Saturday, February 28, 2015

Life Is Good: Writing Motions & Sniffing Babies

I published a mean-spirited post this morning about the great vaccination debate (which I can't believe is even a debate). But my 10:30 am self was much nicer and more tolerant than my 7:30 am self and I decided to take it down. Now I can clean my hands and my mind and move on to happier things, like Jimmy Kimmel.

If you haven't seen the Jimmy Kimmel clip on this must see it RIGHT NOW. Not just because he is my secret celebrity crush. But because he is actually freaking hilarious. Is there anyone out there who can watch an entire episode of his show and not think to herself 100 times, "I want to have all this man's babies!" ? Fair question.

Work this week was exciting and busy as usual (LOVE my job- I think I've said that before). How amazing is it that we get to be heard and solve our disputes before a (hopefully) unbiased court? It makes me wonder if there can be an equally awesome way to settle sibling disputes. Because most of the time I give up trying to figure out who is the wrongdoer and send them both to their rooms so I can enjoy my tea in silence over the loud roar of two children screaming from timeout.

Pro-se plaintiffs are seriously the best. THE BEST. Reading their briefs is probably the highlight of my day. I just read a petition for review to the Supreme Court in which a pro-se plaintiff attached the entire Declaration of Independence. I mean, this man gets 100 points for creativity. Also, he gets 100 points for knowing what the entire Declaration of Independence actually says....because I probably know nothing beyond that first paragraph. I remember being in middle school and thinking, "I'll never need to know this history crap. But I'll probably need to divide fractions like all the time." yeah... the only time I've ever used fractions since then was when I've split a candy bar three ways (breakfast, lunch, dinner).

On Friday, I had to work on an unexpected motion and hadn't planned childcare in advance (was going to be my day off). So Ryan and Jon were my little assistants and came to the office with me. I held Jon and Ryan was my little shadow as I walked all over the office carrying on work as usual- conferences with coworkers, trips to the printer, trips to the bathroom. Jon was a great help with motion writing. But Ryan just wanted to keep hitting all the buttons on my computer. He's NOT hired.

The best way to write a motion- with a baby snuggled in your arm!

Office selfie with my new assistant

I've also said this many time before but it's just so true right now. I feel like such a better mom when I'm working. The time I have with the kids is so much more cherished and special. I actually have time to miss them which makes me want to soak them up when I get the chance. We're back to our regular routine of being busy all week and doing special fun things on the weekends. And it's the best.

Wednesday, Jacob's school had a science fair. He goes to a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) school so I should have expected the science fair to be awesome. But it really blew my mind. Not only did the students have all their science projects on display (they start participating in third grade), but the gym was full of hands-on projects for the kids to do. Some of the projects we did included: making our own parachutes, building a ping-pong ball launcher, constructing a bridge, building a rocket and launching the rocket with an air compressor. Even Ryan was able to participate in all the activities and we ALL had a great time.

Building toothpick towers- an idea we stole from the science fair

The science fair came at the perfect time. I was just starting to lose faith in the school based upon observations and things I've heard from other people. Also, it didn't help that Jacob told me one of his classmates confessed that her mom stole things from people's pockets and that whenever a police car drives by she is afraid it is going to take her mom away. OMG. Can you imagine having this fear in KINDERGARTEN?! OMG. But you know, let my kids blow stuff up with vinegar and baking soda and you have a fan for life. Science Fair FTW.

Today (Saturday), I took the kids to the gym, we ran errands, then we played at the park. After that, we came home and did chores and I cooked dinner while Jonathan napped and the kids played hide and seek. After a family dinner (our first for the week because my husband had to work late almost every day), I sat down with the boys and we all watched Big Hero Six (highly recommend!). I rocked all my babies and tucked them into bed.

Jon had a fluffy audience during his tummy time (thank you big brothers)

Jon also had his first table experience. Bumbos are the best! 

It was a day full of typical chores and scolding and sibling fights. But it was so perfect. I got so many baby kisses and snuggles. It's amazing how therapeutic and wonderful having a little baby in the house can be (well, now that he's not a total jerk anymore). Jon is seriously our pet. Jacob and Ryan love him so much and show him so many gestures of kindness and inclusion throughout the day. Ryan always asks if he can "look at" the baby. And by "look at" he means shoving his nose two millimeters from Jon's face. Jacob loves to pick him up and hold him standing up. I love listening to them talk to him in high-pitched baby voices. Jon is definitely the center of the family around here. And he loves every minute!

I LOVE his little round head! 
I also love his eyes. They are brown in the inside and dark blue on the outside. FINALLY I have my brown eyed baby!

SO big. 4 months old!

These guys. I love 'em.

Life is so good

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rough Day. New Blazer.

I have a trial next week. My life is a little insane right now.

I had an 11:00 am meeting with a witness that I will be examining at trial. That meeting lasted two hours and included a lengthy and non-relevant history lesson on the Battle of Normandy.

Then I scarfed down a can of soup while I got ready for my 1:30 meeting. This meeting was shorter but still made my brain hurt. But legal brain hurt feels masochistically good. So I didn't mind too much.

Then I had a nearly two hour meeting at 3:00 pm to discuss trial strategy. I have never discussed and re-discussed and triple discussed trial strategy this many times before. Brain hurt level = explosion.

I rushed out the door at 4:30pm to pick up the little kids (husband working late).  Then, with little kids in tow, I rushed out the door to pick up my big kid. Then for some crazy reason (i.e.: I am totally freaking insane), I dragged all three kids to the open house for our parish's school.

Coincidentally last week, the day that my son informed me that a kid in his class told him that her mother steals things from people's pockets and that every time she sees a police car she is afraid it will take her mom away, that just happened to be the SAME day that our church school sent out an email invitation to their open house. And some people don't believe in signs! I'm seriously considering private Catholic school after a number of incidents made me feel a little uncomfortable with the local district. And I'm not talking about the dude who dropped his kid off on the first day of school wearing a shirt that said, "I have morning wood."

Jacob's teacher is AWESOME and he is thriving (now). But man, sometimes I get the creeps. It's totally unquantifiable. I just can't shake it off. Oh yeah, there WAS that incident of a sexual predator.... And the classmate who colored on the wall with her own poop and stuck crayons up her nose. I know weird and icky stuff can happen anywhere. I would just prefer that it happen surrounded by a hundred Jesus and Mary statues. Also our church school rocks. But.....costs. I will likely have to choose between private school education or a house that does not resemble a sardine can. Dear Lord. Don't make me choose! We are about to set up our baby crib in the kitchen. I can't pee without sitting in someone else's pee (one bathroom, five people). And I have to dry my hair while sitting on the floor wedged between the Pak 'N Play and my dresser. Sh*t is getting desperate!

Long story short- I took the kids to the school open house. And I'm in love with the school. And my kids knocked over a "crown of thorns" display made by the first grade class. And we all shook the priest's hand except for Ryan who had his finger wedged deep into his nostril and apparently even priests have their limits. And I tried to have a serious discussion with Jacob about what school he would like to go to next year but he was pretty determined that the decision should be settled by "eeny meeny miney mo."

As we pulled away from the open house, I decided to take Ryan to Urgent Care because he had weird bumps on his face and he had a crazy rash on his tongue. You know, it really could have been the measles. You can never be too careful. Another long story short, Ryan does NOT have the measles but a bacterial infection and lingering respiratory infection. And sitting with three children in a waiting room and then exam room for two hours will likely involve several unpleasant things including: (1) constantly telling your two year old to stop licking the wall - hmmm, might explain that tongue rash, (2) your six year old repeatedly spinning on the rotating doctor stool and crashing into everything within a ten foot radius, (3) baby spit up on your work clothes, (4) walking laps around the doctor's office to distract certain children from smacking each other, and (5) lots and lots of selfies.

Ryan hasn't quite mastered the art of the selfie.

But Jacob has.

By 8:30, we were finally exiting Urgent Care and I gave in and made a final stop at McDonald's Drive-Thru where in my exhaustion and distraction from a screaming four month old, I totally hit a curb. I'm hoping I can blame any resulting vehicle damage on the elderly neighbor who parks next to us on the street. (Yes, I've accepted the fact that it will take the sayings of many MANY rosaries to get my wicked soul into heaven.)

Forty minutes of baby screaming and cheeseburger throwing later we are FINALLY home. It's not until I pull up to the house that I realize I never picked up Ryan's antibiotics. Ooops. It will wait for tomorrow because: the siren call of the yoga pants > concern for son's well being. It's just a tongue rash people. It's NOT the measles.

The kids ended up going to bed super late and I finally choked down dinner at 9:30. It was such a freaking crazy day. But you know what, it's totally ok. Because today I was wearing a brand new cropped blazer with my favorite boots and slightly new prescription shades and I felt like a million dollars all day long (even when I pulled out my wallet at the doctor's office and a used pair of little boys' Toy Story underwear fell out of my purse).

This is now one of my favorite outfits. I was totally unsure about the layering. The waistlines and hem lines didn't seem quite right with the shirt underneath. But it looked funny to tuck the shirt in and I ran out of time to adjust my outfit so I just went with it.

Any outfit looks better when poised next to a suspended, stuffed pterodactyl. 

I felt like I was channeling my inner Alicia Florrick (my fictional lawyer hero and role model) all day. It's amazing how one single outfit can make you feel powerful and in-charge. And I desperately needed to feel these things during meetings in which I have to tell men nearly thirty years my senior what to do.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Regrets, Gambles, And Payoffs

Everyday that I pick up the two youngest from their babysitter's house, the babysitter tells me how amazing my two year old is. He wears big boy underwear for her all day without any accidents. He doesn't fight. He doesn't throw any tantrums. She swears he is the most angelic child she has ever watched. Every time she tells me this I feel like she must be watching someone else's kid.

I bring Ryan home and within ten minutes of walking through the door, he poops in his underwear (this has happened the only two times I have let him wear big boy underwear home from her house). And I can't help but have scarring flashbacks to the long days of my maternity leave that were filled with tantrum and timeouts and fights and squabbles and defiance. I wonder if there is a law of child behavior that covers this strange phenomenon. Or maybe it's just called being two years old.

Anyway, we've all made the transition back to being a house of two working parents relatively smoothly. Even though I was eager to return to work I still worried that I would miss my kids, mourn the end of my maternity leave, and/or feel slight pangs of guilt about leaving my baby. I have to say that these worries have only surfaced for a combined total of 5 minutes.

I just love my job (so, so much). And I love coming home to a cuddly baby, a happy toddler, and a talkative six year old. I feel like there is a perfect balance right now. A balance that I have only been able to achieve since I took a job with my local government. I am so incredibly thankful.

The other day I had to forcibly remove myself from my desk to go home. I realized that, after 8 hours of work, I was still having fun. I love litigation. It's exciting and interesting and uses all my favorite intellectual parts of my brain. And as I walked to my car I just couldn't believe it. I mean, how many people get lucky enough to actually love their job as much as I love mine.

The crazy thing is that just two years ago (before I started my current job as just a temporary employee), I was so frustrated and full of regret over my law degree and my legal career. I was certain that I had made a horrible decision that was going to negatively impact the rest of my life. But I had no choice. I had to suck it up and stick it out. I shopped around with jobs (I had four jobs in four years). And after all the regret and many MANY nights spent wishing I could go back in time and shred all my lawschool applications, my pain has paid off somehow.

I liken my experience to wandering through a scary, precarious forest of uncertainty, doubt, and trial and error before arrive at a wonderful destination. I just hope that this is a little bit encouraging to anyone who is seriously regretting their decision to invest in law school. Don't write off your legal career just yet. There may just be a wonderful place out there where you fit and belong. You just need to find it first. Also, don't stay in an employment situation where you are not happy. Look for other jobs and take new job offers, even if they may be a gamble.

Since graduating from law school, I took a couple gambles (a position at a start-up firm, a position as a paralegal). Some of these gambles worked in the short term and some only helped me realize what I DIDN'T want to do. My last gamble was to leave a steady full time employment job with an insane commute for an unguaranteed six month temporary job. It was the best career decision I have ever made. It led me to my current job, the legal career of my pre-lawschool dreams. What I learned- if you aren't happy where you are, you have much less to lose in rolling the dice and making a bold employment change.

Be bold. Be adventurous. Go search for your happiness. Don't quit. Regrets are for suckers.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Heart Day Adventures In Kindergarten

Today I got to step back in time about 25 years and re-experience Valentine's Day as a Kindergartner. You know what? Unlike Christmas (which is even better as an adult) Valentine's Day is pretty much best when you are a kid. No expectations. No romance drama. No gift anxiety. No worries. Just pure, innocent fun, all wrapped up in doilies and heart stickers and wonderful, scratchy Kindergarten penmanship.

For Jacob's class party (his first V-day party ever!) I thought about doing a fancy Pinterest project. But then I remembered a very strong lesson from my own elementary days. In third grade we were learning about the Oregon trail and were assigned to go home and build covered wagons. My mom pointed me to the craft supplies and I went to work. I returned to school with a flimsy shoe box creation that looked like it very well may have died of the covered-wagon equivalent of dysentery. All the other kids came to school with perfectly crafted wood-built wagons with perfectly-sewn fabric covers. One kid even had a wooden sign on the back of her wagon that said, "Oregon or bust." I didn't know what it meant, but it looked fancy.

My mom picked me up from school that day and I remember crying to her about how I was so embarrassed at how ugly my covered wagon was next to all the other kid's wagons. She looked right at me and said, "It might not be perfect but you did it all by yourself! The other kids had their parents to their project for them." I thought back on all the other fancy wagons and it occurred to me that she was right. I was suddenly proud of my shitty old shoe box covered with foil. For some reason, that is one of the lessons from elementary school that stuck with me the most all these years. It's not about being perfect. It's about being genuine and honest and trying really hard. 

That's a long way of saying... I made Jacob make his own Valentine's Day cards. I was really tempted to make something Pinteresty for him (hey, crafts aren't just for kids!). But really, what's that going to do for him? So one day last week during the car ride home from school, Jacob and I chatted and came up with a design together: a card in the shape of an Xbox controller with heart buttons and the greeting "You Win!" I helped trace the controller shape onto pieces of paper and Jacob took it from there. The perfectionist in me really REALLY wanted to jump in and "fix" up or improve a couple things. It took all my will to restrain myself. And they turned out awesome! Jacob was so proud of himself. His own little covered wagon.

This afternoon, I left work early to attend Jacob's Valentine's Day party. It was just as awesome as I remember elementary school Valentine's Day parties to be: Valentine's for everyone, lots of treats (when I was a kid the Valentine's cards with lifesavers were the most coveted!), messages from friends, self-decorated Valentine mailbox/envelope, doilies and construction paper and hearts EVERYWHERE. 

I sat at Jacob's table and chatted with his tablemates (Kindergartners are SO STINKING CUTE). Everyone kept exclaiming that it was "THE BEST DAY EVER." Then Jacob and I dug into his Valentine envelope and perused all the cards and took a nice inventory of his treats (lots of lolipops!). Valentine's Day is the best. Seriously, why don't workplaces do this?

Before we left, Jacob's teacher and her husband (who comes in every Friday to do science projects with the kids), both pulled me aside separately and told me how awesome Jacob is and how much they love him. My mommy heart swelled with pride and I tried not to let it go to my head. But you know what? He IS pretty awesome. And I have no idea how he turned out this awesome. Because he is our first baby (trial model) and we are pretty much just winging everything as we go. 

Yesterday I took all the kids down to the park to enjoy the rare 60 degree January weather. The weather man said the weather we are having now is usually the HIGH for May. WTF? No snowmageddon here. Anyway, I told the kids that if they let me snap some fun Valentine's Day pictures that I would buy them ice cream (yes, ice cream in January, that is how warm it is!). 

And they were seriously perfect.


Well, mostly. 


Monday, February 9, 2015

You've Got To Be Suiting Me!

I have a federal trial in less than a month and I am very much in need of a new suit. In my short legal career, I've not had great experiences with suits. Any suit jacket that fits in the waist/bust is too small in the shoulders and too short in the arms. Also, I have never found a single pair of trousers that fits me. It's painful to admit this but.....apparently I suffer from chronic butt camel toe. So I'll just be sticking to skirt suits.

Basically, I have one suit that I like. It's from JCrew. And while wearing the same suit five days in a row might be forgivable when you are pregnantm that's not gonna cut it this time around. Yup, I'm officially suit hunting.

The internet is great for suit hunting. Just from looking at a photoshopped image of a stick-sized, gorgeous model, I can tell EXACTLY whether a suit will work for me or not. UGH, Right now I don't have many leads but I wanted to share some of the gems that I found on actual chain retail store websites.

Warning: the suits you are about to see are 100% real. Recommended for mature audiences only.

First up, look at this beauty. I mean what lawyer hasn't thought, "I really wish I could look like Tetris at my hearing today." It's great for distracting opposing counsel.

Then there is this...the "Embellished Shoulder Torn Blazer." Why would you tear your own shoulders when you can have it done by an underpaid seamstress in a third world country? I know what you're thinking, "This is so wonderful that I have absolutely nothing as equally wonderful to wear with it!" But never fear! You can buy the skirt in the picture and be stylin' from head to toe. Just don't be alarmed if birds start to fly for your crotch, mistaking the print for tree branches. 

If I could wear shorts this short in court, I would never have to brief another legal issue ever again. I'd win cases with my legs. And an occasional panty peek-a-boo during strategically timed instances of a dropped pen.  

Who wore it better? This model, or someone from the cast of Duck Dynasty? This is a great selection when your secretary accidentally books your court date back to back with your hunting trip. Set to the tune of about 5 grand...this suit better be lined with real deer fur.

Finally, this is the PERFECT suit to wear when:

(a) you need to distract the judge from your losing argument;
(b) you want to set a more relaxed, springy tone (i.e. death penalty cases);
(c) when you have to apologize to the court for a mistake you made and you want to inform the judge that to be human is to err by reminding him of poor life choices he may have made during a college spring break trip to Mexico; or
(d) you are the designer's mother.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Folks May Call Me Crazy

But that's probably because I am. Most Saturdays will find me chasing all three boys around town doing various weekend activities while my husband works on projects around the house. Why is that? Well, maybe because I absolutely HATE working on house projects (seriously, I would rather hang a picture crooked and complain about it for five years than get out the level and spend way too long making sure it is done correctly). Also, I have no clue what I'm doing when it comes to being handy in the yard or with a tool. If you don't want it done with a hot glue gun, don't ask me to do it.

Also, the kids need entertaining. I wish we lived in a great house with a great yard where the kids can spend hours entertaining themselves. But we don't. We live in urbania. My house is practically a children's kennel. They need to be walked. Vigorously. Oh and if I don't keep them busy with activities, they will eat each other. If you think I'm exaggerating, then you've never lived with three little boys.

Finally: my sanity. I can't stay in a 950 square foot space with three little boys all day. I go insane after just two hours, or when someone starts to paint the walls with yogurt, you know, whatever comes first.

So......I take the boys out into the great wide world. Just me and a Subaru Legacy packed to the gills with smelly, farting, burping, toy throwing, crumb making, screaming boys. Are you jealous yet?

Today, after running several errands (buckle all the children, unbuckle all the children, force all the children out of the car, coax the children into leaving their Hotwheel cars and Lego creations in the car, make sure all the children do not get hit by any vehicles, then repeat x3). and a ten minute trip to the park (cut short by voracious, sideways rain), we meandered our way to the bowling alley.

After I struggled to get all the kids out of the car for the fourth time, Ryan and Jacob spotted a dead, decapitated rat in the sidewalk and spent several minutes observing and exclaiming excitedly about the discovery. "Hey guys, should we go into the bowling alley- you know that really fun, indoor activity that we came here for.....or would you rather keep staring at this dead, headless rat all day? No Ryan, you can't pick it up! Stop. Back away from the dead animal! ROADKILL IS NOT A TOY!"

Of course we arrived right behind the world's largest birthday party. I kept looking for a celebrity. Because no one short of Beyonce can possibly have that many real life friends! I spent about ten minutes trying to hold my spot in line while trying to parent two mobile, hyperactive children. Suddenly, those stupid child leashes started to sound a little less stupid.

By some miracle we made it to our lane with three bowling balls, our bowling shoes, a diaper bag, and Jon's carseat.

We so fancy! Ryan did NOT like these shoes. Which is pretty evident by his lack of enthusiasm in our bowling shoe picture:

Jacob did a great job and had a lot of fun. Except when Ryan started to surpass him in points. Then he did everything in his power to sabotage Ryan, including setting up the bowling ramp crooked when no one was looking. 

And Jon fell asleep in his carrier halfway through and I kind of forgot about him. If you look closely you can see his carseat behind the table in the background (green arrow). Ooops. Third child problems. 

Ryan knocking down the last pin.

I know he had bumpers and used a ramp but Ryan proved once again that there is no sport that he cannot do well. He KILLED us. And he was barely even trying. I had a feeling about how the game would go after the first round. Jacob and Ryan both bowled a spare and I knocked down one measly pin. I'm blaming it on my back, which is pretty much broken from years of rocking babies to sleep (dear Cry-It-Out method: you can shove it).

Jacob, Ryan, and Mommy's score after the first round.

After bowling, we played at the arcade. Ryan naturally excelled at beer pong. I'm going to have to start checking on him in the middle of the night to make sure he isn't sneaking out to college parties. His amazing beer pong skills started to really concern me until I remembered that the person who gets the balls into the cups doesn't have to drink. So he'll basically be the most sober person at a beer pong party (let me have my delusions).

Ryan got 6/10. When I tried, I only got 2/10.

In the arcade, Ryan whacked Jacob really hard with his jacket (when you have boys, even clothing can be hazardous) and Jacob yelled The Word. You know, the "F" word. And I don't mean Fat. All color left my face and my feet froze to the grimey, wild-patterned carpet. Two other moms look on in horror at my kids, then back at me, waiting to see what would happen next. I wanted to hand them buckets of popcorn and ask them to silence their phones. INSTEAD, I pulled my kids aside made it very clear that if either of them uttered that word again, I would have a bar of Dial soap at the ready to scrub out their mouths. I don't know if I handled that the best way....but I have very clear memories of my mom using the same threat. She only had to scrub my mouth out once....and I never swore again (until 2006). Those memories haunt me to this day.

When we came home, Ryan and Jon played dinosaurs while Jacob had second dinner. This kid EATS ALL THE TIME. The staff at Jacob's afterschool program pulled me aside on Friday when I went to pick him up to ask me about his eating habits at home. Basically he eats so much there that they were concerned I was starving him, or just too poor to feed him? Nope. He just eats constantly!

Ryan brought Jon an array of dinosaurs.

"Wait, you're going to leave me along with these things?"

I meant to blog earlier in the week but I got a little busy. So I'll just let this post meander a bit....

Earlier this week I ordered an electric fondue pot. Because, duh, why not? And last night, the kids helped me practice making chocolate-covered strawberries. It was a HUGE hit.

Until the sugar high kicked in at 7:30pm.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hello, Desk

As mentioned previously, I had to return to work one month earlier than planned in order to keep my health benefits. Today was my first day back. I kept telling everyone, "I'm here so I don't get fined" referencing the now-famous utterance of Seahawk Marshawn Lynch on media day. Yeah, I thought I was clever.

I decided to ease myself back into this whole working thing and just showed up for a half day today. For some reason, my two youngest children decided that the two nights before mommy goes back to work would be a great time to start waking up every hour. Without exaggeration, I can confidently say that I have only slept in 30 minutes intervals the past two nights, and only for a grand total of three hours a night. So today was a little bit brutal.

I was going to bring Jon in and show him off (my boss keeps saying that I can bring him to work with me!), but he caught some terrible bug (Super Bowl hangover perhaps?). So at my mom's suggestion, I took Jake instead.

He had a great time drawing and playing Angry Birds and answering all the calls from opposing counsel:

One of my FB friends pointed out the baby wipes on my desk as a dead give-away that I am a mom. so true! I always keep baby wipes with me. They are amazing.

At one point I left Jacob in my office with instructions to stay there and play Legos while I sat down for a meeting with a Division Chief. Halfway through our meeting, he comes waltzing in with a handful of various snacks and goodies from my coworkers. "Mom, look at this can of ravioli that Mr. Matt gave me! He told me to call him the 'snack man.' And I found this piece of chocolate under a desk." I'm pretty sure he scrounged up all the free snacks in the entire office.

I'm being assigned a bunch of new cases regarding civil litigation defense and I am so so excited to get my hands on them. I LOVE analyzing case law, investigating the gambit of relevant facts, preparing liability assessments, strategizing plans for litigation, and drafting motions to carry out those plans. I feel like this is where I really shine. And it's my favorite thing in the world. Sometimes I feel so lucky that I have a job where I get paid to do stuff that I legitimately love. Not all tasks and projects are fun. But overall, I really love this little area of the law.

I only worked for half of a day but it was just the right amount for my first day back. I need to get used to sitting in front of a computer all day and focusing on just mental tasks. And dang, I'm really going to miss my indulgent daytime television (The Chew, The Talk, Let's Make A Deal, and the Ellen Show). But it's nice to join the land of the working. I get to sit down and actually enjoy a cup of tea. I get to eat lunch with BOTH hands. I get to have a conversion that is not broken off by a screaming baby. I don't have to share my snacks with little urchins. And I get to use my lawyer brain (you know, the one that cost me about half a mortgage).

Also, with my new permanent position, came this bright, shiny badge.

Seriously, this badge takes the cake! I didn't know lawyers got badges! If I had known this, I would have grumbled a lot less during law school (maybe?).

Returning home from work was amazing. I snuggled my poor, sick baby all evening and we somehow managed a 1.5 hour nap together without the big kids destroying too much of anything.

During my maternity leave, I couldn't wait to sneak out of the house. I was totally drained. So many diapers. So many tantrums. So many fussy, non-sleeping people. I was deep in the trenches and it felt like they would never end but just grow deeper and deeper. Being away for part of the day makes a huge difference. It really lets me see everything in the appropriate perspective. It lets me appreciate how short and fleeting the time with my babies is. I come home refreshed and ready to tackle the mommy parts of my day. I have so much more patience. I appreciate the shorter time I have with them. There is so much less yelling. As much as I love my children, nothing makes me a better mommy than going back to work. And I'll stand by this statement to my grave!

After the kids got ready for bed, we all sat at the table and played a game of chess. I can't even remember the last time I had the energy or the will to sit down and play a game with my kids:

Ryan and Mommy versus Jacob

So goodbye sweet-last-but-also-kinda-disappointing maternity leave and hello the rest of my career.