Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Much the Same

JP is at Krav Maga. He's gone like 6 days a week since he started, he really can't do anything half-assed, unlike his wife, who is excellent at half-assing all things exercise, and I am torn between downloading another book (and likely staying up past midnight reading it) or updating my blog and going to bed at a reasonable hour. I'm choosing the latter because I've been getting very little sleep lately and I really miss this space when I don't visit for a few days, but I feel sort of silly writing when I don't have much to say.

May I present this picture of a rhino from Landon instead?

Things are good. They are just really very good. Everything is ready for our baby girl (7 weeks from tonight she'll be snuggled in my arms!). I'm feeling great- the best I've ever felt during a pregnancy, I may even turn into one of those annoying people who thinks they even like having a 20 lb. basketball sticking out from their stomach (except no, I can't take it that far, but I will admit to not hating it this time around, and that's a big and strange step for me). I'm planning a real family vacation for the last week of my maternity leave in February and I am SO EXCITED about it, even if it involves driving 14 hours each way with 3 kids, including one personality-unknown 3-month-old. There is little JP loves more than throwing our kids in the car and driving somewhere fun and far away. And not just because he's afraid of flying, he just really likes taking the kids places. He won't run an errand without them. It's one of my favorite things about him (even as I, a sane person, generally run errands when they're sleeping or at school.)

My crew, on a much shorter adventure this past weekend

Landon's after school program still hasn't started, which is challenging, but with the help of one very nice stay-at-home mom of a classmate, one of JP's instructors with a gap in her teaching schedule right when Landon gets out of school, and my own understanding and flexible work schedule, we're managing. Supposedly it will start on Monday. The 6th week of school. But it's been nice to get some extra time with my little/big guy.

He sees a "muscle" coat and superhero boots;
I see consignment store ski items I was VERY excited to find for $15/each

Our weekend was absurdly beautiful. Highs in the 80's, bright blue skies, a long-awaited break from the humidity. We did hours of yard work, went on 4 walks, went to the park, and baked pumpkin spice cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese pumpkins. First day in the 70's = Fall = Pumpkin. It's science.

Old-fashioned merry-go-round at the park.
Landon loves it; Claire understands it's really a death trap

JP and I watched two movies after the kids went to bed- World War Z and Star Trek, so he owes me a chick flick or three. Thank goodness for 7:30 bedtimes and very deep sleepers. We do a lot of in-home movie dates, though the kids are constantly trying to kick us out of the house for real ones- there is little they love more than having people come visit them at our house, which is how they, with their genuine love for people and lack of understanding about money, rather charmingly view babysitters. 

In partial payment for watching a movie involving a lot of zombies and people-eating, I dragged JP on a family trip to the mall on Sunday to buy him jeans. He hasn't bought new jeans (or really, any clothing) since 2005 and as I tried to explain on the drive over, he simply looks too good in them to wear ones so worn out and saggy.

Irrelevant, but I think this shoebill bird would also look good in jeans

The kids remain pretty awesome (Claire's new favorite word is awesome; everything is awesome and it cracks me up every time she says it). Age six appears to be a more... emotional age than five, which is interesting as Landon as never been a kid prone to tantrums or emotional lows. He's still his sweet and happy self most of the time, but he will occasionally lose his shit over something in a way that is both breathtaking and frustrating (and often amusing) to behold. Claire alternates between judging him and trying to comfort him, which is also generally amusing.

Zoo magazine delivery day!

We watched my friend and co-worker's 3-month-old baby one night last week while she had an event at her older daughter's school. The kids were SO excited to host the baby and he was quite the man of the hour. They took turns holding him, sang him many songs, and brought him every toy from our bin of infant toys in the nursery. He went to sleep without any fuss in our baby girl's future crib at 8 p.m. and JP and I decided that if we can just get a happy, chubby 3-month-old who comes to us already fed and bathed in the evening, we're pretty sure we can TOTALLY do this 3 kids thing.

Playing with mommy's old dollhouse set;
their discussion of item placement was both entertaining and informative

While the stork works on that, we're just enjoying the two kids we've already got, soaking up Fall and its pumpkin infused desserts, and learning how to defend ourselves in a knife fight (actually, only one of us is doing that, but I'm learning a lot about how to solve fictional homicides, which is basically the same thing).

Fall floral volunteers we managed to not kill during our weekend yard work

At least in another month I can post about kids in costumes and the impending arrival of our little girl. Until then, things seem pretty uneventful around here. Though after re-reading some of my archives from last fall, uneventful is nothing I'm going to complain about, even if I do miss having more reason to write. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Three, No Wait Five, Things

1. Baby girl and I have hit Week 32!


I need to start taking pictures in the morning, these 7 p.m. post-work selfies aren't as flattering to my ankles. What's happening with the veins in my feet down there?

Things continue to go well: weight gain oddly on track, stretch marks non-existent, swelling keeping to a minimum- the careful three-point-turn I have to execute each time I want to turn over in bed doesn't seem too bothersome by comparison. It's all going so well that I'm terrified I'm going to think it would be a good idea to do again in a few years.

2. Homework is so hot in my house right now.

Landon comes home with a little booklet of worksheets each Monday. He doesn't need to bring them back or turn them in, they're just to show us a bit of what the class is working on each week and to encourage parents to work with their kids at home. Landon LOVES them. He does the whole book on Mondays and we spend the rest of the week coloring pictures and talking about the day he'll get more homework.


Claire, enamored of her older brother and quite the mini-me, immediately requested "homework" from her teachers at school. Yesterday, Ms. Susan obliged and Claire raced out of her classroom with three precious sheets clutched in her hot little hands. Where they remained for the next two hours while we drove to the rental car place, turned in the car, switched the car seats to a transport car, drove to the body shop where my previously battered Sonata was waiting for me, settled accounts in a very tiny waiting room, switched car seats again, and drove home. At 6:40 p.m., 2 hours after picking the kids up from school, an exhausted me sat on the couch and smiled while I watched the kids carefully and painstakingly complete their assignments.


It reminded me of my very first homework assignment- 3rd grade, Mrs. Ness's class, a one page sheet with names, phone numbers, and business needs. We were supposed to get our parents' big Southwestern Bell Yellow Page phone books and fill in the missing information for each entry on the sheet. I was SO excited. I took that giant phone book, my mom's clipboard, and my worksheet outside, sat in the MIDDLE of my front yard, and completed it in a location where everyone could see how big and grown up I was. I still remember how I felt sitting out there, and how I lingered over it long after I was done so that my dad would see me doing my homework just like the awesome high school kids at church talked about when he drove up the driveway after work.

I told JP that story and he looked at me incredulously and then laughed. At me, I think, not with me. We had very different feelings about school.

Our blocks are now considered a "center" just like in school

3. Claire is three and I love age three.

I can't remember if I have a favorite age, but maybe three is it? 9 months, 18 months, two, three, and four for sure. Claire at 3 is just so darn fun and sweet and creative and BUSY. I snap random blurry pictures of her because I can't keep track of what she's doing most of the time and I don't want to forget (even if I don't actually know).


Here she is having a ten minute imaginary convo with her Gigi. It sounded so real when I first walked into the room that I thought she'd stolen my iPhone from my purse, unlocked it, and dialed her Gigi's number. I wouldn't have put it past her at all.

She is very VERY into her babies. They are fed and changed and rocked and read to on a regular basis. And she is EXTREMELY impatient with my slow gestation of "our" baby and is pretty sure I'm taking forever on purpose and holding her little sister hostage in my tummy. We talk about the baby at least 10 times a day and she and Landon have already worked out their first response system to when the baby cries at night. As Landon explained to me a few weeks ago: "Mom, if the baby cries, we'll go in first and check on her. And if we can't fix it, then we'll come and get you, okay? Don't come in first. We can do it." Apparently they'd been talking about it and planning at night in their beds.

Babies with a high SIDS risk are randomly put to bed all over our house; this one was found by the TV

4. JP has temporarily quit swimming and taken up a martial art

Krav Maga, to be precise (I just had to google it, turns out I was spelling it wrong in my head). I don't really have a picture for this one, so I offer up Landon's self-portrait with its intriguing blue nose, which is similar to the color of JP's forearms after Tuesday's "fighting skills" class.

It's weird, not having him swim. He had pretty much stopped going to practice when summer lessons kicked up, but to actually withdraw his USS membership was... strange. He's been an active swimmer since I met him in 2001. But he's been having some health issues and decided taking an official break might be good while we figure out what's going on. Plus he's wanted to do Krav Maga since he googled "what martial art is Jason Bourne doing in the Bourne Identity" a million years ago. He loves the classes- he's gone every day since he started (turns out it wasn't that he was addicted to swimming, he's addicted to physical challenges and swimming was his drug of choice for a couple decades) and was so excited when he got home from "fight" night on Tuesday that he pretty much bounced around our TV room with a giant smile while I read my book for 45 minutes before he could take his shower. If a 6'3" man in a black Krav Maga uniform showing off fighting stances can be adorable (and he can), he was it.

5. I've discovered digital library lending and it has changed my life.

I've read 4 books in the last 5 days and they didn't cost me a DIME. I'm in love. I need book recommendations- I've been on a JD Robb/Nora Roberts "In Death" series kick and it's starting to give me crazy dreams so maybe something a little lighter?

I need to update my blog more often, my posts keep getting too long, but it's 11:30 and I need to go to bed, so editing will have to wait until next time.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thoughts, Happenings, and the Lake

Landon's after-school program has STILL not started (supposedly we're a go on Aug. 23rd and it BETTER HAPPEN). On the downside, I'm using up leave hours I need to save in order to make my maternity leave as paid as possible (we don't get any paid leave, just 12 weeks of "we won't fire you" FMLA leave, so I've been hoarding my sick and leave hours since we decided we wanted to do this 3rd baby thing 12 months ago), but on the upside, I'm home at 3:30 p.m., sitting in the shade with my feet up while the kids splash about in the pool. Sometimes it's good to be forced to use up a few hours.

I'm sure you've all been on pins and needles, but the bows I ordered arrived on Tuesday after a very long day taking testimony and they are PERFECT. Baby girl the second has a collection of six- two Christmas ones (a bright red bow for her casual "day" outfit and a dark red poinsettia flower for her portrait-turned-church dress), and four little shabby flowers in the perfect shades of turquoise, lavender, light pink, and coral to match the most number of outfits currently hanging in her closet. It's an enormous relief to me, let me tell you.

With the bows and the boppy that arrived in the mail yesterday (bought during a ridiculous sale on target.com, I'm not sure they meant for all those specials to combine two weeks ago, but I pretty much got it for free), and the arrival of the blankie knit with love by my grandma, I'd say we're all set for baby girl's arrival. Particularly now that I've barred myself from buying anything else until after the little fall party/couples shower a friend is throwing for JP and me in October. As much as I like picking out adorable baby things, I hate having extra things, and I keep reminding myself that I'll want reasons to leave the house post-baby and I can't do that if I've prepared for a baby apocalypse to the extent I seem to want to. So instead of baby things, I've moved on to the holidays. The Halloween costumes are all set for both kids and about 75% of my Christmas shopping is complete. I was happily updating my Christmas card/birth announcement labels yesterday when my computer suddenly decided I needed to buy Microsoft Office- I'm not sure why, I've been mooching off the free sample version for more than 2 years, but apparently Microsoft had had enough and they're holding my labels document hostage.

JP is back to coaching every day/night during the week. I'm used to this by now and the kids and I do fine, but it was lovely to have 2 weeks of dual parent evenings. Things are just more fun when we get to do them together. This fall session is his second biggest (after this past June when everything kind of exploded), which is great news- we weren't sure how big the slow down would be post summer, but it appears that so far, the answer is "not at all." I've reminded him about 162 times that we're having a baby in the middle of November, but every time I ask him about his plans for the November session he rattles off a regular full schedule until I stare him into remembering "oh right that thing, the baby, that's November? What day again?". He has never been absent-minded with household things, but the swim school seems to be occupying 105% of his brain space and I swear if he talks about his lessons on the morning of Nov. 12 I will kill maim (I don't want to raise 3 kids on my own) him in some way.

Yesterday I dragged Landon on 6 errands between picking him up and getting Claire. He was SO good and patient and quick with the car seat un-buckling and re-buckling that I treated him to a small diet cherry limeade from Sonic at the end. He'd never had a carbonated beverage and I cracked up when he rather worriedly exclaimed, "Mom! The sparkles in the straw are making my eyes water!!" from the back seat. Sparkles in the straw. Kids are awesome.

Speaking of the plural, I'm surprised how much I do not think about the fact this is likely my last pregnancy. Given my general feelings toward the pregnant state (short version: I hate it), I thought I'd be drawing strength from a constantly repeated refrain of "this is the last time I'll do this, this is the last time I'll do this." But I've never thought that. In fact I feel no sense of closure ending regarding the process at all. Which doesn't mean we have plans for more children- we don't, but I'm just surprised that I haven't meditated on (or even acknowledged, or needed to acknowledge) the fact more.

And finally, we went to my parents' lake house this past weekend to celebrate my mom's birthday and JP's successful closure of his pool director role (which meant, for the first time since May, he got to travel with us!). We had a fantastic time- we LOVE the new house and the fact that the kids are finally old enough to really USE the lake house and all its amenities. It's one thing to have fun yourself (still an important goal of any trip), but it's a whole other level of awesome to watch your kids have as much fun as you've had doing the same things. Claire in particular loved the nearby beach- she swam and splashed and dug sand and had a marvelous time with her Papa in her patch of dirt and gently sloping water, and Landon fell in the love with the speed of the jet ski for the first time. JP played like the kid he is when not exhausted from coaching and I sat in the shade, craved a margarita, and watched all the fun being had.

A few photos:

Happy girl, jealous dog

Professional jet ski team

Claire was skeptical until the moment she held the power of the "getski" in her hands

Tubing solo for the first time!

And going significantly faster than mommy probably would have allowed

No caption, I just like this one

Alright, we've been outside for two hours and Claire is starting to talk in a higher octave than usual, so I'd say it's time to go in, dry off, and start dinner. Or go in, dry off, and cuddle on the couch while watching a movie and thinking about starting dinner. Either way, time to sign off!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Week 30: Hairbows and Nursery Decor

Baby girl and I have reached Week 30 and I think I can speak for her when I say we're feeling pretty good about this third trimester business.


She is a very busy little thing- squirmier than her brother or sister, but she feels happy and all her stats continue to look perfect. I passed my glucose tolerance test with about a hundred points to spare- as I always joke with the nurse, if my body had a problem processing sugar and carbs, I think we'd know by now. I treated baby and me to a trio of sugar cookies on the way back to work after my appointment because passing tests should always be rewarded.


I continue to gain weight within the recommended ranges, which has never happened before. I'm up 20 lbs. from my first appointment, whereas with L&C I think I was already close to +30 by now. I can't account for the difference, though not working across the street from a Great American Cookie Company and not having access to free firm lunches probably has something to do with it, as does the fact that for the first time ever I have felt like exercising while pregnant. Nothing crazy- just some prenatal pilates and barre DVDs I grew inexplicably fond of around 15 weeks. For a while I did 30-50 minutes of videos, 4-6 days a week. Then I didn't want to them any more, so I did 0 minutes of videos every day of the week, and now I'm back to doing a video or two on the weekends. When I want to do them, they make me feel good and strong and slightly less large. When I don't want to do them, they make me feel like my time would be better spent making cookies. So I generally do. I'm really all in or all out on the exercise front.

(Hairbow specially chosen to turn her portrait dress into a Christmas dress, because I'm economical)

I've spent the last week (or three) obsessing over baby headbands on etsy. The combination of my cheapness and refusal to spend more than $20 on my order, combined with a sudden overwhelming need for All The Hairbows, and the endless variety and quantity from hundreds of shops with all different pricing structures and shipping costs maybe caused me to lose my mind a little. Selecting my four favorite headbands from my one chosen shop (because additional items ship for way less!) became The Most Important Decision Ever Made and when I finally made it and turned to selecting a little bloomer/bow set for our newborn portraits I became concerned about my heart rate and had to close my laptop.

(You cannot imagine the number of hours I spent squinting at this picture and obsessively cataloguing the outfits hanging in baby girl's closet to match up which colors she would need. YOU CANNOT IMAGINE. I won't even add them up myself.)

So I went back to my previous obsession which was selecting newborn portrait outfits. It is very hard to coordinate five people to look nice (these will be our annual portraits/Christmas card pictures as well), but not stiff; to look coordinated, but not matchy. Add in the fact that I will be 7 days post-partum and have no idea what I'll be able to fit into and you get hours of picking out outfits online and trying to look at them in side by side browser pages to see if they blend. The picture below is Claire modeling her outfit- she loves it and it's exactly the sweet, nice, but not too nice look I'm going for. Now if only everyone else's outfits would magically appear in front of me in Target like that one did.


In other accomplishments, baby girl's nursery is all ready!


She is taking over a portion of the guestroom with the attached full bath that is right next to L&C's current room in the kid corridor (a corridor with doors we can close at each end after they go to bed; very handy). She is only getting a portion because I'd like to keep a functioning guestroom for as long as possible to house friends and the scattered members of my family whenever we force them over for a visit, and because I spent too much on that bed frame right after we moved here and I thought we were done having babies to think about getting rid of it. And really, it's not like she needs much space.




(Side note I mentioned to Landon that maybe in a few years when baby 3 was out of her crib, the girls would share a room and he'd have his own and he was appalled. APPALLED. He looked at me with wide eyes filled with hurt, and asked why they would get to be together and he would have to be all by himself? Why would he be punished like that? We'll see if he changes his mind at age 8-9 when it will be time for the switcheroo, but if he doesn't I would love to do the big room with camp style bunk beds and keep my beloved guestroom all pristine and child free.)

But back to now- the room started taking shape when I was pretending not to peruse etsy for nursery decor at 8 weeks pregnant. I found this trio of bird prints and bookmarked them just in case we found out we were having a girl.


Then we bought a long low dresser at Ikea to use as a changing table and storage for all the clothes and accessories that won't fit in the teeny tiny closet.


I found the bird cages on clearance at PBK.com and the ABC print is by the same etsy artist as the birdie print. Gardenridge supplied the super cheap frames, the lamp was already in the guest room, and the little birdie pot holding the Honest Co. toiletries was found for $2 on a sad clearance shelf at Michael's.


Then my co-worker and good friend mentioned that her daughter's old baby bedding might be a perfect match for my birdie prints. And it was!


Despite my prior statements to the contrary, I switched out the grown-up bedding for coordinating colors when I found every single thing I needed at TJ Maxx for less than $60 and then found the perfect curtains for $15 at Marshall's. The big bird print was already in the room, the flowers and vase were switched out for a few bucks at Hobby Lobby, and the custom bird pillow was an etsy indulgence.


I'm inordinately fond of it.


The bookshelves (formerly filled with romance novels and formerly formerly in our Austin study) are now filled with little frames and birds and the bird houses the kids painted for their little sister a few weeks ago.


I'm quite pleased with the whole thing. It's bright and cheerful and completely different from my two nurseries of days past while still being functional and well within the budget I wanted to spend. The kids love the room- it's the first room they show people who visit the house, and they are so very excited for their baby sister to sleep in there.

I can't wait for baby girl to arrive either. I've done just about all the prep I can, even her birth announcement/2013 Lag Liv family Christmas card is all designed, thanks to my talented friend, and I can't wait to insert the pictures of our baby girl and our whole family dressed in the coordinated outfits I haven't yet found. I'm far more comfortable and tolerant of pregnancy this time around. Oh, I still don't enjoy it, but I really can't complain (yet). But while nine more weeks to go doesn't sound too bad, and I want her to grow as big and delicious chubby as possible, I am oh so ready to meet her. I want to snuggle her and introduce her to her siblings and just get on with the business of being a family of five.

Nine weeks to go!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

18 Months In

I have a half post written in answer to a friend's question about how JP's swim school plans and successes have affected my own career plans (which, last time we talked, were to be at the SEC for 3-4 years and then go back to private practice, almost certainly in another, larger city). I still intend to finish that post, but in the last few weeks I've been sidetracked by musings on the life side of the work-life discussion. Because even though there are things I really do miss about working at the firm (writing! fancy things! extra money! writing!!!), and a part of me will always be wondering what I will do next and how I can use this section of my resume to move up for the next one, right now there is absolutely no doubt that this life is the best one for my family and that makes it the best one for me.

I knew, immediately, that steady hours and non-working nights and weekends would be better for the kids and for me as a mom. And I assumed it would be nice for JP and me as a couple. But it wasn't until I'd been at my new job for a few months that I fully realized how much better it was for me, even separate from my other roles. I was talking to CM online one night a few months ago when she told me about her new job. Even then, 14 months into my own job change, I struggled to put into words what a life-changing thing it has been to work at work for a set and predictable number of hours and then come home untouched by blackberry or email until I returned to my office again the next morning. I used the phrase, "there is just more of me left for me," and while that still doesn't quite cover it, I suppose it comes the closest.

And now, 18 months into our new life here in Fort Worth, I can see the effects that having "more me for me" as they have reflected back onto the kids and JP. It's not just that I don't negotiate down on the number of bedtime stories because I no longer have a red light blinking on my blackberry and a laptop already logged in ready for me to get back to work as soon as I close their door, or that we can play and relax at home before I start thinking about making dinner- those were immediate effects. It's the changes I've been able to see in them because I have time to simply do nothing but be around them. It's the quiet moments, the random questions and conversations. The world is harder to figure out at 6 than it was at 2, and unlike when he was 2, I can't just structure Landon's day around mine. His day, his life, has stared taking it's own form and the times he wants to talk to me about things beneath the surface can't just come forth because I have 20 free minutes. When I was at the firm the kids were the perfect ages for that life. For a 12 month old Claire, any time mommy or daddy were in her line of vision was a great time! She was completely happy at daycare and completely happy when we picked her up. And at 1, 2, and 3, it was the same for Landon. Their days were filled with routine and fun and love. I genuinely never believed that working full-time in a demanding job was a detriment to their life, and I still believe that was true. But now, for this phase, I can say that I'm glad it's different. While the kids are always thrilled when I pull up in the driveway at the end of the day, their day doesn't start over because I'm home the way it did when they were little. It simply continues, and I'm as much an observer as I am a participant, and I've found, increasingly, that the observing- the being there- is vitally important.

Separate from the simple quantity of time, the predictability has been the most important. In some respects, this isn't a change the kids feel- I think I only picked them up late from daycare once, but oh I had days of white knuckle driving down MoPac praying I got there in time. That doesn't happen any more. And for Landon, my mellow happy go lucky child, the predictability of my schedule has almost no effect at all. But for Claire, my little planner, it is huge in a way I couldn't have anticipated when she was 20 months old and I accepted this job. Each morning while I brush her teeth and attempt to brush her hair, Claire likes to get the schedule for the day- who is taking her to school, what's in her lunch, who is picking her up, and what we're having for dinner. She can roll with change and surprises, but she likes to know the plan for the next day and week and month as far ahead as possible. And she remembers every detail. It's a little thing, but I was thinking yesterday about her ballet recital in May. How I made the mistake of mentioning it more than 2 months ahead of time and how EVERY DAY she asked if I would be there. At the firm, I always hedged. I would try, Mommy plans to, etc. While I worked with great people who would have had no problem in theory with me stepping out for a recital in the middle of the afternoon, if a briefing deadline had come up or an important client call was scheduled, I wouldn't have been able to go. It's part of the deal you make when you join a firm like that. And it hurts even now, months after my early arrival and full camcorder-holding attendance at the program, to think of how truly crushed she would have been if I'd missed it. And that's an issue that will continue to grow as the kids get busier.

My new life has benefited JP and me in ways we couldn't have foreseen either. He never would have started his swim school if we hadn't moved here. It's possible he wouldn't have needed to. If we'd remained in Austin he might not have been one of the 3,000 cut from his company last year, but he might have. And separate from that, we've both mentioned many times how impossible I think it would have been for me to have remained at the firm while he remained at Dell. His commute and hours combined with my hours and unpredictability... I really can't imagine it as the kids have gotten older, and we most certainly wouldn't have decided to add another to our brood. So a change would have needed to happen. Here, the change was forced upon him, but what a change it has been! And how rewarding it has been for me (and him, clearly) to be able to support it so strongly. On the concrete side, it is only because I can control my schedule that he can make the schedules for his now more than 150 clients. And less tangibly, it is because I could feel the changes in me that came from working for something that made me happy that I could understand better what he meant when he said working at another large company wouldn't do it for him. It has been a difficult year for him, but I've been able to be there in ways I'm not sure I could have at the firm- the stresses of doc reviews and briefing deadlines invariably leak their way into your personal life, and I'm as glad I could give the extra as I imagine he's been to receive it.

I still work hard all day Monday-Friday. The kids still need full-time childcare and I still need to run errands and plan ahead for the week on Sunday. That was something else that surprised me a little- the schedule sounded so much easier that I handicapped what working "regular" full-time would be like a little too much. It's still full time. Many weeks it's no less than I worked at the firm. The difference is the predictability, the control, and the absolute inviolability of my nights and weekends. I've never wanted to stay home full-time. I truly don't think I'd be as happy personally, I know it wouldn't be good for my marriage, and financially it's never been an option anyway, but this sharp divide between work and home- the clear compartmentalization of both facets of my life has been, well, rather extraordinary.

I still worry and muse about what will come next. A very real part of me misses being a big firm lawyer. I miss being a defense attorney. I still believe that at my core, I'm more defense attorney than prosecutor. It may be superficial, but I miss being a woman on partnership track at a large firm and working towards something the statistics say is nearly impossible. I've always gone after the gold stars and it was hard to walk away from one so shiny and hard to reach. In some ways, leaving that intangible ideal was harder to leave than anything concrete in that office. There are days where my current job leaves something to be desired for me; for all the hours and junior associate drudgery, that actually rarely happened at the firm. But this job is good. It could be great as a forever position and it could still be a stepping stone back to the firm when the kids are even older or to something I can't even see or imagine yet down the line. Most days I can trust in that and be very satisfied on the work side. Because every day, every single day, I am seeing, observing, getting more on the life side. And that's mattered to me, to the kids, to JP, and to me again, in ways I couldn't have predicted when I gave my notice to BigLaw 18 months ago.

8th Wedding Anniversary date on Monday