Monday, January 25, 2016

Quick Fire

Speaking of Quick Fires, Top Chef is back! I always miss it when it's away. But here, the title is because I need to go to bed because my throat is hurting again (what is WITH me and my throat this season? very irritating) and I'm presenting a case to the Commission to approve a new action on Thursday (basically the pinnacle/purpose of my whole job) so I need to have a voice and not be sickly.

So, let's hit it!

I had a cup of Potato Leek soup at lunch on Sunday and it's all I've thought about since we left the restaurant. I looked up a recipe as I was leaving work and actually stopped - WITH CORA - on my way home, something I don't do except in life or death emergencies and maybe not even then, just to buy the requisite leeks and potatoes. It was delicious and everything I hoped it would be. I need to incorporate more leeks into my life.

This is the vigil Cora keeps on Monday and Wednesday nights when her big people are at swim practice and she is an only child for 60 whole minutes. She checks on them constantly and LOSES HER MIND when they walk in the door. The screams of joy are deafening. She hugs and hops and squeezes and SCREAMS and hugs some more. It is my favorite thing in the whole world and it happens every Monday and Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. As James and I remark to each other almost every day, "she just loves us SO MUCH." It's a wonder her body doesn't burst from it.

We took our long family walk in the gorgeous 60-degree weather yesterday. The Northeast is buried in snow and we're cruising for 3 miles in long sleeves and no jackets. Such a disconnect. Claire did the whole thing on her newly mastered 2-wheel bicycle (and in style, obviously, in her pink furry vest) and Landon ran because his bicycle has a flat. Though given his nonstop eating and energy lately, I think maybe sending him out on a few 3-mile runs throughout the day might just be proper maintenance. He's sweet and awesome, but omg he's a mini James and he is essentially impossible to make full or tired. Ever.

the original party pack

James and I went out on a date night Saturday. We didn't use our wonderful nanny for school pickup a couple days since Claire was sick and I was home, and since I try to keep her pay consistent, this means James and I get "free" date nights a few times a month to make up for missed days. We've probably gone out more in the last 4 months than the last 5 years combined and it is awesome. This time we headed to our favorite Mexican place and ordered everything on the menu.

There were no leftovers.

And then of course, we topped it off with some dessert at a new bakery down the street. A dessert that included maybe the best dessert I've ever had in my WHOLE lie - a oatmeal cream pie, with thick soft chewy cinnamony oatmeal cookies and a cinnamon cream cheese buttercream icing... oh. my. god. I was stuffed, but after I had a bite of James's, I needed my own. Then as we were leaving, we bought the last two, just because they were so good we couldn't bear the idea that any existed in the universe that weren't in our possession. Seriously, they were that good. Stir Crazy Bakery, my love, we will be back.

I went to hot yoga Sunday morning just to detox. And then I came home and ate the other oatmeal cream pie for breakfast with my tea. I have no regrets.

Cora woke up crying this morning around 3 a.m., which is highly unusual (no one loves sleep like Cora loves sleep). James tucked her back under her blanket and figured the matter was resolved, but then she was crying again at 4. I went in and for the first time ever, she communicated to me in a time of need (Cora is generally disinterested in learning English; she knows some, she just finds pointing more effective, plus she has two big sibling servants who coo over her and give her everything she wants before she wants it; it's a system that's working for her and she finds James and my insistence on words to be eye roll inducing at best). So amidst the wimpers she said "ear. hurts, mama." and after I snuggled her and said we could get some medicine she sighed and said "Shu shu mama." which is "thank you" and it was all beautifully and calmly resolved and she went back to sleep about 5 minutes later. Communication! The key to any relationship. I immediately woke James up when I got back in bed to tell him all about it.

James just got interviewed by a local business magazine to talk about his swim products company, his swim school, and his work on the Board of the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition non-profit. We realized he didn't have any pictures alone (except the few I've taken where he's mostly naked on the pool deck, but he nixed those), so he stopped by his warehouse this morning to get a few pics. How adorable is he with his baby?

Somewhat similarly, I am in the "teacher spotlight" for my studio and I also realized I didn't have many pictures of me without a child or husband in the frame, so I had to throw back to a pic from my 30th birthday when I had a Lili's burger with Gorgonzola fries for the very first time and my smile is the biggest its ever been. Except maybe at my wedding. Like James, Gorgonzola fries were love at first sight for me.

[I feel like a kissy face emoticon would be appropriate here, but I don't have one, so we'll have to xoxo the old fashioned way.]


Thursday, January 21, 2016

This post brought to you by Frozen

Claire is home sick today. She's been coughing off and on since the weekend and yesterday her teacher texted me that she coughed pretty much all day and just didn't seem like her cheerful self. So after the world's most enthusiastic Kindergartner hacked up half a lung in her sleep and blearily requested to stay home today, we wrapped her in fuzzy blankets and put Frozen on repeat. James did morning duty while I had my Quarterly Review and FBI call and then we switched so he could go to the pool and I could swath myself in fleece and sing along to Frozen round 3. Hopefully she'll feel better tomorrow. She has gymnastics tomorrow night and loves that even more than fuzzy blankets, cuddling with mom, AND Frozen, so she'll probably try to fake it regardless.

little gymnast!

One of my still unpublished resolutions for this year is to get back on my old routine of working out 4-5x/week. Ideally it would be barre 3x, yoga 1x, and running 1x, but any combination will do. Now that I'm teaching I've gotten really bad about only going to barre when I teach- it's so much more fun and more intense to be at the front of the room yelling out instructions, but I only teach 1-2x/week and I need more than that. Plus I think it's important to remain a student.

down dog!

The good news is that I've been keeping this goal, including getting back into my yoga practice. The bad news is, my body is FEELING it. Every night I get back from class, take a scalding hot bath with my wine and feel warm for the first time all day, and then put on something lightly fuzzy and drape myself across the couch like the deliciously limp noodle that I am. I can barely hold my kindle propped against the couch to flip pages. I definitely can't pick up my computer. I'm pretty much worthless until James is ready to go to bed and then I sleep like the dead, no insomnia, no reading until 3 a.m., just sleeping until my alarm goes off and my first thought is I set it for the wrong time. It's weird. I think I like it, but I was much more productive as an insomniac. I'm sure my body will adjust soon.

~ ~ ~

In other news, I can't stay warm. Like, in my bones. I literally think my body temperature has dropped and I don't know how to get it up again except to wait for summer when the outside temp is equal to what I want my insides to be. Is anyone else this way? It's not just my extremities, though my hands are frequently ice cubes that I enjoy sticking on my husband and children to make them scream, but my whole body. The only time I feel warm is when I take a crazy hot bath, soaking up to my chin in water so hot my body turns red, and then for about 10-15 minutes afterward, I'm gloriously toasty. I used to live in Chicago and I wasn't cold all the time, so this is new. I wear as much fleece as possible at home, but I have limits in a professional environment.

not a professional

Does anyone read the Karen Marie Moning Fever series? What did we think of Feverborn that just came out on Tuesday? I have conflicting thoughts. I still love her world. I love the novelty of her characters and the world and plot she's built. I hate many of the actual characters, all of Mac's (CONSTANT, POINTLESS, REPETITIVE) inner-monologuing, and pretty much anything else Mac actually does too (which is very little because she'd rather overthink things and talk about how things were "in the deep south" even though the book takes place in freaking Dublin and has nothing to do with the south and zomg her character never actually does much of anything). So it's weird I love the series so much when Mac is the heroine and main character, but I'm in it for everyone else - Barrons, Ryodan, Dani/Jada, Dancer, Christian... I love all of them and the crazy wonderful world she's created. So I'll eagerly await and buy Feversong when it comes out next year, and then I'll probably feel let down again when I read it. I'm currently recovering from my messed up relationship with KMM by re-reading all of the Kate Daniels series for the 3rd time. Good gravy those books are good.

~ ~ ~

And finally, I had this convo with Claire this morning while I was getting ready for work:

Claire: I don't want to have babies when I'm a grownup. I just want my baby Cora.
Me: Well, she won't be a baby anymore, she'll be a grownup too!
Claire: That's ridiculous.

Indeed. I wish I could so thoroughly reject the reality of Cora's aging. I saw a video of a mama otter snuggling her tiny brand new baby otter on facebook the other day and it made me cry, so I'd say I don't quite yet have those baby cravings under control.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Where Blog Drafts Go to Die

Oh my gosh I have been terrible about writing so far this year. I have a partial draft on resolutions (luckily/unluckily one of them is not blogging more, though it should be). I have a partial draft on Cora (OMG CORA. She is a joy and a half times 2.2 and I simply can't describe her properly with something as limiting as words). I have another few on random things like photobooking (someone asked how I organize mine and I think guilt over not finishing Landon and Claire's books has prevented me from even finishing the blog post on the books), career goals, and why daycare is awesome. I will get to them! I'll even add it to my resolutions post, because I'm sure that'll totally do the trick.

But in the meantime, here are some random thoughts and happenings:

~ Cora picked out her outfit this morning and then posed with a big "CHEEEEESE!".

Earlier, right after she woke up, she ran into my room where I was trying unsuccessfully to convince myself to get out of bed, yelling Mama! Mama! MA!MA! and then climbed up and onto me, stretched out over my body, tucked her head right between my chin and my chest and sighed "mama." and stayed there for a solid 2 minutes. Then she popped up, screamed "I WUV you" in my face, climbed down, and ran off joyfully yelling "DADDY DADDY DADDDDEEEEEEE!!". There are just no words.

~ I went to hot yoga on Sunday for the first time in a year and holy crap. So humbling. Memory and ability fade at very different rates. And of course I end up next to a super skinny athletic contortionist who could do the splits in every direction and take every pose to a level I didn't even know existed. It was seriously amazing to see/stare at covertly, while also deeply demoralizing.

For example, standing bow is one pose I do well- it's not dependent on flexibility, it's just about balance and core strength and I have those two things. So we get to standing bow after a sweaty shitshow of the first 40 minutes of class I'm like yes! I can do this one! Time to feel good! And then, I can't help but glance over at my cirque-du-soleil-trained neighbor and NO. Apparently you can take standing bow to a standing split where you're holding your ankle and your knee is next to your ear and your two legs are directly stacked on top of each other in a full freaking split while you're upper half is bent over perpendicular to the floor and holy shit. I immediately fell out of my pose, nearly face planting on the floor, and stopped even pretending I wasn't looking. She was amazing. I'm recommitted to yoga.

not related, but there are not and will never be pictures of me in hot yoga

~ I'm teaching a beginner barre workshop in February and I am SO. EXCITED. Beginners, come unto me! I have so many ideas and I keep dreaming about it. Also, my studio asked if we wanted business cards and told everyone to reply with their teachings. I absolutely adore that along with the SEC seal, gold-embossed, Enforcement Attorney business cards of my legal colleagues, I have Urban Yoga colleagues with "tarot readings," "meditation," and "gong-supported chanting" on their cards. How lovely to have a foot firmly planted in two different worlds.

~ I just signed Landon up for the "Nature Club" at the zoo. It's a Saturday class once a month that talks about local animals and ecology, with craft projects, and lots of learning and he's SO excited. One of the best things about living where we do is having the zoo and a surprising number of other cultural resources 5 minutes from our house. As we come up on 4 years living here- our longest anywhere- I'm feeling very warm about Fort Worth these days. Also I've only driven 3500 miles in the new car I got in May. I hate driving, so I do love that.

~ I made our homeaway condo reservations for our Spring Break trip! Colorado and Utah road trip here we come! 7 days, 3 national parks, a million miles in the car- it's going to be awesome. I also maybe booked our Thanksgiving trip. I can't help myself once these things get in my head.

~ Landon and Claire tried a gymnastics class last Friday and they are OBSESSED. We had them signed up only 10 minutes into the trial, because their beaming faces were blinding from all the way over in the parents' section. Our living room is now a tumbling floor and we've had a lot of discussions about not doing anything at home that you couldn't do without a spotter at the gym. Landon keeps saying he can do a flip. Landon cannot do a flip.

~ The kids got Twister and this new Dance Hip Hop Moves Twister for Christmas from their great-grandparents and they LOVE it. They worked up a sweat with the dance one and I can't recommend it more.

~ James and I are old and boring so we play monopoly, but now we play with the kids in teams (girls v. boys, obvi) and it's awesome because they really enjoy it AND James and I can't get mad at each other while we're playing because the children are watching! Bonding and good sportsmanship for everyone!

Cora insists on having her giant PBK chair at the coffee table, so at some point she always wanders off and then we hear her crying because she's stuck in the door frame again. Landon always jumps up to rescue her, because she is his baby, and then they set up the chair and she says "blanket" and he coos over her and wraps her in a blanket and she's like yes, this is how I do monopoly, and James and I roll our eyes and fear a little bit for our future with this monster Landon and Claire are creating.

~ And it's 11- off to bed, with SOMETHING published, and hopes of finishing a few of those other drafts one day soon. I miss this space when I'm away from it and hope you all have had wonderful starts to your years, hopefully with some version of a toddler screaming their love in your face after a long, sweet hug. It will be fun to see what she gives me tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016 Cometh!

The bloggess posted this video on New Year's Eve and I fell in love with the song. And then I listened to it on repeat for the rest of the afternoon.

If I was a person who knew how to make slideshows I would totally make a 2015 slideshow to this song and cry while watching it. Because what a wonderful year it was. Full of milestones (our 10th anniversary, Claire starts Kindergarten, Cora leaves babyhood behind!), new ventures (Fike Swim Products!, I became a barre teacher!), adventures (Jamaica!, camping and hiking), and victories big and small (Fike Swim sells out twice!, I bring my first case (and it makes national headlines! and then I bring another one!), Landon's school, spelling bee, and swimming successes, Cora rocks a scooter, Claire rides on two wheels). And along with that came a ton of work (and fights about the ton of work), far too little sleep, and still so much love, laughter, and JOY I'm getting teary right now thinking of it. Everyone is healthy, the kids love each other so much... it's just a really lovely time in our young family's life right now and my biggest goal for 2016 is to soak up as much of it as possible.

Ending the boys' weekly run with a family race!

But back to NYE. I was super sick, so we almost didn't do our fancy grown-up dinner date at all, but James set it all up, even right by the fire so I could stay warm, and I figured the least I could do was roll out of bed with my box of Kleenex and enjoy it with him. I feel like the sneezing and nose blowing really added a romantic soundtrack to the whole affair.

I was bummed to feel so crappy during what is always my very favorite week of the whole year, but the kids had fun, I watched them have fun, and by the end I was even able to participate.

There were New Year's Day breakfast tacos and my last tray of homemade cinnamon rolls! Cora is SUPER pro-breakfast taco.

We played a lot of games and made animals out of clay.

Cora decided Monopoly was boring, but the big kids loved playing the "grown-up version" and I loved that Claire and I won!! I don't think I've ever beat James at Monopoly and I will savor the feeling forever.

Cora spent the whole time being doted on by her big siblings and I swear we're going to have to have an intervention with them at some point about setting limits and enforcing rules and no you can't just give Cora something after we tell her no, I don't care that she asked you and she's your "sweet baby" holy crap we are going to have a monster on our hands one of these days.

Speaking of Cora, she continues to rule her one-person scooter gang. She is hysterical on that thing and takes her riding VERY seriously.

"Hel-met, mama. HEL-MET! OUTSIDE!" she says anytime she thinks it's time to ride again, which is generally one minute after we came in from the time before.

I managed to teach barre on Saturday and it was a FABULOUS class full of new people and I was high from it for the rest of the day. I'm now planning a barre beginner workshop in February and am so excited! I wore my new top with my crazy rainbow pants and a friend who was in the class snapped a shot of me during our glute series. Work it!

Which is good because I drowned my sorrows at the end of my favorite week (and the fact that I missed half of it in a fog of congestion and infected sinuses) and my return to work and the real world and no snuggling in bed with James or going on midday walks with the kids (sob) in a big bowl of candy wish some fro yo at the bottom to hold it all together.

2016 will be good. We just made our reservations for our big Colorado/Utah spring break road trip and lots of other adventures lie ahead. I'm ruminating on goals for the year, but my biggest one is to continue focusing on gratitude and freezing the moments in between. The big stuff is awesome, but the moments in between- the countless evenings of making dinner with three kids at my feet (or above my feet, given that Cora was standing on top of the kitchen peninsula the other day), the lists and errands and endless to-do's... the good stuff is in there. Cora's yell-singing, Claire's need to hug/touch/hang on me at every opportunity, Landon wanting to tell me ALL the things while yelling things at Cora to make her laugh and squeal... there's a lot of joy in the chaos of the everyday and I want to grab it with both hands and SQUEEZE IT. These years are going by way too fast.