Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thursday Stream of Thoughts

I have 20 minutes before bed and Picasa won't let me upload vacation pictures, so random thoughts/stories from today, go:

I got a call from the front desk this morning saying I had a package to pick up. Personal deliveries at work are severely frowned upon/explicitly not allowed, so I scurried over to grab whatever errant box made its way to our offices and found a flower delivery!

I adore flowers. Someday when I am rich and rule the world I will have fresh flowers everywhere in my house and office. For now, I settle for birthdays and anniversaries (and the occasional surprise during a stressful week). My assistant director happened to walk by my office after I got them set up in a place of honor (which required me using both hands to push a 100 documents into another pile of 200 documents in a more central area of my desk) and he commented on the colorful new addition to my office. I told them they were from the counsel representing a party in one of my investigation, as a thank you for all the extra billables we were providing this year. His face went blank, then panicked, and it was all he could do to keep from grabbing them and throwing them out a window. "You can't keep those!" he exclaimed, looking over his shoulder for the ethics officer to appear out of thin air and fire us both.

I do enjoy messing with him.

They were from JP, of course. Our first date was 11 years ago on Saturday and we've been married for 7 years on Monday. He sent the flowers early so I could enjoy them before the long weekend (and before I travel for most of next week). There were also chocolates, but I ate them all before I thought to take a picture. While I gazed at my flowers, typing up interview outlines, he spent the evening driving Landon and Claire to three different Payless shoe stores to buy soccer cleats for Landon's first soccer practice tomorrow. He's so excited and we're hoping this year he has some actual interest moving the ball in the right direction on the field and maybe even into a goal. But the fact that he's excited is a nice start.

I've been working 10+ hours days as a dedicated enforcer of securities fraud (though I felt like less of an enforcer at my last meeting with FBI; they all have guns, very big conspicuous guns, and all I have is a non-self-executing subpoena). My investigations are so busy right now, but at least I get to record extra annual leave hours for every hour I work over my required 8- it brings a whole new feeling to nights and weekends. That next road trip/family hike I'm earning is going to be great!

While on a break, I signed this adorable ball of sweetness up for dance class today ("dance class" really should be in air quotes). I didn't know classes for 2-year-olds existed, but I knew she would love it and felt she should have something fun on Saturdays since she's going to be dragged to all her brother's soccer games. I googled my way to a dance studio near our house with a preschool class and discovered they had 1 spot left in their Saturday 11:15 class! I have found it is rare in Fort Worth to find children's activities that cater to the dual-working-parent set. Like really rare, even in our relatively expensive downtown neighborhood where I assume everyone works because how else can you afford it? Twice at Trader Joes, two different cashiers have asked Landon if he's going to Kindergarten. When he says he'll go next year, they've each responded, "oh, that's nice, another year home with mom!" Um no, another year of using my full-time lawyer's salary to pay $12,000 for daycare, but close. I don't really care, they're being nice and it's Fort Worth- most moms do stay home, so I usually just smile and pay for my food. But JP gets very offended on my behalf- offended mixed with genuine befuddlement, "why does everyone assume you don't have a job? you're a lawyer. you make more money than I do! why doesn't anyone ever assume that I stay home with the kids?" JP, our resident feminist (who would absolutely never answer by that title if you were to use it).

Speaking of JP, it is amusing to watch him watch the Republican National Convention and yell at the TV. He's actually turned it off now because it made him too angry. He still insists he's a Republican and yet he actively, violently hates every single person representing his party right now and maintains the "real" fiscally conservative, Constitution-reading Republican party has been hijacked by a free-spending, country invading, personal-life-regulating religious right. I'm not so sure you can term a 30+ year movement a "hijack," I mean at some point that just is your party, but I see it as progress that one day we might actually vote for the same people. Until then, I vote for mine and he stages a highly-informed non-vote protest. The protest hasn't been particularly effective.

But back to Claire, her dance class requires a pink pair of ballet shoes and a black pair of tap shoes. There's no wardrobe requirements, which is good since Claire generally refuses skirts unless they have built-in shorts (skorts? I had a white denim skort in 3rd grade that I adored; do those still exist?), but there is a recital with mandatory expensive costume in the Spring. It seems a little ridiculous for a 2-year-old, but she's already so excited about the "dancin" and we're just going to try it for a few months to see if it's worth the cost. I have a feeling it will be so adorable I'll hand them my credit card just so I can keep taking pictures through the window of Claire spinning in circles with her hands over her head. We thought she would be the difficult 2-year-old that her brother wasn't, but so far, she's even easier to have around than he is. 99% of the time she's just happy to be here, to see you, to see the things in front of here- it's like everything in her world was specifically placed there to please her. She throws the occasional tantrum, but her method involves curling into a silent little lump on the floor, with her head down and legs tucked under her, until she's decided to emerge with a cheerful "ready!" and then moves on from whatever she wasn't allowed to do. Maybe she's just letting all the angst marinate and the ball will really drop when she's 3 and more physically powerful.

Last night I told JP that I'd been thinking long and hard about the 3rd baby issue and felt I'd reached a decision. He said he had too. His decision - yes. My decision - no. We're revisiting in a few months.

Speaking of babies, have you seen this site? It is the only twitter feed I've ever checked more than twice and it makes me laugh every single day.

And now, to sleep.

(PS from the iPhone I'm hiding under the covers- I just realized in the course of my insomniac mental ramblings that it was Wednesday when I wrote this post and I have no excuses for the error in the title. My editor will be notified and appropriately blamed. But now it is Thursday, so I guess it's fixed and I should be able to sleep now. We'll see.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

350 miles and 35 years away

We just go back from our family summer vacation- 4 days in a cabin at Devil's Den State Park in West Fork, Arkansas. I'm still going through pictures and running loads of laundry, so the actual "what we did on our summer vacation" post will come later (you're on the edge of your seats, I know), but I had to throw a little something together to commemorate our return to the trappings of civilization. Because civilization is something we pretty much left behind as we pulled out of our driveway. No GPS, no cell phone service (NONE! I didn't know 2,00-acre dead zones still existed), no internet, no TV, no cable, no DVD player- other than my kindle, we pretty much jumped back a few decades in time and it was glorious.

It all started when our GPS refused to recognize that Devil's Den state park existed. Luckily, I have a deep distrust for navigation systems, so I pulled out the directions I'd printed out the night before, just in case, and turned navigation off. Landon had been whining before we left- over what, I can't remember, so I told him no DVD player for the first half of the ride. That is a bit "cutting off your nose to spite your face" for a parent facing a 6 hour drive with two kids under the age of 6, but I haaaaate whining and I wasn't willing to delay our start with a timeout, nor was there much else I could take away in punishment. Next thing we knew we were 5 hours into the trip and he hadn't asked for it, so we kept it tucked away for the remainder of our holiday, only removing it from the car to tuck it away in the TV cabinet when we got home today. As we approached West Fork, I found that my cell phone was dead because it had been searching for a signal for an hour, so until we drove home today I only used it when we drove into "town" and I contacted my mom to find out how my grandpa's surgery went on Friday (he's doing well). It was strange not to be able to check email, peruse facebook, or, most importantly at the time- check the hourly weather report and/or restaurant reviews for places we might stop on our one night out - I can't remember the last time I pulled into an unknown restaurant parking lot without reading every review available, and picking out my items on the already-memorized menu. Thank you Grub's in Fayetteville, as recommended by the volunteer lifeguard we asked at the Devil's Den park pool just like in the olden days, you were delicious.

Our cabin did have a TV, but ever since we moved to Fort Worth and no longer had a TV in the main living area, the kids haven't watched it, so we saw no reason to turn it on if they didn't ask. We spent our evenings completing puzzles, running around the cabin (well, the kids ran, I drank a glass of wine and watched from the Adirondack chairs on the deck, JP sat next to me and whittled), coloring, and reading books. After the kids went to bed JP and I sat outside and talked over the light of the Citronella candle. Later, I kicked his ass in Monopoly- a first in our 11 year relationship, he kicked mine in Bananagrams (how can I read so much and so quickly and be SO TERRIBLE at word games? how?!), and then I kicked his back in Dutch Blitz. We went to bed at 9:30 and woke up at 7 a.m., listening to the kid sing "Wheels on the Bus" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" from their beds in the other room. We ignored them for at least 30 minutes each morning, or until we couldn't handle hearing one more round of "Wheels on the Bus," and then made breakfast and spilled out the door for an early hike. We only saw two other people on the trails, and since the campground was full, I can only conclude that most people had better things to do at 8 a.m. than climb up a wall of rocks.

(we didn't)

The most fun thing for me, besides the hiking and rock climbing that I love, was seeing the kids play outdoors the way I remember doing on our camping trips growing up. Our kids almost always get along, but when you only have each other all day (well they had us too, but both of them generally prefer the other to JP or me), it creates a whole deeper level of friendship and play. My siblings and I did not always get along, but we always played great together on those camping trips too- I think it's one of the many reasons my parents took us on so many. L & C spent a ton of time walking in circles around the cabin looking for monkeys (Claire became convinced in the week before our trip that camping involved monkeys, and her belief never wavered despite our lack of monkey sightings), "hiking" alone in the woods nearby (very nearby), and hanging out and coloring pictures on the rock piles by the walkway to the cabin's front door.

We had so much fun. My legs are so sore, I did not sleep well in the cabin at all (not the cabin's fault), I'm on load 2 of 4 for laundry, and I still need to go to the grocery store to be ready for tomorrow.

But we had so much fun.

And JP and I talked about our next faux-camping trip the whole drive home.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Claire's Swim Lesson, a Commemorative Post

Lesson #12(ish), #3 without any tears.
August 19, 2012, backyard pool with Coach Daddy, full run-through of swim lesson tasks.

First up, monkey arms, the least offensive of the objectives. Use your arms to crawl all the way around the pool's edge while saying "ooh ooh ah ah" the whole way. The "ooh ooh ah ah" is critical.


Give your best cheese face when you see your mom has a camera.


Ignore your brother as he splashes about while waiting for his lesson.


High five Coach Daddy when you get back to where you started.


Use your best "you ask too much" face when he says it's time for Humpty Dumpty. You do not like the Humpty Dumpty.


Attempt to negotiate. "One Dumpy Daddy," you say. "Three Humpty Dumpties," he replies. Say "otay!" and grin like you've won. (We'll attend the negotiation workshop once we've mastered swimming.)


"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great faaaaallllllll." Daddy drops you in the water.


You come to the surface, hands up, find the wall, and grab on.

Dumpies are still not your favorite.


Climb out all by yourself. Elbow, elbow, tummy, knee - out!


Blowing bubbles. You find this drill acceptable.


Time for kicks!


"Will you do it with me daddy?"




Time for the finale- the dreaded float. For weeks every time you've looked at the pool, no matter the weather or time of day, you look us in the eyes and very sternly declare "NO FLOAT," just in case we were getting any ideas.

But now, you are the master of the float. Daddy tosses you in the water, you bring your hands behind your head, tummy up, and wait calmly until you hit the surface. Then you float, at one with the water and the fact we've forced you in it.


On float 3 you sing the ABC's because this float business is now no big deal at all.


You've come a long way baby. Daddy and I expect to be given a lot of credit in your future Olympic bio segment. Dad for the actual coaching and me for the photography (those photo montages don't make themselves) and post-lesson snuggles.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

RRA Meeting 4

I need to do these more often- I started this partial list of books I've read since the last post, but that was nearly a year ago and the list is waaaay too long. So here's the highlights of books I loved, liked, or at least don't regret the time and sleepless night I probably gave them.

Last week's blogging silence was brought to you by my latest discovery, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Its 600 pages dominated two very late nights in bed, squinting at the words on my kindle so JP wouldn't wake up and realize I was still reading (not that he can ground me like my parents used to do when I was little and reading past my bedtime, but he can tell me to zip it when I whine about how tired I am the next morning), and it ends in an cliff-hanger that forces you to download the second book, Shadow of Night, and start reading immediately. The books don't care that it's 1 am. Download and read! I'll admit the books desperately needed a harsher editor, but the story is fun and I can't wait for book 3 (always the sign of a series worth reading).

Other books I've enjoyed recently (some with links (none of them sponsored) until I got tired of looking them up):

The Scottish Prisoner, Diana Gabaldon's latest contribution to her Outlander world. This one actually belongs to the Lord John series, but Jamie plays a large role (non-spoiler alert- he's the Scottish Prisoner) and it fills in many of his missing years between Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager. The next Outlander book, Written in My Own Heart's Blood, promises to be out sometime in 2013, so this helped tide me over. (Bonus tip, if you "like" Diana on Facebook you get excerpts from the next book every few days, and The Scottish Prisoner includes the first few chapters of the next book at the end).

One of my other favorite series, Lords of Deliverance by Larissa Ione, had two new volumes- #2, Immortal Rider, and #3, Lethal Rider. I love Larissa Ione's world and think her Demonica series is one of the best, but I think I like this spin-off series even more than the original. The fourth and final book comes out in November and the date is marked on all of my calendars.

My other, OTHER favorite series- Immortals After Dark by Kresley Cole- also had some new releases: Warlord Wants Forever (prequel; original book 1 that used to be sold in a compilation with other authors) and Lothaire (new book 9? 10? I forget). Lothaire was great- this is such a fun series, I re-read the others all the time.

I found the Susan Elizabeth Phillips Chicago Stars series on a list of Top 100 Romance Novels (the first book was somewhere in the top 20) and found it to be lots of fun, even if it did involve football and some plot line repetition: It Had To Be You, Heaven, Texas, Nobody's Baby But Mine, Dream a Little Dream, This Heart of Mine, Natural Born Charmer. It's hard to say which were my favorites- probably Heart of Mine and Natural Born Charmer but they were all worth the time spent reading on the couch on the weekends during the kids naptime when I was supposed to be doing other, more-productive things.

Also on that Top 100 list was Naked in Death by J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts. I liked it way more than I expected given that it's a crime/mystery novel and takes place in the future. I read the next two, Glory in Death and Immortal in Death and really enjoyed them, and then found out the series is 30 books long and vowed not to buy any more until I find a library.

Others, in no particular order:

  • Lover Reborn (JR Ward)- the latest in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  I still love the series, even if the tough guy vocab occasionally makes me roll my eyes, and I thought this book was way better than the last one (Lover Unleashed).  Now I wait with baited breath for the next one which promises to be Blay and Qhuinn's book.  
  • The Witness (Nora Roberts).  I downloaded this 10 seconds before my plane back from DC took off a few months ago and was surprised how much I liked it.  I recommended it to my mom and she loved it too.  A different, modern, thriller-light type book for me.
  • The Salt Bride (Lucinda Brant)- a Georgian historical romance and an  an unusually good free download on your kindle.
  • Lord of Illusion (Kathryne Kennedy)- the latest and last book in the Elven Lords series, which might be in my top 10 (def. top 15) favorite series ever.  The books are pretty cheap downloads and I love the different take on the regency romance genre.
  • Dreaming of You, Then Came You (Lisa Kleypas)- excellent regency romances.  Less romance, more plot, great characters.
  • Jinxed, Charmed, Seduced (Beth Ciotta) - three books (not yet sure if it's a trilogy or if she's writing more with the same characters) that were lots of fun.  Modern, sexy, better dialogue than most- I've re-read these several times, though the heroine in #2 annoys me.
  • Vision in White, Bed of Roses, Savor the Moment (Nora Roberts) - one of her most recent series, I thought it was pretty flat.  I still read them all and will probably download the 4th when it drops in price, but these pale (pale) in comparison to her Sisters of the Heart or Circle trilogies.

I also re-read the Hunger Games last weekend and found they were even better, particularly the first one. I didn't properly appreciate it the first time. A friend just recommended that I read Lauren Oliver's Delirium and Pandemonium, and another friend recommended the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Any other fun, suspend-reality type books (preferably series) you've discovered lately?

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Good things, this weekend has had many of them:

  • A high temp of 88 degrees, nearly 20 degrees lower than the temperatures a week ago.  We've been outside all day and are having chili for dinner.  In Texas, anything under 98 in August is a gift from the gods.

  • RAIN!!  Lots and lots of desperately needed, life affirming rain.  The constant flash flood warnings and the 30 minutes we lost power while I was cooking dinner last night couldn't put a damper on our happiness.

  • Even better, the rain came with delicious afternoon thunderstorms.  The first clap of thunder hit 15 minutes after we put the kids down for their naps and JP and I spent the next 2.5 hours in our own bed sleeping (him) and reading (me) and watching the lightning and dark clouds roll across our upper bedroom windows.  It was the best Saturday afternoon I've spent in quite some time.

  • Hugs.  Claire is full to bursting with them and I'm attacked from all angles every few minutes.  She is so sweet and fun and adorable right now I feel like I can't get enough of her.

  • (she also picks out all of her own clothes)

  • Homework.  Landon did his first "homework" assignment from school.  I think it was just a leftover math worksheet his teacher gave him because he likes worksheets so much (I knew he got a teensy bit of me in him), but he took it very seriously and got to work immediately after getting home Friday afternoon.  I miss math.  Also, homework.  

  • Swimming!  Both kids had lessons yesterday and today and are doing so well!  Landon can swim freestyle, breathing to the side, for two laps in the pool without stopping, and Claire has stopped crying and floats by herself while singing the ABC's like it's no big deal.  .

  • I'm so lucky to have a sexy swim instructor living with me (and his rates are so reasonable!)

  • Exercise.  Long family walk on Saturday (it was 73 degrees! 73!!) and barre class this morning.  I swear my tummy is getting bigger, but my legs are looking stronger.  Seems like an odd trade-off.  JP also rigged up a stationary swimming device for the pool with a belt, stretch cord, and tree trunk, so he can train even more than the 5 days a week he already does.

  • Hunger Games. I lost much of last week re-reading the trilogy and watched the movie with JP last night. I found I liked the books even more upon my very delayed third re-reading (I think, for the first time ever in a trilogy, the 2nd book is my favorite) and liked the movie much more than I feared but slightly less than I hoped. It's so hard to capture the overall tone and feel of the book in a PG-13 movie, but I still thought it was a good effort and I look forward to #2.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

School Switch

So as mentioned here, Claire is on her 3rd school in 6 months and Landon is about to join her- it's a good thing kids are so adaptable. (Side note on that point: yesterday on the drive home from daycare, Landon mentioned that we've lived here "a long time" and wanted to know "when are we going to the next place we're going to live?". He agreed that he liked Fort Worth, but noted that there were lots of places we haven't lived in yet, so you know, we should probably get on that. He inherited our wanderlust.)

We picked our original Fort Worth daycare ("ODC") in very large part because it was the only one we contacted that had immediate availability for both kids. JP and I drove out to Fort Worth one Friday to tour 5 schools (3 daycares, 2 elementary schools) and the house we'd just purchased (that we'd previously seen for 10 minutes on our only other trip to Fort Worth), and of the daycares we toured, ODC was our favorite (which was nice to not feel forced into the only place that happened to have availability). We moved on a Friday, the kids were at school at 8 a.m. that next Monday, and ODC gets a lot of credit for making the transition go so smoothly. I would absolutely recommend the school to anyone in Fort Worth. In particular we LOVED Landon's primary class. Neither JP nor I had any experience with Montessori schools, but it is a perfect learning environment for the Lanman. In his first month at the school not only did his learning explode, but his INTEREST in learning exploded. This is something JP and I had been secretly... discussing (because "concerned" is too strong a word) for a few months. Five weeks in ODC and Landon was jabbering non-stop about his "work" and his words and numbers and math and facts about the continents and geography and singing songs in French. He made a ton of friends and his teacher adored him. His teacher and that class are the reason we made the official decision to hold off Kindergarten and keep him in Montessori for one more year.

Claire on the other hand, had a tougher adjustment. She, for all her general feistiness, is far more wary of new people and situations, though once she's accepted you, she is morphs back into her very affectionate, smiley, and independent self. It's the two extremes of Claire. ODC is big- there are several classes for each age, and quite honestly it just felt like what I always thought a national chain daycare would be like. Not bad- it is bright, roomy, and has a deservedly great reputation, but it's definitely big and a little more institutional. That, combined with the new Montessori format, just wasn't the right fit for Claire. She thrived in our Austin daycare's warmer, smaller environment where every teacher knew and loved her, and where the front desk lady would steal her out of class so Claire could sit on her lap and wave to all the parents passing by. And while we didn't have a problem with her new teachers, we didn't affirmatively love them either. This may be in part the Montessori format, but there wasn't much interaction (songs, books, etc.) with the teachers, and while Claire did enjoy the "work" and the practical learning, I think she missed (or at least would have greatly enjoyed) the other fun group/teacher interactions. Still though, she had stopped crying at drop-off, seemed to be enjoying school, and had a genuine affection for her teachers. Plus, she loved seeing Landon on the playground, the school's facilities were very nice, we liked the director, and one day we knew Claire would be in the fantastic primary class, so we didn't think much about switching.

Then my co-worker mentioned she'd just toured a Montessori school near our house for her 2-year-old daughter. She and her husband had loved it, but ended up picking one closer to their home in another neighborhood, so they knew there was still an open spot in the toddler class. Suddenly I realized it was possible for our kids to go to two different schools. What?! It would happen in a year anyway, why not try it? I went on a tour in July, loved it, and JP and I decided it was the right thing for Claire, even if we had to separate the kids and deal with the hassle of two drop-offs several miles apart from each other. We gave our 30 days notice to ODC and confirmed Landon's continued attendance in the primary class.

New Daycare ("NDC") is much smaller- one class for each age, no more than 8 kids in a class (until primary, where there's 16). There's 2-3 teachers in every class and on the day I toured, I was so impressed with how much the teachers seemed to love and play with the kids. There was singing songs between rooms (the toddlers came in from the playground singing "the ants go marching" and it was adorable), a dress-up corner with mirrors and play kitchens, and just a much cozier atmosphere. It is not nearly as fancy- fewer windows, older building, etc.- but it was warm and happy and the director knew the name of every kid (and every kid wanted to give her a hug when she walked by). It is still a Montessori school, but I call it "Montessori light" (not sure if they'd approve of that term, but it does feel like a warmer mix of Montessori + happy church preschool (minus the church part)). Claire had her first day at NDC last week and we knew right away it was the right decision.

And on that same day we got the price list for ODC. Tuition had gone up and suddenly the already substantial difference between the cost of ODC and NDC was hard to ignore, and it became impossible when we found out NDC gave a discount for the second sibling. Switching both Landon and Claire to NDC would result in a $750/month savings for our family. $750 PER MONTH. And it's closer to the house, on the way to/from my work (instead of past it), and JP can be far more involved with pick-up and drop-off. A family at NDC put in notice that they'd be moving at the beginning of September and suddenly there was a spot the director could give us for the primary class, so we put in our notice for Landon at ODC last week. It's hard- we did love his class and he was doing so well there, but NDC also has a wonderful primary class and teacher and I think Landon's personality will thrive there as well. He makes new friends and just generally likes new people a lot more than JP, me, or Claire.

So that's the story. Right now we're doing the double-drop offs and I'm already very glad that's ending 2.5 weeks. Claire LOVES her new program- she hasn't cried at drop-off once and she is already singing new songs around the house. When JP picked her up on Monday her was able to sneak in without her seeing and observe their freeze dancing game which he said was hilarious. Landon is excited to start there too, even though I know he'll miss his friends and new teacher. Starting in September we'll have both kids under one school roof and we should be set on schools for a while - at least until May when Landon stays home with JP and goes to a few summer camps and then starts Kindergarten at a not-yet-determined elementary school in the fall (we want to lottery into a district-wide magnet school, oy). At least Claire should be good until mid-2015...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Week of Ruminating (and Other Things)

It's 3:30 on Sunday afternoon and everyone in the house is sleeping. I tried, snuggled up with JP, relishing one of my favorite parts of our weekend- the quiet, the sun streaming in from the windows, the cozy, cozy bed, and the knowledge that no blackberry beep or pending work assignment can drag me away. But if nighttime sleep is elusive for me, daytime sleep is even more so, so I slipped out to sit on the couch with my laptop, camera transfer cable, and the last recorded episode of Top Chef Masters. This bit of guilt-free alone time might be my other other favorite part of my weekend.

I've spent most of my free time in the last week thinking and reading and not writing. Thinking about our family, my career, next steps, and big decisions, and then reading literary candy when I don't want to think any more (I read four books of Susan Elizabeth Philipps Chicago Stars series between Monday and Thursday- fun, fast reads they are). I find I have to do that every now and then- spend a week letting myself ruminate and question everything about our status quo. I usually end up with a few conclusions, some tentative plans, and a renewed ease with a wait-and-see approach for the rest of it. It's not that I had any decisions to make right now, but sometimes an issue presents itself in my head (like the possibility of another baby last week) and it's all I can think about for days. I've learned it's best to just let the thoughts ride until they run themselves out and some conclusion is reached (which is often "I don't yet have a conclusion"), and then my brain feels better and I can focus on the day-to-day again.

As for real-life events happening in the midst of my ruminations, Claire started a new school! Here she is ready to go on Monday morning in classic Claire attire: animal shirt (in this case, her beloved "elphant" shirt, permanently stained and a little too small), her pink blankie, her "C" purse filled with an essential two matchbox cars, plastic bracelet, and Zebra puzzle piece, and her pink crocs on the wrong feet (always).


She did great and we're so excited about the change (more on that later). We were worried she'd cry the first time she was dropped off, but she was fine -- instead, it was her big brother who cried when we got to the car because we were leaving her behind. We realized too late that for all our prep of Claire, we'd not quite prepared Landon for the fact that the two of them would be separated for the first time since she was born. Luckily, he's starting at the new school at the beginning of September.

Other scenes just pulled from my camera:

Claire and I modeling our potential family portrait outfits for our session at the end of September. Claire picked our pose. Tex couldn't quite copy it.


Gigi came to visit! She drove up Friday afternoon and left after brunch this morning. Claire was SO excited. That girl looooves her some Gigi.


Gigi's presence demands a discount shopping trip, so we got lost three times driving to Hurst, Texas, home of the closest Carter's store where I picked up some late Summer/early Fall shirts for Claire, all with animals on them of course. Next up was TJ Maxx where my mom talked me into an "age appropriate" date night dress for JP, which means it was both shorter and tighter than anything I'd pick out by myself.

We came home to find all the yard-working, non-shoppers asleep with JP on our bed. Landon's head popped up when he heard the flash.


Next up, date night! My mom volunteered to babysit Saturday night and we left her settled in with the kids for a night of movies and staying up past their bedtimes. Everyone looks pretty excited about this.


JP and I haven't had a date night in a while, so we were all smiles with my new $15 dress and plans to hit up a sushi restaurant we've been wanting to try. And it was FABULOUS. We ordered (and finished) nine sushi rolls (totaling several pounds of fish), a handful of Nigiri, four sake bombs, a carafe of hot sake (JP), and a martini (me), and paid $75 including tip. Some of the best sushi we've ever had, in a very fun chic restaurant, and JP was actually full!


The highlight of my night was the "crunchy blue" roll and talking with my beloved without interrupting myself to tell Claire to sit down in her high chair. The highlight of JP's night was the Mercedes SLR McLaren parked outside the restaurant. I don't know how guys know these things, but he immediately spouted off facts like only 3500 were made and the base selling price is $450,000. Are they born knowing these things? He never looks twice at other women, but man, he had a hard time keeping his eyes off that car while we were talking.

And because we were feeling crazy (and the sushi happy hour we were taking advantage of ended so early), we bought tickets for the 9:30 show of The Dark Knight Rises at a Movie Tavern a short walk away. We meandered around the square to stop for dessert before the movie began and then I ordered a glass of wine and sipped it throughout the 2.5 hour movie. I love movies with a bar.

We got home well after midnight and as I poked my head in my mom's room to tell her we were home I had major flashbacks to the summer after my freshman year of college (the only summer I came back home). Except this time I don't have to sneak JP into my room and now we have children to wake us up bright and early in the morning.

Today, tired:


I hear the natives stirring, time for the grocery store and a new week of living, less thinking, and (hopefully) more writing.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Barbershop Trio

3/4 of our family went in for a haircut yesterday morning. Usually Landon and JP go in for a buzz and a beard trim every 6 weeks or so, but on Sunday we made it a family affair so Claire could get her little mop topped trimmed for the very first time. We went to Great Clips, home of the $9.99 haircut and the $2.00 coupon on the back of the grocery store receipt. JP clips those things like they're gold; hard to believe that when I met the man he'd never been inside a Wal-Mart.

We weren't sure how Claire would handle this inaugural snipping of her hair, so Landon volunteered to go first. As he has since his very first haircut, he sat, got clipped, and bounced out of the chair with a smile. Ta da!


The Bear on the other hand was highly skeptical. I sat her on the chair and she cried.


It was a pathetic sound, but it wasn't all that loud and it didn't bother the woman holding the scissors one bit.



We tried to distract Claire by giving her a lollipop, but she found that putting it in her mouth interrupted the crying, so she used it to wipe her eyes instead.


Every now and then she'd stop crying,




only to remember she was under attack and pick it back up again.


Twelve minutes later, and she was done. We sprung her from the chair and she instantly morphed back into her feisty charming self. She started saying "cheese" before I even lifted the camera for her "after" shot. No hair in the eyes any more!


Three new hair cuts!


Mine is next- it's been months (seasons, even), but I want to do something with a grown-up, professional, but still sexy cute vibe and I have absolutely no idea what that would be, so messy buns and boring straightness will have to suffice until inspiration strikes. I wonder if I'll get a lollipop.