Saturday, October 31, 2009

He's Napping With It Right Now

This year is the first Halloween Landon was verbal enough to get to choose his own costume. I was curious to see what he'd pick. He loves trucks, but hasn't quire grasped the human equivalents- I'm sure he'd love to be an actual fire truck, but a fireman wouldn't do anything for him. He seemed a little old for another animal costume, much as I'd love to make him a bumble bee or puppy dog (at least I'll always have the lobster). So I opened up a random Halloween magazine we'd received in the mail and asked what costume he liked. He immediately yelled "PUNKINS!" and thus it was decided.

Because I am not crafty, I picked up the costume at Pottery Barn Kids. It looked well-made and cozy and actually came in a 2t-3T size. (Apparently lots of magazines only think babies want to be pumpkins - little do they know I have a toddler who is obsessed with them. He asks to go to HEB every day just because of the giant "punkin" display in the front.)

We got it out yesterday morning to try it on before his daycare costume parade. He fell in love with the hat.

When I removed the hat to put on the rest of the costume I unwittingly separated him from the new love of his life and he ended up rolling and screaming on the tile floor of the kitchen. I abandoned try-on attempt and hoped I hadn't set a precedent that would ensure the full costume was never worn. He left for daycare still wearing that hat - I could see the stem poking up from behind his car seat as JP drove away.

When I got to the daycare parade Landon was still running around in his pumpkin hat and I asked him very nicely if I could put on the rest of his costume. He looked at me solemnly and said, "Real quick mama" with a little head nod, and then stood stoically as I carefully maneuvered the stuffed pumpkin over his hat. I love being able to talk with him now, it makes life so much easier for both of us.

And the full costume? It was adorable.

He left it on all the way through the parade, the party, the parent potluck lunch, and then while he rode his bike around the playground. I loved being there to watch him play with his friends and sit next to him at lunch. He loved it too. He finally let me take off his costume, though of course, the hat remained on. I needed to leave as I'd been there for two hours and we were filing our brief today and prepping a partner for four depositions next week, but his little lip started quivering when I told him mommy had to go.

Luckily, his brilliant teachers had saved dessert for when the parents all said goodbye.

Once he had his cupcake I got a cheerful "bye bye mama!" and two blown kisses. His teacher said the hat stayed on his head all day and then he wore it all evening, even sleeping with it in his crib. We only barely won the battle to take it off for his bath.

He woke up with every intention of wearing it all day today too. And probably every day until Christmas. Here, he's eating breakfast and showing you the pumpkin he made in dacyare. He's very proud of it.

We have two Halloween parties tonight and some trick or treating - I love that Landon is now old enough to be excited about holidays. It makes them even more fun!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Briefs (the legal kind) and Balance

It is such a good feeling to finish a brief you've been working on for weeks. It is a freaking awesome feeling to sit down to read it from start to finish and know that your group has done a good job for the client.

In law school I loathed our 1L research and writing class. I finished my brief during third quarter and vowed I would never write another. Turns out, I just hate brief writing when you're doing it on the same topic as 180 other insane, intense University of Chicago 1L's and you have unlimited time and westlaw searches to make it perfect. I really enjoyed writing the brief for this case. It's a Motion to Dismiss in a very high stakes securities class action (a topic I love) and I got to work with two ridiculously smart people who love what they do and welcome input and enjoy argument. I researched most of our defenses, wrote the first draft of out half the document, and then stood my ground and defended it against the senior associate and partner's roles as devil's advocate. There have been so many marvelous moments of law geekery. I loved working with case law- finding great cases and crafting language around the not-so-great ones. I especially loved sitting in a partner's office and discussing defenses and other ideas and knowing I'm actually contributing. He knows far more about securities law, and far more about litigation in general, but I knew my specific research points and I loved arguing back against his role as attorney from the other side. I learn so much during those exchanges. Most of all I loved the writing. There's almost nothing I enjoy more than playing with words on a computer screen. I'm thankful I work somewhere I can substantively assist in a case this big, and when I make an argument for a section of the brief, the partner just tells me to go write it.

It still surprises me how much I enjoy litigation. I would never have guessed that from law school. But I love working the unique facts of a case around existing law, figuring out (or really listening to smarter, more experienced people figure out) how best to defend the case, and watching our arguments and defenses evolve. Of course there's parts that aren't so fun, but even doc review can be interesting - that's where your facts and evidence come from and I like finding that surprise document that helps us or hurts the other side. You're working with a story and the story changes with each key document you find. And the writing -- in corporate you so rarely draft anything from scratch that I missed starting with a blank page and writing my own words rather than changing a few things about someone else's. There's plenty to like about transactional law, but it is abundantly clear it was the wrong choice for me.

One thing that is not so good? Getting home 10 minutes before Landon goes to bed. I have nothing to mitigate that - it just sucks. I hate not having our evening time together and hate that he was so excited to see me and then so sad when he had to almost immediately go to bed. Each time that happens (which is blessedly very rare, I think this is the 3rd time in the 14 months I've been working), I'm reminded that if it were more common, I would immediately change from being an almost blissfully happy attorney to a bitter, miserable one. It's like a balance next to a precipice. Within a certain range of work/family time everything is great. As I've written ad nauseum, this life is right for me and my family and everyone is happy. But when the balance touches the ground on one side, there's not a corresponding decrease in happiness, it's a plunging spiral into bitterness and doubt. Luckily, such moments are rare. And even though I miss Chicago dearly, I know a huge reason why our life works is because I'm in Austin and not a big city. It's still a big firm and big cases, but there's a different level of intensity and a nice focus on family and hobbies (and an 8 minute commute!).

I'm responsible for shepherding our brief and exhibits through the filing process on Friday, but I'm still heading to Landon's daycare Halloween party for a few hours in the middle of the day to watch the costume parade and join in the parent potluck. The balance will be back and the brief is done.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thoughts on a Monday Night

  1. I want rice krispie treats. Really, really bad. The homemade kind, not the ones wrapped in blue wrappers that have a strong plastic taste.
  2. I really, really want to go to bed. Almost as badly as I want homemade rice krispie treats.
  3. The amount of work I have to do tonight means that I can't do #1 or #2 on this list. And yet I still love my job.
  4. I slept for approximately 24 hours this weekend. I've morphed from an insomniac into a narcoleptic. On Saturday I fell asleep at 6:00 when we got home from an elementary school carnival and woke up disoriented at 8:45. I stumbled out to the living room where JP was working on a research paper and asked what day it was, whether it was am or pm, and what happened to Landon. JP had taken care of everything and said that Landon tried to come tell me goodnight but I didn't move, not even when they poked my toes. And I'm usually a Very light sleeper.
  5. Growing a baby is very hard work.
  6. Landon surpasses all adjectives. He was so sweet and good and funny this weekend I almost started crying when I realized I missed 2 hours of our time together because of my pregnancy-induced narcolepsy.
  7. But then I went back to bed and slept for 10 more hours. And I accidentally took a nap on Sunday too.
  8. I hate taking naps, it feels like I'm wasting so much time.
  9. Speaking of wasting time, I really need to get to work.
  10. But how awesome was Mad Men last night?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hello Little Bean

The appointment went great! There is ONE baby bean with a very strong, beautifully flickering heartbeat. I'm so glad JP was able to be there with me, even if he did have to miss an important seminar and write a paper to make up for it.

I really like my doctor and her nurse. I still miss my Chicago midwife, but I think this practice is going to be great for us, especially since this time around I will be carefully monitored for pre-term labor. Our goal this time is 37 weeks gestation and no NICU time. A baby born without being covered in bruises is also of high importance and we're talking about opting for a c-section since if I do hold on to the baby longer, there's every reason to believe he'll be bigger than the 7 lb. 7 oz. 5-week early Landon. That's something we'll keep discussing during my check-ups and I'd like to talk about it here as long as everyone can play nice in the comments. I'm sure it won't be a problem, as I have great readers who leave thoughtful comments even when they disagree with me, (except for one person who was determined to tell me I'm fat; I wonder if I should stop deleting those as I get bigger since they'll be closer to true?), I've just seen comments devolve on childbirth issues so many times before.

But overall today was a great day and we're very excited about our baby bean!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Big Day

Tomorrow is my first pregnancy doctor appointment. I'm both more and less anxious than I thought I'd be. On the one hand, now that I feel wretched for most of the day, I finally believe I am pregnant and don't need the ultrasound to prove it to me. On the other hand, both JP and my families have a history of miscarriage (our mothers had a combined total of five) and this first check into the health of the baby makes me nervous. And for some reason the completely unplanned nature of my pregnancy makes me even more nervous - like because when I first took that pregnancy test I hoped it would be negative, I somehow deserve something to be wrong. Irrational thoughts, but ones that pop up in my head every now and then.

One advantage of this appointment is that afterwards I can officially announce my pregnancy to the rest of the office. I know some people wait until after the first trimester, but I'm tired of pretending I don't feel like absolute crap every morning (and afternoon and evening). Should something go wrong between now and 13 weeks I'd want some time off and I'd want people to know why. We have a relatively small, close-knit section and I don't enjoy hiding this from them. Plus, I need to be able to commiserate with those who've done this before. Working while pregnant sucks, and it sucks even more when you really like your job and can't do your best at it because your stomach is staging a violent revolt all day and you're so tired at night you fall asleep on the couch at 8 p.m. I'm currently revising the number I children I planned to have.

(Although, when Landon snuggles into my lap while we read Digger Man and 10 Terrible Dinosaurs and then sighs as he tucks his head into the crook of my neck while I sing him goodnight, I swear I could have at least five of him.)

I look forward to sharing a happy report - and an actual due date! - from the doctor appointment tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Birthday JP and Other News

I apologize for the absence. I've been very busy feeling like I'm going to throw up and wanting to curl up under my desk and be unconscious for the next month or so. So there's been no time to share the adorable things Landon is doing or to complain about how JP is still sick and had the flu after all, or even to tell the story about how I was supposed to finish up a section of Motion to Dismiss last night so it could be sent to the client this morning but I fell asleep at 8:45 and then woke up at 8 a.m. with nothing done and had to race to work and write through the nausea to get Something to the partner by 10. His previously high estimation of my writing may have been permanently harmed by the piece of crap I emailed to him at 9:59.

In other news, JP turned 28 on Sunday. He celebrated by going to the minor emergency center and finding out he probably had the flu. I felt on the verge of vomitting all day, so we ate a simple dinner at one of our favorite thai places while my sister babysit the Lanman. We figured we'd save the expensive, special dinner for a night we would actually enjoy it.

Landon was very excited about his daddy's birthday and sang his version "Happy Birthday" on and off for most of the day. I finally thought to get some of it on video and now have a full 2 minute clip of his Gregorian-like chant of the birthday song. Here is a 20-second sample:

He is quite the bright spot in my life right now and that makes me both so excited about this next baby and so sad that this baby means I won't get to spend every second I'm at home laughing and playing with him.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nausea, Playgrounds, and Pregnancy

Thank you everyone for your kind comments on my announcement. It made me feel very happy at work on Friday as I fought through nausea and exhaustion while trying to write a brief on a complicated securities law issues. Each gmail "new message" alert gave me a reason to smile, and watching for them probably kept me from closing my door, curling up in a ball under my desk, and simply wishing my brief away. So the people working on this case with me probably thank you too.

As of Wednesday, pregnancy is pretty much kicking my ass. I felt 100% fantastic until I woke up that morning - I even took a few extra tests just to see if I really was pregnant - after all, I felt so great! No more. I wake up feeling nauseous, spend a blessed two hours nausea-free from about 4-6 p.m., and then struggle with it all evening. I don't actually want to throw up or feel much of a need to, it's just a constant queasy, almost sick feeling swirling around in my stomach. I'm also exhausted and feel like half of my brain has been removed and replaced with cotton balls. I didn't finish an assignment that I'd promised to send out before I left on Friday, so I stayed up until midnight finishing a draft that was definitely not up to my usual standards, but I sent it out anyway and then went back to the office today for a few hours to clean it up. I absolutely had time to finish it by Wednesday or Thursday of this week, I just couldn't physically pull it together. I hope this gets better soon - usually if I waste time during the day I make up for it at night, but right now that isn't an option. I barely have the energy to fire up the DVR.

This baby is already getting expensive. I've been feeling so bad that I can't think about food until the second I am hungry and then I want exactly whatever pops into my head. This makes packing a lunch and planning meals to make during the week impossible. Today I ate out for every meal and snack. Breakfast tacos with Academomia, a soft pretzel at Target, a footlong Subway sandwich filled with veggies for lunch, and then Chuy's chicken enchiladas for dinner. Apparently this is exactly what my blueberry-sized baby wanted, but our credit card balance is displeased. I'm hoping it will get better soon. With Landon my queasiness abated at 9 weeks, but it was never this bad to start with.

And speaking of Academomia, Landon and I spent a lovely two hours with Becca and family this morning. We met at a magical place where they sell organic breakfast tacos with free range eggs for 99 cents (and organic coffee, if you like that sort of thing) and there's an awesome playground for the kids (and adults!) to enjoy. Ihad so much fun watching the boys I would go entire minutes without thinking about my stomach!

Here Landon is trying to figure out how to categorize 1-year-old Wesley. Is he a baby? Or is he a big boy?

I don't know what he concluded, but he did get very close to Wes and then make his fake chomping "I'm going to eat you" sound, which I hastened to assure Becca, means that he likes Wesley very much. He also tries to pretend chomp on his pound puppy, his real doggies, Lilly the cat, and his Halloween costume. It's a sign of love. Landon also got to play with Charlie, Becca's 3-year-old, and lots of fun was had by all.

I've gone back and published the posts I wrote before I announced my pregnancy. I've forced myself not to edit them in any way, especially the one I wrote about an hour after I took that first positive pregnancy test, so you're getting the raw form. They're all in October, or you can click on the new label "pregnancy #2" to find them. I'm glad I don't have to separate my thoughts anymore. This itty bitty baby is already dominating all aspects of my life. Just practicing, I suppose.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Announcement

I wasn't going to post this. Not yet. I was going to save all my drafts on the topic and then publish them at a "safe" time, but I hate the duplicitous feel of it. You all have been through so much with me, and should anything bad happen I would need to write about it and I would want you to there with me. Plus, I'm finding it nearly impossible to separate my posts in any kind of neat way.

And so without further ado, I'll let Landon make his announcement:

He's pretty excited.

And so are we.

Even if we were really, really surprised.

A few notes:
1. If I haven't told you yet in real life and you're finding out on the blog, I'm sorry, this was a rather sudden decision - we hadn't told many people outside of family.
2. Please don't say anything on facebook yet. While I'm willing to share any possible future sad events here, I'm not willing to do so through a facebook status update.
3. I'm in my 7th week and spent all day thinking I was going to throw up. This was so much easier to do in law school.

Productivity Has Plummeted

I woke up feeling very queasy this morning and the feeling stuck around for most of the day. I'm remembering everything I didn't like about being pregnant. This is why men and women can never have perfect equality in the workplace - even if there are sufficient maternity leave policies, pumping rooms, and a genuine commitment to family-friendly flexible work arrangements, men will never be pregnant. They will never try to write a brief while nauseated and feeling like they got hit with a brick wall of exhaustion. It's just not the same.

It is so unfair that JP and I can't take turns experiencing this wonderful miracle.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One More Thing

In addition to what I just wrote, I'm also pregnant and apparently "Pregnant women are six times more likely to have severe flu disease than women who are not pregnant." JP or Landon better not have the flu and I really better not get it.

Also, I had some spotting last night and it scared the shit out of me. I'm still scared, but there hasn't been any more so hopefully everything is fine.

So maybe that's two more things.

The Balance is Tipping

JP has been sick for the past few days and on Monday he spiked up to a 102 fever and sat shaking and shivering on the couch all night while I made him tea and took care of everything else. Yesterday he was still sick, hovering around a 101 fever with terrible heartburn and sat curled up on the couch moaning occasionally. Then, after dinner, Landon was super cuddly and kept climbing onto my lap and putting his cheek on my shoulder. I took his temperature and it was 101.5. He went to bed with some tylenol and a few extra cuddles. This morning both patients woke up with a 101 fever and are at home watching Sesame Street. I'm at work, determined not to get sick, and am trusting in the universe not to strike all three of us down.

There's really nothing like a sick kid (and/or sick spouse) and a ton of work and impending deadlines to show you how precarious your balance really is.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Guilty but Not Guilty

I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written on it. - William Faulkner.

About a week ago I read a blog post by a stay-at-home mom regarding why she thinks staying home is best for her and her family, and why she does not believe working and daycare could be as good for her children or her. It was thoughtful, personal, and heart-felt, and yet my hackles went up immediately upon reading it. I didn't comment at first, but couldn't stop mentally crafting unnecessary arguments against a position that by her own admission was personal. I struggled with why I felt compelled to disagree with something that had nothing to do with me until I read a comment that said in part, "I can understand that what I want for myself is not what you want for yourself, and that's totally fine. I think you wrote about this in a respectful manner, even though it can be hard to read that someone else would hate to live your life." And I realized, yes, that is exactly it. Even when someone writes about such things in terms of only herself, and maybe even means it, it's almost impossible not to read it as a judgment on you and your family. If this wouldn't work for you, do you believe that it works for me? But it does work for me! And why the hell wouldn't you want my life?! I love it my life! Why wouldn't you?

And the answer is of course because we're different and we have different goals and different wants and different things were are willing to trade to reach the best overall balance between it all. I know this, I write this, but apparently I don't listen to myself because I find it hard not to argue when someone tells me their choice that is the opposite of my choice is the perfect one. I think this is why it's hard to have a completely open and rational discussion with other mothers about staying home v. working. There's some inherent defensiveness about what you've chosen (or haven't chosen, but have to do anyway) and it all touches such sensitive issues. Hearing someone say they think their children would be harmed, or at least not as well served, by daycare immediately makes me defensive because that's where my child is and obviously, I think he's doing just fine (quite wonderful in fact, I adore his new center). I know there are bad parents in the world, but I have yet to meet one who doesn't care deeply about their children and their well-being and hearing someone knock your childcare choices does not bode well for any conversation, no matter how polite you're trying to be.

On my end, I love being a working mom. I'm about to make the same general statements I bristled against when someone else made them, but this is absolutely the best choice for me and my family. Landon loves daycare and I think he benefits from being there. I love my job and I don't believe that what I want, what I worked for in school all those years, stops mattering because I had Landon. Priorities change, schedules adjust, your heart expands, but I am fundamentally the same person after having Landon as I was before and that person needs this in my life. ("This" being order, adult conversation, intellectual stimulation, giant stacks of paper everywhere, and constant to-do lists with difficult assignments.) And having this does not make me feel overwhelmed or crazed or guilty, it makes me satisfied and happy.

I am tired of hearing how women today are stressed and unhappy and that moms feel guilty for working. On point (1) I don't feel either of those things and articles telling me I should are irritating. I love all the technology, I love that my blackberry means I can leave my desk as soon as my last email is sent for the day and I don't need to wait around in case of a reply. I like being busy and I am very good at saying no to all kinds of unnecessary activities and events in order to spend a Saturday with my family running errands and cleaning the house. On point (2) I just don't understand associating working with guilt. I understand wanting to be home (well, I can't fully understand wanting to be home full-time, but I understand how important it is to some people), and I understand being sad that you are missing out on things with your child. But guilt? I associate guilt with eating six chocolate-chip cookies when you should have stopped at two or printing off enough paper to kill a small forest. It describes something that is indulgent but harmful, or just generally reprehensible (so says Websters). I think it's a powerfully negative word to attach to a woman working outside of the home (never men, they're not told to have "daddy guilt" by articles and each other). There are mornings when I am truly sad to leave Landon- not necessarily sad to go to work, but sad there aren't more hours in the day and sad to not spend more of them with him. But never guilty. I support my family, I work productively and pay (a whole lot of) taxes, and whether or not people really think lawyers contribute to society, I certainly don't think what I do is "reprehensible" in any way. It's a word that I wish could be eliminated from the whole discussion.

Around my one year anniversary at the firm I went back and read my "hopeful" posts about balancing career and family before I started work. For the most part they've remained true. I still feel optimistic, though I have my worries- most of them about what will happen as a senior associate approaching partnership as my children are at an age where I think it's even more important to be a big presence at home than it is now. But it's one day at a time, and right now my husband and toddler are well served by a wife and mother who is genuinely happy most of the time. And that truth has mostly freed me from feeling judgment from those who make decisions that are different from mine. It may always be a little too personal not to trigger some defensiveness, but I hope that I can support a stay-at-home mom the same way I expect to be supported and accepted as a working mom.

New Clothes! and other distracting things

New clothes are always exciting, even if they're of maternity variety. My mom visited Austin this weekend and took me out shopping Sunday for some stylish pregnancy work clothes. We actually found some, and I now have 3 maternity dresses, 2 pairs of stretch panel pants, and 4 maternity tops hanging in my closet. I love all of them and almost can't wait to fit into them. I'm trying to remember what it was like being hugely pregnant last time and I can't seem to recall what it felt and looked like. Maybe I've blocked it out? Or maybe it just didn't bother me that much. I also need to buy some lower heeled shoes. I know last time I wore my 2.5-3" heels up until the day I went into labor, but I always like an excuse for new shoes and it might be nice to be lower to the ground. I need some new fall/winter shoes anyway- all of my boots are meant for snow and not mild Austin winters. I can be much more stylish than practical now.

Landon and I drove over to San Antonio to see my grandparents who have returned from spending their usual summer at their lake house in Wisconsin. An aunt, uncle, and cousins were also visiting, as was my mom, so I had Landon wear his snazzy new "Big Brother" shirt. It was a big hit - everyone was so excited when they noticed it that they scared the little man. His clothes have never made such a statement before. We ate a delicious brunch together at their retirement community, and Landon inhaled 2 plates of food, eating perfectly with his spoon and being generally delightful. I emailed a picture of Landon in his shirt to the rest of my extended family to share the news and everyone is very excited.

I also spent much of the weekend picking out curtain rods and drapes for our master bedroom and bathroom. Now that I'm back in the office I'm having a hard time holding back googling more decor ideas or pregnancy articles. I'm also suddenly exhausted. I've got to find a way to be productive while all these distracting things are bouncing around in my head. This was so much easier when I was in law school and could waste time whenever I wanted - no one knew but me how little time I actually spend studying.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Productivity

I just spent a delightfully suburban day with my little man. We went to Target and the mall to buy his Halloween costume and a few fall clothes. The temperature dropped very suddenly here in Austin Thursday night and I sent him to daycare on Friday in shorts and a t-shirt, not knowing the temperature wasn't going to go above 65. Oops. He now has three pairs of pants and six long-sleeved shirts, so he doesn't need to be "cheely" anymore. After the mall we stopped at the park where we played lots of silly games and he laughed and giggled until he told me "no more funny mama." We picked up a sandwich at subway and shared bites before I put him to sleep at 12:30. It was lovely.

I know I've mentioned this several other times, but I adore age two. He still has his frustrating moments, but as his vocabulary expands, his tantrums decrease. He's started to purposefully make jokes (some of which are actually funny) and he's still so wonderfully sweet. He'll randomly reach for my hand while we're reading books or sitting on the couch and sometimes he'll just crawl in my lap and sigh. Seconds after this little mommy recharge, he's off again, racing around the house, running in circles until he falls down (a new favorite activity), or smothering his pets (quite literally) with love they don't want. The constant movement is amazing and somewhat inspiring. I don't sit down much when we're together.

The three of us spent the afternoon cleaning the house from top to bottom. Landon disappeared for a minute and then came downstairs clutching a kleenex- he'd gone up to grab one out of the only box he can reach without help and then hunched over and "halped" by rubbing it on random spots of the living room wall. He's such a big helper. He found this mini Dyson vacuum at Pottery Barn Kids today and I think he might need one for Christmas. He played with it the whole time we were in the store- pushing it up and back just like he sees his mom and dad do at home. What better training could there be for him as a future husband? After the cleaning frenzy ended, all three of us piled in the car for a quick Bed Bath & Beyond trip to buy a few things for our master bedroom. (For anyone who cares about the decorating, a post is coming on that soon- it's all finally coming together!) We exited with a curtain rod and two bathroom rugs, swinging Landon between the two of us as we walked towards the car, and I thought, it doesn't get more classic suburbs than this. And I'm completely okay with that.

Early Symptoms

For the first few days after I took the pregnancy test, I didn't really believe that I was actually pregnant. I felt no different. I had to remind myself every hour or so that there was apparently life growing inside of me. I felt fine, felt the same. I even took another test last Wednesday just to see if it was still positive.

But now I'm starting to feel it (and see it). My boobs have doubled in size (this would be JP's favorite part of pregnancy - bigger boobs, same waist). I get hit with sudden waves of exhaustion in the afternoon or whenever I let myself sit down. Today I ran errands all morning with Landon and felt fine- then I sat down when he took his nap and I wasn't sure if I'd ever get up again. I hate this part of pregnancy. I'm a very productive, constantly moving person. I don't like feeling lethargic and sleepy and I'm sad it's already starting to hit me.

The good thing is that my stomach feels fine and nausea has stayed away so far. I don't think I'm any more emotional than usual, though I suppose I should ask JP for a non-biased opinion. I did yell at him today when he didn't properly admire the new towels I'd bought for our bathroom. Hmmm.

I'm getting pretty excited about this pregnancy. The timing could still be better. Much better. But every time I tell someone and they jump up and down and hug me I get a huge smile on my face and want to go tell someone else. I need my doctor appointment to get here so that I can start telling the whole world.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I am suddenly dying to tell people that I am pregnant. I swear babies and pregnancy seem to come up in every conversation I'm in this week and I have to just sit there silently when HEY, HEY! I'M PREGNANT TOO! THIS CONVERSATION TOTALLY APPLIES TO ME!

I have a count down until our first doctor appointment on October 23. Unfortunately that's also the day my draft Motion to Dismiss is due for my securities class action case (the partner was so impressed with my recent securities law article that he wants me to write the motion -- an honor, but a very double-edged one). There is a loooootttt of work that has to be done before that draft can be started, much less finished. Writing it is going to be a painful, time consuming process. Because of this I'd like the next 16 days to go very slowly re: the motion, and very fast re: the doctor appointment. If only that could be arranged.

I've told one or two people and am telling my parents today. I don't believe in waiting too long. After all, if something did happen with this pregnancy, I'd want people to know that. I'll probably end up sharing the news with a few more people before the 23rd and then the whole world (or at least my little corner of the whole world) will likely be told. I'll be in my 8th week, that seems long enough. If only time could move faster (and slower, oh my gosh I have so much work to do) until then!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chicken Barley Chili Deliciousness

This doesn't have much to do with anything, but I have don't have time to say the deep and meaningful things I might if I wasn't still editing the motion that not only spent days refusing to write itself, but now refuses to go away. Very rude, those motions.

This is one of my favorite Fall and Winter recipes. Actually, it's so tasty, I'll even make it in the summer. It's easy, involves no chopping or dicing, and is fairly healthy. (I think, I'm not sure of everyone's health standards, but it's certainly not unhealthy.) (Speaking of health, I've been swimming and running and not eating cookies over the past two months. It feels nice. I don't want to write a whole post acknowledging my attempts at healthfulness because maybe then I'll stop just to prove me wrong.)

Chicken Barley Chili

1 (14.5 oz) can Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 oz) jar Salsa
1 (14.5 oz) can Fat-free Chicken Broth
1 cup Quaker Medium Barley
4 cups Water
1 Tbl Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 (15 oz) can Black Beans, drained, rinsed
1 (15 oz) can Corn, undrained
3 cups Chicken Breast, cooked, cut up
(Optional: Tortilla Chips, Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese)

1. In a large pot, combine first 7 ingredients. Over high heat, bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add beans, corn and chicken; increase heat to high until chili comes to a boil.
3. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for another 5 min.
4. If standing chili becomes too thick, add more chicken broth or water.
5. If desired, serve topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, and chips.

Notes: I always use a rotisserie chicken and ALWAYS mix in a dollup of sour cream, a handful of crushed tortilla chips, and shredded cheddar cheese at the end. I can't imagine the soup without those additions. I also usually use frozen corn and more chicken broth (decreasing the water) because I have boxes of free range chicken broth from Costco and I can't open the box and not finish it off. I also usually eat it with corn bread - not because it needs cornbread or because they go well together, I'll just take any excuse to eat cornbread with butter and honey and anything with "stew" or "chili" in the title serves as sufficient reason to make some.


First Pregnancy Dream

I had my first pregnancy dream last night. With Landon I only dreamed about being pregnant or having a baby twice. Both times I had twins and both times I cried and woke up terrified.

This time I was in labor. I never felt "labor" last time- my water just broke and next thing I knew I was in a hospital hooked up to a monitor that confirmed I wasn't having any contractions. Landon was ready to make his debut, but he hadn't told the rest of my body yet. So I don't really know what going into labor feels like, but in my dream, I was sure this was it. I went to a hospital in Austin. It was dark and instutional feeling- now that I think about it, it looked exactly like the hospital in a recent Mad Men episode when Betty has her baby. I didn't like it. I felt uncomfortable and wasn't sure if they'd let me have the kind of labor I wanted. After they checked me in and walked out of the room, I left. I got on a plane and flew to Chicago, checked myself into Northwestern, where I had Landon, found my old midwife and felt very at peace. I called JP (who apparently had been in class during all this) to let him know that (1) I was in labor and (2) I was in Chicago.

I was very nervous on the plane ride that I might really starting the labor process. But I didn't and apparently no one was concerned about the hugely pregnant woman in an aisle seat. But then, I wasn't really very pregnant. I only had a tiny bump and maybe people didn't notice.

By the time JP got to the hosptial it was apparent that not only was I NOT in labor, but I was only about 15 weeks pregnant. And then I woke up.

So that was odd. I did wake up still holding on to my happy, peaceful Chicago glow. I felt so good when the plane touched down near the city and when I walked on the sidewalk in front of the hospital. I wonder if I'll have more Chicago dreams now that I'm pregnant. I'm sleeping more soundly than usual and my only other experience with pregnancy took place entirely in that city.

Monday, October 5, 2009

One Toe Out of the Closet

I came out to someone at work today. She's a good friend in my section, a senior associate I love working for and admire greatly. We ate lunch together Friday and were talking about our kids (she has two). I said that I was finally coming around to the idea of #2 and joked that maybe one was on his way now since I was a few days late. We both laughed and I absolutely did not think I was pregnant and put it out of my mind.

Today we were talking about midwives v. OBs (she's a passionate advocate of midwives and birthing centers or home births, I'm a big fan of midwives with an epidural). She suddenly looked up and said, "Oh, wait, you're not pregnant are you." And I apparently had a deer in headlights look because she jumped up, closed her door, and squealed. She gave me a big hug, danced some sort of jig, and was so excited that I started to feel excited. The timing still sucks, it really does- I'm devastated about missing my best friend's wedding and possibly JP's graduation. But I'm truly happy about the baby for him or herself, even if I still wish he or she could arrive a month or two later.

Scholastic Book Orders

I just found out today that I'm supposed to be checking Landon's file at daycare. Apparently I'm the only parent who didn't know that as I found his folder stuffed to burst while every other kid only had the new October newsletter tucked inside. One of the items in the stack was the Scholastic Books pamphlet. Do you remember getting those in school? Brightly colored pages filled with age-appropriate books at discounted prices. Back before Amazon- back before there was even a bookstore within 20 minutes of my house- the Scholastic Book order (and Book Fair, which happened twice a year) was HUGE. I remember my teacher walking us through each pamphlet, highlighting books she thought were particularly good or appropriate. My family and I were major supporters of the local library through our weekly presence and late fees, but sometimes I'd be allowed to pick out one or two books to order. I waited anxiously for the day books would be passed out in class and feel giddy now just remembering the headiness of unwrapping the plastic on a brand new book. I still love the smell of crisp new pages waited to be turned for the first time. I hope Landon loves to read- I think it's been one of the greatest gifts in my life. In a practical sense in that I think it's a major reason why I did so well in school and on standardized tests, but reading means so much more than that to me- it's my escape and indulgence, my entry into other worlds.

Speaking of all three of those things, I finished Diana Gabaldon's latest novel, An Echo in the Bone yesterday. I shouldn't have started it- I had a mountain of work to do this weekend and my sleep was sacrificed to a terrible extent, but I had to finish it. After slogging through the first 500 pages of scattered, stop-and-go narrative, everything suddenly came together and next thing I knew it was 4 a.m. and I was furious with Ms. Gabaldon for not publishing book #8 at the exact same time as #7. The book finally picks up, characters finally cross narrative paths, and then it just ends? She did that in her earlier books too, but I didn't discover the series until the first five were written so that didn't bother so much- I'd just pick up the next one and continue reading.

The good news is that by not publishing the next book right away, she is helping me to not get fired from my job. October is going to be a tremendously busy month. I don't read or work when I'm with Landon, and my body needs more sleep than it's currently getting. I finished drafting my sections of a Motion to Dismiss very early this morning and had a productive day filled with finishing touches. Now I'm working on a different motion. I'm glad to get the opportunity to do more writing, it's something I enjoy and the reason I chose law over medicine, but some mindless doc review sounds rather appealing right now. As does my bed. Or the Scholastic Book Fair. Or a quick peak into Diana Gabaldon's working file for book 8.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

NOT how this moment will be described in the baby book.

I took a pregnancy test this morning. We are not trying to get pregnant, so even though I was five days late, it hadn't occurred to me until last night that "holy shit I might be pregnant." (It occurred to me just like that.) Unlike some of the other months where I thought there was a possibility, this was not a happy or hopeful "holy shit I might be pregnant" moment.

My due date would be June 8, or maybe a few days earlier. I had Landon 5 weeks early and it's quite likely this next baby would be a little early as well (and given that my 35-weeker was 7 lbs 7 oz, that's probably a good thing). I have a trial in May. JP graduates May 22. My best friend is getting married May 25 and I'm supposed to be a bridesmaid. My mom will be out of the state for a month to complete her graduate program in June. JP's swim school will be very busy. July could work- in fact, we planned to really start trying in a few months and were hoping for a Fall/Winter baby. I went to sleep feeling nervous, but ultimately thinking my period would come in the morning. I had no pregnancy symptoms and we hadn't been trying! We'd specifically avoided unprotected sex on the days we were supposed to! Please no, not this month.

I took the test right after Landon woke up at 7:30. The second line showed up immediately. I blinked at it for a minute or two and then walked out to the kitchen where JP was sleepily handing Landon his milk to tell him the news.

Me, without preamble:
I'm pregnant.

JP, almost pleading:
I just woke up.

Me too!


My hands are shaking.

You're not really pregnant. Are you?


Oh shit.


Let's go back to bed.

So we did. Landon was in his high chair with a cup of milk, bowl of dry cheerios, and Thomas queued up on the DVR. I figured we had 25-30 minutes before he called to get out of his chair.

JP, trying to be the calm/happy one:
This is good. It's going to be okay.
We're going to have another Landon!

I'm still in holy shit mode. -- Wait, another Landon?
You remember that we barely survived Landon, right?

Yeah, but that won't happen again, the pediatrician promised.

I'm not excited. Why am I not excited?

It'll happen, you're just surprised.

So... we're going to have a baby in 8 months.

Yep, you're going to be a father of two by June 8.

Holy shit.

Nope, it's still my turn to be the one freaking out.


You know that I'm totally going to blog about your resigned "I just woke up" response to my pregnancy announcement.

Well, it was the first thing that came to mind.

Landon started calling for us a few minutes later, so I got up to head to work for a few hours to work on a Motion that refuses to write itself. And now I'm at work, still freaking out, but getting ever so slightly more excited. The timing is still bad. Really, really bad. There's never a perfect time, but some are better than others and late May/early June is BAD.

But I just ordered Landon a "big brother" t-shirt, and if I can't yet be excited for myself, I'm very excited for him. I think he's going to be an awesome big brother. He loves his pets and his daycare friends and even the random babies we see at the Mall, I think he's going to love having a baby sibling. I'm excited for us as a family, I'm excited to have a second child. I'm just not quite yet excited about having a second child 8 months from right now.

Although, when I walked out to the car this morning, JP said, "have a good day, mother of my two children!" And I have to admit, that made me smile.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Landon - in Action!

Two months ago I solicited recommendations for a compact digital video camcorder. After reading your comments and dozens of online reviews (what did we do before online reviews? I feel paralyzed when at the store making any purchase greater than $10. I must have internet access to check the reviews and price shop first.), I settled on the Flip Ultra HD. I love it. So sleek, so tiny, such good video quality for a reasonable price!

Here are a few test clips. I'm trying to decide which online video sharing website I like better. Youtube loaded quicker, but I think vimeo is prettier.

The first is of Landon enthusiastically dancing (and sort of singing- I didn't realize he knew some of the words until I watched the clip later) to a Laurie Berkner song- another suggestion from my wonderful readers.

And here, Landon is telling me about his day at daycare. When I look at the video clips from our old camera, I'm so glad we didn't wait to get the new one. I'd be missing out on preserving all this toddler cuteness. Have I mentioned two is my favorite age by FAR? The lingering sweetness plus the newfound sense of independence and humor - I love it.