Thursday, October 27, 2022


Last week is (was?) a blur. On Monday we had moving vans and a million boxes deposited throughout the house; on Tuesday it was James's birthday and I had a million calls at work; on Wednesday I went to Houston for the day to present at an ESG client event; on Thursday I was back in Dallas for work and Landon's swim meet that night; and on Friday I was BACK in Houston for the day to speak on an SEC CLE panel while our kids had sixteen things on their social calendars. Throughout all of this we were getting the kids off to school in the mornings, home in the afternoons, and unpacking unpacking UNPACKING any minute we could.
It was a lot.
My speaking engagements went well and Landon had a great meet, even if we didn't get back home to eat dinner until 10 pm (sorry girls; #swimfamilylife). It was at Loos Pool where I swam my first TAGS (Texas Age Group State meet) in approximately 1994. It's funny having a kid do a sport that brings back so many memories. I only played soccer for one season when I was 4 in California. I have zero memories of it but by all accounts I was a disaster, so the girls sportiness is all new for me. But with Landon, any pool is home to me (and some really weree). I always check the records boards to see if my best time would have the 100 breaststroke record (sometimes!) and look at the deck and think of me sitting with my team. It brings me a lot of joy to see my kid loving something that brings me such happy memories.
On Friday James and I were supposed to go out to celebrate his birthday, but Claire was babysitting, Landon had swim practice, and Cora had a soccer scrimmage and I guess we forgot that none of them can drive, so we canceled our reservation and separately drove our kids around Dallas instead. So, almost as fun as sharing an amazing meal together.
On Saturday there was an 8 a.m. soccer game for Cora followed more unpacking. The un-fun kind, like the boxes full of random things you weren't sure what to do with at the old house and don't know what to do with at the new house but they're things you occasionally need. And all the garage stuff. And the closets and office and game room. My family was warned: if I see you sitting and not unpacking, you will be yelled at. And they were. And we finished! By dinnertime! And it felt amazing! Besides, we still don't have a TV so why not spend all your free time lugging random items up and down stairs?
And on Sunday morning, when we all slept in and woke up to a fully unnpacked and settled house, it was all worth it. I came downstairs and made tea, with an old mug from my new shelf and new tea in my old tea container.

I opened windows. Sat outside in our screened-in porch. Breathed the cool air and just felt at home.

Kids and a husband came down the stairs at their own pace. Maggie's outfits were unearthed and a fashion show commenced.
We got out the bikes and scooters and the bulldog stroller that had all been in storage for months and went on a walk.
We live a few houses down from the most beautiful lake full of parks and trails.
And we were on a family walk - something previously so integral to our existence and completely abandoned in the last many months of extreme heat, no toys, and a small busy rental street.
We walked and chatted and played and Maggie and I smiled our way through it all.
That evening we cooked and grilled a big wonderful meal in our kitchen. James and the kids played soccer in the backyard.
I made a birthday cake to belatedly properly celebrate James turning 41.
It was a beautiful night, our screened-in porch was the perfect temperature and I felt like my whole body slowed down and took a breath.
I was home. And right now I feel like I just want to be home, in this space, as much as humanly possible. I have missed having a nest more than I can possibly describe and my soul is more settled now that I have one again.
Moving is hard. Moving after 10 years of building a community is really hard. Making new friends, finding new rhythms, and watching the kids do the same... There are times it's just really hard.
But each morning this week I have woken up and walked on the lake path with my bulldog in her chariot. I listen to my We Can Do Hard Things podcast and reflect on how insanely lucky I am to get to start my day like this, watching the sun rise over a lake near my house.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Two Moves, Two Trucks, and 10,000 Boxes

So, we moved!
It was... a lot. Even though we lived in a furnished rental house, it turns out you still use QUITE a lot of your own things over 6 months in someone else's rental. Bedrooms, closets, bathrooms, the play area, office area, pantry items, fridge food, random stuff we added to the kitchen over time from our own boxes of kitchen stuff... it was a lot to pack up and move. But pack up and move we did, filling boxes and carting them over to the new house, and then doing it again over and over again. Luckily the rental house and forever house are only a few streets apart.

And the forever house... it is so beautiful. So perfect and welcoming and everything I would have ever wanted in a house I built myself but didn't have to. I cried when I walked through it the first time on Thursday morning. We're going to make such a wonderful life here.
Speaking of dreams for the future, these were literally the first two things I unpacked from my car and set up.
The kids were in school, so I fielded work calls on my laptop using my phone as a hotspot in between James making runs to load up more boxes. We slept at the rental house because we didn't have mattresses yet (or any other furniture), but everyone was so excited to officially move in the next day assuming our mattresses came on time!
On Friday the kids were off school, so we spent the day going between the two houses gathering the remaining items at the rental. The kids worked so hard- loading and unloading, filling closets and drawers and bringing me whatever random thing I yelled for in some other corner of the house. AT&T came and we got internet. Our contractor came by to talk over our few small projects (mostly painting + 1 built-in). Our pool contractor came by for the final permit sign-offs. We packed and unpacked and organized our little hearts out. The mattresses were delivered. I went to Target for more organizer bins and a few other small things and set my phone on the little ledge built into the shopping cart. I turned away to look at something important like sink mats and when I turned back my phone was gone. I used Claire's phone to try the Find My iPhone app but my phone was already offline. We drove straight to the AT&T store so they could blacklist my stolen phone and I could get a new one, but it took hours, I lost all my data from the last two days, it will make our phone bill monstrous again, and it was just kind of jarring. It's Target. It's full of rainbows and happiness and only good things should happen there.

James came to the AT&T store to grab Cora to take her to soccer and then Claire and I finally got to leave too, new unwanted lavender iPhone 14 in my hand. We got back to the new house to unload the things we got at Target and try to connect my new phone to the cloud to download all my saved items and everyone was getting tired of me telling them more things to do and we finally finished up unloading the last box and drove BACK to the rental to order some pizza and dinner because the one thing we didn't yet have in the new house was any sort of dishes or silverware or kitchen items of any kind. It was 7:30 p.m. and when we opened the door we noticed Milo didn't come to greet us. He ALWAYS greets us at the door. I have come home from business trips at 2 and 3 in the morning and he immediately comes to greet me. We called his name. We searched. We searched more. We found Moose who looked wide eyed and concerned and we came to the stomach-sinking realization that Milo was gone.

We thought back on the day of opening and closing the door a million times and realized the last time anyone had seen him was early in the morning. It had been at least 10 hours of him being outside and it was now full dark, at a rental house we were no longer going to be living in, with at least three feral cats prowling the area, next to a very busy street, on a steep hill down to a creek with one billion trees and bushes. It was awful. We all got flashlights and started walking around the yards, combing through the brush, calling his name, shaking his food, and knocking on neighbor's doors. Cora was crying, Claire was crying, I was crying, and I'm pretty sure our men were crying. I was getting so scared for him and trying to act like everything would be fine. We looked for over an hour when we realized we really should eat something. James ordered pizza while Claire and Cora sat on the couch with me and sobbed. We went out to look some more. James went to pick up the pizza. Landon went into the back yard one more time to climb under the deck and look again. He saw shiny eyes. ... and it was a possum. He looked under another deck and saw shiny eyes. ... and it was a Milo!!
There was a loud shout of joy. Landon walked in triumphantly holding a thoroughly freaked out Milo with big eyes and puffy fur wrapped around Landon's neck like WTF YOU GUYS IT'S SO SCARY OUT THERE.

We must have walked right over him on the deck and right next to him in the brush at least a dozen times and he never made a sound. When James got home with the pizza everyone was crying again, but now they were happy tears. Milo was totally fine with being sobbed over and then Moose licked him thoroughly to get the outside smell off. At no point did Maggie have any idea what was going on.

Relieved, exhausted, and suddenly starving, we ate our pizza and packed up all the pets to head to the forever house for our first night there. We fell asleep on our mattresses on the floor, secure in knowing we had each other and we had our furry friends, and looked forward to a brighter morning.

Except Moose who would like to formally say WTF with this moving of houses. He was just starting to relax in the rental house and now he has to be on high-alert again.
But oh how bright the morning was. I had my tea. I sat on the floor of my empty house sipping my tea and letting my mind wander. I simply can't wait to settle in and continue buliding our life here.
We continued unpacking- now more focused on organizing the bathrooms and closets. I went to The Container Store twice and won the grown-up tetris game of finding the perfect organizers for our weirdly large kitchen cabinets. James and Landon had swimming. I have no idea what we ate or where, but I know I cleaned out 8 bins of bathroom stuff and my drawers are beautiful.
Maggie would like to interrupt and say she likes the new house very much but would like it more if I would please stop going up and down the stairs so much.
(Seriously. Mom. It is a MOUNTAIN.)
Sunday was the same except this time it rained a bit and we ran more errands. The Container Store, again, Marshall's, Target, again, Homegoods, TJ Maxx, etc. We made baked potatoes for dinner because we still didn't have any cooking or baking tools and ate on the floor like a picnic. Milo was thrilled with the fluffy blankets as furniture situation.
And then Monday. We successfully got the kids off to school and at 8:30 the movers were at our storage unit, ready to load the trucks. I'd sort of convinced myself there wasn't much left to unpack- we'd sold so much furniture before we moved and used a lot of our daily stuff in the rental, but no. We had 1.5 truck loads.
At least 40 boxes were for the kitchen: plates, bowls, utensils, pans, pots, baking trays, specialty baking items, measuring cups, mixing bowls, waffle makers, a crock pot, SO MANY KITCHEN THINGS and I have missed every single one of them so much. I unpacked like a machine, directing movers to various rooms and unpacking unpacking unpacking. The garage is now full of random things. The upstairs is full of random things- the kind of bins I haven't missed in the 8 months since I packed them but we need to find a home for anyway: my wedding dress, James's UT swimming stuff, the kids' memory bins, holiday decor, etc.

Pretty sure a Landon is inside that box

A certain someone was banished to his cat carrier the minute the movers arrived since doors would be open all day. He howled for hours, but fresh and painful memories of sobbing children searching through bushes with flashlights kept me unmoved by his cries.
By the afternoon I'd finished the kitchen completely. By dinnertime the kids were home and I'd finished the living room, dining room, our master closet, and most of the game room. James made dinner (with our pots! our beautiful pots and dishes and utensils!) and I got the kids moving a whole lot faster on their closets. We don't have any bedroom furniture yet, but the kids have their old dressers and big closets so pretty much everything got put away. James and I have a line of 7 different little plastic drawer sets we accumulated throughout the years (I think I got two of them in high school) with all of our folded clothes. It works and we'll order new furniture soon. In the meantime we have this adorable little putting green for Maggie to patrol.
We ate, our first meal at a table in our new house, and it was so wonderful. I took my bath in my beautiful tub, with my bath tray that my sister-in-law got me for Christmas that I brought with us to the rental house and now here, and my swollen sore feet sighed in relief. I'm not sure I ever sat down yesterday.
Today I got ready in my beautiful closet with all my work clothes and shoes finally reunited together. Everything I wore today had been packed up since we staged the Fort Worth house in April. It's like getting a free shopping spree and I'm so excited for fall.

It's also James's birthday! It's a crazy week between the move and me traveling to Houston for work on both Wednesday and Friday (and spending Thursday back here in Dallas because Landon has a high school swim meet that night), but we managed a few gifts, a dinosaur birthday tablecloth, and a dinner of pancakes because that is exactly what he wanted.
41 years old and I've been with him for 22 of them. Here's to so many more!

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Day in the Life

Monday, October 3rd
5:15 am: Alarm goes off. I get up, put on workout clothes, and go out to the living room to chat with Landon who is packing his lunch and getting ready for swim practice. I try not to make eye contact with Maggie because it is too early for her to eat breakfast and she'll forget she ate it when Cora comes out 1.5 hours later.

5:45 am: Leave for Sculpthouse just as Landon's ride (a junior fellow swimmer) pulls up in front of the house.

6:00 am - 7:00 am: Workout! Hate how early it is, love how it makes me feel when I'm done.

7:15 am: Back home. Everyone is up and getting ready for school. I do Cora's hair (two braids that combine in the back; her very favorite and the upper limit of my capabilities) and chat with Claire who always has MUCH to tell me. Contemplate a shower. Decide dry shampoo and a blow dryer will do the trick. Wash face. Get dressed, do makeup, periodically chat with both girls and James who pass through my bathroom throughout.

7:40 am: James takes Cora to school.

8:00 am: Claire gets picked up by a friend for school.

8:05 am: I leave for work, listening to the NRP Up First podcast and whatever songs Claire has recently put on my "liked" list o the drive.

8:17 am: Park in my spot in the garage and head up.

8:20 am: Plug my laptop into its docking station, go make my tea with the fancy tea bags I bring from home because I am a tea snob; pause to admire my pretty office is and how happy and calm it makes me feel. Call out hellos to anyone else already in. Take a picture of my new bootcut jeans, boots, and sweater vest to send my mom and sister because that's a thing I do when I wear new clothes I like.
8:30 am - 6:00 pm: Work!
-Answer emails, be on calls, talk to associates, talk to my partners, read things, write things, etc.
- I have a lunch scheduled almost every day - whether a firm training or meeting, a video CLE, lunch with a contact, lunch with a client, a mentoring lunch with an associate, etc. It's an active and useful hour.
-At some point during the morning I remember to email Becca about certain one-off tasks for this week, like steaming the new black pants I bought on Sunday, dropping off a broken necklace at the jeweler to be fixed, and paying a stack of medical bills I left on the table (she has her own credit card on our account), and to note any unusual aspects to the week that might affect meal planning, like Landon having a swim meet Tuesday night so we'll eat dinner super late and need something that can be served cold or is in the crockpot.
-James picks up the kids from school at their various times (3:10, 3:55, 4:35) and takes Landon to swimming straight from school. Landon has a ride home from a teammate. Cora has a ride to soccer practice from a friend who lives nearby. Claire would normally be at cross country, but her stress fracture means she isn't going right now. Generally, Mondays are crazy.

6:10 pm: Pack up my laptop and whatever papers I think I'll read that night but maybe won't, and head back down to my car to go home.

6:30 pm: Except not really, first I pick up Cora and friend at soccer practice at a nearby elementary school! Drop the friend off.

6:50 pm: Home! Becca has dinner simmering (Sesame Apricot Tofu, Brown Rice, Roasted Vegetables) and is heading out (she arrived later that particular day, usually she leaves before 5).

6:50 pm - 7:15 pm: Catch up with the girls, sign Cora's homework planner, chat with James, pet all the pets, make sure Cora fed Maggie dinner.

7:15 pm: Landon gets home for the first time since 5:45 am! We are all sitting at the dinner table, dished up, and ready. We eat, chat, and call my Grandpa to tell him about our days and hear about his. James started this tradition when my grandma went to memory care and he got worried about my grandpa being lonely.

7:45 pm - 8:00 pm: Finish dinner. James and I usually stay at the table and chat for a bit while Cora clears the table, Landon does the dishes, and Claire wipes the table (she also empties the dishwasher each morning). Cora takes her shower after she clears the table, I usually go take my bath, Claire takes her shower if she didn't that morning, and Landon takes forever doing the dishes because he keeps getting distracted by cats and suddenly needing to tell James or me important things like, "did you know Nike is going to put out a new signature shoe that's worth $1 million dollars?" or "do you think I can get this specific kind of new racing goggles before February?"

8:30 pm: We are herding the smallest child towards bed.

9:00 pm: The smallest child is now in bed. The middle child is now being herded towards the same. (Despite having four bedrooms in this rental house, the girls sleep together in Cora's bed every night. We'll see what happens in the new one.)

9:00 pm - 9:30 pm: Ah, we've arrived at my 30 minutes of me time. If I'm not logged back into work, this is when, Landon, James, and I watch our 30 minutes of Rings of Power, which is the most we can fit in between the girls going to bed and us needing to go to bed. It's going to take us years to finish this series, but we're really enjoying it!

9:30 pm: Bedtime for the big people because we wake up too dang early. I take Maggie out to go potty, James makes sure everything is off and locked. Landon goes to bed and we go to bed, opening the girls door on the way so the cats can go cuddle with them (we have to close it during the show because all bedrooms in the rental house open off the living room). I usually read on my kindle app for another 30 minutes or so.

10:00 pm: I realize I really do need to finish reading a certain document before morning because I have an 8 am client call and won't have time between my 6 am workout and getting to the office to read it.

10:45 pm: Document read, I now officially go to bed.

11-something pm: I fall asleep.

Repeat the next day when my alarm goes off at 5:15 a.m.

Tuesday changes:
- After school: Cora doesn't have soccer, Claire has counseling, Landon has a swim meet. Landon went to the meet straight from school. Cora and James went to the meet at 6:30. I got home in time to take Claire to her appointment, then I dropped her at home because she had a headache before driving myself to the swim meet, just missing Landon's first event. But he got a best time in the 100 fly and I got to see that!
- The four of us get home at 8:45 to eat a late dinner. Claire was feeling better and we all ate together before shuffling everyone off to bed, including ourselves.
Wednesday changes:
- My alarm goes off at 4:30 am to take a 7 a.m. flight to Houston for a day of on-site work for a client; flight home is at 8 pm. I watch the sun rise and set out the airplane windows.
- James has the kids handled (just swim practice and school pick ups today!).
- Becca stays in Fort Worth on Wednesdays and prepared a cold salad for dinner when she was at the rental house on Tuesday.
- I get home at 10 p.m., on calls from the minute I left the airport until I pulled into our driveway, and damn was that a long day.
Thursday changes:
- I canceled my 6 am workout which made me sad but also felt very necessary.
- James gets up with our swimmer; I get up at 6:30. I work from home until we drive north to sign the papers for our pool project that will start after we move into our forever house. I'm on calls the whole way there and back, which makes for a fun drive for James.
- I go to work and squeeze in a dental appointment in the afternoon. We're finally getting established at the various doctors we need in our new city.
- James picks up the kids; Claire has choir practice after school, but Landon has a ride to and from swimming which helps.
- I have a partner meeting and happy hour at the Dallas office at 5:30, but get home in time for a family dinner. I have calls at 8:30 and 9, and then, despite having a lot still to do, I went to bed at 10 because, tired.
Friday changes:
- The kids have off school! Everyone is so excited to sleep in.
- Except me when my alarm goes off at 6:30 because I need to leave the house at 7:30 for the VERY important AlixPartners Chili Challenge. I am V&E's team captain this year and we took it very seriously with recipe R&D, swag, decor, and theme. Which is good because it was an amazing and huge event with 35 teams, 600 guests, live band, and open bars everywhere with giant mugs made out of solid ice.
- I got my team of associates cooking (we modified this awesome recipe for the "alternative chili" category) and then took an hour-long video call at 9:30 from the backseat of my car in the parking lot.
- Done with the call, I treat myself to one glass mug beer, for the novelty, and then switch to tonic water and lime. We market the crap out of our amazing chicken queso chili and fresh fried corn fritters, meet Chef Dean Fearing and make up a story about the history of our chili, and then scream and cheer with when we win the firm's first-ever chili challenge award and go up on stage to accept it!
- Then drove straight back to the office for a long call at 2, Claire texts me five times to ask when I'm coming home, and I arrive there at 6. James and Landon have gone to watch a men's college swim meet at SMU and the girls and I sit on the couch and watch TV until they get home with pizza I ordered because I am DONE.

And that's the week! The kids also have off school next Friday (these are Texas State Fair days, which are a thing, I guess), but it works out well because we get access to our house on Thursday and can do some moving of All The Things from the rental house to the forever one before the movers come to move everything over from storage on Monday. I CANNOT WAIT. We saw the house briefly in July before it was listed, closed on the sale in August, and it's hard to believe we'll actually finally get to live in it soon. Literally counting down the hours... Even looking around at all the boxes and stuff and things we have here after 5 months in the rental house and knowing we have to move it all again, AND knowing how much is in storage that will need to be unpacked and sorted can't dim my joy.

Oy, and that goes waaaaay up to the ceiling

One week from today, and we'll be sleeping on mattresses on the floor of our forever house! Hopefully sleeping well because 5:15 comes early each day...

Saturday, October 1, 2022

It's October!

Happy October! It's finally below 100, I have the sliding door open in the rental, and I'm trying to get a post down before Claire and I leave to watch Landon's first high school swim meet! Because yes, somehow I do have a high schooler and I know from my 5 a.m. wake up calls the last two weeks that he does swim!

He also went to the Homecoming Dance last weekend! He looked so handsome in his new suit and the very snazzy shirt he picked out himself (the theme was Viva Las Vegas). He did not have a date- the girl he finally worked up the nerve to ask had obtained a boyfriend in the week he delayed, but has vowed next year to ask early, which is HUGE progress from the "of course I'm NOT going to Homecoming" place we started at this year.
He went to dinner with a group, took pictures with the big group of 9th graders, and hung out with swimmers and had a really good time. He's finding his people.
And I got to spend time with my favorite middle child while we waited to pick him up from the after party.
Which he asked to be picked up from 10 minutes after arriving because my sweet introvert was socialized out. He took a stack of waffles and fried chicken to go.
We went to the homecoming game the night before and that was great fun. The stands were packed, they won the game, and both big kids ran off with friends within 5 minutes of our arrival. It was perfect.
We took a sleepy Cora home at halftime, Claire came home at 10 and Landon just before midnight. Big kids are exhausting but this is a very fun phase of life.
I've been getting up with Landon at 5:15 a.m. and then going to a 6 a.m. workout class while he heads off to practice. Might as well use this extra 90 minutes my swimmer has gifted me. The instructor didn't show for this Thursday's class, which was a HUGE bummer at 6:01 a.m. and by the time I'd gotten home I'd thought of too much work I had to do to put myself through a home workout, so off to the office I went, watching the world wake up out my 38th floor window.
Also in the last two weeks I cut many inches off my hair, re-learned how to use my vagina curler, did a PLI presentation from my office to 300+ people and wore a bright pink shirt to match my art behind me.
With sneakers and jeans because it was by Zoom, and I was flying to Houston immediately afterward for an in-person presentation the next day.
I stayed at The Post Oak in Houston and took a client out to dinner (one I met through the first investigation I conducted at the SEC, you never know where the threads you weave in life will take you!). I had the most gorgeous room and was obsessed with the chandalier in the lobby.
My room was all automated, I could open the curtains from my bed and adjust the lighting. The TV rose out of the console between the bed and sitting area with a push of a button. There was a gorgeous closet and bar and work space. But I think the bathroom (and tub with TV) was my favorite part. It was sad to only have 10 hours there, particularly since I spent most of them sleeping. I do love a good hotel room.
I went to Fort Worth for the first time since June to speak at Texas A&M Law School and meet up with my mamas for happy hour. It was SO great to see them. Fort Worth is so close, but an hour away might as well be another state with the day-to-day of working, kids, activities, and travel. Cora's had soccer games (she scored two goals!), Claire is trying to get her ankle fixed before soccer starts, and Landon has swimming all the dang time (as does James). I love being busy because it's making the cut down to finally moving into our house go faster. Not sure if I've mentioned this, but I am SO OVER the rental. Living out of boxes with an undecorated house hurts my soul.
We're working with a designer since we need so much furniture in the new place. We had our first presentation and it was so fun. She's made idea boards for each room. This is Claire's.
Since I can't yet decorate a house, I've been decorating myself with my fall haul I linked to in the last post. I'm obsessed with the vegan leather pants and got so many compliments on them!
And yesterday I got to break out my flare jeans and fall floral and it made me so happy.
The top matched perfectly with my Grandma Jo's birthstone ring and wearing that makes me happy too.
James and Cora are off on an elementary school campout for the weekend. It's part James's worst nightmare and Cora's greatest dream, so if you average that together it should be a great weekend.
Alright I'm off to walk a bulldog and then head to a swim meet. All I can really think about is the fact that we have 12 more days until we get to move into our forever home! 12 more days!! I really really cannot wait.