Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kids at Work

Last Thursday was Take Your Kids to Work Day at the SEC. Forty-two mini regulators flooded our halls to review public filings, subpoena brokerage records, sniff out insider trading, and attend a mock trial of the Big Bad Wolf for harassment of the Three Little Pigs.

There was also some word practice:

And some very important coloring of a rhinoceros.

The kiddos got an excellent idea of what I do all day.


You know, the usual snuggling, coloring, climbing a rope jungle gym, and afternoon nap taking.


Two of the women in my office made these t-shirts on their own dime by ironing on copies of the SEC seal. Landon LOVES his and wore it to school the very next day.


Claire was supposed to take a nap while Landon did the scavenger hunt (Claire generally refused to leave my office without my accompaniment and was perfectly content to sit and color and talk to me all day). She got her nap mat all arranged, had her baby tucked under her arm and would then pop her head up and exclaim, "I taking a nap!!" any time someone walked in my office.



There was no actual sleeping, and very little work was done (though I did have a call with an opposing counsel partner at a major NY law firm in which Claire's voice could be heard saying "Hi!!! Mommy I want to talk to Gigi too." She associates the phone entirely with my mother), and I still don't think the kids have any idea what I do at my job, but it was a very fun day topped off with a stop at Chuy's happy hour for a round of waters, free queso, and some enchiladas for me!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

High Five

It's been a lovely weekend- mildly productive and involving a nice long family walk, and not involving the complete re-working of any of the closets. The kids just woke up from their naps and are playing "babies." I originally assumed this meant playing with Claire's babies, but as it turns out, it involves making a house (currently a space between the couch and ottoman, floored with pillows, then covered in blankets), and Landon being a baby and Claire being his mommy. Mostly they lay there and cuddle and Claire rubs his back and says "shhh, it's otay baby." They do it by the hour while JP and I do other things (or nothing- yesterday we laid down in our bed for an hour, delightful). I love it.

Speaking of games- I just ordered my play room rug! I got an email from Land of Nod for free shipping and I had a 10% off coupon from a Stride Right rewards package, so I took the plunge. The 8 x 10 rug had big shipping fees and now they're $0! It should arrive in 2 weeks and I'm so excited. I added the rug to my cart early this morning and just finally had the courage to press "checkout." JP's swim school has really taken off- he was hoping to have 30 kids signed up by the end of May and he already has 60, which means I'm extremely proud and excited for him, and I get to launch my room reorganizing project of 2013. Let the playroom/dining room relocating begin!

Yesterday JP decided we should stop by Great Clips to get his hair buzzed and Claire's hair trimmed (because he's heard me mention her overly long bangs many times, not because he actually had any idea her hair needed to be trimmed). Claire must have heard me too because as we were driving over, we heard her explain to Landon with a sigh that, "Yandon, I'm going to get my hair tut. I need to get my bangs trimmed." I can't imagine she even knows what "getting my bangs trimmed" means, but it was adorable to hear her state it so matter of factly.


When we arrived it was too crowded so we decided to do our grocery shopping first (the benefit of getting your hair done in a grocery store strip mall). Claire's face fell as we turned around and she cried out, "But I was getting my hair tut!" much to the amusement of the waiting clientele. Luckily when we came back 40 minutes later, there was only 1 person ahead of us and we proceeded with the $10 salon special.

I hadn't observed a hair tut since Claire's first one a year or so ago, but even though I was there (she tends to be more emotionally vulnerable if I'm around, which is why JP takes her to pretty much all appointments and other potentially bothersome events), she hopped right in the chair and proceeded to get her bangs trimmed with all due calm and seriousness.

Landon observed.


Claire's true moment of bravery was her calm endurance of the hair dryer at the end. She hates the hair dryer and every time she sees mine on the counter, so approaches the bathroom warily and asks, "are you done with this mama?" If I say no, she runs off for 5 minutes before coming back to ask again. But after a little convincing, she allowed it.


The hair tut inspired another game for Saturday evening, this one involving me lying on the couch while Claire brushes my hair and tries to put clips in it. Again, I'm a fan.

Today has been a day of yard work and cooking. New sod has been planted (or whatever it is you do with sod), children have helped (sort of), and I have made meals for the next 3 days. The weather is beautiful and we've spent hours outside and with the doors and windows open.


I think my favorite moment of the weekend, besides Claire's bang-trimming discussion with Landon, happened today at the park at the end of our walk. Landon successfully swung across the hanging triangle monkey bars for the first time ever (yay!) and a few minutes later he observed a duo of older boys (probably 10 and 12) trying to go across them. They couldn't get the whole way across, so Landon, who never ever leaves the park without 5 new best friends (seriously, we are treated to full discourse on their names, schools, age, likes and dislikes on the walk home, and he remembers every single one if we see them again), ran over with "I can do it! Can I show you?" Now these were older boys who were almost certainly too cool for a 5-year-old, so I watched from a distance to see if they'd blow him off. But no, they motioned for him to go ahead, watched appreciatively, and after he completed the long line of them, the older boy gave him a high five and a "nice dude" before they walked off to do something else.

A little moment, but it gave me the biggest smile from across the playground.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lawyer High

I spent 18 of the last 30 hours in Washington, DC. I love that city at all times (much like I love any city at any time), but in Spring it is particularly glorious. As I walked past the embassies on Massachusetts Ave. and through Dupont Circle to meet a friend for dinner, I was treated to bright blue skies, flowers exploding everywhere, and temperatures at a balmy 65-70 (15 degrees warmer than Fort Worth).

I was there to give a presentation to about 25 people far more important than me from different divisions all over the SEC regarding my biggest case. It was a big deal. I enjoy presentations and public speaking and I've been pushing this particular issue for months now, so I was excited to go, but my wardrobe constraints did give me pause when I was packing Monday night. My 1 inch baby and its penchant for hamburgers and sandwiches has given me enough of a belly to make it impossible to button my usual tailored work pants. However, I have not yet filled out enough to keep up my maternity pants. I hate the Bella band- I know it is secure, but I can't handle standing in front of a room of 25 men knowing my pants are unzipped and unbuttoned with only a stretch of black spandex holding them up against the weight of gravity and my belly. Luckily, my favorite navy blue knit work dress was still zippable, small size notwithstanding, and the criss-crossing of the bust line actually concealed my pregnancy very well. At least until I turned to the side.


The presentation went well. Very well, actually. The second highest ranking person in my whole work universe "stopped in" and ended up canceling meetings for the rest of the morning to stay until the end and asked a lot of detailed questions. He sent a very nice note to my boss's boss's boss, who forwarded it to me, about the presentation and the case and after 10 months of work, it gave me a huge smile to see, even through the blinding headache I get every time I fly in a plane. A headache not helped by my inability to sleep in hotel rooms which has reached acute levels- I was awake until at least 3:45 this morning, slept fitfully until 6:30, when I just gave up, got dressed, and went on with the day. I love traveling, it seems cruel that my body handles it so poorly.

Anyway, as I was standing up, walking through my power point and answering arcane accounting questions regarding the unusual and complex structured transaction, I had three thoughts: (1) who would have thought my Plan II degree/philosophy and biology degree would ever take here?; (2) this is why I love being a litigator- working for months to become an expert in something you'd never heard about before and will discard once your case is over, only to do it again immediately on the next one; and (3) this feeling- this high from talking to a group of smart, engaged people about something I've put so much time and effort into, and having fun while doing it, this is why I can't ever imagine not working. These moments may only come every few months, but I can stay high on them forever. I love being JP's wife and Landon and Claire's mother, and I get an enormous amount of satisfaction from both of those roles. They are part of my definition of myself and they are undoubtedly a big part of my foundational happiness. But, and I had a moment where I felt this to my core in the middle of the presentation, they can't give me this. This feeling of intellectual competence, of professional satisfaction, of just being a lawyer- and I get a lot from that too. I crave it and I need it and I would be a less happy person without it.

I don't think I've been having any particular career/mom uncertainty in recent weeks. My two worlds seem to exist peacefully these days, now that there's a bright line between them (which has been interesting from a work/life balance perspective, since at the firm what worked best was just blending the two together as closely as possible), but I welcome moments of clarity and try file them away. Moments after the meeting ended and I shook some more hands and made just enough small talk not to seem rude, I ran out of the office, 3 1/2" heels, suitcase, and all, to bypass the Union Station cab line and hail a taxi few streets away. I had a 1:40 flight out, a mere 18 hours after arriving, so I could get home in time to pick up the kids from school. After a nice 3.5 hours of reading on the plane (finally read Divergent- so good! starting on #2 tonight even though I should go to bed), I drove to school to collect a Clairebear so excited she could only scream "Mama!!" over and over when she saw me and a Lanman who had missed me enough to offer to share his daily sticker for good behavior. And so my world clicked back over again, but the high from the legal one lingered remained, even as I switched out my dress for pj pants and my heels for fuzzy crocs I won't actually admit to wearing. It's a good day when it all comes together.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Clean Sweep

I woke up on Saturday morning with a stomach that seemed stable (or stable for a first trimester pregnant person) and a mind FILLED with plans for reorganizing everything in my house. After spending 2.5 days on the couch watching HGTV and far too much free time to contemplate my closet situation, I decided I would redo everything the moment I could remain standing for more than a few minutes without getting dizzy and/or wanting to throw up.

Saturday was that day.

By 8 a.m. I had removed everything from the guest room (soon to be baby's room), entry way, kitchen, kids', and family room closets and spread the contents all over the various floors and hallways in the house. I planned to do it all in a more ordered fashion, but one thing lead to another and when JP walked in the door after his morning swim practice you actually couldn't open the side door without hitting a bunch of the stuff that used to be on our pantry shelves. The kids were playing in the now empty closets and I was still trying to find my other box of maternity clothes (we may have given away all our baby gear, but I'm not giving those maternity clothes away until it is medically impossible for us to have children, they are way too expensive and un-fun to buy). I finally located the third bin of clothing- the one with all my favorite items- in the back corner of the garage, erroneously placed under a box confusingly labeled "Outside/Misc/Clothes." It was JP's job to unpack the garage, which is why it is the only room in our house that still has boxes in it. Luckily, it's a detached garage, so knowing there are unpacked boxes in there doesn't keep me up at night with my need for All The Things To Be Put Away.

The finding of the maternity clothes necessitated a complete re-do of our master closet, which required a re-work of the wet-bar-turned-closet in the family room because it's the only other closet with a clothes bar across the top and a lack of lower shelves and thus the only place for my non-maternity, already not-fitting clothes to be relocated to. The dusty wrinkled maternity clothes had to be washed and steam dried and then I ran out of hangers and basically, when I ran out of the house at 1:00 to attend a friend's baby shower in Dallas my house was in complete disarray.

Luckily there was a lot of traffic on the heinous drive between Fort Worth and Dallas so I had a lot of time to consider my closet strategy before getting home at 5:00. And by 10:00, they were done. They were done and they are GLORIOUS. Lots of stuff to Goodwill, lots of stuff to the trash and recycle bins, All The Things in plastic bins of some sort. I fell asleep with a smile and woke up with an urge to re-open all the doors just for the thrill of happiness of seeing the insides. So I did, and then I got my tea and my laptop and got to work with the planning of our new play room, the next step in my new/old house project.

Currently, our play room is where the dining room should be. Our sun room, which should be the play room, houses JP's giant desk and our little 4-person square table. This means we have a beautiful view of the backyard and pool while we eat, but we have to walk as far as possible to and from the kitchen. My hope is that by next year, when JP's swim school has taken over the world, we will be able to buy a dining table set for the dining room that will enable us to feed guests (as well as our own family of five) at a table without resorting to eating in shifts. Step 1 of this process is to move the play room into the sun room, move the desk over to where the table is now on the other side of the sun room, and move the tiny table to the place where the big table will one day reside.

(the sun room, with a surprise Clairebear)

And so, the play room internet window shopping commences.

First up, this 8x10 room-defining rug. I fell in love with it a year ago- the colors are perfect to combine our bright green sun room walls and blue living room walls and it's playful but not cartoonish and I won't mind being able to see it from other vantage points throughout the more grown-up rooms of the house, and after spending a year looking for basically the same rug at every bargain place I can think of, I've given up and simply plan to order this one at the end of the summer. It's thick (I want the kids to be able to sit and play on the floor and that tile- like all tile- is really hard) and it's wool so it should hold up well in a busy area. JP will have completed 3 more sessions of the swim school by then and I will have single-parented for 3 months while pregnant in 100 degree weather. I will get my rug.


For toy storage I've settled on the trofast systems from Ikea (after a brief flirt with 5x5 cube expedit, but I'm tired of bins that aren't big enough to hold everything and the problem of filling tiny shelf spaces to look pretty from the outside, plus the kids wouldn't be able to reach any of the cubes at the top). The storage will go along the solid green wall in the back of the sun room and I want them to hold ALL the toys. No more random stuff on the floor- it goes in a bin. I want the light wood with solid white bins and we'll make fun labels for whatever is inside. My big dilemma now centers around (1) when can I get JP to drive to freaking Plano to visit the dreaded Ikea, and (2) do I want a double pyramid set-up or a wall of same-height bins? We already own one of each (they served as both kids' nursery furniture for years!), so I need to pick one shape to duplicate. Thoughts?

stair steps

or a wall of five or so columns?

On the wish list, but less likely to be purchased, are a few of these big floor bins to throw whatever doesn't fit in the bins in, and this awesome library style book cart.



It is more likely that I will just reuse one of the bookcases we already have (purchased from Target 5 years ago and too shallow and short to work well with children's books and toys, but I have a hard time not staying invested in things), but either way, I'll have a reading nook along the exposed white brick wall that separates the living room and sun room. I'm putting the kids big PBK chairs there with a little table and the bookcase behind them.

(current furniture/set up)

The old re-purpuposed coffee table will go in the middle of the rug. The play kitchen will go in front of the windows. I think it will be good. It is the only option to allow for a dining room that will seat more than 4 people, though the dining room will likely lag behind the play room in completion by 6-12 (to 18) months. I do have that nursery to create out of the guest room (while leaving the guest room in place) and it has a pretty firm a deadline!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


I have been felled by some sort of stomach virus flu-like bubonic plague thing. It started Tuesday night while I waited for JP to get home from the swim school. He was 30 minutes late and those 30 minutes were some of the longest of my life. Yesterday was very bad. I will spare you details, but I kept absolutely nothing in my body long enough for it to be digested which meant that the nausea that is always present, that spikes when I go more than 60 minutes without eating a carb of some sort, was very very bad, adding an extra element of fun along with the gurgling, furious intestines I was already dealing with. Holy mother it was a bad day. I couldn't even keep water down. JP still had to go coach, the logistics of canceling or rescheduling over a dozen lessons causing me to push him out the door with false reassurances that I'd be fine, so I had to pick up the kids. I waited until the last possible minute, dragging myself out of bed to throw on jeans and a non-sweaty t-shirt (apparently my fever broke during my afternoon fever-dream filled nap) and getting them about 2 minutes before daycare closed and trying not to feel guilty for it. When we got home, I walked in the side door and I kept on walking- through the family room to turn cartoons on the TV and into my room where I collapsed back on the bed. Claire was deeply concerned about me, she kept coming over to pat my face and kiss my tummy all better. Landon was just thrilled to get to watch TV during the day, on a school day. I'm not sure that's ever happened in his young life and he wasn't asking questions.

JP got home an hour later and deftly made dinner, cleaned lunch boxes, cleaned up dinner, folded laundry, supervised the kids putting away their folded laundry, supervised bath time, read books, and sent my two sparkling clean pj-clad children in to bid me goodnight. I think our interchangeability on child-care and home-care duties is perhaps the single greatest attribute of our marriage. A lot of love and a lot of avoidance of possible stress and unhappiness (and a surfeit of passion because we don't have to be stressed or yell-y) comes from the single fact that when it comes to our kids and running the house, we're two equal players in a system that functions the same regardless of who is having to do more at any one time. And that is never more clear than when one of us is traveling (usually me) or when one of us is sick (luckily, a rarity for both of us).

Today appears to be going a little better. I've kept down the whole half a bagel I ate in minuscule bites over the last hour. It's not enough to keep the nausea away, but at least it's some calories. And the frustration of being home but utterly unable to do anything productive (like find my maternity clothes and reorganize my closet) or even handle watching the Food Network, usually my favorite TV distraction, is starting to build. And if I can spare the brain matter to be annoyed about that, I think it means my odds of being able to eat some lunch are improving.


In far rougher news, the horrific Boston Marathon bombing brought the too-many-eth time I've cried at my desk at work, compulsively refreshing news articles to learn more about something I'm horrified to learn more about. As tragedies like this keep happening, JP and I have learned that we have to wait to talk about them until after the kids go to bed. It used to be that we could talk about anything over their heads at dinner, but Landon is increasingly aware and curious of everything we're saying and Claire has tuned in to our conversations at a far earlier age than Landon ever did. And so we waited and once the kids were down we shared stories we'd read of the heroism of the people who'd immediately run to help the fallen and talked about what we'd do (or what we hoped we'd do) in a similar situation. I remember telling JP that I was glad our kids were still too young to have much of an idea of what was going on in the world, so we could keep them innocent of all of these things (and avoid some really hard questions) a little while longer.

And then, on Tuesday I picked Landon up from school and the first thing out of his mouth was, "Mom there was a marathon where people go running and a bad guy made a bomb go off and people DIED." Oh. Apparently one of the girls in his class, who JP already dislikes due to her constant proselytizing and telling Landon that lots of people are going to hell to be on fire forever (we had to have a talk with his teacher and the director after that one), has parents who either ignore her presence when talking about grown-up things or purposefully show her things a 4-year-old shouldn't be seeing. Because she also gave Landon a detailed account of the video of the bombings and how "one person's skin was on fire and fell off his bones." Needless to say I am pissed at her parents. It's one thing to know what happened, that can be hard to avoid and I have no problem talking to Landon about it if needed. But the video? Really? How is that possibly appropriate for a 4-year-old?

Anyway, we spent a good 3 hours discussing the bombings on and off for the rest of the evening. As always, I'm so glad I have time to do that, that I can pick him up and face those questions first, particularly given some egregiously false information he was fed from his classmate. But it was hard. Hard to figure out what to say, how to say it, how to give enough information to answer the question and stem an imagination eager to fill the void in knowledge, and avoid giving more than he needed to know. It was a meandering conversation, interspersed with contemplative silence and the regular goings on of his day at school. We seemed to cover the basic facts, the origination of good and evil, and the mechanics of hand-cuffs before he was satisfied.

"How did the people die?"
"They were just too hurt to fix, but most of the people who were hurt are going to be okay. There were lots of very good people who helped them."
"Like who helped them?"
"Doctors and nurses and police men and regular people who were there and wanted to help."
"And vets?"
"Um, maybe a vet."
"Did they catch the bad guy?"
"Not yet, but they will."
"I don't know exactly, but police are very smart and there are lots of them working together to do it."
"But how will they keep him with them?"
"They have handcuffs to tie his hands together so he can't run away."
"But he can run away with his feet!"
"I'm sure they'll bind those too." (Avoiding a discussion of non-fatal gun shot wounds and tasers.)
"But mom, he has bombs! He can just throw them at the police."
"Well, that isn't really how bombs work, and the police will be very careful."
"Wel... he could be in a cave."
"He could be, but the police can find people in caves"
"Why are there bad guys?"
"I don't know honey, but I know there are lots lots more good guys than bad."
"Where do bad guys come from?"
"Well, I'm not sure what makes someone do bad things, honey."
"No, are they born?"
"Yes, they're born, just like all people."
"Do they have capes?"

He seemed to have it all settled in his head by Wednesday morning and hasn't had any other questions. I handled it as best I could with Claire listening with rapt attention. It's hard. These events are hard enough for me to process on my own as an adult, they're harder to translate for a child, and the whole afternoon was a reminder that while babies present their own difficulties, big kids are harder. And Landon and I (and JP) are figuring it all out as we go.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tidbits Illustrated

Because I seem to only blog in bullets now, and I need to watch the new Mad Men before I go to bed (which needs to be very soon because we went on another road trip this weekend and anything that is not sitting on my couch for at least 8 hours/weekend day makes me exhausted), I present, the last few days:

1. I watched Claire out of the corner of my eye and realized she is very much a little kid/girl now. She's feisty and extremely sweet, but no matter what JP still calls her, she really isn't the Biscuit any more.

2.5 years later, Claire wants to know what is the hold-up on our grocery shopping;
oh nothing honey, just being pregnant and reminiscing on the driveway

2. We got a pool cover for our pool, brought to you by our tax refund (which I was initially excited about until I realized we got it because we made so much less money in 2012 than we did in 2011) and Claire's newfound ability to open our exterior doors all by herself.

$2,000 of custom-made couture pool netting;
will hold up to 400 lbs. above the water and goes beautifully with your zebra print swim suit

3. Studious Bear went with me to Starbucks on Friday when my office was closed (we're moving floors) and she woke up with a perfectly timed low grade fever (her first in five months; she's so cooperative). She worked much harder on her Leap Pad than I did on my 10-K reading. She also kept stealing sips of my "Foffee" (aka tall non-fat no-foam chai tea latte, the only chai tea latte I've ever liked and the only thing I've ever ordered at Starbucks; so delicious).


4. Landon helped me bake brownies on Friday afternoon while Claire when sleeping off her low grade fever and I needed more chocolate in my life.


5. Claire woke up fever-free, so we decided to celebrate JP's highly successful first week of the swim school (and my overwhelming pizza craving, and the beautiful weather outside) with a trip to our favorite pizza place in the whole world. We hadn't been since before he lost his job and it was SO MISSED. JP was on a call with a client during the ordering, so somehow we ended up with a full order of giant pretzels and an extra large pizza. Pregnant ladies are expensive and full of carbs.


6. We took a road trip to Austin/San Antonio this weekend to stay with some friends on the way to see my four grandparents in San Antonio. My mom's dad (of the Silver Lake lake house) is not doing very well with his back and hip and is having a very big surgery next Monday, so we wanted to make sure we saw him before the big day, and we were overdue on a visit generally. Since it's hard to stay overnight at the retirement center with the kiddos, it works out quite well to do the 3 hour jaunt to Austin on Saturday afternoon, stay with our friends (whose daughter is bffs with Landon), head out Sunday morning for the extra hour to 'Tonio (as Claire calls it), visit with the great-grands, and then leave for the 4 hour drive back in the early afternoon. Last night was a night of fajitas, watching four kids giggle and play in the hot tub and all over the backyard, and then listening to the kids not-sleep for much of the evening and very early in the morning.

Here they are bright eyed and bushy tailed, about to leave for 'Tonio to meet the grandparents from brunch. Claire started crying like 5 seconds later because, you know, tired.


7. We enjoyed a delicious brunch with all four great-grandparents, which was just wonderful. When we were thinking of moving back to Austin, one of the biggest items in its favor was being only an hour away from the great-grandparents again.

Claire does nothing half-heartedly, especially hugs

The kids were admired by many a retired-military person and spouse and took a ride in my grandpa's orthopedic space chair before we piled back in the car and headed home.


Speaking of home, we drove by our old house on the way out of town. It looks great and the HOA built a nice park behind it, which kills me because that would have been SO NICE to have a short walk away and I can't believe they added it months after we left. We really like Fort Worth, and love this house and our gorgeous, old neighborhood, but I couldn't help but think how much our old house was designed for our family of five and our new one is not. Then again, if we'd stayed in that house we'd both be in our old jobs with full-time daycare and a part-time nanny and we'd have all the baby things stored in our giant attic and walk-in closets and we'd probably never have decided to have baby #3 at all. So clearly, the only way to make baby bean III happen was to move to a smaller house with no closets and no attics, make way less money, and give all the baby stuff away.

I like how it's worked out for us so far.

Now, on to Mad Men, week 10 of pregnancy, and my second round of Angel food cake topped with strawberries and an indecent amount of whipped cream. For the baby.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Random happenings from the last few days:
  • Claire, while cruising in the jogging stroller on our way home from the park on Sunday suddenly turned to glare at Tex, who was lumbering along peacefully beside her, and then said in the most annoyed and accusing voice ever used by a 2-year-old, "Mommy, Texie doesn't talk to us."  Her tone said, clearly, Tex is an asshole.
  • Monday was the swim school's opening day!  It went great for JP and crew and we remain very excited about this new company.  It looks like he should be able to pay us back for all the business founding/forming expenses in this first session and bring in some profits at the start of session 2 this summer!  Momma's buying herself a bunch of hamburgers and L&C are getting a swing set for the back yard (hopefully for their birthdays this summer, we shall see, those suckers are expensive).
  • Opening day went less well for me and my attempted 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. schedule.  As it turns out, it is much, much better if I am asleep from 5:30-7 a.m. because if I am awake the nausea consumes me.  I basically sat at my desk all morning staring at the wood grain trying very hard not to think about throwing up.  It didn't go away all day, including during my meeting with two FBI agents.  That night I forced myself to make dinner (and then forced myself to choke it down) and near the end JP called to say he was cleaning up and would be on his way soon.  "Like in 10 minutes?" I asked.  "Maybe 30," he replied.  "So like 15 minutes?" I countered.  "Um no, it's probably just going to take me 30 minutes."  As it turned out, this wasn't a negotiation.  When he got home 42 minutes later he found me on the couch in a ball immersing myself in a well-read romance novel while the kids entertained themselves in their castle doing who knows what but it was quiet and no one needed any band-aids.  It was a rough day.
  • Not surprisingly, as of Tuesday morning, the kids are back in full-time daycare.  JP bartered with the director for private swim lessons for her and her daughter.  We love our daycare/director so much.
  • On Sunday JP was pulling weeds in the front yard at dusk, and I was watching JP pull weeds in the front yard, and the kids were running around in circles creating "obstacle courses" out of the piles of weeds and various features of our front yard.  And there was giggling and twilight was coming and our giant oak tree was bursting with new green leaves and Claire was trying to copy everything Landon was doing three moves behind and I felt like I was going to burst.  My love of the neighborhood, yard, tree, husband, and kids all joined together in a glorious moment that made me ache inside.  And in two years a little toddler will be running behind them.  Who knew weeding (and watching weeding) could bring about such emotions?
  • I'm concerned that my pants are getting tight.  I don't think this happened so early with Landon or Claire.  Ugh.  Pregnancy.  Also, hamburgers.
  • JP, sitting on the couch and going through his stack of 12 checks from his swim lessons today, "Do you want to throw them on the bed and roll around in them?"
And that's our week so far!

    Saturday, April 6, 2013

    Food and This Week

    I dragged myself to Landon's soccer game this morning (a game in which he scored four goals!), but I forgot to pack snacks (for me, Claire tucked some fruit snacks into her penguin backpack), so by the time we were driving home at 11:30 my stomach was churning and I was pretty sure I was going to die. I needed a hamburger, and it needed to be amazing, and I needed it immediately. We made straight for Rodeo Goat where I ate a half plate of cheese fries and a cowboy burger involving bacon, sharp cheddar, onion rings, and bbq sauce. It was glorious. It messed up my plan to have burgers at home tonight, but it was worth it.

    JP is running around like crazy getting ready for the opening of his swim school and very first lessons beginning at 4 p.m. on Monday (he literally just ran through the TV room with his hands in the air saying "42 hours till opening day!"). We went to Target after our burger-fest to buy him a few organizational items. I'm sort of an expert on the plastic storage bin area of Target, so I gave him a tour, and he walked out the proud owner of a bin for pool toys, clipboard for his lifeguard/deck manager to look official when people walk in, and a very cute set of buckets for after-lesson treats.

    The rest of the day was spent with house work and yard work and me going grocery shopping when I was hungry again and buying out much of Trader Joe's. Now I'm watching the Food Network and have informed JP that I need (a) Stacey's Naked Chips (commercial); (b) French toast (Chopped Champions dessert item); and (c) Einstein' cinnamon sugar bagel (random inspiration). I have none of these things, but I do have this week's menu:

    Saturday: Rabbit food (the contents of your vegetable drawer + dressing; tonight's edition: 1 bag of romaine, 1/2 bag of butter lettuce, 3 diced hard boiled eggs, half an English cucumber, pint of sliced cherry tomatoes, big handful of shredded carrots, 1 diced avocado, 1/2 diced orange pepper, small handful shredded cheese, homemade balsamic vinaigrette, really big bowl).

    Sunday: Caprese chicken breasts, angel hair pasta with herbs (mix from a box), lightly sauteed green beans.

    Monday: My mom's amazing spaghetti sauce (that I will make and simmer all afternoon on Sunday) with whatever shape pasta is in our pantry, salad, bread with butter and too much garlic salt (I loooooove garlic salt).

    Tuesday: Beef with broccoli, rice, TJ's chicken shu mai appetizers.

    Wednesday: Leftover spaghetti, more garlic bread (and garlic salt).

    Thursday: Breakfast tacos, fruit; or possibly takeout Thai food to celebrate the end of JP's first week (there's little he loves more than chicken pad thai and we haven't ordered it in forever).

    Friday: Homemade pizza (or Trader Joe's frozen Chicago-style pizza because it's delicious and easier).

    It's going to be an interesting week. JP will be busy and nervous and excited. I will be working an exciting new alternative schedule of 7-freaking-a.m. to 3:30 p.m. so I can get home to watch the kids while he goes to coach (we'll be adjusting childcare soon, but are doing this for a few weeks to save many dollars). When we decided to do this I was not 8 weeks pregnant and alternatingly overwhelmed with hunger and exhaustion every 30 minutes, so it will be interesting. I give it a week, mostly because our daycare director is out on vacation and we can't talk to her about changing the schedule for exactly one week. Good thing I bought out Trader Joe's.

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

    Baby Bean III

    Behold, Baby Bean the Third!

    One baby, one strong flickering heartbeat.

    I told JP this morning that I thought it might be fun to find out we were having twins and he looked at me like I was insane. It seemed like the perfect solution to my "I like even numbers" preference and my utter hatred of pregnancy (and his utter refusal to knowingly try to knock me up again). But luckily for our finances, square footage, and general sanity, it's just one little bebe, looking very healthy and beanish, and it was very nice to meet him/her for the first time.

    I like my doctor very much. She's young, I'd guess she's in her early 30's, which is new for me, but she's very warm and engaging and very clearly knows her stuff (and loves talking about it). She also has a Claire who was born the same month and year as mine- I think they're 10 days apart, and we've bonded over our respective Clairebears. We talked about my pre-term prevention steps from my last (full term!) pregnancy with Claire (for those recently tuning in, I had Landon at 35 weeks and he spent 12 days in the NICU). She suggested that I do the weekly progesterone shots again and I readily agreed. I'd already emailed my perinatal nurse from last time around to get her perspective and she recommended the same. And this time it appears that my insurance covers in-home weekly visits for the shots! I can't even tell you how excited I am about that. I'll do anything to ensure another full-term baby, but dragging myself to the OB to park, wait for a room, get a shot, and drive back to work every single week was not something I was looking forward to. I will be having another c-section, a non-negotiable for me after Landon's birth trauma, so we got to skip the VBAC discussion and move on to her feelings on deli meats and sushi.

    As for me, I'm feeling pretty good for a woman in her 8th week of pregnancy. I spent my first 10 knowingly pregnant days feeling so fantastic it stressed me out and I couldn't enjoy it. Then I started feeling nauseous in the middle of the night and early in the morning and pretty much every few hours all day and it was almost a relief. Twenty-four hours of that nonsense and I wanted to go back to my blissful "I feel so great it's like I'm not even pregnant" days of stress. I can't decide if it's worse than it was with Landon or Claire (though I know I felt far more nauseous with Claire than with Landon), but I know I have to cram a cracker down my throat every 20 minutes or the room will start feeling like it's spinning and my stomach feels like it's been twisted and bounced around in a way that is mildly reminiscent of the extreme drunkenness I enjoyed (and then regretted) in college. But now I just go straight to stomach-spinning regret, bypassing the glorious "I'm a really good dancer" phase completely (and also, the actual drinking, which I only really miss in Mexican restaurants; it's going to be a long margarita-less summer). I don't have too many other symptoms- boobs a bit tender and I do stare longingly at the floor under my desk every afternoon at 2:00. I never want to sleep on the floor like I do when I'm pregnant. My insomnia is cured, so at least that's nice.

    My oddest symptom so far was my first one- extreme (extreme) dizziness. It was the strangest thing. Out of nowhere, while I was sitting, walking, or once, while I was driving my car, the whole world would start spinning so fast it made me close my eyes to keep from feeling motion sick (and I've never been motion sick in my life). It started 5 days before I took the first pregnancy test, four days before my missed period, and I had never felt anything like it. The time it happened while I was driving I had to pull over and put my hazards on because I couldn't see anything in front of me. I went home and googled "extreme dizziness" and as I was typing google completed my query with "...in early pregnancy." What? I had no idea that was a symptom, but it did give me hope that this time it was going to take! Some theories suggested it was the sudden surge in blood production combined with anemia, so I added an iron pill to my regular prenatal vitamin and the dizziness went away.

    All in all things are going well. I do look wistfully at the couch after dinner, wishing desperately that I could go curl up in a ball and close my eyes until the nausea and exhaustion go away (or I fall asleep and can ignore them for a while), but Landon and Claire need me awake and generally present and I've been persevering. They don't know about the baby yet, but I think they'll be excited. They've been asking for a baby to come live with us for a while now. I remain 90% excited and 10% wondering what in the hell we've gotten ourselves into- this family of four thing has really been working out well, but I started seeing a chubby little toddler running after a Claire who was running after a Landon some time ago and I can't unsee it, no matter how little sense it seemed to make at the time (are we really going back to diapers and nighttime feedings?). When I showed JP my first positive pregnancy test, he threw his hands up in the air, did a little hip thrusting dance, and sang, "Yeah!! We're crazy mother fu*kaaaaaas!!" We may well be, but I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I just need to get out my first trimester first.

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Goin' to Colorado

    Every time we left my sister's house, or even talked about leaving my sister's house, Claire would exclaim, "We goin' to Colowado?!" She never quite understood that we were already there, though she did seem to be having a lot of fun wherever it was she thought we were.

    After our hike in blizzard conditions on Friday, we took it easier on day 2 with a hike up the mountain directly across the street from my sister's house. Sentences like that make me wonder why we haven't tried harder to make Colorado the next stop in our career/life path.

    The kids were very impressed with their sky-high spot above the mile-high city.

    Tex was too.


    We spent the rest of the day exploring Golden, in particular this random creek that runs through part of downtown. Why is everything in Colorado so absurdly beautiful?


    Easter morning rolled around and the kids woke up way too early in their excitement to find their Easter baskets and eggs.


    Even Claire looked a little hungover. I think this was like 6:30 a.m.


    After much consternation Landon finally found his hidden basket hidden in the dryer. Claire, having found hers ages ago, was by his side for moral support.


    While my sister and Billy got up and ready (hours after our children had bounced into our room exclaiming about seeing the Easter Bunny during the night), we took the kids back to our new favorite park in Golden to explore. There were geese, and we told them if they could catch one, the goose would lay them Easter eggs.


    Claire tried to entice her with handfuls of sand. She was genuinely sad they didn't accept her offering and become her friends.


    We explored the creek some more. JP is incapable of seeing rocks in water and not climbing down to walk on them with both kids in tow. It's one of the many things I love about him.


    Speaking of love, we played Monopoly Saturday night with my sister and Billy, and Sunday morning found JP and I arguing about Monopoly strategy while taking a shower together. Naked and occupying the same 3 feet of space while our kids watched cartoons and Val and Billy slept, and are we doing fun things? No, we are debating the relative merits of the deals we made trading our properties the night before. And even worse, we are finding that fun. Given how mad I got at JP for his ridiculous low ball offer for my two potential monopolies, it is clearly better for our all aspects of our marriage if we don't play board games against each other.

    Back to beautiful Colorado. After a fun scavenger hunt my sister put together for the kids to find her Easter baskets, and another egg hunt in the park across the street, we piled in our cars and drove out the most beautiful highway in the world (or at least that part of Colorado) and stopped in a random spot between Golden and Idaho Springs to get the kids and dogs out of the car and play, relax, and rock climb in a canyon with a perfect mountain stream running through it.

    The dogs swam, JP and Billy climbed steep cliffs and then spent about 30 minutes relocating several large boulders in a feat of pure manliness (or so they explained it to a mystified Val and me), and the kids threw pebbled in the water and climbed all over rocks.


    It was lovely and relaxing and exactly how Easter afternoon should be spent when you're twenty minutes away from peace and beauty like that.


    We left early yesterday morning for the 13 hour trek home. It was rough on JP and me- we had been staying up later than usual to destroy each other at Monopoly and the kids had been getting up way earlier than usual to ask if we were still in Colorado, but the drive was as smooth as a 13-hour drive can be. The kids were perfect- they colored and read, watched a movie every 3-4 hours, and sang songs to each other without a single whine or complaint. I on the other hand whined quite a lot about being hungry and nauseous and tired. JP drove the entire way while I acted as corporate secretary transcribing his emails and answering the swim school phone. Tex never even sat up, he was so exhausted from hiking and keeping up with the young pups at my sister's house. All in all it was a perfectly excellent, if short, vacation. Chicago may be my favorite city in the US, but Colorado is definitely my favorite state.


    The kids agree, and Claire asked this morning if we were going to Colorado today.