Wednesday, August 28, 2013

One Hour Of Perfection

Yesterday I wrapped up my old job (barely). Before I could leave I had to draft a motion for partial summary judgment. This was the stipulation for my final farewell. I finally finished it at 6:15pm! It's even pretty good, if I do say so myself. I even went to the effort of bate-stamping my exhibits so I could reference them by page number. Bate-stamped pages make me so happy.

As the evening dragged on, however, I lost steam in the final few minutes. The thought of taking the final effort of tying my arguments up nicely in a conclusion section seemed unbearable. So I kinda skipped it. I hope my boss appreciates this as he is reviewing my draft.

I'm the one that introduced him to the trending phrase "sorry for partying." So I'm sure he'll see it as a final souvenir of my employment with the firm...ha ha, RIGHT....

I also need to mention that on my last day at the firm, my boss sent out an email with the following subject (in all caps, of course): "WHOEVER JAMMED THE BIG STAPLER, PLEASE COME SEE ME!" The e-mail went on to explain the importance of having a jam-free stapler in case there is an "emergency." Ha.


Also, I totally had a nightmare that I filed a motion and used the word "hafta" instead of "have to" and my boss flipped out and I was totally horrified and filled with anxiety. I wonder if the litigation nightmares will stop sometime or if they will be ever present, much like those pesky high school test nightmares.

We are off to Canada tomorrow for the rest of the week/weekend. But today, I have absolutely no plans, obligations, or work-related stress. And it feels amazing! I kind of feel unemployed. It's the best feeling ever. Hmmm, I could get used to this.

This morning, I took the kids to the gym and ran 6 miles. Now the baby is sleeping, the big kid is "resting" on the couch. I'm sitting in my warm bed enjoying the post-run high and the awesome feeling of spent muscles while eating a much-deserved cookie dough Power bar (yes, there IS such as thing...and it is amazing!), listening to Macklemore's The Heist, and doing WHATEVER THE HECK I WANT. (Forgetting for a moment that my house it complete chaos.)

It may be really simple, but this is my idea of perfection. I am in a total state of bliss right now. Life is good!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

All Is Fair...In Mommyhood

I just closed the door to the boys' room after having tucked them snuggly into bed. As the door shut softly behind me, I wanted to just melt into a puddle on the fake wood floors (Wicked Witch of the West style). Today was such a ROUGH day. It shouldn't have been. But for some reason, everything was difficult.

My husband (who is pulling kid duty all day tomorrow) left for an all day long football draft event. So it was just me and the boys. I think Jacob woke up too early because he was on the verge of a meltdown the entire day. Anything could and would set him off. In the late morning we were at the table finishing his birthday invitations. He drew one pretty darn good Ninja Turtle. Then on the second one, he totally threw a tantrum because his turtle WAS TOO UGLY. It looked exactly like the first one, which he adored. Ugh. Then he refused to draw anymore.

Turtle power:

Then, despite his prior protest, he tried to draw a snail. He crumpled up seven pieces of half-drawn snails which much flare and drama. Then he threw his markers, stomped his fist, and had another meltdown. "I'll NEVER get the hang of this! It's no use!" He flung his body dramatically into a pillow on the couch. "I'm never going to draw AGAIN!" He proceeded to huff and puff, to my extreme annoyance, for the next ten minutes.

When I asked him to clean up his markers, he adamantly refused. His whining grew louder. Obviously he was tired and I was in no mood to deal with him. I sent him to his bed and instructed him to take a nap. For the next 47 minutes (precisely), he kicked his wall, threw his stuffed animals and chanted (without a single break!) "I don't wanna take a nap! I'll never take a nap! I'll never play Uno with you ever again! You're a mean mommy! I don't wanna take a nap!" ... I just let him get it out of his system.

He never did nap. I just let him out of his room (47 minutes later) with a very stern warning. The rest of the day was pretty much just like his. It was a complete battle to get him to do anything. Any little thing would set him off and trigger a barrage of pathetic whining. His food is too hot. He's too tired to put his shoes on. He is soooo thirsty. His drink tastes bad. "I don't hafta go potty!" "I don't wanna walk!"

When Ryan woke up from his nap, I had to get out of the house. We went to the gym and I cranked out 5.5 miles while the kids were in childcare. I got sucked into some really sappy romantic comedy on some Christian channel. It was so sappy...but I totally ate it up. At mile 5, on a 3.0 incline, I bawled my sweaty eyes out as a defeated couple rekindled their love in a remote South American village before the statue of some saint who had literally just healed a boy from his crippling condition. It was even worse than a Hallmark movie (which I secretly love and hate all at the same time). But it made my run go by quickly!

After the gym, I made four stops which is way more than my usual two-stop max. After two-stops, I find that buckling and unbuckling the kids and herding them in and out of cars, stores, and parking lots is no longer worth the energy-zapping effort. But these chores HAD to be done today because I promised my boss I would come into the office tomorrow.

Finally, because I'm totally freaking insane, I took both boys to the local county fair. I was tempted to cancel this part of the day due to all the excessive whining and lack of cooperation, but I had just run 5.5 miles dangit and I wanted some fair food!

It turned out to be much better than I thought. The kids were distracted by activities and the whining came with less frequency.

Humongous corndog (that Jacob just HAD to have and then barely ate because...well, for no good reason at all).

Meeting some sheep! Ryan was totally shocked by this sheep. He kept staring at it as if he was trying to figure out what kind of dog it was.

The llamas were just as shocking. Ryan absolutely loved watching all the animals. He finally learned how to "moo" -- hey, it's the little things.

Looking for more animals. This little man basically owns me. He makes me want to have five more babies right away. Those cheeks! That round belly! Those crocs!

Too much cuteness! I have no idea how I got Ryan to cooperate for this one. Act of God? Stars in complete alignment? Bribery of dum-dum suckers? Maybe all three.
In the belly of the dragon. For the first time, Jacob was big enough to ride all the kid rides on his own. He wanted to do it all by himself while we watched from afar. He took his tickets, found the line, and handled it all by himself. OMG. I just realized that someday he's going to grow up and make his own meals, drive himself places, and never ever need me! NOOOO!

I always talk about my love affair with this stroller. But I can't help it. This stroller is so perfect. It's so easy and smooth. I bought it used ($140- brand new they are 400+). And I love it so much that sometimes I want to bring it to bed with me.

Look ma, no hands! Such a goof!

He looks like a natural. We walked by the ponies on the way out of the fair and Jacob looked over so wistfully that I couldn't resist letting him go for a ride. And well.... it's a PONY! Who can pass up a PONY?! When I asked him if he wanted to ride the ponies he literally jumped out of the stroller, pumped his fist in the air, and said so enthusiastically to all the people within a 20 foot radius, "Woo hoo, this is my first time riding a pony!!" As he rode the pony around and around, he kept leaning forward to pet it's mane and it's rump. He was so comfortable and confident. He totally looked like a rancher's son.

My loves.

There were so many rough parts of the day. But for some reason, no matter how much I tend to complain about the rough parts, it's the happy parts that tend to stick in my brain. Now, even though I was so eager to put them to bed, I find myself strangely and uncontrollably wishing they were playing at my feet in the living room. Ryan would be twirling in circles and stopping to give me kisses while Jacob would be jumping off furniture showing me some ninja moves.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nutritionist: Love Your Tree

I had my third session with my nutritionist today. I've found the sessions to be super helpful and we discuss topics and issues that go far beyond my initial issue. We often have really interesting discussions about body image as well.

My nutritionist is like a therapist for food and body issues. She asks prompts and lets me vent and just talk about food issues, body issues, and anything else slightly related. I never thought that just talking about these issues would be helpful and, even if talking doesn't result in any physical changes, it's been a really good experience. Just being able to open up freely without holding back or worrying about judgment has been so immensely freeing.

Today, my nutritionist shared this wonderful youtube video from the lady who wrote the Vagina Monologues. I must have been in a vulnerable and emotional place because as I watched this during my session, I became all teary-eyed at the beauty and message behind the sentiment.

In case the embedded video doesn't work, google "Love Your Tree."

I've really been trying to focus on loving my body for what it can do rather than what it looks like. This is really hard and I continue to struggle every day. But... baby steps.

On top of letting me talk through my issues, my nutritionist gives me good advice about what I should be putting in my body and how to make myself more healthy.

Today she did a test on me involving a machine that sends a pulse of some magic invisible substance through my body and then spits out my results on a little piece of paper. From this paper, my nutritionist was able to determine the health of my cells, my body fat, and my metabolism. This machine was so freaking cool.

So, the results: because I live off of relatively low amount of calories, my cells are not getting the nutrition that I need. As a result, I have the cells of a 40 year old lady. My cells are ten years older than me! My nutritionist encouraged me to eat more essential fats which will make my cells "younger" and healthier.

I only have 11% body fat. This isn't just "stored body fat" that most people measure, this is TOTAL fat and includes the healthy fat that is needed to protect vital organs and important stuff like that. Apparently, a healthy range of body fat for me would be 18-22 percent. Ooops. While this sounds really awesome to me, it is not healthy. This is entirely my problem. Where I want to be body-wise is not necessarily healthy. It's going to be really hard for me to balance being healthy and happy with my body. Right now, these two things are at odds.

Finally, my metabolism is 1600. This means that, if I do nothing, my body will burn 1600 calories per day. This is how many calories I need for my body to function. Apparently this is a little on the low side but not too bad.

One of the other benefits to nutritional therapy is being able to get a good, objective sense of where I am in terms of health and weight. Women are so harsh and critical of ourselves and I am no exception. Getting an educated, honest opinion is so refreshing and helpful. She's so positive and friendly and caring. I wish I had the courage to do this ten years ago.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Be Shocked: Supplement

As if the stuff I already posted about is not enough, I forgot to add some other wonderful conversation bits that I shared with my boss at happy hour the other day.

First, for some reason he started calling me "bro" all through happy hour. Weird much?

Then after our waitress (an elderly Asian woman) came over to drop off our beer and then left to go back to the bar he said to me, "Would you ever let the waitress touch your boobs?" While he said this, he made weird boob-groping hand motions.


"Come on, what if she was dying? Would you let her if she was dying and it was her last wish?"


It was very awkward. I'm not actually offended, more just totally shocked. A teeny tiny part of me is flattered that I've apparently been inducted into the "boys' club." But still... the unprofessionalism is a incredible!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Be Shocked

I kid you not, these things came out of my boss' mouth yesterday. We were at happy hour in a relaxed/casual atmosphere, but still....

Boss: "Do you want to have more kids?"
Me: "Yes."
Boss: "Good thing you're leaving so we don't have to pay your maternity leave. You're the County's problem now!"

"Would you have sex in a trailer?"

"Isn't that chick over there hot?"

Me: "I think I might get a badge at my new job."
Boss: "Really? So you'll go around flashing your badge? Just don't flash your vag."




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Where's The Mute Button?

This evening I took the kids to the YMCA. I ran (6 miles at 7:30 min pace!) while the kids did classes and hung out in the child care center. Then, still sweaty and greasy, I grabbed them and we headed to the pool. They had such a blast, although Ryan was hesitant at first. We all went around in the lazy river. Jacob had a life jacket on and kept floating way out of our reach...because he's a big boy. Ryan, who looked totally unimpressed, finally mustered up enough excitement to splash the water a couple times.

In the locker room we took incredibly LONG showers, because,'s free (to us)! I will have to write another post on the incredibly awkward ordeal of dealing with a young boy's sudden onset of modesty and conflicting interest in other peoples' bodies (ugh!).

In the locker room, I heard a lady say that some of her personal belongings had been stolen from the locker room. I didn't think much of it until I pulled up to the Dairy Queen Drive-Thru window and could not find my driver's license or my debit card! I had a moment of panic followed by another moment of hysteria (I wasn't sure what was worse, losing my cards or not being able to pay for my Blizzard!). Then I was oddly calm. I parked the car and dialed my bank's number to report the missing card.

An automated "person" answered and asked, "Please tell me the reason for your call."

"Lost my de---."

"AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!" I was interrupted by Ryan shrieking in the back seat.

"I'm sorry. I did not understand that. Please tell me the reason for your call."

"I los--"

"ROAAAAAAR!!!!" Ryan started screaming like a dinosaur.

"I'm sorry. I did not understand that. Please tell me the reason for your call."

"Ilostmydebitcard!" I blurted out as quickly as possible.

"You are calling to report a lost card? If this is correct, say, 'yes.'"



"I'm sorry. I did not understand that. If you are calling to report a lost card, say 'yes.'"


"Are you reporting a lost ATM, debit, or credit card?"



"I'm sorry. I did not understant that. Are you re--"


"I'm sorry. I did not understand that. Are--"


"I'm sorry. I did not understand that. Are you reporting a lost ATM, debit, or credit card?"



"I'm sorry. I did not understant that. Are you reporting a lost ATM, debit, or credit card."


"Would you like to place a temporary hold on your card? Say, 'yes' or 'other options.'"



Ten minutes later, I successfully put a hold on my debit card. But not until I hesitantly whipped out my emergency credit card (yes, this was an emergency) and bought everyone a round of Blizzards to keep the mouths busy.

And then I got home and found both my credit card and driver's license laying on the floor.

So, yay?!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Coincidentally, on the same day that I gave my two-weeks' notice to my boss, CM posted tips from her own giving notice experience and Corporette posted an insightful article that pretty much sums up  my day, "How To Tell Your Beloved Boss You're Quitting." Unfortunately, these posts were just hours too late for me.

Since being offered the job, I have been filled with one emotion: dread. Dread for having to tell my mentor/boss. So I walked into the office this morning, asked my boss if I could talk to him, closed the door, and ripped the band-aid off. I assumed a rush of relief and excitement would take over after letting my news out of the bag. But it didn't.

For some reason, I just have this nagging, horrible sense that I am doing the wrong thing. As I wrap up my cases, these are the only thoughts running through my head "will I regret this?" "is this the wrong choice?" "do I ALREADY regret this?" "Oh God, what have I done?"

I can see two paths being laid out before me. Five years into the future, I could be an experienced and seasoned trial attorney, having built a strong rapport with insurance claim representatives and with a couple trials under my belt. I would enjoy my work and find it challenging. But I would continue to hate my commute. I wouldn't see as much of my kids. I would probably miss out on a bunch of children's activities. I could be happy in this future. It looks hard but rewarding. Just months ago, this is the future I had always planned on.

But now I'm suddenly de-railed. My future is uncertain. For the next six months, I have guaranteed employment doing something entirely different (more like general counsel work). In that time, I'll have essentially no commute. I'll be home before 5:00pm every day! I'll have regular hours and medical benefits. I'll have no billable hours. And I'll have the opportunity to try something new and potentially open the door to long term work in my backyard. After those six months, however, nothing is guaranteed. I have no idea if I will like this work although I've always assumed that I would. I could be enjoying long term government employment in five years. Or I could be unemployed and struggling with overwhelming debt.

As I wrap up my cases, I'm suddenly nostalgic and sentimental. The cases that were the source of all my evil thoughts are now quaint little things that I will miss. For all the times I've complained about my boss, I really enjoy his mentorship and appreciate the opportunities he has given me. I've always wanted to make him happy and have his respect. Now I feel like I'm letting him down.

As I was leaving my boss' office he said, "Can I ask you a personal question. Do I yell too much? Did I scare you off?" I was a little taken aback by this statement. And I kid you not I said, "It's not you, it's me." Why does quitting feel an awfully lot like breaking up? I'm going to take a tip from Corporette's post and write a handwritten thank you note for his mentorship. Hopefully, no doors will be closed behind me when I leave.

I honestly did not expect to feel this way. My stomach is tangled in knots. I'm trying to trust that everything will work out. But I just can't shake this hesistant and trepid feeling.

On a happy note, my new boss has officially set up my "swearing in." I did not realize that I would have to be sworn in to work for the County. That sounds so official and exciting. I just might also get a badge like the permanent employees. How cool would that be?!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

If A Mommy Checks Her E-mail (& Misc. Weekend Stuff)

If a mommy checks her e-mail, she will see a Facebook notification that it is her friend's birthday. She will log onto Facebook and post a "happy birthday" greeting.

If a mommy sends a Facebook greeting, she will see that her friend shared an uplifting article about parenting. She will click on the link because she is feeling sappy and in the mood to cry over her children's perishing babyhoods.

If a mommy reads a sappy parenting article, (after she cries her eyes out) she will see a link to a curiosity-arousing Buzzfeed article titled, "Everything You Need to Know About Leonardo DiCaprio's Man Bun." She did not know Leo had a Man Bun. But now she cannot resist the urge to know everything about it.

After a mommy soaks in every last word about Leo's Man Bun, the word "bun" will remind her about hamburgers and she will experience a sudden pang of hunger. This will remind her that she needs to plan dinner. The mommy will go to Cooking Light's website hoping to discover a new enticing recipe.

When a mommy surfs for a new dinner recipe, she will become dazzled by all the fancy and mouthwatering pictures of food. This will quickly bring up the less-mouthwatering thought that she should have gone to the gym this morning. In turn, this will remind the mommy that the reason she did not go to the gym was because last time she went to the gym, her big kid forgot his shoes and  had to go barefoot and her toddler threw a tantrum on the floor. (And because the gym sells muffins. What's the point of going to the gym if you will buy and eat a 500 calorie muffin because you lack self control?!)

When the mommy reminisces over her last gym experience with her children, she will remember that she wanted to buy her children a water table for the backyard. She will scour Craigslist for this VEI, "very essential item." 

If the mommy scours Craigslist for the VEI, she will not be able to resist the urge to look for pony adds. Because who DOESN'T want a pony? Seeing all the pretty horses will make the mommy sad that she had to stop taking horseback riding lessons. She will remember that she had to stop taking lessons because they were so expensive. Thinking about expenses will remind the mommy of all the medical bills she still owes from the cesarean birth of her second child.

Oh crap! The mommy will realize that she forgot to pay her medical bills for the month. She will go onto the hospital website and set up the payment.After setting up the hospital payment, the mommy will see a pop-up window telling her that her payment confirmation will be e-mailed. The mommy will check her e-mail to see this confirmation.

If the mommy checks her e-mail, she will see a message from Facebook telling her that someone commented on her latest photo. can guess the rest!

This is precisely why a mommy cannot get any work done on her home computer.

[Insert clever segue way.]

Oh what? That doesn't actually work? Ok, how about this totally un-smooth nonsequitor: who wants to see some more pics of my kids?!

Ryan's absolutely favorite thing in the world is to go "out." When I say the word "out," he grabs his shoes and runs to the door. Yes, yes, just like a dog.

The face that makes me melt

We actually DID buy a water table for the backyard. It was only $1! The mom we bought it from clearly just wanted it OUT OF HER YARD. Ha. Now it's in our yard. And my husband is not to pleased that it is perching on top of his beloved baby grass.

The kids had a squirt gun fight.
Jacob's squirt gun is loaded through a long straw. You are supposed to put the straw in the pool and then you can shoot sn unlimited amount of water at your opponent. Jacob made the gun portable by filling his mouth with water, sticking the straw in his mouth, and using that as his water source. He can now shoot from any location so long as his mouth is full. This made me laugh and laugh!

When Ryan tries to squirt you, he says "shhhhhh" "shhhhhhh!" for "shoot."

The kids also used the table as a watering hole.

"Relax, it's not loaded."

Earlier in the day, all the boys got haircuts!

This was Ryan's second hair cut and he did so incredible! He sat still the entire time (without being bribed by a sucker!) and turned his head as instructed, in every direction. I was one proud mama!

Jacob, of course, is a pro. He didn't even need us there. He followed the stylist to the back row of chairs and told her how to cut his hair (three on the sides and finge rlength on top). When the hairstylist finished cutting Jacob's hair, he asked her to style it in a "mohog." That would be a "mohawk" to the rest of the English-speaking people.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Happy News!

The other week I landed interviews for two different jobs. I really, really wanted the one job. With all of my soul. The other job, I wasn't so sure about- especially because it was initially posted as a temporary six month job. I did not get the Dream Job. But Friday, after a second interview, I was offered the Other Job.

Interestingly enough, the more I learned about the Other Job, the more I realized that it was a really great fit. During my second interview, I felt as if they were trying to sell ME instead of the other way around. They told me that they re-worked their budget and have figured out a way to make the position longer than six months, possibly a long-term thing. It's not what I THOUGHT was best for me. But, I'm realizing that it really IS best. Best for me and for the entire family. Funny how life works out, isn't it?

So...the job. I would be working in the Civil Division of the local County Prosecutor's office. This job has been described to me as being a "general counsel" for the entire county, including elected officials and other agencies. That just sounds so dang awesome. And this is my chance to expand my lawyer skills beyond litigation. And escape the billable hour. And earn medical benefits! And have a fifteen minute commute (OMG!!!! What is that like?!)

One frustrating thing I learned during my job search is that having solely done litigation work, I am not qualified to even be an applicant for any other type of lawyer position. Honestly, I never thought I would want to apply for anything other than litigation work, but I'm slowly realizing that being a trial lawyer is just really hard when you have a commute and a family. The billable hour requirement (even though it is fairly reasonable compared to other firms) is always a source of anxiety and actually decreases my productivity.

This is my chance to acquire new skills! I've never, ever had a lawyer job that was not entirely focused on personal injury litigation. I have no idea what to expect. But I'm really excited to try something new. The division where I will work is full of "lifers" so I expect that the environment and is pretty good.

While I'm really, REALLY excited. I'm full of dread and anxiety. I have to show up to work and give my two weeks' notice. I HATE doing this. You would think that after having three different jobs in three years that I would be getting used to doing this. But it is never easy. I work in a small office and I work really closely with the partners, especially the one who recruited me from my last job. I am pretty sure he will take it personally. He doesn't do a good job of masking his emotions at work and I had to "let him down." Plus, we are down two staff people right now and I hate to add more chaos to the mix. I know I have to do what is best for me, but that doesn't do anything to calm my anxious nerves. Ahhhh!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Little Balls Of Bat-Sh*t Crazy...Er, I Mean Sunshine

So much to say and so little time (I have to finish an assignment before bedtime and it's already 10:00pm!). This week has been a little insane. My parents are in Hawaii and that means not only am I insanely jealous (someone please tell my Dad to stop sending me pictures of himself laying in a hammock on the beach!) but I have to try to work from home two days a week WITH the kids running around.

As you might guess, I didn't get much work done those two days. But they were amazing in an "I'm so overwhelmed and trying to do way too much and my kids are little devils" kind of way. Honestly through, that's my favorite kind of way. The images of me chasing after Ryan in the grocery store with barefooted Jacob insisting on pushing the grocery cart and ramming into nearly every object in the store is still way too vivid to be a mere memory. Ryan absolutely hates to be strapped into the grocery cart so before every shopping trip, I have to decide between two evils: let him scream and cry in the seat or chase after him as I wildly try to grab items off the shelf and fling them into my cart. I usually choose the latter.

I finally caught up with Ryan (with Jacob banging into things loudly behind me) and he was NOT happy to be held. I finished my shopping by trying to direct the cart with one hand and using my other arm to wrap around Ryan's abdomen, his head and feet dangling freely at my waist. Since he was freed of his cart-pushing duties, Jacob decided to stop every stranger we saw to announce one of three things: (1) he can snap his fingers, (2) he can count to 100, and (3) he is wearing "invisible" shoes.

Oh yeah, that reminds me of the time we went to the Mayor's office last week. Jacob (again!) had forgotten his shoes at home and was forced to walk the halls barefoot. We met the Mayor and instead of cooly masking his barefootedness, he pointed to his feet and shouted, "LOOK, I'm wearing invisible shoes!" At least he made the Mayor laugh.

Back to my story...We got to the check-out counter and Jacob insisted on helping me unload the cart. This meant that I had to hand him each item, one by one, so he could place each one on the conveyor belt. As I was doing this, I was trying to keep Ryan from emptying all the shelves of candy bars. At one point, he managed to get all the Snickers bars on the floor before I could intervene. I finally got both kids loaded up along with all the groceries and I pulled out of my parking spot only to discover that my milk was sitting there on the pavement of the parking lot. This is why it is a good thing that my children are loud and boisterous. If they weren't, I would surely forget them somewhere, much like that gallon of milk! In case you are wondering, yes, I went back to get it.

One of Ryan's many tantrums
Jacob had soccer camp this week at a nearby Christian church, on top of everything else. I absolutely love watching him interact with new kids and adults. He talks to people so freely and without reservation. Within two minutes he had made at least three new friends. As I watched him play with the other kids and the coaches, he would occasionally check to make sure I was still there, beam like a crazy person, and wave wildly at me.

Kindergartners at soccer camp is probably the most hilarious thing I've seen in a LONG time. There was a lot of waiting in line for their turn to participate in certain activities. Well, we all know how well boys do with waiting. When I turned to check on Jacob, I saw him waiting in line and instigating a game of slap tackle with the other boys. When the coach walked by to ask them to stop, Jacob began to kick dirt into the air. When the coach walked by again and asked them to pay attention, Jacob and his two new friends formed a huddle and began chatting.... which then turned into another game of slap tackle. I don't blame them. Don't these coaches know that 4 and 5 year old cannot wait in a line for more than five minutes?

At the end, the boys got to keep their soccer balls. Jacob was quick to announce to all his coaches that he had named his ball "Leo."

Ryan also had fun watching Jacob at soccer camp. He met a new friend and tried to impress her by bringing her handfuls of rocks. She was a good sport and pretended to be genuinely thrilled by them. Knowing Ryan would be tempted by all the soccer balls, I brough him his own ball to play with. He kicked it and tossed it around in the grass and would occasionally walk up to me, flash a broad grin, and give me a sloppy wet kiss on my legs or arms, just to remind me that I belong to him.

Sharing rocks

Ryan's idea of heaven

After soccer camp, I piled the kids into the car. As I watched them sitting in their carseats, smiling from the day's excitement, and chattering back and forth with each other, I felt as if there was sunshine in chest. Just knowing we were altogether, safe, and satisfied from a busy-but-hectic day was enough to make my entire day.

Although I didn't get much actual work done (which required me to stay late on my non-work-from-home days), I got to work on my laptop on my bed with tired Ry-Guy leaning his head on my shoulder. As I drafted status reports and answers to complaints, he placed his hand on my arm and affectionately ran his fingernails across my skin (something he has done since he was a tiny baby). Jacob was playing happily in the next room and eating a lunch I had prepared for him. As I sat there trying to type and trying to concentrate, I was just so dang happy.

Things are not always easy or fun or the way that I wish they were, but these two little men completely fill my life with goodness and are sources of my joy. They are often the bright spots on my hard and exhausting days, even if they are also the source of the exhaustion. Just being around them is happiness to me. Even when they are grumpy or whiny and I have to set them in my lap and just hold them in silence for a while.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Job Interview And The Aftermath

On Monday I traveled to our state capitol to interview for a job. It was an entry level political analyst job for a political party. The job was for assisting State Representatives draft and pass legislation.  It seemed dream job.

The funny thing is that I didn't even know this was my dream job until I came upon the job posting last week. I had never really considered any legal work outside of litigation. When I saw this job posting and read through the description, it was like I had discovered the last missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle. I have always been passionate for public policy and political science but I didn't know what I could ever do with that major (hence my foray into law). During law school, I took the only job opportunities that materialized-- litigation. While I enjoy litigation, I have always had the sense that I'm missing something. The more I looked for jobs outside of litigation, the more I realized that I was absolutely unqualified to do anything else, beyond entry level work. This was depressing.

The idea that you can do anything with a law degree is a total sham (probably concocted by law schools!). The only thing you can do with a law degree is practice law. If you want to do something other than that, your past experience is pretty much the only thing that will get you there. The law degree will just serve as pretty wrapping for your resume.

Despite my lack of experience in public policy and committee specific issues, I landed an interview for my dream job. I showed up, smiled, played nice, and tried my best to impress. The entire time I felt like a conwoman. How can I take my completely unrelated experience and skills and make them seem transferrable? How can I talk my way into this job? I was very nervous but I thought it went pretty well.

I wanted the job so badly that I was almost too afraid to let myself hope for it. I held my breath all week, my heart pounded every time my phone rang. I remember feeling completely helpless as I realized that the thing that could finally change my career around, the thing that I wanted a little too much, was at the complete whim of a stranger. There was nothing more I could do. This is pretty much the worst feeling. It's better to have something be within your control and fail to achieve it than to have something be at the arbitrary fancy of another person. I felt like I was living in a horrible career purgatory. Part of me wanted to hope, the other part of me wanted to brace for the worst.

Then on Friday, an email came. From the interviewer. He initially set up my interview through e-mail so the fact that he was e-mailing did not tip me off on the outcome. This was it! Had I made it to the second round of interviews? I read the first sentence and immediately knew that it was a rejection. "I would like to thank you very much...blah, blah, blah."

I was sitting at my desk, in my office. The second I read those words, my shoulders slumped and my entire body immediately went slack. I processed it for a second and then the reality hit me. It felt like that moment after Christmas morning when all the presents had already been unwrapped. Major letdown. I could feel pressure building up behind my eyes and I tried to hard to stifle tears. A few slipped out as I turned my chair, rolled up to my window, and peered out. I remember watching the faint outline of rain fall and feeling that the weather was expressing my very feelings. I sat there kind of numb for a while and tried to figure out what I should think and what I should do next. What does this mean? No immediate escape from the billable hour. No new office. No new commute. No change to add some excitement to my life.

Since then, I haven't been able to shake this deflated feeling. Sometimes I am mad at myself because I know it is a tough job market out there and I understand that I should be grateful to have any job at all. But mostly, I am numb, apathetic. I'm not happy but not sure how to fix it. Is it the work? The billable hours? The commute? Is it because my paycheck is so small and barely covers our bills? Is it because I desperately want another baby (which has been veto-ed by my husband without any discussion whatsoever). Is it because somewhere deeply buried (behind the practical worries of future employment and the harsh sting of reality and a mountain full of debt) is the desire to be home with my babies. Is it because I'm not making the "difference" that I so passionately planned to do as an idealistic young adult? Sidenote: at 29, am I still a "young adult?"

I can sense that I am about to come upon a deep pit of depression. I don't know how to ward it off. I don't know how to make things not suck. I think I had hoped that a new job would fix all my sadness. And I'm pretty sure that getting that job of my dreams would have fixed a good 1/3 of it. But where do I go from here? Is telling myself repeatedly that I am lucky and happy enough to make it so? Maybe I really am happy and just going through a temporary rough spot. Then again, maybe it's time to take new risks.

There is another part of me (the more consistent and reliable part of me) that is taking this rejection very well. That part of me firmly believes that everything just works out. That part of my knows that there is nothing I can't handle and is not daunted by "worst-case-scenarios." That part of me believes that I did not get this job because there is a different job out there for me. It also believes that I am flexible, durable, and strong. This part of me is never worried or anxious and is acutely aware of the transience of life and the Important Things In Life.

Gee, I sure wish THAT part would take over right about now.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Belated Weekend Post

I wrote this post on Sunday night but my week has been absolutely crazy busy (two job interviews!) that I never got around to uploading the pictures until tonight. Here is my belated weekend post:

We had an incredibly busy weekend filled with...well, a little bit of everything. Friday, we had a "movie night." Which involved Jacob selecting a movie from our shelf, me making a bag of popcorn, Ryan dumping the entire bag onto the carpet and grounding it into little tiny pieces, and both kids running around the house asking for things and sword fighting and doing anything BUT watch the movie.

Saturday was full and exhausting but also quite amazing. I got to spend all but 47 minutes of it with my two busy, happy boys. It's amazing how great of a mother I can be when I'm not exhausted from a long day of work/commuting. It's seriously like night and day.

We lounged around the house Saturday morning without any morning agenda. And when I say "lounged" I mean, I got up at 8am, cooked breakfast, feed the kids. cleaned the kitchen and the sink, dressed the kids, supervised the cleaning of the kids' room, and gave Ryan a bath. Yeah, that's about right for "lounging" on a Saturday morning.

All morning Ryan would randomly stop whatever he was doing and start spinning backwards in circles. He would spin and spin and spin and giggle the entire time until he lost balance and fell flat on his butt. The giggling would increase, he would stand himself up, and start spinning again.

At mid-day I took the kids to a fun little event in our county. They were so good and easy-going and well-behaved. It is so, so, so hard not to spoil them rotten when they act like that! In retrospect, I wonder if they just seemed so good because I was a million times more patient (after getting more than 5 hours of sleep for the first time in a week).

We passed a booth where you could buy fun beanbag animals of all sizes and colors. We first noticed the booth when Ryan started growling and pointing at the dinosaur beanbags on the edge of the table.
Ryan reached out with his chubby hand, so desperately grasping for one of the dinosaurs, and continued to growl louder and louder. I couldn't resist. I allowed the kids to each pick out one animal beanbag. Ryan's choice was easy, but Jacob studied all the options carefully and made a meticulously well-thought out decision, finally landing on an all-black kitten with long whiskers. "I'm going to name my kitty Whiskers!" He announced excitedly. Ryan clutched his dinosaur in a death grip and nestled it under his chin. God, they are so cute they make me want to squeeze them until their eyeballs pop out of their faces!

We passed many blow-up objects (a duck, a Pepsi can, the Geico lizard) and Jacob insisted on touching them all. The three of us all went down a gigantic slide. Ryan wasn't too sure about the wole thing but Jacob went down two more times by himself. Jacob also enjoyed the kiddie rollercoaster that looked like a dragon. By his second trip on the rollercoaster, he had mastered the skill of throwing his hands in the air in true rollercoaster-ride fashion. He also made friends with a couple other little boys (happens everywhere we go) and they all took turns sitting with each other. Although he did not get to ride the rollercoaster, Ryan was excited each time it passed by. He kept pointing and Roar-ing enthusiastically. Yes, I guess dragons do "roar."

(Jacob is the red shirt to the left)
Then we all enjoyed gigantic Icees.

After we used up all of our ride tickets, I ushered the kids into the car and we rushed to catch the ferry to Seattle for the Seafair Torchlight 8K. I decided to avoid traffic and walk onto the ferry. This seemed like an awesome idea at the time but it required pushing 65+ of adorable children in the double stroller.

I jogged from our house to the ferry, from the ferry to the race, ran in the race, and jogged from the race back to the ferry. In addition to the 5 mile race, I jogged that stroller around an additional 4 miles!

I live here! Yes, I pinch myself everyday. Beauty is just a party of everyday life around here :) Did I mention that I saw four orca whales breach in unison on my commute to work the other day? Yeah... pretty cool.

The race course was also gorgeous. We ran on the raised highway along the waterfront. Amazing views. (The race did not allow strollers to participate so my friend's husband watched the kids while we ran, he did awesomely and the kids didn't fuss or fight or whine at all for him, who was all but a total stranger to them!).

And the kids enjoyed the ferry as much as anything else. My kids and I spent both hour-long ferry trips playing and talking. We chatted (Jacob is quite the talker!), we played games, we giggled. It was so refreshing to be present and engaged with them. I wish I had the energy and patience for it more often.

I usually try really hard not to brag about compliments I receive about my kids but they were absolutely fantastic Saturday and deserve a little bit of bragging. On the ride home, four families/couples we were sitting near kept repeatedly telling me how well-behaved and adorable Jacob and Ryan were. I heard them talking positively about my kids behind us also. There is no better compliment for a parent than to hear strangers praise your children. It's so affirming. But I try so hard not to let it go to my head because I know that for every good day, there are probably three not so good days.

Sunday we woke up at 6am to rush out of the house at 7am. We drove three miles to visit my husband's grandma in Oregon. She lives in an old farmhouse on 50-something acres, I believe. She has plum trees, apple trees, and pear trees. The kids love to explore her property and get into trouble.

Then we drove back across the Washington/Oregon border and enjoyed a family reunion with my husband's side of the family. They are so fun and friendly and hospitable. We love hanging out with them. Jacob recently learned how to snap his fingers. He will randomly start snapping his fingers in dramatic hand waves like some lounge singer from the 20's. He approaches complete strangers (or extended family members) to inform them that he can snap with his fingers and then shows his skill off with so much flare that you would think he had just learned how to juggle monkeys or something.

After a wonderful day in the sun playing and eating with cousins, second cousins, and aunts/uncles, we "enjoyed" some quality family bonding time in the car during the LONG ride home. Ryan screeched, "NO!!" every two minutes for no good reason at all. Jacob started to instigate it by asking Ryan questions just so that Ryan would say, "NO!!"

"Ryan, are you smart?"
"Ryan, do you smell good?"

The two hour drive turned into a four hour drive thanks to an incredible amount of traffic (we witnessed a barn fire in the middle of nowhere- it was crazy!). Ryan was so ready to be out of his car seat and made this very clear. Once in a while I would hear him wail and "bzzzzz," something would whizz by my head, nearly missing my face, and smacking into the front windshield. I was almost clobbered by Ryan's binky, a piece of graham cracker, and a magic wand. That kid and his arm are very dangerous things.

We finally made it home at 9:30 p.m., after a quick grocery store stop and a stop at McD's where Ryan ate three bowls full of ketchup but no chicken nuggets (he figured out he could double and triple and quadruple dip by licking the ketchup off without taking a single bite of actual food). We had no accidents, but just barely. Jacob informed us, while we were at a dead stop on the freeway, that he had to poop NOW and that it was coming out NOW. He managed to hold it in as we panicked and made a mad dash off the road. By the time we found a potty fifteen minutes later, he no longer had to go. Awesome.

Now the kids are sleeping, after stories and a game of Fling Yogurt Across The Dining Room. And the grown-ups are more than just a little exhausted. Phew. I'm so not ready to start a brand new week!

It was a very long trip. It was a short, but packed weekend. It was awesome.