Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I'm On The Horizontal Career Ladder

Our office is getting to know our new boss. She scheduled one-on-one meetings with all of us to get to know us better. I didn't know what to expect for my one-on-one when I walked into her office on Monday. Maybe go over my cases?

I sat down and she said, "So, tell me about your self. I want to know about you."

Those kind of questions always catch me off guard. What do I want people to know about me? What message do I want to send? What about me should people know? What makes me "me?" I have no idea. I usually fumble around with where I grew up and how I decided to become a lawyer (political science majors don't have many options if they actually want to eat).

After I managed to squeak by on some kind of half-assed answer, my boss threw out another one. "What are your goals for the future? Where do you want to be and how can I help you get there."

Mouth. Drop.


I thought about it for a minute. Where do I want to be? Hmm. I remember when I used to be so ambitious. A go-getter. An overachiever. Never resting. Always taking on something more. Always a goal to work towards. But now? Not so much.

I thought about some of the other people in my office. One of my coworkers has a young daughter, she belongs to all the bar associations, is involved in so many organizations, and goes to all the networking lunches. I'm pretty sure she has her sights set on a judge's seat someday.

But what about me?

I looked at my boss and answered honestly. And the answer kind of surprised me. "I'm really enjoying the balance in my life right now. To be perfectly honest, I'm right where I want to be and don't have any other ambitions right now." Lame? Wrong answer to give your boss? Maybe. But it's the truth.

Seriously, I'm just happy to be employed. I'm happy to have a job I look forward to every day. Right now I have absolutely no desire to take on anything else. I have no desire to get to the next level. I see myself in a position that can probably keep me happy for a very long time.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm satisfied because I've finally landed in a position/career that I spent a lot of money and time working towards and I'm taking time to enjoy that success. Or if I am satisfied because my need to constantly achieve the next thing has been slowly escaping me. All I know is that getting home in time for dinner and park trips with my kids is much more important to me now than climbing the next rung on my career ladder. In fact, I don't even know what that rung would be. And I'm totally 100% ok with that.

In other news, I snuck into my office this weekend with an antsy three year old and fussy baby and painted and "decored" my office. This is the first step I've taken to decorating the office I moved into when I returned from maternity leave. I'm still playing around with it. But I'm loving it so far!

Cute three year old added for extra flavor

I LOVE my window that faces into a wooded ravine. You can't get that in a big city!

I love Jacob's hand art.... and I desperately need updated pics of my boys.

This is the wall I painted (so light blue you can barely tell but just enough to contrast with the white picture frames - which still have the standard picture filler from the store, I need to find something to put in them). As I was touching up a few spots with a brush, I looked over and caught Ryan dipping the roller brush in the paint tray. I yelled "NOOOO" and he whipped around, splattering paint all over the carpet and my conference table. That was a fun mess to clean up. But now my wall will always remind me of him. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

"T" Stands For T-Ball. And Total Failure. But Also Terrific.

It finally happened! One of my children participated in an organized sporting event!

THE thing I've anticipated most as a parent is watching one of my kids play tee ball. In my mind, it has always been this magical, wondrous moment. The epitome of all things good about parenting. And I've been slowly counting down the days ever since Jacob was born. I tried not to explode with happiness when Jacob told me he wanted to play this year. And while getting to practice (which requires leaving work a little early and sometimes towing two other grumpy children around) has often been a headache, tee ball has not disappointed.

The kids are clueless and unfiltered and hilarious. They spin circles at second base. They do cartwheels in the outfield. They do potty dances as short stop. They underthrow and overcatch and there is a LOT of ball chasing. When they try to tag a runner out, they end up playing tag. Sometimes they run clockwise around the bases. It's the funniest thing I've ever seen in my entire life. 

Saturday was Jacob's first game and we had been talking about it excitedly all week. I planned out a nice big breakfast the night before. I packed the car full of folding chairs and coolers and snacks and picnic blankets. I got the kids up and ready and everyone out the door much earlier than necessary. Sadly, Jacob's team hat was no where to be found. As we dashed out of the house I reluctantly grabbed a Seahawks hat and we were on our way. We even showed up at the ballfield twenty minutes early!

And no one was there.

I tried to talk myself out of a mini-panic. I took out my phone and googled the name of the field on the game schedule. This was Gordon, what the heck? I took off towards a nearby field to see if there had been a mistake. No one was there either. I went back to Gordon, still no one. With spotty reception, I looked up and called the coach. Voicemail. I then tried every single parent on the roster until finally someone answered. Turns out, there are two Gordon fields. The correct one isn't anywhere to be found on the internet. The "experienced" tee-ball parents all know this. I felt like a total newb.

We finally got to the correct field, five minutes past game time. I parked precariously close to a ditch (only spot left) and balanced the diaper bag, picnic blanket, snack bag, and Jon's carrier to the dugout while prodding the other two kids along. Apologizing profusely to the coach I asked to retrieve Jacob's uniform. The coach hands me a jersey shirt. Hmmmmm, "And pants?" I asked skeptically. 

Turns out, kids are supposed to buy their own pants. Another tee-ball secret that only the experienced parents know. Ugh. Why didn't anyone tell me this?! Am I missing all the memos? ... So Jacob runs out to join his team. In a Seahawks hat and non-matching Adidas track pants. I am officially the best tee-ball mom on the planet. 

We don't need no stinking pants!

First game hit!

Running home

We find a seat on the bleachers and Ryan immediately has to pee. There are no bathrooms. We make an inconspicuous run to the bushes, where we end up watering the plants several times over the long one hour game (no more water bottles ever again!).  

While Jacob was busy playing, Ryan was busy photographing his crocs.

But other than the location and uniform debacles, things were just as amazing as I'd imagined they would be so many times over the past six years. Cheering. Kids laughing. Watching the grass pickers. Concession stands. The sound of a bat thwacking a ball. The way you can hang your hands perfectly into the diamonds of the dugout fencing. The smell of ball field dirt. The colorful jerseys. 

Catchers have the important job of placing the ball back on the tee.

It IS just a game.

But it's an awesome game. 

And the kids. Oh the kids. I don't know all their names. But I already love every single one.

After practice, I took my three out to celebrate. Just me and the boys (husband was out of town). There was no fighting. No screaming. No whining. No crying. It was wonderful. 

The kids have been playing with an old calculator for the past week. They take turns punching buttons (for Ryan it is totally random, but Jake actually knows what he's doing) and marveling at the answers that appear on the solar-powered screen. They spend so much time playing with the calculator, or as Ryan calls it his "escalator," that I'm pretty sure they won't ever need real phones. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Weekend Pictures: It Could Be Worse, I Could Post 100 Pictures of My Pet.

I have no clue what is going on but Jon is the worst night sleeper EVER. My two oldest were sleeping mostly through the night by Jon's age (maybe one wake up in the middle of the night at most). Jon's seriously killing me in the sleep department. I put him to bed around 8. He wakes up once between 9-10, then again between 12-1, then again between 3-4, then usually again between 5-7. This has been going on for the past two months. I. WANT. TO. HURT. SOMETHING.

But look Mom! I'm so cute! You can't stay mad at me!

Friday night was especially bad. He would wake up, cry for an hour, sleep for an hour, cry for an hour, etc. ALL NIGHT LONG. Generous estimate....I got maybe 4 hours of sleep that night. I was able to take a couple naps Saturday morning (with Jon) but that completely sucked up 25% of my weekend.

Sunday I stuck my finger in Jon's mouth and felt a tooth popping up. I'm guessing that was the source of our horrible Friday evening/Saturday morning. But I'd still love an explanation for all the OTHER nights he hasn't slept well for the past two months. Dude, Jon, just make it stop!

With exhausted, bloodshot eyes, I attempted to reclaim the remainder of Saturday in the name of good ol' family fun and took the kids down to the park. It was really, really gorgeous out.

Ryan does not know how to skateboard. And yet he is totally enamored by the skateboard. He carries it around the yard, inside the house (over my requests that he not bring it in the house), down to the park, in the car, to the store. Every time we go somewhere I have spend about 5 minutes talking Ryan down from bringing the skateboard with us. Needless to say, the skateboard came with us to the park on Saturday.

This is his one and only trick, and he is just so proud of himself:

I popped Jon in the swing and he was very amused by the fact that the swing brought him close and then far from me. Naturally, I pretended to eat his toes on each approach. That's just what moms do.

The big kids were so excited to see Jon in the swing. They love him. He loves them. I love that they all love each other.

The boys positioned themselves on either side of the swing and took turns pushing Jon back and forth. I had to step in when they got a little too enthusiastic. Jon can't handle all the love sometimes.

It looks like Ryan's cruising in this picture. Nope, he's just standing there. At least he looks cool. 

I forced all the boys to sit down so I can try to take their pictures. I know people probably are very sick of all my pictures (especially on FB). I admit that I may have a problem. But, you guys....taking photos is the only way I know how to remedy the passing of time. I can't tell you how much joy it brings to go back and look through all the thousands (and thousands) of pictures of my kids at every stage of their lives. And you know what? I have the world's crappiest memory. I need the camera to BE my memory. other words, I'm not sorry. At least I'm not posting 20 pictures a day of my dog *cough* my sister *cough*.

Can't go to the park without an ice cream break. Ok, fine! Maybe ice cream is the only reason I actually go to the park.

On Sunday we woke up to another incredible day. So I loaded up the kids and we went to the zoo! I love our local zoo. We are members and go all the time in the summer. Sometimes we don't even go to look at animals. We just go to play in the grass, ride the carousel, or play on one of the many playgrounds.

Our first stop is always the elephants. Sometimes it feels less like we are watching the animals and more like the animals are watching us.

Checking out the tigers- the tiger cubs were wrestling

More important than elephants and tigers.....rolling down the hills. I don't know who inventing this childhood pastime, but that person is my hero. I LOVE rolling down hills. I give it a go once in a while as an adult, but unless you have really good thick grass, there are just too many soft spots to injure as an adult.

Someone forgot to teach Ryan that you have to STOP rolling when the grass ends. Right after I took these pictures, he rolled off the grass onto the cement. He got a scrape, which he showed off to each and every person we met the rest of the day.

While the tigers and bears looked fierce on Sunday, the only real threat was posed by Ryan. He's a pretty rough little animal himself. Someone should lock that kid up before he hurts his brother twice his size.

Jacob's "carthweel"

Waiting for the elevator

This double jogging stroller is probably my most prized possession. I love it so much. If my car was stolen, I would probably only mourn the loss of this stroller (which is almost always in the back). But that may also have something to do with the fact that I drive a 20 year old Subaru with 275K miles on it. But still...I LOVE my stroller.

We stopped to pose with the snake because I suddenly remembered posing with the snake when Jacob was a teeny tiny baby and was attacked by a pang of nostalgia. Took a couple tries...

Ryan's expressions are almost always the best.

Six years ago. Sniff, sniff.

 After we saw as much animals as we could handle, we stopped to ride the carousel. Ryan had to pee as soon as we got in line. And of course, we were at the zoo and surrounded by hundreds of people. "The Bushes" was just not an option. But somehow, after a very long tantrum, we were able to use the potty and claim our spots.

Ryan is often the dark horse in the family...his selection makes total sense. 

And Jake is very often my white knight. There is a psychology lesson somewhere here. 
Also: Jon's first (two second, while stopped) carousel ride!!

I've been trying to capture Jon's eye color lately but it's just not working. His eyes are a wonderful mix of blue and brown. They are brown in the middle and blue around the edges. They will probably turn all brown at some point but I just love the mix that they are right now and am determined to capture it somehow. I'm so happy to have at least ONE brown eyed baby. My family is 100% blue eyes but my husband is half Filipino. I knew it had to happen eventually!

Before we left the zoo, I saw a really obese woman fall out of her motorized chair and literally lay on her back with her hands and legs waving in the air. I was living a "help I've fallen" commercial. Zoo people had been helping her even before she fell and a medic was on its way, so I took off as fast as I could before I was unable to suppress my giggles (I'm such a bad person). Jacob was really concerned about her though. So at least I'm raising someone who is a better person than I am. 

Then we came home and my husband taught the boys how to plant flowers. He's the family gardener. I am so thankful for his skill and hard work in our lawn and our garden because I pretty much kill everything. Seriously. I bought a live basil plant at the grocery store and it was dead within 24 hours of me taking it home. I also kill all the plants in my office (side note: don't water your office plants with Diet Snapple).

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

So Many Things...So Little Time!

I worked some crazy-ass hours last week. I worked 50 hours during the week (M-F) and then topped it off with 9 more hours on the weekend. This might be nothing for a law firm attorney. But it's a heck of a lot for THIS government lawyer!

The reason for all the work was a hearing in an important case. Me, representing my client, against a local business. I showed up at the hearing to a standing-room only courtroom, packed to the brim with my bosses, a local law maker, and 70+ firearm enthusiasts. I took deep breaths, refused to look behind me at all the people, and made my case before the judge.

While this was a nerve-wracking and challenging experience, I'm amazed at how not-so-scary-I-might-pass-out it was. My recent federal trials have really acclimated me to the courtroom. Comparing the attorney I was last year to the attorney I am now, it's really night and day. The funny thing is, while I felt confident and almost eloquent in the hearing, the second I walked out of the courthouse, I converted back to the awkwardly inept social speaker of my normal self. Our office had a meet and greet with local elected officials and all we had to do was go around the table and say a little about myself and I totally bombed it! Ugh! Maybe I had used up all my eloquence for the day?

This past week involved so many intense emotions. On one particular day, I was having a fantastic day as a mom and an attorney. I felt transcendentally happy and successful in all aspects of my life. I drove to work with my favorite song blasting on the radio after I had just killed the entire morning with mommy excellence- I made pancakes, from scratch; I dressed all the children; we laughed and joked as we got out the door; there were no tears or tantrums. I sat in my work parking lot waiting for the song to end, rocking out and banging my head against the air. I was, a million times over, a rockstar.

Just a typical crazy morning

The very next day Ryan was a total nightmare, I was exhausted, and Jon was fussy. This was NOT a good combo. I may have thrown a chair against the floor (while the children were all safe in their rooms screaming or crying over something). I was the embodiment of Mommy Hulk. It was not a pleasant thing, for anyone.

This weekend, emotions mostly evened out and we celebrated Ryan's third birthday. I cannot believe this guy is three. He is sweet and hilarious and a demon all at the same time.

Birthday cinnamon rolls

Today Ryan was refusing to share the Icee I bought the boys to share (after our long trip to the park).

Ryan: "I don't want to share!"
Me: "You can share or you can have nothing."
Ryan: "I'll have nothing."
Me: "Fine."
Me: "You don't get anything. Nothing means you get zero."

I don't think he quite caught on.

Happy Birthday Ry-Guy

All the kids loved helping Ryan. He loved being the center of attention.

In addition to Ninja Turtle PJs and shoes and a slew of monster trucks, Spongebob was a favorite

Jon had a teeny accident on grandpa

On Sunday we also celebrated Jon's baptism. This happened at 9:30 am and Ry's birthday was at 11:00am. We were a little "scrambly" that morning. Yes, that's a technical term.

All my boys!

Same boys after an hour of sitting not-so-nicely in church

Jon with grandpa and god-father. I love this candid shot!

Jon wasn't so sure about being baptized. Dear God, don't take it personally!

So that's kind of why I've been MIA..... At some point, I may get to posting Easter photos.