Friday, August 31, 2012

Cut, Cookies, Cape

Oh man, I think there are some interesting things happening! I wish I could share them now but it's not quite the right time. Expect something mid-next week. :)

In the meantime...

I got a haircut!

I was inspired to cut my hair shorter and add side bangs. My inspiration was Mackenzie Mchale from the Newsroom. I like the show a lot despite it's heavy liberal slant- don't even get me started on their pronouncements that the Tea Party is the Taliban, hates poor people, and is anti-women.

But Makenzie! I love her. I love her style. I love her cute-but-not-glamorous-nerdy-girl hair. Out of all the women heroines on TV today, I can relate to Makenzie the most. Intelligent but quirky and sometimes verbally inept. Oh, and her wardrobe is flawless. Pencil skirts and tucked-in flowy blouses. Love!

I made a baywindow seat.

Like how my son arranged his cars?

I bought some 3inch foam and some fabric and created this without a pattern or plan. I just made it up as I went. I even added a velcro closure so that it's removable. It was SO much work and maybe not even worth the 5 hours I spent. But I couldn't find a pre-made cushion with the right shape or dimensions. It turned out ok despite my amateur skills. It does the job. I'm happy.

Ryan ate a baby cookie.

Get in my mouth!

 This isn't working!
Oh, that's better!

He's a pro at sitting now! I can't believe just two weeks ago he wasn't sitting at all. It's like he's been doing it all his life :) He never really got into the whole rolling over thing but he's definitely ahead of the curve when it comes to sitting!

My kids were cute.

And I saw a man wearing a cape.

The End.

P.S. Yes, I AM aware of the suckiness of my camera phone.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Odds And Ends

Do you ever look at your kid, really REALLY look at him, and think, "Wow, you're MY KID."

The amazement of reproduction and the creation of life is never too far away when you have a baby. In those first couple of weeks after bringing a baby home from the hospital, it's with you all the time. It's easy to get swept away by the insane fact that you just made a person. But then your fresh-faced newborn becomes a chubby-thighed infant who becomes a boyish toddler.

Most days you subconsciously accept the fact that he's yours that he came from you. But every once in a while, the amazement of life catches you again and you just stop and stare. And the harder that you stare at your kid, the more he looks like a stranger. He's not the tiny baby you brought home from the hospital. He's become a person with preferences and feelings and thoughts. And when you stop to think about it, really REALLY think, it blows your mind. You CREATED this person. He came from you. He lived within you.


And now, he's running around in his underwear, launching throw pillows across the living room, and chanting "I have a BIG TOOT!"

Really? THAT came from me?

In other news:

I'm been insanely busy getting ready for Jacob's 4th birthday party. After work this week, I've already done the following: sewn a slip cover for our baywindow cushion (I'm never doing that again!), sewn spider-shaped bean bags for a Spiderman themed bean bag toss, AND paper mached a spider-shaped pinata. Phew. Tired.

To go off on another tangent....

If I have to read ONE MORE politically-charged Facebook status, I'll probably throw my computer against something. Seriously, I'm so sick of it. I don't mind if people want to say good things about their favorite candidate but it really bugs me when people belittle the candidate or views of people on the other side. Facebook has gotten as negative as all the shit-slinging Presidential campaing ads. I'm. Up. To. Here.

I think the biggest problem is that among my FB friends, my views are a minority. I'm a fiscally conservative, socially liberal libertarian. I vote both party lines. I voted for Bush in 04. I voted for Obama in 08. I think I am more open minded than most and I can respect and understand the views that I don't agree with. But I have to put up with everyone's negativity all day long.

I recognize political rhetoric when I see it, on EITHER side. And when it comes to Facebook, I've noticed one thing that is always true. The negativity is ALWAYS the result of someone not understanding the other side or labeling them incorrectly in an attempt to make themselves feel self-righteous. And the negativity always brings hypocrisy. No one is flawless. No political party is perfect. Get over it. There is no evil here. There are just hopeful people trying to do good. We need to rid ourselves of the negativity and stop being so close-minded.

Ugh. Ok. I'm getting off my soap box now.

Now, to end on a happier note.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Question Corner

Some more ridiculous questions brought to you by the inquisitive toddler (who is only going to be a toddler for six more days!):

"Do cars get mad?

"When daddy takes off his shirt is he like sexy?"

"When zombies get old, do they die?"

"Mommy, when you were a baby did I hold you?"

"Is my hot dog really a dog?"


Jacob: "Mommy, why is that car so long?"

Me: "That's called a limo. It's for people who are really, really long."


Jacob: "Do trees sleep?"

Me: "No."

Jacob: "Why?"


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Some Things Are Better Left A Fantasy

Before I can get to the meat of this post, I have to quickly share that I set up Ryan's jump-up today. I give it an A+. Easy to assemble. Easy to install. And easy to use!
I was born in Alaska and I have very few memories of the place: the design of my parent's kitchen floor, mooses eating the crabapples out of our front yard, my pre-school indoor playgym, and my jump-up. I was probably only 3 but I remember the jump-up vividly. My dad set it up in our garage and I jumped to my hearts content. Funny how our brains pick and choose what memories to carry on into our adulthood.
Anyway, the jump-up was a hit. For both kids.

Then we hit up the last day of our county fair. I pretty much abhor three things in life: (1) long lines, (2) crowds, and (3) un-openable children's toys. Luckily, I didn't run into any of these things today! The crowds and lines at the fair were very manageable. I guess everyone else was fair-ed out or something.

At the entrance of the fair, some people were giving camel rides. Imagining the experience to be adventurous, romantic, and thrilling, I've been wanting to ride a camel for quite some time. Since my husband (who usually tries to talk me out of my "ridiculous" ideas) stayed home, there was absolutely nothing standing between me and my happy, humped friend. So Jacob and I went for a camel ride.

"Ride" is a very generous word. It was slow, lumpy, and guided. Not at all like the exotic adventure in my dreams. I think it would have been better if the whole thing had stayed a fantasy.

 The terrain was as exotic as the ride: concrete sprinkled with hay.

After that whole let down, we fed our camel a carrot of thanks. Well, I fed the camel. Jacob had a carrot fumble:

Camel: "Noooooooooooooo!"
Carrot: "I'm freeeeeeeeeeee!"

Thank goodness the other rides were more exciting. This is the first year that I've taken Jacob to the fair where he could actually go on the rides. Two years ago, that measuring stick was our worst enemy. Yay for passing the 40 inch mark!

I took Jacob and my nephew up the Super Slide. The plan was to all go down holding hands. But I guess Jacob wasn't quite ready. My nephew and I went down in perfect formation. We got to the bottom and saw Jacob stuck at the top, twisted up in his mat and crying frantically for help.

Not one to waste 3 event tickets, I was about to run back up to the top and situate him properly when he suddenly lost grip and fell down the slide. He had all the spectators laughing hysterically.

By the time he got to the bottom, he was laughing along with the rest of us.

Halfway through the trip, Jacob began to get crabby and refused to pose for pictures. In fact, he went out of his way to make sure the back of his head was turned to me everytime I took the camera out. I quickly outsmarted him:

Me: "Jacob, please look at me for the picture."
Jacob: "NO!"
Me: "Oh my gosh! I have a huge candy bar!"

That trick worked more times than you would have imagined. (Really, Jacob? You didn't catch on the first three times?)

My favorite part of the fair was seeing all the guys dressed in their best cowboy boots and hats. Second best was the fair food of course! My sister and I spent more time fighting over the proper pronunciation of the word "gyro" than we spent eating said gyro. Either way you say it, it was delicious.
I ordered a cheeseburger for Jacob. I was shocked to discover that the $5 burger was as thin as a pancake! Absolutely most ridiculous burger patty I've ever seen! And, of course, within one minute of setting it in front of Jacob, it was all over the floor of the food court. I picked that thing right up, blew the dirt off, and set it right back on his plate, with no objection from the King of Crabby. When you have kids, you have to learn to let go of your germophobias. Especially when you are paying good money for food. To me, being afriad of germs is being afriad of tiny invisible specks that are completely harmless. At the very worst, what, you catch a cold? You're more likely to get e-coli from lettuce at the grocery store!
My parenting advice for the week: let your kids eat dirt and fall down slides. Life is messy. Embrace it.
We finished up our trip by petting the farm animals. If our house had come with more yard, I would totally get the kids involved in 4-H. That would be my excuse for purchasing a pygmy goat. I'm sure owning a goat is far more awesome than riding a camel.  
Watch out for grumpy beef:

Friday, August 24, 2012

So Let's Set The World On Fire

I was sitting at my desk at work today when I got an unusual call. It was a student. She needed to interview a lawyer for one of her college classes. 

She started out by asking me some basic questions, like "what type of law do you practice?" and "where did you go to school?" Then came deeper questions.

"What lead to you becoming a lawyer?"

I gave the cop-out answer. I told her I had graduated from undergraduate school with double majors in Political Science and International Studies. But after they handed me my diploma, I had no idea what was next. I mean what exactly are you qualified to do with a Political Science degree? So, at the last minute, I joined my fellow Poli Sci majors and took the LSAT. My dad was a lawyer so I already had some admiration for the profession. I decided to let my LSAT score decide my fate for me. In the end, I got a pretty good score so I went to lawschool.

After I gave my answer, I turned the tables and asked about her career goals. With a cheerful, optimistic voice, she told me she didn't really know what she wanted to do. But she wanted to dedicate her life to helping people, especially people in other countries. In short, she wanted to help save the world.

Her positivity and noble goals nearly bowled me over. I paused for a moment to reflect. What she said hit me. It hit me really hard. Eight years ago, I was her. I was EXACTLY her. Eight years ago, before I chose the path that led me to lawschool, I was desperate to serve.  I wanted to save orphans in India. I wanted to oversee U.S. foreign policy in countries around the globe. Administer foreign assistance in third world countries. I wanted to be a part of the United Nations. I wanted to give myself to the world and to all of her children. I wanted a career of sacrifice and love and diplomacy.

But I just didn't know how to get there.

After college, I had plenty of internship experience to help me land an entry level job somewhere. I had interned for the Governor's Office of Illinois (yup, that would have been the always-controversial Governor Blagojevich!). I interned for a documentary film producer. I worked for a small nonprofit arts theater. I volunteered at a children's cancer hospital. But none of that really led me anywhere that I truly wanted to be.

So I applied for a program to teach english in Japan. I had studied Japanese for four years in highschool. Everyone told me I was a shoe-in. I put tons of effort into my application. I prepped for my interview for HOURS. I was determined to get the job. But....I didn't. And I was devastated.

I had to think of a new plan quickly. I followed my Poli Sci friends to the LSAT and, somehow, stumbled my way into lawschool. When I entered lawschool, I still had my heart set on a career of service. I was certain a J.D. after my name would provide PLENTY of opportunities to go abroad and serve the world through some fancy organization or other. I was crestfallen to discover that those types of job were ultra-competative. My average lawschool grades would not put me in reach of those goals anytime soon.

Then life happened. I met my husband. We got married. We started a family. We gained a mortgage. We had car and health insurance payments. I left lawschool with a huge student loan debt. Debt that will likely stick around for the next 1.5 decades. Somewhere in all that life, I lost sight of my original goals. I landed an awesome summer internship at a litigation firm. I followed that internship into a job and that job has now become my career.

My ambitious, adventure-seeking, philanthropic self has morphed into a mediocre, boring everyday person. A person who dresses business casual and sits at a computer typing documents all day. Routine has replaced spontaneity. Bills have replaced travel expenditures. Contentedness has replaced my abhorrence for boring everyday life. And a family tethering me home has replaced my heart's desire to roam.

Sure, if I really wanted to, I could probably dust off those old dreams and follow them to the ends of the earth. But I'm a different person now. I've accepted the wonder and beauty of a routine life. I live like millions of other boring people across this country. And you know what? I'm even OK with it.

Sometimes I wonder if I am a sell-out. I mean, I practice personal injury law instead of feeding orphans or saving people from AIDs. Don't get me wrong, I really do enjoy my work. It's just not the fancy, set-the-world-on-fire job I always dreamed about.

BUT, you know what? At the end of the day, I don't care much about what I long as I get to come home to this:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Ballgame

Dear people without kids. Please do me a favor. Get in your car and go somewhere. Go anywhere. Just pick yourself up, on the slightest whim, and go.

First, appreciate the fact that it didn't take you 20 minutes to pack a diaper bag, feed a baby, and load kids in the car. Then as you drive, please relish the fact that there is not an unhappy screaming baby in your backseat. Soak in the luxury of not having a toddler incessantly screeching in your ear, "What does disturbed mean," "What does frustrated mean," "Why don't trees sleep?"  Finally, arrive at your destination without having to first unbuckle two children, throw a diaper bag over your shoulder, and lift the world's heaviest carseat from your vehicle.

Please. Just soak it in. Every moment. So that I can live vicariously through you! Ok. Now that that's done, we can move on.

So, my husband won tickets to a local minor leage baseball game. Because we can never find enough ways to torture ourselves, we decided to take the kids along with us.

The first obstacle was my 45 minute drive to the game where we were meeting my husband. As I predicted, Ryan began crying the second we hit the open freeway. After listening to him scream for 20 minutes, I did what any rational person would do. I drove the car WHILE feeding him a bottle. I was in the front seat. He was in the seat directly BEHIND me. Kids, don't try this at home:

After 10 minutes, my arm felt like it was going to fall off. Amazingly, I managed to stay in my lane and go the speed limit the entire time. I honestly think I deserved some kind of gold nedal for that performance.

We arrived at the game just in time for the first inning. Seats behind home plate! Perfect view... of the backside of the baseball players, that is!

Unfortunaly, I only watched about 7 fragmented minutes of the entire game. The rest of the time I was chasing Jacob, who quickly became surrounded by a gaggle of new toddler friends, or feeding Ryan, who was very content to just sit on my lap and smile at the people around us.

We got into the spirit of the game and dressed Jacob accordingly.

Then we found the team mascot. I learned the hard way that the Rainier Raindeer does not like to be called a moose. If you ask me, I think someone's jockey straps are on a little tight.

When I wasn't chasing Jacob, I was escorting him to the bathroom. Either he likes to annoy me or his bladder is the size of a kidney bean. Ryan and I hung out in the bathroom while we waited for Jake to do his business.

Hanging out.
We left the game at the top of the ninth but not before Jacob's new girlfriends all gave him big, wet goodbye smooches. It was a shame we were leaving early, but also very necessary. Truth: a kid who misses his bedtime the night before is worse than discovering a turd in your coffee. After you've already taken a sip!

52.8 Years

In the 16 work days I've been back to work, I've written 7 demand letters. I'm a demand-cranking machine right now! It's funny because when I worked on the defense side, almost ALL of the demand letters that came across my desk were, at the most, a very minimalistic two pages long. Now I'm on the other side and I'm cranking out ultra-detailed demand letters. It's a lot of work but I honestly enjoy it. I love sifting rigorously through all the available evidence trying to piece together a demand. It's like a treasure hunt. How many claims can YOU find?!

BUT....there IS one part I'm not particularly fond of -- calculating future general damages. See, there's this handy little chart called a Life Expectancy Chart. It basically tells you, based upon some super complicated statistics and equations, how much longer you can expect to live based upon your age and sex.

It's depressing.

When I think about being a 20-something (even if that's a LATE 20-something), I feel very young. I feel like a huge portion of my life is still in front of me. (Until I realize I'm probably only 5-7 years from whar some would consider middle-age...ew!). But when the remainder of my life is reduced to a final....and not so very long after all. I do NOT like a little chart reminding me that I can expect to live only about 52.8 more years! That chart makes me start to feel all itchy and twitchy.

52.8 more years.


By that time, my baby will be 52.8 years old (see, I CAN do math!).

It seems like both a considerable amount of time and a very inadequate amount of time all at once. A lot can happen in 52.8 years. At the same time, it's just a tiny speck in the timeline of the universe. I kind of want to be more than just a speck. It's so overwhelming to think that eventually my life will be swallowed up by the sea of forever.

52.8 is not my favorite number. I think I'm going to count the remainder of my life in candy bars instead. If I eat one candy bar a day, thats approximately 19,284.67. I have just over 19,000 candy bars left! I like that number much better.

By extension, today, I am 10,226.72 candy bars old.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Sitting Matter

Ryan's been trying really hard for the past couple weeks. Today he did it! He sat, unassisted! Multiple times! He lasted a full minute before finally keeling over from the weight of his big head.

He looks like such a little man.

 Yeah, I'm sittin'. No big deal...

Oh, I was looking for that binky.

 Hey little toes. How YOU doin'?

Nice nose. It's mine.

My awesome guys! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mr. Personality

After work, I drove to a nearby park to pick up my kids. As I drove around the park and eventually found a cool parking spot in the shade, I saw my mom twirling my son on the merry-go-round. I couldn't tell who was happier- my mom or my son. I have the most cheerful, bright, playful, and patient mother in the world. I often can't help but think she is better with my kids than I am.

I've never seen her lose patience with my children. When Jacob becomes difficult, she turns everything into a game and magically transforms his stubborness into willing cooperation. I have no idea how she does it. I'm convinced that if I looked at her back, I'd see a battery compartment fitted with a hundred D-size batteries.

She and Jacob have such a wonderful relationship. It's still hard for me to go to work most days. But when I think about the beautiful relationship that they share as a result of me being a working mom, I am nothing but grateful that they've had the opportunity to bond on such a deep level.

I can probably count on one hands the number of times I've seen my mom without a wide grin on her face. She is such a positive energy. She's a little out-there at times too. I will never forget the time that my husband (then my boyfriend) came over to pick me up at my parents' home. My mom asked him if he would like some mint gum. When he accepted her offer, she took out a piece of Juicy Fruit, wrapped it around a mint leaf, and handed it to him as if it were the most normal thing in the world. To my amazement, he accepted the gum and even chewed it. That's when I knew my husband was a keeper.

As I walked across the grass, towards my mom and kids, Jacob finally caught my eye. From a distance, I saw him mouth the words, "My mommy's here!" He dropped everything he was doing, ran right up to me, and wrapped his arms around my legs. Before we left, he gave me a merry-go-round ride and told me all about his lunchbox full of Hot Wheels cars.

"Mommy, this car solves night time mysteries. This car solves dinosaur mysteries. THIS car solves outer space mysteries." He went on and on.

I gathered up my kids, said goodbye to my mom and we were on our way. We stopped at the grocery store and I let Jacob pick out the cake he wanted for his upcoming birthday party. Spiderman, of course. We were just about to check out when Jacob said, "Mommy. Are we going to pick up my tooth medicine?" "Tooth medicine" is what we call Flouride in our house.

I nearly slapped my hand over my forehead in shock. I DID need to pick up his tooth medicine. The last time I was with Jacob at the store was two weeks ago. At that time, I had put in an order for Flouride refills. When the pharmacist told me it would be 20 minutes, I left and decided to pick them up the next day. Then I had totally spaced. How did Jacob remember that?!

When we got home, I gave him a bowl of grapes with his dinner. He counted the grapes and informed me, with an expression of amazement, that he had "80 MILLION GRAPES!" Before he ate all 80 million of them, he took them to the bay window and began to throw them like bouncey balls. Grapes flew in all directions, sending nasty, wet grape stems sailing across the living room.

"Jacob! Stop! Go sit down and eat your dinner!" I scolded him.

He scooped up five grapes and plopped them all in his mouth and once. With a full mouth, he bounded to his chair at the table and exclaimed, "I'M ON IT!"

I only had to chase him back to his chair seven times before he finally ate 1/4 cup of mac and cheese. I guess 80 million grapes will really fill you up.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Life Is But A Dream

Oh my gosh. Today was incredible. Just when I was starting to give up on weekends, today just went and one-upped yesterday. Not only did we have two fun filled family days in a row, but I still managed to do chores, keep the house fairly clean, plan meals for the week, and prepare in advance my lunch, the diaper bag, my purse, and my outfit for tomorrow.

On top of that, our grocery bill for the week was impressive. I'm planning on making crab mac 'n cheese, beef stroganoff, and ginger-soy chicken. Our grocery bill come to a modest $50 and some odd change! Admittedly, this did not include baby formula or beef tips. BUT it did include a $10 pack of crab meat and staples such as milk, bread, eggs, and lunch meat. Do I hear any cheers? .....(crickets)......

Today started out "iffy." We planned to visit my parents' house so that we could all go for a boat ride. But the weather was overcast all morning. We were on the fence about what to do but finally decided to throw caution to the wind and make the trip despite the weather. I'm so glad we did! The second we got onto the water, the clouds broke and the weather warmed up. It turned out to be a wonderful day for boating on the Puget Sound!

I was lucky enough to grow up on an increduble island near Seattle. For the last half of my childhood, we lived on a beautiful waterfront property. The house itself wasn't much, but the wrap-around views of the Sound and a front yard that stretched across endless beach and sand, offering crab, clams, and fish for the taking, was dream worthy. I grew up surrounded by so much beauty.

And then I moved to the mid-west for college....Corn. Fields. Let's jusy say that if it hadn't been for Lake Michigan, I wouldn't have lasted a month.

Today, stepping onto my parents boat, was like stepping into a world of the past. My dad has had the same 17" Bayliner since I was 5. That's 23 years! It still works...well, sometimes. It's incredible how much larger the boat seemed to my child-self. Sitting in the boat now, I'm seeing it through much different eyes.

I remember sitting in the bow in summers past with my siblings. The three of us could almost completely stretch out as we kept a vigilant watch for stray driftwood ahead. I remember the red and white cooler my mom would pack full of sandwiches and soda, and a beer for my dad. We enjoyed day trips around the island, innertubing, wave-cruising, and overnight camping trips. I remember spending one entire summer in high school sunbathing alone in the anchored boat as it rocked in the waves and wake. I read all of my brother's past issues of junior Sports Illustrated magazines and drank 4 sodas a day in the 17 foot parent-free zone.

Sadly, the boat had been broken for the past several years, missing an obsolete part that my dad finally tracked down halfway across the globe. All those memories sat, nearly forgotten, in the back of the garage. So, when we got the call,  just this past week, that the boat had been resurrected, we all cheered. And today definitely lived up to the anticipation. I loved sharing my old memories with my family. And making some new ones of our very own.

The four of us managed to squeeze in the bow for a`photo. I'm sure the boat looked huge to Jacob, just as it once looked to me.

My parents live right around the corner from the bridge. This is practically their view from every front-facing window.

Jacob enjoyed the waves. In the picture above, I'm certain he's telling me something very important that requires finger gesturing. But I couldn't hear a word he said over the wind.

Ryan looked like a chubby oompa loompa in his life jacket. He loved the boat too. He was relaxed and content the entire ride.

We made a stop at Blake Island. The entire mile-long island is a state park. There's an Indian-style longhouse where tourists enjoy tribal shows over a delicious Pacific Northwest dinner of salmon. My dad, the anti-tourist-in-his-own-home-town, never forked over the money for that. We just played on the beach, picnicked, and camped.

Today, as Jacob skipped happily along the trail to the beach, carefully dodging tiny deer droppings and stopping to pick up a shell or two, a younger version of myself appeared before me. It reminded me how incredible my childhood was, even though I didn't always appreciate it at the time. How wonderful that as parents, we get a second chance at childhood through the eyes of our own children.

When I get bogged down in daily routine and can't see past just making it to the end of each day, it helps to stop for a moment and remember where I came from. Those simple beginnings are enough to put me back in touch with the person that is inhabiting this body of mine. It helps me be thankful for everything and everyone that I have. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Family Fun

During the work week, I look forward to the weekends with so much expectation. I try to think up new family outings and destinations. I imagine all of us huddled in the living room pig-piling each other and laughing together. I picture pleasant family meals around the dinner table followed by last-call trips to the park before we all snuggle in for bed.

Then the weekend comes. And my weekend fantasies turn into this:

Jacob having a tantrum because we won't let him have popsicles for breakfast. Ryan screaming because he didn't sleep through the night, AGAIN. My husband stuck in the basement or garage fixing something that broke. Me standing in the middle of a laundry strewn room, yelling at Jacob, and pulling my hair out. By Sunday evening, we are all exhausted, wondering what happened to that family outing we had wanted to take and where the heck did our weekend go?!

But...sometimes...the cards line up just right and the weekends turn out pretty darn good.

Today is a good example.

After being up with Ryan four different times during the night, Ryan and I woke up at 9 a.m. Jacob heard we were up and snuck into bed with us. The three of us hung out in bed, laughing, chatting, and tackling each other.

Then, we all packed a day bag and headed out to visit friends. Ryan had his first ferry boat ride and made googley eyes at all the women around him. Over his father's protests, Jacob got down on his hands and knees and zoomed his toy cars all over the floor. We walked outside to the bow of the boat and let the fresh Puget Sound air try to knock us over. We finished up the ride by people watching.

An hour later we arrived at our friends' house. They have a pool. In their backyard! I think that blew Jacob's mind.

Jacob splashed in the pool for the better part of the day with the men while the ladies watched from our dry, warm seats. Jacob can't swim yet but he did great job in the pool with his monkey floaty. That's the best $2.50 I ever spent.

Ryan talked up a storm, ate some sweet potatoes (managing to actually get some of them in his mouth- I'm still cleaning the stuff out of his neck rolls) and won the Guiness Book of World Records for most smiles in one day. We have a great group of friends. Most of them don't have kids yet but they are so tolerant when we crash their parties with OUR kids. Jacob loves that the guys treat him like one of them.

At one point in the day, I was bouncing Ryan on my lap when I realized Jacob was being too quiet. Wanting to make sure he was still at the SURFACE of the water, I glanced over my shoulder. I saw him standing dead-still on the pool steps making a weird face. I knew that face. I knew EXACTLY what he was up to.

"Jacob! Are you peeing in the pool?"


"Jacob, are you peeing in the pool!!!"


"JACOB. Tell me! Are you peeing in the pool?"



We sure know how to wear out our welcome.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Watch Out For The Lawyers

The look of disgust.

Unfortunately, I am all too familiar with it. I see it in people's faces every time I tell them I work in personal injury law. If someone asks me what I do and then looks genuinely impressed when I tell them, I lighten the mood by quickly replying, "Yup. Ambulance chaser. It's on my business card."

BUT when I tell people what I do and they look at me with distaste and say, "Oh. You're an ambulance chaser," it's all I can do to keep from lecturing about the ills of tort reform. Besides, only *I* can call myself an ambulance chaser!...Everyone loves to hate a personal injury lawyer. Until they need one.

You want to know the real reason I am so familiar with that look of disgust? Because I used to see it. In the mirror. On my face. Everday. I used to be an insurance defense lawyer. And I used to despise people like me. When I worked on the defense side, lawsuits would come across my desk and I'd read the claims with much humor. REALLY? You have chronic and permanent injury from a fender bender? I'd rip apart medical bills (you know, with my vast understanding of medicine) and automatically, without leaving even a little room for the benefit of the doubt, label all plaintiffs as malignerers.

But I learned something in my short year of working in a personal injury firm. Personal injury law is really about helping people. People who are overwhelmed by their injuries, their paperwork, their car repairs, their medical bills. Personal injury law is about helping clients (pardon the metaphor) to not get run over by insurance companies or overwhelmed by the "process."

I think my favorite part of my job is getting a call from a client who is overwhelmed. I don't like that they are overwhelmed but I love having the opportunity to explain things to them and provide a little bit of comfort and insight. "Don't worry," I get to say. "We will handle that." Then I feel a teeny bit like Superman. But instead of a cape, I have a $100K+ piece of paper. Instead of a theme song, I get dirty looks. Instead of flying or using my x-ray vision to see through John Hamm's clothes, I get to write 15 page demand letters. (close right?)

Today, I was sitting in the dentist chair and making small talk with the assistant/hygenist/helper lady as she waited for my mouth to go numb. She asked me what area of law I worked in. I think she was expecting me to say something grand and romantic, like civil rights or securities. I told her I worked in personal injury. And.....There is was. The look of disgust.

"Oh. Like those people on TV with the ads. The.... ambulance chasers." She replied.

As soon as she said that, I shot up straight in my dental chair. "You know, some people get seriously injured in automobile accidents." I began. "Without a lawyer, insurance companies won't take them seriously." I continued. "Even if their insured is at-fault, many insurance companies won't make a real settlement offer until you take them to court."

She just looked at me blankly. Then she said, "You're the reason my insurance rates are going up."

I was trying so hard to quell the flames threatening to shoot out of my eyeballs and ears.

" inshuransh companeeesh are la reeeel reashun your..." oops. My mouth was starting to go numb.

I looked at her again and just soaked up the disgust radiating from her face. Forget it; lost cause....So, I zipped my mouth, sat back in my chair, and tried to fall asleep to the sound of drilling.

Next time, I'm just going to say I'm a trial lawyer.

Right before my dentist appointment/nap.
All I need is a margarita. And a beach

P.S. Since I'm the cause of your insurance rates going up, want to see where your insurance payments go? They go to things new favorite dress! I bought this when I was pregnant. So happy it fits. Thank you dental hygenist for paying your ever increasing insurance rates. You're keeping me well-clothed. (I'm being sarastic in case you didn't pick up on that)

Love this dress from Boden. LOVE!
It was even 1/3 of it's original price!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Spidey Says "Hi"

Within two minutes of meeting Jacob, you will learn at least three things:

1) His name is Jacob
2) He is three and a half
3) He has a Spiderman shirt

Jacob is my social butterfly. If he sees you even LOOKING his way, he will run up to you and cheerfully announce the three facts listed above (in that very same order too). He doesn't care if you're acknowledging him or not. He thinks everyone wants to be his friend. Everyone. And he thinks everyone wants to know about Spiderman.

Overnight it seems, Jacob has become totally obsessed with Spiderman. We have no idea where he even HEARD about the guy. We certainly never talked about him. Then all of a sudden, Jacob was dancing around the house, jumping from furniture to furniture shooting pretend spiderwebs out of his wrists. At first, I just thought he had developed turrets syndrome, or worse yet, his father's dancing skills. Nope, just a Spiderman obsession.

Jacob's birthday is around the corner and he has informed us that he wants a Spiderman party. I've scoured Pinterest and Google for good Spiderman party ideas. But everything out there is pretty lame. Then I got an idea. What if Spiderman crashed Jacob's party?! It didn't take long to track down a Spiderman costume. It took slightly longer to convince my 13 year old brother to dress the part. I can't wait to see Jacob's face.

Last weekend I picked up the costume and hid it in the far reaches of my closet- we're talking actual spider territory here. It's been sitting there waiting for it's day of glory ever since. UNTIL....this afternoon. Today, I got home from work before my husband and the kids. I went to my closet to grab my yoga pants when a bright red and blue, shiny piece of spandex caught my eye. It was the Spiderman costume. And it was calling my name. I mean, I have the thing rented for an entire month, so I might as well get my money's worth. Right? Right?!!

It was a little big. But I thought I looked pretty awesome.

Then I had another idea!

A great fix for bad hair days

I quickly whipped out the camera, set the timer, and took photos of "Spiderman" in various places in the house. I'm going to print these photos out and leave them in a note to Jacob from, who else but Spidey himself. (After I photoshop my hair out of the pictures of course). The note will say something like, "Dear Jacob, I came to visit but you were not here! Thank you for letting me take a nap in your bed and play with your trains. Can I come to your birthday party?"

I think I'm going to be more excited than Jacob!

P.S. - I make a pretty good Spiderman huh? I kept trying to pose in such a way that my boobs wouldn't be too obvious. Note to self, spandex suits flatter the chest....

P.P.S. - do you think playing Spiderman for an afternoon will finally put an end to my erotic Spiderman dreams?