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?"
".....Brenda."
"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:
 
Playful.
 


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

Truth

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.

FAMILY & FUN

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!!!!!"


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding

To celebrate our friend's wedding the other year, we visited a winery in Osooyoos, Canada. When the waiter appeared at our table to ask if we were ready to order, my two-year-old Jacob loudly exclaimed to him, "we want the duck!" Jacob didn't sit at the table for much longer and I remember chasing him around the mini bell tower amidst freezing gusts of wind.

 
Somehow, I eventually wrangled him back to the table for just long enough to scarf down my meal. I don't even remember the main course. My meal was completely overshadowed by an incredible mushroom bread pudding.

When we got back to Washington, I was determined to recreate the dish. I reviewed several recipes but none of them looked just right. So I combined some of them to create a close-enough rendition. I thought of this recipe today because it's the perfect dish for Thanksgiving. It's got the texture of everyone's beloved stuffing, but it's so much richer. If you don't mention the mushrooms, I'm sure you can even get the kids to try it!

Mushroom Bread Pudding


1 loaf french bread
1 lb cremini mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
3 Tbs butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups half and half
4 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper
 
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
 
2. Slice bread into cubes. Place on baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 7-10 minutes until slighty crunchy or golden brown. (or you can use stale bread)
 
3. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
 
4. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until most of the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes.
 
5. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Remove from heat.
 
6. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add half-and-half and mix to combine. Then season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in mushrooms and bread cubes and mix until well coated.
 
7. Place everything into a buttered baking dish. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until firm to the touch.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Apple Pork Chops With Hard Cider

I played around in the kitchen today. The results were delicious. I combined a bunch of things that I love into one dish: pork chops, bacon(!), apples, and hard apple cider(!). The dish is not novel or genius, in fact, I'm pretty sure it's been done in many variations. But pork chops can be tricky because they dry out and lose flavor so easily. I finally mastered how to cook them!

And seriously, how can you go wrong with any dish that has both bacon AND alcohol?

So, based on my experience, here's the deal with juicy pork chops: (1) You have to buy bone-in chops. The bones are annoying to cut around and take away valuable meat space BUT that's the key to juiciness! (2) Sprinkle the chops with salt and let them warm to room temperature before you cook them. (3) If you're pan-frying the pork, make sure the pan is super hot first. (4) Don't overcook. The USDA recently lowered the required internal temperature of pork to 145 degrees. When it reaches this temp, it's done! (5) Wrap pork in bacon!

Ok, honestly, I don't know if the bacon really does anything. But it's delicious.

Apple Pork Chops With Hard Cider

2-4 bone-in pork chops (unless the chops are huge, one hungry person will probably want two chops)
8-12 bacon slices
1/2 cup sliced onions
1 apple, sliced thin
2 Tbs butter
12 oz bottle of hard apple cider (you can also use regular apple cider)
2 tsp worchestershire sauce
Salt & pepper

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Make sure pan is SUPER hot before you add the pork so that bacon will cook all the way.

2. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper. Wrap each chop with 2-3 slices of bacon, depending on size of chop. Secure bacon with toothpicks.

3. Place pork chops in hot pan. Cook 4 minutes each side, until bacon is brown and pork chops reach an internal temperature of 145. Remove pork from pan and set aside.

4. Wipe out the pan and add the butter. When the butter has melted add in the onions and the apple slices and cook until the onions are dark brown and carmelized.

5. Add one bottle of hard apple cider and lower the temperature slightly. Add the worchestershire sauce. Let the hard apple cider reduce for about 3-5 minutes, then add the pork chops into the pan. Cook for a couple minutes, until the pork chops are nice and hot once again.

The hard apple cider sauce was probably my favorite part. Although the meat, wrapped in more meat, was also pretty good.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sexy Underwear

On Saturday, my husband and I were getting ready for a date night. I'd been looking forward to it all week. By Wednesday I had already planned my date night outfit. I looked amazing, well, in my head. Probably because my imaginary self has a Barbie-like waist. Oh and C-cups.

As the afternoon crept by, I excitedly hopped into the shower. I even shaved me legs....ABOVE MY KNEES! I hadn't done that in probably...a year? I have blonde hair, don't judge. Ok, you can judge, just not to my face.

I toweled off, put on some sexy tights, and slipped my casual black dress over my head.

Damn, I looked....human! I was quite proud, even minus the C-cups. I wasn't even going to let the little muffin top above my tights waistband get me down. And...I even put on SEXY UNDERWEAR!

You know, the kind that's black. With lace. That doesn't go up to one's bellybutton.

As fate would have it, right as I was admiring myself in the mirror, I heard the sound of puking coming from Jacob's room. He had been taking a nap, which was pretty unusual.

And, like the wonderful mother I am, my first and only thought was, "SH*T! Not on date night." Maybe he ate something bad? Maybe it was a fluke? I rushed into his room to find him tangled miserably in his sheets. I gave him a tiny bit of 7-up to see if that would settle his tummy. 2 minutes later a heavy stream of projectile 7-up shot across the room, missing my patent leather shoes by mere milimeters.

That's when we made the dreaded call. The deflating, saddening call to cancel our babysitter (husband's mom). I guess in the end, it was the right decision. Because within an hour and for the next 17 hours after that, I was puking my guts out too.

See?! That's what I get for putting on sexy underwear!

As I lay dying and febrile in bed, the wedgy-giving powers of my sexy underwear were constantly there. As if reminding me of the irony. As if laughing at my pain. As if warning me to never tempt fate again.

Even if it's the only good to come from my miserable weekend, take that as a lesson for you all. Skip the sexy underwear.

Friday, November 16, 2012

4 In A Room

My neice and nephew are sleeping over with Jacob tonight. It's a little bit crazy having four kids age 4 and under in one house. I don't know how my sister-in-law does it (she watches my kids part of the week while I'm at work). It's crazy but awesome at the same time.

In the evening, I tucked them all into Jake and Ryan's room. As I closed the door, my heart smiled to think of the four of them all snuggled up in one room, all sweet and cozy. I love having a full house.

I really want there to be a baby #3. But I don't know how it will work in our 950 square foot house. We barely have room for the four of us. I constantly feel claustrophobic in this little space surrounded by so much stuff. But we're too underwater on our mortgage to even think about selling it. I hate the fact that the economy is keeping me from planning baby #3!

So for now, I'll just enjoy the special occasions where I get to borrow other people's kids (and return them in the morning).

And now I'll end with a picture. Here's my Rynnie-Mouse:

Happiness Is


Happiness is: fun tights on a chilly fall day!

I love these:


This is a bad picture (thanks crappy non i-phone). Possibly too much grey here. I think I was wearing a black button-up blouse.


My all-time favorite.


I'm pretty sure this legwear would be inappropriate in many law offices. But I work for a small, slightly more casual firm. We do insurance defense and rarely meet clients. I definitely would not wear these on a day when I had a stuffy, important meeting. Not that I ever have those. I'm not that important yet.

But aren't they so fun?!

Tights are my new thing. On the days I wear crazy tights, I'm sure to tone down the rest of my outfit so that I'm not emiting symptoms of headaches, dizzines, and blurred vision. I am now on a quest to find MORE fun tights. Checking-account, beware!

Today at Target I bought...get this....

DRUMROLL....

Reversible tights! When I saw them, they blew my mind! They are grey on one side and black on the other. I can't wait to try them on. By the way, I refuse to spell grey with an "a." It looks much more eloquent with an "e." In fact, I'm on a personal quest to change the dictionary spelling of the word. If you are interested in joining any of my country-wide public demonstrations, just shoot me an email.

It's 12:05am and I should go to bed. I HATE going to bed. Don't get me wrong, I love to sleep. I just hate going to bed. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I absolutely dread brushing me teeth. So I put it off as long as possibe. This is why I'm sitting here on the couch at midnight constructing a blog post about the spelling of the word "grey." Yeah, I'm a little bit strange.

But at least I have cool tights!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Still Don't Believe It!

Recently, I have been through bedtime hell and back. In fact, last week, I went through Bedtime Hell so often that I should have gotten some kind of punch card from the Bedtime Devil himself.

Ryan's always been a decent night time sleeper. He's never napped much during the day (20 minutes here and 20 mintues there) but the trade-off was that he would  sleep all night long with the exception of one middle of the night feeding.

Each night, I would let Ryan fall asleep in my arms while I zoned out on the couch. After he fell asleep, I'd lay him in his crib. He'd stay asleep until about 2-3am. When he woke up, I'd feed him a bottle in my bed and we would both drift back to sleep. Except for waking up and dragging my butt out of bed to make a bottle, it was easy.

BUT. Something happened last week. It was horrible. My decent sleeper turning into a big pile of angry baby. Suddenly, everytime I would lay him in his crib his eyes would POP open and he'd start to scream. I'd sway him around the room until his breathing was heavy and lay him back down. If he happened to stay asleep, he'd only stay asleep for about 20-30 minutes before he was screaming again. I was spending three to four hours each night rushing in to soothe him back to sleep. This was not working. After seven days of that crap, I became desperate.

I've always been 120% AGAINST sleep training. I always thought the cry-it-out method was cruel. Basically, you're teaching your baby that you will not respond to his cries until he eventually gives up. Right? It sounded barbaric to me! BUT our usual routine was no longer working. I started to dread evenings. I was so frustrated. So upset. So tired. I was nodding off on the bus. I was losing it at work. I was having to force myself to stay awake while driving. So not good.

From friendly parenting advice over Facebook, I was encouraged to try the cry-it-out method. I had doubts and major reservations. But...I had to try something! I rolled up my sleeves and was determined to give it a try. Why not. Heck, my baby was just going to wake up and cry all night anyway. The least I could do was let him learn how to fall asleep.

That first night, I did our normal bedtime routine: PJ's, swaddle blanket, bottle, and cuddles. Then I laid him in his crib. Oh man did he cry. And scream. He cried and cried and screamed and screamed. He was NOT happy with me. Every so often I went in to make sure he was safe and pat his tummy. Then I would leave again. After 30 minutes, I stopped feeling bad about the crying. He wasn't hurt or hungry. He was just tired. After about an hour, the crying quieted and finally stopped. He was asleep. And he STAYED asleep all night long! When I woke up at 5:30 that morning, I rushed to his room first thing to make sure he was still alive. There he was, sleeping so peacefully and deeply. Was this actually going to work?

The next night, he fell asleep after only 10 minutes of crying. But then Jacob threw a wrench in our plans. At 11:00pm, Jacob started to scream. This led to Ryan screaming. For a good 10 minutes, it was a symphany of angry children cries. My heart and my head both started to ache. I soon discovered that Jacob was having a night terror. For 45 minutes, he kicked and screamed and cried and yelled unintelligible things. At one point he was yelling, "No daddy! I don't want the gun! No!" What the heck?! Scary. My soothing just made it worse and he would cry for me and kick me at the same time. There was nothing I could do but watch him panic and kick and cry and scream. It was horrible. Finally, at long last, he drifted back to sleep but I was still shaken up and Ryan was still screaming. Eventually we all drifted back to sleep: Jacob in my bed, Ryan in his crib, and me on the couch. Not a pleasant evening.

But tonight made up for EVERYTHING! Ryan and I went through his bedtime routine then I placed him gingerly in his crib. He looked up at me with his sweet eyes and I gave him two kisses on the forehead. I tiptoed out of his room and closed the door. Not a sound followed. Silence. Blissfull silence. I snuck into his room five mintues later and found him turned over on his side already sleeping peacefully!

You guys....this actually might be working! I'm hesitant to hold my breath, BUT....OMG. He's a totally different baby!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Not Too Terrible

I didn't want my last post to...well....be my last post. So, I'm forcing myself to write something at 1:00 a.m.

(BTW- thank you everyone who commented on my last post. It was the highlight of my lowpoint. Everytime I read a new comment, my heaviness was eased a teeny bit. You were all super supportive. It's so nice to know that other people have their struggles too. By way of an update, things reached an incredible low point before they got better. But I'm not good at staying angry. Even in the middle of a fight, I'm constantly looking for any excuse to drop my anger and just give my husband an I'm Sorry/I Forgive You/Let's Not Fight Anymore hug. Being angry takes SO MUCH energy. It's not worth it. This is why at 11:20p.m. all it took was a measly one sentence "I'm sorry" EMAIL for me to drop everything and let go. I saw that email, put all my anger in an invisible suitcase, and dropped it off an imaginary cliff. I may be quick to anger. But I'm also quick to forgive. Or maybe I'm just a pushover?)

Today, I invited my parents and teenage brother (I have a brother in the 9th grade, we're 14 years apart. My husband is SO getting snipped after baby #3) to spend the day with us. first they joined us at our church for Mass. Then we went to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. Then they came back to our place to eat my one-week-old-but-still-delicious white bean chicken chili.

After one full day with us out in public, I'm pretty sure my parents never want to go anywhere with us again. How do parents with more than two kids survive without being constantly drunk? I can barely manage two kids. And then I see all these large families at church with a pew full of well-behaved, quite children. Where do those parents buy their child-tranquilizers? And how do they hide the IV that they use to insert a steady stream of Reisling into their veins?

Todays highlight was, hands-down, the five excruciatingly long minutes when I had lost Jacob on the ferry boat. The worst-case scenarios were playing out in my mind: he fell off the boat!, he was kidnapped!, he was lost and scared somewhere!, he was in the women's bathroom peaking his head under all the stalls!After running up and down the boat screaming his name like a madwoman and getting many stares and ""what kind of mom loses her kid before the boat even leaves the dock?!" looks, I finally found him pretending to play an arcade game right smack in front of my face.

Today was definitely crazy. But crazy is good.

I LOVE this picture. Ry-guy loves his grandpa!

 
Hanging out on the ferry:
 

Wipe-out
 

 
My fighter pilots


Drooly, but happy
 

 
Very happy


Have I ever told you that I've been to Space Camp?
Other people dated in highschool.
I learned to fly a space shuttle. (Nerd)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Can't Climb Out -- UPDATED

I'm in a rut. Work is awesome and contimues to get more awesome. But everday stuff? Ugh. I feel like I do the same shit every day. As soon as I pick up the kids after work I sink into the same exact routine. Each day I swear it will be different. But it's not- usually because I'm too tired to do anything new. The baby is tired and clingy, the toddler is tired and whinny. By 6:00, I'm basically counting down the minutes until it's 7:30 and I can start the kids' bedtime routine. For some reason, I think that as soon as they are in bed, excitement will abound. But it does not.

After the kids are tucked in, I'm too exhausted to do any of the million chores on my list. My husband is back to staring at his computer screen all evening. There's nothing to do but follow suit. And like a zombie, I sit in front of my laptop clicking aimlessly around the internet. Sometimes, I'm so bored that I actually will work. Sometimes.

The past few days, this predictable routine has been frustrating. Mostly because my husband and I are so stuck in our routine that we barely exchange any words aside from the occasional text message about who is picking up dinner. When we do have free time, he's predictibly zoned-in on his computer. We've probably only had one real conversation this entire week. That conversation was on Wednesday when I asked him about a work event and he responded. It probably lasted two minutes.

Aside from that, he hasn't really said a word to me all week. At first I was slightly annoyed and would try to initiate a conversation here or there. But now, I'm furious. I've been purposely not saying anything to him to see how long it will take him to realize that he hasn't made any effort at communication. Sadly, either he doesn't even realize there IS a lack of communication or he doesn't freaking care. I can't decide which is worse.

Today I lost it. Jacob was having a tantrum in his room and screaming at the top of his lungs. Ryan was being clingy and fussy. My husband was, duh, sitting in front of his computer. Earlier in the week he had texted me about the possibility of going to a movie this day. I waited for him to bring it up all morning and afternoon. Nope. And stubbornly, I wasn't going to bring it up first. As 5:30 approached I realized there would be no date. With the screaming of both kids in my ears and the equally defeaning silence from my husband, I wigged out. Without saying a word, I grabbed my car keys, put on my shoes, and walked out the door.

I had no destination in mind. In fact, I didn't want to go anywhere. I just wanted to keep driving. I wanted to sit in the peaceful car and think. How hard is it for a couple to say "good morning" and "good night" and "goodbye" and "hello" every day? I never get any of those unless I say it first. When was the last time either of us actually said, "I love you." Not this week. Don't even get me started on our lame 5 year anniversary celebration last Saturday.

I started to cry. I fell into the self-pity trap. I thought about my ideal relationship-- a husband who kisses me goodbye every morning, who gives me a hug for no reason, who will randomly tell me that I'm pretty, who makes me feel loved without me having to seek out affection, who can sense when I'm upset and will actually care enough to ask me about it, who will tell me about his day, who will ask about mine. Then I compared that to what I got this week. Silence. Unacknowledgement. Apathy. Obviously whatever is on his computer screen, it's more interesting than me.

I continued to drive. Past the grocery store. Past the new housing development. Past the on-ramp for the highway. I drove in circles in a parking lot. Then I stopped the car. I sat there in the dark. In the quiet. I felt alone. Angry. Frustrated. I cried. I saw a couple holding hands as they walked to their car. When was the last time we held hands? I cried harder.

STOP. I forced myself to stop. I wiped away my tears. I stepped out of the my pity party and put my mom-hat back on. I ran into the store and grabbed something for dinner. I also grabbed a huge bag of chocolate to bury my sorrow in. I paid for my stuff and left the store. I arrived home to find everyone  sitting in front of the TV. Not a word from my husband. With tears left uncried and sadness still unresolved, I slipped back into that dreaded routine again.

Now the kids are asleep and here we are. Both back at our DAMN computers. I don't know how to break the silence. Why do I always have to make the first move. WHY?!

Appropriately, this was the fortune in cookie with dinner tonight:


I drowned myself in chocolate but it didn't help.

*****UPDATED******

I confronted my husband and....it turns out he's pissed because I "scratched his car" on Monday.

WTF.

A '94 Ford Probe that barely runs, sits in our garage, and that hasn't been driven since my husband bought his 2010 Jetta. A car that is less valuable than the sum of its parts sold separately.

The silent treatment continues....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Working Mom Law of Baby Physics #1

It's late (11 p.m.), and I'm trying to pull together an important motion for summary judgment. I've researched the heck out of this thing. I've been working on it for three days. My mind is starting to freeze up, my eyes are going cross-eyed, and I'm increasingly concerned by how little sleep I'm going to get tonight (I have to wake up at 5:30am each morning)....BUT... I'm nearing the finish line!

Suddenly, the baby cries from his crib in his room. I calm the crying, get him back to sleep, and return to my work (which I really do enjoy, btw). Five minutes later, baby screams. Again I get him back to sleep and return to my motion. Minutes later, he is awake AGAIN, crying. I get him back to sleep once more only to hear him wake up a fourth time! At this point I'm ready to do bodily harm to someone. He only recently started this frustrating sleeping routine. I'm flustered and have no idea how to manage it.

I decide to let him cry it out for a little. My husband just went to bed. Our room shares a wall with the kids' room. Ryan screams for a good 15 minutes. How does Jacob, who is literally four feet away in the same room not wake up?! How does my husband who isn't much farther not wake up. Part of me wants to let Ryan keep screaming just to rouse my husband from his sleep. Why am I the only one who does night duty?! If my husband is not going to help out, he should at least be woken up and subjected to the screams. In case you haven't already guessed, I am an angry, sleep-deprived working mom:

If I'm going to suffer, THE WHOLE WORLD WILL SUFFER WITH ME!

I finally give in and pick up the screaming baby. He is just as angry as I am. The two of us get to be angry together until he finally calms downs and goes to sleep (fourth or fifth time, I've lost count at this point). Suddenly it's mid-night, my motion is not complete, and I have to wake up in about five hours.

Working Mom Law of Baby Physics #1: Baby will wake up multiple times on the night you need to complete a very important motion ("VIM").

Tomorrow morning is going to SUCK.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Republican Party Critiques & A Cry For Understanding

When it comes to political issues, I am strongly libertarian. Unfortunately, the libertarian party in this country is not big enough to have a major impact on the political landscape. Because I'm a realist, I just can't justify using my vote on a third party when I can use it to support one of the two big dogs in the fight. For that reason, I've been siding with the Republican party lately.

Siding with the Republicans is painful right now. Not because of Romney's loss last night, I pretty much expected that. Siding with the Republicans is painful because the Republican Party fails to make itself understood and fails to innovate and change.

First of all, why the hell is gay marriage even an issue with the Republican Party? If we truly live in a society in which there is separation of church and state, why isn't there gay marriage in every state? The state's definition of marriage should be independent of a church's definition of marriage. This is ridiculous. Dear Republican Party, get over this issue and move on. Let gays marry already! (Yay for my home state, Washington!)

Secondly, when it comes to the economy and businesses, I believe the Republican Party can do a lot of good. But this party continues to have trouble with PR. This party fails to reach out to diverse demographics. It continually fails to connect with large demographics of people. This party can no longer be confident that it will win with simply the old, white guy vote. This party really needs to re-brand and re-connect with voters. Innovate! Grass roots! Learn a few campaign tricks from Obama already! PLEASE!

We need conservatives to bring their logic to the table rather than continuing to harp on faith and family values. I've read plenty of eye-opening, smart literature from conservative political scientists and think tanks. But the logic gets burried behind emotion and religion. The Republican Party needs to elect young, smart, eloquent public figures. Figures who won't make unfortunate guffaws when the whole world is watching (Akin). 

The Republican Party needs to show the world that it is made up of intelligent, logic-driven people. Democrats may laugh at that sentence. This is EXACTLY my point. They assume Republican are backwards and uneducated. I wish I could introduce them to my eloquent, overly-educated and supra-intelligent family members who vote conservative.

Finally. I'm frustrated by the Democratic Party's failure to understand the conservative agenda. I was listening to news radio today and a very liberal radio host said that the country is divided between people who believe in science and objective facts (Democrats) and people who believe in their own subjective manifestations of reality (Republicans). This made me sick. I don't care if you don't agree with the Republican Party (heck, I don't always agree with them) but you owe it to yourself and the rest of the country to at least try to understand what the other half of the country thinks.

Saying that Republicans are "anti-women" and "anti-health care" sure sounds good and translates into Democratic votes. But this is simply not true. People who actually feel this way about the Republican Party are over-simplifying or just refuse to understand what is really going on in the minds of the Republicans. Differences between the two major parties are largely due to disagreements with what the government's role should be in society and NOT over a hatred for certain classes of people.

For example, I want women to have access to birth control. I just don't think the government should be required to give it away for free. And I sure as heck don't think tax payers should pay for it.  (Why is the country so obsessed with birth control for women, what the hell about birth control for men?) Also most members of the Republican Party have a different definition of when life begins. This isn't relgious dogma- you can believe life begins at conceptions without being religious. Can't we understand why people would be anti-abortion if they think this way?

I wish, instead of branding Republicans as "anti-women" and "ant-poor" and "anti-health care" that Democrats would actually understand the logic and the reasoning behind the Republican agenda. Obviously, no party is perfect and the Republican agenda is a good example. But, I beg Democrats to shed what they think they know about Republicans and try to see the party from a Republican perspective. Labeling the Republican agenda as "backwards" is merely a good excuse for Democrats to set it aside without acutally having to think about the logic that lies beneath. The logic may differ considerably from Democratic logic, but it's there.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Letter To The Prez

Dear Obama,

Could you please start running the country the way that you run political campaigns?

That would be great.

Thanks.

From, Disappointed

XOXO

Monday, November 5, 2012

Expectaciones Nonnes

So....this weekend was our fifth wedding anniversary. After five years of marriage, I'm a fountain of marital wisdom, equipped with volumes of advice to pass down to future generations. I could write a soliloquy. But, honestly, everything I learned can be summed up in two words. So, do ya want to know the secret to marital bliss?

No Expectations.

Or, in Latin: Expectaciones Nonnes. Ok, I made that up. But it sounds good, right? Yes, the lack of expectations is a wonderful thing. It will save you every time. It's hands down, the best gift you can give yourself.

See, in the past, I made the mistake of actually expecting things for anniversaries. You know, like cards. Or flowers. Or power tools. You can file that last one under "Things I've Learned About Men From My Dad."

This year, I didn't expect anything more than a "Happy Anniversary" text as I woke up at 8am on Saturday morning to discover that my husband was gone for work training all that day and never even bothered to let me know. And that's precisely what I got.

Funny thing is, I didn't even care. Sure, when given the option, everyone would prefer to be doted upon and showered with attention and gifts. But when you're scrubbing baby spit up out of the carpet, trying to coax your kid out of chewing a booger he just picked, and getting lost under a never-ending pile of piss-soaked sheets, romance kind of is lost on you. In such a situation, a five minute, solitary soak in a pink ring-stained tub in a bathroom smelling of mold that temorarily houses an array of poop and spit-up covered clothing, is the equivalent to a $200 meal at a five star restaurant....without all those pesky calories.

So that night, I made tacos for dinner. My husband's favorite. Then I half-assedly scrubbed a sink full of smelly dishes. Then we watch an episode of Boardwalk Empire. And by 12am I was in my bed, separated from my husband by a kicking, eyeball clawing, hair pulling rascal who had suddenly decided sleeping was for "other" babies.

That's pretty much what they mean when they say "happily ever after," right?

Expectaciones Nonnes.

Yeah.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

POTUS Elections: My Favorite Sport

While I don't love all the ads, the Facebook proselytizing, and the sudden onset of closemindedness that surrounds presidential elections, I love the elections themselves. I love studying local issues. I love voting (except when the electoral college pretty much renders my presidential vote void). I love studying government and politics. And I love that once every four years, all my nerdy and passionate government knowledge comes in handy. Once every four years, it's acceptable to talk passionately about government without people thinking your a total nutjob. Hmm, well maybe people still think that, I wouldn't really know.

This is really sad but I just learned the acronym POTUS. It was pretty much the highlight of my week and I bubble over with giddiness everytime I get to use it, whether outloud or in my own head. Yup, government nerd.

I'll never forget the first year that I got to vote for the.... POTUS :) I made a cake in the shape of a flag (sadly, the red stripes came out pink) and sat down in front of the television with my roomies. I was probably the only red voter in a five mile radius. My roommates and I had a healthy discussion about our differences and we watched in much anticipation as the states on the map changed from white to red or blue. The electoral map is my favorite thing about the election. Can I please have that job someday?

The second time I got to vote for the POTUS was equally memorable. That year, I voted blue and was swept away with entire nation as we elected our first half-black president. I felt so proud to be an American that day. I'll never forget the image on TV of the president and his family embracing after the election was called. I fell asleep filled with hope and pride. Warm and fuzzies!

This year, I'm equally excited. I kind of expect that the candidate I voted for will not win. But I'm excited nontheless. I love the process, even though it's not perfect. (While the electoral college once had a very important purpose, I don't think it's necessary now- actually, I think we should be like France and elect a president every 5 years with no option for them to run for a second term. that makes SO much sense to me!) I've been following campaign drama for the past six months and I'm equal parts ready for it to be all over and ready to know who will be in charge for the next 4 years.

While I have strong opinions for the person that I am voting for, I'm not super hung up on who wins this election. I think I've lost much of my idealism. And I'm definitely not a sensationalist. I don't think either candidate is evil. I don't think either candidate will destroy this country. And, honestly, considering the very limited power that a president has, I don't think the identity of the president is going to make a huge impact on the lives of most people. It's realy the Senate races, HOR races, and SCOTUS (another favorite acronym) appointments that are key for making changes. The presidential election...that's just a sport, right? So, on Tuesday, maybe I'll buy a cake this time. Then I'm going to sit back (or maybe stand and shout) and enjoy Tuesday night election sports.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Five Years

It's amazing what a difference five years can make:


Friday, November 2, 2012

The Horrible Wonderful Week.

I've never been so happy to for a week to end:

Monday: worked from home on a project for a partner that I haven't worked with yet. After work, I rushed to meet my husband in Seattle for a comedy-type show. Lesson learned: I am too old to go out on weeknights. We slunk back to my mom's house and I went to bed around midnight. The next morning I was definitely quesitoning my recent caffeine strike.

Tuesday: when I got to the office, my boss informed me that the partner I helped out the day before sent an email to all the partners praising my work. I tried so hard not to beam when I heard that. Who doesn't love being told they are doing work?! The rest of the day is a blur. Who cares what happened after that awesome email, right?

Wednesday: I was supposed to work from my mom's house but a partner had asked me to cover a medical exam for him in Seattle so I drove to work instead. In the afternoon, I nearly got lost getting to the medical exam....(I will never live in a big city!). But it was so awesome to finally be able to watch an expert medical exam after reading so many medical reports. I definitely learned a lot. Mostly, that exam doctors dictate everything the client says AS she says it. So annoying. Unfortunately, the doctor started an hour late and took an hour longer than expected. I sat in horrible traffic on the way home (traveled 2 miles in 25 minutes at one point) and switched back and forth between hyperventilating and crying when I realized I wouldn't get to the kids in time for trick-or-treating. It worked out in the end but I was total mess for the 2.5 hours it took me to get to where the kids were. Watching the kids dress up and hunt for candy almost made up for my crazy commute, however.

Thursday: I was interviewed for a story about the ferries and even made it in the local paper (celebrity-hood!). The rest of the day went well except for the part where I worked late again. Thank goodness I DID work late because right before I left, a partner walked in my office, handed me a folder and said, "Here are the documents you will need for that hearing tomorrow. Thanks for covering it for me." Wait...what!? HOLY SHIT! I had totally forgotten that I agreed to cover an oral argument the next day! If I had gone home at normal time...shudder at the thought. So, I hopped on the ferry, read the motion papers, and outlined my arguments. I got home to the worst tantrum Jacob has ever had. He was so extremely tired that he was scream-yelling for at least an hour straight. This happened at the same moment I was trying to get Ryan to sleep. That. Night. Sucked.

Friday: This morning, I got up early, put on my court suit, helped my husband get the kids out the door, grabbed my briefcase, and walked outside. As soon as the door slammed shut behind me, I immediately realized that I had locked myself out and that my car keys were still inside! I let out a string of four-letter words, tryinging so hard not to keel over and have a major anxiety attack. Then I frantically called my husband to rescue me. He was only a couple minutes away and thankfully he was able to turn around and let me in the house before I was late to court.

I practiced my oral arguments out loud in the car the entire way to the courthouse. I know I looked crazy to the people driving next to me. Especially because I talk with a lot of hand gestures (yes, even when driving). Oh and did I mention this was my first ever oral argument? And I was basically doing it on the fly? Thankfully, I don't really get nervous for court appearances. In fact, I don't really get outwardly nervous for anything. Talking in public used to make my heart pound in my chest. It used to make me want to run away and cry. Now, I pretty much don't even think about it. Of course I get uncomfortable doing new things, I just don't really think about being nervous anymore. Usually, I just don't have time to be nervous. My new mentality: shit needs to get done, go and do it.

As I sat in the courtroom waiting for my case to be called, I made friends with a young local attorney sitting next to me. We both went to the same law school and graduated the same year. It was really refreshing to commiserate about practicing law with a total stranger with whom I had so much in common. When my case was called, I approached the bench, listened to the attorney for the other side give her argument. When it was my turn to go, I totally blacked out. I know I was speaking because my lips were moving and people were looking and listening to me. But I have NO IDEA what I said. Honest to god! Whatever I said must have been competent because the hearing outcome was as expected.

When I got back to the office, I spent three hours staring at a computer screen and going cross-eyed over some wacky and confusing statutes. I typed like a madwoman to complete a 5 page memo to hand to my boss. (I'm now an expert on survival and wrongful death statutes in my state- which, for some reason are not written in any English that I understand). I finished the memo just in time for a client meeting with a partner. During that meeting, a crazy thing happened. In front of the client, the partner asked for MY advice! I felt like a real lawyer or something. It was crazy.

When the clock hit 5pm (my fourth late night this week--I'm supposed to be working only 6 hours a day)!, I hopped in my car to head home. Traffic SUCKED and it took me an entire hour to get out of downtown Seattle. Thanks radio, for covering a compelling story about two teenage boys being shunned by the diving community for hunting an octopus (insert sarcasm). Then it took me an hour and a half to drive home. I finally walked into the house at 7:30pm.

The ups and downs of this week have been intense. Oddly, almost all the highlights came from actual lawyer work. I got to do a lot of new things, I learned a lot, stretched my comfort zone, and received compliments on my work. The low points were related to home, commuting or me being a major dumbass. I'm pretty sure (and seriously hope) there is no direct relationship between these things. Because, I can't handle another week like this.

Thank GOD this horrible, wonderful week is finally over.