Saturday, September 27, 2014

Hot Affair

So I cheated on barre with hot yoga yesterday at lunch (well, is it cheating when I also went to barre in the morning? or is it even worse because I hooked up with yoga so quickly after barre that now barre is feeling inadequate?) and I am IN LOVE. I went again at 8 a.m. this morning, which means I got up at 7:00 on my morning to sleep in to drive 20 minutes to spend 80 minutes in a 100+ degree room doing YOGA, a form of exercise I mocked and avoided for YEARS for being a contradictory combination of impossible and not hard enough to bother with, and I loved it. There was balancing and stretching and toe-touching and flows and music and SO many chatarangas. And I'm actually pretty good! Still tons of room for improvement of course, but I didn't black out like I did in my first barre class (probably because 1 lb. weights weren't involved), and all my at-home classes had my mind and body fluent enough in the lingo and flows that I was able to keep up without feeling overwhelmed. I signed up for a 2-weeks for $20 unlimited introductory special and I plan to get my money's worth. There's a 5:30 a.m. on weekdays that I'm hoping to do, but that will involve waking up at 4:45 and packing a bag so I can shower and dress at the studio before work, so that'll be the real test of this fledgling romance. Barre will always be my first grown-up exercise love, and it will always have a place in my heart and muscle memory, but my new fling has definitely put a new spring in my step.

And I get to buy accessories for it! I'm still using the $15 mat I bought 18 months ago when I wondered into Target, newly pregnant and with a horrible headache, unable to take any of the drugs that were my usual go-to's. The pain was so bad, I finally acted on some advice given to me by a doctor I saw in college and bought a cheap yoga mat and set of beginner Yoga DVD's. It actually seemed to help a little and I've been tentatively getting more into the practice since then. But now I'd really like a little thicker and heavier mat, and I definitely need a mat towel or two. It's usually really hard for me to work up a sweat, but I lost buckets of it in my first class. I had borrowed a studio towel, and today just brought along a beach towel, but the grippy microfibery studio one was CLEARLY superior. Theirs is fancier than my fledgling romance will justify, but I've found what look like a few good $25 options on Amazon.

Most people in class seem to wear as little clothing as possible, which would be weird if I could break contact with my focal point long enough to look around the room, but I like wearing long leggings and a tank. In part because I only recently decided bikinis are something I can handle wearing in public (and by "public" I mean my own pool and my parents' lake house), so a sports bra in a crowded studio is WAY outside my comfort zone (the overly developed self-conscious part of my brain is actually lol'ing), but also because I don't like feeling my skin that sweaty and slippery. I like the long leggings absorbing it all and making eagle and tree poses possible. So I don't actually need anything on the clothing front, but I did place my first ever fabletics order and I'm super excited about the pair of capri leggings and the fun crossover top with strappy sports bra for a bargain total of $29. I've noticed more and more people in my barre classes wearing their stuff, so I'm excited to try it out for myself. And then I'm going to need another drawer for my workout clothes- I've moved way beyond the "half pj/half yoga pants" drawer they've been occupying for the last many years.

So yay, hot yoga! I'm super excited to have it be part of my life. And because I can't have a post without a picture, here's Cora in her rainbow dress so I can take a picture for her rainbow-themed first birthday invitation and for once, perfectly timed for this picture, she is NOT excited.

You want me to what? WTF is this thing?

Soooo, like this? Yaaaaaaay.

I'm way more excited about going to yoga again tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Baby Steps

The kids slept for 12.5 hours Sunday night until JP finally had to shake Landon awake Monday morning so he wouldn't be late for school. Lakehousing is an awesome way to completely physically exhaust your children. And JP and I had just been discussing that we basically can't make Landon tired anymore. He's a good sleeper and well behaved despite all his energy, but he has reached an age where he is impossible to wear out. His summer Sundays have consisted of a 7 mile run with JP, hours and hours of swimming, more hours of yard work, a 3 mile family walk, and a trip to the park and he could absolutely do it all again before bed. But on this past Sunday, he collapsed in bed and fell asleep instantly one hour early. Maybe we need to somehow rig ourselves a rope swing...

Last night everyone managed to stay up just a little later, so we had time for the usual post-shower wrestling with Cora on the bed. Cora loves this part of the day because she always wins the wrestling war and we love it because she belly laughs her way through being tossed around on top of family members. The wet-hair pj-clad giggling before bed moments are always some of my favorite of the day.

Today the weather finally got cooler (high of 86; fall in Texas!) so I got to break out a few more fall clothes for the kiddos. I adore this dress I found for Claire and she insisted on the matching pink cowboy boots for her and Cora. She also insisted on this picture.

Claire is totally Cora's idol. 

This evening while I was sitting on the couch and contemplating the making of supper, I heard the big kids discussing the need to teach Cora to walk. Knowing this was likely to go somewhere adorable I grabbed my camera and starting shooting. The kids did teach some highly successful crawling lessons, so I'm not sure why Cora looked so doubtful at the start.

But after she tore her eyes away from Landon's monster socks, she seemed to start to get the hang of it.

Knees up Cora!

I don't know if it was the kids' careful instruction, but she did take two unassisted steps before dinner! Her feet still seem far too tiny and chubby to possibly support her- even Cora seems a little skeptical of them.

Speaking of new skills and skepticism of your body's abilities to do them, I'm signed up for a hot yoga class on Saturday. Now that I'm fit for the first time in a decade, I'm actually having a hard time working up a sweat in barre and I'd like to start mixing it up a little. I've really started to enjoy yoga- I'm finally strong enough to hold the postures long enough to be effective and am capable of appreciating what the meditative aspect of the practice does for me, as opposed to just being annoyed that something that doesn't feel like it's doing anything is taking so long. Running and cross fit or boot camps are just not my thing, so yoga seems a good direction to take my new love of working my body. And the flexibility and toning and lengthening are all right up my alley. But for those who have gone, is hot yoga something you need to build yourself up to? I've been doing 45-60 minute classes online 2-3x a week for the last month or two, but I don't want to feel intimidated or overwhelmed in a real class. I found a non-hot yoga studio that also has morning and weekend classes, so should I start there first? I blacked out and nearly fainted in my first barre class, so I figure this can't go any worse, but I'd love any tips to avoid doing either of those things.

On the upside, I had a doctor appointment this morning for an ear infection (an ear infection I don't have; turns out I'm just as good at diagnosing them in Cora as I am for myself) and when the doctor read off my long list of prescription medications for my chronic headaches and insomnia, I realized I hadn't taken any of them in months. Many months! So she removed them all from the list. I still get the occasional headache, but they're nowhere near as crippling as the ones I had for 12+ years and they no longer last 2-3 days at a time. And my insomnia is way better. Sure I can't sleep in hotels, or really anywhere that isn't my bed with JP in it, and I need a white noise machine and total darkness and sometimes I wake up too early, but it's rare for me to be awake, frustrated and near tears, at 3 a.m., so that is very exciting. Barre kind of changed my life, and I'm hoping adding in some yoga just makes it even better.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Laking It Up

This past Friday Landon's after school program was closed for an in-service and JP's pool (housed in an after-school program facility) was closed for the same. Taking this as a sign from the divine, we piled everyone in the car at 3 p.m. and drove to my parents' lake house to enjoy one last hurrah with weather warm enough to swim. And for the first time all summer, JP got to come too!

Everything is better when JP and his shoulders get to come to the lake.

As always, we had a marvelous time. As I told JP when I was driving him around on the jetski (he's not allowed to drive when I'm on it because he is a CRAZY PERSON who takes it over 60 mph on choppy days and I try to avoid situations where I will be forced to be furious with him; also, I like my bones and internal organs to stay mostly in one place inside my body), I'm so glad my parents have a lake house with a rope swing and boat and jet ski and all the fun things we would otherwise have to burn money and vacation days to allow our kids to enjoy.

off to the beach!

in the old VW tent/L&C's "house"

And enjoy it they do! Even Cora got into the spirit of things this time around.

lake baby!

She learned that sand does not taste as delicious as it looks.

And she was a very concerned lifeguard in her pack 'n play on the dock.

Landon picked up right where he left off, rope swinging up a storm and getting stronger and more daring each time we come. This trip he was able to hang on long enough to swing out, spin around, come back to the dock, push off with his feet, and do it again. That is at least a 10-year-old skill.

And even little Bear did the rope swing this time! Doesn't she look tiny getting all lined up to go?

But she hung on longer than Landon did last summer and was quite tickled with herself.

After my jetski ride, I decided I might as well break out my very rusty rope swinging skills.

The kids were almost even impressed.

I can't tell if I'm sore from Thursday's barre, Friday's power yoga, or Saturday's hanging upside down by a rope, but my arms are a bit tender. Landon and Claire expressed no such concerns, so apparently soreness is a post-7-year-old thing.

My Aunty K drove over from the Woodlands to hang out Saturday afternoon. She was my jetski buddy and then held Cora for about 3 hours. Both of them thought that was quite excellent.

And amidst all the swimming and rope swinging and boating and tent-building and jetskiing and eating (so much eating), there's also just a lot of time that the kids get to spend with their Papa and Gigi and that is great too.

We got home to yard work, laundry, an empty pantry, and other realities of a weekend away, but we divided and conquered and put the kids to bed nearly an hour early and never heard a peep from either room. The novelty of sitting down on the couch together at 7:15 p.m. without any children awake in the house was well worth any efforts expended in traveling, even if laking it up wasn't already the best way to spend a weekend. Now I'm just setting my morning alarm and waging an internal war of "so tired, so sore, so tiiiired" v. "you love 6:15 barre class and you always feel so happy when you go!".

While that battle rages on, I'll probably fall asleep, having set no alarms at all, reliving the glories of being an upside down swinging big kid again. I may not be able to life my arms above my shoulders, but it was really really fun to get that way. Till next summer, lake house!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Food Forts and Other Fun

JP's headlights just flashed up the driveway, home from his first "fight knight" at the Krav Maga studio since he took his summer break. He broke two fingers quite badly during a Spring fight night, and they are still quite broken, so I didn't understand why on earth he needed to go play fight, kick, and block people when he still can't get his wedding ring over his crushed knuckle, but I would also never in one thousand years sign up for something like Krav Maga and look forward to each class like Christmas morning. So, to each his own, though if he breaks any more bones or more permanently hurts his already crushed fingers I swear I'm canceling his membership, but the point of this little interlude is that it must be after 9:30 p.m. and we've both promised each other we'll go to bed before 11 tonight, so I need to write quickly. 6:15 barre class is only a few hours away!

bedtime story selfie

This past weekend was lovely- both our use of it and the days themselves. It was in the 60's. The 60's! In mid-September in Texas! I wore leggings and a tank and a drapey long top with riding boots and it was so glorious I wore the exact same outfit on day 2. I bought the season's first candy corn- bringing the one and only food I CANNOT control myself around into the house and then immediately failed to control myself around it. I made two loaves of pumpkin bread. I made the greatest beef stew ever (more below). I got to dress the kids in their shiny new unstained fall clothing. Claire and Cora wore matching shirts (Cora with purple polka dot skinny jeans!) and everyone was delighted. Claire took full advantage of all the accessorizing cold weather allows and dug out many outfit add-ons from last year's clothing bins.

The kids made a gigantic fort. We took multiple family walks, including one audacious one in the MIDDLE of the afternoon just because it was only 72 degrees. I'm smiling just thinking about it. It's like Fort Worth knew I was missing Chicago.

But on to the food. I made the most amazing beef stew. I have made many a beef stew- we don't eat a lot of beef and when we do it is always in ground beef or stew meat form; it's cheap and versatile and goes a long way. (Side note: when I write things like that I can tell that I started cooking "real" dinners when we were in Chicago and lived on 1/5 of what we do now; I still think of chicken breasts as a once a week treat.) So I've made many stews, but this recipe from Jacques Pepin resulted in by far the best finished product- tender, falling apart bits of meat, vegetables that weren't mushy or overcooked and still retained some of their own flavor thanks to the brilliant idea of cooking them separately, and the braising liquid, oh my lord, the rich, thick, flavor filled gravy at the end... the best way to capture it is to note that JP and I both scraped every little bit of it out of our bowls and the kids' bowls and then I found him licking the dutch oven I cooked it in as if it were a bowl of brownie batter.

So now that I've built it way up too much, the recipe is below. I must admit I doubted the full bottle of red wine called for in the recipe, concerned that the meat would boil rather than braise, but as JP and I fought over every last teaspoon of liquid at the end, I regretted reserving that last half-cup, so don't be like me. Don't doubt Jacques Pepin or his mother, dump in the whole bottle. I also skipped the pancetta step because I didn't have any and JP frowns in the face of bacon, but I'm sure it makes everything even more delicious. This week's menu:

Saturday: Beef Stew in Red Wine, mashed potatoes (to soak up the wine), country wheat bread, glass of red wine, candy corn. You need all of these things.

Sunday: Black bean and spinach enchiladas, cilantro lime rice (couple cups jasmine rice, the rest of the bunch of cilantro that I didn't use in the enchiladas, juice of 1.5 limes leftover from my margarita-filled girls weekend, dash of cumin, salt, pepper, garlic). SO GOOD. I freaking love that enchilada recipe.

Monday: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice soup, crusty wheat bread, sliced sharp cheddar cheese.

Tuesday: Penne with Vodka Cream Sauce (use less chicken broth and/or simmer it longer than the recipe suggests), garlic bread.

Wednesday: Mexican Quinoa Salad, tortilla chips, salsa.

Thursday: Corn dog bites, as sampled at Trader Joe's on Sunday and so delicious and magical, I actually put hot dogs on our dinner menu for the first time maybe ever. According to the sample person, you slice up a few nice Kosher hot dogs, place them in mini muffin tins, top them with corn bread batter, and bake for 15 minutes. Maybe I was just hungry at the time, but they were delicious. There will be sides too, probably a vegetable and then something else starchy and terrible like baked beans or mac and cheese. We're already having hot dogs, so a blue box seems right. And beer. It's going to be great.

Friday: At my parents' lake house, so something I didn't cook, though I am bringing pumpkin bread, brownies, and maybe this too (schedule permitting) along for the ride.

The fort making has continued. I believe it is now a small apartment complex.

There are multiple rooms, pets, babies, and flashlight lamps involved.

Tonight I let Landon read his bedtime book to Claire in there and it was adorable. I did find a rather disturbing image of the baby and all the animals in some sort of jail cell, but the kids assured me it was just a pet shop and the baby worked there and they were all VERY happy there.

As long as Cora doesn't end up in there the first time she exuberantly attacks their fort, I suppose I'll buy the "pet shop" story.

And now I'm just sliding in under my 11 p.m. bedtime deadline. JP is home safe and unbroken, though exhausted because a marine took over their class tonight and there was a lot of long and complicated boot camp like drills going on between the sparring and I kind of stopped paying attention because it all sounded awful, but he was wearing a huge grin along with his sweat and bruises, so I suppose he had a good time. I head to my nice calm barre class in the morning where no one will touch me and I'll move up and down to the stylings of all my new favorite songs. To each his own (but my workout is better). Night all! And go make some beef stew! (Or black bean enchiladas, if you're a non meat-eater, and even if you are a meat eater, you should also make the enchiladas, and then you should have some candy corn.)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dear Cora, 10 months

Tonight Claire picked her "Claire's 1st Year" photo book as her bedtime story. And as I read over the little vignettes and longer letters I included in that book I realized I couldn't remember the last time I wrote to Cora. Part of this is that I'm busier at night now- JP runs his business after 8 p.m. and I help, I can't blog during the day anymore, I exercise 3-4 nights a week... but most of it is that I seriously just can't put these months with Cora into words and the thought of trying overwhelms me so much that I push it away. And I love words, and I never push anything away! But I spend so much of each day so full of JOY that she's here and so DELIGHTED with every single thing she does that I have to at least try to write it down, if anything because in 10 years I'm not going to believe she was really this easy or awesome, so here goes:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear Cora,

You turned 10 months old a few days ago and I'm overdue on writing to you. Part of this is because it's impossible to capture you, and what our family feels for you, into something as simple as words. You are our family mascot, CoraBunny. You are joy personified. You love all four of us with your whole heart and your whole smile and I'm not really joking when I laughingly tell people that you are everyone's favorite person in our house.

You are the easiest happiest baby that ever could be. When you're tired, you don't fuss, you just get a little slumpy, like your backbone can't hold you up anymore. If we're late putting you to bed, and Cora you've had special occasion bedtimes ranging from 9 p.m. to midnight, you let out a sigh and fall asleep before the sigh is even over. And then, miracle of all baby miracles, you SLEEP IN. You sleep in! You sleep until you've gotten enough sleep to be happy all day and then you wake up with smiles and squeals of delight, ready to smile your way through another wonderful day.

You are as flexible about mealtimes as you are about bedtime. You eat very well with your fingers, you have loved every big people food we've given you- I can't even pick a favorite because you love it all, and you are thrilled to get to use a sippy cup during meals. In fact, when we first let you try a sippy cup, you decided to refuse your bottles because you were so excited to drink out of a cup like a big kid. Any time you do anything big-kiddish, your smile is extra huge. If I wasn't so determined to keep you a baby for as long as possible, I'd let you do every big kid thing I could think of just to see your whole face light up with pride. You know, you know when you're doing something your big brother and sister do and you clearly keep track of it. But slow down, because as Landon and Claire lamented this afternoon after helping your dad with about 3 hours of yardwork- being a baby is very awesome and yardwork-free.

Speaking of Landon and Claire, they adore you Corabear. They are as delighted with you as the day we brought you home. They are your biggest cheerleaders and applaud your every little advancement. They both like to walk you to bed and give you kisses and hugs and toys and whatever else you could possibly need. When you go on walks in the pram at school, your teacher always takes you by Claire's class and apparently your screams of joy are deafening. When you see Landon- whether it's been 5 seconds for 5 hours, you flap your hands so hard you fall over, and when you see me you make these awful gasping noises because you are so excited you're maybe forgetting to breathe. But your dad gets your biggest reaction- if it's a noise you can make or move you can do, you do it all whenever you see him. You're also oddly obsessed with his sunglasses and you scream in delight every time he puts them on in the morning. He's like your personal rock star.

You are super tall, averagely chubby, and small headed. You've had a few colds and two ear infections (oh, and pink eye, that was fun), but in general, we only see the doctor for your check-ups. You crawled absurdly early, are very steady on your feet but strangely uninterested in walking, and transitioned yourself to one 3-hour nap a day around 9 months old. Water is your favorite thing and anytime we can't find you, there's a 90% chance you're in our master shower. In fact, anytime anyone in our house takes a shower, we usually strip you down and let you crawl in to join just because you love it so much, so you are the very cleanest of babies. This morning when I turned off the water, you blinked the droplets free from your eyes (you like to sit on the drain and stare right up at the spray), saw it was off, and burst into tears. We can't even let you in the bath because you dive under water so fast and so often you nearly drown even though I'm 6 inches away.

Your other favorite things include: your feet, everything chewy, your pink walker, your dad's sunglasses, music, the play kitchen and all of its food, anything your big siblings have touched or are touching, and the big kid playroom in our house. You aren't allowed in the playroom unsupervised, but there's a whole other level of joy anytime you're in the vicinity because you know it's a sacred big kid space and you want to do big kid things SO BAD.

Before you were born I worried a little that you would be a bit on the outside. Landon and Claire are so close and the age gap between you seems so big right now, and we had such a good thing going as a family of four. It was so good it made us want more while also being a little wary of messing it up. But oh Cora, you ARE our family, just as much as any other member. At only 10 months old you are utterly irreplaceable and I cannot believe we almost let ourselves think that we were done at four. Not that something was missing, because it wasn't, but now we are more. More of everything good and fun and smiley and there is so much love it almost overwhelms me. It's in the little things- like playing games tonight on the floor with the big kids and you crawling around in circles wanting to join in so badly and all of us laughing at your ingenuity in crawling under elbows and over legs; you squealing in delight when you wake up, and then patiently waiting until someone comes to say hi to you and then squealing even louder when they do; our family dinners with you diligently attacking your food and randomly looking up and smiling at us like you're just so delighted to be here; the way you always look thrilled to be part of whatever we're doing. And the joy you bring to us is quadrupled and turned back on you. It's amazing you can even contain it.

We love you so much Corabear. The highest compliment I can give you is that I truly do wish you could stay a baby for the next five years or so, but I know we've only scratched the surface on the fun we're going to have with you and I look forward to your squeals and screams and big belly laughs every day along the way.

Love, mama

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dancing Shoes and Kitchen Pants

1. I am obsessed with this song right now.

The video is odd, but the song is awesome. Like all my good songs lately, I discovered it when my teacher played it in barre class, and I am powerless not to start dancing at the 1:17 mark (or really, from the beginning) and I have boogied around my office and house for the last two days. Tonight, in a fit of particularly exuberant dancing, I made Cora cry. When I asked her what was wrong, Claire said "It's not good when you move like that Mommy."

2. Do we like these shoes?

I need some casual weekend boots to wear this fall/winter with skinny jeans and leggings and I am flummoxed by the varieties before me. Every winter I wonder what I put on my feet the winter before and every winter I somehow muddle through with a bunch of dressy boots, sandals that make my feet cold, and casual ugly shoes from the Chicago snow days. No more! I will find a pair of weekend shoes no matter how many pinterest slide shows I have to look at (casual wear confuses me and I have to make sure I'm doing it right; I'm just not naturally fluent in the language of layering) or how many pairs of booties I have to order and return to DSW, I will figure this out and 2014-2015 will be a time of comfort and cuteness and layers.

3. Has anyone tried fabletics? A woman in my barre class got something from there and said it was great quality and the prices are excellent. They sell things individually or in "outfits" and each 2-3 piece ensemble is about $50, which is pretty great if the quality is good. I'm definitely intrigued. I think I need a reward for going to all the 6:15 a.m. barre classes and I adore this top:

I'm a sucker for criss-crossing in the back and they have lots of other great tops and pants as well. I'm currently obsessed with a pair of herringbone pants at Lululemon that fit like a dream and took all my strength to leave in the dressing room, so I need a reason to divert my exercise treat dollars elsewhere because they are way too expensive and technically everything about that company annoys me. I hate that their Wunder Under Pants are basically my exercise soul mates. Nothing has ever fit me better, but at $92 a pop, I'm always looking to cheat on them. 

4. We picked out the granite for our kitchen today! Very fun. It's actually marble, but it's beautiful. Now we have appliances ordered, cabinets designed, granite to-be-cut, a faucet, sink, and pendant lights already stacked in my living room- this is HAPPENING! I just need to pick out our flooring and backsplash once I have a granite sample in my hand. We stopped at the tile store and while I narrowed my 8,000 options (no exaggeration, overwhelming), I can't pick one until I can hold my counter top sample up to it. But still, so excited! I really can't wait to cook and see the kids at the same time. Kitchen renovations- I'm doing it for the children. Updated pictures of our choices soon!

5. My girls weekend + morning barre class + mother f-ing SUPERMOON that kept my bedroom lit up like daytime all Tuesday night finally added up to an unconscious me for 8 hours last night. Like maybe actually unconscious. I have no memory of falling asleep and I woke up at 8:05 a.m., a full hour after I had planned to leave for work, to an empty house and no understanding of what day it was. JP had left with the kids for school and it took many viewings of my cell phone to convince myself it was Thursday and I very much needed to be OUT of bed. When JP got back I asked him why he didn't wake me up and he said he tried, and each kid hugged me, and after making sure I was breathing they gave up and left. Turns out, I do have a wall when it comes to too little sleep and I hit it last night. Those skylights seem like such a fun architectural detail until the moon grows 10 sizes and beams itself into your bedroom and you fall asleep 2 hours before your exercise class is going to start.

And now it's 7.25 hours before my class is going to start tomorrow, so I should probably head to bed to dream strange things about granite and casual booties.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Interwebs! It's been a week again and I'm not sure why this keeps happening. Summer is admittedly rough- I work and do all the things until JP comes home about 7:15, run off to barre or help get everyone in bed, get home at 8:45, try to answer a few emails, straighten up the house, prep for the next day, help JP with his emails and business work, sometimes watch a little TV or read some of my book and then it's 11:45 p.m. and I'm mad we're going to bed so late AGAIN and then the next day it starts over. But the winds, they are a-changing. The big pool is drained and JP's pool manager and board member duties are on hold until April! He has mornings free to do swim school work! Everything is SO MUCH EASIER when fall comes. As a swim school wife, it's my new favorite season.

Flowers and my favorite donut hand-delivered byJP on our anniversary; he really gets me

Also helping to free up my evenings- my yoga studio has created three new 6:15 a.m. barre classes because I kept asking for them and I am going! I don't know that anything sums up the change in me over the last 6 months quite like that sentence. "My yoga studio" - oh yes, I have one - "6:15 a.m. barre class" - YES! - "I kept asking for them" - early enough to be done before work and won't interrupt our family evenings and post-parental-duty glass of wine - "and I am going!" - I haven't missed one yet! Even though I haven't been getting any sleep and my eyes hurt and I get flashbacks to morning swim practice, I am there, in the studio by 6:15 and I LOVE IT. I love it. We always end with some power yoga, stretching, and a moment where you're standing on your mat in mountain pose, watching the sun rise through the studio windows, floating your arms down to prayer, thumbs to heart-center, with "a first big step forward into your day, letting go of all that does not serve you." It probably sounds cheesy reading it here, but I leave feeling lighter. And on a more superficial note, I am actually lighter. The lightest I've ever weighed and suddenly a full pants size smaller. Peace is found at the barre, even if you suddenly don't have any pants.

Speaking of good stuff- two of my best friends from law school visited me in fort worth this weekend! Allison, previously of NYC and currently in Hong Kong, and K, previously of Chicago and currently in Los Angeles. Visiting me, in exotic Fort Worth. And we had SO much fun. Or I did, anyway, but I think I can speak for them too.

Alli flew in on Thursday night and I took her to barre with me on Friday morning, where my super fit yogi friend confirmed that, "this is really hard!", and then we morphed into ladies who lunch. To show I meant business, I even blew out my hair before leaving the house. We ate amongst many other ladies of leisure and then I suggested we stop in a store or two in our outdoor fancy shopping village next to the lunch place. Three hours later we were heading into our fourth store and I was holding three bags and making Alli swear not to let me buy anything else. It's just, everything fit so well! And I would say I wanted some specific thing and it would appear in the next store. On sale. Miracles like that need to be seized.

We picked K up at the airport in the evening and then headed to the home of my favorite margarita in Fort Worth- Yucatan Taco Stand. Don't be fooled, it's an actual restaurant, and its margaritas and nachos cannot be beat. Then we walked to Live Oak Music Lounge and sat on the roof of a building under a giant tree with little white lights and listened to music, drank more tequila, and talked until we were hoarse. It was law school without the school and with more money, wisdom, and moderation in drinking. God I've missed them.

On Saturday I woke up early to Cora screaming in joy from my closet (my friends were staying in her room), so I got up and baked them poppyseed bread. We're basically a bed and breakfast. There was a trip to the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, lunch at my favorite lunch place (Lili's Bistro; get the gorgonzola fries), and we got bikinis on, lounge floats blown up, and a pitcher of margaritas ready a whole five minutes before a giant thunderstorm blew in and sent us all inside to drink the margaritas on the couch. The trials we bear.

It continued pouring up to dinner, so we switched plans to an indoor place near Sundance Square, hoping the rain would end when we finished. It did not, so, tequila'd out for the first time in my life, I googled "Fort Worth wine bar" and we found our way to Times Ten in the W. 7th district and it was awesome. Fellow Fort Worthians, you must go. We have a winery! In Fort Worth! And they buy their grapes from Napa, so it's actually really good!

We tasted many, chatted more, and left late. I crawled in bed at 12:45 and Cora woke me up at 6 with her happy screams (we had her pack 'n play in the closet and I think she really likes shoes), so it was another throwback to the law school with Landon. So special, but made better with fancy buffet brunch, mimosas, the Fort Worth Water Gardens, a non-stormy swim in the pool.

I drove them to the airport Sunday afternoon, the kids nearly as sad to see them go as I was. Claire was particularly delighted with all the grown-up girls in the house and anytime I asked JP to get a picture of "the ladies," Claire would race across the pool to get in it. Because, duh, I meant her too.

So now it's just the five of us in our house and it feels so small and margarita-less. I was so blessed in my law school classmates and friends. I wouldn't have survived 3L year without every one of them and beyond the true and deep friendship I share with my close set, there's just a wonderful camaraderie and openness that exists between us. We're all smart, ambitious women in demanding, high-paying jobs (well, not so much me these days) and we can talk about the unique challenges and joys that come along with that. They are a blessing to me, and though I always miss them, thanks to blogs, facebook, email, texting, and their willingness to take transcontinental (and transpacific!) flights, the distance doesn't feel as far as it could, and anytime we get together, it's like no time has passed at all. We're spread out between LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC, NYC, and Hong Kong, but Alli is generously giving us a big reunion by arranging to get married in NYC next year and then we'll have to plan to go somewhere awesome in 2016. Though it's going to be hard to be The Fort. It comes with poppyseed bread.

In other things you've missed, Cora is THISCLOSE to walking. She's taken a few steps, but is too distracted by her newfound ability to scream happy screams in different octaves and she tried waffles for the first time on Sunday and I think she's STILL celebrating that.

Landon and Claire are doing great, JP is 50% more available to me on nights and weekends, and we're meeting with the cabinetmaker in the morning to plan out the final details of our kitchen project before walls come tumbling down in two weeks. So, more adventures are coming and I plan to be much better about blogging them. At the very least, there will be some creative menu posts while our kitchen is under construction.