Sunday, December 12, 2010


i was about to go to bed, but since i was tagged... here is my list of fours:

1. Four shows that you watch:
(1) Dexter
(2) It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
(3) The Office
(4) Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Atlanta

2. Four things you are passionate about:
(1) My family & friends, and planning precious moments with them.
(2) My career -- being the best attorney I can be.
(3) Cloth diapering!  (I'm sort of obsessed now)
(4) Being organized.

3. Four phrases you say a lot:
(1) "Really, John, really?"
(2) "Shut the front door!"
(3) "It's an albatross around my neck."
(4) "Spicy!" (when anything is remotely dramatic)

4. Four things you've learned from the past:
(1) Some people deserve second chances, and some people never deserved the first chance.  Trust your instincts.
(2) Ask for help when you need it; thank people when they give it.
(3) You catch more bees with honey than with vinegar.
(4) Don't put anything on facebook that you don't want made public.

5. Four places you would like to go:
(1) Would love to go back to Italy... specifically the country.  Wine country.
(2) Florida to visit my bro-in-law, sis-in-law and little nephew.  Also, Florida sounds really nice right now, what with this -30 windchill business.
(3) Egypt
(4) Ireland

6. Four things you did yesterday:
(1) Went out for breakfast with my husband and baby boy (who was a little doll, and let his mommy eat in peace!)
(2) Watched several episodes of The Wire, Season 4.  LOVE that show.
(3) Did some laundry.
(4) Opened mail.

7. Four things you are looking forward to:
(1) Visiting my sister and her fiancee in their new house.
(2) Christmas with my family!
(3) New Year's Eve!
(4) Jack's first real smile :)

8. Four things you love about winter:
(1) Snow... love how everything looks so fresh and new.
(2) Flannel pajama sets.
(3) Sleeping under fluffy warm blankets.
(4) Snuggling with my baby since it's too cold to go anywhere.

9. four bloggers who should share their list of fours:
(1) Liz
(2) Meg
(3) Krystin
(4) Heather

Sunday, December 5, 2010

on getting stuff done.

back when i was pregnant, i liked to talk a big line about what i was going to do while on maternity leave.  i had dreams of all the crafts i'd accomplish, all the christmas goodies i'd bake, and all the holiday outings i'd attend.  my mom suggested that my time off was not necessarily going to be a vacation, and that perhaps i was being a little naive or maybe overly ambitious about the first few weeks of motherhood.  i dismissed these ideas; i was the epitome of over-achiever.  of course i would do all these things and more.  afterall, a never-ending "to do" list is just part of who i am.

well, who am i anymore?  as i look around my living room, i'm slightly disgusted by the stack of mail, breast pump accessories and unfolded laundry strewn about.  on the other hand, i showered today, so actually, it's been a good day thus far.  i guess mom was right.  maternity leave has not been exactly what i was planning.  but as my mom said yesterday, "you've always had to figure things out for yourself."  which is true.

now don't go thinking that i'm not loving motherhood thus far.  because i totally am.  but it's so weird how everything has changed so drastically in such a small amount of time.  i have been jack's mama for a little over 5 weeks now, and in some ways, i can't remember myself before he was here.  but of course that seems ridiculous.  i can vaguely remember what it was like to be able to run to target to peruse the aisles for things i didn't need without a care in the world, without the constant glancing at my watch in a panic ("does he need to be fed?  changed?  i need to get back home right away.")  i can sort of remember being able to eat with both hands.  i remember being able to get into my bed, lay head on pillow and sleep contently for 6, 7 or even 8 hours at a time.  (ok, very vaguely.  very, very vaguely.)

but, anyway, they say life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.  and as cliche as it sounds, it's so true.  just when i was feeling as uncomfortable as i'd ever felt in my life, preoccupied with nesting to the n'th degree and worrying about a million things and the aforementioned never-ending to do list, my water broke, and this tiny little being came into the world and just... changed everything.  my outlook on life, the width of my hips, you know, just everything.

we spent the first few weeks in a haze, albeit a blissful, sleep-deprived, what the hell am i doing and who let me leave the hospital with this tiny man haze.  but the fog is lifting, folks, and we are emerging.  mama has strapped on her babybjorn, and productivity has begun increasing exponentially around here.  we actually assembled the christmas tree, strung the lights and hung the ornaments!  i am caught up on laundry (for the time being; try not to blink too fast)!  the dishwasher has been emptied!  and... (drumroll please) jack has been sleeping 5.5-7 hours per night, every night for the past week.  you'd be surprised at the motivation a little extra shut-eye can bring to a person.

so... anyway, instead of doing what the old me would have done (spend every waking moment trying to get as much done as possible), the new me is going to spend today celebrating my recent productivity and the accomplishments of the past five weeks....

from this,
to this.

we've come a long way, baby!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

on precious moments.

sometimes, in the middle of the night, the wee hours of the morning, when my whole house (except for me) is fast asleep, i look down at the little baby sleeping contently in my arms and i think, all the sleep deprivation in the world is worth this one little moment.

i look down at his tiny little hands, curled into fists that rest by his ears, and i try to soak in the rhythmic hum of his breath.  i try to memorize everything about his perfect little face, his tiny nose, his pouty lower lip.  every day he changes, and to me, looks a little different than he did the day before.  and so, even though i have not slept more than 4 hours at a stretch for the past three weeks, in these quiet moments, in the still of the night, i am at peace with the lack of sleep.  being awake for these moments gives me the opportunity to soak up this precious time with this tiny little man who won't be so tiny for so long.  happy 3 weeks to my dear little boy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

ole faithful.

i've heard it from every single parent i know, so it's probably cliche of me to say, but time flies with babies around.  for real.  i can't believe little baby jack will be 2 weeks on wednesday.  ok, it's not like he's graduating from college or going to senior prom, i know, but it's still amazing to me to think that 2 weeks ago, i was carrying that little peanut in my belly, and now he's hanging out on the outside, melting my heart ... like every minute of every day.

and in the past 12 days, jack has experienced many important milestones that he's basically just slept right through.  his first hike/walk... his first wedding... his first sweater vest... you know, life-changing moments.  i have  experienced some life altering moments of my own.

leaking in the workplace.

last friday, i headed down to the office to do some checking on some of my files, update the other attorneys on some cases, and just generally reassure myself that everything was being handled in my absence.  i had made the rounds, chatted with colleagues about cases, stopped to give baby jack updates to inquiring paralegals and secretaries, and was one conversation away from heading home when i felt it.  liquid.  on my chest.  i looked down.  houston, we had a problem.  apparently my body was telling me it was time for a jack snack because i had leaked through a nursing pad, a t-shirt and my sweater.  immediately i was horrified.  how long had this little scenario been playing out?  had everyone in the office noticed, but been too polite (or disgusted) to inform me that i was indeed geysering all over my clothes?  for the love of god!  i would have marched right into the office of my lone female colleague to round table the situation, except it being the day before her wedding, she was out of the office tending to important business involving programs and favors.  "now what?" i panicked.  should i just hightail it out of there and forego my meeting with the last attorney?  should i try to find some awkward way to use my purse as a shield over my leaky right boob?  the OCD part of me decided i had to finish all business as planned, so i opted for the purse shield and made my final stop.  i survived the conversation, leakage and all, and headed out to my car, where john and the little man were waiting.  the minute i got inside, i turned to john, burst out laughing, and pointed to "the situation" (who, as you now know, is not just a jersey shore character).  "look what happened!"  we both had a good laugh over it.
i'm just hoping that while we were finding some humor in the leaky event, everyone in my office wasn't gathering to discuss same.  ahhh well.  i'm sure it's not the last leak we'll have to plug.  cheers to breastfeeding!

all in all, i have to say, i'm having a good time being a mom.  john and i are just figuring out this whole parenting thing, but we're trying to take it all in stride, enjoy the precious moments, and laugh about the "crises averted."  a special thank you to little jack for being so patient with us.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

on having mah baby.

yes, that's right, everyone.  this is not a post about the misery that is the last few weeks of pregnancy because...  i am not pregnant anymore!  jack was born on wednesday, weighing in at 5lbs., 14 oz., 19.5 inches long.  at some point i promise a longer post on the story of his arrival, but, for now, the pictures will have to do.
little jack has already become his father's favorite tv watching companion...
and he also provides endless hours of entertainment for our two original babies, kingsley and gracie. (both dogs are enthralled by any whimper or cry he makes.  they stand guard at his bassinet.  gracie, particularly, is a little mama, and has taken it upon herself to assist in all things jack-related.)

anyway, just wanted to share the good news.  thanks for sticking with the blog reading even when it became months of endless complaining about swollen ankles and hands, and insane worries.

Monday, October 25, 2010

on being overly pregnant and stubborn.

a few months ago, my husband and i debated on whether we'd continue our tradition of hosting an oktoberfest-themed party for family and friends.  john's vote was a resounding "no;" he thought it was too close to the baby's arrival date, and too much for us to worry about.  he promised fuegerfest would be back at some point, but that this year, it was a definite no-go.  at first, i agreed with him.  it did seem like a lot to tackle in the last trimester, and husband is usually a tad more reasonable about these kinds of things.

but the more i thought about it, the more stubborn i became.  we needed to have this party.  i needed to prove to myself that no matter how pregnant i was, how miserable i felt, i was still the same person who enjoys planning/organizing/hosting creatively themed shin-digs for family and friends.  and so the me vs. john battle lines were drawn... and (you can see where this is going), i won.  at nine months pregnant, we hosted fuegerfest II.

while preparing for the event, i seriously thought i was going to cut my right hand off out of frustration.  really.  (but there's no need to rehash the carpal tunnel issues at this point.)  in fact, in one moment of desperation (after chopping apples for a good long while), i thought to myself, "curse you and your stupid pride!  why can't you ever listen to john and be reasonable!  you deserve every second of this numbing pain in your hand!" 

but a nice warm glass of apple cider and a short stroll around the block reminded me that i was not, in fact, going insane.  the smell of delicious baked goods permeated the house, and i remembered why i love fall, and why we ever thought of hosting this party anyway. 

it was a lovely day, and it was a great to spend time with wonderful family & friends.  i must admit, i was a little jealous about not getting to partake in the sampling of the delicious german brews, but i think i ate enough dessert to make up for it (calories wise).  my favorite dessert of the party was apfelstrudel kasekuchen (apple strudel cheesecake).  you can find the recipe here; it was aaaammmmaaazing.

my little nephew, michael paul, was the tiniest german (minus my little bean, in utero) in attendance, and he also happened to be the most popular guest.  what. a. doll.

another big hit was the arrival of some family friends... in traditional german lederhosen!  john joked that reinhardt and mary earned the honor of naming our firstborn as a result!

anyway, now that the food's been eaten...
and the biers drank, it's OFFICIALLY about time for my tiny (1/2) german bean to arrive.  c'mon little man!  we're oh so ready to meet you!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

tactical maneuvers.

i'm sorry if you're tired of hearing of my pregnancy woes.  i'm, frankly, sick of talking about them.  i'm at that stage where i've lost all patience, and every part of my body is failing me.

i've got some wicked pregnancy carpal tunnel in my right hand.  i've had some issues with carpal tunnel before (thanks three years of law school!), but my stylish wristbands aren't helping at all.  if i do anything (including type these few sentences), my hand goes completely numb.  apparently the remedy is avoiding repetitive movements and elevating my hands.

my ankles are retaining water.  apparently the remedy is elevating them.

my toe is recovering from it's little procedure.  apparently the remedy is elevating it.

dear lord, please tell me how i am supposed to sleep on my side, while also elevating my feet and hands?

any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

white flag.

today i had a little surgical procedure on my foot.

said procedure was necessitated by my refusal to accept that i can no longer wear my pointy toe work heels.

i am currently debating whether to wear teal blue crocks or black flip flops to court tomorrow.  (if you have a strong feeling either way, please let me know.)

is it any wonder that maternity and eternity sound so similar?  really.  i'm waving my white flag.  

Monday, September 27, 2010

on realizations.

hello, blogworld.  i have been thinking about writing this entry for awhile, but each time, thought better of it.  perhaps it's because if i actually type the words, it makes them real.  and true.  and then i can't take them back, or pretend that they're not my reality.  in the interest of keeping it real, however, i've decided to forge ahead.

last week was my very first jury trial.  it was alternately the scariest, most exhilarating time in my career.  i worked harder than ever before, and for longer hours than i thought were possible.  it was challenging and frightening and exciting and nervewracking, and at the end of it all, i was exhausted.  exhausted, but i accomplished something.  it was a great opportunity for me, and i am really pleased with the way it turned out.  i am proud of the work i did for the client, and i am proud that my colleagues saw that, too.

after the trial was over, i was speaking with the judge, and i happened to mention that this was my first jury trial.  he was surprised, and then said that i was pretty lucky to have gotten to try a case by myself so early on in my career.  i knew that, and made sure to remember that each time i felt like i couldn't look through another deposition or each time i felt like i was going to fall asleep on my closing argument outline.  this is what i wanted to do.  and i am doing it.

when the trial was over, i decided that i could stop neglecting my husband and spend some time with him.  because of the way the final day had gone, i had had a banana for lunch and was so hungry i was about to knaw on my sausage-like fingers, so instead of waiting at some fancy restaurant, we decided to meet at culver's.  (very classy, i admit, but shut up... they have amazing chicken salad)  as we were sitting there, i started reflecting on the week and the trial gone by and i finally allowed myself to think about THE THING that i had been avoiding thinking about since this trial prep began.

i can't have it all.  i CANNOT have it all.  I CANNOT HAVE IT ALL.

when i first began law school, i had these visions of myself wearing a perfectly tailored suit, every hair in its place, my nails manicured, my legs demurely crossed, juggling a baby in one hand and a trial brief in the other.  and i thought, "of course this is possible!"  i can do this.  i can be the one person who has the perfect career and is the perfect mom.  i can be the martha stewart meets marsha clark, and everyone can marvel at how well i'm managing both.  i can show up to court, and wow the judge with brilliantly reasoned arguments, then run up to my kid's school with homemade cookies i made "just because."  i mean, i'm a good multi-tasker.  in law school, i always took a full course load, worked 20-30 hours a week, wrote for law journal and planned a wedding.  so, i mean, yeah, this career mom thing?  i can totally do that.  no problem, easy peezy.

except that it's not.  i cannot have it all in the way i thought i could.  i can have some version of "it," but "it's" not going to look like i thought it was.  i might be wearing a tailored suit, but it's probably going to have some baby spit up on the sleeve.  and homemade cookies?  john's going to have to make them, or we're going to have to head to wal-mart for those sinfully delish "better than sex" variety.  saying, or rather typing this, makes me feel like a failure.  like i'm giving up on something.  i can't help but feel like that.  because throughout my whole life, i've always been good at juggling all the balls, or, as tim gunn would say, "making it work."  but it's time for a cold, hard reality check.  i'm going to be someone's mother in 6ish weeks.  and the reality of what that means, and how that will change my life and my career is starting to set in.

i don't know what i would have done if i had had to come home to a baby last week.  i asked two of the partners at my firm what they did when they had jury trials and young kids at home.  without hesitation, their answers were, "my wife took care of it, and i just made sure not to leave the office til the kids were asleep."  and this was okay with them.  it has to be okay with me.  i have to be okay with letting john pick up the slack in these situations.  it's not that he won't do it well.  this is my own struggle.  to let him take charge of the things that i would rather be doing.

it was easy enough to ignore john the past couple weeks.  and i don't mean that tongue-in-cheek.  while i felt bad about the hours i was working, i knew he understood, and he's an adult... it's not like he can't entertain himself while i'm engrossed in my work upstairs.  but to ignore a baby?  what if the baby doesn't get it?  what if the baby just feels neglected?  what if the baby grows up thinking that his mom chose work over him?  what if the the baby is grown, reflecting on his childhood, and he thinks, "yeah, my mom was a good lawyer, but i wish she had spent more time with me instead of working."  i. would. just. die.

these are the kinds of things that i lay awake at night wondering about.  i'm not thinking about getting through labor or managing breastfeeding.  i'm thinking 20 years down the road... will i have made all the right decisions?  will my kids understand why i chose the way i did?  will they appreciate the choices i made?  they're the jury i'm most worried about.

i've grown up in a time when i can honestly say (with the exception of a few ignorant comments by a few ignorant individuals), i've never been faced with sexism.  my parents always made sure i knew i could pursue any career path i wanted.  that they would support me whether i wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher or a stay-at-home mom.  i remember coming home from college on one of my breaks, talking with my dad about something, and we got to discussing the value of education.  and he was explaining that education is so much more than just a piece of paper, that the experiences i was having and the people i was meeting were just as important as the classes i was taking, and that, if after i graduated from college, got married and started a family, i wanted to stay at home and raise my kids, neither he nor my mom would be upset or disappointed or feel like i was "wasting" my college education.  i remember scoffing at the idea.  me?  a stay-at-home mom?  i was going to new york city, and i was going to live in some high rise apartment.  i was destined to be some powerful litigator, working 90 hour weeks, commanding an impressive salary that i was just too damn busy to spend.  well, fast forward a few years, and that's not exactly the life i'm leading.  my point is, i was taught to dream big, and i did.  i set goals and i accomplished them.  and that's something to be celebrated.  but in the midst of celebrating, no one stopped me to say, accomplishments lead to big middle-of-the-night dilemmas.  would it have stopped me from setting the goals i did?  i doubt it.  would it have changed the career path i was on?  not likely.  i'm just recognizing that on the way to getting to where i am, i never really stopped to wonder how it was all going to come together.

i guess i thought i'd work like my dad did, but still get to have the relationships with my kids that my stay-at-home mom has.  but, i realize now, i can't have it all.  i'm not always going to be there the way my mom was for me and my brothers and sisters.  it seems simple enough to say, even think, even type.  but when i start to really ponder about what that means, it makes me want to cry.  i am not going to be the one who's there when my kids get home from school.  i won't get to hear about their days the minute they come charging in the door.  i am not going to be the one who gets the phone call that they're coming home sick, and i have to take the day to comfort them.  maybe i won't be the one they call out for in the middle of the night.  don't get me wrong.  i am so lucky that john is able to be home.  and i am so glad he will share a special relationship with our baby that a lot of fathers don't get to have.  but the flip side of that is... i don't get that.  i'm giving it up.  and i HAVE to be okay with that.

i can spend my time regretting my choices and hating where i'm at.  and if i choose that route, i'll suck at work AND at home.  i have to accept and embrace my situation.  afterall, i've paid a lot of lip service to our impending arrangement when asked about it by family and friends.  "oh i think it's going to be great to have john home" or "john's going to take care of this and this and this and this, and i'm going to work."  when it comes to implementing the plan, though, how the hell does anyone know if it's going to pan out the way we're thinking it will?  what if this is a big flop and i can't handle it?  what if i can't deal with missing my baby?  what if i get jealous and resent the fact that john gets to spend his days with our son while i'm at work?

i usually refuse to consider these options.  i tell myself that the decision's been made.  it's a decision we've discussed and planned for countless times, so damn it, there's no reason to rehash it.  but when i do let myself consider it for a minute, i am flooded with a barrage of questions that don't seem to stop.  what if? what if?  what if?  WHAT IF?

i don't know how to answer any of these questions.  i don't know that anyone can answer them... today, tomorrow, or ten years down the line.  maybe the answers don't come until the babies are raised, happily embarking on new adventures with their own families, and john and i are sitting in some quaint cafe in europe, retired and reflecting on the fact that we done good.  at least i hope that's where this is headed.  because the other option... that i spend the next 20 years second guessing every step of this journey... is just too overwhelming to accept right now.

i have admitted to myself, you guys and everyone else who knows me that i am, indeed, a worrier.  i like to have a plan and i like that plan to be set in stone months before it ever needs to be implemented.  so maybe you can write this blog entry off as the fault of an anxious mind of a lady that's a little tired of being so pregnant.  maybe that's not so far off.  but, in the event you can relate or offer some reassurance, that would also be much appreciated.

Monday, September 13, 2010

on lounge pants and crying at the chinese buffet.

i hope i can say this without jinxing anything, but it's officially "lounge pants" weather, right?  some people anxiously await football season, some just call it "fall," and around here, it's lounge pants time.  for as long as i've known my husband, he seems to be most content in what he refers to as "lounge pants."  to be honest, before we started dating, i'd refer to these things as pajama pants or sweatpants, but john loves his lounge pants and the moniker stuck. 

now while i fully support my lounge pants-wearing husband, i generally prefer to be a little more pulled together during out-in-public forays.  unless i'm hungover (which i'm not & haven't been for a while, ya'all) or out of town, i usually opt for a nice pair of jeans and a hoodie for my girl about town errand days.  i have this nagging worry that i'll bump into a client or a co-worker while out, and then, no matter how competent and professional i want to appear later, they'll always just seem me as missus lounge pants. 

well, the above used to be true.  i happened upon a lovely pair of maternity lounge pants, and if i thought i could get away with it, i think i'd wear them to the office.  (with a blazer, of course!)  we are in brand new territory, folks.  on saturday night, we had dinner with some friends at what i would consider the most upscale of the mexican restaurants in our town.  now granted, the place boasts a menu of entrees that cost approximately $10, so it's not exactly 5 star, but it's certainly not on the level of some of my old mexican haunts from college.  anyway, i put on lounge pants for said excusion and never thought twice.  it didn't occur to me until the next day that i had attended a "social event" while wearing lounge pants.  is this the same as grocery shopping with my hair in curlers?  because that might be where i'm headed next.  (ok, not actually, since i don't wear my hair in curlers, but some faux pax equivalent is probably on the horizon.)  maybe this doesn't seem like that big of a deal to anyone, and maybe it's not.  before i got pregnant, and in the beginning stages of the first trimester, i set a lot of "goals" for myself.  "i'm never going to..." and "i absolutely won't..." or "of course, i'll still..."  and it's sort of funny how differently i feel now.  wearing lounge pants to a mexican restaurant isn't the end of the world.  just don't tell my former self. (or stacey london, for that matter).  rules?  well, they're meant to be broken.  and all i can say as we move further into trimester three, is that you have to be flexible. 

...and more new territory... crying. all. the. time.  for. any. reason. whatsoever.  or for no reason at all.  last night a few things happened.  i decided that i was tired of pretending my feet were exactly the same size as they've been for the past 10 or so years of my life, and john and i made the trek to target to see if i could find some plain black pumps in 1/2 size larger.  i don't know if it was the brewing storm, the salty mexican food the night before or what-have-you, but every shoe i was trying on, in every size was cramping my pinky toes and making me feel crazy.  i tried a shoe with a more rounded edge, which i thought might work better as compared to my preferred pointy toe style, and i tried on a 7.  (i usually wear a 6.5).  no dice.  i grabbed a 7.5; it felt just as tight.  the 8 was uncomfortable, too.  at that point, i started to feel like i was going to cry.  i was uncomfortable, there were shoes randomly scattered all around the aisle (not from me, from previous messy shoppers... and i HATE trying to shop amidst chaos), and i was trying to convince myself that a hideous shoe wasn't so bad so i could proceed to buy it and wear it every day for the next 2ish months.  all of the sudden i felt overwhelmed, and thank god john was there to talk me back from the ledge.  he suggested we check out video cameras (since he is insisting we need one to document the arrival and milestones of the little one).  after a jaunt around the electronics section, we promptly left and john convinced me that what everyone (he, me and little fetus) needed was some chinese buffet.  at this point, i am powerless to fight him on anything so we head over to asian king buffet (which john informs me is a misnomer as there are no kings in asia, only emperors).  we're having a lovely little dinner, when all of the sudden i start thinking about my beloved family and friends and how nice the weekend had been (my sisters hosted my baby shower, and man, was i showered!  the overwhelming outpouring of love & support from my loved ones is still mind-boggling), and proceed to start crying at the buffet.  of course john thinks this is because i didn't really want to go out to dinner, so he's apologizing and asking what's wrong and telling me he's sorry and that we can leave.  i'm half laughing, half crying now, and the whole scene is just getting more and more ridiculous.  and in between laughter and tears (which probably sounded really horrible to the other restaurant patrons; sorry, guys!), i'm explaining to john that we've hit a new pregnancy milestone: crying at the chinese buffet. 
so there you have them.  my personal pregnancy milestones.  lest you think i'm not exuberantly awaiting the arrival of our little peanut: i assure you... (just like in saved by the bell) we're so excited, we're so excited, we're. so. scared.  haha.  in the midst of all these weird changes and uncomfortable moments, there are amazing times where i am awed by the furious kicking of this tiny little person, by fleeting images of holding my son (in about 2 months, or less!) and many upcoming visions of the memories i'll create with my new little family.  i would be completely fake & off base, though, if i neglected to mention these other milestones (see above).  in the interest of being completely honest, there you have 'em...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

parade of horribles.

as they say, ignorance is bliss, right?  well, if it's okay with everyone, i'd like to remain blissfully unaware.  (yes, this is in regard to pregnancy related information).

now, i'm not being naive.  i've researched the things that seem important to me right now (the hidden secrets of cloth diapering, a complete and detailed list of all the baby things you absolutely do not need, and some do's and don't's associated with breastfeeding).  but i'm not too keen on delving into every single, solitary fact and/or detail associated with being pregnant, giving birth or raising the baby after he arrives.

i'm sort of a pregnant procrastinator, truth be told.  i mean, we've been slowly putting the nursery together, piece by piece, and we could probably kick it into high gear and finish it off pretty quickly.  and i think we have most of the basic essentials we need to welcome baby home.  and i do have a living will, advance directive and durable healthcare power of attorney (while sitting at the doctor's office during my glucose test, i texted a work colleague and asked her if she could finalize these documents for me before the baby comes.  she immediately called back in a panic, asking if everything was alright.  i suppose that might be worrisome; my legal mind was just going about business as usual).  but the list of things we haven't done seems so much more numerous than those we've completed.  we haven't toured the hospital, we haven't taken any classes, we haven't decided on a name, and we haven't filled out a "birthing plan."  and that's fine by me.  as i said, i like the whole ignorance is bliss thing, at this point.

so, why is the rest of the world insisting on sharing gruesome pregnancy tidbits with me?  seriously.  i can't go anywhere these days without someone sharing some god-awful birthing story or their tragic experience with breastfeeding.  thanks for your efforts, people, but i'm fairly certain it's not going to be that helpful to me to know that your next door neighbor needed 4 stitches following the birth of her first son.  can you believe that last week someone actually shared this story about a friend of a friend of a friend who lost her baby at 33 weeks, even though, up to that point, she had had a completely normal pregnancy?  ok, thanks, lady... add that to the list of things i need to worry about before i fall asleep tonight (1. are those interrogatory answers finished?  2. did i pay the electric bill?  3. is someone going to sue me for malpractice? 4. will my baby up and die on me tomorrow?)

today's unnecessary pregnancy tidbit was brought to me courtesy of some of my bosses.  a few of us were milling about the office later than we should have been, discussing i-can't-even-remember-what, when the talk turned to giving birth.  (and with an office full of male colleagues, except for my female partner in crime, i'm not really sure why this happened, or always seems to happen.)  anyway, i was informed by one of the partners that many women bring home the placenta.  they use it in their gardens.  or they plant a tree with it.  or... [cross my heart. swear to god.  this is what i was told.] they. eat. it.  they eat their placenta.  my first question was, "in america?"  maybe that's naive, ignorant, or worse, but i guess there's this whole part of our culture about which i know nothing.  and, really, i was happy to know nothing of the people out there eating their own placentas.  i mean, i think there's a word for that, and i think it starts with a C and ends with annabilism.  no, really.  if you think i'm being judgmental, i'm sorry.  i just don't get it.  the human body is crazy and amazing and i have an appropriate amount of what i would consider reverence and awe over it, but eating a by-product?  i guess that's where i draw the line.

i'm a worrier.  i think about things that shouldn't even cross my mind for months or years to come.  i mean, i think about things i'm going to need to instill in my high school age child, who, as you know, has not yet even made his appearance in the world.  but there are some things that even i can't condone thinking about.  and one of them is placenta-eating.

here's my sincere apology if this post has offended you.  you're welcome to fry up a nice big pan of placenta, if that's what floats your boat.  me?  i can't be sure, but after giving birth, i'm thinking a nice steak, and an ice cold miller lite.  but again, that's just me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

it's the little things.

there are a great many things on which i'd love to write, but i just don't have the time right now.  for now, though, i have a very special thank you in mind.  this one goes out to...

my ankles.

for the last 2-3 weeks, i've been battling water retention issues in my lower extremeties.  it has not been particularly fun.  as you may remember, i can't wear my suits to work, and i've slowly accepted that, but no heels?  i'm sorry, i just can't give up the heels, too.  i can only take so much, my friends.  however, the other option, squeezing swelled up feet into formerly comfortable dress shoes... well, that's not so appetizing either. 

well, a concerted effort to drink as much water as possible, coupled with extra exercise and a weather shift to cooler temperatures has brought my ankles back down to normal size.  i can comfortably wear my precious, size 6 1/2 bandolinos without incident, thank you very much.

in a world filled with hearings and court appearances and temporary motions and jury trials, i needed this victory.  i am now off to court, approximately 2 inches taller, thanks to my beloved heels.  did i ever think i'd feel grateful for the day i could wear my normal work heels?  of course not.  but it's the little things, i tell you.  savor the little victories.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the big D.

i realize that if everyone were to divorce-proof their marriages, my work life would be a lot less busier.  at any rate, after spending the morning drawing up visitation schedules and joint parenting plans for clients who are paying me to dissolve their marital bonds, i found this article appropriate.  and spot on.


Monday, August 23, 2010

ring around the rosey... UPDATE

in case you've all been sitting on pins and needles since my last post, i figured i'd share the joyous news: i have successfully removed my wedding ring.  it, and my finger, are both intact, though the latter seems a little worse for the wear.  thanks to a lot of dish soap and a little help from gravity, i can now breathe a bit easier.  however, a new dilemma has surfaced.  i am constantly reminded (by waitresses, courthouse clerks, grocery market tellers) that i look approximately 15-20 years old.  at this point in my life (in my third trimester, looking very obviously prego), it would be nice to be able to wear my wedding ring and band as a security blanket that proclaims my real age and "adulthood" to all wandering & judging eyes.  (i mean, i don't necessarily need them thinking the mtv cameras are waiting around the next corner as we film the latest scene from "16 & pregnant.")  but after the rigamarole experienced getting the ring off, i don't think it's wise to attempt to wear them again at least until we're officially on to cooler weather.  i told john our mission tonight is to find a very cheap band in a larger size that i can wear for the duration.  he laughed and asked if this counted as one of my birthday week gifts.  (yes, i get a whole week!)  "yes, that's right, dear.  for my birthday, i'd like the cheapest piece of jewelry you can find that will accomodate my pregnant, sausage-like fingers."  now that, my friends, is what true love & romance is all about!  

ring around the rosey...

yesterday evening, chaos entered the usually (ok, that's a lie) calm interior of the hodge podge lodge.  my wedding ring would not come off my ring finger.  i tried soaking the hand in ice water, using lotion, and spraying it with windex (no, i'm not greek, but i did read about this allegedly "tried and true" remedy on the web).  john tried some tricks with some string, but to no avail.  the thing is stuck on my hand.  while the rational side of me knows that this is probably due to the god awful heat and humidity coupled with the fact that i decided to make homemade spaetzle (so i was stuck in a stifling kitchen for most of the day), i am still panic-stricken.  i am not in any sort of pain and the general concensus among my go-to mommies seems to be to leave the ring until cooler weather.  continuing to fiddle with it will probably only increase the swelling and ensure that someone will have to cut the thing off (which my fragile emotional state could not, at this point, bear).   still, this seems to be some sort of pregnancy milestone about which i'd rather not have to worry.

however, i suppose it'll all be worth it when, soon, i have my very own little man at which to gaze adoringly.  introducing, my new nephew, michael paul.

i know what you're thinking.  "did you steal that picture from some precious baby ad?"  no, in fact, i did not.  my nephew is just ridiculously good-looking.  he's a teeny tiny model (how could he not be?  he takes after his aunt, clearly!)  our family (on my husband's side) has been blessed with this miniature joy... who was born august 13.  he's a little over one week old, but has somehow managed to capture the hearts of everyone he meets.  (imagine the power!  not even awake, but still able to wrap everyone around his little finger!)  i am quite possibly the proudest aunt there ever was.  for real.

the little peanut kept everyone in suspense for a good two weeks, as he hemmed and hawed about making his grand debut.  when we finally got the call that he was on his way, it seemed like the 6 or 7 hours of additional waiting took an eternity.  then the little mister arrived... and we were on our way to meet him.  uncle johnny finally held a real live baby, and i think both of us got just a little bit more excited (if that's even possible) for our own little guy to arrive... soon! 

the arrival of little MPF was also a great end to a week that had started out a bit more somber.  john's grandfather passed away after a long battle with cancer.  it was an honor to have been given the opportunity to say good-bye to a man who so loved his family and set such a wonderful example for us all.  pa always made you feel like you were the most important person in the room.  he would eagerly listen to our stories of new adventures and plans with a contented smile on his face, and when it was his turn to reply, would exclaim "how wonderful!"  he was a precious man, and someone i feel blessed to have had in my life.  we will miss him dearly, and we will treasure the wonderful memories we have of him.  i am sure he's watching over us all, smiling over his adorable new great-grandson. 

the monumental changes of the past few weeks have, of course, impacted my pregnant and emotional self.  i suppose it's just been another big reminder to treasure the times you have with your loved ones and to live loudly in each moment you're given.  hold that bitty baby just a little longer, and squeeze your grandparents just a little tighter.  a wonderful week to each of you,


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

paranoia, paranoia, everybody's coming to get ya...

on monday night, i ran over to jc penney on a whim.  i had had a store credit card from there for like, months and months and months, and in the process of cleaning out my purse/wallet, i found it.  i thought maybe, just maybe they might have a few maternity options i could waste the credit on... and it turned out, i was right.  my local jcp was having a major clearance on maternity stuff, and even better, i found some options that were both professional and didn't immediately make me want to vomit.  i found a very cute blue top that had only the slight markings of a maternity shirt and actually looked like something i'd wear pre-pregnancy.  i was ecstatic.

on tuesday, i bounded out of bed, exuberant and excited about the new blue shirt.  (ok, that's a lie.  tuesday was actually the first and only time since my debut into the real world that i turned off my alarm and "overslept" until 7:15 a.m.)  but anyway, i got up, put the blue shirt on, and proceeded to the office.

i returned home for lunch, and while sharing the midday meal with my husband, he remarked, "oh, hey, i like your shirt.  it looks nice on you."  i was immediately suspicious.
"what's wrong with it?" i quizzed him.  "i actually liked this shirt and thought it was nice.  do i look ridiculous?"
"umm, no.  i said, i like it.  it's nice!"  he replied, obviously exasperated.
"why would you say that to me?!?" i moaned.  "now i'm going to be worrying about this for the rest of the day."

upon further reflection over this exchange, i have realized that yes, i am ridiculous.  why is it that we (or at least me) are so hesitant to accept a genuine compliment, but are so quick to believe every negative review of ourselves?  dude, my husband liked the blue shirt.  later, he said it matched my eyes.  he was being sweet.  i was being a paranoid, pregnant you-know-what.

anyway, here's to compliments.  if someone gives one, take it... no strings attached!  happy wednesday, ya'all!

Monday, August 2, 2010

here's where she meets prince charming.... but she won't discover that it's him... til chapter 3!

you know that scene from disney's beauty and the beast where belle discovers the library in the castle?  there are hundreds of thousands of millions of books, and she's overcome with the wonder of having so many treasures right at her fingertips.  well, i totally get that. 

[well, i totally got that before law school came and took the pleasure out of reading.]

anyway, i've always loved to read, and growing up, my christmas wish list was a long list of books i was dying to break into versus hot new toys.  in preparing for the birth of the little bean, john and i have been discussing must-reads to add to our future son's library.  we've had some good laughs remembering our favorites from childhood (john's "elephant and the bad baby" circa 1968 is a must-read, folks!).  we've (okay, i've) also shed a few tears following some of these sessions (can anyone make it through "love you forever" without crying?) 

admittedly, it's been a few years since i've really delved into the world of children's literature.  classics like those wonderfully illustrated jan brett books and shel silverstein gems are on my mind, but i'm thinking that there are probably a lot of really great kid's books out there of which i know nothing.  i'm totally taking a page from my dad's book (pun intended) on this one.  my dad always opened his checkbook for book purchases.  whenever there were book orders or book fairs or any other book-what-have-you's, dad was a big supporter in letting us buy to our hearts' desires.  he thought reading was important, and i am so grateful to him and my mom for this philosophy.  it's something i want to pass on to my little one, too.  however, i'm hitting a roadblock since over the past few years, i've spent any free time (not poring over legal texts) reading about serial killers, new orleans and mobsters.  so... i'm asking for your help.  what childhood books do you remember/love?  what new books are shaking up the kid's literature scene these days?  what books are must-haves for baby bean's soon-to-be expanding library???  lay it on me -- my new amazon credit card is just waiting to be put to good use!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

break it down now: a farewell ode to the bar exam.

monday was my anniversary.  i spent it like any other young couple probably spends their married anniversaries: studying for a bar exam, awaiting the beginning of the "strongly recommended" orientation session, silently cussing my pregnant bladder and, of course, running back and forth to the bathroom.  just another day in paradise.  (sidenote: i had a doctor's appt. that morning, and at said appointment, i discussed my concerns about my overactive bladder with the doc.  she looked at me and laughed, "you're pregnant, stephanie!"  and i was all like, "yeah, i know, but is this normal?  i mean, i don't know how a person could physically go to the bathroom more than this."  she assuaged my fears about gestational diabetes, and blamed the whole thing on the heat wave we've been experiencing.)

but anyway, i am not going to complain about taking the bar exam.  it was mostly my choice to take another bar exam, so there's no need for any whining.  i will, however, take this opportunity to share some observations i came into this week.

#1 open bar vs. open registration?  i am certain that some examinees missed the part of the letter where it said this was open registration, not cocktail hour.  there's really no need to put on thick layers of make-up, a short, slinky dress and high heels for a bar exam registration session.  we know you've spent the past two months holed up in your house/apt/condo/local library feverishly taking practice exams and memorizing outlines.  we know this is your one chance to show off your new "i'm so nervous about the bar exam, i lost 10 lbs." physique.  we know you spent the last of your remaining student loan funds on the sexy little number you're traipsing around in (treasure it because it's going to end up costing you 10 times that much by the time you pay back that loan, girlfriend!).  still, put your hair in a ponytail, throw on a worn college drinking team t-shirt and a pair of running shorts, and get in line.  this is not a miss america pageant.  you are not going to find your next serious boyfriend at the bar exam. 

#2 too cool for school.  at every exam, and thus, at every registration, you will find the group of examinees who want to make sure everyone around them knows how little they know, how silly they think this whole thing is, how much they have NOT studied, how absolutely "wasted" they got last night, how hungover they've been all summer, and how ready they are for this to be over so they can commence preparing for the february examination ("'cuz like they're totally not going to like pass this" (girl) or "dude, i'm so f'ed on this exam, dude, it's like, see you in february, dude.")  these people are the average to better-than average students in the room, and they're going to pass the damn test.  they just really want everyone around them to know how cool they are.  so when they get their passing results and you see their name on the list of newly admitted attorneys, you can remember how they "barely" even studied for the MBE.  wow.  they must be so freakishly smart that they could just remember all the exceptions to the exceptions, despite a two month diet of miller lite & jagerbombs!  suuuuuure.
#3 nervous guy(s).  at each bar exam i've taken, i've always been able to find the token nervous guy.  during bar exam #1, he was sitting next to me, chattering obnoxiously, but sweating so profusely that i immediately felt bad for him, so i commenced praying that he would pass because he needed this victory.  i saw a few nervous guys at bar exam #2 (they had not passed the first time around), and they were pacing, reading flashcards and mumbling to themselves.  at this session, nervous guy was standing behind me in line.  he tried to make some small talk related to being pregnant, "ohhh man, i'd never want to be you right now!"  (i didn't know what he was referring to, until he explained.)  i can't help but be overcome with emotion about these nervous guys.  i just want them to do well on the exam.  they're so friendly and sweet, and they just want this experience to be over with.  i feel for them.  and i wish them all the best on their respective bar exams this week.

#4 law school clique reunion.  when i took my first bar exam, i was taking it in a state where i did not attend law school, so i didn't know a single soul at the testing site.  however, most people were there with their law school buddies, slapping fives, talking old memories and discussing important business or, in other words, who's been hooking up with who post-graduation.  in this case, a group of couples descended upon the girl in front of me in line and began discussing "HIM."  "did you see HE'S here?"  "oh my god, really?"  "i totally turned the other way because i did not want HIM to start talking to me."  "i know, right?"  i was trying to get to the bottom of the annoying, terrible things HE had done, but it came time to move ahead in line, and i missed all the juicy gossip.  the group planed to have dinner in the hotel restaurant later, though, and for a brief second, i contemplated scrapping anniversary dinner plans with john, so i could sit near them and catch up on the news!

the orientation session.  first of all, what is wrong with people?  am i taking the bar with a bunch of illiterates?  ok, presumably we have all mastered at least basic reading and writing skills (since we've all graduated from accredited law schools).  surely this means that we can read and comprehend the exam instructions given earlier, right?  perhaps not.  the hand-out clearly states that only gum, mints and one water bottle/beverage is allowed into the exam site.  however, very anxious ginger kid excitedly asks, "can we bring a small bag of chips?" answer: "no."  "can we store snacks outside the room so that we're able to access them if we leave the room?" answer: "no."  "can we go to our hotel room during the exam to retrieve snacks?"  EXCUSE ME?!?  is this kindergarten?  do you need some designated nap time and a blankey, too?  the exam is broken into two segments of three hours each.  perhaps not the most pleasant way to spend most of the day, but certainly manageable.  equally annoying was the part where the lady conducting the session says something cute like "everyone breathe" or "MOST of you will pass," and everyone laughs as if we're sitting front and center at some sold-out comedy show.  c'mon people.  the woman giving us these instructions is not grading your exam.  there's no need to suck up.  even more annoying was the kid who, despite the BIG BOLD WARNING  on the handout given earlier that forbids the presence of cell phones and other electronic devices, asked "can we please bring cell phones into the exam room if we agree to keep them away from our person?"  are you kidding me?  you're just so important that you need to have your cell phone or blackberry in the room while you take the most important exam of your life?  really? 

i have my own ideas about things to keep in mind when taking a bar exam.  and i guess a lot of you probably don't care about this, but i include the following tips (which may be helpful for other stressful situations) anyway:

TIP #1 (the most important).  bring a husband, wife, significant other, TOLERABLE family member or friend with you.  you might be thinking that it's go time, you'd rather buckle down solo style in a hotel room for 48-72 hours and just get through this nightmare.  ok, step back from the ledge.  you need perspective.  you need someone who doesn't understand what you're going through to convince you that you do know this stuff, that you will pass this, and that everything is going to be fine.  because it is.  but you won't trust yourself or fellow bar examinees on any of this.  you need someone not connected to the situation to pull you out of the corner where you're bawled up, rocking back and forth, crying over your MBE practice book.  this person will tell you you're being ridiculous.  this person will convince you it's better to have a beer, eat a nice dinner and take a little dip in the pool.  and this person will be right, which is why he/she is a must-have during exam time.  (practically speaking, this person also serves as your own personal assistant during this time, making sure you have lunches waiting promptly at break time and running any other last minute errands you might need.) 

TIP #2.  do not look up answers to questions that you remember after the exam is over.  i did this.  it was a mistake.  this is why i can tell you without reservation: when time is called, put the exam out of your head.  there is no reason to torture yourself with the memory of what you should have written, the answer choice you should have picked.  you have to let it all go.  if you cannot do this on your own, you should enlist the help of your companion (see above), who can secure lots of alcohol or other necessities to aid in this task.  am i advocating getting drunk after the exam?  of course i am.  you don't need to get all 21st birthday crazy, there's no need to take exotic shots or make bad decisions you'll regret later.  but the right amount of alcohol designed to fade the memories of the past few days is important.  because the bar exam is just something you have to get through.  it's not your wedding day or the birth of your child or college graduation.  you do not need to etch the memory of the experience in your brain to keep replaying at later intervals.  (what are you, some S&M freak?) 

TIP #3.  internalize the concept.  i think a lot of people taking the bar exam don't see the forest through the trees.  and i totally get that.  because there are so many goddamn trees to worry about, who has time to step back and look at the forest?  but to preserve sanity, you have to do this.  the bar exam is just a test.  it doesn't test you on things that you need to know to practice law.  the results don't have anything to do with your self worth.  you can't let yourself get so wrapped up in this process that you lose sight of who you are, where you've been and where you're going.  it will take an enormous amount of work to prepare for the exam.  (i am not telling you to slack.  you do need to put in the work.)  but you also need to realize that this. is. just. something. you. have. to. get. through.  you will study hard for about 2 months, it will be miserable, you will take the exam, and it will be over.  there is no way around it.  you just need to be prepared and know that everyone has to do this.  and they do.  and it's fine. 

TIP #4.  do not be an annoying bitch when you get to the exam.  with the exception of the sweet nervous guys i mentioned above, don't be like any of the other groups of examinees.  be kind to everyone you meet (they're all just as nervous as you are, regardless of what they're saying/doing), smile a lot, volunteer information (if you know it) and pay it forward.  you don't need to get ahead by being an ass.  there are enough a-hole lawyers in the world as it is.  the bar exam is not an opportunity for you to become one of those.

TIP #5.  do not acronym drop.  the BarBri prep program is helpful, and you'll learn lots of tricks and pneumonic devices to help you remember the ungodly amount of crap you have to memorize for the exam.  "frank sinatra didn't prefer orville redenbacher" is one device i'll never forget (as much as i might try).  anyway, while these tricks are cute and useful for you, please do not come into the exam orientation/registration spouting off these fancy acronyms in an effort to bolster your confidence and freak out your neighbors.  you're just being an annoying bitch (see above).  i remember at the iowa session, i sat at a table of valley girls who were throwing out their favorite acronyms, "AIR," or "SEXYBUNS," among other annoying monikers.  i returned to my hotel room, defeated, about to sob to john about how i didn't have any fancy tricks and i didn't know what air meant, or what sexybuns was supposed to help me remember.  john rolled his eyes at me, told me i was ridiculous and reminded me that he was hungry and it was time for dinner (see tip #1, above).  you need all the good karma you can get, so don't allow yourself to be the reason people are back at their hotel rooms sobbing and getting hysterical.

TIP #6.  treasure the lull.  in between the time you take the bar exam and the time you receive your results and are ultimately sworn in, you might be consumed with worrying about whether you're really going to pass.  instead, you should enjoy the time when you're just a non-practicing attorney.  you won't experience that lull again until you're retired.  soon you will be busy all the time, a mess of files covering your desk, needy clients calling at all hours of the day with their own ideas about how their cases should be handled.  you'll spend a lot of time feeling slightly to horrendously overwhelmed, and you might find yourself wishing for some downtime.  treasure the lull, while you can.

this has been my written ode to the bar exam.  fare thee well.  i've taken three of you, and i can say with certainty, i'm DONE.  if this were a bad relationship where we kept breaking up and getting back together, this would be the moment where my friends have this intervention with me, and i realize i have to kick your sorry ass to the curb!  for real!  we're through!  thanks to all my family & friends who have been so supportive and encouraging over the past year-ish.  love to you all!

Friday, July 23, 2010

the world according to my clients.

i wish i lived in the world invented by the overactive imaginations of my clients.  no, really.  where a biased (in their favor) sense of what's right and just reigns supreme, everyone answers their calls on the first ring, and no one ever sends a bill for services rendered. 

i wish i could share with you some wisdom i've gleaned from clients this week, but, unfortunately it's all protected by that pesky attorney-client privilege "thing."  anyway, suffice it to say, it has been a long week. 

yesterday, i was hit with the realization that i am an attorney.  i am doing things that are affecting people's lives.  people trust me and expect me to get them from point a to point b.

this was a paralyzing thought.

i immediately dialed my friend and colleague at her extension and asked her to come down the hall to my office.  she obliged.  i had a semi nervous breakdown/panic attack, which she assured me was completely normal, and welcomed me to the practice of law.

i guess it's exciting to be at that stage where i have my own files, and i'm making the decisions about what to do and how to handle any and all crises that arise.  on the other hand, it is exceedingly stressful, and i have begun waking up at night, wondering if i've dotted all my i's and crossed all my t's.  it's also semi-intimidating to be practicing with lawyers who are more than double my age, and have been practicing law for longer than i've been alive.  this is all complicated by the fact that i can't even fit into a power suit to give myself some false sense of confidence (see my maternity clothes rant post). 

when john and i took our euro-trip whirlwind tour after the bar exam last year, we spent a day on germany's highest mountain peak, the zugspitze.  it was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed the sights immensely (especially germany's highest biergarten!)  on a whim, we also decided to climb to the very tip top of the mountain, so we could touch the little cross monument designating the actual tallest part of the peak.  i had not expected that we were going mountain climbing (we took a ski lift up), so i was wearing a pair of flats from the gap.  not exactly hiking grade.  anyway, john, as per usual, pressured me and convinced me that i'd always regret not doing this, so we climbed in a single file line to this peak.  (it was a very disorganized process and people speaking languages i didn't recognize were grabbing at my legs, trying to hold on.  there was nothing protecting any of us from falling down the side of the mountain, and it was literally the most nervewracking, frightening half hour of my life).  but anyway, we made it.  we posed for a picture with the cross, and for two seconds i forgot about how dangerous this whole scenario was, while i smiled triumphantly.  as soon as the picture was taken, i looked down and immediately panicked, "oh my god.  we could FALL. ALL. THE. WAY. DOWN. THERE." 

that is sort of how i felt yesterday. 

the silver lining is that my malpractice insurance is paid up.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

on being "normal."

last night, while sewing another "hooter hider" (i seriously LOVE that they're called that) for my very pregnant sister-in-law, john informs me that he's listing some items on craigslist.  i had recently been telling him that we needed to de-clutter before the little man arrives, so being the thoughtful, attentive husband he is, i'm sure he was just demonstrating active listening.

now, don't get me wrong.  if you know me at all, you know i love a good deal, and i have nothing against buying used merchandise for a good price.  (i've found many a treasure at thrift stores, antique stores and garage sales!)  however, craigslist in my little town seems... a little off.  it seems perfectly acceptable in larger cities like chicago, and i know my chi-town friends have scored many a deal after persuing their regional site, but here, it just seems like we better leave that idea to a larger metropolis.  honestly, the people who list on craigslist in my iowa town seem to have a really inflated idea of what their stuff is worth, and it's always cheap crap that you could buy brand new at wal-mart for less.  so, i'm just not a fan of my local craigslist.

but more than that, since i've started doing some court appointed work, i've become frightened that craigslist transactions might force relationships with some with whom i shouldn't interact.  i don't know.  maybe i'm being irrational.

well, anyway, i warned john to meet any potential buyers in well-lighted, public areas during the day and to accept only cash.  he shrugged my concerns off and told me i was being paranoid and that "of course" he planned to accept only cash. 

today he got an email from someone interested in purchasing all of his wares.  he's, of course, excited about this and eagerly shares the news.  me?  well, i react exactly how i expected i would.  overly cautious.  and suspiciously.  totally normal.

me: do you have this guy's name and contact information, john?
john: yes.  he e-mailed me back.
me: ok, well, i'm going to look him up on iowa courts online to make sure he's not a felon or something.  (*note: john is not selling firearms.)
john: stephanie, he works at a local computer technology firm.
me: i'll tell you what he does.  what is his name?
john: mike *****.
(i sign onto the public access court website to discover that buyer has a failure to wear seatbelts charge, a failure to control his vehicle charge that was dismissed and a failure to stop at intersections charge that was also dismissed). 
me: well, he seems to be a little negligent when it comes to operating his vehicle, but otherwise, fine.  just be careful. 

do other people do things like this, too?  i'm going to safely assume the answer to that question is no.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

on being a lady.

i've always wanted to head to new orleans for mardi gras.  it just hasn't happened... yet.  but someday!  i'm intrigued by the new orleans culture, and i've read several books about the city that have left me yearning for a NOLA vacay someday.  but until my future forays into the garden district, i'm just a simple gal from the midwest.  a gal who's not so much all about exposing my bits n' pieces in public.

now when my mother-in-law insisted that john and i get to registering for baby things, i eagerly started off on what i assumed would be a fun adventure.  within minutes, i was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of "stuff" available.  did i need a bouncer?  a swing?  a jumper?  an exersaucer?  a bumbo?  a boppy?  oy vey.  the list of "must haves" listed on "start your first baby registry" guides seemed endless.  but, at the insistence of some very persuasive relatives, we forged on, trying to sensibly and practically pick the things we thought we'd need.

while picking items, i, of course, consulted some expert mamas who had gone through the process a few times before.  by and large, they all said that a lot of the bigger ticket, supposedly necessary items were bulky, impractical and not as helpful as retailers would have expectant moms believe.  however, several of these moms recommended the hooter hider or bebe au lait.  in english, please?  that's a nursing cover.

i found lots of cute specimens online.

after a little consideration, i decided the nursing covers (selling for around $35-$40) seemed like a modified apron.  i wondered whether i could perhaps make my own for less.  aaaaaaannnnnd, one trip to joann's, $4, and about 30 minutes later, i had myself my very own nursing cover.

(please excuse the dark circles under my eyes)

as you can (maybe) see from the not-so-helpful pictures, the nursing cover is awfully similar to an apron (with different dimensions).  the only real difference is the addition of some corset boning at the top to push the fabric away from the baby underneath, allowing mama to watch what's going on with the feeding process.  

if you want specific dimensions, let me know.  this was seriously SO easy (like i said -- it took me about 30 minutes).  it would be a great addition to a baby shower gift for a friend or relative.  

UPDATE:  i was checking out bebe au lait's official website, and they sell a nursing cover made out of the exact fabric i chose last night at joann's! 

it is now time...

... for the rant for which, i'm sure, you've all been waiting.  and the focus of this rant is maternity clothes.  MATERNITY CLOTHES ARE HORRIBLE.  i'm sorry to disappoint you soon-to-be pregnant ladies, or those of you who are dreaming about the new wardrobe you'll acquire once you see those two pink lines, but any optimism you might have is misplaced.  better to focus on the fact that your hair and nails grow a lot faster (thanks pre-natal vitamins!), and you can make your husband bring you things at any time of the day or night simply by giving him that "but honey, i'm pregnant" look. 

i call bullshit on ann taylor loft, who likes to boast that her pregnancy duds are "so stylish and comfortable... you'll want to wear them for longer than 9 months."  puuuuhhhlease.  while i can admit that i have found things that are comfortable enough (meaning, i can stand moving, sitting, standing and walking while wearing), i'm not itching to trade my pre-pregnancy wardrobe for overpriced mumus.

shame on the millions of women who have put up with this injustice and done nothing to help their knocked up sisters!  i mean, really.  women have been carrying babies for how long, and our options are so severely limited, it's laughable.  there are more video game stores in this town than there are maternity stores.  and this town is something like 95% catholic.  practice what you preach, people!  if god wants us popping out babies every 9 months, then start outfitting us!  i've never understood the barefoot and pregnant thing, but, at any rate, i've never heard anything about "naked and pregnant" or "dressed in a mumu and pregnant." 

think i'm being dramatic?  i've come prepared.  and you should also prepare yourself... for the horror that is the modern day pregnant woman's wardrobe options.

i present to you, exhibit a.

ok, really?  i don't even like the term "baby mama," and i'm certainly not going to walk around wearing it emblazoned on my steadily growing chest. 

exhibit b:

is any explanation really necessary? 

at this point, you may be asking yourself if i'm just not looking in the right places.  surely there are wear to work options for professional expectant mothers.  ohhh you sad, silly, naive blog readers.  and now let me present exhibit c, something allegedly acceptable for the workplace:

are those silver studs?  in whose workplace is this appropriate?  do lawyers or stockbrokers or investment bankers ever get pregnant?  and if they do, what are they wearing to work? 

in my quest to find decent clothes to wear for the next 3-4 months, i have encountered the friend or acquaintance who ask why i can't just seek out regular clothes with empire waists that i can wear as maternity frocks.  i have a few things from before i was pregnant with which i've made do, but, for the most part, it's not really possible.  your body changes in lots of different ways, so trying to throw on that boho chic flowy top you loved pre-pregnancy just doesn't really work.  my pre-pregnancy work wardrobe was very tailored, very form fitting.  lots of pencil skirts and adorable fitted jackets.  well, fast forward to now.  my boobs have grown enormously and none of those jackets fit (even if i left them unbuttoned).  i suppose i'm pickier than most.  i tailor my clothes to fit me and i hate when things are too long, too short, too tight or uncomfortable.  in short, i'm not cut out for "making do" with anything. 

another annoyance on this journey has been the people who model maternity clothes online.  is it so much to ask that women who are actually pregnant model these clothes?  instead, size 0 models pose in an awkward lean to make everyone think there's a bump under their shirt.  ohhh, that's realistic.  because being pregnant looks (and feels) like you're just leaning a bit more!  i call bullshit again!  pregnancy changes the way your body looks, so it would be more than appropriate to have someone who's actually experiencing that modeling maternity fashions.

there seems to be a prevalent notion that women who are expecting want to look either cutesy or frumpy.  i don't need to tie my bump up with a bow, as if it's a little gift.  and i don't want to hide the fact that it exists. can't we find some happy medium?  maternity pants are the same as regular pants with a stretchy top panel sewed in.  i'm THIS CLOSE to cutting my pre-pregnancy pants and sewing my own panel in out of desperation.  it shouldn't be this hard!

and about this time in the rant, i start thinking... i should have been a doctor.  or a nurse.  or an optometrist.  or a dental hygenist.  that way i could wear scrubs to work, and my pregnancy could have been filled with oversized cotton prints.  really, how easy!  instead, i wake up every morning, praying that some ingenius combination of the four things i can actually wear to work will blossom into a fashion miracle before my very eyes.  (this has yet to happen).

on the weekends, my anger over this situations subsides.  i can wear john's t-shirts and shorts around the house, and if we need to make an appearance at any public location, i have several sundresses and other casual outfits from which i can choose. by the time monday rolls around, i've almost forgotten that i don't own a single thing that screams "yes, i'm a lawyer, and yes, i know you're paying me by the hour, but i'm polished and professional and i'm going to get the job done."  by tuesday, we're right back to square one again... and i remain angry til friday night. 

i recently had a lunch/shopping date with a friend, and we decided to stop at motherhood maternity because she was so excited to see all the cute pregnancy clothing options. (ha!)  she was shocked and appalled at the lack of choices.  we both groaned over the screen printed "pregnant is the new skinny" tee, and tried our best to keep from shuddering over the other specimens.  it's slim pickings, ladies!  trust me! 

but i truly believe, in my heart, that awareness is the most important step of this journey.  had i been prepared for the idea that maternity clothes suck, and they're not going to get better no matter how much they cost or where you try to find them, i might have hit acceptance awhile ago.  instead, i lived in denial for the first 4 months, believing that there were stylish clothes out there somewhere, i just wasn't looking hard enough.  let me be the first to tell you (again): maternity clothes are HORRIBLE.  AWFUL.  on the off chance you find a nice shirt or pair of pants that don't make you feel gross, buy them, no matter how expensive they are.  focus on the other happy moments of pregnancy.  like feeling the baby kick (which my little guy is doing all the time now!) or seeing the baby on screen at your ultrasound. because (don't shoot the messenger) you are not going to find any comfort in maternity clothes. 

this public service announcement has been brought to you by a very hungry expectant mother who really should get back to studying for the wisconsin bar exam...

Saturday, July 3, 2010


good morning to the dedicated few who read my blog.  why my body insisted on waking up so early on a saturday morning is beyond me, but it's an absolutely gorgeous day, the sun is steaming through the window and i feel peaceful and well rested... so, i'll take it.

it's been a pretty surreal week.  we had our 20 week ultrasound, found out the sex of the little peanut, put together the crib and changing table and i had my yearly review at work.  so now i'm sitting here, in what will become the little one's nursery, trying to figure out the perfect way to position this new furniture, and thinking how quickly the days, and months, and even years are flying by.  last night while we (okay, john) was putting the crib together, i was reading a copy of "love you forever."  note: hormonal pregnant women should not read said book.  i made it to the second or third page before i began crying.  john had warned me that i was going to cry (i  mean really, who doesn't cry during that book anyway), but i continued to thumb through the story.  i love that book.  it's such a sweet reminder to treasure the times you have with the people you love because time is ticking away, and you never know exactly how many precious moments you'll have together.

i guess it hadn't really hit me until i actually saw the baby's head, fingers, legs, toes, and furiously beating heart.  oh my goodness, i am going to be someone's mother.  that's my baby in there!  it's become obvious that i'm pregnant.  and i no longer fit into any of the clothing i wore a few months ago.  certain foods have lost their appeal and others have become more appetizing.  so while i've become accustomed to being pregnant, it's just not the same as seeing that little face and realizing, that's my child.

i tried to explain this to john after the appointment.  he laughed and said, "ohhh, so now you finally realize you're pregnant?"  i laughed, too, but i was serious.  i guess it's just a little different for us.  john's, of course, super excited for the baby to arrive, but the major changes this new adventure will usher in don't really take effect until sometime in november (unless of course baby decides to make an earlier debut... which, i just have a feeling, is pretty unlikely.  both of its parents are generally fashionably late, and i expect this little tyke will adopt that trait as well).  i've slowly been changing (physically, emotionally, etc.) this whole time.

(*sidenote: now that we know what the baby is, it's reallllly hard to keep referring to the little one as an "it."  butttt, the big family reveal isn't until later today, so i'm keeping my promise to john and keeping my mouth shut til afterwards.)

i've kind of (if i do say so myself) hit my stride with this pregnancy thing.  i feel about 700 million times better than i did in the beginning.  i have so much more energy, and i'm pretty into most foods, or food in general, i should say.  i guess it's kind of like the transformation i've experienced at work, too.  sometimes it seems like just yesterday that i started, still anxiously awaiting the results of the bar exam and feeling like i was so unprepared to do what i'd been planning for umpteen years: practice law.  it's a good feeling to be able to answer phone calls and advise clients without consulting caselaw or statutes, to know the answers, to be able to quickly draft the same documents that would have taken an hour or more several months ago.  it's a good feeling to have your colleagues recognize this transformation and offer you their praise for the strides you've taken in your career.  it's been a lot of hard work, and there's a lot more ahead, but it feels good to be on track.

and i think i've also hit my stride with this whole marriage thing.  haha.  that sounds funny.  i feel, in many ways, like john and i have been together forever.  i hardly remember my life before he was in it, and with the exception of childhood memories with my siblings, i sometimes can't recall moments when he and i weren't an us.  of course our relationship has changed.  it's gone from keg stands and thursday night dinners at el cap to law school and first jobs and careers and a wedding and moving and a baby.  and i guess i would be ignoring the truth to say that with all those changes, there haven't been some awkward periods where we struggled to understand who we were individually and as a couple in the face of these new challenges.  sometimes i think we're so different than we were 7 years ago... but yet, in many ways, we're the same.  the things we say and do, the jokes we tell, the way we interact... i could see us acting this same way back when we were at millikin.  and yet we're not the same people.  i could name a whole bunch of ways i know i'm different.  i could name so many lessons learned, so many experiences had that have completely changed the way i think and feel.  and he's been there for all of that.

the other day i got a package in the mail.  it contained a couple work shirts i ordered from ann taylor loft maternity.  when i tried on these new purchases, i felt more like myself than i had in a couple months, and i ran downstairs to show john.  "look!" i yelled, excitedly.  "i'm a real lawyer again!"  he was laughing, and i was laughing because of course i'm ridiculous... i've been struggling with feeling like i don't "look the part" right now because THERE ARE A COMPLETE LACK OF PROFESSIONAL MATERNITY CLOTHES. (but i'm not even going to down that path right now)  after this little exchange, though, i started thinking that every time i've started feeling insecure about the way i look or the changes i'm experiencing, john just intuitively knows what to say.  maybe he can sense that i'm about to have a nervous breakdown or something, and he immediately snaps into damage control mode.  i don't know.  but he really is always there with a compliment, a word of encouragement or a simple thank you and i start to think... "so what if i'm wearing elastic waist band pants to court???"  there really is nothing better than being faced with challenges and new adventures, but just knowing that you'll get through them better, faster, stronger (as kanye would sing) because you've got the support and love of someone who just gets you.

ok, let's move on.  even though i've gone through a lot of changes and am a lot more emotional than i would be normally, i prefer myself sarcastic to sentimental, and i think we all get the point here.

or what was the point of this?  i can't really remember.  but now i'm so hungry i'm going to have to end this.  i hope you all have a blissful 4th of july holiday with your families and/or friends.  treasure the precious moments with your loved ones, and, if the mood strikes you, embrace elastic waistband pants!  i might just be turning them into the "it" article for '10.