Tuesday, March 31, 2015


It's the end of March, which both boggles my mind and makes me very happy. On the one hand, we can't be 25% through 2015 because I still can't remember to write "15" as the year when I sign my subpoenas. On the other, this means summer is coming and I'm only one daycare payment away from only paying for one kid in daycare and getting to watch the kids wear themselves out in the pool for many hours a day. I love both of those things.

Juuuust before she hit the still FREEZING cold water

I broke out my first maxi skirt of the season. I can't believe I only started wearing these last year- they're like a pj pant and blanket rolled into one, plus they're adorable and protect your legs from mosquito bites. I kept swishing the fabric around my ankles all day.

We only had one soccer game to attend this weekend, which felt very freeing. Sort of like with daycare- having put in the time and energy for two of something, just having one seems like a gift.

Landon and I dropped by Costco on Friday night to pick up the two pizzas our family was having for dinner (yes, one Costco pizza is no longer enough; I feel like this is a big family milestone), and he saw these big sun hats that he was certain he and Claire needed. Because they have SPF 50 I decided he was right. Claire wore hers all weekend.

She and Cora were excellent spectators. When she wasn't attaching herself to JP's back or my lap, she was hugging on Cora, who seemed to enjoy the affection. Sometimes she goes feral and bites her hugger, so it was nice not to have any injuries off field.

Claire did lots of cheering for Landon and Cora only ran onto the field once. It was a victory for everyone, including Landon's team, who had an actual soccer game victory.

Because the soccer game was the only thing on our schedule this weekend, we we accomplished about one million tiny to do list items. Everything from me finally getting my watch re-sized (I apparently lost weight in my wrists, which I didn't realize is a thing, and my watch kept rotating around my arm while I was typing at work and it was making me CRAZY, but not as crazy as I feel when I'm not wearing a watch), to putting together a collage of vacation pictures for a frame above JP's dresser, and buying me rash guard from Marshall's that looks surprisingly cute when paired with the matching bikini bottoms. The swim suit might not have actually been on the to do list, but the Easter dress I picked up for Claire was.

Cora is getting 27 teeth at the same time (it is the only explanation) and shared her roller coaster of emotions with us all weekend while wearing her adorable new summer clothes.

We had some highs.

And some lows.

She was greatly offended when I tried to take her picture.

Only to pause and pose for one 30 seconds.

Try to keep up mom, everything is fine now.

Lots of terrible things happened, like the toy lawn mower facing the wrong way after she pushed it to face in that exact direction.

On Sunday, we took a family trip to Ikea an hour away to buy a desk that turned out to look comically small when JP sat at it. Cora sat in every single chair in the office area while the big kids played in Smaaland and we walked out with several dignitet wire curtain rods and another set of plastic kid cups and bowls. Maybe not quite worth the 4 hour excursion, but soon the kids will be able to hang their art on the walls of their room and they are VERY excited about it. They really like to "decorate" for the holidays, which is adorable, but I really like to not have tape on my walls, so we've been at an impasse.

Now we just need JP to get home early enough one night to hang the wires using the screws that weren't included and the indecipherable, wordless instruction manual. Can't wait!

The trip royally screwed up Cora's nap, so when she flagrantly violated house rules at 4 p.m., I allowed it because it seemed to make her not cry.


Being a toddler is hard. Sometimes loving one is too.

All in all it was a good weekend leading into another crazy work week (so many cases at critical points all at once! It's good, it's just crazy) and then there will be annual grating of the carrots for Easter carrot cake, so it's all going to end up delicious. April, here we come!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I'm on my 3rd glass of champagne so let's see where this goes

It's Thursday. Six days have passed since I last posted and much has happened, most of it work related and unbloggable, but super very good, which is why I'm drinking this celebratory mid-week champagne JP bought me today, but I have pictures for some of the bloggable things, so let's type words that make some sense when grouped together!

Cora has taken over the household. It's like a Trojan horse situation with a tyrannical toddler emerging from a sweet smiley baby.

She's in charge

Sometimes she knows what she wants and she would like it RIGHT NOW PLEASE YES READ THIS BOOK AND BARK LIKE A DOG. YES. NOW.

Other times she has no idea what she wants, but she is quite certain that you ARE NOT OFFERING IT WHY ARE YOU TORTURING ME WHY?

Until daddy turns onto our street and her spidey senses know he is 5 houses away and she stops screaming and rolling and perks up and turn DELIGHTFUL for just enough time for the tears to dry before he walks in the door.

What, me? I just want a hug, is that too much to ask?

I also wanted to take all the tissues out of a box. What? Why are you mean?

On Monday morning we let Cora roam around the house while JP and I got ready and the big kids got their breakfast. I came out to the dining room a few minutes later to find Cora sitting at the real people table with a plate she borrowed from her play kitchen. She's strong and she's a climber; the only reason she's not on the table is because she hasn't thought of it yet.

We enjoyed a family movie night on Saturday. Big Hero Six was super cute, though I'm still genuinely upset about Tadashi's storyline. Cora is too.

The big kids went swimming on Sunday, because they're insane. Our pool doesn't have a heater, so that's basically the melted snow from a few weeks ago.

Cora stayed inside and judged them while I decided to move all the furniture and reorganize all the bookcases, toy bins, and other storage devices in all the rooms of the house.

Just something I like to do about 3 p.m. on a Sunday. JP must love me an awful lot, because he stayed with me until 1 a.m. when we finished putting the bookcases and playroom back together. It looks great now, though we're one trip to Ikea away from perfection.

This was Claire while passing through the kitchen last night. I was making our beloved fiesta quinoa enchilada bake and she was doing whatever Claire does.

Every single detail in this picture is important- from the kitty sticking out of the side pocket in her backpack to the mismatched high heels to the assortment of purses and old lunchboxes all filled with an assortment of tiny treasures, many of them pilfered from Landon, in her baby carriage. She's like a homeless hoarder with great fashion sense. I adore her.

On the same evening I snapped a photo of Landon being extra Landonish. In his free time at his after school program he wrote his own chapter book. Five chapters, 228 words, illustrations, and lots of facts you need to know about animals in the wild.

I flipping adore him too. I'm recruiting both of them as allies against our tyrannical 2'7" overlord.

Today was a really, really big day for me at work. Here I am in the elevator at 7 a.m. with a Starbucks chai tea latte and my hair blow-dried for the first time in many weeks.

This is my game face. Do not mess with me when I have my game face on AND I woke up 30 freaking minutes earlier than necessary to do my hair. Dry hair is significantly overrated. Chai tea lattes on 5 hours of sleep are not.

Now I'm in fuzzy pj's and socks with my game face scrubbed off drinking victory-is-mine champagne and wondering how much sleep I should try to recapture. Given that it's already 11:30, I'm thinking very little, but my 3rd 4th glass of champagne and I don't care.

It's been a really good day. AND I cashed my first check for barre teaching- $25 dollars, woot!- so I'm pretty sure this new Lulu tank my champagne and I are lusting after is totally justified. We'll see if we can remember our credit card number.

Hope everyone is having a fist-bump kind of a week!

Friday, March 20, 2015

All and Sundry

I'm watching Center Stage with a glass of champagne while JP works on Spring swim lesson registration in the other room and all is feeling very right in my world. It'd be better if JP was sitting next to me, but then he'd be making fun of my movie, so I suppose this is best.

I taught barre again this morning. I'm pretty much high when I drive away after doing that. It is SO MUCH FUN and I love getting to play my music and lead the class and make barre 100x harder for myself by teaching it. I had two brand new students who had never done barre before and both said they loved the class and hoped I'd be their teacher next week. I hope I won't because I'd like to work my regular hours next Friday instead of my barre-accomodating later schedule, but I know that if I get another chance to sub I'll totally be there.

I saw a tall man waving at me from the doorway to the yoga studio lobby during cool-down today. Since large men aren't that common in the lobby, I did a double-take and half-waved back, but I was really focused on my leg stretches so my poor new students wouldn't be too sore tomorrow. When class was over I found the picture above in my texts and realized it had been JP stopping by to see me before his doctor appointment nearby. He told me I sounded very official.

The big kids are also getting physical- they're both in soccer and I snapped this pic before their first game last weekend.

Cora had little tolerance for her role as spectator- she wanted ON that field and to eat all the snacks, take all the water bottles, and generally cause all the mayhem from the sidelines. JP and I were exhausted by the time we got home 3 hours later, but I will admit that even I-hate-activities-messing-with-my-weekends me enjoyed watching Landon and Claire run around the field in the general vicinity of the ball.

Later that day Landon found his old dump truck in the garage and I raced out of the house with my camera when I saw Claire and him recreating one of my favorite L&C moments ever.

2011 throwback:

Cora is three months older than Claire in that picture and Claire has 5x more hair (not that I don't adore and obsessively rub Cora's beautiful bald head).

St. Patrick's Day happened. Claire was very concerned about everyone wearing green and I bought a thematic dress for Cora for $5 off our neighborhood buy/sell facebook page which Claire found very satisfying. I tried for a bow and shamrock necklace, but Cora threw those on the floor immediately and stuck her tongue out at me.

She is a handful.

Also on Tuesday, my college roommate came in town! I wore my new $5 rainbow shirt from Ross and we drank margaritas outside on Magnolia and chatted about the old days, the new days, and all the days in between. She's pretty much the only person I met in college before I met JP, since I met her the same hour I arrived and I met him a whole 8 hours later, and she was party to my rehashing of all our relationship milestones, so she expressed great delight in our continued happy togetherness. She is doing great and a few months away from her PhD and it was absolutely lovely to see her.

trying to get a picture of my new makeup, but my closet lighting is beyond terrible

I am deeply annoyed at myself for not getting a picture of us all old and wise and of legal drinking age. It would have given me a reason to dig out some pictures from my freshman year of college. Why can't old photos automatically be made digital? I actually tried to find my college pics when I got home that night and finally realized that college was so long ago I didn't even have a digital camera and I had to get film developed in a store like the 1800's. Do you remember when you didn't know what would be on your camera until you picked up your envelope of pictures? I had a roll from a summer trip to New Orleans that was full of surprises.


So all is well and Center Stage has ended and only my need to finish this blog post kept me from popping up and dancing to the last song. That and it's more fun to dance when actual ballerinas aren't around for comparison. We're off to more soccer tomorrow with a 70% chance of rain, so that should be super fun. Cora will probably love it- the rain will add to the chaos and she'll be able to slip onto the field and throw herself on the ball while growling. This is how our soccer practices go at home and she is always the winner.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Music to Barre By

Thanks to your suggestions and many hours on google, I pre-spent my first two (or three) barre paycheck on iTunes and had a nice little playlist ready for my first class last Friday. I subbed again this morning for the 6:15 class (yay!) and still have dreams of one day having my own permanent evening class, but for now I'm adding to the choreography section in my shiny new barre binder and fiddling with my play list. Here's what I have for now, with commentary, because I can't help myself- these songs are like my children now.

(I also included a few of the videos so you can hear the songs, but the videos are almost universally stranger than the songs (like the one below), so don't let that distract you.)



  • FourFiveSeconds by Rachel Potter: this is a cover of the Rihanna/Kanye/Paul McCartney song; it's a little smoother than the original and a perfect warm-up song. It is also perfect for singing extremely loudly in your car.
  • Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson: adorable and upbeat, but not so upbeat you feel like you should already be kicking your leg up in the air instead of just pulsing it gently near the ground.
  • Rather Be by Clean Bandit: stronger beat, super fun song; I like to add a bunch of planks and cardio into the warm-up b/c abs often get shortchanged when you save them for the exhausted end of class, and it's good to get the heart rate up before moving to arms, so I wanted something fun to go along with my "warm-up" side planks and ballet jacks.

Four Five Seconds (cover)


  • Stolen Dance by Milky Chance: a new fave with a nice strong beat for fun with 1 lb. weights.
  • Cosmic Girl by Jamiroquai: Center Stage soundtrack, need I say more?
  • King by Years & Years: This band is a "British-Australian electronica trio" and who doesn't need one of those in their playlist? (But seriously, it's a great song and practically demands you do some plie squats with shoulder presses while listening. Or rhythmic wine glass lifting. Whichever. You be you.)



  • We're Dancing by PYT: This song tells me it's time to move to the barre and it starts slow while everyone moves over and then speeds up while we start our calf raises; a lovely transition.
  • Geronimo by Sheppard: BAM! This song slaps you upside the head and gets you moving, which is what we're now doing at the barre. Just listen to it and try not to dance, or at the very last headbob at your desk while wishing you were dancing. It is impossible.
  • Canned Heat by Jamiroquai: Center Stage strikes again; this is the song at the end when Jody magically changes into a red outfit and does a lot of spinning in place. It's very peppy and I'm pretty sure my 2nd plié to passé series makes me look just like Jody, the soon-to-be-principal in Cooper Nielson's ballet company.
  • Lips Are Movin by Meghan Trainor: It's trendy, but it's fun. And your legs are probably shaking now, so it's nice to have a song you can mouth the words to to distract yourself.
  • Honey I'm Good by Andy Grammer: Suggested by blog reader Christina and it is FABULOUS. Super upbeat and dancey, and it's about avoiding cheating on your significant other, so that's nice. My barre class is anti-adultery.
  • Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars: Another radio favorite; your legs really hurt right now, so you should sing, and the "hallelujah" part fits in for the water break you're about to get before we switch sides. 
  • Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon: Yes! Because that's what you should do-- left side!
  • Time of Our Lives by Pibull & Ne-Yo: I'm slightly ashamed at how much I enjoy this song, but it's so perky and you ARE working your ass off. Quite literally and I'm sure you're having the time of your life while doing it. Or at least you lack the breath to tell me otherwise.
  • Talking Body by Tove Lo: I freaking love this song. The video is pretty explicit, but I downloaded the clean version for class because not everyone feels the need to sing "fuck" out loud, even after 30 straight minutes of leg work, but you can say it in your head if you want to. Regardless, the "if you're talking body, you've got a perfect one" lyrics seem appropriate.  Because we are/you do, because you're in barre class.

Honey I'm Good

Talking Body
(this is not the clean version, so nsfw and all that)


  • Somebody Loves You by Betty Who: So fun and one of Claire's new favorites to dance to at home; great for listening while chopping vegetables and/or doing bicycle crunches (probably not and).
  • Burn by Ellie Goulding: by this point in class you don't have a muscle that isn't actively on fire or quietly smoldering, so it seems appropriate. Also, abs are the worst and we should just acknowledge that through song.

Sombody Loves You


  • Middle Ground by Mark Wilkinson: I ADORE this song. It is perfect for the stretch out and breathe while I dim the lights moment in class because it is the best moment and this is the best song.
  • Magic by Coldplay: the only Coldplay song I like (besides Fix You, which is similarly gorgeous and not at all Coldplay-whiney), and when you find you are able to touch your toes during the final stretching at the end of class, it is kind of magic.


I have a running list of music from your comments on the last post on this topic and plan to keep adding to my library, so let me know what other songs I need!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

And We're Gonna Let It Burn Burn Burn

So, I taught my first class on Monday! Other than a bizarre stress dream around 3 a.m. where I was teaching a class and no one liked it and then the time ended before I got to do anything but warm-up, I wasn't overly freaked out about it, particularly once I woke up and realized I still had the opportunity to not be terrible and went back to sleep holding on to that positive thought.

I got to the studio early, only to be locked out because I don't have a key yet and the woman who was supposed to open up and check everyone in was running late. She arrived only 5 minutes before class started, so my plan of hooking up my music (I agonized over the playlist for approximately 3 hours the night before; first the songs, then the order, then a lot more agonizing over the order, then memorizing the order so I could use it as my pacing mechanism), carefully laying out my cue lists, and meditating until I reached a zen-like state where my voice wouldn't shake was completely shot.

Instead, I ran in, shedding my boots and slipper socks, threw my mat down in the position of power in the front center of the room (ahh!) and came to a stop at this sweet note from my fave teacher and barre mentor:

It made me smile. I more calmly took off a few other layers, greeted my students, confirmed that yes, I'd be teaching today (they're used to me being in the back), and got this party started.

barre segment; written with my new and necessary barre teaching school supplies

And you guys, it was SO. MUCH. FUN.

It was a bit surreal... doing the moves, counting out loud, having no idea if I was doing too many reps or too few because it was all a whirlwind and I couldn't tell if I was winded because I was counting or because I had crafted a really hard class (probably both). I did have one moment where the whole room spun upside down and I had to grab onto the barre while telling myself very sternly you will NOT black out goddammit you will NOT, and then I grabbed my water and decided to check everyone else's form for a little while. I sweat all the way through my top and I hardly ever sweat in barre anymore, so I think teaching kicks everything up about six notches.

I ended exactly on time, having completed almost all my choreography (I chopped part of my barre section because my legs were shaking too hard and I felt I wasn't giving off the proper air of authority, plus we were running out of time), and my students clapped for me and told me "that was really hard!" So yay! I was kind of high from that point forward, all day.

high! with my new barre binder!

Then I went home, took a shower, did my still-under-construction "quick" makeup look and raced off to work where I sent a memo up to the Commission which is basically the biggest deal thing we do. I capped off the day singing loudly to my new barre playlist while sipping white wine and chopping all the vegetables for my beloved Greek Quinoa Salad. JP and the big kids were at Claire's soccer practice and Cora was dancing at my feet. It was a really good day.

Friday casual look: shortcut makeup, jeans, boots, hair on head;
giddy grin not pictured b/c selfies are serious

So thank you for your encouragement and song suggestions! I marked 3 years at the SEC on Thursday and I think marking 3 years + 1 day by taking an hour to teach an exercise class pretty well captures how much this job has changed my life. It was just 2.5 years ago when I walked into my first barre class and promptly blacked out (full circle!). It's been a journey, a fun one, with abs and confidence and Lululemon along the way, and I can't wait for the next step!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

ATX: Eating, Drinking, and Reminiscing

We spent part of this week in Austin!

JP created a new swim products company and has samples of his first product ready to go (more on that later), so we headed out on a promotional trip to all his swim contacts in Austin. We rented a little bungalow off South 1st with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, and a fabulous bamboo filled backyard that the kids LOVED.

It was a little crazy, as he was basically just calling up coaches and stopping by practices wherever he was invited, so the kids and I were often entertaining ourselves in random locations (like my best friend J's house which we crashed for about 5 hours on Monday; 6 kids, 2 moms, much chatting- thank you J!), but we still fit in some of our favorite hikes, parks, and margaritas.

hello lover

It was delightful to find that while Austin has grown up, out, and everywhere in between, a Polvo's frozen margarita is still the best margarita I've ever had. And in fact, all of our favorite hikes and restaurants remain existent and fantastic.

Bull Creek is still beautiful, though the water was so high we couldn't hike much of it. Cora was deeply skeptical of the waterfall. I'm not sure she's a fan of nature in any form.

hiking game face

We crammed in quite a few of our favorite restaurants- Kerbey Lane among them. My Eggs Francisco were a thing of beauty and Landon was quite proud of his full-sized grown up breakfast platter.

Claire didn't remember anything about Austin, and wasn't quite sure she ever lived here, but it's her hometown. We've had one kid for each place we've lived and this beautiful spot is Claire's.

True to form, Landon enthusiastically remembered everything, including several places we'd never been.

We hiked around Zilker and Barton Creek, meandering down a favorite path that leads to a view of downtown. I couldn't believe how different the skyline looked- I don't think I'd have recognized it without knowing what I was staring at. But it was still Austin- the place we met, fell in love, grew up, grew together. The city we came back to and bought our first house, found out how fun parenthood could be, and grew our family from 1 kid to a glorious 2. Unlike Chicago, which only I miss, I think both JP and I left a piece of our heart here.

We went to County Line, the only BBQ place I really like, at 4:30 and ate all the things on the menu with a few senior citizens because JP had to meet a coach at 6 p.m. I ordered the lean brisket with their beef rib- the only thing I've ever voluntarily eaten that requires me to touch a bone- and every bit of it was as delicious as I remembered. Apparently Cora thought so too as she took a giant bite and then held on tight while I tried to shake her off.

She's totally ready for college.

On Tuesday night our old nanny, Natalie, was free and came over to babysit the kids so JP and I could go out on a date. She was SO excited to see "her kids," Landon and Claire, and to meet Cora, and got all misty-eyed when she saw how big the big kids had become. I don't miss needing a nanny after daycare, but I definitely do miss her!

JP and I drove down 6th street, reminiscing about the night we met, and then continued on to the more grown-up West 6th and stopped in for a few drinks, plus french fries for me. A Mexican martini, french fries, and a hot man in cowboy boots, great jeans, and a button down shirt- these are three very wonderful things.

We took the kids to campus on Wednesday morning because Landon really wanted a Texas shirt and we realized that none of our children had anything with a longhorn on it and we were failing in our duties as UT grads. We parked at the Coop, picked up a few Texas shirts and a jacket for JP because it was freezing in Austin and we didn't pack properly, and then used our remaining minutes of free coop parking to take the kids across Guadalupe to campus.

As we crossed onto the West Mall, Claire exclaimed, "YES! THIS is COLLEGE!!". A girl was walking behind her and laughed, saying she wished she was so excited to be there. I think prior to that moment, "college" was just a mythical place she heard JP and me talk about rather wistfully.

I love that campus. I love that city. Some of my best memories are were made there. But as much as I love it, and as much as I miss some of the people still living there, it wasn't home anymore. Home is Fort Worth, where we have time for hobbies, each other, swim product companies, and third babies. And there's no traffic and we never drive more than 5 miles to anywhere.

Austin remains, however, a fantastic place to visit. We need to get there more often.