveway. At the doctor's I heard the whoosh whoosh of a strong heartbeat, and suddenly the phrase, "I can't believe we're doing this again" didn't sound nearly as dire as it had at 4 a.m. Sunday morning.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Houston and Holidays

Our weekend in Houston was a good one. It started on Thursday with my firm's family holiday party. Landon helped me finish up my work before heading down to the conference center. He thinks anywhere the clients give you toy electric cars is a pretty awesome place to work.

We met Santa (a partner in our corporate section). Landon was very excited about him from a distance, but upon closer inspection he decided he wanted nothing to do with that strange man's lap. So the two of them had a nice conversation about trains instead.

Next we decorated a square for the gingerbread house. Landon very carefully placed the candies on the frosting and then when I wasn't looking, placed every single one of them in his mouth. The square is now sitting proudly in the middle of the roof of the house with nothing but some smeared frosting and a few red hots I dumped on at the end.

After the party JP went to coach lessons and then spend three days at home by himself (I always try to remember that he spent the first 18 years of his life as an only child without me to keep him company, and he's had such a crazy semester with school, the swim school, and spending every spare minute with Landon and me), while Landon and I packed up to head to Houston. While I was gathering documents in my office to take to the deposition on Friday, I mentioned to Landon that as soon as I was done we were heading to Papa and GG's house. He immediately jumped up, grabbed my hand, and yelled, "Come ON Mama, Come ON!!" Very cute.

My depo went well, I had thoroughly prepped the partner and I even proved my worth at the table by supplying several names and dates that people couldn't remember. Sometimes I wonder what I will do with this extensive timeline of information once this case ends. Landon spent the day with his godmother and had a wonderful time with her. I attended my best friend's super fancy bridal shower on Saturday night - I think it cost more than my wedding and it was in a house that is about the same size as my office building. Lots of wow.

On Sunday Landon and I headed home to reunite with a JP who was very happy to see us. Apparently he's so used to the craziness now that he gets lonely without it. We picked out our Christmas tree, and because our house really has no natural place to put it, it's living by the window in Landon's playroom. He is SUPER excited about this.

The first thing he muttered when he woke up this morning was, "I wanna go see my tree in my playroom" -- and it is always referred to as "my tree in my playroom." Helps us distinguish it from all those other trees we have in our house.

This Christmas is going to be so much fun.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Happiness Update

I put off calling Shutterfly this morning because I was busy and it was all my mistake and I felt silly even hinting at getting anything from them because of it. But I did, because you all gave me permission to redo the cards and I knew I needed to report the details of my efforts here. And after the call, all I have to say is that Shutterfly is awesome.

First of all, after you hear the five options to direct your call, the polite-sounding gentleman says in a completely serious voice, "to hear a Pirate read these options press 6". This had nothing to do with my re-order, but it made me smile.

Second, after a brief chat with a customer service rep wherein I fessed up to my grievous typo and asked if the cards had been processed yet, I ended up with a 75-card credit and free next day shipping on my reorder. My new cards may get here before the original ones! I initially just asked if the order could still be changed and she said no, they were in production, but she told me I could return them for a credit. I was very happy and surprised to hear that, and then when I asked if I could go ahead and order the new cards now and leave the refund credit for a future, separate purchase (because I was concerned about getting the cards out for Christmas) she placed me on hold and worked some magic to get me an instant card credit as long as I promise to send the typo cards back when I receive them.

So that was full of awesome and holiday cheer. And now my morning is feeling all shiny and happy, even with this Answer and Plea to the Jurisdiction that was supposed to be done yesterday hanging over my head. To make the day even better, this afternoon is our family Christmas party, so JP is bringing Landon to the office at 3:30 for cookie decorating and Santa Claus sitting and other fun activities in the conference center. After the party Landon and I head to Houston so I can attend a deposition tomorrow morning and Landon can hang out with his godmama for the day. We'll stay through the weekend since I haven't been home since July and Saturday is my best friend's fancy lingerie shower (for the wedding I was supposed to be in but now probably can't even attend because it's in Houston 10 days before I'm due). JP came across her present yesterday and was most disappointed it was not for me.

In sum, it's okay to want to redo your Christmas cards because there's a typo, call customer service reps when you've screwed up your order and be nice to them, I like Shutterfly and Shutterfly likes pirates, Landon is going to decorate his first cookie today and I think it may be a life changing experience, and I am excited about going home even if it means I will spend yet another pre-Christmas-weekend not accomplishing things in my own house. Happy Thursday everyone!

Christmas Card Redo?

Yesterday in a fit of productivity, and an overwhelming need to cross a few things off my two-page Christmas to do list, I created and ordered 75 Christmas cards on We never got a good family picture this year, probably because everyone around me is allergic to cameras, so I made a collage of four favorite pictures of Landon with JP or I and one with just Landon and his giant smile. I wrote a little Christmas message, signed it Love, [JP], [LL], and soon to be big brother Landon, entered in about four savings codes, and got them for a great price and free shipping. All while on a two-hour conference call.

I felt good. I had accomplished multiple things (the photo calendars I also ordered are for my in-laws; I can't shop in their price range, but they do love pictures of their grandson) and now we could get our Christmas cards out by Christmas. My productivity buzz lasted through our firm's annual Champagne Party and the first thing I did when I got home was to bring up my masterpiece online for JP to see. (He did not attend the party; we have decided it is not worth the stress for him as a huge introvert to have to socialize with so many people at once, or the stress for me in worrying about him the whole time and then yelling at him on the way home for not talking to anybody.) The first thing out of his mouth-- "Shouldn't that say 2010?"

Oh yes, yes it should. You see for the Christmas message I wrote, "Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2009!"

AHHHHHHHHHH. I blame the conference call. And rushing. And not believing we're about to hit 2010.

But it is killing me. I actually dreamed about it last night. Twice. In the first dream I was able to call up shutterfly and beg for a chance to re-do it for free and they gave it to me and I was so happy I woke up. The second time I couldn't get them to redo it, so I added a P.S. to our Christmas letter saying that while we hoped they everyone had a great 2009, we also extend our best wishes for 2010.

After grinding my teeth for 8 hours I'm now just thinking about re-ordering them. It will cost about $45. What would you do? (You know, if you were me, and you kept a little book of your yearly Christmas cards and letters, and if mistakes and typos kill you slowly from the inside, and while the idea of wasting $45 also hurts me, I've done virtually no shopping or erranding in the last two months and this could be a Christmas present to myself, like a pair of shoes I never saw to buy.) But is it ridiculous to re-order because of a little date error? Does it matter if it's ridiculous? JP just laughed when I shared my dilemma and said whatever I wanted was fine. Help!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I just spent 52 hours here:

and it was everything I knew it would be. I walked until the soles of my feet felt bruised, talked until my throat was hoarse, and ate Chicago Mix popcorn until my fingers were stained yellow.

I also found time to buy a few very cute maternity items, including a pair of jeans that make me feel sexy despite their elastic topped waist band. On Sunday I picked up a few Christmas gifts and Chicago-themed stocking stuffers for Landon.

And I'm still pleased with his Chicago snow globe even if the damned thing cost me $20 on the flight home because it counts as a "liquid" and I had to check my bag. I never, ever check bags. I pack lightly and own every toiletry in mini-size. I felt defeated as I pulled my suitcase out of the security line to the ticket counter to check it. But Landon is going to love that snow globe. I will make sure of it.

It's so wonderful to return to a city you knew and loved. It's even better when you have a good friend to stay with and more friends to meet up with to eat 2" thick pizza. I missed my boys, but unlike a business trip where I have nothing to do but listen to the silence in my hotel room and miss the craziness of our usual evening routine, this trip was filled with talking and laughter and shopping. It was everything I needed to reconnect with my friend and my favorite city.

It was the best Christmas gift JP could have given me and I love him even more for making it so easy for me to pick up and leave without having to worry about a thing back at home. He told me not to bring anything back for him from Chicago as he had no desire to remember it, but I did bring Landon a daddy-approved souveneir cowboy hat from the Austin airport.

I can't wait to bring my little Chicagoan to visit his birthplace one day. Maybe next year- JP already volunteered to stay home and visit the Alamo with the Texas baby.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's Like I'm Going Home

I will be in Chicago tomorrow. I fly out at 9 a.m. and will spend 52 glorious hours with my friends in my favorite city before I head home Monday afternoon to my current city, which I also love, even though it FREAKS OUT at the mere possibility of a few snow flurries. (It is actually snowing outside my office window and it's making me very happy.)

This month is starting to look borderline stressful. I'm not stressed yet, and don't plan to be, but it has all the makings of it. I'm out of town this Sat-Mon. Then I'm in Houston for work next Friday. Landon is coming with me on the business trip so we can stay over with grandma and grandpa for the weekend. Which means the first weekend I'll be in my own house this month is Dec. 19th, and my in-laws arrive on the 22nd and stay for EIGHT DAYS. I haven't decorated the house yet, we don't have a Christmas tree, and JP hasn't put up the lights. We also have about 65 Christmas parties to attend and for the first time ever I don't have our Christmas cards ready to go by now. We don't even have a decent picture of the three of us to put on it. We still have to work around JP's freaking swim lesson schedule (lessons we will now never be paid for- I have soooo much to say about that, but none of it good, so silent I will try to remain) and work is very busy. I don't usually get caught up in holiday stress- I have modest expectations for Christmas and just enjoy the bonus family time, but there are certain things that need to be done and working full-time with two trips in the first half of the month is making it challenging. Oh, and I'm pregnant, so accomplishing anything at night- beyond activating my DVR- is relatively impossible.

On the upside, I have finished all my Christmas shopping (yay internet! I didn't buy a single thing in an actual store) and I'm hatching a plan to leave work early today to take Landon out to buy our tree. And I'm going to be in CHICAGO tomorrow- it's been 18 months and I miss the city so much. Especially now when it'll be all chilly and snow dusted and lit up for Christmas. I plan to walk miles and miles around State St. and Michigan Ave., eat gallons of Garrett's Chicago Mix popcorn (something that shouldn't be delicious but absolutely is; it's one of life's little miracles), and stay up late talking girl talk. It will be full of fabulousness and shopping.

P.S. I'm not sure if you can really add a post script to a blog post, but I just realized I wrote this post at almost the same time last year when I was missing Chicago like crazy and it suddenly snowed. Maybe Austin is trying to help ease my into Southern, smaller-city life.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ear Fail

(Scene: 6' x 6' soundproof box with a chair in the middle. There are large drawings of animals and other toys on the walls. Landon is in my lap ready to begin his hearing test)

Landon, can you find the elephant?

(several seconds pass as I hold myself back from repeating the question that I know he heard)

(turning his head to look at me)
Mama, I want a cracker!

(a little louder)
Landon, can you find the monkey?

Look mama, a el-e-phant!

(even louder because obviously my child is almost deaf)
Landon, can you find the train?

Mama, where did my crackers go?

Landon, can you listen to the sounds please? We'll have crackers later.

Landon, where is the elephant?

(points to the monkey)
Look mama! A monkey! Ooh-ooh-ah-ah.

(looking at the audiologist through the tiny window to my left)
I don't think this is working out.

So he failed the hearing test, but I'm certain he hears just fine. His talking has exploded in the past few weeks and he uses full sentences and adds dozen of new words each day. The test came about because Landon's ear tubes have fallen out and he immediately got infections in both ears. We realized this right before Thanksgiving and were able to get him into the pediatrician Tuesday afternoon for an ear check and prescription for delicious pink amoxycillin- his first antibiotic since his last ear infection in March 2008. The sad thing about these infections, besides the fact that they break our 18-month record of "nothing but check-ups", and that Landon holds his hears and cries when he goes to bed (a truly heartbreaking visual), is that it means he most likely inherited his dad's faulty eustachian tubes. JP has had too many ear surgeries to count and still has to wear special ear plugs and a cap every time he gets wet. We had hoped one round of ear tubes be all Landon needed, but one tube is only half-way out and he already had a raging infection going. We'll wait to see if he gets another in the next 6 weeks, and if he does, it'll be more tubes. The procedure itself is simple and far less traumatic than even one ear infection, I'm just sad for his sake that the problem persists.

But other than the ear test fail, our trip to the pediatric ENT was great. I had an admittedly "difficult" baby, so I don't feel too bad when I say it makes me happy and a teensy bit proud that Landon is so good and easy as a toddler. Out in public, at the house, at a Thanksgiving dinner for 10- he loves meeting and talking to new people and doesn't seem to have any inherently distructive tendancies. He loves to play with toys and kids and loves to run around (and "go FAST!"), but I almost never have to tell him not to touch something he shouldn't be touching or things like that. Who knows how long it will last, but it's really nice for now. He had all the nurses charmed in minutes and told everyone he passed in the halls that the doctor was going to "check my ears". When the doctor came in Landon gave him a huge smile and said "Hi!" and then repeated "gonna check my ears" as he climbed into the patient seat all by himself. On the way out he told everyone it was raining and that he was wearing his hat (the hoodie to his sweatshirt). It was very cute. I'm happy to say he seems to have no scars from his constant and frequently painful doctor visits during his first year of life.

In other health news, I had my real genetic screening ultrasound on Monday and everything looks fantastic! The baby was crazy, bouncing around and dancing the whole time, and it's fun to see how developed s/he looks at only 13 weeks at 3 inches long. My next doctor's appointment is in 2 weeks where I'll get to hear the heartbeat and then we'll find out the sex sometime in late January. Yay!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

Thanksgiving came and now it is gone. Everything went well, though I was forced to realize that being pregnant does make hostessing big events a little harder. I had lots of help getting all the food together and it didn't feel particularly taxing at the time, but I got knocked down by a terrible headache around noon that refused to go away for the rest of the day. Luckily tylenol and my delicious cheeseball appetizers helped dull the pain.

The cooking commenced around 8 a.m. Here my Grandpa Jim is making his famous stuffing while the dogs stick close to their new best friend.

We took everyone out to the park while the turkey cooked. Landon was very excited to show his Papa the ropes. This is his favorite slide -- favorite because it's FAST. Or so he tells me every time he's about to go down it. My dad found it to be pretty quick too.

My dad got a tour of all of the best playground pieces, including careful directions through Landon's favorite tunnel.

Once my dad was safely through the tunnel, Landon showed my mom and me his monkey bar skills. (Also pictured: my 13-week baby bump. And the three sausage rolls I ate for breakfast.)

JP was nearly as excited as Landon because he had my brother, former high school football star, and my dad to throw the ball around with. I know very little about the sport, but their long-distance throws and catches looked pretty impressive to me. Landon played too and had so much fun running with the big kids (my dad included in that group, of course).

My dad's parents were there to watch everyone run about for an hour or two and then we headed back to the house to lay out the appetizer buffer and wait for my sister (who had to work until 3) and my mom's parents to arrive. Thursday was their 54th wedding anniversary and we had a champagne toast before dinner in honor of their happy past, present, and future together.

The meal came together beautifully and JP carved his first turkey. I retired to my room after dinner in an attempt to make my headache go away (and avoid the dishes- a time honored trick my sister mastered in childhood). It was a good day and I think most fun was seeing Landon entertain all of his guests. I'm not sure he's ever been happier- 10 sets of eyes followed his every move and 10 sets of hands clapped whenever he did anything remotely noteworthy. He loves his big family and had a great day.

Everyone was on their way home by 9 a.m. on Friday morning and then we spent three quiet days together as a little family. We took the dogs and Landon and his big red wagon on long walks through the trails around our neighborhood and watched a lot of Christmas movies on TV. I a ridiculous amount of time on the couch and accomplished almost exactly nothing (though I did read the two last books in the Wilderness series by Sara Donati; very good). My work computer never left its case. Landon joined us in bed each morning and we'd tickle and cuddle and read. I thought about getting out the Christmas decorations, but rejected the idea in lieu of watching The Santa Claus on TBS for the second time. I did manage to finish my extended family Christmas shopping on Sunday thanks to my laptop and wireless internet. I'm very excited about all of the gifts I picked out- I even purchased a few for me from JP. They're going to be such a surprise!

Now I'm back at work with the Frank Sinatra holiday station playing on I love the holidays.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Menu

Commenters to the last post asked about my Thanksgiving menu, as well as a reminder-link to one of the best appetizer recipes ever. And because I love my readers who stick with me even when I go days between posts (as I seem to do frequently of late), I will grant both of their wishes.

First the Mexican Cheesecake recipe. It is oh so good.

Second, the menu. Last year I wrote a post two days before I was supposed to cook my first Thanksgiving dinner (for 10 people, 3 of them being my in-laws who for some reason I still try to impress), panicking because I realized I didn't know how to make any of the key dishes. You all were very helpful and I just read back through the comments because I realized today that I still don't have much of an idea what I'm doing- I haven't made those dishes since the last Thanksgiving, though they did all turn out very well.

And so without further ado, this year we will be eating:

Appetizers: Crackers, various cheeses, a delicious pesto cheese ball, summer sausage, smoked ham, and cut up veggies with ranch dip (and maybe plain potato chips with onion dip because I have had very strong cravings for that lately, even though I generally don't like potato chips and haven't had onion dip in years). And probably left over chili because I'm making a big pot for dinner on Wednesday and JP cannot subsist for more than a few hours on mere crackers and cheese.

1. The Turkey. We went to Costco to pick up our butterball (20 cents/lb. cheaper than HEB!) and Landon was very upset that it did not look like the pet turkey he thought we'd be taking home. I tried to assure him that he should be very glad it looked nothing like the original turkey, but settled for explaining to him that a turkey can appear two different ways. One is the pretty bird with bright feathers that he carries around the house and the other is a frozen ball shrink-wrapped in plastic. He seemed okay with that. As far as cooking the big bird, I will try to recreate what I did last year because it was easy and delicious. It involved butter, onion chunks and other vegetables at the base, chicken broth, fresh herbs, and foil. And then many hours wishing I had two ovens.

2. The stuffing. I made mine outside the bird last year for our Indian guests, but this year my Grandma Jim is coming and he always makes the stuffing and it always goes in the turkey. So in the turkey it will go.

3. Mashed Potatoes. I'm making a version of Pioneer Woman's with the cream cheese and sour cream and lots of butter. I think I could eat a pound or two all by myself.

4. The Gravy. We had delicious gravy last year because I used so many of your suggestions for random produce to stuff into the turkey and put in the bottom of the roaster. It made for delicious drippings that I thickened in to gravy. I hope to do the same this year.

5. Green Bean Casserole. On the back of the French's Fried Onion can, it needs no other explanation and it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it.

6. Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole. My Grandma Jo's mother's recipe and the only time all year I get to eat sweet potatoes because JP refuses to like them.

7. Cranberry Relish. Also my Grandma Jo's recipe. I can't remember if I like cranberries but I'm sure hers are delicious. I really only use them to make the water in my water dispenser extra pretty.

8. Corn Pudding. The one dish that is an absolutely necessary part of a Lag Liv family Thanksgiving. Really, it's a necessary part of every holiday from Easter to Christmas Day brunch. If you're looking for something a little different this year, give it a try. I've had other corn puddings and found them mushy and rather tasteless; this one is neither of those things.

Corn Pudding
2 cans cream style corn
2 eggs
3/4 c. cornmeal
1 tsp. garlic salt (3/4 tsp.)
6 Tbl oil (2/3 c.)
1 can chopped green chilies, drained
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese (2 c.)
1/2 tsp. baking powder (or not)

1. Mix everything together except the chilies and cheese. Put 1/2 of mixture in greased baking dish.

2. Mix cheese and chilies and layer over corn. Adding the remaining corn mixture.

3. Bake at 350 for 45 min to 1 hour, until set (i.e., the center isn't jiggly).

LL's notes: This recipe is my Grandma Mary's. She got it from a fellow air force wife when they were stationed at one of the 25 places they were stationed during my grandfather's illustrious military career (obviously, I need a few more details on the backstory). There are currently two competing version- may aunt's and my mom's. Both claim to have the original so I'm not sure where the variance came from. I've written out the way that I make it now and left the alternative in parentheses. Both taste pretty much the same, so I take that to mean it's a recipe you can't mess up. I usually skip the 2nd step and just mix everything together as I like my cheese evenly distributed and I love a recipe with only one step. And it is delicious. We make it every Easter to eat with our ham and every Thanksgiving to go with the turkey. It also goes great with Mexican food (it's a must on fajita night) and brunch (it goes very well with eggs and other breakfast casseroles). In college I used to make it and eat it alone as an entree for several days at a time. Delicious!

So-- what are you eating?

Turkey Trot

Why does craziness always erupt right around the holidays? This year I will have 10.5 adults at my house for Thanksgiving (my original family of 5 + JP + all 4 of my grandparents + Landon, who will probably only eat the rolls and corn pudding), I hurt my back again on Wednesday, and I am slammed at work. I was in the office until midnight on Friday, though I did go home for 2 hours to see Landon, eat dinner, and pick up a DQ blizzard to power me through the rest of my memo. I'm not sure it helped but it was definitely tasty.

JP has multiple group projects and papers due this week, so I spent the weekend prepping for the big meal with Landon. It's a good thing he loves HEB because we spent quite a lot of time there. He stands up in the cart and talks to everyone we pass in the aisles. Sometimes it's just a hello, sometimes he likes to tell them I'm his mom ("MY mama!"), and other times he wants to show them the fireman on his t-shirt. People have started to recognize him at the store- I think he has more friends in our neighborhood than I do. We also cleaned the house and made multiple to-do lists of the rest of the phases of Thanksgiving prep. I love entertaining, truly, it is not something that stresses me out and I get to buy pretty decor for the table and use all my fancy serving dishes, I just have to do it in a very organized, very to-do list heavy manner.

I forgot to share some big news from last week - we now have official, matching master bedroom furniture! (Which is how I hurt my back.) I ordered the bedroom set six weeks ago and had no idea when it would arrive. We got the call Tuesday afternoon that it would be here Wednesday, so we had to move all our current furniture upstairs so the new stuff could be delivered. And our old furniture? was heavy. Luckily JP is very strong and did 95% of the work, but some of the pieces were unwieldy and I had to help guide them up our stairs that inconveniently turn at sharp angles twice along the way. But everything looks great spread among our upstairs bedrooms. Oddly enough, while none of the pieces matched each other, each matched one of the rooms upstairs, so now they all have a full set. We were able to use every piece, some of which have a lot of sentimental value, and my 6'2" brother is excited about getting our old queen-sized bed and upgrading from his double. The feeling of completeness makes me very happy.

I stayed up way too late on Wednesday switching all the clothes from our old drawers to the new ones, getting out all the decorating items I've been slowly buying over the past 15 months, and then just sitting and admiring our beautiful room. As I told JP when he got back from practice that evening- "it looks like grown-ups live here!" I love it so much. We waited 4.5 years to have a real bedroom set and then spent 15 months saving up for it and slowly buying the linens and curtains and picture frames that would make it complete (and buy "we" I mean me). There's still a few things I need to arrange and get JP to hang- including a very pretty wood medicine cabinet I found for the bathroom, which of course required moving a towel rod we put up a year ago, spackling the holes, painting them over, and then re-installing the rod about 4" down. It's a good thing he loves me because I have a few more project ideas left to implement. But then we should be done.

My back is spasming as I write this and I can't take ibuprofen for it (damn pregnancy taking away all the helpful drugs). Cooking the 20 lb. turkey and all the sides should be interesting on Thursday. But I'm excited to have my whole family together and I love putting out a big meal. I found the cutest stuffed turkey at Marshalls and Landon carries it all around the house saying "gobble gobble". It's going to be a great holiday, I just need to get through this massive work to-do list first!

Friday, November 20, 2009

It Begins

I feel like I've been writing far less about my pregnancy this time around. In truth, I don't think about this pregnancy all that much. Now that my stomach feels okay most of the time, I can go hours without thinking about the fact that I am growing a person. I've been wondering why this is. Last time I felt different - transformed - the minute I saw the plus sign on the pregnancy test. I remember walking to Walgreens in the snow to buy another test feeling so fragile. The trip took twice as long as normal as I carefully stepped around the ice on the sidewalk.

I've decided it's a combination of three things: (1) I've done this before. It's still an amazing thing to know there's two heartbeats inside of you, but the novelty of the idea has worn off. Now I just smile when I think of it and move on with whatever I'm doing. (2) I have far less free time to immerse myself in pregnancy books and internet message boards. I have googled less than five things regarding pregnancy since I found out. Partly because I know the answers and partly because that research is not billable and I'm no longer a student who's trying to avoid studying for finals. And (3) I'm already a parent and I have a delightful, attention-consuming toddler to play with and care for every minute I'm not at work. Last time I felt like JP and I were just counting down the seconds until we were parents of a baby we could hold and and feed and love. We were done being just a couple and were ready to move on to the next step. This time we're already on that step. Sure it'll be different once we have two kids- some days I still wonder if we're out of our minds to add more to the craziness, but the biggest transformation of all - the jump from two to family has already happened. I can't wait to meet this baby, but I'm far less focused on the count down than I was last time. For now I see the weeks until June 12 as more time I get to spend 1-on-1 with Landon, and excited as I am to hold his new sibling, I can't and don't wish away the special alone time I spend with him now.

Don't you feel better now that I have that figured out? I always do. And despite all of the above, today I find myself remembering that I'm pregnant a little more often. It's seems my little peanut (actually, my "fig or small plum") is pushing out and making herself some extra room in my belly. And to accomodate him, there is a navy blue rubber band holding together the top of my jeans. Of my four pairs of jeans, three still fit but one looked better with the sweater I wanted to wear. I could probably still button these pants, but I'll be sitting all day writing a memo and why be uncomfortable if you don't have to? If they weren't fitting because I'd eaten too many french fries I'd probably suck it up (or, in), but since I'm pregnant I get to pull out the rubber band trick. I haven't gained any weight yet, but as JP pointed out this morning- "whoah, there's a bump there!" I'm starting to regret altering all my clothes when I started work, I could use a few pairs of pants that were up a size. At least it's just in time for holiday sales!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm a lawyer, but I play a doctor on TV

As most of my blog readers know, from the age of 10(ish) to 21, my life's dream was to be a doctor. I was pre-med in college and took all the required classes, including the dreaded organic chemistry which forever ruined my 4.0 GPA (and for which I will forever be bitter). I ended up in law school and am happy with the decision, but I remain fascinated by all things medical. My newest case involves a cutting edge biotechnology company that recently patented a new way to sequence human DNA. It is full of awesome and I love that I know what many of the technical terms mean.

Anyway, the point is that even though I am a lawyer who specializes in organizing paper stacks on my desk, blood and medical terms don't phase me. When JP's lung collapsed in college (a rather fantastic story I should really share sometime, though it highlights what a terrible girlfriend and fake-doctor I was) I watched the surgery and wanted to know everything about his treatments. It's been a while since I've had any medical drama in my own life now that Landon only goes to the doctor for check-ups and JP and I generally stay out of the emergency room. While Landon is a very active little boy, he had yet to really hurt himself -- until last night.

For reasons only he understands, Landon was standing on his cozy coupe, which was lying on its side, and trying to jump off it. Not the best idea. He slipped and hit his head on the pointy corner of our TV unit. He was sobbing, blood started pouring down his face, and he kept trying to put both his hands on the cut to make the pain stop- soon his hands and face were smeared with blood and I was trying to hold him and figure out how bad the injury really was.

It was the saddest thing. He looked shocked that he was hurting and he was clinging to my shoulder sobbing "no mama no" and shaking his head. I had to wipe away the blood with a towel and put pressure on the cut so I could see if the bleeding would slow down on its own. And because I had to do that, I couldn't let him bury his head into my neck like he wanted to and he just looked so bewildered that he hurt and mommy was being mean and not immediately making it better. Once I could actually see the cut I decided it would be fine- the bleeding was slowing and it wasn't nearly as big as I originally feared. We cuddled on the couch while I held the towel to his head and pretty soon he forgot about the injury and was jabbering excitedly about the Spiderman band-aid I promised to put on his forehead.

There's a lot of things that make you a mom. The sacrifices, the constant need to worry about one thing or another- the fact that your life is no longer just your own. But one of the most gratifying is the power you have to make things better. Even with blood pouring down his face, Landon just wanted to be held by mama and he had complete faith that I would make everything ok. Me and the Spiderman band-aid. It's an honor and awesome responsibility, and one of my favorite perks of the job.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Baby Bean

At the last appointment we had a little bean- just a blob on an ultrasound with a wonderfully flickering heart. Yesterday we got to see a little bean that actually looks like a baby.

We saw his face and arm.

Her foot and all five little toes.

And even his little nose.

We saw her brain, the heart and its strong beat, and the perfect little profile.

Fortunately and unfortunately, I wasn't as far along as we originally thought and it was too early for the genetic screening test, so I have to (get to) come back in two weeks for another ultrasound. This is the second time my due date has been pushed back. It shouldn't matter as every extra day means a greater probability I won't have this baby before JP graduates, and apparently our baby was never as far along as we thought so it's really a correction rather than a lengthening of the time I'll be pregnant, but I still find it irritating. And despite two ultrasounds with clear fetal measurements, I still find it hard to believe that s/he was conceived not during the week when we were on vacation and had unprotected sex at least once a day every day, but instead when we came back home and had protected sex every few days. Sure I wasn't supposed to be fertile during the vacation week (I've received three emails from people asking how we made natural family planning work for us for over two years. Um, we didn't. I had the Mirena IUD which I loved and had removed so we could have a baby soonish. Turns out that soonish meant "in two months because we are too lazy to follow effective natural family planning"), and I know condoms aren't 100% effective, but that still seems crazy.

Anyway, apologies to my father and any other readers who prefer the word sex to not be in my blog posts. What matters is that our baby bean looks great and will arrive whenever he decides to arrive. And preferably he or she will wait for her lungs to develop, unlike our delightful but gestationally impatient first child.

It's rather amazing that bean becomes this little person, isn't it?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Things, cont.

Once again, a long delay between posts. This situation has devolved from bad to worse and even though I desperately wanted to talk about it, I try to keep this blog about me and not others, a rule I adhere to even more strictly when the person is identifiable. So I drafted several long rants in my head and stayed away from blogger.

The biggest turn of events occurred on Wednesday when JP realized there was no possible way he could continue with the swim school. And more than that, the school was functionally splitting into three parts, each of which would be run by a different person, none of whom are him. I came downstairs after putting Landon to bed and overheard the end of his phone conversation with a person he'd hoped to continue working with. He looked broken. There's just no other word to describe it - until that point, he'd really believed his dream and all his hard work would continue on in some way. And I sat on the floor next to him and cried. For him- for all those late nights, for all the stress of business school and starting a new business, for all the time he gave up with me and Landon, for how much he loved that company and the coaching, and for all that work coming to nothing. And for me- for all those nights and weekend hours on my own, for all nights he tucked me in bed and I fell asleep alone while he worked, and for finally believing in something and having it crushed. He will be fine of course, he'll have an MBA from the University of Texas and an incredible learning experience on his resume, but it still sucks in a huge, heartbreaking way and I'm not done feeling upset about it.

Then I got sick on Thursday and spent 3 hours on Friday waiting for the doctor. I do not have the flu- although I started thinking that if I didn't have it at the time, I probably would soon after spending all that time in a waiting room. I've spent the weekend resting and re-reading the Twilight series. I just finished Breaking Dawn and am disappointed that it didn't improve with time. I'm even more disappointed that I am somehow drawn to the story anyway. Those books are a mystery to me- I loathe them for the bad writing and unforgivably shallow characters (and the creepy, controlling 100-year-old lover of the flat, ambitionless 18-year-old heroine), and yet, I stayed up too late last night finishing Eclipse. I can't explain it. I've never been a fan of daytime soaps or reality tv- maybe that's what these books are to me? Literary brain candy.

Tomorrow is our ultrasound for the first trimester genetic screening. It's much more detailed than the first one, and now that I'm 12-weeks the baby should look more like a person than a tadpole or little dot. It should be very fun to see him or her swimming around in my belly. I still can't quite believe I'm pregnant, I have to keep reminding myself of it. I look the same- I actually lost 5 lbs. in the last week thanks to being sick (don't worry, I'm working on getting it back), and I feel fine. Only the higher level of tiredness and the random distaste for certain foods keeps me aware that there's a baby growing inside me. Tomorrow should be lots of fun- a bright start to a new, hopefully far less eventful week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Sorry for the absence. I always wonder if in the blogging world absence makes the heart go fonder- or does it just make people lose interest?

To catch you up, I caught an early flight home from Houston on Friday and spent a delightful afternoon with Landon. The way he ran at me when he saw me on the daycare playground and then jumped up to give me a huge hug made me forgive him for trying to kill me during his first year of life. Not that I was really mad at him, but it still felt good be reminded for the millionth time that the nights of non-stop crying are all so worth it. Especially since we're going to embark on that madness for a second time.

Saturday involved two toddler birthday parties. JP was coaching and studying all day so I had to handle the three cupcake, zero nap situation by myself. Landon did surprisingly well- I love watching him with other kids, but as always, we missed having JP with us.

On Sunday the three of us headed out for a family trip to the San Antonio zoo. We met my grandparents for breakfast beforehand and then met a friend and her 10-month-old at the zoo gates. We arrived in the midst of a downpour, but managed to have a great time anyway. Landon never stopped moving- as evidenced by this picture in front of a giant hippo:

He looooooved the zoo. We had to keep circling back to the "mangoes" (read: flamingos) and he became good friends with the Komodo dragon in the reptile house during the worst of the rain. He was very concerned that the dragon wasn't drinking his water and Landon kept pleading, "Dink dragon dink!" The monkeys were hopped up on something (I think the rain makes them frisky) and they were a blast to watch- Landon was jumping up and down by their habitats and screaming. My favorite part was when we got to the rhino area Landon randomly said, "Mama, I was to KISS it!" I have no idea where that came from, but it cracked me up. I told him he could blow the rhino a kiss and he did.

I was going to write about all of this on Sunday, but I was struck down with the worst headache I've ever had in my life- and that's really saying something. I ended up in bed moaning for three hours and eventually knocked myself out with a sleeping pill in an attempt to escape from the knives of pain in my head. I ended up in physical therapy for headaches the last time I was pregnant- I should probably try to find my book of stretches.

But the real thing on my mind right now- and the thing I'm struggling to write about- is JP's company. He got some very bad business news last night- one of his three partners is backing out. The name goes with him, so the thousands of dollars of advertising, brochures, shirts, caps, and other memorabilia are all worthless. It sucks, but mostly I was amazed at how overwhelmingly sad I am that the big idea they talked about it our living room ended like this. I'll admit that on the bad days when JP was coaching late and had a ton of schoolwork and I was exhausted and Landon was fussy, I secretly wished the swim school would just go away. But I really did believe in it and was excited about it and it hurt for that dream we sacrificed for to go away so suddenly. JP didn't do on campus interviews so now we're looking at a graduation in May with no job, no swim school, and another $40,000 in loans coming due. And then I start to get mad and anxious.

JP is taking it much better than I am. Since his marriage to me- the dream crusher and love of his life- he's let go of many a business idea. I, on the other hand, don't dream about things outside of a lock-step career path, so I've never had one crushed. I was so down last night I freaked out a whole bunch of people via facebook (sorry about that- baby 2.0 and I are just fine). But my husband the entrepreneurial optimist just sees the dream as crumpled, not crushed. He already has plans to continue on in a different form, assuming he can get pool space without the name-partner. It's going to be a hell of a Spring- with JP's final semester and potentially running a swim school by himself during the busy season, and me having a huge three-week trial in April and expecting a baby in early June.

But I'll worry about the particulars of all that later. For now I'm going to be sad and mourn the loss of the first business idea I believed in (and a huge reason I was able to believe was because of the particular people involved, not just the idea itself) while eating E.L. Fudge cookies and watching a bunch of skinny, fit people bounce around the stage on So You Think You Can Dance. Cause that's sure to perk me right up.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Home Sweet Hotel Room

I'm in Houston on business and I'm learning once again that marriage and motherhood have ruined Fancy Hotel rooms with king-sized beds for me. You'd think it would make me soak up the night of solitude all the more, but I miss my boys terribly. I miss the craziness and the dogs and the cuddling with JP and hugs and blown kisses from Landon. I'll be home before he goes to bed tomorrow and I can't wait to read our books and hear about his day, but at least now he's old enough to have brief conversations with me on the phone. I'm looking forward to a weekend filled with birthday parties and a trip to the San Antonio zoo. Until then, I'm going to keep looking at my favorite pictures from his daycare conference.

He's going to be an awesome big brother.

Cooking up some homemade playdough.

Cupcakes! for a friend's birthday.

Man I miss that kid.