Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Last night I convinced myself that I was no longer pregnant. I hadn't had any symptoms in two days. The days prior I had constant minor nausea (my one and absolute only symptom) which stopped suddenly on Sunday. It wasn't until last night that I realized it was gone. I cried myself to sleep thinking that my pregnancy had ended. But by the time I was dropping the kids off the next morning, it slowly crept back. I have never been so happy to have an upset tummy.

If not for that constant minor nausea, I would not believe I was pregnant. It's so surreal. I'm still afraid to really believe that I am. For this reason, I am a constant pregnancy test taker. This is the only aspect of my life touched by OCD. I have a gazillion ovulation tests strips left over from when we were trying for Ryan. A little known fact is that ovulation test strips will show up positive if you are pregnant. I've been taking them 1-2 times a day trying to accept the fact that there is, in fact, a baby happening around here. My doctor won't even see me until the middle of April....that's a long time to live in uncertainty land.

I have recommitted myself to a gym routine. I've been going to the gym 4-5 times a week. My typical workout includes running 4 miles, squats, lunges, pushups, and burpees or kettlebell swings. I'm also trying really hard to focus on my separated abdominal muscles. I can fit two fingers between the abdominal muscles near my belly button (thank Ryan!). I'm terrified of the muscle tearing farther this time around. I'm going to try to sign up for some road races to stay motivated- even if it means running a 10K with a baby bump and pushing two kids in my jogger. I will not be stopped!

My schedule has been pretty insane lately. But somehow, I'm more organized and accomplished when my schedule is full. It's normal for my husband to not come home until 8pm three days a week (he works out after work, I work out after the kids go to bed). But lately, he has had work events and band practice in the evenings, which means I'm alone with the kids most days. After a long day of work, it's hard to come home and not just collapse onto the couch. But somehow I'm finding the energy and willpower to cook dinner, do dishes, pick up the house, play referee, put the kids to bed, and STILL go to the gym at 8:30pm. As long as I stay far away from the couch and it's mighty gravitational pull! We'll see how long this lasts (snort).

Last night was the first night in 4 weeks that Ryan did not wake up crying in the middle of the night (and stay awake for an hour). He still has been very difficult to put to bed but  hopefully this is a trend in the right direction.

I did laundry and not a SINGLE pair of socks actually matched. I have no idea how this happens!

Tonight, we decided to make a cake, just because it is Wednesday and ... well, why not celebrate a Wednesday?! The kids were very good helpers. Jacob mixed the entire thing himself and Ryan watched, mostly from a distance. He really wanted to help and be part of the action so he leaned in just far enough to reach his spoon in the bowl. They were much better beater cleaners than mixer, I must admit.

Tonight, both kids are "camping" on the living room floor. Jacob has been making "forts" in the living room. Hilariously, his idea of a fort is simply taking all his shit from his room and putting it in a giant pile in the living room. He's slept here for the past three nights. We just may have solved the problem of how to fit three kids in one tiny bedroom....

I've been pulled in to assist on new litigation projects at work. I think I've developed a reputation for motion writing because I have been requested to draft four upcoming motions (two of which are summary judgment motions). This makes me so very happy. There is nothing I love more than drafting motions. My days go by so fast, I get to use my lawyer brain at the utmost level, and I get to do some legal research and learn about new areas of law. I've been told several times that they are trying to find a way to keep me. This makes me very happy (yay government benefits and retirement)! When you truly find your niche, being a lawyer can seriously be the most awesome job in the entire world.

And now, I took an indulgent night off of exercising so that I can watch the most recent episode of Justified. Woo hoo!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

How To Make A Penis Cake (And Live To Tell About It)

Congratulations! You just found the most useful culinary tutorial in the whole wide world! Consider yourself extremely fortunate. By the end of this post, you will know how to make a penis cake. If you are like me, then every singe day of your life since high school has been plagued by one foreboding question: how in the heck will you possibly get through life without having to buy a penis cake pan?! Well, you should go buy a lottery ticket RIGHT THIS MINUTE because....this is your lucky day!

Penis Cake: A Tutorial of Great Length (and girth)

The secret tools for constructing a penis cake are simple: one 8x8 inch pan and one 4.5 x 8.5 inch pan. The dimensions don't have to be precise. As long as you have something vaguely shaft-shaped and something squarish, you have everything it takes to cook up one delicious satan scepter!

On to the cake batter. I believe the reasoning behind my choice of cake batter is pretty obvious. Who doesn't love funfetti in their mouth (or in the world of rampant copyright infringement lawsuits, "party rainbow chips!" Seriously? Party rainbow chips? My three favorite things in the entire world all crammed together in a verbal oreo cookie!) Everything is better with funfetti party rainbow chips, especially peni. 

Plus Betty Cocker makes some pretty serious claims:

Now that the type of cake batter has been settled, it is time to get to work. Read the back of the box and mix the cake as instructed. In my case, this required one cup of water, half a cup of vegetable oil, and three eggs. Mix it all up until you have testicle-riffic penis batter!

This next step is a MUST. You absolutely have to taste-test the batter. Just dip your finger right in. Try not to be grossed out by the way the batter oozes off your finger.

Does anyone know if there is a contest for the most horrendous looking kitchen in the world? Because I would like to enter. My two-toned fake brick tiles with a non-matching backsplash and white 100 year old handmade cabinets with lime green doors would take the cake! Oh, speaking of cake.....

Pour the batter evenly into your cake pans. Beware of rougue penis batter. It gets everywhere. 

Next, bake your cakes according to the instructions on the box. Or, if you're like me, forget to set the timer and just check on them randomly. Yes, you heard that right. The entire fate of my penis cake rests soley in the hands of my absented-minded scatterbrain. But it's OK. I'm a professional (scatterbrain, that is).

When your cakes are done, cut the square piece as shown below. Cut around the blue as indicated. The blue pieces will be used for the cake. The remainder of the square cake can be discarded (who am I kidding, shove the scraps in your mouth like a chipmunk and enjoy those warm party rainbow chips- trust me, you're going to need the energy for the last steps). 

Assemble your penis. If you are a devout soul and have a hard time saying the word penis, feel free to call it "God's pinky finger." I won't tell. And I'll only judge you a little bit. 


I decided to use some of the extra scraps of cake to make an anatomically correct ridge going down the center of the shaft. Now, before you go on and start asking how I have the skill and knowledge to assemble such a meticulously accurate, biologically precise, perfectly proportioned (and nearly photographic) penis sculpture, let me just remind you....I live with three penises. I have penises coming out of eyeballs. Ew, that sounded wrong. Moving on...

This next step is by far the hardest. Your patience will be tried. You will want to stab your penis with a knife. You will seriously doubt your culinary abilities. All I can tell you is to have faith in the process and press onward. And, if you can, it is best to give yourself as much time as possible. I did not follow my own advice because.... Time? HA HA HA. [insert maniacal laughter] What time?! I'm a working mother of two....

So, frosting....It is very tricky to apply frosting to the carved edges of the cake, especially the balls. If you find that your penis is lacking in structural integrity, you can make the frosting more liquidy by adding milk. I only recommend this for the sides. The top of the cake should be fine.

In the end, your cake will look as marvelous as this:

I'm not going to lie, while I was constructing this cake, I couldn't help but become overwhelmed by the powerful sense that I was a grand sculptor and painter, all in one. A regular Leonardo Da Vinci. This cake is the equivalent of my David AND my Mona Lisa. It was a very moving experience. Especially as I was rounding out the edges of the scrotum with frosting.

Like those mini-chocolate chips? Nice touch huh? Wait, hold on a second. Penis cakes look must better when they are shiny.

THERE we go. What a work of art! Totally worthy of my sister's bachelorette party :) You didn't think I was just making this for the heck of it, did you? Sheesh!

Also, I'm pretty sure I will never be able to look at frosting the same again. Especially frosting that claims to be "Creamy Supreme."

Before I leave you to soak in the many marvels of the Penis Cake, I'd like to share some little tips that I've intuited or learned from my vast experience.

Helpful Tips:

1) If you become nauseous easily, you may want to stay away from penis cakes. I was not nauseous at all today UNTIL I started making this cake. Coincidence? I think not. Also, not recommended for Jehovah's Witnesses, lesbians, people with low vulgarity tolerance, and sufferers of diabetes. 

2) It's a known fact that children love cake. However, no child on the face of the earth should ever be subjected to a penis cake. Keep out of reach of children.

3) Practice safe baking. Wear an oven mit. Check for holes first. 

4) Your husband will not want to eat this cake. Do not be offended. 

5) When your coworkers ask you what you did over the weekend, you may want to use discretion before answering truthfully by saying "I made a penis cake!"

Happy Baking!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cold, Wet Adventure

Two weekends ago, a crazy little thing called snow happened to the Pacific Northwest. Saturday night, after we tucked the kids into their warm beds, we peeked out the window to the majestic sight of white cloud-like specs falling softly to the earth. In rare fashion, instead of melting upon impact with the ground, they clung to it and began to stack like miniature white acrobatic men standing upon each other's shoulders.

I love the look of a snow-blanketed city, especially at night. The snow appears to glow under the crisp light of streetlights. And everywhere the white particles are reflecting light softly into the air. I'm pretty sure there is nothing more peaceful (that is, until morning comes and cars are honking and clunking into each other while loud snow plows beep their way down the main roads).

Jacob was so happy to wake up to crisp, untouched snow and excitedly plodded his way through the yard, marveling at the fresh new tracks behind him. Ryan was not so thrilled. But I managed to get a few smiles out of him.

Snowball! (Ryan is content with his soccer ball, thank you very much)

We tried to make snow angels. But it looked much more fun that it actually was. Brrrr.

"I'll just stand here and watch and wait patiently for someone to take me back inside."

This ended up being our Valentine's Day card.

In a moment of ambition, I agreed to take both kids for a walk down the street to go sledding. Even though we hadn't used Jacob's penguin slide last year, he reminded me multiple times that it existed somewhere int he dark recesses of our creepy basement. That kid has the craziest memory. The other day, he called my cell phone from his grandma's house- he had my phone number memorized even though I have no memory of every telling him what it is!

Ryan, who had already expressed great displeasure in the snow, was really confused about what was going on and just wanted his mom to lift him as far away from the cold, wet intruder.

"Down (aka: "up") mommy!"

Jacob got a few good sledding runs in before he decided it was too cold. Here in the Seattle area we are so unprepared for snow. The only gloves Jacob has are souvenir knitted mittens from Canada. They were wet within minutes. And forget snow pants. Unless, we are talking literally, then yes, Jacob's jeans were so covered in melted snow that they very well could have been called snow pants.

When you're sledding you simply don't have any time to practice proper social etiquette, such as making sure your butt crack is fully covered.

Obligatory snow photo. "See, we have fun sometimes... or we're just really good at faking it for fractions of a second at a time."

"Can I just go home already?"

We made a very hearty effort at snow play. But after about 15 minutes, we were back in side sipping our hot coa-coa and warming our butt cracks on the heater vents. Probably the best part about sledding is coming inside to get warm.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Story

Hmmm. Where to begin.

So, it's no secret that I've been wanting another baby. As Ryan outgrew his babyhood, I went through pangs and fits of desperate longing for another baby. Ryan was an easy baby. He was a dream. Everything was wonderful and dreamlike. More likely, things were not so wonderful BUT I had wanted him for so long that I was definitely viewing his babyhood through happy-tinted lenses.

My husband was not quite on board. In fact, he made it pretty clear that he was not ready for a third baby. And the likelihood of one in the future was uncertain. It was hard to accept "maybe." I wanted to know. Am I putting my longings on hold temporarily? Or indefinitely? I needed to know for peace of mind. Assurances never came.

I decided not to press the issue for a while. Timing wasn't that great anyway. I'm only a temporary employee. I could lose my job any day. Ryan is still in diapers, and likely will be for another year. I'm still paying off Ryan's labor and delivery bills ($3,800 left!). Our house is spaciously challenged. In my ideal world, I would somehow find a way to get pregnant in about 12 months.

These feelings were solidified four weeks ago, when out of the blue, Ryan decided to stop sleeping well. He refused to take naps (still does). SOMETIMES I can get him to nap but only if I lay next to him. He refused to go to bed without a fit (still does). He started waking up in the middle of the night begging to sleep in bed with us. In bed, he kicks and claws us all night in his sleep. I realized that I do not handle his sleep troubles well. Interrupted sleep makes me angry and grumpy and NOT a nice person. I decided I was not yet ready to share my nighttimes with another human.

So, of course, as soon as I decided to wait to raise the baby issue, I found myself pregnant. By my calculations, I'm only 4 weeks along. I have absolutely no symptoms. What compelled me to randomly take a pregnancy test yesterday is still a little bit of a mystery. I just felt...weird. Something did not feel normal and I can't explain it any more than that. Also, the end of last week, I started to look "poofy." When I glanced in the mirror, I felt 3-4 months pregnant. I have no idea if this "poof" is pregnancy-related or not- it's way too early to show. But I became suddenly paranoid that maybe I was one of those stories of women who do not find out they are pregnant until they popped out a baby. Although I knew it wasn't physically possible, I had convinced myself maybe I WAS 3 months pregnant and didn't know it! A woman's brain is a crazy place to be sometimes.

On a whim, I grabbed a pregnancy test while I was grocery shopping. I gave myself a pep talk as I wandered towards the grocery store bathroom (who has patience to wait until they get home?!). I repeated to myself, "It will be negative. When it is, don't be sad." And I believed it too.

I took a test and slowly, so-so-slowly, the positive line appeared as faint as could be. Was I imaging this?! I did not believe it. Literally. I marched right back into the store and bought another test. I made sure it was a different brand. A two-pack this time. (When it comes to pregnancy tests, I'm a little OCD). In the very same bathroom stall, I got TWO MORE faint positive test results. The only thing going through my brain as I walked to my car was "What the hell? What the hell? What the hell?"

And, despite the pep talk I had given myself earlier, I was sad. But I was sad because it was positive. There were just too many emotions to process. I was shocked. I didn't believe it. I felt unprepared. It had taken 13 months of actively trying to get pregnant with Ryan. I was convinced I was in store for a similar fate this next time around. What would my husband say? I was deathly afraid to tell him. There was a tiny hint of happiness lurking among those feelings as well. It was just overwhelmed by all the other things going through my brain.

Perplexed, I drove home and cried. I couldn't tell my husband that night. I was too afraid. We had been getting along so well lately. I didn't want to rock the boat. It took all of today for me to get the courage to finally tell him. And I did it in a very wimpy, pathetic kind of way. I couldn't find the right moment. And when I did find a good moment, I began to have an anxiety attack. My heart felt like it was pounding irregularly. Words would not come.

Finally, as he was wiping up the dining room table, where I was sitting, I leaned forward and whispered, "would you be mad......" I paused, our eyes caught. His big brown eyes had no idea what was coming. "If I said I was pregnant?" I couldn't even wait to see his reaction. I immediately set my head down (face first) on the table. Tears started to fill my eyes as my hair draped around my face, providing the perfect cover. All I heard was, "Are you joking? This is a joke? Are you serious?" His voice was not mean. It was gentle. But he was clearly surprised and not necessarily happy.

"No," I assured him. "I'm not joking."

He looked at me and sighed a heavy sigh. As he exhaled, I heard so many things. They were things I had been hearing in my own head for the past 24 hours. His sigh was saying "Are you sure?" "Is this real? "How is this possible?" "Where are we going to put a third baby?" "How will we afford this?" "What is our life going to look like?" "Are we ready?" "Can we handle this?" "Did you trick me somehow?!"

But all his voice said was, "We'll see." And then he walked away to the bathroom.

Having finally put it into words and having taken two more pregnancy tests, it is starting to slowly become reality. Excitement is starting to outweigh the other feelings.

Romance. And Too Much Romance.

My husband and I were spoiled by, not one, but TWO date nights this weekend. It's a rare occasion that we get a night to ourselves. So to have two nights without children back to back felt amazingly splurgy. Two consecutive nights of not being woken up in the middle of the night. Two consecutive nights of staying up late watching TV and not having to try to sleep with a 26 lb flopping fish in our bed.

We kept throwing out date ideas for Friday night (Valentines Day). The original plan was dinner at a fancy place nearby and a movie at the theater. But, I kind of hate the hassle of trying to get reservations on Valentines Day. We are both pretty low-key, low-maintenance, and low-expectations. I know, I know. So romantic! In the end, we changed out of our work clothes and stopped by Red Robin to use up some gift cards from Christmas.I'm such a cheap date!

After I politely declined my husband's offer that we go see Robocop (no thanks!), we just headed back home and watched three episodes of House of Cards Season 2 from the comfort of our own couch where I just may have worn some stretchy pants. In my book, this was a perfect date night.

Saturday we attended an event put on by my husband's work. He works for a large, well-known nonprofit organization. Last year, a couple of his coworkers formed a volunteer band and performed at an event for their work. Since then, they have had several requests to perform at other events. They practice once a week (at most) and perform at least one event a month. They are quite the motley group of band members but they are very talented.

Last night they performed at a "prom" for senior citizens. My husband invited me to come and be his groupie. It was the first time I had seen them perform and I was very impressed! And not just because I'm married to the bass player. The crowd was overwhelmingly 60+. But there were couples on that dance floor that out-danced me in every way! They could twist lower, go longer, and dance harder. When I had to take a rest because my knees started to hurt, I felt like the old one!

I'm slowly figuring out how to curl hair. It's only taken 29 years. That 's what happens when you grow up a tomboy. Cleavage brought to you by Special Bra! Toilet stall background brought to you by Fancy Bathroom!

Towards the end of the "prom" they had a contest to see which couple had been married/together the longest. The title went to an old Filipino couple who had been married over 50 years. They were crowned Prom King and Prom Queen and the crowd cleared the dance floor to let them have the next dance to themselves. Watching that sweet old couple slow dance around the room, white hair, stooped-backs, happy smiles, I shed a few tears. What a gift- to spend your life with the person you love. To share all the happy moments and the sad moments. To experience it all together and face life's unknowns side by side. To survive in a harsh environment, to embrace in the small pockets of warmth scattered throughout. Having the ability to believe that no matter what happens next in the mystery of time, you won't be alone.

That sweet old couple looked bent and withered and small. But I'm sure, to them, it felt like just years ago that they were young and immortal like us. How quickly time can turn the tables. In a blink of an eye, my husband and I will be in their shoes, wondering where our years have gone. It's hard to savor every moment, even when you are fully aware of how fleeting your time on earth truly is.

I kept gazing across the room at the man near the stage with a bass strapped across his chest. He is my partner. My best friend. Someone who I learn more about each day. Someone who is reliable but also capable of surprising. Our love started as infatuation. Materialism. But over the years, it has become so much more complex. Our commitments bind us together- kids, vows, mortgage, routine, convenience. But it's the intangible things (respect, understanding, patience, kindness, friendship) that make me look forward to spending every day of my remaining life with my husband.

Even though he had to play in the band, I figure out a way to sneak one slow-dance in with my guy. As 9pm rolled around, I was officially out of dancing commission but the seniors citizens were still going strong. Luckily the band stopped playing shortly thereafter and I made it safely home before turning into a pumpkin.

Still in a love-hangover, my husband and I picked up our kids this morning and spent the entire day making up for our two nights of freedom. We went to the gym as a family where I worked out (3.5 miles on the treadmill and a weights class) while the boys played in the pool. We ran errands and did chores the rest of the day while the kids played/fought with each other. Ryan is on a nap strike so that makes our afternoons/, interesting.

Oh. And I just might be am possibly pregnant.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Bedtime Monster Is Not Under The Bed

My children have always been pretty good sleepers. As a baby, Jacob wasn't the best napper but he grew into an easy and low-maintenance bedtime sleeper. Ryan was easy from the start. For the past year, our bedtime ritual has been: brush teeth, get into bed, goodnight kisses, sleep. There was rarely any fuss. The entire bedtime process took all of five minutes. After I left their room, the kids would lay quietly in their bunk beds until sleep crept over them. Nap time was pretty much the same.

But now, suddenly and for no apparent reason, Ryan has decided to change the game. For the past three weeks, he will not lay down in his bed alone and insists that I stay by his side until he drifts off to sleep. The same for nap times. He has also been waking up at midnight and, upon discovering that his mommy is not by his side, he climbs out of bed and starts to ask for me in a sad, pathetic voice. He doesn't cry or scream in pain or discomfort. He just wants me.

If I try to put Ryan back into his bed. He strongly protests unless I join him. When he falls asleep, I sneak away to my own bed only to be awoken hours later by Ryan asking for me once again. This continues all night long unless and until I let Ryan sleep on the floor next to my side of the bed. This has been going on the same every night for the past three weeks. At first I thought maybe he was teething or sick. But this is clearly not the case. And I am getting very frustrated.

Monday night, I was exhausted and sick and fed up with Ryan's sleeping games. I was worried that I was enabling a bad sleeping habit. I tucked him into bed and did not lay down next to him. Instead, I sang a couple songs and then left the room. Ryan started to cry. He climbed out of bed and rushed to his door sobbing for me. I decided to stay strong. Every time Ryan snuck out of bed, I calmly waltzed back into his room and tucked him back in. For the first 30 minutes, I was sure he would get tired and stop protesting. I was gentle and sweet and kissed him on the cheek each time I left his room.

After 45 minutes, however, I was not so sweet and gentle. I was discouraged and angry and tired. I continued to put him back into bed, but less gently. Ryan was catching on to this game and each time I walked back into his room, he started to run, kick in protest, and scream at his inevitable fate. In the heat of the moment, I smacked him in the butt. Twice.

In that moment of action, I thought to myself, "I don't care if he is upset. I don't care how he feels." I need to do this. I'm going to do this. My anger has no where else to go. He needs to realize how angry I am. Nothing else is working. I need control.

Then I plopped him into his bed and stormed out of the room kicking the door as I went. Back in the dining room, I sat at the table, my body still pumping with anger. When Ryan climbed back out of bed, he was crying. I heard his wails travel towards his bedroom door where they stopped and became louder. Suddenly the wails were muffled and I knew he had buried his face into his blanket. Then, just like that, the crying stopped. He had fallen asleep, desperate, longing, eyes filled with tears, and his little heart deprived of a loving send-off into dreamland. His only transgression- wanting to be near his mama.

I sat at the table. My body heavy from exhaustion. But my heart felt even heavier. I snapped out of my state of rage feeling cold and broken. I had failed. I relived that moment over and over where I had picked Ryan up, hefted him over one arm, and smacked him right on the diaper with my other. Then I relived the moment when I not so-gently plopped him into his bed and kicked his door on my way out. Who WAS that person?

I was upset at what I had done. But I was devastated at how easily I slipped into that horrible place. A little exhaustion and anger had tipped me over the edge, peeled back my skin to reveal a truly horrible monster. Is that person always with me? Am I really always just a tick away from erupting into uncontrollable terror? Am I walking around life with an angry troll hiding just beneath the surface of my skin? Is that really part of me as a person or just an unfortunate mixture of bad-timed feelings?

How could I treat my own child like that? A child who, just an hour earlier, was the object of my deepest admiration. I felt small. Defeated. A failure. I sat at the table and cried before finally mustering the strength to face the aftermath of my wrath. I cracked the boys' bedroom door open and found that it was stuck against something. It was Ryan's body. In an effort to be as close to me as possible, despite my horribleness, he had fallen asleep right up against the door. I edged my way in slowly. As I picked him up, he wheezed, a result of crying too hard. His face was still wet from tears. Half asleep, he wrapped his arms subconsciously around me and I carried him off to bed. I tucked him in and laid down next to him. His eyes popped open and he looked relieved to see my by his side. That look killed me. I was rescuing him. But only after being the source of his harm.

I stewed all night on guilt and disappointment. It was hard to forgive myself. But I eventually did. When Ryan woke up at midnight, I brought him into bed without complaining. His trusting little heart was so happy to be snuggled up between his mama and daddy.

Last night, I dreaded bedtime. I toyed with the idea of continuing the effort to re-train Ryan back to sleeping on his own. But the thought of having to spend an hour carrying him back to his bed, through tears and cries, broke me down. I knew I just didn't have it in me. And I feared that I would lose control once again. I tucked the boys in and, testing the waters, took a step back. Ryan looked at me, lifted one hand up, and patted the pillow next to him. "Mama. Pillow." he said softly. He was asking me to stay. I crawled into the bottom bunk and fell onto the pillow. Ryan rustled contently into his blankets. Every minute or two, he would suddenly pop his head up and look in my direction, to make sure I was right there. Then, not satisfied with periodic sight-checks, he reached his hand over and grasped mine. He clutched my hand securely as he slowly drifted off to sleep.

I was still frustrated at this sudden change in routine. But I tried to keep some perspective. I glanced down at my hand, intertwined with Ryan's, and thought about the entire span of my life. Out of the infinite amount of time, if lucky, I might live for 90 of them (like both of my great-grandparents). Of those 90 precious years, Ryan will only be my clingy shadow for a small percentage of them. After that, he won't want to be by my side. He won't want to hold my hand until he falls asleep. His hand will outgrow my own. He won't smile broadly when he sees me every morning. There will be a time in the not-so-distance future when I won't see him for days, maybe weeks, maybe months at a time.

This proximity that we share now is precious and tragically short. His dependence on me will be short-lived. One day, I will have to say goodbye and let him out into the world a free, unexperienced, young man. Kisses and hugs will not always be unlimited. They will not always be readily given. But how can you savor these moments when you are exhausted in every possible way? This is the ever-present challenge of a parent of a young child.

I kissed Ryan's warm little hand and only reluctantly parted from it as I snuck out of his room. I have no idea what is going on. I have no idea how long this "phase" is going to last. I'm simply going to ride the course.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Sweetness Of Ry-Guy

I got to spend all day with Ryan. It' pretty rare that I get to spend large chunks of time with just my littlest, without being in a hurry or having to tackle a lengthy to-do list.

When the four of us are home in the evenings, Ryan is typically out-shined by his older, louder, bossier brother. Don't get the wrong idea. Ryan LOVES being second fiddle to Jacob. He copies everything Jacob does and beams from ear to ear merely as a result of being included or acknowledged. Ryan is happy to occupy the same universe as his older brother. This is just part of the sweetness of Ryan. 

Ryan with his prized Elmo backpack clutching "Special Puppy" which had just been abducted from Jacob.

Ryan wants to love everyone. But he's hesitant at first. Shy. He thinks every new person we meet has the intention of snatching him away from his mama. It makes me feel a little bit sad that when we go somewhere, he automatically assumes that I am going to leave him and take off. I guess this is just a product of being a working mom and doing "daycare" drop off five days out of seven. But I also get a perverse joy from it. See, Ryan is a mama's boy. He is my shadow. When we are home, he literally follows me from room to room. He wants to be as close to me as possible at all times. 

When he wants to be held, Ryan expresses this request by demanding, "down!" The most frequently uttered phrase in our house is "mama, down!" I've gotten so used to hearing Ryan using the word "down" for "up" that I've subconsciously started to do the same. In the middle of the grocery store, Ryan tripped and started crying. I asked him, "do you want down?" as I leaned over to pick him up. I'm sure people think I'm a confused, sleep-deprived soul. I simply don't even think twice about it anymore. 

This morning, I took Ryan with me to a dress shop where I had a fitting appointment for the bridesmaids dress I am going to wear to my sister's wedding. Ryan stood at my heels the entire time and as slowly as a cube of ice melts, he started to warm up the seamstress. At the end of our visit, he was telling her about his Elmo blanket and his "two blanket." He told her that his favorite color was green (which was news to me) and offered to share his fruit snacks, (this offer was so very graciously declined). The appointment lasted an hour and Ryan spent the entire time, literally sitting at my feet and waiting patiently. I would look down at him and his quiet blue eyes would look warmly back at me as if to say, "you're mine." Then we both shared a knowing smile. Ryan and I have an unspoken bond. We can say everything to each other without saying anything at all. 

As we left the store, I strapped his backpack to his back, held his warm, chubby hand and we walked out the door. As we exited, a symphony of "awwws" and "he's too precious" and "isn't that so adorable" bid us farewell. Right there, holding his hand, I felt like a princess. What did I do to deserve the company of this precious little prince?

Before heading home we stopped at my sister's house. During our ride we listened to music and as each song ended, Ryan demanded, "more please!" As the next song played, Ryan cheered happily as if I was the generous keeper of the music and it was my very will that allowed the notes of each new song to sprinkle through the air. I started to bob my head back and forth with a song. Ryan laughed and started to do the same. The second I stopped, Ryan yelled from the back, "dance mommy!" I thought the end of the song would bring me solace, but no such luck. "More song pees!" Ryan demanded. The next song started and Ryan commanded "dance!" In the middle of Interstate-5, my sweet little man and I bobbed our heads to a Zac Brown Band tune and shared a laugh. 

Ryan is currently in the stage of toddler hood where he repeats everything. When I tell him something, he repeats the exact same words right back to me as if to affirm what I am telling him. Hearing his mouth play with new words, I am reminded just how much of this world is a constant  learning experience for him. It must be so wonderful to be a child and to encounter something new with every step.

"Mommy, where are we going?"
"We're going to the store."
"Going. To. The. Store?"
"Yes. I need to buy some milk."
"Buy some milk."
"You need milk for your bottle."
"Milk for bottle."
"Mommy, where are we going?"
"I just told you. We're going to the store to buy milk. Maybe bread too."
"Store buy milk. Bread too."
"Yes, Ryan."
"Mommy, where are we going?"
"Ryan, where are we going?"
"To see grandma."
"No, we will see grandma Monday."
"See grandma Monday."
"Mommy, where are we going?"

Without Jacob, I get to know a little bit more about Ryan. He is so much quieter than his older brother and much more low key. When Jacob is here, Ryan is always on his toes. But without Jacob, he is much more relaxed and content to peruse all of the toys slowly, on his own time. He strongly prefers sports to all things. Jacob would sit and do a puzzle and enjoyed anything slightly mechanical. Ryan just wants to kick, throw, and hammer. Occasionally he will turn the pages of a book. 

At home or out on an adventure, Ryan never strays far. He never goes to a room in the house where there is not already a person. He is connected to my hip and will throw a fit if, heaven forbid, I try to shut the bathroom door before he has joined me. He loves being with his daddy just as much as he loves being with me. Although I am usually his default, he is willing to take Daddy as a substitute anytime. 

Lately, Ryan will do something he is proud of (build a tower, etc.) and tell us to "look." In the car today, he had a baby wipe in his hand and meant to toss it up to me. When the baby wipe didn't quite make its target and instead landed on the headrest of the front passenger seat, Ryan howled hysterically and shouted, "mama, LOOK!" He was insanely proud of his accidental joke. He then repeated his demands, waiting until I would comply each time, for the next ten minutes. 

Ryan also likes to "hide" somewhere and yell out, "see me!" This game usually begins at the most inconvenient time. For example, during dinner. Last night, while we were trying to enjoy taco night, Ryan slipped from his chair, ducked under the table and yelled, "see me!" 

Today, Ryan and I ended our afternoon by grocery shopping. Then he played quietly by my feet as I prepared dinner. After dinner, we sat in the living room together watching Elmo and playing with balloons. During bedtime, I snuggled next to him in his bed and sang him songs while holding his sweet little hand up to my cheek. I studied his profile, back lit by the soft glow of a lamp on the dresser at the far end of the room. The gentle curve of his nose was something that I knew well. It was the first distinct feature that I had recognized from his baby ultrasounds. It was the very first thing that was uniquely Ryan. I waited as his breath evened out and sleep claimed him. In that simple moment, I felt like there was no one in the history of the world that had ever loved anyone as much as I loved the sweet little boy clutching my hand. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Brain-Melt, Interrupted

I have motions coming out of my eyeballs. Not literally. But it feels like it. I'm on page 42 of motion writing for this week. More reply briefs will be due next week. It's not just boiler plate stuff either. Most of my motion brief are for dispositive motions. I wouldn't be surprised if, after this weekend, my eyeballs will have lost the ability to focus on anything that is not back lit. "Oh, you say you are my son? Sorry, my eyeballs do not recognize you because you are not on a computer screen!"

Now that I work for the government, I have been looking into special tuition repayment programs. If I work for the government for ten years, the remainder of my student loan debt will be forgiven! This is pretty awesome considering that I will otherwise not be able to pay off my debt in less than 15-20 years. To qualify for the program, I have to be on a qualifying repayment program. One is based upon income. If I chose income-based repayment, this will reduce my monthly student loan payment by $700! This is incredible! And yes, I currently pay north of $700 per month now.

Although, I am nearly jumping for joy at the thought of having extra money (we currently pay about $700/month for childcare now as well so... it would be like having free childcare- amazing!), I am a little nervous. If I am not able to stay in a government/nonprofit job for 10 years, I will have so much principle left to pay off. Under the income based plan, I would pretty much just be paying a portion of my interest only. Do I roll the dice and take this chance? I hate rolling dice.

My boss has told me repeatedly that they are trying to keep me in a long term position. This gives me hope. But just recently another attorney asked if he could reassign one of clients (a government agency) to me because he was overwhelmed with work. My boss basically told him she couldn't do that because I could be gone tomorrow. This takes away my hope. I hate uncertainty almost as much as I hate rolling the dice.

In other news, today was the Seattle Superbowl Parade. My husband took Jacob while I, unfortunately, had to work. It was pure madness as nearly one million people filled the streets to watch the Seahawks parade by with the Lombardi trophy. Ferries were backed up for hours and my husband had to park over a mile away just to walk to the ferry. Despite this, I was so sad I could not be there. (Apparently Lynch was throwing Skittles! And my husband got pretty close to Russell Wilson.) At least Jacob will have those memories.....

I was really nervous that Jacob would get lost so I wrote my husband's cell phone number on his arm just in case they got separated. In light of the fact that the temps were supposed to hover int he mid-twenties and they would be outside for hours, I also packed a fleece blanket in Jacob's backpack. I don't like how paranoid parenthood has made me.

Monday, February 3, 2014

How It Feels

Armed with our Seahawks gear and a mountain of snacks and goodies, we bunkered down with friends tonight to watch the Super Bowl, in an incredibly loud living room somewhere along Washington's Olympic Peninsula. We celebrated what turned out to be an incredible night for Seattle sports fans. In fact, I think it is safe to say that today was the best day in Seattle sports history.

Ready to watch!

As the pregame fanfare blasted (I literally mean blasted) out of the TV, we were so nervous. So anxious. So ready to see what our team could do. We were not disappointed. We were all buzzing with energy the first quarter of the game as the Seahawks started strong and started out on top. We held our breath, afraid to hope that this was a signal about how the rest of the game would go. Everyone literally was bouncing up and down consumed by a mixture of anticipation and nerves. If bottled, this energy could put an energy drink to shame. But it was all natural. Pure adrenaline and excitement. 

For the record, these homemade pretzels were amazing. All 42 of them.
Recipe here.

There are no word to describe the chaos that ensued in that household over the next couple hours. As the Seahawks racked up the scoreboard with incredible play after incredible play, our minds were blown. It was as if the entire season's top highlights were being played out on the field in this one single game. There was little down time between the exciting plays and it was incredibly hard to remain seated (even with a 25 pound toddler in one's lap).

Each time the Broncos lined up to scrimmage, the house erupted into a unison of monosyllabic noise, as if the power of the 12th man could distract the great Peyton Manning from 3,000 miles away. With each touchdown, we rallied around a kitchen island and carried out well-rehearsed, soundbarrier shattering chant followed by a tip of a shot glass filled with Fireball. Randomly throughout the game someone would yell, "SEA!" and the rest of us would rally back, "HAWKS!" in perfect unison. Whenever our defense turned the ball over or the offense got a first down, an orchestra of noise--beautiful, chaotic, and random sounds, reflecting the raw and otherwise indescribable emotions pulsing through our bodies--lifted to the ceiling. 

Imagine how you would feel if it suddenly rained money in your living room. Well, it rained money in our living room for four straight hours. And the cheering was ceaseless. 

In the euphoria of a Seahawks win, my husband didn't even mind that I pretended to be Mrs. Russell Wilson.

We're happy that Seattle is finally on the sports map. And hopefully tonight will stifle all those jokes in the sports industry about Seattle being Southern Alaska. I'll spare everyone an even longer rant about how much I love this team and how well we played. How about some amazing facts about Seattle's domination over the top-rated offense in the NFL:

  • Seattle's 2-point safety was the quickest score in super bowl history.
  • In addition to the safety, our defense also scored a kick-off return touchdown (at least a 70 yard rush) and an interception touchdown.
  • We turned the ball over at least 4 times.
  • Russell Wilson, QB and my personal favorite player, had a strong second half and threw two decent touchdown passes.
  • We are one of, if not the, youngest team to ever win a Super Bowl.
  • Russell Wilson is third youngest QB's to win a Super Bowl.
  • We won crushed it 43-8.
  • When we played the Broncos in the pre-season, we won 40-10....I love how prophetic that is!