Saturday, May 30, 2015

Preschool Graduate

Thank you, everyone, for your concerned responses to my last post. I'm doing really well, all things considering. I think that if you must get hit by a semi-truck, you should get hit by one going in the same direction as you. I don't think I was jostled nearly as badly as you can get in even a relatively minor fender bender. Terrifying, of course, but mostly the truck just carried me along the highway wall until moving over enough for me to be allowed to stop. That's my explanation anyway because my car and I look like we were in two totally different accidents.

Wednesday was a crappy night. Despite enjoying every single second of Pitch Perfect 2, and the company of my friend and the glass of wine I go to sip throughout the movie, I simply could not sleep. I kept getting close to that sweet nothingness and then abruptly sitting straight up in bed with a scream in my throat, certain a huge truck was about to hit me. Then I'd roll over and hit the bruises on my shoulder from the seat belt and roll back over only to fell like my chest was being pressed by a very tight seat belt that wouldn't come off. My feet hurt, my shin scrapes hurt, my arm burns hurt, my hip was sore, and I could feel the exact outline of every millimeter of where my seat belt used to be. All I could think about was how badly I was going to feel in the morning and every twinge made me think it would be worse and worse.

I finally fell asleep around 5 a.m. (ugh) and was rudely awoken by an angry Cora at 6:30 minutes after JP went to swim practice. I tentatively approached my bathroom mirror to inspect what I was certain would be a bruised and battered me, but I pretty much just looked like me. And I almost even felt like me. The scrapes had faded quite a bit. The bruising wasn't nearly as bad as I feared. And the seat belt pressure remained just a phantom pain and nothing that was manifesting itself like the angry red lines I had seen when I closed my eyes at night. So that was good.

I took my 4th Epsom salt bath since the accident (the big $4 bags of Dr. Teal's Epsom Salts with Lavender from Target are my favorite thing ever; I sprinkle them in my bath every night, and for the last few nights it's been more of a generous heaping.) and got back in bed while JP went to Landon's school to cheer him on at field day (where I was supposed to be volunteering). Landon won the 50m dash and the hula hoop contest (we've never had a hula hoop and he kept going for NINE minutes. That is kind of forever.) for all of K-2nd grade. My work friends picked me up to go to lunch nearby, which was a lovely distraction, and then I slowly straightened up the house for Claire's big graduation and birthday weekend. My mom arrived about 2:00 and we went to Target to pick up the three new car sets I had ordered since mine were toasted. We then quickly picked up Landon and got him changed into a "fancy shirt" for Claire's preschool graduation program while I threw the girls clothes and snacks in a bag to take to their school.

Claire was SO excited about her program and having her Gigi come see here. I was excited because it meant Gigi could drive me around (I have yet to get behind the wheel again and am not excited to do so) and JP had lessons until 6:00 and wasn't sure he could make it to the program in time.

Cora was excited to see her Gigi too.

this is the lady who feeds me ice cream

When it came time for the Primary class to perform, Claire marched out on the stage like she owned it. Because she did.

They performed "America the Beautiful" and a cute song called "Kindergarten We're On Our Way!".

She's been at Angel longer than any of our kids have spent at any school, and it was crazy to think about her on stage each May for the last few years, like in 2013 performing Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

We love our little school and the only thing that kept me from crying was knowing Cora had four more years to go there (which makes me want to tear up for entirely different, tuition-based reasons).

She got her certificate and her backpack with her name on it (an Angel tradition; Landon still has his) and joined her friends on the stage.

She'll be young for her grade, but she is SO ready for Kindergarten. She was ready on the day we dropped Landon off two years ago.

I always feel like I should be more sentimental at these kinds of events, but honestly, I'm just so excited for her. I adored every year of school and Landon has done absolutely amazingly well at our little local public school and I just know Claire is going to thrive there as well. She's just ready.

JP had an emergency at the pool, so he wasn't able to make it, which was too bad, but we got a modified family picture with Gigi.

And then he and his Clairebear got one together after we all went out to dinner.

And so that was Thursday. On Friday I decided to teach my barre class. I really didn't feel too badly as long as I avoided certain positions and I thought it would be a good idea to move, and mostly, I just wanted to feel like myself. Barre is me. My mom came to class, so I got to teach her, which was super fun, and then we got dressed and shopped for 8 hours of so. Or maybe 4. But we gave ourselves a workout and a few new items for our closets. As it happened, Friday afternoon was our day to bring Landon's birthday treats to school (his teacher gives the birthday kids a pretend birthday towards the end of the year so they can celebrate), so mom got to participate in that too! He requested donuts and we were there to hand them out and watch him wear a grin a mile wide while classmates serenaded him. I can't believe he's going to be 8 in July.

Today my mom leaves and I have to finally pick up my rental car and commit to driving again. We're hosting Claire's birthday party tomorrow and there's too much to do. And Landon's birthday party is next weekend. And sometime between now and then we should finally hear from the insurance company about my car. New bruises have popped up each morning while the scrapes and burns have faded, but I really in no way look like a semi-truck picked a fight with me just a few days ago. (A semi-truck that remains anonymous; no one else reported it and he's probably in Kansas by now, or wherever he was going at top speed.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Basically a commercial for Onstar

So, as I discovered when I called JP and texted my family, there's no good way to ease into this: I was in a car accident today. A pretty bad one. I'm home and I'm fine, so I'll just jump in. 

I was supposed to meet my barre-teacher friend for lunch at her fancy country club at 11:00. I was super excited and dressed up in my finest country club couture: a clingy navy blue wrap dress with white stripes, pearls, and pumps. I'd even blown out my hair, a sign of honor for a club with an entry fee more costly than my first year of law school. I left perfectly on time and had just merged onto the highway that runs by my office, the one I take home every day, and was cruising down the right-hand lane, looking to get off at the next exit, just like I take home every day, when I noticed a semi-truck barreling down the highway just behind me. Then he appeared to be getting oddly close to my lane. Then I realized he was IN my lane. I don't really remember what happened next, but the police officer later told me that I first hit the cement wall that runs along the highway. Then I hit the semi. Then I hit the wall again. I'm not sure when I realized I was crashing, but I know I screamed. The scream is what I remember most, actually. The airbags all deployed. They were loud and they smelled.

My car stopped, facing sideways across two lanes of traffic and I realized several things at once: My door was missing. My front tires appeared to be punctured, lying flat on their sides, and looking up at me from underneath my car. The truck had kept on driving. No one was stopping. I was blocking traffic. My car was still in drive, though it was not moving. My windshield wipers were on. My seat belt was really tight. My purse had spilled out all over the front seat. I didn't know where my phone was. My directions and upbeat barre music were still being pumped cheerfully through my sound system, which confused me because I thought my car was off.

I didn't know what I was supposed to do. My leg was bleeding. My little dash computer told me to "shift to P," so I did. I tried to find my phone, but didn't know where it was. I realized if the music was still playing, it must still be connected to the audio input cable, so I pulled on that. My hands were shaking really hard. I finally got the phone, only to drop it, find it again, and drop it. I couldn't get it to unlock because I couldn't type in my passcode because of my shaking. I belatedly remembered you can press "emergency call" from the locked screen. I finally got it unlocked, but then I couldn't get it off the maps. Then I finally got to the phone app and called JP. Then I realized that was not the correct first call and hung up to dial 911. I misdialed twice and finally managed the 9-1-1 and started talking to an operator. It was MANY minutes before I managed to do this, so I was a walking (sitting?) commercial for Onstar.

Sometime in the middle of the phone drops I climbed over into the passenger seat and turned off the car. I tried to stand up and decided that was a bad idea and then just prayed none of the other cars zooming past me hit me as they swerved around. A policeman pulled on while I was still talking to 911. More people came. I hung up. An ambulance arrived. Someone helped me walk over to it and I got some bandaids and blood pressure readings. I explained that super low blood pressure was my norm and once my pulse stabilized they asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. I thought that was more of a "them" question, so I asked if there was anything the hospital could do for me that I couldn't do at home. They said no, as long as my neck and back weren't hurting (they were not), so I asked to please just go home.

I finally called JP and sort of explained the situation. By now I had traffic backed up to Dallas, so he couldn't come get me, so a very nice paramedic said he'd drop me at home. I asked the police officer to get my yoga mat from my wrecked car and watched rather detached while he walked across the highway, periwinkle yoga mat in hand, while the tow truck driver picked up pieces of my car from all over the place to throw in the back of his truck. I called the insurance company, after I got some other cop-type-person to get my insurance card out of the glove box when I realized I didn't even know which insurance company I used.

The insurance call finally ended when the paramedic pulled up in my driveway. I walked inside, hugged JP, and fell to pieces.

Then I felt better. Then I took a lavender epsom salt balt and felt even MORE better (as Claire would say).

So I'm fine. Honestly pretty fantastic given the state of my ruined Highlander. My leg scrapes have healed up some already, the burns on my forearms (from the airbags? I guess?) and across my chest (seat belt) are lighter, and my right hip is swollen (again, from what, I have no idea) but not yet bruised. I think this is my golden in-between period. The scrapes are better but the bruising hasn't yet appeared. Tomorrow, according to my new paramedic friend, is probably going to be a bitch.

I still can't quite believed it happened. I've never been in a serious accident before. My friends have been amazing. One picked up the girls from school for me (JP was at the pool), many offered dinners (I decided to cook, because I knew getting off the couch would be good for me, and it was), and one ordered me two dozen tiff's treats cookies. I'd already planned a date with one of my besties to watch Pitch Perfect 2 at 8:30 tonight, so I'm still on for that. I'm looking forward to sitting in a cozy chair, drinking a glass of wine, and losing myself in the musical stylings of the Barden Bellas.

I assume my car is beyond repair, but will know when the adjuster goes out to the tow lot tomorrow. I'm not sure what we'd get if we need a new one- I loved the highlander and it pretty much saved my life, so we may just get another one of those, but I'm open to other options. We just need 3 seats to fit across the back. After realizing how powerless you can be in a situation like that, my kids aren't graduating from their car seats until they're 15.

Right now I'm going to enjoy this window before the bruises set in, and be tremendously grateful for seat belts, air bags, first responders, and the fact that the kids weren't in the car. Oh good god am I glad the kids weren't in the car.

Off to enjoy my girl crush on Anna Kendrick and my love for all movies involving singing and/or dancing!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

California Beautiful

In what already feels like a dream, I spent this past Friday through Sunday in stunningly beautiful Montecito, California with some of my best friends from law school celebrating our beautiful, beloved, and soon-to-be-bride Alli. Even when I was there, everything about California was so impossibly perfect it felt fake (except the traffic, though even that was so super sized it almost seemed fake as well), but after a day of storms and grey in Fort Worth, it seems particularly impossible that I was doing handstands on the beach at Santa Barbara just yesterday morning.

The trip was amazing. I just typed and deleted a recounting of our itinerary, because that isn't really the point. The point is that this place is magical. You don't need air conditioning and you can keep all the windows open because there aren't any mosquitoes. No mosquitoes. I'd move there for that alone.

Alli generously rented us a beautiful estate in the hills for all to gather. The door was unlocked for us on arrival because, again, this is a magical place. 1.5 acres, a hot tub, big bedrooms, a bigger kitchen, and hills and rocks and flowers everywhere you looked. The room my friend Katie and I shared had a full set of the Babysitter's Club books. What could be better?

I spent a long time traveling to get there, but Alli flew in from Hong Kong, and other friends from the East Coast, so I couldn't complain. And I got to make a stop at Katie's West Hollywood apartment, which was lovely after she has so generously visited me at both of my Texas abodes. We bought a lot of wine at Trader Joe's before picking up a few more ladies and driving up the PCH to Santa Barbara. My first sighting of the ocean made me squeal. It'd been a long time since we'd seen each other.

We talked and laughed and ate candy on the trip. We exclaimed over the house and headed out for dinner in town. We stayed up late drinking wine in the hot tub and marveling at how many more stars are in the Montecito hills than our respective homes of LA, NYC, DFW, DC, and HK.

I woke up too early and couldn't figure out why everywhere was so content to lounge and then I remembered that I was in an earlier time zone and wasn't traveling with small children. I made tea and waited for everyone else to catch up. We went to a Farmer's Market so bright and beautiful it nearly made me cry. We don't have one in Fort Worth and I can only imagine the vegetable chopping I could do if we did.

Everyone bought what looked good to them and we cooked it all up for dinner that night. I bought the most amazing carrots I've ever tasted (I know, that is a ridiculous sentence, but you haven't had them) and a carton of pluots, a gorgeous dark purple and vibrant pink fruit that made me think of Claire. With our produce safely in our car (where we could leave it because it's not 100 degrees outside; madness!), we headed off to a yoga studio in Goleta for a private aerial yoga class.

It was amazing and my new goal in life is to own an aerial yoga studio in Fort Worth.

Or just wait for someone else to open one so I can go all the time.

Our teacher opened our class with, "did you do a lot of drinking last night?"

I really enjoy being upside down. It's so nice when your face can match your pants.

We ended in our cocoons, which is basically a swingier form of savasana that was like being back in the womb. But roomier and less sticky.

We got back to the house and lazed about, reading, drinking (it was 5:00 on the east coast), or, if you're me, making your friend in sandals explore the property with you. We had over an acre at our disposal! I needed to see it all- secret fountains, little tables and chairs tucked away at different elevations. I soaked it up, chased a lizard, and strangely took no pictures.

Here, have a roasted candy cane beet instead

Later, everyone cooked their market items and we ended up with an amazing and shockingly healthy dinner- roasted veggies, my first ever pleasant taste of beets (they don't have to be slimy and purple and gross; they can be golden or pink and white striped and all crazy delicious!), fresh breads, steamed artichokes, two roasted chickens, salad, and so much fruit. All local and organic and so inexpensive it would make you cry as you walk through your mid-city Whole Foods.

Before I left for the trip, Katie had mentioned going for a run on Sunday and I, wrapped up in my love for Katie and excitement for the trip, said, "Oh, I'll go too!". But I don't run. I hate running and I am terrible at it. The furthest I've ever gone was 3.0 miles in 2002, just to prove I could, and then I retired from running immediately afterward. I do not run.

Sunday morning found me running, in my 3-year-old running shoes that totally messed up my instep, chatting with my runner friends and marveling at how much running didn't suck when you can do it while looking at this:

And talking to them:

Also, I've just never been this lean or in this good of shape. That sounds like puffery, but I was shocked at how much easier running felt now versus when I'd done it 13 years and 15 pounds ago. I might not hate running after all. Or beets. I feel like I have to reconsider everything now.

Also cacti make up my new favorite flower

We went 3.1 miles, besting my personal record for distance, and Alli and I celebrated with cartwheels on the beach.

Santa Barbara is almost stupidly beautiful.

After showering and packing and gorging on more fruit (we had 8 girls in the house and probably 16 lbs. of 10 different varieties of fruit; magic!) we headed out for lunch and shopping. I felt my run deserved a reward and my reward took the form of a Mexican combo platter that included a whole steak buried under many other things.

I ate it all. We walked and shopped our way through downtown Santa Barbara while I tried to stop myself from saying, "it's just so pretty" for the 600th time and then it was time for hugs and farewells so I could catch my 2.5 hour bus ride to make my 3.0 hour plane ride before my 1.0 hour car ride home. I pulled in the driveway at 1:15 a.m., was in bed with a snuggly JP at 1:18 a.m. and blissfully asleep minutes later. I woke up feeling refreshed and loved with JP wrapped around me and the big kids banging on our door. Cora screamed when she saw me and clawed her way up my side like a monkey. The best part of leaving is always the coming back.

I packed my pluots for the bus ride.
California makes me a better person.

But man, the time when you're gone can be pretty incredible too. I love those ladies and I LOVE California. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I'd headed to a different law school back in 2005- what if I'd gone to Columbia as I'd originally committed? or waited out the wait list at Stanford? How different would my life have been if I'd moved to New York or California? But I always come back to the fact that UChicago, besides giving me an incredible legal education (though admittedly, by nearly killing me in the process), put all these strong and brilliant women in my life, plus even more who couldn't make it, and just for that, I wouldn't change a thing.

Though I wouldn't mind if I could now find us a reason to move to California.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lake House Opening Day

Hello readers! I come to you from the other side of a lake house trip and the Mad Men season finale. Both wore me out, so I couldn't write this post yesterday- I tried, but stared futilely at my laptop for about 15 minutes before snapping it shut and taking my wine to the bathtub with an old book instead. It was a good decision at the time, but those lake house pictures don't post themselves! And while I know you've seen a lot of lake house pictures, you haven't seen Cora on a boat, and that means you are missing out.

I mean, look at this face. She is so skeptical of what is happening right now.

You guys, we are in a weird car driving on top of water. Wtf.

The big kids had no such concerns. Their faces are the opposite of concerned.

My parents bought a new float to pull behind the boat and jetski that had two little seats built in. Landon tried it out first with Uncle Eric. He switched to his concerned face for much of the ride, particularly when Eric made the float bounce on the waves, but immediately declared the experience to be "AWESOME" upon the re-boarding of the boat.

Claire was next and refused to ride without a licensed adult, so into the muddy post-floods-of-Houston water I went. Yay? We talked Claire up to a roaring 12 mph and I adore how this picture makes it look like we're going so much faster than we are.

Cora was all, whatevs, I can tube way better than that.

Claire bounced back in the boat, announcing that she loved tubing and was very brave and it's so good to do things that make you a little scared.

Something we reminded her of a few minutes later when we suggested the two kids sit in the tube alone behind the boat. Live every week like it's shark week, kids. Probably not the best motivational phrase for tubing.

They did great though! Landon took his job as official hand-sign communicator to the grown-ups in the boat (the dry and happy grown-ups!) and spent the entire tube ride talking. We couldn't hear what he was saying, but his mouth never stopped moving. Claire did not talk, as she was too busy holding on to the tube handles for dear life and keeping an eye out for sharks while they were pulled around the lake as slow as my dad's very fast boat could motor. She was delighted with her bravery for the rest of the trip.

Again, Cora was unimpressed.

We pulled back in to the dock for lunch and I made everyone take a family picture. I never get these because no one ever takes pictures but me, but magic happened and we got a pretty good one.

Don't even think about taking that water cup from Cora. She will cut you.

Despite the hilarity of her skeptical sailor face, she actually seemed to enjoy the boat and definitely enjoyed the heck of out of lake house opening weekend.

She marched all over the yard, setting out on adventures, not caring in the slightest if responsible adults were following closely behind.

She was totally delightful the whole time we were there- squealing and smiling and running and being held by everyone whenever she wanted. My brother growled at her on Saturday afternoon, just for fun, and she burst into tears and refused to make eye contact with him for the rest of the trip, but what's life without a personal nemesis? She now has hers.

The kids also enjoyed fishing, swimming, rope swinging, running, jet skiing, baseball playing, soccer ball kicking, beach walking, and a lot of eating. Landon literally never stopped moving for 12 hours on Saturday. He's not a hyper kid, but he does have an endless well of energy for physical activities. I'm picturing a little JP at his age and it makes me tired.

Tex took lots of naps for him. And speaking of naps, possibly the most exciting things about this trip to the lake house was the two new sets of bunk beds Papa and Gigi got for the kids room.

The beds were so exciting that if it wasn't for the aforementioned non-stop physical activity, I'm not sure they would have gotten any sleep at all. Even still, we put them in bed a full 30 minutes early last night and they were out in minutes.

JP is crazy busy right now with summer hiring, pool managing, and swim lesson registration, and he had to work 80% of the time we were at the lake and then still worked till 1 a.m. this morning to make up for it, and for me there's packing and laundry and cramming the usual weekend errands into one power trip on Sunday afternoon, but it's so worth it.

I love lake house weekends.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

1-2-3-4 Come On Baby Say You Love Me

Does anyone remember that Gloria Estefan song? My friends and I developed a dance to it in 5th grade and spent many a night eating pizza while choreographing our moves. We never actually performed it for anyone, but it was important work nonetheless.

(1) I'm so glad that many of you enjoyed the makeup post! After I published it I thought it might go way beyond navel gazing to burn several hundred words on my makeup routine followed by pictures of myself with my eyes closed. I mean, I love a good how to/product review post, but I've also read every eyeshadow review on the internet in the last 3 months, so I might not be the best judge.

I did get a few follow-up questions on step 6, so I took a few freaky pictures of my eyes open really wide to show you where the black liquid eyeliner goes, but they looked like the cover of a horror movie, so here's this one, recreating how I use the fan brush to push the gel eyeliner up and under my upper lashes (yep, under).

Basically just fill in that skin-colored line between your eyeball and your eyelashes. It looks amazing. Brightens the whites of the eyes and gives you a gorgeous line without making your eyelids look heavy or small because it's under the lashes instead of on top.

(2) Are you watching Daredevil on Netflix? You should be (TLo says so too). It is absolutely fantastic. Great writing, great casting, great acting, great story arc... it is so deeply enjoyable. JP and I are on episode 11 of 13 and we can't stop watching it. The only thing that almost makes me want to slow down is knowing season 2 (due out in 2016) hasn't even started filming yet. JP and I enjoy adventure and comic book-type movies because it's the rare cross-section of our interests. I like action and fiction (rom coms included); he likes action and war biopic boring and depressing non-fiction (rom coms for sure not included). But JP also used to read comic books. I didn't, so each story is a brand new world for me, and given the books I read, supernatural powers and enhanced abilities seem normal.

My favorite things about Daredevil so far, besides the fantastic writing, casting, and acting, is the story-building, the non-stylized violence (I mean, there's violence and fighting, but I like that it's more real, people rarely drop out after one punch, and you see the after-effects of it. If someone is in a fight, they're hurting worse for it the next day, as they would be.). I don't know anything about Daredevil in the comic book world, so it's all new to me, and I'm enjoying the heck out of watching the first episode unfold. (And if you're a review-nut like me, the TLo reviews are great.)

(3) Sometimes Claire asks me to take pictures of her. Like tonight before bed. I always comply.

I love that her high heels never match.

(4) Cora turned 18 months old yesterday. We're halfway to 2. I have a lot of feelings about that.

Rather than indulge in them, let me tell you about her. At 18 months, she fears nothing and regrets less.

She loves fiercely; lives loudly; yells louder.

She is strongly (STRONGLY) opinionated and surprisingly sweet.

She is bald and tall with rapid land speed.

She loves danger, her big kids, toothbrushes, purses, dancing, kisses, books (VERY specific books), and breaking rules. Also, butternut squash, and throwing all foods that aren't butternut squash on the ground.

She does not love age guidelines, safety measures, and rules. Fruit (weird). People who are in her way.

Good gracious we love her so.