Wednesday, July 30, 2014

No Time For Talky

Holy Mackerel! (I love that saying only because my dad says it all the time so it has started to infiltrate into my own conversations with myself prompting amusing imagery of my dad).

I am insanely busy. We have a HUGE complicated case going to trial in three weeks. It's in federal court and it's kind of a big deal. But it involves so many intricate layers of federal and state claims that my brain is constantly fried trying to wade through jury instructions and what we actually need to present to the jury. Oh and there are motions in limine and 3+ hour meetings of trial strategy on a frequent basis and witness prep. Oh yeah, and I have my other work too.

Today was a 12 hour work day trying to play catchup on other litigation cases. Thank goodness everything I'm working on involves things that I really enjoy doing. It makes my days so much happier and makes the time fly by.

And then on top of work, there's the kids, and trips to the park, and running, and our primary family car breaking down an hour from home, and a broken kitchen sink which resulted in leaking all over our basement and total replacement of all the pipes (yay for husband and father-in-law who did all the work).

We are also preparing for a road trip to attend a family reunion. I get the feeling I'll be packing one hour before take off.

I guess I have to go now. I have to be up in five hours. Seriously, who even has time to be pregnant? (I haven't remembered to take a prenatal vitamin since I was 10 weeks along...oops).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hard Lessons

A week ago, I signed up for my third pregnancy race. I asked Jacob if he wanted to run in the kids' dash and he sounded interested (maybe just in the free t-shirt? ha ha) so I signed him up too.

The race is all he talked about for days. He would tell anyone who would listen that he was going to run in a kids' race. The night before the big day, we picked up our racing packets. As Jacob emptied his packet on the floor, I showed him the wonders of free promotional gear (deck of cards from the local casino, marketing pencils, and chip clips covered in business logos- kinda useless but hey....FREE!).

I also explained the intricacies of racing bibs. You have to crumple them up so that they are aerodynamic. A track/cross country superstition? Perhaps. But that's the rule in our house. (Plus, a crumpled up race bib looks so much more intense than one that looks like it came straight off the printing press).

Jacob was amazed at the racing bib. "Mom look! I'm No. 1!" All the kids' race bibs said No. 1, but I didn't feel the need to tell him that just then.

Ready to race! There is nothing more fun than bonding with your child over a shared love of your favorite activity.

The day of the race, I was up first for my four mile race. I had been very nervous the night before (waking up every two hours to check the clock) and all morning despite the fact that I repeatedly told myself that this was going to be just a "fun run." I wasn't going to try anything crazy. No pressure. I'd be happy if I just crossed the line at 32 minutes. Ha! Yeah right.

When the gun went off, I started off easy and right on pace. But then we came upon our first hill and people started to slow down. I felt so good. Maybe I'll go for it just a little bit? I chugged steadily up the hill passing people left and right. Little did I know, the hill steepened and continued for a full mile! But I kept my pace and kept picking people off. Halfway through the race, I could see the leaders up in front and I realized I was actually in the game! I killed it the last two miles and crossed the line at 29:40- a 7:25 minute mile pace! I later discovered that I had finished 8th out of 185 women. Not too bad for being 27 weeks pregnant (that's officially the third trimester)!

The race was called "Whale of a run." And as one of my FB friends pointed out, that was a very fitting name for me....ha!

After the 4 mile race, the kids' dashes were next. All the kids gathered together according to age group. When Jacob's heat was up, he stepped up to the white line with several other kids. Jacob's face looked stern. My only worry at that moment was, "I hope he's having fun." As it turns out, he just takes racing very seriously.

Racing is serious business.

The announcer yelled "go!" and the kids were off. I cheered and chanted. Such a proud mom. Then a girl with long flowing blond hair and a blindingly-bright pink shirt began weaving in and out of the crowd of kids. She bumped into several kids and sent them off course for a second or two. It all played out in slow motion. The girl darted right in front of Jacob. His foot caught on hers. They both stumbled. But the girl ran off and Jacob fell, knees first on the pavement.

My heart dropped instantly. He put his face on the road and curled up into a ball, clutching his knee. He made a sad and lonely figure on the now-empty course. I approached him and rubbed his back (I was holding Ryan so I couldn't pick him up). He looked up at me and all I saw was disappointment in his eyes.

I felt horrible for him. His excitement sunk. His dreams dashed. His knees scraped up. A week's worth of anticipation, completely destroyed. I was so angry at that little girl. I hate to admit it now, but in my mind I called her several horrible names and the thought of slapping her snotty little face did enter briefly into my thoughts.

At that time, my husband arrived. Jacob wouldn't stand up so my husband picked him up and jogged with him across the finish line. Upon inspection, it became apparent that Jacob didn't have any visible injury and was able to walk just fine. That's when I realized he was only suffering emotional hurt and a blow to his confidence. I wasn't satisfied with my husband carrying Jacob across the line. I wanted him to be proud of his own accomplishment. I wanted him to feel that awesome sense of pride that you get in facing and conquering a challenge. That's one of the best parts of racing, after all.

I gave Jacob a hug and walked him back to the start line. Together we looked out towards the finish. "Do you want to try again?" I asked him. He nodded. I lined him up behind the white line. Several parents were staring at us like we were crazy. I ignored them.

"Ready. Set. GO!"

With a look of fierce determination, he took off and didn't look back until he had crossed that white line. So, he didn't break any records for the 50 yard dash. He wasn't even particularly fast. He didn't pass a single soul. But I was so proud of him. He learned the hardest lesson that both life and running have to offer. Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we land short of our own expectations. Sometimes we don't even finish on our own the first time. But we have the power to never fail. As long as we get up try again. Even with hurt knees and a bruised ego.

Later that day, Jacob would tell me several times in a quiet tone, "Mom, my race didn't go so well." (Yes, "well" instead of "good"-- he has awesome grammar and I'm very proud.) Each time he said that my parental heart-wound opened up and ached a little more. I didn't know what to say exactly. That's life, right? All I could muster was, "I'm so proud of you for trying again, even when it was hard. It doesn't matter who wins. What matters is who tries the hardest."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Dear FB friends. I'm so happy for you that you chose to have a home birth. However, I do NOT want to see your home birth videos. Or your bloody home birth photos. In fact, I don't want to see any birth photos at all.

And I can assure you, neither does my husband.

Any occasion where something is physically coming out of your lady parts, is probably not meant to be shared. That's a pretty solid rule to live by. I highly recommend that you adopt it.

While we're on the subject, I could also live without pictures of your placenta. Or pictures of you eating your placenta.

Bodily excretions in generally should not be photographed.

I get that birth is a wonderful and beautiful experience. There are just parts of it that do not belong on social media. Like, you know, my entire C-section procedure. So, let's make a deal. I'll spare you photos of my uterus and parts of my intestines being physically removed from my body, if you spare me photos of your home birth.

Pictures of the baby are an entirely different story. Snap and post away please!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's Mine! It's Mine! It's ALL MINE!

I won this item tonight on e-bay. I am INSANELY excited. I have been looking for one ever since Jacob was a baby (five years). Turns out they are not hard to come by. You just have to know what they are actually called. I googled everything without success. Finally, I stumbled upon an image of the item with it's name in big bold letters. SCORE.

You might be scratching your head at what appears to be misplaced excitement over a silly vintage toy. This isn't just a toy. It's THE toy. The ultimate bath toy. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration. The thing is, when I was young, my siblings and I had one of these. We played with it during every bath time session. We spent hours enjoying this toy.

Also, there is simply nothing like it at the toy store. They just don't make anything that comes remotely close (that I have been able to find). This bath toy floats. It comes with a plane and a boat that actually float (and won't fill with water and sink to the bottom of the bathtub within five minutes). It has a pull out diving board. It has a secret tunnel. It has a garage. It has a dock. I has a boat storage thingy that lowers the toy boat into the water. It has a white-bearded fisherman!

My six year old imagination had so much fun with this thing. I never wanted to get out of the tub. Just seeing this toy again makes me smile. And now I'm so happy that I get to share it with my kids! They better love it. Or else. (Or I'll just lock the bathroom door and play with it myself when no one is looking!).

It's MINE!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Splashing In Puddles: Why I'm Sobbing My Eyes Out

We had a rough day. Plenty of ups and plenty of downs. The kids were trapped inside most of the day and driving me (and each other) insane. At the height of the chaos, I had had enough. I told the kids to get shoes and coats. We were going outside. NOW.

We strolled down to the park. Jacob led the way while Ryan and I jumped over the cracks in the sidewalk. He giggled with delight each time, demanding "jump again!" This was the first time in several hours that there was no whining and no fighting. It was awesome.

It had just rained. The skies were grey, the beautiful, serene grey that I love about the Pacific Northwest. The grass smelled fresh and dewy. The ground made a slopping sound under our feet. There was a freshness everywhere. The smell of seawater floated in the breeze. It was perfect.

We reached the park. The playground was still under construction. Jacob led me around the construction zone and we checked out the beginnings of an exciting new playland.

Then we came upon a parking lot full of puddles. I knew Ryan would make an instant beeline for them. I had five seconds to make a crucial decision: divert the path now or continue towards the puddles. What the heck, I thought, let them splash. I still remember splashing in puddles in our backyard when I was six. It was one of my favorite times.

Jacob rolled up his pant legs. I removed Ryan's pants altogether. And the kids spend a carefree half hour running from puddle to puddle. I put aside all concerns about how oily the parking lot may have been. I put aside all concerns about the extra laundry, the mess that would be dragged into the house, and the fact that the kids would now need baths. I took a page from the kids' book and suspended all worries. It was therapeutic just to watch them. They giggled and screamed. Their eyes lit up with each big splash.

No one was yelling. Or crying. Or whining. Or asking me for anything. Or begging to be held. Everyone was happy. Not just happy. Euphoric. It was perfect. It was better than any day at the playground could have been. The little patter of their feet made me smile. Some day they will have worries. And fears. And responsibilities. But today, right now, they are the freest they will ever be.

The kids splashed and played until they were panting and exhausted. We enjoyed a calm walk home, stopping to see the sights and sounds of our neighborhood. Then I whisked them inside for warm baths and hot cocoa.

Chores are all done and the kids are sleeping now. And I'm laying in my bed, crying. This afternoon was so wonderful and so beautiful. It was one of those picturesque moments of the perfection of life. But thinking about how wonderful it all was made me realize that my trips to the park with the kids are limited. Someday, and someday soon, they won't be little kids who enjoy the playground. They won't want to go with their mom to splash in puddles. One day, I will have no one to take to the park. This wonderful and beautiful time in their lives will end, thus ending this wonderful and beautiful time in MY life.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Important Things That Happened This Week

I ate an entire box of Honey Nut Cheerios by myself (I'm never letting Jacob beg me into buying cereal ever again).

I used my belly as a table.

There was plenty of bike riding.

And laughing. Apparently I have what it takes to take on toddler stand-up.

Today at the park, Ryan was having a "tea party." This means, he would bring my husband and me imaginary cups of tea, which we would drink. We started to pay him for the tea in imaginary dollars. Jacob was being a stinker and pretended to steal the imaginary money right from Ryan's pocket. Ryan threw a huge fit because Jacob took his imaginary money. Jacob refused to give back the imaginary money. I gave Ryan new imaginary money. Jacob stole that money too. Eventually, I had to demand that Jacob return all the imaginary money he stole. I felt like I was in that scene from Hook where the lost boys are having an imaginary feast. Basically, I felt totally ridiculous. Parents totally live on an odd, foreign plant 75% of the time.

I found my favorite pregnant outfit (yay, almost Seahawks colors!). I got so many compliments, which really makes your day when you are 26 weeks pregnant and feel the opposite of cute/attractive.

On a similar note, after work the other day a guy drove by, slowed down his car and was halfway through catcalling me when I turned around, revealing my big preggo belly. He immediately stopped mid-catcall and looked totally embarrassed (I guess he is not a fan of baby bellies?). It was hilarious. I wanted to yell back, "excuse me, what was that you were saying?"

I had an OB check-up. I was totally freaking out that my hospital was going to become an out-of-network provider and that I would have to change OBs and my hospital (second nearest one is almost an hour away) in my third trimester. I was a total ball of anxiety all week. When I brought this up at my appointment, my doctor assured me it was a DIFFERENT insurance company that was dropping the provider from the network. I totally could have kissed her!

My husband found our boys sleeping like this on Thursday morning. Jacob is cuddling Ryan. And there are train tracks all over the floor that were not there when I put them to bed.

Jacob's cousins spent the night tonight. Before they came, all on his own initiative, Jacob organized and set in motion a big treasure hunt. Jacob drew each cousin a treasure map. Then he put together a box of treasures which he hid in the backyard. This kid is so imaginative and such a leader. He amazes me almost everyday.

I forgot to snap a picture of the treasure map, but I did snap a picture of the back of one. He wrote the word "outside" to let his cousins know where the hunt would take place.

Ryan's new favorite phrases: "What the hell!" and "I'm TALKING to you" (when no one answers him).

I had a photo session for the boys this morning. So of course, I woke to find them both covered in self-made marker tattoos. Luckily, a bath took care of most of the damage. When we arrived at the photo session, Ryan cooperated through two quick snap shots and thereafter erupted into a complete meltdown. The next 30 shots were a complete disaster. Fortunately, the first two shots are perfect! Phew.

We got donuts at the grocery store after the photo shoot. My husband ran off to order a breakfast sandwich while I supervised the kids eating their donuts. Jacob started to whine that he was thirsty, really laying on the dramatics. I couldn't find a drinking fountain anywhere and couldn't leave the kids and all our groceries to track down a water. A complete stranger, who had been watching the entire thing but never said a single word, went to the local Starbucks and brought back a cup of water. I completely melted at that act of kindness. I love when strangers don't judge you during a tough parent moment and instead, try to make your life easier.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I Suck At Blog Post Titles

Friday was a big holiday in our house. July 11th...(7/11)....Free Slurpee Day down at the 7-11! Unfortunately, free slurpees ended at 7pm and we did not arrive until 7:14pm. And despite the fact that I was obviously pregnant (sympathy card!) and toting a stroller full of expectant children looking eagerly forward to enjoying a free slurpee, the stingy 7-11 man refused to bend the rules by a lousy 15 minutes. And I had to pay for three slurpees. On free slurpee day. I was not very happy. It kind of killed the mood.

The only reason I actually like 7-11's are because they remind me of my favorite law school professor. He came to America as a dirt poor adult and worked at a 7-11. Can't remember the vital part of his history regarding how he made the jump to a Contracts Professor, but I remember it was impressive. As a professor, he would shape his fingers into fake guns and pretended to shoot his students when they answered incorrectly. That was before the administration made him stop. He explained the concept of consideration to his students through a popular Janet Jackson son ("What have you done for me lately.") I miss that guy.

Anyway, the kids enjoyed their NOT-FREE SLURPEES.

On Saturday I ran another 5K. There was a walk and a run. There wasn't a gigantic number of participants (nowhere near the 700 people who ran in my last race) but it was a beautiful and fun course. At the start line, I picked out a girl in a fancy running shirt as a potential challenger. At the start of the race she took off at a really fast pace and I let her get ahead of me. I'm pretty good about running a consistent pace and not giving into the urge to go all out at the beginning when things still seem easy.
Racing belly
Less than a mile into the race, I easily passed the girl. I looked at the runners ahead of me and realized that none of them were women. It immediately became my goal to hold out in this spot and finish first for women. As the race progressed, it became clear that there was very little chance of any other women catching me.
Luckily there was a high school boy not too far ahead of me. If he hadn't been there, always just within reach egging me on, I would have been tempted to ease up and wouldn't have had such a great run. My goal going into the race had been to finish at 22-something minutes. I was blown away when I crossed the finish line at 21:39 (as the first woman finisher too)! That was like a 7:20 minute pace! This race totally jazzed me up and put me in an amazing mood for the rest of the day. And gave me a valid excuse to eat a donut for breakfast.
Happy and exhausted and enjoying a much-deserved runner's high
After the race, we dropped the kids off at my husband's parents' house and enjoyed a local beer festival. Obviously, I was limited to just sneaking sips of my husband's beer samplers. Oh, and being gawked at everywhere I went. Is my belly that weird-looking?
25 weeks
It was insanely hot (90 degrees) and I was pretty miserable. The folds under my butt cheeks were dripping sweat. And I was so paranoid about having butt-sweat marks on my dress. We eventually escaped the heat by walking down to the new restaurant that opened up two blocks from our house. The food was great, the air was cool, it overlooked our local waterfront park, and we are big fans of the short two-block walk.
Date night
Sunday we went to a family reunion for my husband's side of the family. They are so amazing and I love them so much. I'm so lucky to have married into such a wonderful family.
Obligatory family photo

Jacob was one of the oldest grandkids and was so very sweet and gentle with the younger kids. He made sure no one jumped too high near the little ones on the trampoline. He helped the babies make baskets in the little basketball hoop. In general, he watched out for them and it made my heart melt.
My favorite Jacob story from the day was when someone asked Jacob what he wants to be when he grows up. He quickly responded, "I want to be a policeman. I'm going to find all the drunk people, ask them where their homes are, and drive them home." Everyone cracked up and I did too. I knew exactly where this is coming from. On Thursday, we came home to find a man passed out drunk on the curb in front of our house. I called the police because I was worried he'd get hit by a car. Jacob was very concerned and watched intently as the police man showed up, got some information from me, and then escorted the man home. I love that he looks up to police men. Police men are the closest thing there is to real-life superheroes. And they look damn sexy in those uniforms.....