Friday, December 23, 2022

Sugary & Magical & Required

It appears that road trips are one of the only times I can clear out an hour to update this blog. We are currently driving from Dallas to Houston to spend Christmas with my parents and brother, sister-in-law, and their 17-month-old twins. Santa's sleigh is packed and the kids are so excited to spend the holiday with Papa and Gigi and their tiny cousins. Maggie is just excited she made it into the sleigh.
Our lock-in two weeks ago was highly successful and we will definitely be doing it again next year.
I collected everyone's phones, including James and mine, and put them in a drawer and we were all cozy and sparkly and full of stories and memories of Christmases past.
On friday night, we made homemade pizza, decorated the tree, and watched Home Alone.
On Saturday we did a bunch of house projects, went on a walk, made the sugar cookie dough, and all went to cheer on Cora in her basketball game, which we capped off with tacos out at one of our favorite restaurants.
Sunday was sugar cookie baking and decorating, more house projects (hanging! all! the! things!), and a delicious pot of homemade chili simmering in the background.
It was utterly lovely. I love these humans and bulldog and cats so dang much.
One thing that's been hard in the move is starting over with friends and social groups. Everyone has been so nice and warm and welcoming, but it just takes time to work your way into a social or friend circle- to be invited to the Christmas parties or events happening all around us, and for a FOMO-filled extrovert like me it can be REALLY hard to see everyone else doing things you are so separate from. So this year I've focused really hard on soaking up my own party of five and we've all benefitted from it.
Meanwhile Milo is mad that he seems to be the only one who doesn't get a sugar cookie after school.
We had a few more furniture deliveries over the last two weeks: our dining table, kitchen chairs, Claire's dresser, Cora's bed, and more.
Claire is the last one left sleeping on the floor but her bed comes Monday (desk and nightstand in January) and she's loving each piece that arrives over her slow rollout.
I absolutely adore everything that is coming together in our space. It has been such a joy to put together. After 17+ years of marriage and 3 increasingly older kids, we're just at a new phase of our taste and style and use of our home. I have things with history that matter to me deeply, like this ceramic elephant that was in my grandparents' house my whole life (and much of my mom's).
Crazy enough my dad's parents had the exact same elephants, though my Grandpa Jim still has his in his apartment. Everytime I see him in my living room I smile.
And then we have new things that I feel like are so very "me" and "us" and yet they are things I would never have known to pick a few years ago. Like this serene and cozy master bedroom that makes me feel warm inside everytime I walk in.
And these vacation photos above a bench on our landing that bring me joy whenever I walk by.
Speaking of things that spark joy, I've been wearing Bonnie's amazing outfits to all the holiday parties and work events over the last few weeks. I think my favorite was the green plaid shorts ensemble that I wore to our litigation Christmas party, but I've loved them all and love that she gives me the confidence to wear them.
James had his big meet last weekend. The kids and I had planned to just hang out, but I was so inspired by seeing SIX! in early December that I got the girls hooked on the soundtrack and we were listening to it CONSTANTLY and I found myself searching for tickets online and found a set of four for last Saturday that were the very center of the 6th row and I couldn't resist. I called my mom and she was delighted to drive over to see it with us.
We parked in my building, walked to lunch, and were BLOWN AWAY by the show. I had just seen it and I was still caught up in every second. The girls LOVED IT. My mom LOVED IT. Everyone should see it as soon as possible- we're still listening to the soundtrack on our way to Houston. Meanwhile, Landon and my dad went to see the laser 3D extravaganza of Avatar 2 and they seemed very pleased and also full of snacks because that movie is 16 hours long.
James had a great meet. Not as amazing as he hoped, but he went a lifetime best in the 200 Breaststroke and qualified for US Senior Nationals for the first time since *2001*. It's so incredible and I'm so proud of him.
We went out to our very favorite Dallas restaurant to celebrate.
And obviously I wore The Shoes.
It was a delicious decadent meal and at one point I was just so struck by the fact that I was sitting across from this person I've been going on dates with for 21 years and 4 months and there are times I am still just full on giddy inside that he is mine.


And finally, in an abrupt change of topic, remember this baby from 15 years ago with his tiny vest and tiny shoes and dapper hat?
Well he and size 12 feet got a learner's permit this week and he is learning to OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE and what/how/who/why. I cannot.
Life comes at you damn fast. It's why you need things like Forced Family Fun Time and Magical Holiday Lock-Ins. Maggie hopes you have a WONDERFUL holiday season and that you are staying warm in this crazy weather. It "felt like -5" in Dallas yesterday and Maggie was wearing her Christmas sweater underneath a layer of fleece blankets I pulled out straight from the dryer to swaddle her.
Maggie loves you and I do too.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Catching Up to Christmas

Another accidental break from blogging. Life has been crazy (always?) and Milo sat on my computer and wouldn't let me type.
He's not at all sorry.

And that is all I typed 1 full week ago. I don't know. It's like life with a full-time job, new house, tons of travel, needy bulldog, two hungry (but dieting!) and cuddly cats, three kids with very active sports and social lives, and a husband you really like and want to soak up all the 1-on-1 time with you can possibly find makes it hard to sit down alone and type out a summary of your days. Weird.

I'm going to attempt a quick round-up of some highlights from the last 3 weeks before I need to go pick up Cora from basketball practice.

First up, as described in my last post, we drove to Colorado for Thanksgiving to see my sister and her sweet family and my parents!
It was wonderful.
Tiny cousins are the very best and my kids adore them.
My tiny nieces also adore Maggie who briefly became a mountain dog and loved it very much. Mostly the part where she stole my sister's dogs' beds by the fire and delicately snored all day.
There was a lot of reading and snuggling and playing and eating. We visited the llamas down the street, took walks in the snow, cooked up a storm, and played card games at night.
We ice skated and drank hot chocolate and loved being in/near the mountains.
It's rare for us to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal as we usually do some sort of international travel Thanksgiving week, but this meal was one of the best I've ever had. Deep fried turkeys for the win forever.
It was a wonderful stay, though unfortunately Landon had an accident on the trampoline and dislocated his kneecap. It popped back into place with a scream and his knee swelled up like a basketball. This was Wednesday night, possibly the worst night to be injured since we had a 4-day holiday weekend ahead, so we had him rest, ice (with snow in gallon ziploc bags), and take pain medicine until we could get in touch with an orthopedist. His dad and uncle helped carry him around the house and the drive home was probably good for his resting and he got to an orthopedist on Monday.

One x-ray and an MRI later and the doctor determined he did not need surgery, but absolutely would if he ever did it again. It's a 3-month recovery process, which would cover his whole Districts-Regionals-State end-of-season competitive swim calendar which is devastating, especially since he has a relay with 3 graduating seniors that just broke two school recoreds at their last meet and have really great prospects at State, but he's already working on PT and taking his taping and brace-wearing pretty seriously. The doctor thinks there's a chance he could compete.
Mostly we just yell at him to take it easy(er), slow down, and not do things like try to place basketball with his sister in the garage on a rainy Sunday.

In house projects, we continue to get furniture and schedule installations and various projects. A few recent ones:

New kitchen pendants (LOVE):
Installing a light I bought for Fort Worth but never got to use and re-purposing it for a little over-the-tub glam for my nightly bath.
Lights installed in my closet so I can see my clothes on the bottom shelves:
I've been wearing my outfits Bonnie put together for me to work and for various holiday events. Like this one:
And this festive ensemble for the Women in White Collar Defense gala in DC. That is a velvet blazer that my mom picked out on our last shopping trip and I LOVE it. I kept petting my arms all night.
The gala was a wonderful night full of amazing women of the law- Loretta Lynch was MC, Sally Yates was a past honoree, and they keynote was given by Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. I saw so many women I've gotten to know over the last ten months of my travels and still met many more.
My firm hosted a party the next night and I got to invite lots of people and we had a LOT of fun.
My the time I went to bed at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday night/Thursday morning I was hoarse, exhausted, and so very full of extrovert battery energy. And then I got to wake up and fly home to see my favorite people and take a walk along my new favorite lake.
After that trip I actually spent 6 consecutive nights in my new house, a new record since we moved in mid-October and I don't have any trips for the rest of the month! It's glorious. Every day I make James or the kids do some other house project that didn't yet get completed and I'm sure their love for me grows with every day I'm present to remind them to do things.

But it's working- rooms are increasingly settled, art work is increasingly hung, and the house is increasingly seamlessly functional. Sometimes I just sit in my new study and marvel at how perfect this house is for us. I love it so very much.

Oh! I almost forgot my other big new love - the musical SIX! Written by two women, performed by six women, with an all-female band up on stage with them, it's a play about Henry VIII's six wives and it is WONDERFUL. I went with a friend last week and loved every second so much I got the girls hooked on the soundtrack and have now purchased tickets for this Saturday's matinee to bring them to see it! And I got a ticket for my mom as a Christmas present and she's going to drive over! I'm so excited and so are the girls- we have great seats and we all know every word to every song.
My other recent highlight was our family lock-in I instituted this past Friday-Sunday. With lives as crazy as ours, and kids as social as ours (CLAIRE), we've really had to schedule our family traditions into the calendar in advance. This Friday was tree decorating (and homemade pizza, as always), Saturday was cookie baking, and Sunday was cookie decorating. Phones were taken, Christmas music was playing, movies were watched, and the AC was turned down so Christmas pajamas could be worn without sweating. It was so fun. We also cheered on Cora at her late night basketball game, went out for tacos, hung a million things throughout the house, cleaned someone's room (CLAIRE), hung curtains, did laundry, and ate a lot of icing. Pictures to come in the next post- it was sugary and magical and everything a family Christmas lock-in should be.