Sunday, December 30, 2012

Trying To Find The Good Stuff

This whirlwind of a weekend has my head still spinning and the sound of a thousand temper tantrums ringing in my ear.

Yesterday we drove from the Seattle-ish area to Clackamas County, Oregon to visit my husband's grandma. Ryan slept the whole way and Jacob nearly talked our ears off. If we knew his nonstop chatter would eventually turn into nonstop complaints about being bored and hungry and thirsty and tired, we would not have complained.

Then we arrived at grandma's house and we discovered a whole new kind of adventure. Ryan was on a quest to chew through the cords of grandma's oxygen tank. I was, no joke, pulling the clear plastic cords out of his dragon-like jaw every five minutes. When I wasn't prying Ryan's teeth from the oxygen tank cord, I was keeping Jacob from knocking over Grandma's table which showcased her half-completed 1,000 piece puzzle. There were several near misses and each time my heart stopped as I imagined the hell that would ensue if we had to track down every one of those 1,000 pieces out of grandma's thick, orange shag carpet. Ryan probably would have helped by putting several of them in his mouth. When we removed the children from the dining room, thereby seperating them from their respective temptations, Jacob decided it would be awesome to play with grandma's flashlights, turn on her air conditioner, try to stick his fingers in her fan, and practice Olympic swim diving by jumping off of grandma's furntiture. 

After trying to keep the kids rounded up and entertained for several hours within a small area surrounded by fragile objects, I decided that I would invest in two pint-sized straight jackets before our next trip.

After our visit, we swung by Portland to visit the zoolight display at the Oregon Zoo. It, in every way possible, was quite a zoo! We somehow survived waiting in line for over an hour in 39 degree weather during which time Ryan decided that he did NOT want to wear a hat. So we played an hour long game of...Ryan Takes Off His Hat and Mommy Forcibly Places the Hat Back on His Head.

All bundled up!

Unfortunately, I had completed a 20 oz bottle of water during our drive to the zoo. Minute 49 of waiting outside in the freezing cold with a near-bursting bladder, I resigned to answering nature's call in the woods behind one of the zoo shuttle busses. Of course, that sole private area had to also be the home of expertly hidden prickly bushes. It was not my favorite moment of the day.

Finally, we got inside the zoo where we, desperately cold, waiting another 15 minutes for hot cocoa. All of that waiting led to a 40 minute waltz around the zoo before we rushed back to the car for warmth.

I didn't get that many pictures. My hands were too cold!

While the zoo lights were awesome, unfortunately, their awesomeness was diminished by our freezing, long wait to get inside. It was pretty. But we probably won't go back.

After yesterday's adventures, I was hoping today would be more relaxing and laid back. The kids, per usual, had other plans. The morning started with some friends stopping by to visit. Then we ran to Target to return some poor quality gifts from Santa (tsk tsk, you elves!). I explained to Jacob that when we return toys to Target, Target sends them back to Santa at the North Pole and gives us giftcards from Santa to buy new toys. Thankfully, he was so excited to pick out a new toy that he didn't ask too many questions.

Tie clipped onto nice sweater over camo shirt...typical Jacob.

By the end of today, I was grumpy and exhausted. There were so many times this weekend when I thought Jacob was going to make me lose it. I swear that 85% of this weekend was spent threatening time-outs and following through on those threats. I swear I am going batshit crazy.

At one point this weekend, someone said to me, "You have two kids and a full time job. I don't know how you do it." I thought about going off on a rant about how my house is an absolute mess. How we are frequently eating leftovers and frozen pizza. How the dirty and clean laundry sits in piles all over my house for a week before it ever gets put away. How I easily lose my temper and scream at the drop of a tantrum. Fortunately, I caught myself before I could go off on a soliloquy about how hard my life can be. Instead, I just smiled and said, "How do I do it? Simple. I DON'T."

Based upon occassional comments from friends and family members, I guess people often assume I have my life perfectly together (or maybe they are just being nice...). I will admit, I am very blessed. I have a great lawyer job, a husband who also works, a home, two kids, etc. But even when I seem "put-together," the reality is so different from the outward facade. If only people could spend one weekend with me. One weekend precisely like this past weekend. They would see how crazy things can be.

But luckily, my days are never truly all bad, or even all good for that matter. The reality is, there is always some goodness in a rough day and some badness in a perfect day. This is necessary. It's how we learn to adapt and be flexible. To be grateful and discerning. And....this was true even this past weekend.

Ryan, trying to grab Jacob's tongue.

Happy boy.

Randomly, during the moments I though I would explode, I'd suddenly catch Jacob giving Ryan a kiss. Or singing Ryan a song. Or picking up his toys without asking. These little glimmers of sweetness are the only things keeping me from running out of the house, repeatedly throwing myself against a wall, or guzzling pitchers full of Costco Ready-Made margarita mix.

At the end of today, an especially trying and exhausting day, I put the kids in the bath. As I was getting ready to wash their hair, eagerly looking forward to their bedtimes, they started to play. My clenched jaw slackened and a smile spread across my face. Jacob was filling his mouth with water and spitting it out in a steady stream across the bathtub. Ryan was giggling hysterically. Then Ryan would reach up to grab Jacob's mouth causing Jacob to laugh and dribble water all over himself. This made Ryan laugh louder. Suddenly, they were crawling all over each other, sharing toys, and laughing. Before I knew it, I was exhaling deeply and joining in their laughter.

Jacob giving Ryan a mohawk (or, as he calls it, a "mohog.")

Jacob squirting water over Ryan's head.

Ryan tries to make his escape.

Those are the moments that make all the roughness, exhaustion, worry, and frustration that comes with being a parent seem so small.

The Wonderful World Of Parenthood

Sometimes, when you're a mommy, you become oblivious to the world of the kidless. I'm convinced that sometime between changing your first and 1,000th diaper, you lose all sense of your pre-kid reality and become a whole new person. A person who makes frequent references to Thomas the Train, who always parks next to a cart return (baby carseats are HEAVY!), and looks forward to dentist visits as much as any tropical vacation because it means sitting in a chair without kids for an extended period of time!

It's easy to forget that some people live a life completely free of diapers, cartoons, and fruit snacks... until, like me, you make a tastless joke about Elmo which is completely lost on your boss. Or you start to absent-mindedly sing songs from Dora the Explorer ("Mermaids are the heroes of the ocean!") while waiting at the copy machine for your print job to finish only to receive strange looks from your coworkers. As they flash you worried/confused looks, you wonder how someone can escape life without having experienced Dora.

The other day, I was walking aimlessly around a new grocery store. A clerk came up and asked me if he could help me find something. Without skipping a beat I replied, "I'm looking for Butt Paste." His eyes widened in what appeared to be a mix of embarrassment and horror. I can only wonder what he thought I meant. I quickly explained to him the intricacies of diaper rash creams so he wouldn't think I had some kind of embarrassing medical condition.

I don't think kidless people will ever understand how wiping someone's butt can become just another mundane daily routine.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas: A Little Happy. A Little Sad.

If this post were about how awesome our Christmas would be a total lie. Christmas was challenging. Mostly an internal one. A struggle of expectations.

From Christmas Eve:

We returned home late on Christmas Eve after celebrating with family. We put the kids to bed and dragged the gifts up from the basement. I was trying so hard to get in the Christmas spirit. By the time I crawled into bed (1:00am), it sure LOOKED like Christmas.

And Santa had even left proof of his presence with two large snowy footprints.

The next morning, I heard Jacob open the door to his room at 6:30a.m. I held my breath and waited for him to shout in excitement. All he did was plod over to the couch and turn on the TV. The kid waltzed right past the presents and didn't even notice! I was still exhausted so I just dozed back to sleep. A full hour and a half later, I heard Ryan cry and Jacob (having just decided to plug the Christmas tree lights in) finally stormed into my room declaring that Santa had left presents.

Much to Jacob's disappointment, I made everyone eat breakfast before presents. I tried out my new waffle maker (gift from my family's secret santa exchange). The general consensus from most was that the waffles were just "ok." But Ryan, on the other hand, was exceptionally happy about eating his first waffle.

After breakfast, we sat down in the living room to open gifts. What ensued was nothing short of a chaotic blur. What took me an entire hour of gift wrapping was all undone in less than 10 minutes. Just like that, gifts were done. The presents I had painstakingly selected the past several weeks were unmasked and tossed aside as new gifts were revealed. I could tell from his face that my husband was not exactly thrilled with his gifts. Jacob seemed more excited about Ryan's presents than his own. And Ryan, oblivious to the whole charade, was crawling around the floor trying to eat discarded scraps of wrapping paper.

Then there were more than a couple temper tantrums and yelling matches. I guess kids are kids. Even on Christmas Day. Obviously, they did not get the message that today was supposed to be sickeningly happy and magical.

Jacob talked me into assembling his beloved new Slushee maker. I reached into the freezer to grab some icecubes only to find that they were all melted. My heart sank. I opened the fridge and touched the first thing I saw. It was warm. Sometime during the hustle and bustle of Christmas morning, our refrigerator had died. The $100 that I had spent on groceries was slowly and painfully spoiling right before my eyes. The meatballs, the chicken, the beef, the milk, the creamer, the everything. We hauled everything out and either tossed it or stored it away in coolers. The entire contents (or what was left of it) of my fridge is now sitting in three coolers full of ice out in our front yard. A new fridge has been added to the list of expensive things that need to be repaired in our 100 year old home (we recently discovered that we need a new $4,000 furnace but this purchase was put on hold so that we could repair the car that I wrecked earlier this month).

And with that, my holiday skepticism turned into sourness. I sank to my knees in the living room, stared out the window, and let the tears silently fall down my face. Today didn't feel like Christmas. It felt like any other day. The anticipation, which took its sweet time in coming, was now over. Jacob wasn't as thrilled about Christmas as all those kids in the TV commercials (and Ryan hadn't a clue). The gifts were done. Christmas morning was now in the past. Where was the magic? My heart didn't feel warm and full. That's all?

I sat there and silently cried for a good ten minutes. I wallowed in the let-down. I succumbed to the negativity that had been welling up inside me for the past couple of days. The one magical day of the year was here and it was not...magical. In the rush of the refrigerator incident, I had even missed Christmas Mass.

My sad thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the kids laughing. Ryan was crawling excitedly after a new ball and Jacob was laughing as he threw more balls in Ryan's direction. Ryan's eyes caught mine. His face cracked into his familiar gigantic grin. Then the two boys were back to rolling around on the floor and taking turns cracking each other up. I wiped away a couple tears and I couldn't help but smile as I sat there and watching them.

Ryan propped himself from a laying position to a sitting position. He giggled loudly, flapped both arms in the air repeatedly and rocked back and forth at the same time. Jacob approached and tickled his belly in encouragement. Then Jacob leaned into Ryan so far that they both came crashing to the floor. Ryan giggled. Jacob giggled. I giggled. I spend the next ten minutes just watching them enjoy each other and, yes, their new toys.

I somehow got Jacob to pose for this picture below. Notice his pants. He is wearing size 18 month sweats here. I'm failrly confident that his daddy did that.
Although my sadness lingered, I was suddenly also thankful that I had the entire day to spend with the kids. Yeah, Christmas morning was over and it had been disappointing. But, silly me, that wasn't the only thing I had to look forward to. As reality set in, I suddenly remembered how great our ordinary everyday was. I had been so consumed and obsessed with Christmas these last few weeks that I had lost sight of the everyday special moments. Sure, Christmas morning was over. But watching the boys play and enjoy each other is what really makes holidays special. And that can happen anytime. As soon as I realized that, my spirit lifted and I reveled in the fact that I had many hundreds of more days with these two special little men.

Sadly, however, my fridge still looks like this:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Not Ready

It's late. Well, technically, it's early. Christmas eve morning, in fact. Everyone is sleeping. I'm soon to follow. But there is so much going on in my head. I'm in disbelief that it is Christmas Eve. I'm a little disapointed actually. I'm not ready.

Physically, I'm ready. We have our tree. I'm done with shopping. We put up our decorations. We mailed out all the cards. We hosted our annual Christmas party. The fourth candle of my advent candle is lit. BUT. BUT. It doesn't feel right. My mind isn't ready. My heart isn't ready. I feel a little bit empty.

It just snuck up on me. I haven't had time to be excited about Christmas. I haven't had time to be anxious in anticipation. I badly wanted to plan a family outing or two this month. But our weekends filled up with chores and to-dos. Ryan's nap battles and Jacob's whinning put a damper on every free day that we had together. It's taken all my energy to do the mandatory stuff that I haven't had time to do much of the fun stuff. And when I actually did the fun stuff, it felt mandatory and chore-like.

I know, I know. Christmas hasn't happened yet. I still have two days left for things to start feeling like Christmas. I'm doing myself a disservice by going INTO the holiday feeling let down. I'm just not very hopeful. It doesn't help that I am feeling especially anti-social. Socialy media has poisoned me this year and made me feel, even though I know it's not true, as if the world is full of fake and self-centered people. I am the first to admit that I am guilty of over-sharing and selfishness on social media. That just makes me feel more disguisted. I have a hard time believing that people will set aside their personal agendas as we gather for the holidays. I need to start practicing my "wow, I really care so much about the thing you are passive agressively bragging/lecturing about," face (re: the insane fitness dieters, the vegetarians, the clean-freaks, the holier-than-thou). Ugh. I'm so negative. Gross.

See? I told you I'm not ready for Christmas. I really need to shake my negativity.

I'm just disappointed that my family-of-four hasn't had much of an opportunity to enjoy each other or create fun holiday memories. It's hard to dive into huge family gatherings and give my attention to extended family when I feel a deficiency within our own family. But, there's no stopping Christmas. It comes whether we are ready or not. If all else fails, I'll just grab my kids and ride the coat tails of their enthusiasm.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

{Guest Post} Lead By Example To Prevent Diabetes In Kids

Fellow blogger Carolyn writes about her goals for achieving health and balance at Full-On Fit. She has been kind enough to write the following post for this blog. Check out her blog and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Lead By Example To Prevent Diabetes In Kids

Although November was American Diabetes Month, the disease of diabetes is something that should be thought of and worked at to prevent at all times of the year. Until recently, I never have diabetes that much thought in a personal way – but that all changed when one of my little cousins was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes just recently.

According to research from St. Joseph’s Hospital Cardiac Center, 1 in 3 children under the age of 20 are diagnosed with diabetes, and this number continues to be on the rise. As the numbers of children diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes continue to rise, it’s become more apparent to me that I need to work with all of my cousins to get them living healthier lifestyles overall. Being that the 2 main factors of Type 2 Diabetes are unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity, I have been working on both of these aspects with all of my cousins.

A healthy diet
Eating healthy is a big part of preventing diabetes. Parents who eat healthy usually have kids who eat healthy. Many parents don’t realize that they aren’t feeding their children a balanced diet until it’s too late, so the earlier nutritional eating is implemented in the family, the better. The healthy plate strategy should be employed, using more vegetables on the plate than anything else. The smallest portion on the plate should be the starch, which could be potato, rice, pasta or even corn.

Kids can find eating healthier more fun when parents involve them in the process. This means teaching them how to cook, giving them jobs in the kitchen and even letting them go grocery shopping to help determine what will be made (this was probably the biggest reason that I was able to get my cousins to start eating healthier on a regular basis!)

Getting active
The National Institutes of Health has a fact sheet that focuses on diabetes management. They call for physical activity to help control weight. It not only lowers blood glucose levels but it can maintain cardiovascular fitness as well.

Physical activity can consist of anything that gets the heart pumping. This may include bike riding, running, swimming or playing outdoor games. When it’s raining or cold outside, yoga can even be a way to help with the physical activity and maintain an ideal weight.
When children are taught to eat healthy and be more active by those around them, the changes are likely to be permanent. The more I “practice what I preach” the more I notice my cousins following suit. It’s a gradual process – kids don’t change overnight (who does?!), but setting good examples, and being consist with the new lifestyle changes will help to ensure that these changes stick for the long run!

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

I Finally Get It Right

The first thing that crosses my mind when someone invites me to a party is, "Oh shit. I have to figure out what to wear!" When it comes to clothing, I have two modes:


And this:

(my husband snapped this picture of me while I was pregnant and passed out on the couch after work. Isn't he kind? Also....the socks win.)

When it comes to dates, parties, and girls nights out, I'm a mess. I have no idea how to dress. Seriously. No clue. I have work blouses, cardigan sweaters, and collared shirts galore. I have pencil skirts, pearls, and suit jackets. On the other side of my closet, I have unwashed-for-8-days yoga pants, hooded sweatshirts, kitten pjs, and track jackets.

This is why I hyperventilate upon receiving any social invitation.

But honestly, I should stop worrying. Because as soon as the last drop of my first glass of wine glides down my throat, I'm a total disaster regardless of what I'm wearing.

BUT tonight. For the first time EVER. I felt totally fabulous at a party. Tonight, when I dressed for my husband's work party, it all snapped into place. I wore my favorite grey, shiny skirt and tucked in a glittery tank I purchased the day prior (at Nordys the other day, I decided that I wasn't going to let the world end before I owned a champagne-colored sequin shirt). I paired it with a black cropped cardi and I felt like a party rockstar. Aside from this photo with my unfortunate duck lips pose, I did not get a decent picture of my fabulousness.

Go away Duck Lips! No one likes you!

The party was very nice as well. My husband works with some great people. We even brought the kids. For most of the night, Jacob was running around the room in his christmas socks while Ryan crawled all over the floor sans shoes (my husband dressed him). Ryan ate two whole dinner rolls (it kept him busy so I could shovel food down my duck-lipped mouth). At one point he dropped one of his rolls only to rediscovered it again when I put him on the floor to crawl (#extraprotein, #10minuterule, #secondchildsyndrome). He also snuck under the table and played footsies with coworkers.

Later in the evening, Jacob discovered the art of paper airplanes. And Ryan met a girl who is one year older than he is. She was fascinated by him and wanted to repeatedly touch all over his face and head. Ryan was not a fan. She chased him around the room as he was frantically trying to army crawl away from her. The spectacle was so interesting that a group of adults circled around to watch the entertainment.

Best part of the night? For once, someone was rolling around on the floor grabbing people and it wasn't me. husband is growing a beard.

I keep telling him...between his eyebrows and his beard, his face should never be cold!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas!

This year I'm kind of slacking on my Christmas card efforts (remember: I'm being mediocre this year.) I've resorted to my old trick of just sending cards to the people who have sent US cards (so lame, I know!). Even with this tactic, I've somehow run out of cards already! I may or may not order more....geez, can you believe Christmas is next week?

So, for now, I present you with an e-Christmas card! If it helps to similate the experience of receiving  an actual REAL card, you can even pretend that it's sealed up in an exciting envelope waiting for you to open as you anxiously scroll down. Just take care not to be bowled over by my thoughtfulness as holiday cheer and festiveness comes shooting straight out of your computer screen. Careful not to become blinded by the pretend snowflake confetti shooting straight for your eyeballs.

(see, the snowflake confetti....Oh, I'm so amusing!)

Now, wasn't that so much more exciting than me just posting a picture?

P.S. You have a piece of snowflake confetti stuck to your cheek.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Mediocre Christmas Season

I started out the holidays season by being way ahead of the game. By Thanksgiving, I had already completed 80% of my Christmas shopping-- without even leaving my home! The brown shipping boxes of goodies arrived at my door even before December. I felt so productive. I was conquering the holiday stress. I was winning.

Then, I swear, I was sucked into a time warp. The other day, I was regretting the fact that it was too early to bust out my Michael Buble Christmas album. Right as I was about to tuck it away into the CD holder in my car, I paused. Then I checked my phone calendar and was shocked to discover that December was nearly halfway over!

As the holiday season started looming near, I was so excited for everything. I couldn't wait to put up decorations and celebrate with the kids. I was so excited for Ryan's first Christmas. I couldn't wait to initiate him into all our customs and traditions.....But....Then December came and everything fell apart. I lost all ambition and energy as the days blew right by me and I fell exhausted into bed each night having just survived another day full of work, kids, cooking, chores, and commuting.

Eevrytime I set aside time to do something, without fail Jacob would act extra ornery, Ryan would decide he didn't want to nap, and my husband would be busy with other chores. I simply couldn't muster up neither the energy or the excitement to carry the whole family.

That was the worst part. These fun things I had been eagerly looking forward to began to feel like chores. I was dreading them. One evening, as I pulled into the house at 6:30 with the kids, I actually managed to drag the Christmas lights up from the basement. I plugged in the lights and discovered that only 1/3 of them worked. I found one measley strand that would fully light. The thought of having to sort through each bulb to find the burned-out culprit quickly deflated any energy I initially had. As a result, there was only one measly strand of lights up on our house for two weeks.

One night, I got everything together to decorate a gingerbread house with Jacob. I, myself, have such fond memories of doing this with my own siblings. I was very excited to share the experience with Jacob. Except, by the time we got home (7pm) I was exhausted (as usual), Ryan was cranky and ready for bed, and Jacob was having his end-of-day "special moment." The gingerbread house eventually was decorated, but it wasn't the fun, joy-filled experience that I had hoped for. I'm pretty sure I yelled at Jacobs fifteen times.

Then the tree....oh the tree. We had initially planned on getting a tree early in December. That plan went out the window when I nearly totalled our car in a car collision. As a result, the only car that could actually transport a tree was suddenly of commission (and still is). Having to borrow someone else's vehicle was just another step to add to the stress and just another factor that turned this into a chore. I finally gave up on our traditional plan of going as a family to a tree farm and cutting down our own tree (a tradition that has been running for every Christmas that I can remember). I finally just threw my expectations out the window and sent my husband to the freaking hardward store to buy a pre-cut tree.

Not too bad, looks pretty sad in person though

Finally, every year we look forward to planning a family Christmas photo for our Christmas cards. We usually try to do something unusual, quirky, or funny. Much thought and a lot of debate go into these cards as we plan them out. This year, we had planned something awesome and elaborate. But as Christmas drew near, getting all the pieces to fit seemed more and more daunting. One day, I decided I didn't want to think about it anymore. This whole Christmas was going terribly far-afield. What's one more thing. I took the kids outside and snapped some imprompty pictures just of them. The cards turned out cute and I'm trying not to dwell on the fact that my husband and I are not in them and that they aren't the elaborate cards we had schemed.

Dear children, I present to you....a mediocre Christmas holiday season. Ryan, please forgive me for the fact that your first Christmas tree came from a hardward store. And that your stocking has the initial "M" on it because I made it last year when I thought I was going to name you Marcus. Please forgive me that your first Christmas ornament has a picture of you crying on Santa's lap. Please forgive me that you were being ignored and eating Cheerios off the kitchen floor as Jacob and I had a yelling match while decorating the gingerbread house. Pleasef forgive me that you ate a pine needle and a piece of catfood while I was trying to decorate the tree.

Ryan's stocking:

Dear Jacob,....I'm sorry I keep threatening to call Santa and cancel Christmas each time you throw a plush toy at Ryan. I'm sorry that I yell at you the first time rather than the fifth time you defiantly ignore me. Thank you for yelling, "I'm kissing my balls!" at my work Christmas party (for the record, he was talking about his bouncey balls) and licking the mouths of all the wine bottles (mostly, I'm just terrified that my boss caught him before I did). Sorry that I am not more patient. Sorry that I use up most of my patience dealing with toddlerish attorneys.

Hopefully, as Christmas arrives, we will be able to slow down and focus more on what really matters.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Baby Games

Every time my babies enter a new phase of babyhood, I declare that stage to be my favorite. With that disclaimer..... the ages of 6-12 months are absolutely my FAVORITE! At this age, babies are still little and cuddly and dependent but they are so very curious about their world and finding great pleasure in their new-found abilities.

Ryan is such a joy right now. He is so curious and mobile, yet he is very chill and easy going. He loves to watch his brother. There is no mistaking the pure joy and happiness that Ryan feels whenever his brother gives him attention. Jacob "whooshes" into the room and suddenly, Ryan is spastically kicking his legs and giggling uncontrollably. Seeing the love that these brothers have for each other is a joy that I could never have even imagined.

I may be partial, but I feel that Ryan also has a very special love that he saves just for me. Now that Ryan crawls, he has discovered that he can chase me around the house. The second I put him down and walk into another room, I hear the "smack-smack" of Ryan's belly flopping around on the floor like a seal across an iceberg as he moves around the house to find me. Sometimes he'll get up on his knees but he prefer to arm crawl. It's absolutely hysterical to see him flopping and floundering around the room like a fish out of water. But he makes it work and gets where he means to get.

Lately, when I'm rushing from room to room tidying things up or putting away stacks of laundry, Ryan crawls around right after me. Poor little guy, by the time he gets to me, I am already walking out the door and on to the next room. So, I walk into Jacob's room to put his legos on his bookshelf. I hear Ryan's belly and hands "smack-smacking" against the floor as he scoots my way. I stop and wait until he rounds the corner. The second he sees me, his face turns from pure concentration to hysterical joy. He face light up and he giggles hysterically. It makes me feel so loved. He acts like I'm the absolute best thing in the entire world.

So, I move onto the next room and hear Ryan flopping around after me. I enter the room and wait once more. Ryan rounds the corner, pokes his head in and, once again, has a spastic attack of joy when he sees me. Then it's onto the next room. This game never gets old, for me or Ryan. You would think that day after day of playing this game it would suddenly hit him, "Yeah, my mommy's in there. No big deal." But no, he continues to act totally surprised and freakishly over-joyed every time.

It's the equivalent of me walking into my room to discover John Hamm laying across my bed, wearing nothing but a mankini, covered in chocolate sauce, and scandalously licking a strawberry. Yes, I'd be very shocked (also very excited) to find such a sight. John Hamm covered in chocolate licking a strawberry is to me how I am to Ryan (ok, that sounds weird, but you get it, right?).  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Breed Of Dads

I'm having one of those periods of time where the pendulum of work/life balance is swinging more heavily towards work. I've been noticing little things that I'm neglecting with the kids. Luckily, due to my new work arrangement, these things are mostly little. But they still bother me.

For example, I've been picking up the kids a little later than usual due to some high demand assignments at work. When we get home, I'm almost too exhausted to resist Jacob's demands for more background TV. I'm too tired to fight battles over vegetables. I only half-heartedly listen to Jacob's long, drawn out stories. I lack the patience to remind him nicely not to throw the ball around the living room, jump on furniture, or throw stuff at his brother. And, I often decide to tackle a sink full of dirty dishes (we freaking don't have a dishwasher- can you believe it?!) instead of getting on the floor to play with Ryan.

Basically, I see plenty of areas where a more selfless and energetic me (or any supermom, for that matter) would respond to the kids more patiently and more enthusiastically than I do. It makes me feel a bit deflated. I promise myself that I will do better. But then Jacob dumps a boxful of Cheerios on his train table or bounces a ball off Ryan's face and my good intentions quickly fly out the window. I yell. Jacob whines. Ryan cries. In an effort to back me up, my husband joins the yelling . And just like that, we've turned into everyone's favorite neighbors.

I know all that craziness is (mostly) just part of a temporary life imbalance due to an upcoming trial. I know that if I really got desperate at home, I could scale things back at work. But that's not easy for me to do for a surprising reason: I simply don't want to. At least, not right now.

I'm having a hard time leaving work at work. I'm having a hard time not over-promising. And I'm having a hard time leaving the office at my normal time. All because I absolutely love all of my assignments, cases, and projects. This is not a bad problem to have.

At work, I've been doing a lot of motion writing, which is the kind of challenge that I love the most. Which is weird because during school, I always had the hardest time writing persuasive essays. I think my young self would be very surprised that my older self nearly implodes from excitement each time a partner asks me to write a motion.

So....even when the life versus work balance is hard and tipped, things aren't that bad for me. I'm still having a great time. I can thank an incredible boss and an incredible job for that. Really, it's the kids that get the brunt of my exhaustion. But luckily, my husband and I are a pretty good team of working parents. Whenever I seem to lose steam on this whole parenting thing, my husband is able to jump in and fill in the parenting holes. I'm able to do the same when it's his turn for a daddy melt-down.

All I can say is thank GOD for the progressive men of my generation. My dad is awesome and I love him. BUT I cannot remember him ever changing a diaper or washing a single dirty dish. Honestly, if my husband wasn't so involved in every aspect of parenting, there is no way I would be able to do this whole working mom thing. Some might say that it's sad and bothersome that we don't automatically expect fathers to do half the work. I'm not trying to make a profound statement or to even be politically correct. All I'm saying is that my husband is awesome. We make a good team. And I'm very thankful. Because things could have been a lot harder if we weren't on the same page.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Grammar Hurts

Wow. Is already Sunday? How did that happen?

This week was crazy but satisfying. I wrote enough motions, oppositions, and reply briefs to make up for the entire year that I was a paralegal and wrote none at all. We are in the midst of a discovery war with opposing counsel on a case that is going to trial early next year. Every discovery we want to conduct is requiring either a motion to compel or an opposition to a motion for protective order. I love discovery motions. I'm a sick and twisted person because they totally rock my world.

In the past week, I wrote approximately 30 pages in motion briefing. And with every word that I typed I was like "take that! And that! Oh yeah! Beat this!" I know. I'm gross. I was having so much fun that, even though our opposition wasn't due for another couple days, as soon as the kids were in bed, I picked up my laptop to engage in more wordly swordplay. I have a sickness.

Let's see, what else happened? Oh yeah, on Friday I accidentally sexually harrassed my boss...He was showing off a new pair of jeans. I told him that I had a pair of the same brand and I really liked them. We were discussing the qualities of the brand and, I wasn't really thinking and I said, "yeah, they make your butt look good." What I meant, of course, was "they make A PERSON'S butt look good" as in the third person, general sense of the word "you." He thought I just complimented HIS butt and replied, "uh, thanks." Then he walked away.


I wanted to die.

A paralegal overhead it and came into my office with a shocked look on her face. I explained what I meant to say and she started giggling hysterically. My face felt hot and I'm sure I was bright red.

I stayed in my office for a good three hours after that.

In other news, Ryan is eight months old today! He is such a chill, easy baby. Every since we used the cry-it-out method (which only took two nights of crying), he's been going to bed so easily. A little too easily, in fact. I change his diaper, put on his pjs, feed him a bottle, rock him for a minute, then lay him in his crib while he is still awake. He curls up on his side and drifts to sleep without a peep! From all the babysitting that I've done, I've never enountered a child/baby like that! I've never imagined that I'd ever have one! I swear that he is laying some kind of trap or prank for me.

My big boy has two bottom teeth. He loves to clap his hands. He claps his hands at anything and everything. He's mobile now, which is fun to watch but frustrating. I can't just set him down and grab laundry. I have to make sure the entire room is free of small objects and obstructions before I divert my attention elsewhere.

He's so good at feeding himself and chewing food. We went out to breakfast the other day and I gave him a piece of my toast. He bit off tiny pieces and chewed them up. He was so content and ate the whole thing! He also loves pumpkin spice bread and pizza crust and pretty much anything I'm eating. He's been feeding himself Cheerios, soft carrot pieces, and banana slices for quite a while now. I love that he can feed himself during dinner. It means I get to eat with TWO HANDS!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Jacob Says

Jacob: "Mommy, when I grow up, I'm going to work with Daddy and Grandpa."
"Don't you want to work with Mommy?"
Jacob: "No. Daddy and Grandpa work on cars. I want to work on cars too."
"Well, what if I work on cars too?"
Jacob: "No mommy. Only boys work on cars. Girls just crash them."
"What?! Well where do girls work?"
Jacob: "They work in work places."

Jacob: "Does Batman speak Spanish?"

Jacob: "Ryan, you need to behave....I'm so dissapointed in you. Ryan, craperate (cooperate) with me! You have ONE more chance!"

"Jacob, I'm only going to light the candle one more time. If you blow it out, that's it."
Jacob: "Ok Mommy."
[...a minute later]
Jacob: "Well Mommy, the candle blew out but it wasn't me! When the furnace came on, the wind from the vent just blew it out!"
I'm in trouble, this kid can lie.

We're in the process of making our Christmas Cards. We try to do something funny each year with a funny family photo. I'm still working out the kinks but I couldn't resist sharing a sneak peak at Ryan trying on his outfit:

Shy Santa

Santa got photo-bombed!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Traditions & Being Kid Drunk

Ryan is crawling now. This is both awesome and extremely not awesome. Pre-mobile Ryan, our Saturday mornings would go like this: baby and kid wake up at 6 am. Feed baby and kid and sit them in the living room to play with toys and watch cartoons while I sneak back into my warm bed for one to two more hours. This has been so awesome. (and now you have proof that I am a horrible, neglectful mom...but hey, at some point, you need sleep at almost any cost).

The past two mornings, however, this hasn't been working out. Saturday morning, I woke up to Ryan screaming. I walked into the living room and found that he had crawled and had gotten stuck under our entertainment stand. Why would he be lured in that direction when he has plenty of awesome toys sprawled out across the living room, I will never know.

Then THIS morning, I woke up to Ryan crying once again. I jumped out of bed and found that he had crawled away from the living room and his box of toys, all the way to the dining room (I say that as if our house isn't tiny and the rooms are more than 7 feet apart). I found Ryan stuck under the chair of my husband's desk. Poor guy! So. I guess no more extra hours of weekend sleep for me!

This weekend made me feel so full. During the week, I get only a precious few hours with the kids. And during those hours, I'm usually exhausted, grumpy, rushed, or starving (or all three). By Fridays, my kid-fix tank is usually running on empty. Thankfully, my weekends are so full of the kids that by Sundays, I'm drunk on them and ready to tackle another week. This weekend was just like that.

On Saturday, we had one long family day. We went to the gym and my husband and Jacob swam in the pool while I watch ran 4 miles and watched HGTV. I picked Ryan up from childwatch and we hung out while the big boys finished swimming. Ryan and I relaxed in front of the fireplace (yes, my gym is THAT awesome!) and snacked on pumpkin spice bread. Ryan LOVED it. I cannot keep food away from that guy. He is so interested in everything and anything edible. I can't eat anything with him in my hands unless I am willing to share. This explains why, later in the day, he also managed to get his new teeth on a Red Robin steak fry and some bubblegum icecream.

Cheerio King

After the gym, we enjoyed some holiday festivities with my sister-in-law, cousin-in-law, and their kids. The festivities were a total let down. But the kids got to ride the escalators twice and that totally made up for the 1.5 hour drive, right? After the escalator rides, they could have cared less about the druming toy soldiers and snow princesses.

Today was just as full. I've been trying to get the kids to church on Sundays. I'll be the first to admit that I am a horrible religious person. I could write a whole post on my faith or my lack thereof. I don't really know what I believe. But I WANT to believe. So, a part of me hopes that going through the motions is a good first step. Plus, I was raised Catholic and I love celebrating Catholic traditions.

I've been adrift spiritually for many years. In college, I studied Islam and Hinduism very seriously. I absolutely loved Hinduism and, surprisingly, found so much of it in common with my Catholic background. But, after exploring other faiths, I know for sure now that I love Catholicism the most. Like all religions, it's not perfect because people are not perfect. But the Catholic church feels like home to me.

Right now, I'm going to church and taking the kids with me because it feels good. It's comfortable. I want my kids to grow up with some religious background and education. I love the traditions and rituals. Our local parish is awesome and has such an amazing community of young families. And I truly WANT to believe. I'm hoping the rest will fall into place if I keep trying.

Today, I somehow managed to get the kids to Mass (only half an hour late). But only after Ryan managed to crawl in some mud. After Mass, I introduced myself to the priest. As I shook his hand and introduced myself as a new parishoner, Jacob yanked on my arm and yelled, "Mommy! I have to POOP! I have to poop NOW!"....Maybe he was trying to get out of talking to Father?

So. Jacob pooped. Then I got to squeeze into his stall and wipe his ass with one hand while holding Ryan in the other, trying to keep Ryan from eating toilet paper, and trying not to breath in the noxious fumes. Then we joined the rest of humanity at the parish hall where we participated in the St. Nicholas festival. Jacob ran around some dangerous looking bleachers with other kids while I held a sleeping Ryan while also attempting to make an Advent wreath out of evergreen branches. At that moment, a mom came up to me and offered to hold Ryan. I hope I didn't sound TOO excited to take her up on that offer. We got to talking and I was so excited to meet another mommy. I don't get to meet or even talk to many other moms because all the mommy groups I know of meet during work hours (lame).

This mom told me that she noticed my kids during church and wanted to tell me how well-behaved they both were. What? Obviously, she didn't see Jacob pretending to be a cat and hiss at the alter server as he walked down the aisle. She must have also missed the major tantrum Jacob threw because I forgot to let him put money in the offering basket. She must not have been paying attention when Jacob told the kid next to us that if he drinks green juice, his pee will turn green. But thanks anyway! And without fail, as this nice mommy was complimenting me on how well-behaved my kids are, Jacob runs up to me starts punching me in the upper thigh and says, "Hey lady, give me juice." Seriously? I don't know where he gets this stuff. Also after dinner today he started calling me "my-lady."

Post-Mass photoshoot:

Jacob insisted on wearing TWO ties

The rest of the day was grocery shopping with the kids (which is honestly one of my favorite things to do), hanging out with my little men, cooking dinner (a mix of new recipes and old favorites), bathtime (during which Ryan splashed so excitedly that he covered our entire bathroom and me with water), and bedtime cuddles. Some days, my kids really test me and push me to my limits. Other days, I feel like the most patient person in the world. Today was the latter and it's amazing how having just a little bit more patience can make your day feel so much happier.

Going back to Catholic traditions, this is the first year that I've followed through on one of my favorites, the Advent wreath. I made the wreath myself and decorated it with ribbons and fake berries. I bought the four candlesticks at church today. They are handcarved from Olive wood, a slow-growing tree from the Holy Land. They are so gorgeous. While there are four candles, you only get to light one the first week of Advent. You light two the second week, three the third week, and then you get to light all four of them the week of Christmas. Not only is it pretty, it makes my table smell like pine and Christmas!

As kids, we loved taking turns lighting (and blowing out) the candles before dinner each night. We loved the anticipation of lighting a new candle each week as we got closer to Christmas Day. We also loved spending our meals eating by candlelight. It was awesome to share this tradition with Jacob tonight. He was so excited to eat by candlelight and he nearly jumped out of his chair when I told him that he could blow the candle out. I remember that excitement so well. The holidays are honestly the best time to be a parent. You get to watch your own childhood memories come back to life through your kids.

Like I said, I'm so full tonight. Full of family and drunk on my kids.

Friday, November 30, 2012

On Sounding Manly, Lie Training, And Laughing At Sick Pets

Apparently, my voice is too high for a lawyer's voice. I've been acutely and self-consciously aware of this fact since a partner at a prior firm mentioned this to me over a year ago. He then proceeded to give me tips on how to sound more authoritative. He quipped that an older female client doesn't sound very assured when her lawyer sounds young and high-pitchy.

His point was well made. I took it to heart. Ever since then, I've struggled to sound more authoritative. It's really hard to talk in a deeper voice on purpose and to not sound like a raspy serial killer.

Although I'm trying, I haven't quite mastered the skill. Occassionally, when I'm not thinking about it or when I'm caught off guard, I will resort to my high-pitched "phone" voice. The former partner who originally mentioned this whole thing to me over a year ago is now my current boss. And today, after a phone conferece with another attorney, he mentioned it to me again.

It's frustrating. He's 100% right. I need to sound more like a lawyer. And unfortunately, that means sounding more masculine. The frustrating thing is that it's simply not easy to change your voice and still sound natural. I need more practice or just some better tips/training.

Not only does my boss think I need to sound more authoritative, he thinks I need training on how to "lie." I have to admit that when it comes to lying, I suck. I almost always crack a huge suspicious grin when pressed. I tend to think this is a QUALITY in my character, not a deficit. But my boss decided that my "lie" training should start today. (p.s., my boss is actually a funny and awesome guy, this isn't as bad as it sounds and is mostly just in good fun). When we called up a colleague about meeting for happy hour, my boss challenged me to give the receptionist a pretent name.

"Hello, how may I direct your call."'
"Yes. Can I speak to Sarah please."
"Who may I ask is calling?"
"Wait, is this CP?"
"....giggle, giggle. YES!"

Not only did I fail at lying, but the sweet old lady receptionist sounded pretty annoyed by what she called my "prank." I immediately called her back to apologize. I was going to explain about my "lie training." Because THAT sounds completely normal, right? But as soon as I said I was sorry, she told me she had to go and promptly hung up. Now I feel HORRIBLE! I'm pretty sure it's horrific karma to eff with a receptionist. I'm sure that's in a rule book somewhere.

See. Lying is bad. It gets you in trouble. Lawyers do not need help tarnishing the reputation of their profession. I think from now on, I will stick to simply "molding the facts to fit my theory of the case."

After work, we eventually did meet up with our former coworkers for happy hour. We all used to work at the same firm about two years ago. Some of us left. Some of us left and returned. Some of us are still there. I love this group. They are my favorite people ever. If I could build my ideal law firm with all my favorite people to work with, they would be there. We're loud. We're rowdy. We're inappropriate. We're such a diverse group of individual that from the outside, we do not look like we would all be friends. It's amazing how a workplace can bring all different types of people together and give us something in common. I love it.

During happy hour I drank just one beer and that was enough to get me in trouble. By the end of happy hour, I was in an uncontrollable giggling rage. (Talk about trying to sound more authoritative!). Everything seemed funny to me and I couldn't stop laughing. Unfortunately, this is when someone started to talk about their dog having cancer. My beer was still in full force and I giggled through the whole sad story. I am SO going to hell. (On the positive: hell is more likely to have beer).

I arrived home late but with just enough time to cuddle my baby and hang out with my big kid before  bed. I'm so looking forward to spending an entire weekend with them. Even when they are cranky and whinny. Happy hours put everything into a good perspective. I guess that's why they are called "happy" hours.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Flexibility Matters

I wanted to write a post about how things are going with my special work arrangements. Working 2 days a week from "home" (actually, my mom's home while she watches the kids), has been totally amazing.

I was very skeptical at first. In lawschool, every one of my attempts to study at home failed. I simply could not muster up the self discipline to hunker down and focus on school. Same thing with my first attorney job. But so far, whether I'm working on my dining room table or in my old room at my parent's house, I've been super productive. It helps to have scary court-deadlines looming over your head. Or maybe it's the fact that I still feel like I need to prove to my new employers that I can make this working from home thing work.

The days I work from "home," I get an extra hour of sleep. After work, I get an extra hour of play time with the kids. (I even took them to the YMCA yesterday after work!). When I get to my mom's, I lock myself in my old room where I am free from interruption by partners, paralegals, phone calls, etc. There's no one to entice me away from my desk with an invitation to lunch or coffee. I can take five minute breaks to raid my mom's pantry and give the kids a hug.

Mentally, just knowing that I don't have to make the 2.5 hour one way trek into Seattle everyday, has made all the difference in my attitude. I'm not stuck in traffic. I don't have to deal with extremely slow walkers clogging up the sidewalks. I don't have mini-panic attacks about missing my bus or ferry. If I'm half an hour late, no one knows (I just work half an hour later). It's so much easier to manage an unhumane commute when you are only doing it every other day. 

Plus, I get to work in my yoga pants! Or jeans. Or shorts. Or heck, my underwear if I wanted! From a wardrobe perspective, my job is perfect. Half the week I get to play dress-up and wear all my favorite work wardrobe pieces and the other half of the week I get to work in my casual clothes that otherwise get very little use.

And double bonus: I still love my job. Like, to a sickening degree of job-love. It's challenging. It's interesting. I get to write a lot of motions and briefs. I occassionally get to attend hearings and depositions ("occassionally" is the perfect frequency for these types of tasks). I get to help strategize on litigation efforts. I get just the perfect mixture of self-management/autonomy and guidance. Probably the most exciting thing of all... I get my picture on the firm website! Hey, it's the little things right?

So, the take-away? A little flexibility from an employer as far as letting you work from home or work slightly-reduced hourse can make a huge difference. Without the flexibility, the job I absolutely love would be unsustainable and implausible. I still don't know how I got so lucky!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How To Take A Professional Headshot

The key is to simply, be yourself.
Portrait of a working mom:

Driven to the brink of insanity.

And occassionally, yes, even professional.

Tweet Tweet

I FINALLY got a Twitter account. For the longest time, I was certain it was just a boring version of Facebook. I'm going to give it a try though.

And I want to follow you! Who has a Twitter .... handle? Is that what they call it?

I'm @LawAssociette. It's a work in progress.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Every evening, I'm very excited to arrive home and walk through the door. The way it plays out in my head, it goes something like this: my older son runs to me and wraps his arms around my neck with a big grin. My younger son reaches his arms out for me and cuddles happily for a moment before returning to play with his toys on the floor. I whip up a quick meal while the kids entertain themselves, and then we sit down and eat together as a family as we talk about our day. Finally, we play a board game or do a quick puzzle before it's time for bed.

That's pretty much mom heaven for a weekday night.

Unfortunately, when I actually DO walk excitedly through the door, with expectations soaring high, I more often than not encounter a very different scene. One that often makes me want to step right back out the door.

First, Jacob is almost always on the couch, overly tired, and whinning nonstop. "I want a snack! I don't want dinner. I'm starving. No, I don't like chicken. I want to watch TV. Ryan is looking at me!"  He repeats this as he thrashes violently on the couch. Obviously, he did not have a nap.

Then Ryan takes one look at me, smiles with a dimply, wide grin, and reaches out for me. Finally! Some love! Something is going as imagined! But the second I pick him up, he turns into one of those miniature cling-on koala bear toys.

He won't let go. The second I put him down to change out of work clothes or make dinner, or go to the bathroom, he starts to whimper and cry. He's clearly tired as well and needs to go to bed. But I JUST walked in the door from my 2+ hour commute (which includes 2.5 miles of walkng and an hour long ferry ride). I'm exhausted. I'm freezing. I'm starving. And I'm freaking wearing panty hose!

So with a chubby human koala clutching to me and my four-year old having a major meltdown on the couch that would seriously put a pampered, indulgent celeb to shame, I throw together a pathetic dinner of pancakes with ONE HAND because I'm feeling uninspired and don't have any groceries.

Then, with both kids still crying and with pancake batter dripping from my free hand all over the floor, and over the cat, and over my nice dry-clean-only skirt, and my panty hose, I fall to the floor and just sit there for a moment. Oh look, there are run-away Cheerios under my oven. Oh look, the cat's food dish has somehow cracked in half, scattering pieces of fish-smelling catfood all over the floor. Oh look, Ryan just put a mysterious crumb in his mouth.

I sit in a pile of pancake batter and with Ryan in my lap, I scootch my butt over to my emergency candy drawer. I pull out a handful of minaiture Reese's, fling the wrappers half-heartedly in the general direction of the garbage can, and decidedly feast on a dinner of chocolate and processed peanut butter. In that moment, I almost wish some of my single, kidless friends could see me. If only for their pity. Or the entertainment of seeing the horror on their faces. Then...maybe THEN they will finally understand why it's not so easy to just show up at an impromptu invitation for happy hour.

Right in that moment, I'm thinking, man, I really deserve a "participation award" for surviving life today.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Food, Family & Fun

The past four days were so awesome. Trying at times (especially the part about not going to work and sharing a 900 square foot house with my two kids, all their freaking toys, and all their attitude), but definitely awesome

FOOD (or Carbs, Carbs, Everywhere)

For Thanksgiving dinner, we went to my Sister-In-Law's in-law's house, if that makes any sense. My husband's family all gathered there as well and it turned out really nice. Especially because I didn't have to cook OR clean! Although I didn't cook for Thanksgiving, I ended up cooking (and eating!) a whole lot of meals these past four days for just my family.

Mushroom bread pudding

Creamy apple pie with pecan crumble topping (my favorite pie...ever!)

Ginger-soy chicken. The ginger flavor comes from ginger preserves which is an unusual but fun ingredient.

My favorite recipe for homemade, from-scratch pancakes. I seriously haven't purchased pancake mix in four years.

Breakfast Quiche. I had two homemade pie doughs from the crust I made for my apple pie. I didn't want them to go the usual route of being forgotten about and thrown away 3 months later. So, this morning, I threw together a "whatever is in the fridge" quiche. The filling: fresh parmesan cheese, half a ball of fresh mozarella, tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes (nuked in the microwave then pan-fried for a perfect crispy outside), onions, and garlic. Help: I still have one pie dough left!

Delicious one-pot pasta. I got this from Pinterest. Basically it's pasta, broccoli, garlic, and parmesan cheese all cooked in one big pot. Almost no dishes. And yummy.

Chicken with cream sauce. I took a Julia Child recipe and ran with it. I didn't like her method- I know, right, who am I to criticize Julia Child?!  Oh. The. Nerve.

I can't tell you how many times I scrubbed the entire surface of my kitchen counters and sink. I can't tell you how many dirty dishes I washed. I can't tell you how many times I had to pour Ryan one more handful of Cheerios to keep him happy while I was occupied. I CAN tell you how extremely DRY my hands are right now. I feel like reptile lady. But I LOVE to cook. This weekend was cooking therapy for me.


On Saturday we celebrated a friend's birthday party at a nearby public pool. I supervised Jacob while I also entertained Ryan in the pool. Ryan LOVED the water. He's always loved taking baths and, to him, the pool was one gigantic bathtub in which to splash.

Jacob really wanted to float down the lazy river so I decided to buck up and get wet. I'm not a fan of swimming or being wet or being cold so I tried my darndest to stay on the sidelines. I wasn't sure how Ryan would do in the lazy river. There were no other babies in that area of the pool. But it turned out I had no reason to worry. He's just like his big brother and loves water. I bounced along the lazy river with Ryan as Jacob hung on to floaties. Jacob grabbed Ryan's hand and the two of them giggled and splashed as we all went around and around.

Because Ryan's still little, there aren't many things the two of them can really do together. It was a special treat to see my two boys have so much fun together. I'm always worried that being nearly 4 years apart in age, the boys won't be that close as they grow up. They are proving me wrong nearly every day.

This morning Ryan started to crawl! It was more like an army crawl but it got the job done. He managed to get his knees under his body a couple times. He's been good at maneuvering around on the floor for a long time now, this was just the first time he did so in a typical "pre-crawl" method. I love that he can reach for toys on his own now. I hate that I have to start cleaning the floors more often now. I also have to be extra vigilant about removing all power cords from his reach when I leave a room. He is obsessed with power cords and, admittedly, when I'm really busy I'll give him one to fling around just because it's a sure-fire way to keep him occupied. But I definitely don't want him to have one when I'm not watching. Yikes!

Ready to see Santa!

Today, we took Jacob and Ryan to see Santa at the mall. Jacob was so excited. I kept reminding my husband and myself that we have to enjoy every ounce of his excitement. This age is pretty much as exciting and magical as Christmas gets. I was harshly reminded of this fact as we stood in line to see Santa and the pre-teen behind us was giving her mom major attitude for having to sit on Santa's lap. The pre-teen was so obnoxious I almost clocked her with my diaper bag. She kept saying that Santa wasn't real and the man in the red suit was a creepy pedophile dressed in costume. SERIOUSLY. I know we've probably all thought that at one point but you can't SAY IT. IN FRONT OF CHILDREN. AT THE MALL!

Right when I was about to turn around and tell her to shut her pimply pie-hole, her mother did the job for me. Thank goodness because I would have been less loving than her mother. And I probably would have used a swear word. Especially if Jacob had overheard anything.

Turns out, however, Ryan agrees with her.

Nope. Ryan does not like the creepy pedophile dressed in costume.

(forgive me sweet Santa man, I know you really are NOT a pedophile)
Ryan showed signs of PTSD from the experience for the rest of the day. "Hey kids, look at those cool lights in the shape of a Santa!"
Ryan: "NOOOOOOO!!!!!"