Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Parting Thoughts

Last Friday, a few days after it happened, I was thinking about 18th-century partner's question about whether my dad approved of my job change. I was walking back to the office about 4:00 after being off-site for an assignment and then taking lunch, ahem, I mean mountain biking. It was really warm out and I was wearing a short sleeve shirt and thin, but not shiny, thank god, bike shorts. Shorts. And my black ballet flats. All I wanted to do was slip undetected into the first floor bathroom with the locker room (my office is on the third floor), and change before anyone saw me. I was about to enter the building when who else but 18th century partner walked out. "Looking casual today," he said. Son of a bitch. "I was at a job site with [other partner]...Have a nice weekend, [18th-century partner]!" Silence.

My last day was uneventful. As was the entire last week, I guess. The other partner I work for sent me a nice, encouraging email. One of the associates I worked with on his work called me with some nice words as well. My "main" boss didn't really say much. I don't think he likes me, and I think I have been a thorn in his side for the past two years because there really wasn't a place for me in his group and I kept asking for more work/more money and he wasn't able to deliver it, but admitting that would make him look bad so he was stuck. And I was stuck but I got unstuck and I'm so happy I got out of there!!!!!! Still, he's a good sport and took me and a few other lawyers to lunch at a really good Syrian restaurant right across the street from the elementary school that my firm "adopted" for two years. It was delicious! One of the new associates has had lots of Middle Eastern food and helped me with the ordering (oh, by the way I'm half Syrian), and I loved showcasing the food of "my people" to the others. That took two hours. The rest of my time I spent cleaning out my office. I think I billed an hour and a half. I probably billed 15 hours for the week. I don't know why I had to be there but my boss wanted the customary two weeks. Which is funny because he is not replacing me (which is a good call, see above). I was happy to get paid to take long lunches mountain biking.

So, anyway, my last day was kind of like, "Peace out, fuckers!" But I pretended that it wasn't. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Introducing Mrs. Smug

Not I. No, no, I have been humbled way too many times by an older toddler to be smug about my parenting choices and abilities.

I was admiring the adorable little blond boy at Cosi today while waiting for my lunch. We was probably almost two. He sat in his high chair at the table and just sat there. Looked around. There was no food in front of him. No toys. No screen. He sat there. Didn't scream or yell. Didn't squirm. His mother was also blonde with a perfect updo, a fine-featured, beautiful face and she too sat at the table with quite a bit of poise. Then I realized that I knew the other women at the table--my dad's cousin and her mother. I went over to say hello and was introduced to the beautiful, poised woman and her beautiful child. I commented on well he was doing. The cousin told her daughter-in-law (the beautiful, poised woman) that I had two sons and how old they are. I said they would never sit there like this. Beautiful, poised woman looked at me calmly, with a slightly confused expression and said, "they wouldn't?" and slightly nodded while slightly tilting her head. Cue the arrival of the food--thank god! perfect timing!--and I, gracefully, I might add, excused myself.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Oh, You!

Remember that managing partner who told me I should abandon my nursing infant to attend a firm-sponsored, out-of-town social event because I am not a single mother and if my husband can't help then my parents should be able to? Despite this we have a bit of a personal relationship because my dad wrote him a letter of recommendation for a judgeship not too long ago (he didn't get it). The guy does remind me of my dad so I guess I can say I sort of understand him, even if I think he is trapped in a prior century. But anyway, I decided to tell him in person that I got the new job. He made a lot of facial expressions that looked a lot like wringing of one's hands, but he was pretty neutral about the news. Then he asked me if my dad knew about this. Or "approved"? Or something weird like that. I'm thinking, I'm almost 40 years old, I don't ask my dad for permission to make life changes. But who am I kidding?

No, just kidding. (I admit I did seek some help with the salary negotiation process, but my dad was pretty unhelpful.) I think I said to the partner that "I try not to let my dad have that kind of input." I don't even know what I was trying to say. I guess I was so shocked by the question. Somehow, still, at this point with this guy.

Anyway, thought I would share some more of the current job dysfunction. Oh, how I wonder what I'll be wading into at the new place! I start November 30th. I offered to start the 23rd but my new boss will likely still be in trial that begins the week before. Only five more days at the old gig. So awesome! And then two whole weeks off, including the days before Thanksgiving. I can't wait. Though I wish, yet again, that we were renters instead of homeowners because there's a shitload of house chores on my to-do list. Progress report in a bit...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

More Lawyer, Less Mom

There's about to be a lot more lawyering in my life. I got a new job!!!!!! Finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm just not even going to talk about how many resumes I sent out. How many times I heard absolutely nothing back, even after interviewing at one place. (Is that normal?) Funny that now that I am going to be doing more (good), I am suddenly ambivalent about having to do more. I will no longer be begging for work, at least I hope that will be the case. I am also adding a substantial commute to my routine, so I am a little worried about that. My new boss said I could telecommute one day a week straight away, with the opportunity to do that two or even more days per week depending on what's going on and how seamlessly I can work remotely.

I gave my two weeks notice and my current boss took the news in stride, shall we say? I have been talking to him about looking for a new job, so it really wasn't a surprise. Also when I asked for a big raise, like huge raise, because that would be market competitive, they came back with "no." Not, "no, but here's $2000." Just no. But another reason I had to leave was that there was no plan for me. After three and a half years I was still doing the same thing, with no increased responsibility and no plan for giving me more responsibility. So this new gig will be great. I am getting that huge salary increase that I wanted and getting into a "better" practice area where I can do more. I just hope I'm really ready to focus on career.

Because in the mommying department, nothing is new. Just trying to cope with having a three-year-old and figuring out the developing personality of LJ, who is--no joke--starting to throw little tantrums of his own. We've been getting it on and I suppose I have just entered two-week-wait time, but I have low hopes and frankly it will be OK if/when I'm not pregnant this month. See above.

'Til next time...

Friday, October 2, 2015

Where We Are Now

Well, first, I recently went to my 20-year high school reunion. Are you kidding me? And would you believe that only one person got fat? Of course attendees are self-selected. "Some things never change," I said as I slid into a chair at the geeks' table later in the evening. Earlier in the evening I was trying hard to keep my panties dry while catching up with my old flame. He is still seriously really hot, you guys! As is true in most cases, the reunion benefited from low expectations, and I had a really good time.


LJ turned one last weekend. I swear the first year of your kid's life is shorter than 9 months (or 8.5 in my case) of pregnancy. He is walking competently and even started wrestling with Junior in the past few days. He laughs when you ask him questions and refuses to try to communicate with anything other than laughter (and screeching). Maybe we should be spending a little time teaching him how to clap? and stuff?


We're "going for the girl." It has nothing to do with LJ turning one, in fact we've been sort of "trying" since I weaned him, back at the end of April. Apparently you need progesterone to ovulate and get pregnant. And if you have low progesterone, it may not be your fault--or your husband's fault--that you don't ever feel like getting it on, which also doesn't help achieve pregnancy. Two more months will mark six months of "infertility," emphasis on the scare quotes here, and perhaps we will move on to interventions since I am 38 now (my profile is a lie). Maybe the supplements I haphazardly remember to take will start working (vitex/chasteberry), and/or maybe I will realize that it's okay to have a little break between kid 2 and kid 3. So we'll see. If I get pregnant again I will probably have another boy anyway.


I'm still dieting...tomorrow. Never today, always tomorrow. I read that sugar cravings are also symptoms of Low P. So it's not my fault.

Also as always, more updates later. I should just make that my signature. Junior napped today and is still up, but Frozen is over so he may be willing to finally go to bed. I better take him. G'night!

Legal Ed and Salaries

This sounds familiar: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/27/business/dealbook/burdened-with-debt-law-school-graduates-struggle-in-job-market.html?action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&module=MostEmailed&version=Full&region=Marginalia&src=me&pgtype=article

And this, a myth: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/17/business/dealbook/welcome-to-your-first-year-as-a-lawyer-your-salary-is-160000-a-year.html?action=click&contentCollection=DealBook&module=RelatedCoverage&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article

Funny how these two articles were juxtaposed. It is the latter article that caused the former to occur.

I originally started this post in April and apparently was going to comment on it, but never got around to it. I'm still get getting around to it. Enjoy the articles!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Top 5 Trends to End in 2015

I meant to post this in January but of course I am late. (You are aware of the URL of this blog, no?)

With the new year (ahem) in full swing, resolutions made and busted, I hope we can focus on a few trends to end in 2015.

1) Trending.

I absolutely loathe made up words. And although I have a Twitter account and new people keep following me (why?), I haven't logged in in about two years. I don't hate Twitter, I just still don't get it.

2) Sugar as devil/addiction/death wish. Or any food that you "should never eat."

Is it poison? I think I already blogged about this in the post in which I explained that I was sugar-free for THREE WHOLE DAYS IN A ROW. But mainly my point is, food restrictions and 30-day diets and juicing and all that crap are just ways for the people proselytizing and extolling the virtues of colon cleanses and what-not to make money off of you. Any diet that tells you you can't even eat a piece of birthday cake at your kid's birthday party is just setting you up to fail. It's kind of ridiculous how obsessed thin, middle-class/rich people are with monitoring their food intake and throughput. A doctor in one of these articles put it this way: if you're of normal weight with normal blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, then you probably don't need to change anything.

3) Soul Cycle is the best workout ever!

OMG! Didn't spin classes start like 20 years ago? Tell me what is so fucking revolutionary about Soul Cycle? Really. I have never been. I hate spin class. I hate spin class because I am actual cyclist and spin class is just a way to pedal in winter and keep your ass in shape (literally, I mean keep it accustomed to sitting on a tiny, uncomfortable bike seat) so that you can hit the road or trail again in the spring. People who ride actual bikes do not do pushups on their handle bars. They do not spend 50% or more of their ride out of the saddle. It's probably more like 5%. Maybe. Look, I am not a hater of anyone who wants to exercise and has found a way that they enjoying doing it. But it's not a lifestyle, people. I care as much about your Soul Cycle addiction as I do about your gluten intolerance. It's an overpriced, overly-sweaty way to listen to music while burning some extra calories. Trust me, you are not burning enough extra calories that you actually need to deliberately eat before class. And that sweatiness? It's not the sign of an amazing workout, it's a sign that there is no actual air moving past your body to dry the sweat away.

4) Oh yeah, about that gluten.

Please stop, everyone, talking about how going gluten-free has changed your life. So you stopped eating Nutter Butters for breakfast? Congratulations. Guess what? I stopped eating raw onions because they made my stomach hurt and you know what? My stomach doesn't hurt when I avoid eating raw onions. Gluten don't mean a thing (unless you have celiac disease). If you think it makes you feel better to avoid eating it? Great. But STFU. No one cares. NO ONE. Also, why the hell is my body lotion now labeled gluten free? And then...the gluten...TOUCHED MY SKIN! I just...am without words. For serious, here's what I really find objectionable--the idea that gluten-free foods are HEALTHY and those containing gluten are not.

5) Parenting Humblebragging

I think, generally speaking, that more people should just mind their own business and stop judging others for procreating, but sometimes I think you deserve to be judged when you say such things as "my 6-year-old daughter wants to give a speech about colonialism" and then following it with #winning. For example. Eyeroll. Winning at parenting? This just bothers me. It's obnoxious. Maybe I'm sensitive because every day I feel like I am losing at parenting when I can't even get two kids coordinated to go for a walk to the park. It's one thing to share your kids' accomplishments with your social network, but keep your gloating to your smug self. (side note, hashtags are pretty annoying too, aren't they over yet?).

Those are my Top 5. What did I miss? Besides "Top x" lists. I originally titled this simply "Trends to End," but it wasn't catchy enough, right?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Conversations with Toddlers

A few weeks ago I realized I had just had a conversation with my 2-year-old. Which is pretty cool the first time it happens. We've been doing a lot of talking over here recently, and I thought I would share some of my favorite "conversations."

Senior: Do you love Mommy? Junior: Yes!
Senior: Do you love Bro? Junior: Yes!
Senior: Do you love Daddy? Junior: Yes!
Me (because I am an a-hole): Who do you love most? Junior: Nanny!

Genius, really. What a little diplomat.


Some background: Junior has a 4-year-old cousin, M, who only eats carrots as far as vegetables go. Also, my dad is a weekend-warrior type breeder of Morgan horses. We had a horse named Fuzz who was recently sold but went to a client in the same barn. We still visit Fuzz about every other weekend, along with the other horses.
Scene: around our kitchen table, trying to get Junior to eat some vegetables. Tonight? Carrots.

Me: Do you like carrots? I like carrots.
Junior pretends not to hear me and does not eat carrots.
Me: Do you know who else likes carrots? Junior: Nonno!
Me: Who else likes carrots? (expecting he will say M) Junior: Fuzz!


Scene: around out kitchen table, trying to get Junior to eat the lovely quiche Senior has prepared for dinner. (No, he used frozen pie crust. Don't give him too much credit.)

Us, pleading: c'mon, this is eggs, you like eggs!
Junior, refusing to eat quiche: I no like it!

Senior sneaks a bite of food in his mouth while he's whining. Junior obviously does like it. Junior continues to not eat quiche. I fear for his teenage years.


Scene: Starbucks drive-thru.

Junior: Mommy, I want french fries!
Senior, you're busted.


Scene: driving home after picking up Junior at day care.

Me: are you hungry? What should we have for supper?
Junior: Both.
Me: Both? Both of what?
Junior: I want both. Mommy, I want both.
Me: What do you mean you want both?
Junior: I want oreos and ice cream.

Duh, naturally. He is my child, after all!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Reclaiming My Identity

This blog is supposed to be irreverent and funny, dammit. I would like to at least try to be funny instead of angry all the time. Although I should probably just admit that I am an angry-type person. Today I cried while listening to the Barenaked Ladies' The Old Apartment (ah, memories!), though, too, so I think I just feel every feeling a lot?

Anyway...you've probably seen the research that shows that you will spend like 2 million dollars on your kids before they reach adulthood. It's really not nearly that much actually. But I wonder if those tallies account for all the things you have to re-buy because your kid destroys them. The other day Senior asked me where the new bottle of California Baby soap was, and I replied "I don't know, what did you do with it?" There was the empty bottle that Junior plays with in the bath. And there was the other empty bottle--the brand new one that was completely full until Junior, apparently, dumped it down the drain. That was 10 wasted dollars! And now Senior has forbidden me from buying more California Baby until we finish the jumbo bottle of the Walgreen's private label crap.

I can't even remember now all the things that Junior has broken or otherwise caused harm to because I have selectively blocked it from my memory, but suffice it to say that countless book pages have been torn ("I rip it!"), plastic bits snapped, and oh, I don't know, things like leather couches have been scribbled on with pens. He threw an acorn at me once and landed it on the lens of my fancy camera, over which of course I did not have the protective filter, but thankfully that did not cause any damage. He drew on the $60 print of our family on the beach, but you better believe that ink washes off a $60 freakin' photograph, so that was okay too. But what if these weren't just close calls and I had to replace such things? I guess I would be a) a lot more careful with my nice stuff, or b) would not have any nice stuff, or c) would at least be a lot thriftier with certain things that one can be thrifty about.

Like tomorrow, I am "working from home" in the morning so that I can "go to a doctor appointment for LJ" go to the kids' crap semi-annual consignment sale. I'm hoping for a double jogger that can double as a regular double stroller, and possibly an exersaucer (if the one I thought I saw in my parents' basement, probably leftover from my sister whose youngest is now 6, is in fact not there), and probably a variety of other things I don't need or don't yet know that I actually need--are those 2 things one in the same? Oh wait, and maybe one or two convertible car seats if they are newer models. Anyway, I typically hate shopping for anything but perhaps it won't be so bad if I am skipping work, I mean attributing the time to my lunch break. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Wow. WOw! WOW!!

I really don't want to get into this and ruin my Friday night, so consider this the highlight reel. I had the face-to-face about not attending the social event on Tuesday. I just wanted to explain why I couldn't attend and some understanding from the partners would be nice to have. Instead I was blindsided by most of what was said in the conversation, because, well, who could be prepared for this? Actually said to me by the managing partner:

--"This firm has been very supportive of your maternity leaves." (By offering them according to the firm's policy and the law?)

--"First of all, you are not a single mother."

--In fact, you have more family in the area than just your husband to watch your kids. (This one is sort of a paraphrase. I responded to this, not apologetically: "You make assumptions that my parents will take care of my kids but they can't and they don't." )

--So-and-so who lives with her parents and does not have children went. (To which I replied, "she has a totally different situation than I do." She also was assigned to cover hearings in Phila that day. Guess what? If I had to be there for work anyway I would have stayed too!)

Mind you I have not asked that I not do actual work outside of work hours (e.g. I have been assigned to a doctor deposition at 5:30 next week about an hour from home/my office). Look, I would have actually loved to go to this thing. In fact just that morning on the way to work I was reminiscing about my childless days and what I would be doing after work, and how putting in a few hours on the weekend would be no big deal and would make me feel good about my effort and dedication to my work.

The first statement I did not address and just inwardly rolled my eyes, but I can say that I went into this conversation hoping to feel better about my responsibilities to my job, and walked out hating it so much more. It is bullshit like this from the managing partner that makes women with children just check out and leave the workplace altogether. He also expressed a great deal of dissatisfaction with my response to an email from my boss that asked who was going and who was driving together. I simply said "I am not going. Have fun, everyone!" and he took great offense. As if that were my official RSVP or something. I said I meant the words literally, and there was no intention to convey that I was being flip. He said I was being glib. Apparently he thought I did not mean it when I told everyone to have fun. My biggest problem with this, however, is that he never asked me to come talk to him, I took it upon myself. I didn't even know he was pissed about the email. Oh, yeah, then he said that my response should have said that I wished I could attend but due to family obligations I could not. Which he just explained to me was not actually an acceptable reason for not attending.

Last night I was texting with my friend in the Newark office to ask if he attended. he did not, because he didn't feel like dealing with the train and getting home late, etc. But he did not get shit for not attending. Maybe his managing partner cares even less about him. But what I really think is that my managing partner takes it as a personal insult if someone in his office doesn't represent him the way he wants to be represented. I mean, whatever that means, given that he can't actually say what he wants. Instead of sending me a bunch of emails telling me to make every effort to attend an-out-of-town social event, why don't you walk your ass down to my office and have a conversation with me about it? As my friend in Newark says, he's had it up to here with this place. What a colossal understatement.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Potential Doesn't Mean Sh#t

For example, this evening had the potential to be very productive with Senior and I going through our mail/paperwork and at least starting to prepare our taxes. I was also going to practice singing for an upcoming concert for 20-30 minutes, maybe squeeze in 20 minutes of yoga, and get to bed before 10. I have achieved none of those things and it is 9:54. I suppose I could still make it to bed by 10, except I will be wide awake for the next hour anyway due to blue light from the computer. Eff!

Well, before I go and get a new job and stop bitching about work (ha! am I just fantasizing?), I suppose I should throw out a few more posts here and there. Let's see...how about, if you have a few days of family vacation planned, maybe you could arrange for people to cover your hearings more than one day in advance. Or, from a new, senior hire, if we are all stuck in a meeting for 4 hours--yes, 4-- perhaps you might consider that I didn't get to do any of the work I had to do that morning so that if you did not do something for the following day, the meeting was not really a good reason to ask me to do that something for you. These are the little things. The big things are too exhausting to even talk about, but since I foreshadowed the "offer" that my firm made me last year, I will finally address it.

Because it dovetails nicely with something going on right now. Right now as I write...a firm social event in firm headquarters location. Normally a 60-70 minute drive, but could exceed 2 hours in traffic. As part of a group I had been encouraged to attend on multiple occasions. Then when I finally admitted to my boss and the managing partner that I was not actually planning to attend, I got an email that said, "You should really make every effort to attend these firm events in the future." OK, cool, like the future when I am not breastfeeding an infant? The future when I am not trying to maintain a marriage with small children involved? The future when those small children grow up a little bit to become even the slightest bit self-sufficient? I just found it so obnoxious that we suddenly have forced camaraderie because somebody finally woke up and realized the was hemorrhaging talent and that perhaps morale was part of the problem, and I'm supposed to take 7 hours out of my day and away from work and family to drink beer with people I don't know/care about so that I can spend more time away from my family on the weekend making up for lost work time because of billable hour requirements. I am going to have a face-to-face with the managing partner because if I just let this go I will feel even more lost than I already do about being a firm lawyer and a mother to young children. I think I mentioned before that everyone in my satellite office has teenagers or above, or no children at all, except for one paralegal with 2 grade school age boys. This is related to the prior job offer because even though the firm thinks it's offering you something, it is really showing how much it doesn't give a shit about you.

Last spring I was offered a position in the Philadelphia office, where starting salaries are typically almost double what they pay us "up here," (which is amazing considering it's a viable commuting distance away) for $5,000 more in salary. The city wage tax would eat up at least $4,000 of that pay increase. I had just put earnest money on the house and was pregnant with kid 2. I asked about relo, but was told that that would set a dangerous precedent for the firm. I was not allowed to work from my current location, even if the partner I would have worked for came to my office once a week and I went to Phila once or twice a week. When I said I was almost insulted by the offer everyone acted like I was crazy. The managing partner (same as above) called me into his office to encourage me to take the offer because there would be more potential than that in my current position (the one thing perhaps we could agree on). I just want to know, how did they all justify this? How do you ask someone: take this pay cut so you can uproot your family and move away from the grandparents so you can live in a smaller home that costs more money because...potential! Just thinking about it now gets me close to blowing a gasket.

I have recently been in talks with a small firm that is not quite ready to pull the trigger on hiring an associate. They used to have one but when he left they did not replace him and have been doing fine without him and all making more money that way. If they put a plan together and decide to make me an offer, I fully intend to tell them I will be having another baby at some point in the near future. I just can't keep separating my family from work as if my family doesn't exist. I don't care what anyone at the firm says about how important family is...that is all obviously lip service if no one can stop and think that maybe a nursing mother isn't going to drive to Philadelphia to go to quiz night. Or that I won't bleed money to take their stupid fucking offer of a "better" job within their asshole ranks. I spoke to a friend from law school recently who works in another satellite office. I helped him to get hired actually and I feel a bit bad about it. He is having the same experience that I am having, and he said it quite well that he thinks that the partners don't actually care if their associates are mentored and developed and taught how to become good lawyers. Couple that with an inflexible billable-hour requirement, even though half of the work I do is on flat-fee accounts, and I just can't take this. Next week I have lunch with a guy I recently met who has started his own firm. Fingers crossed!!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to Have a Great Day

Hire a babysitter to watch your kids all day. Seriously.

That wasn't the plan, originally. We were going to ski in the morning, planning to be back home around 1:00, preferably as soon as Junior fell asleep for his nap. But the temperature finally rose above freezing in the past week and then it rained all day yesterday. Today was supposed to be above freezing (good, if you're going to ski after a day of rain), but still cloudy, and I really didn't see the point of skiing in those conditions. So we canceled ski plans but kept the sitter. Turned out to be a good thing weather-wise because it was actually cold and blustery, even if it was above freezing, and mostly unpleasant. We had the sitter come over at 10:00. Then we set off on an aggressive agenda for the day: brunch, Bed Bath & Beyond, possibly Buy Buy Baby, and the gym, preferably all complete before 1:00.

First we locked our bedroom door and had sex. (I'm not really bragging about that because I have little interest while breastfeeding, but at least I was able to get that out of the way for the week.) Brunch included omelettes, house-cured bacon and--why not?--a cocktail. The spot was not crowded and we were the only ones at the bar, so we got out of their ahead of schedule. At BBB, only 10 minutes away, we proceeded to impulse-buy our way around the store and spend over $200. Thanks to all their stupid coupons though, we only had to pay $185. Let's see, we got these adorable little adirondack-like chairs for the boys (only one of whom will actually be able to sit in it this summer), some plates and bowls for the patio, laundry detergent, K cups, a cupcake batter dispenser...necessities, obviously...oh and a halogen lamp because there is no overhead lighting in our bedroom and I am tired of trying to see from the bedside lamp that is still holding onto one incandescent bulb (but the other is an energy-efficient one that throws icky cool light). We skipped Buy Buy Baby, where we were going to look at convertible car seats because we have been using oldish (maybe too oldish) hand-me-downs and are tired of those, because the Internet. Any recommendations?

Next stop, back through town and past the brunch place to the Y, where we have a family membership because Junior goes to daycare there three days a week. The facility is so old and outdated but I love that they have my favorite old-school Stairmaster and a Textrix right next it. There's also a pool and stuff like swing dance classes, and once the kids are older there will be programs for them that will be fun and affordable. They also have 2 racquetball courts, and Senior likes to play, so I let him kick my ass for a few games of racquetball. (Yeah, right. It was only the second time I played and I used to play squash which is quite a bit different as far as the pace of the game goes, so I'm pretty terrible. I did score 10 points one game but he gave me 6 to start. So I mean I scored 4 points one game. It's better when the guy wins anyway.)

We had already asked the sitter if she could stay until 2, which was fine. While on the way to the gym we passed near an industrial part of town that has a manufacturing and start-up incubator, which reminded us that there was a brewery tasting room that we wanted to try. Google maps said "closed today" but Senior called and they were open, so we asked the babysitter to stay until 3 and she said it was no problem. So after racquetball we went beer tasting. As we were heading over to the brewery, I told Senior what a great time I was having with him. He said, "yeah, it's like we don't have kids."

I actually went to high school with the guy who owns the brewery, and he was at the tasting room, which was neat because I haven't actually seen him since high school. I guess I can't say Facebook is terrible because I have reconnected with a lot of people that way, pretty much all for the better. The beers are really, really good, tastings are free and you don't even have to buy their growlers to buy their beer. But we did anyway, even though I hate their logo and the logo almost makes me want to not drink the beer. Nevermind that. I'm sure we were pushing 3:00 by now, and there was also a distillery and meadery with open tasting rooms in the building. We love our babysitter because she said she had no place to be and to enjoy our kid-free time. And we did. It was such an awesome day. Such an awesome expensive day, but whatever. It was really worth it. My advice to anyone with young kids who can afford to have the sitter for 5-6 hours is to have a day with your spouse and remember what it was like before you had kids. We didn't even talk about the kids while we were out today! But towards the end of the day, I was missing them.

When we got home, LJ had just been fed and was ready for another nap (good and bad, because I ended up having to pump for comfort), and Junior was willing to lie around on the couch with us, because we agreed to put on Frozen. I ate the other half of my brunch for dinner and now we are sipping on the cask IPA we bought for $3 that has to be drunk today.

Which leads me to my diet/sugarless life update. I consider alcohol to be equivalent to sugar as far as the diet goes. I am having a hard time staying away from baking (I made banana-oatmeal-pecan-chocolate-chip muffins this morning, and box brownies during the week for when we had friends over) and staying away from alcohol on the weekends. During the week I have been able to almost completely avoid sweets during the day. Some nights I will have something and some nights not. So I am still mixing in a few sugar-free days here and there, which is definitely progress. I think after the Easter-candy binge we are going to go 21 days sugar and alcohol free. My mom says those who work with addicts/addiction say it takes 21 days to make/break a habit. I learned a lot about my sweets-eating in just three days, and I knew that a few days wouldn't change anything for the most part, so I feel like 21 days will be attainable and also might lead to more long-term adjustments. Updates on failures and shortcomings will be provided. Now...episode 3 of House of Cards. The day is still going pretty great.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tomorrow's Diet

In case you were on the edge of your seat about my 5-day sugar-free life:

Due to the success of the experiment, I was forced to cut it short by 1 1/4 days.

Basically, Saturday night happened and I wanted to drink a glass of wine and eat some homemade bread pudding that my sister made for family dinner. I also had drinking plans with girlfriends on Sunday. I will say that, much to my chagrin, I felt like I had a lot more energy on days two through almost-four. I wanted to be able to say I didn't feel a difference, and that I could keep eating sweets on a daily basis without any consequences (unless you count a fat ass/belly/thighs). Alas, I did feel a difference, but not one that was so drastic that I immediately changed my plans back to sugar-free after the weekend.

Today was the first say since I started the experiment that I had any sweets during the workday, however. I got 2 cookies from the Fresh Market and they were actually pretty crappy though of course I still ate them. I think I can make a complete prohibition on crappy sweets without feeling like I am missing something. I baked a 5-bowl cake over this past weekend, however, and it got snowy on Sunday evening so I didn't take it to my sister's house for apres-ski after all so of course I have been binging on that for the past few days. But at least it's delicious (though not delicious enough to have to wash 5 bowls after making it, if you ask me). 

I also learned that I can avoid sweets without nearly as much effort as I thought it would take. Days one and two were pretty easy. By the end of day three I kind of wanted to eat some dessert, but I was still dedicated to not lapsing already. So maybe my solution for sustainable change is to have 2-3 dessert-free days and then have some dessert in the evening. Because if I have it during the day I still want to have it at night. Though I could probably work on that with a little more focus. I could also probably just go to bed before I feel like eating dessert.

Finally, I confirmed what I already knew, that sugar is not addictive, people. I went from practically mainlining it for at least five months to having none for almost four days and if it were actually addictive then I would have been hospitalized in the detox unit. I want to eat more sugar when I eat sugar because it tastes good. There may be some pseudo-addiction in wanting more of something good, and if you're one of those people who sees sugar as something bad, then I guess I can understand what you're trying to say but I think you are really failing to say anything meaningful and important if you are comparing sugar to cocaine and heroin and the like. Bottom line, sugar is not a mind-altering substance. Unless, actually, you are talking about two-year-olds. Seriously, the kid goes crazy after eating cake for breakfast. I mean, with breakfast. I mean, it was Senior, not me! At least he said no this morning when Junior asked for ice cream. Maybe the whole family needs to go on the next sugar-free binge. Which starts, of course, tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Day in the Life

I guess I was overly ambitious about coming back to post on this blog. Story of my life, you guys. I have been having a hard time though with first off getting myself out the door at a reasonable hour in the morning, then "working" all day (I'm still--still--a little slow), then coming home after maybe a 20-minute workout at the gym or the stairway at work (emphasis on maybe), feeding the toddler, nursing the baby, playing with the toddler, bathing the toddler, nursing the baby to sleep, eating grown-up dinner (possibly prepared by one of us, or possibly our favorite burrito place), and staying up long enough to make it through half an episode of the Bachelor. Then go to bed at a decent hour because I am going to be awoken not once but twice in the night by a hungry, hungry 4-month old. So I don't have much time to spend on the computer which is very stimulating and makes your body think it's day time because then I can't fall asleep. And then I can't wake up at a reasonable hour and we are back to step one. I am already on a strict no-caffeine diet unless you count chocolate for being too stimulating. I've made an exception tonight for computer time because I really need to send out a resume for a new job and an email to my dad asking for money. See what I mean? I've been overly ambitious about how much simultaneous parenting and working I am capable of, about how much house to buy, about my ability to not buy one with mold and prior water problems, and about my general ability to not suck at life. I don't really feel like I am hitting rock bottom or anything, but now that I've spelled it out maybe I should. :)

On a lighter note, now that Fat Tuesday is mostly behind us, I am determined (in probably an overly-ambitious sort of way) to not eat any sugar for 5 days in a row. Ever since the baby was born I have been eating a ton of sweets. I say it has something to do with nursing, which I do believe, but it could also be the fact that I love sweets and always have and I can't recall any time in my life when I wasn't trying to cut back on my dessert intake. I've completed these no-sugar binges before so I know I can do it. Of course today I've totally overdone it, in anticipation of the Starve starting tomorrow. I wonder: if I eat enough ice cream to cause shivering in my 65-degree house (trying to save some dough, yo), does the shivering cancel out the calories in the ice cream? I'm going with yes.*

*One bite of it.

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Year Ago or So

I was just reading over posts from my return to work after Junior was born and...HEY!!!...that was two years ago, not one, holy crap! Well anyway, there was a post about how my boss and I were mad at each other while working on an appellate brief, but that I thought we wrote a really good brief. And another post about how we won one at the trial level but that it would be appealed anyway. Well, we won both of those. In the latter case, Claimant's appeal was taken but the decision was affirmed at the administrative board level, and we won 2-1 on that appellate brief and the Supreme Court denied review, so that was actually a huge win for our client. We're talking a six-figure win. And a big win for me because the decision was one of very few that came down in the past year that was defense-oriented. It may have been the only one, actually. Yay, me! But what do I have to show for such successes? Nothing. I am still basically doing the same thing I was doing two and a half years ago when I started this job. I am super frustrated about this but I don't want to go on and on right now because I have to turn off the computer and start winding down (and processing the caffeine from the dark-chocolate covered pecans I just ate). Like every other topic I have mentioned in the last few posts, more later.

Life Is Not What-Not (edited title only)

As promised, it's time for a little boob talk. I've succumbed to the idea that LJ will be drinking some formula. In related news, I did just start cloth-diapering him. So, win some, lose some, Little Guy!

For the first three weeks back at work I pumped twice per day and was keeping up with his needs while I was gone. It was just. so. annoying. I made a plan to cut back at his 4-month birthday (or whatever you would call that). This week I reduced the pumping to once per day, with the goal being that by the end of next week I will not be pumping at all anymore. But you know, once per day is really not that bad. Although I can't believe I pumped for the whole year with Junior, especially after I learned that my friend pumps for 15-20 minutes and gets 10 ounces. It takes me two to three times that long! By the end of this week I was pumping at 2:00 for 30-35 minutes and getting 7-8 ounces. And as much as I hated pumping, of course, I didn't mind closing my door and having a little private time. So maybe I will keep this up for awhile? Maybe to six months? There is really no reason why I can't give my baby formula during the day. I guess I worry that I will lose my evening/night/morning supply if I cut all the way back during the day, because he is still so young. I thought I wasn't supposed to feel this much stress about breastfeeding with the second kid! I also think about the freedom of not nursing, and all the normal shirts I could wear. But then I think about the pregnant-looking muffin-top I have not tried to lose and now at least I have big boobs to counter balance it. Tried to not lose is more like it...I am embarrassed to even say how much sweets I eat just about every day. So maybe that's why I now sort of want to keep pumping: so I can keep eating whatever I want and not gain weight. I am probably getting one-third of my calories from chocolate and baked goods. Then I think if I stop nursing I a) won't be so hungry all the time, and b) will HAVE to eat better. That I will then actually lose the muffin top. The good news is I love vegetables and don't prefer fried food and almost never eat fast food, so aside from the abnormally excessive sweet tooth I have a good diet. But anyway...see how conflicted I am about breastfeeding? It's all very complicated. For some reason.

OK, so cloth diapers. We used a few so far, and by a few I mean that literally. I remember being so stressed about putting disposable diapers on Junior because of the chlorine and chemicals and whatever else that they are made with. Now I'm like, no shit, chemicals, how do you think a piece of paper absorbs all that liquid? But I did feel a little guilty about not even wanting to try the cloth because they did cost us like $400 and part of the reason for getting them was to save money on disposables, which doesn't exactly happen if you buy cloth diapers and put them away and use disposables. I don't know if we've already technically gotten our money's worth having used them almost exclusively with Junior for at least 6 months. Well, LJ leaks through his disposable diaper EVERY NIGHT and suddenly I remembered we have CLOTH DIAPERS. With extra hemp inserts. So I put one on, literally tonight for the first time. We'll see how it goes. He also blew out of two diapers in a row yesterday, though I was only present for the first one. They were both so bad that he actually had to have a bath after each one. He's a good sport though! So is Senior, who had a case of the pukes yesterday but had to deal with the second blow out all on his own.

Yeah, Junior and Senior were both sick this week, twice. They were puking on Monday, better by Tuesday, then Senior was puking again by Wednesday and Junior had to leave daycare early today due to diarrhea. He seems to be doing fine, Senior is back to normal, LJ has avoided it all and I am trying not to brag about my amazing immune system because so far I have avoided it all too. This winter has just really sucked with illnesses and cold and now snow and I wish we could just go outside more but we will have to be happy with running laps around the inside of the house instead I guess.

Speaking of the house...long story for another day. But generally speaking, though I love having wood floors on the second level, I would not buy another old house if given the opportunity (unless we're talking renovated farm house), mainly because I can't stand old house smell and I want to buy a new house now, please. (It's not mold, we had that remediated already. So, yeah, more on that later.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Routine

Having two kids is not the same as having one. It's a lot harder. I guess I missed the memo on this, because I am having some trouble adjusting to being a working (pumping) mom of not one but two children. I used to think working part time was some sort of cop out, but now I totally get that a new mother might like to spend some time with her kids. I am lucky enough to have kids that sleep well and go to bed at a decent hour. But this means I hardly see them at all at the end of the work day! One night they were both asleep before 7:00. Seven! I am part proud and part appalled. That is not the norm, but LJ is pretty consistent with a 7/7:30 bedtime now. At his age Junior was still staying up until 11 every night. This is nice and yet difficult. I also thought that the assumption that a woman would not come back to work after having her second child was sexist BS. But again, I totally get it. I see how you can get to the end of the your second maternity leave, however long or short, and say it is just not worth it because you need more time to be with your newborn and there are a host of things you could also be doing with your older child.

I've only been back to work seven days, which I would call well within a reasonable adjustment period, but I am struggling with all that has to get done in a day before 7/7:30 each night and everything that doesn't get done after 7/7:30 each night. Like everything that does not involve eating or sleeping. Remember exercise? I think just last week I went to a yoga class and right now it feels like "never again." I thought tonight as I left work about I would do if I didn't have kids. Because leaving work at 5:40 like I did would seem quite early rather than too late to get another nursing session with LJ. I would definitely have gone to the gym or maybe a 6:00 cardio or yoga class, then afterward run an errand or met someone for a drink or dinner, come home and relaxed for a bit with something enjoyable to read.

I guess in a way I have done this because I ran circles around the house playing "chase" with Junior for 5 minutes and did one 10-second downward dog (cardio AND yoga), then met LJ for a drink (i.e. nursed him to sleep), had dinner with Senior (i.e. put some frozen perogies and chicken nuggets on a baking sheet and ate them standing up well after they cooled down because Sprout screamed his head off about going to bed and we were stuck in another room upstairs so as not to disturb him further by walking past his room), then read something enjoyable by fucking around on Facebook for a while. Actually I poked around on the New York Times which I do find actually enjoyable, in addition to Facebook time which I find pseudo enjoyable.

Overall, being back at work continues to be not as bad as I might have thought but I am realizing just how much another kid changes your life and how selfish I would really like to be. I received some advice today that "the world favors a 4-person family." If we decide to "go for the girl" we will have to go for another vehicle as well because my Mazda3 definitely does not accommodate3 car seats, and kids are in car seats these days until they are twelve. How much would another kid change my life and work life (and exercise ability)? If I go back to work after a third kid will I pump even less than I am pumping with the second? Teaser for my next post--we're going to start talking about my boobs again.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Warning: Back to Work

I'm going back to work tomorrow after a 14-week leave. LJ just started sleeping like a champ at night, so at least there's that. I hope he won't miss me as much as I will miss him. I think I will come home for lunch tomorrow because he usually is ready to nurse between 12 and 1. I'm glad I have that luxury...I went to an interview on Friday for a job that would be 50 minutes away. The interview didn't go so great but at least I have a new perspective on my job now, which includes a 10-minute commute. More on all that later. For now, wish us luck! I have a feeling I will actually be posting more and not less often here. You've been warned.