Friday, February 22, 2019

One Fine Day

Yesterday was an unusually fun and busy Thursday that managed to touch on nearly all the roles I play- throw in a PTA event and I would have had a bingo!

The day began at 6:45 a.m., which is 15 minutes later than it was supposed to, but my bed was cozy and James isn't doing morning practices right now and I can't resist a good cuddle.

7:15 a.m.: Everyone is dressed and loving on the dog. I'm putting on my makeup, proud to have actually blow-dried my hair, and alternatively loving on the dog too. James is yelling at everyone from the kitchen to come get their lunches.

7:45 a.m.: Running into Starbucks for my chai tea latte. It's been a week and I decided I was allowed to have one today because I packed my lunch from home. I will reheat this in the work microwave at least 3 times because I'm incapable of drinking it fast enough to not go cold.

9:00 a.m.: I've been at my desk for about an hour writing a memo (or trying to), and am now on a call with some attorneys at the DOJ for another case.

11:15 a.m.: Still at my desk, now eating a frozen vegetable yakisoba noodle bowl from Costco I just microwaved because I'm a government attorney and it can't always be $13 potato skin nachos at Heim (my current greatest indulgence; omg they are so good). There is also a mini fat free strawberry yogurt as a second course because I'm still fancy.

12:55 p.m.
: I head to the parking garage to drive over to Texas A&M Law School to meet my Professor friend. We were summer associates together at Vinson & Elkins in 2007 when I was a million moths pregnant with Landon and he ... looked pretty much the same as he does now.

1:30 p.m.: I am the guest speaker in his Business Associations class to discuss being a securities attorney (and former corporate associate, litigation associate, IP associate, law student, woman who's had a baby in every job I've had... all the things). It was super fun and the students asked really great questions on everything from substantive securities law to being a junior associate to transitioning between jobs.

3:00 p.m.: My time as pretend law professor is over- we used the full 90 minutes and the questions never stopped, which seems like a good thing? Hopefully some of it was helpful or at least entertaining.

3:15 p.m.
: I'm back at work, still working on my memo. My legal analysis section is killing it.

4:30 p.m.: I leave work, forgetting which floor of the parking garage I'm on because I only ever remember where I parked in the morning and never where I parked the second time if I leave and come back. I don't know why this is so hard.

4:45 p.m.: I'm home, changing into my barre clothes because I accidentally left them in a bag on my bed instead of putting them in my car. My guard dog is on duty.

5:20 p.m.: About to teach my 5:30 class! 35 students and a great play list. Let's do this.

5:50 p.m.: "And we pulse..."

6:20 p.m.: Class is over and I'm heading home to de-sweatify myself and re-dry and re-straighten my hair for my birthday mama's night out! The sky is gorgeous and I take a picture.

6:30 p.m.
: James gets home with all the kids about two minutes after I do. We all greet the dog, the kids put away their swim stuff, I start the water for the pesto pasta James is going to make, and then head back to my bathroom with my "Tween Pop" playlist and plans to put some new makeup on top of some old makeup. I sit with the kids and James when their dinner is ready and hear about practice and school and how Cora beat Claire in a race at swimming (except not really explains an exasperated Claire who has clearly heard this misinterpreted version of events multiple times on their drive home).

7:20 p.m.: My friend Kim picks me up to head to the same wine bar we went to last year for our double mama birthday celebration (background: my friend Kelly and I are almost twins! Born just 5 days and 270 miles apart! Our only other differences are several inches in height, opposite hair and eye colors, and she went to college on a full soccer scholarship whereas I played one game of soccer when I was 5, got hit in the stomach with a ball, and never set foot on the field again. But otherwise- twins! We are both very organized, Type A oldest children who like the read the same books and are very concerned with following the rules.).

7:45 p.m.: More mamas are arriving. Champagne is pouring, tapas are being selected, and wine flights are being chosen.

A special surprise cake was introduced and then we almost got in trouble because we didn't ask permission to bring it in (which, funny enough, I already worried about in our group text message earlier because my great fear in life is breaking rules I didn't know existed and are enforced by faux authority figures like restaurant personnel), but then our charm won them over (and the fact we got the cake from the bakery next door which partners with the wine bar for certain menu items... but mostly it was our charm) and we were told we could serve it after all. Thank goodness. My heart rate was high during the whole exchange.

8:15 p.m.: Presents! Gift giving is my love language and I get so excited about the rare, truly surprise grown-up gift. Presents are simply the best.

I feel so seen.

8:30 p.m.: Dark and Luscious. (The wine flight. Also, my pale Swedish self.)

9:30 p.m.: We discover the cake (salted chocolate with vanilla buttercream) is amazing.

A smash cake approach is suggested, but rejected in lieu of attempting to drink it through one of my new sparkly straws. Because we're ladies.

10:00 p.m.: We realize the wine bar is closing and we should leave. We utilize both the men's and women's restrooms because none of us have the left the table for 2.5 hours and 85 wine glasses have been emptied in that time (of 2 oz. tasting pours to be clear, we're not turning 21).

10:20 p.m.: The responsible mamas go home. The rest of us end up across the street at La Zona listening to a live Mexican band and dancing.

11:10 p.m.: We're still dancing. We've made some new friends.

11:11 p.m.: Vodkaquila is a thing you drink on your birthday (or so I'm told by experts, so I step up to the challenge even though I've forgotten which order the drink v. lime are supposed to go). Ever proper, I ask someone to hold my clutch while I shoot something that is possibly too voluminous to be shot.

Vodkaquila is actually quite tasty. I switch to water for the rest of the evening because I have a job and children to attend to in the morning.

11:30 p.m.: The live band plays a feisty rendition of "Feliz Cumpleanos" just for me and I dance with them at the front of the bar. This is unpictured. (Actually there are a million pictures and multiple videos, some of which were texted to me from numbers I don't know; it's just unpictured here).

12:00 a.m.: James texts me to see if I am coming home because the dog won't come inside without me. As luck would have it, Kim is pulling me up to the house! I let the dog in, fill James in on my shenanigans, and take a very long bath.

1:30 a.m.
: Asleep.

7:05 a.m.: Cora sings an original anthem to Maggie about the fact she has Kindergarten Round-Up today. Maggie is super into it. A new day begins.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Catch-up and Collages

Alright, it's been 12 days since we had a substantive update and since there are 6 of us now and Maggie count for at least 7 children in terms of picture-volume, I had to make some collages. Even I know that no blog post should have more than 30 pictures in it. 30 separate, individual pictures. I have the day off, the kids have school (working mom win!!), I'm on my 3rd cup of Earl Grey tea, Maggie is snoring beside me, and The West Wing is on TV. It's time to check in with the Lag Liv family.


First of all, Maggie remains simply the best.

She sits with her tiny feet tucked in between her big front paws and it is my favorite thing. Such a lady. Such a delicate balance of weight distribution. She's very skilled.

Through an intense campaign of constant pets and praise, I have eclipsed James's status in her adoration. I'm first and I'm very proud of this. I tried to take a selfie with her when I got home from work the other day, but she needed snuggles and filled my camera's view finder with her love.

It's been chilly here. Maggie has discovered that her bed in our bedroom (as opposed to her beds in every other room of the house) is located directly under the heat vent.

She resists strongly any suggestion that she should move from this spot when it is below 50 outside.

We've had a few struggles with accidents in the house. Apparently it's hard to resist peeing in a really soft bed, so we have new beds of mesh that do not invite a sprinkling of urine with their soft fluffiness. And also maybe we maybe pooped a few times indoors, but no one's perfect.

But! We've upped our reward game for outside pottying (deli turkey; so delicious), we keep the girl's door closed (the pink carpet just calls out for some pooping, who can resist?), and we're on a routine and we're doing GREAT! 3 days accident free. We're going to put up a sign like a factory floor.

Spa Day!

We had our first session with our dog trainer last week and she did so great. In the words of our trainer, "Maggie strikes me as a sweet little girl that just wants to know what is expected of her ahead of time. I believe training is going to be simple and easy as long as you are consistent and rewarding. She likes the communication and she likes to learn."

Learning makes her tired, but only because she works so hard. We've got "sit" down, "follow" is 95% effective (sometimes we're just too tired to follow, what can you do), and "leave it" is going great. We've got her completely out of the walk-in pantry and though we started scratching at closed doors, we now leave them be. Training is amazing. She's deaf, so we have to be very consistent with the hand signals, but she's really doing great and I think she gets comfort from seeing the expectation and then knowing she has fulfilled it. I completely understand; knowing you've checked the right boxes is very pleasing.

She continues to be so chill and patient with all children and dogs. It is such a relief, we can literally take her anywhere and she's just happy to be part of the team. I had to take Landon and I friend to school early one day last week (they're on News Crew and do the video announcements broadcast to the school in the morning) and Maggie came along. It was early for her (she prefers to wake up about 8:30), but she kept everyone safe and loved.

She got a new hoodie last week (it's important to change up your wardrobe to match the holidays before you) and I told her to strike a pose.

Sexy beast.

We've been trying to introduce her to toys, but she doesn't understand why you would use your hand to hold a toy when you could be using your hand to pet her.

But we persisted and she now almost likes this heart. Sometimes she even gnaws on it. We make sure it follows her wherever she goes.

Couldn't care less about the bone; almost cares about the heart

Moving on to the humans, Landon was home sick from school one day last week for a short but sudden for a stomach bug. He felt pretty terrible, but assured me when I got home from work that "Maggie got a LOT of love today mom. A LOT."

We all know what's important. Valentine's Day was Thursday and it is one of my favorite days. The kids worked hard writing their names on their Target Valentine's. Landon went with a surprise taco-themed pick; Claire was unicorns and jungle animals; and Cora went princesses, obviously.

As always, we decorated the table the night before. I love our traditions- the kids LOVE our traditions- and one of the best parts (for me, as the orchestrator of traditions) is how simple they are. We've had that $3 heart table cloth for years. The kids' plates were purchased two years ago at the Target dollar spot and the kids can no longer remember a Valentine's without them. The heart garland was taken by one of the kids after a school party years ago. I keep it all in a plastic bin labeled "Valentine's Day" in our closet and it's taken out once a year for just that day. I will use those plates in high school. Traditions are the best.

James picked out special cards for each kids; the girls got a nail polish and Landon got gummies. I sprinkled a new kind of Hershey Kiss I wanted to try on the table. Joy and happiness exploded all around when the table was discovered at 6:50 a.m. We took our traditional Valentine's Day picture.

Dinner was pink pancakes for the kids and a fancy steak dinner for James and I after they were in bed, along with pink champagne and the best vanilla cake. And a new Top Chef. You can practically see the pink puffy hearts floating in the air.

On Friday, Cora's school hosted a Valentine's Dance and it was the cutest. All week she had been showing us dances she learned in class and she was SO excited and so precise and I wondered for the millionth time why she decided to quit both ballet and gymnastics, but the complex workings of Cora's mind are not meant to be understood so I moved on.

James picked up corsages for the girls and canceled his last two lessons so he could pick us up on time. We were all so excited about our date. Cora picked out my outfit and both girls got to wear a necklace from my jewelry box. (Landon was at a friend's house playing video games and eating flaming hot cheetos; we were all living our best lives.)

Cora felt strongly that she needed to eat first at the dance, then find all her friends, and THEN dance with her daddy. Claire found the older brother of one of Cora's classmates who is in her class, and was in fact captain of her BOB team, and they chatted the whole dance. I took this picture covertly. It was the very cutest.

We enjoyed an after-party at our fave taco place and then I hung out at my friend's kitchen island bar while we opened a bottle of wine pretended we were going to make the boys pack up and leave any minute. One hour later I drove him home.

And he did need to go home because he had a climbing competition the next morning! In Tyler, 2.25 hours away! James drove him and they listened to podcasts and generally bonded. Landon got second (!!!) in the comp- his second ever with ropes, and, he was quick to point out, he's the youngest in the age group. The boys who got 1st and 3rd were thirteen mom. THIRTEEN! He, for the record, is 11. Climbing remains his great joy and we're loving getting to know this new sport. (As long as he keeps it indoors and not on the side of El Capitan or wherever his dreams are currently taking him.)

My work is going well. I'm thankful we've averted another shutdown and I appreciate the transparency that comes from just admitting we need to spend billions of tax payer dollars for the idiot wall instead of lying about Mexico paying for it. I also look forward to the next Democratic president being able to declare National Emergencies over climate change and gun control since we can declare those whenever we want now.

I spent the last week with my door closed writing and escaped only for some lunchtime yoga that made my makeup smear all over my face and wonder why I'd bothered at all, especially since I literally spent all day with my door closed.

In other news, we enjoyed our Casa Manana children's play last weekend. The next one in the series is a magician and Landon is SO EXCITED. I have to admit, I am too.

Yesterday was a lovely lazy day. The girls and I had done all our errands while the boys were driving across Texas for the climbing comp, so we didn't have much on our to do lists. We played games, Maggie learned that she likes a good fire, and the girls had friends over at various points.

I taught my barre class and then afterward went to see "Isn't it Romantic" with my mamas. It was cute and silly and a perfect culmination of my years of watching romantic comedies. I didn't get any pictures of my ladies, but I did get my movie prep documented.

For the rest of my day off (all 5 hours that are left before the kids are done with school; it goes so fast!), I plan to go to yoga, stop by Half Price Books to find Claire some more books (she's flown through the first four Betsy, Tacy, and Tib books and it makes my heart SO HAPPY), go to the Disney store to get Cora and my niece this swimsuit which was Cora's favorite two years ago and which they've brought back and I feel strongly both girls need one and it's the Friends and Family sale (they won't get these suits until Easter, but I like to be prepared), and then pick up the kids and take them to their various activities. I will also spend at least an hour petting the dog. It's going to be a busy one.