Friday, May 18, 2018

Meanwhile Back in the Fort

Is 11:00 too late for a glass of wine? is a question I asked myself when I got home from work last night at 10:58 p.m. having worked all day, gone to sub a barre class at 7 p.m., and then gone back to work for another few hours to finish a memo that's been refusing to write itself for days. On the upside, the memo is done! And when I read it today it was as solid as I thought it was when I finished it last night! On the downside, it's been a CRAZY week and that made Thursday the second day I didn't see my children at any point all day and Claire has objections to that. (And yes, I decided 11:00 was too late for a glass of wine and went for herbal tea instead.)

A government office at 10 p.m. is a lonely and creepy place.

Do you know how many zombies could be hiding in those corners? SO MANY ZOMBIES. My office was cozy, but still somehow sadder once the sun went down. Or maybe it was because the day's Starbucks cups were piled in the trashcan alongside the Pad Thai takeout box I'd eaten out of for lunch.

On an exciting office note, I got a new frame for Mother's Day! And unlike the piece of art Cora made me, I got to bring this one to my office! It's all my babies wearing their regalia from the job I was doing when I had them.

I love it. My Chicago law school baby, my Austin V&E baby, and my Fort Worth SEC baby. Apparently all I needed to do to get that much wanted 4th baby was move cities and take a different job!

It's hard to believe I've been a working mom for nearly 11 years. Cora's about to embark on her last year of preschool, so next fall we will be done paying for full-time childcare, 11 years, 3 kids, and one million dollars later. I won't miss writing the check each month, but we have been truly blessed to have so many extra people in our life to love on our kids. They don't have much extended family, and our childcare has truly become a part of that circle.

Speaking of school- Cora got her school pictures! I totally forgot about them, so she's wearing a much beloved dress that used to be Claire's much beloved dress that is faded and torn and her hair is exuberant and glorious. It's all very Cora.

After at least a year of not being allowed to touch her hair, Cora randomly requested a pony tail last week. "A pony please," she asked politely. "In the middle, in the BACK." No childish top of the head pigtails for her anymore (sob), just a "real pony please." Unfortunately, her hair makes that a liiiiitle challenging. Much pulling and twisting later, a tiny hipster man-bun emerged.

She was THRILLED. James said she bounced into her daycare class and demanded each individual friend admire her ponytail and she was still talking about it when I picked her up.

"Someday when I am sebben, my hair will be BIG mommy. I will have big hair with big ponies."

Given it's growth rate so far, I'm not sure seven is quite far out enough, she's already 4.5.

The other night at dinner- a dinner I was home for, so it must have been Wednesday- I asked Claire what she wanted for her birthday in two weeks. Cora, who was listening intently and has been trying to join in the conversations at dinner rather than just randomly adding a few enthusiastic words on a new topic before turning back to her food, nodded along and inquired, "do you think on my birthday I will be six?" "No honey, you'll be five." "But MAYBE I will be six?" "No, definitely 5." "Awwwwwww."

Poor girl, just wants to be bigger in all ways but we are VERY happy to keep her growing up as slowly as possible, just like her hair.

(Also at that dinner we were talking about getting tickets to see The Incredibles 2 when it comes out (yay!!!) and Cora, again trying to be part of the conversation, asked very politely, "Landon and Cwaire, did you like the Wonder Woman Movie?" "Um, yes, sure." "Do you think we should maybe watch that again?" "Okay, sure." [insert satisfied nod by Cora before turning back to her food]. Family dinnertime convos are my favorite.)

Not really related, but it does involve food - I've decided to become a person who makes jam.

I am a jam maker. I googled many recipes, bought a wide mouth funnel, and selected a recipe for my inaugural run for my mom's Mother's Day brunch in Kingwood and it was AMAZING. So amazing. I don't really even like jam and I have no idea why I decided I needed to become a jam person, but omg the smells and the taste of that Strawberry, Lemon, Basil jam were so amazing I'm making jam as gifts for everyone forever.

I have produced actual human children with less pride than those little jam bottles. They're already empty so I need to get jammin' again.

This post is so scattered, we'll just go back to last week real quick when I moved heaven and earth to get the kids to swim so I could teach my TCU barre class (did I mention all my nannies graduated? Because all my nannies graduated and it's ruining my life), including getting to work at 7:00 a.m. so I could leave early to make it happen, and then I got to my studio, found it empty, and realized they forgot to put me on the fitness schedule so no one knew to come. I flirted with the idea of working out alone, but decided to take some iPhone pictures of yoga moves and go shopping instead. I almost even worked up a tiny sweat.

During the shopping, not the yoga. I did find Cora sparkly unicorn sheets for their new big girl room I'm working on. Yes, we're finally letting a giant 4.5 year old Cora out of her toddler bed and getting them bunk beds. The bunk bed I found is a twin over full with trundle, staircase, and built-in-dresser. The 65 boxes of pieces arrived yesterday and James is SO EXCITED to put them together this weekend.

Poor James, it's not exactly the reward he deserves for doing the lion's share of the parenting work this week. On Tuesday I was out gallivanting in college bars until 1 a.m. (more on that later), on Wednesday night he cleaned up Cora's puke all over her bed, wall, and person at 2 a.m. because I was finally so worn out from not being able to sleep for the last 2 weeks that I was unresponsive (and he didn't really even try because he was happy I was sleeping and he is a SIGNIFICANTLY nicer and more generous person than I), and on Thursday he brought the kids home from swim, fed them, watered them, and tucked them in bed while I was working all day/night. But tonight I was here, totally on top of things while sipping beverages poolside with a friend while our kids swam.

Speaking of Tuesday, it was mostly a total shit show until the beer pitchers started rolling in. I got to work at 7:00 a.m. because that's a thing I do now that I don't sleep. I wake up at 6:05 after going to sleep at midnight, try to go back to sleep, can't, get up and leave. Work was fine and I was supposed to leave at 4:00 because I'd put in my time and I had to pick up the kids to get them to swimming so James could take them home while I went to my final PTA Board meeting of the year, but I ended up having to take a call and then ran out at 4:15. Landon and Claire had gone home with a friend (no nannies!) and Cora was at school and I needed them all to be at the pool by 4:50 but still just barely had time for it to all work out perfectly. I'd worn my favorite pair of shoes- strappy heels that wound up my feet and tied in the back and had a 3.5" heel. This will be important later.

I'd parked at the bottom of the garage in the morning since I was one of the first people there. Then I'd gone to a farewell lunch for a beloved colleague who's leaving us for the private sector and then I'd parked SOMEWHERE ELSE after that. I'd had 3 passengers in my car and we must have been having a very engaging conversation because I got to the parking garage elevator and had NO IDEA where I'd parked. I thought maybe between 3 and 4, on the up ramp? I called a friend who had been in the car with me, "I don't know... I think maybe you're between 3 and 4 on the up ramp?" she guessed. So I walked over there. My garage is full of giant trucks because GM Financing is in my building and they all get company cars, so you can't just look down a row, you have to walk it. So I did. Then the one above and below it. Then I went the other direction, up and down. Then I started on 2 and walked up to 6. Then I walked down from 6. Increasingly sweaty, increasingly frantic at how late I was, increasingly about to cry. I was texting my friend updates, "so sorry, trying to find my car, tell the kids to be ready to leave when I pull up!" while she did everything she could to make my life better, "how about I take them to your house now so they can change and be ready to go?"

Finally, at 4:45, after 30 minutes of walking parking garage ramps on a 92 degree afternoon a coworker- the same one who I'd asked where I parked- exited the elevator, saw me about to collapse into a puddle of tears and offered to drive me around until we found my car. My swollen feet were so thankful I almost cried again anyway. So we drove up to 6 and down from 6. Finally we admitted that maybe we parked far higher than we ever imagined and went up to the roof. And then, on our way down, between 8 and 7 we found my fucking car.

Sometime around 4:40 my incredibly kind friend had offered to just take the kids to swimming. It's a solid 15 minutes away, but I was so hot and sweaty and late, I sent her the address with a grateful heart and promises of future bottles of wine. I am so blessed in my village.

Once in my car I realized it was now nearly 5:00 and I still had to figure out what to do with Cora. I couldn't make it to the pool and I was too kerfluffled to even try, so I just picked her up, packed her kindle, and took her to the Board meeting. Normally that's no problem, but it was our last one and at a restaurant so I was hoping to be kid-free. I sat her in a chair, literally in a corner, and she happily watched The Greatest Showman until James picked her up 30 minutes later with the other kids. The restaurant was BYOB and I was well into the bottle I'd packed in my purse and feeling much better about my swollen feet and life generally.

The restaurant kicked us out at 10 because they were closing and quite reasonably wanted to go home. As we were walking out my friend Sarah who went to TCU for college declared, "You know what I want to do? I want to go to THE PUB." The University Pub, an establishment I'd walked by a million times on my way to our favorite pizza or burger place, but never actually entered. The definition of a hole in the wall, the only place she said remained on that strip from her college days.

I'm game, I said.

Other friends agreed. And we were off! A whole half-mile later we reassembled and discovered the pitchers of beer were only$8! We got really excited and bought them all. My favorite part of this picture is Sarah taking a picture while I take a picture. We were all just so proud and delighted to be out so late on a school night.

At some point I had what is possibly my favorite text exchange with James ever.

I had the most fun. I love my crew.

Landon saw this picture the next day and said, "Huh. You look fun mom."

I got home around 1 a.m., walked into my kitchen, saw the sparkling clean and clear counter tops and was so overwhelmed with love for my husband I took a picture. It might have also been the pint of beer, but seriously, clear counter tops are my love language. They aren't James's, but he speaks mine to me, even when I abandon him to go drinking with my mom friends.

And then, at 1:03 a.m., I finally took off my shoes. It felt almost as good as looking at my kitchen.

Then I couldn't sleep because I'm old now and more than 2 drinks means I can't sleep at night when it used to mean I slept GREAT, so I got up at 5:55 a.m. and headed to work, sitting down at my desk just before 7. I got a text from James at 7:15 asking if I ever came home last night, which made me laugh, particularly since I had a whole conversation with him at 1 a.m. and he tucked me in like a little spoon for at least an hour after I got in bed. I skipped yoga at lunch because my bones hurt on the inside, now making it 8 days since my last workout. That evening was really nice, despite my increasing exhaustion. I made a yummy dinner and hung out with the kids. We did puzzles, we read, there was swimming, and very little yelling. It was lovely.

Later I got live footage of Cora putting away her puzzles.

Really getting after it.

Last night was all the work but I did teach the barre class, huffing and puffing under the music I turned up nice and loud to cover my struggles, and I stayed up too late chatting with James once I finally got home from my second round at the office. I caught some yoga today and hopefully I can get back on track; I miss yoga when it's not around. Sleep too. And chatting with James. Here's to more of all of that in the week ahead!


  1. All my life I've been waiting for a man who gives counter like that. Hell, I'd even marry a woman for that.

    And oh that pony... And the dinner convo... And your ever exquisite writing and eye for photo journalism.

  2. Those beers and your yoga poses make me jealous. But damn I’m tired just reading about your life.

    Can you please, please, pretty please make me a list of what to buy at Trader Joe’s? It’s a 90 minute drive to get there but I have a couple of conferences coming up in the “big city” where TJs it and I get lost. I usually tour the aisles a few times, grab some cookie butter and get out.