Sunday, June 25, 2023

Pedicure Posting

Coming in hot (literally, we've already had a "feels like 118" and it's freaking June) while getting a pedicure! James was on the phone with a swim client, Claire has a friend over, Landon is unpacking from swim camp, and Cora is at a movie with a friend, so I decided I could disappear for an hour. Then I'm going home and making this for dinner because it just popped back into my memory yesterday and now I'm craving it. James does 99% of the cooking, so when I volunteer it's always something a little less healthy and a little more carby and cheesy than his (also delicious!) suggestions.
Does anyone take their cat on car rides? Milo really enjoys it.

The last week felt approximately 87 days long. Not in a bad way, just in a I'm very tired way.
On Sunday, Landon left for UT Longhorn swim camp in Austin. He drove over with his two best friends who were also his roomates. They live a ways west of Fort Worth which means we moved significantly further away from them, so he welcomes any extra time he can get with them. He packed everything for 8 days away in a backpack and was off without further ado. Quite the opposite of the intricate toiletries packing chart Claire has already made for Italy.

Three days in and we'd not heard a word from him until he texted to ask if I'd pre-ordered him a pizza for one night. Apparently I had not, so he wanted to door dash one, but I told him he couldn't until I got words and pictures that provided proof of life and some insight into his life away from us. I got this.
So obviously he wasn't getting nearly enough food and really needed that additional pizza (that he did order and I'm sure ate all of).

We missed Landon- I don't want to even talk about the fact he's going to college in 3 years- but Moose missed him most. Moose sleeps with Landon every night and with his human boy missing, he had to slum it with the rest of us. You can tell he was super excited about it.
On Monday night Cora had her first swim meet with a new team she decided to join. She's been talking about getting back into swimming, but since she already had soccer and gymnastics we couldn't fit it in. She recently decided to drop gymnastics for swimming and her dad is THRILLED. The outdoor meets have me slightly less excited, but she is a strong and beautiful swimmer and I'm delighted to get to watch her compete again.
On Tuesday night I hosted a dinner at our house for all our female litigation attorneys in Dallas and any female summer associate rotating through litigation. Even after applying those limiting factors we had 26 women over!
Luckily it turns out I can seat all of those people with tables and chairs we already own in our indoor dining area! It took us a minute to figure out how to work the extension of our dining table (which seats 12!) but we got it moments before our guests were due to arrive.
I had fajitas catered and the girls gave tours of their rooms. James said hello to everyone and escaped to watch a movie in the gameroom with the girls. Maggie partied hard, Milo tried to join the meal, and Moose hid until the house was empty again. Claire bonded with all the summers who I just realized are significantly closer in age to her than me, and wow is that a little painful, but I got lots of emails the next day mentioning how much they enjoyed her.
It was so fun. Our house is so perfect for casual get togethers (we don't have and didn't want a formal dining room- this was the only house we saw that didn't have one) and I enjoyed every minute. Our attorneys and summer associates seemed to too.
(That was during clean up after everyone left!)

On Wednesday I flew to Houston for a white collar meeting and business development dinner. I tapped out at midnight, after consuming only water after 10 pm and was still wiped out the next morning. My colleagues wrapped it up in the very wee hours of the morning and it turns out, when we're talking mid-week at 3 a.m., I do not have any FOMO.
On Thursday I had two presentations in the office in the morning and then flew back to Dallas on the worst short flight ever. The a/c was intermittent and we had delays at the beginning and end of our journey, so the usual 45 minute flight was 3 hours of sweating in a stuffy fully packed plane. But I made it home! And I do love our Houston office. We have the top several floors in a gorgeous new building and the internal staircase in our penthouse lobby knocks me out every time.
Friday was our office Casino Night for the summer recruiting program. I'm in a "buy nothing new" month so I wore my beloved rainbow butterfly dress that my mom bought me for my birthday in February 2020. James wore his only suit and played poker for 3 hours. I broke even at roulette and black jack - turns out even when playing with fake money I'm too risk averse to enjoy better anything more than the minimum. Gambling is just flatly not my thing. But it was fun and we were back home at 11 (turns out some sub groups were out until 3, y'all I just cannot).
Yesterday I went to yoga and pilates, took an accidental nap, and was looking forward to an early bedtime and solid night's sleep when Claire called sobbing from a friend's house. She'd gotten her cast wet in the pool earlier in the day (wetter than I understood at the time, she was supposed to be on the steps and had a bag taped around it) and now her skin was on fire. We ended up in the emergency room where she had hard cast #2 cut off and general cast #4 applied until she can get to the orthopedist tomorrow for hard cast #3. It was not great. Turns out, chlorinated water is the worst possible thing to get wet in a cast because the chemicals get trapped under the fiberglass and basically begin to eat the skin. So now she's not even allowed to look at the pool and it's going to be a long hot summer (one of the actual high temps for next week is 109. What in the actual fuck why do I live here I hate it.)
We got home a little after midnight. Landon got home this afternoon- the cats got first hugs- and then it's family dinner tonight and an early bedtime. At least for me since I'm trying to make 6 am yoga happen. So far I've gone to 45 classes in the last 38 days and I"m super proud of it. (I do doubles on the weekends because I like getting the yoga and pilates and it's too hot to do anything fun anyway.) Sadly my scale and measurements haven't changed a bit, but I do feel a lot stronger and more flexible throughout my body and that matters too.
(That's my post-hot-pilates hairdo that I wore to a recruiting dinner when I squeezed in a class before a late reservation. I'm really trying!)

And that's a wrap! My toes are done, my family is probably hungry, and I got a post in! I will leave you with this surprising picture of our two cats maybe cuddling? Or maybe just unwilling to give up their spot on their favorite cat tree. Don't they look comfortable? I think poor Moose was just desperate for companionship with Landon gone.
Have a great last week in June!

Saturday, June 17, 2023

More Updates! House, Clothes, Claire, and more

Currently sitting in the stands at a swim meet to watch Landon swim finals in the 100 free and 100 fly. It's hot and stuffy, as it always is in natatoriums, and spectating a meet is significantly more boring than swimming in one, but we're glad to be here to cheer on our Lanman in his last meet of the season (unless he qualifies for Long Course Sectionals, which is a long shot for this summer). On the upside, I have an hour until the meet starts and a fully charged laptop, so a blog post is happening! As I sweat through my light summer clothes and Claire gives me a massage and reads what I write over my shoulder.

(Hi Claire.)
(Claire broke her arm this week, which was a BUMMER. She's feeling comfortable now and we're all really really hoping the cast is off before we leave for Italy.)

I have some backlogged photos of the house. Like our gameroom that we finally finished!
This is one of my very favorite rooms in the house.
I adore the giant windows. The big space, the closet, the built-in hutch, the beverage fridge, the location over the garage, and most of all - the door that closes it off to the rest of the house.
We had a handyman build in the bookcase and I adore it. It fits perfectly in the funky angles of the back corner of the room, fits ALL our kid/teen books, and holds all the art stuff and most of the legos in the bottom. We painted both the bookcase and the built-in hutch navy blue and it's perfect.
We hang out up here as a family for ping pong tournaments, Lego building, and video game playing. The kids hang out there whenever they have a friend over and they usually sleep there when a friend stays the night. That giant coral velvet couch can comfortably fit two gangly teenage boys across it.
And it gave us a home for some of my favorite photos of the kids through the years and our national park pin map.
It's a happy space and one I think will be increasingly useful as the kids continue to grow.

In other design news, Bonnie came over for my summer styling appointment! And this time, in addition to making some great summer work outfits, she made me a travel capsule wardrobe for Italy!
We'll be gone for 11 days in 3 cities and she made me 19 potential outfits out of 20 individual items that will all fit in my carry-on suitcase and nothing has to be re-worn but it all could be.
She took pictures of the accessories, shorts, hanging items, and shoes she used, and I am obsessed. For the first time I will not get to my packing last after I've dealt with everyone else and instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour I end up yelling into my empty closet that no one helps me. This is so much better!
We're so excited for our trip. We leave a month from tomorrow and I love knowing I'm all set - no more aimlessly perusing the internet for things I could wear on vacation. I already have clothes. I can wear them on vacation. And I'm not messing with Bonnie's packing plan.
We celebrated Father's Day last weekend because of the swim meet this weekend. (Update: they're on the 200 back. Long course meets take forever. James just leaned over and said "I wish I was swimming tonight" and I have literally never once thought that while watching a swim meet. He swims again tomorrow. I'll be going to hot yoga twice. We'll both love it.)
We went to a new brunch place because there's nothing James loves more than brunch and a new restaurant.
It was DELICIOUS and the in-restaurant bakery you can peruse while you wait for your table was pure flaky pastry heaven.
For his gifts he got more shorts, shirts, and shoes that he likes, which are more of a gift for me because he absolutely never buys anything and doesn't care when the things he wears are literally falling apart. It's not that he won't go shopping for himself, it's that he's never looked at what he's wearing and thought he needed to. He also hates spending money on himself for anything he feels is frivolous, so I make things like workout shorts his gifts and sneak into his drawers when he's away to donate the old stuff I think he thinks is still waiting for him at the bottom of the drawer somewhere. It works.
I gave James a card many years ago that said, "The only thing better than having you as my husband is our kids having you as their dad." It remains the best, most perfect card I've ever found. After our brunch he spent an hour in the backyard working with Claire and Cora on their soccer, coaching Landon in the pool, and generally keeping all the kids active and busy and having fun. I read a book in the shade and cheered.
Tomorrow after the meet Landon heads to UT Longhorn Swim Camp in Austin for the week, which means I can watch a chick flick with the girls every night after work. Except not really, because on Tuesday I'm hosting a dinner party for attorneys and summer associates in my section at the house and on Wednesday and Thursday I'll be in Houston.
It's approximately one hundred million degrees outside already, but I've been to hot yoga every single day for nearly 3 weeks. It genuinely annoys me how good it feels when I make time to workout again because it means everything I tell myself when I don't go is a lie. But I also think I already know that while I'm doing it. Anyway, I feel amazing and strong right now and that's my favorite feeling.
And Maggie says it's okay to take breaks for a few weeks or maybe even a whole year. She still loves me and she loves all of you, Happy Saturday! May we get to the 100 fly sometime within the next 3 hours...

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Updates in June

Where to even begin?
We had the last day of school on May 26 and we are so proud of our upcoming 4th, 8th, and 10th graders! It was a tough year in a lot of ways - a year that began in a rental house we hated, with all of their things packed away for months, not knowing a soul, and dropping them off in front of three new school buildings. I would very much like to never do that again. But they made it! And they grew (literally and figuratively) and made friends and learned things and now we are ready for a very different summer from the last one.
And it already is. Cora just finished a week of SMU soccer camp, which she loved, and two of her soccer teammates were with her. She's had playdates and a sleepover and a birthday party this afternoon.
We went to her end-of-year awards ceremony- our first elementary school awards ceremony not held at our sweet Fort Worth Elementary School- and it was a sharp jolt of how much has changed in a year. But it was also a reminder of all that's the same- the loving messages from teachers, the awards, the smiling kids, the earnestness and adorable nature of the whole event... we only have two of these left in our personal parenting run and we're soaking it all up.
Each student had written down what they wanted to be when they grew up and Cora's was "animal helper." We asked her about it later and she explained she didn't want to be a veterinarian anymore because they mostly help domestic animals. She wants to help endangered animals in the wild - probably lions, maybe elephants - and study and save them. She's been on a 6-month documentary kick and knows more about wild animal conservation than the rest of us combined times ten. I usually can't watch them with her - they're too gritty and real and animals die so often (I'm the person who only reads paranormal romance books because I like my entertainment to be as far from reality as possible), but she mourns each setback and celebrates each victory and spends much of dinner telling us what she's taken away from each one and how they'll help her when she is a grownup working in the wild.
She is all heart with a big creative brain and fast legs and strong arms and we love her so much. (And not just because she's the only one left who thinks hanging out with James and me is still fun and cool.)
Claire turned 13 last weekend, had her birthday party on the last day of school, and is now an incoming 8th grader.
She has grown so much this year, worked so hard, and been so vulnerable and strong throughout it all.
Her birthday party was a big hit- after starting school not knowing anyone, she has a great group of friends I am so very grateful for.
She is the thirteeniest of thirteen year olds which seems to mean we vacillate from clingy and affectionate to arguing about ever having to come home from friends' houses at all. We're navigating it- as with much in life, the podcasts of Glennon Doyle and Jen Hatmaker are seeing me through, and while there are times I find it frustrating that teenage brains aren't fully developed, in truth, I mostly feel such deep empathy for this age. It is hard. It is hard and big and overwhelming and also still small with room for mistakes, and our job is to help her navigate through each learning experience- because that's what each mistake is- to become stronger and better and truer to herself. It's a lot and it's an honor and man do we love this little bear so very much.
Landon is now a sophomore in high school.
He has a letter jacket, a small group of friends, and a growing swim lesson and sports card resale businesses.
He likes to chat, often in odd positions and at inconvenient times, but chat he does. He pretends to hate Forced Family Fun Time and has recently had the opportunity to learn what a hex wrench is by putting together a large amount of patio and outdoor furniture. The strangled scream he let out when he realized one box was made up entirely of the parts he'd need to assemble the other boxes will forever live in my memory and make me smile.
He turns 16 in 5 weeks and we are all SO READY for him to transport himself to and from swim practice. He is doing great with his driving practice and drove James and I to Waxahachie, Texas, an hour away with many a highway change, to go pick up his new car.
It's a 2017 Ford Escape with one elderly owner who took perfect care of it. He drove me home in it and I think they're going to be very happy together.
At 15.9, Landon is a mix of pre-adult, post-kid, hilarious, smart, loving, annoying, and at times simply breathtakingly dumb. It's like at times his brain is so focused on physical growth that the thinking part blinks offline for a bit. And yet he remains a straight-A student in very hard classes with no help or parental interaction. He has absolutely no idea what he wants to be when he grows up, except that he would like it to be someone who makes money, and he would like it to take as little effort as possible. He wants to swim in college, preferably at UT, but the school is negotiable as long as he gets to swim. He remains a friend of babies and small animals and whatever he ends up doing in life, he will likely be accompanied by many pets and children.
James continues to train and coach and remotely run the swim school and sell amazing swimsuits and other swim products. He has also seamlessly taken over running the home front- taking children to and fro, doing all of the meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking since the start of the year and he is *killing it*.
Sure sometimes he’s overly excited by the bounty of new recipes available on the internet and decides to make FIVE different very involved things on one random Wednesday night (like homemade scallion pancakes, miso glazed roasted carrots, baked marinated tofu, something magical with Brussels sprouts, and sweet hot chili smashed potatoes which took hours and every single pan, bowl, and measuring cup we have), but he is DOING it and being his sous chef while sipping wine and chatting about our days is the very best part of mine. I love him so much.
This past week included the one-year anniversary of our move to Dallas. That seems crazy, but I actually can't decide if it's because it seems like so much more or so much less than that. Somehow it seems like both.
I've had some recent visits from Fort Worth friends that have warmed my heart and made me feel so proud of the house we've built here that is finally complete and furnished and ready.
I love it here so much, I just wish I could have some sort of portal to Fort Worth to bring over the people I love there more often.

In other loves, I have found a local yoga studio! It's 0.5 miles away, big enough that I don't need to sign in a week in advance (and in fact have often just showed up after realizing 7 minutes before class that I could make it over), is not full of college students (love them, but doing yoga next to 25 perfectly toned 20-year-olds does not give me inner peace), and has a variety of classes at different times. I am of the median age and love love the hot pilates, cardio yoga HIIT, hot strength, and good old hot yoga. I have gone every day for two weeks and I almost no longer feel like I'm going to pass out at the end.
In fact, I'm off to a class in 30 minutes so let's wrap this up with the pets. Maggie has decided she only walks in her stroller and now flatly refuses to walk very far on her four little fat feet.
This was our walk on Friday.
That is our house in the background. It was 0.04 miles roundtrip. She usually just refuses to move forward once she's done with her exercise, but on Friday she fully laid down and closed her eyes. When I finally moved back in the direction of our house she popped up and trotted with pep in her step to the front door and then took a nap.

She felt really good about it.
Moose continues to claim Maggie as his own while Milo ignores her completely.
Moose: I don’t understand the misshapen white cat, but she is mine and I will dutifully rub my scent on her on a regular basis so everyone knows.
Milo: The big white cat cannot feed me kibbles and I do not acknowledge her in any way.
Maggie: I will stand very still for this ritual. I am a cat and must do as they say.
Moose: I have debased myself but I stand by my claim.
Milo: Ugh. No. Gross.
Maggie: I love you both so much.
And so summer presses on. Today Landon has swim practice, Claire is going to a water park with a friend, Cora has a birthday party, I have Bonnie coming over for a style appointment, Landon is babysitting, James has all his remote coaching calls, and then I have a farewell dinner for a partner at work. Somehow this will still feel like a relaxed day and I will definitely stretch out on our new fluffy couch to read or cuddle a cat.
Happy Summer!
I'm off to yoga- Happy Sunday all, thank for for still reading what I very sporadically post. Hopefully next time I won't have to cram two months of updates and pictures into one post!