Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Cuteness

Participating in four Easter egg hunts in the past two days has left our family with Easter hangover. Although Easter is over (unless you are Catholic, then this is just the first of fifty days of Easter, as my mom would so carefully point out), remnants of Easter are everywhere: empty half-shells of multi-colored plastic eggs, ribbons of blue grass, the occasional run-away candy wrapper, two sugar-crashing children sleeping deeply in the next room. The weather was so amazingly beautiful today that, although sundown is long over, sunshine still fills my eyes.

Last night, after I painstakingly hid each of the children's plastic eggs with meticulous care and thought, I made sure to charge the video camera. I was very much looking forward to Jacob's excitement as he discovered each one. I was sure that I had hid them well enough that the great hunt would last several minutes. Fast forward to 7:30 a.m. when Jacob bounced into our bedroom and proudly held his Easter basket alof. "Look mommy! Look what the Easter Bunny brought me!" In his hunt for the basket, he had already found all twelve plastic eggs filled with candy and quarters. The turkey finished his big hunt without us. Another moment had slipped by without proper documentation.

Oh well. We still had two more egg hunts to look forward to. And they did not disappoint.

But first was Easter Mass. Easter Mass is my favorite service. It's always so uplifting and joyful. And, if you are lucky enough to sit on the end of a pew, you get pelted with big heavy drops of holy water. You can't help but leave Mass feeling a little lighter than when you entered-- and not just from having an extra hour to digest half a bag full of jelly beans.

Dressed for Mass
The color coordination was totally unintentional!

Then we continued my childhood tradition of visiting my grandma for Easter ham, lamb-shaped cake, and a second (or third) Easter egg hunt. It's crazy that my family has been doing this for over 20 years. And although the egg hunt participants have changed over the years, it's pretty much all the same right down to the crowded, boisterous, fight-for-your-food atmosphere. I have happy memories of roaming my grandparent's large property in search of special baggies or baskets with our names transcribed on them. Watching my own kids do the same is like a trippy, magical time warp.

Ryan's first Easter!


The loot

The babies

The babies' loot

After Easter at my grandma's house, we drove out to my husband's parents' home. We had a second Easter feast (more ham!) which was much more quiet and laid back (my husband and I grew up in very different environments) and then the kids enjoyed their final egg hunt of the season.

Ryan spent almost the entire day showing off his arm by pitching eggs across the lawn

Taking inventory

More egg throwing

So much family. So much food. So much sunshine. So much cuteness.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Feels Like Spring

In February I was under the belief that my sister was dating Guy X. Then one random evening in early March, purely out of the blue, I got a text from her: "I'm getting married! To Guy Y!" Wait, who?! I had never even heard of this guy. The next text was even more shoking: "We're getting married in two weeks!"


Imagine my parents' shock when they got similar news--but not from my sister, from Guy Y. He called my dad at work one day and said, "Hi, I'm Guy Y. I'm going to marry your daughter." Like the rest of us, my dad had no clue who this guy was. He might have freaked out just a tad. He called me immediately afterward. It was an interesting conversation.

And, as promised, that is exactly what happened. They got married! In their home. Before some kind of minister. After we had only met Guy Y one time. With only two witnesses in attendance. And my parents found out that it happened nearly a week later. Although I had some insider knowledge, it was pretty much a secret.

And although there is a part of me that balks at all the suddeness of things, there will be absolutely no judging from me. Heck, I eloped. It was a true elopment, even. We weren't even engaged. We just flew out to Chicago, got married, and didn't tell a single soul-- not even my two lawschool roomates who accompanied us for the first part of our trip. (After we eloped, I called up my roommate and said, "Hey, we just did something crazy! It starts with the letter E!" Her reply was, "OMG. Where did you get ecstacy?!" Ha.)

Today, after waking up to the most gorgeous Pacific Northwest weather that we have had in at least seven months, I packed up the kids for a short trip to visit my sister in her new, married home. She lives next to the most amazing trails and parks. The highlight of the trip was this crazy, long slide:

Even the adults enjoyed it:


We played in the sun, chatted, and did the goofy things that sisters do. BTW- this whole thing about my sister and I getting along, is a very recent phenomenon. We are four years apart and have never really gotten along, much less held a friendship. It's amazing how things change as you get older.

Taking advantage of my sister by sneaking in some rare shots of ME with the kids.

He loved the swing....obviously, you can't tell

The advantage of big brothers
My handsome 4 year old

When we left my sister's place, there was plenty of daylight and sunshine. We continued to soak up the first spring-like day when we arrived back home. I made some dinner and then it was time for coloring Easter eggs.

Jacob had asked me all day about coloring eggs. "When do we get to color eggs?" "Do we have to cook them first?" "Can I put glitter on them?" "How many eggs do we get to color." He broached the subject at least once an hour, perhaps to make sure that I wouldn't forget. Like I would forget something THAT important!

I'm pretty sure we didn't color eggs last year. I was scheduled for my c-section the day after Easter and it was a prerty chaotic and emotional time. But the year before that I vividly remember our egg-coloring experience. Jacob was 2 and kept transferring the eggs from color to color, much to my horror. He didn't have the patience to let them sit in any one color for long enough. As a result, the eggs all ended up looking the shade of grey-ish purple. Jacob was just as colorful as his artsy eggs. I'm pretty sure we had to throw the clothes he was wearing in the trash.

This year Jacob was very methodical. He wanted to color the eggs the "right" way: one color per egg and he patiently let them sit in the dye for the proper amount of time. He didn't crack or break a single egg and when they were ready, he carefully removed them from the dye and rolled them in glitter. I was a very proud mama.

After we colored eggs, I marched Jacob off to bed and tucked him is. Right as I was about to shut the door, he spoke up, "Mom, make sure you tell Dad that you both have to go to bed early so the Easter Bunny will come!" I assured him we would go to bed promptly and then proceeded to spend the next two hours doing a load of laundry, tidying the house (can't find eggs in a messy house!), filling and hiding plastic eggs and baskets, baking my favorite recipe for apple pie for Easter dessert, and decorating Jacob's bedroom door with streamers (the Easter Bunny just may have overdone it this year).

How is it that I always manage to squeeze in a full day's worth of chores and activity after the kids go to bed? Ugh, I'm so tired!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mommy Cry-A-Thon

My tummy is in knots. I came home, cuddled my baby in the spare kid bed, and had a mini-mommy-cry-a-thon. I can't really explain my emotions. It's more than likely a multitude of burdens and emotions all mushed together that are beginning to run me down.

So I held my baby. He bobbed his head back and forth as I sang him songs. He nestled into my shoulder beforing popping back up to play with a teddy bear. His chubby little fingers reached for and clasped around the bars of the bunk bed with intense concentration and great interest.

I thought cuddling him would make me feel happy but every little thing he did made me cry harder. Just watching him--my sweet, chubby, happy baby--reminded me in so many ways how he was soon NOT going to be my sweet, chubby, happy baby but a busy and lively toddler.

Most of the time I'm so insanely busy that I rarely have time to digest what is going on. It's rush, rush, rush all day with barely time for a potty break (this is why I don't drink liquid at work- no time to go potty!). I'm so focused on what needs to get done right away that I pocket my reactions for a more convenient time. When I finally stop and take a breather, all those reactions escape at the same time and the result in an overwhelming conglomerate of emotions that turn me into a confused puddle of tears.

The muddled mush of feelings I felt today resulted from the following:

  • A text from my sister-in-law telling me my baby was taking his first steps (and I was missing it).
  • The sinking realization that my baby is going to be ONE and no longer my little baby. This seriously makes my heart hurt. I don't remember this milestone being so painful with my first baby.
  • The fact that I blinked my eyes three times and my baby transformed into a toddler. It's hard not to blame working for the fact that Ryan's babyhood is going by way too quickly.
  • The news that my sister-in-law will no longer be watching my kids during the day. OMG. I have to find a complete stranger to take care of my babies?! (My sister-in-law is so awesome with the kids. I'm sure no one can replace her!)

OMG. I have two weeks to find a replacement part time nanny. Don't panic. Don't panic. WAAAAH!

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Unrelated pictures from this weekend:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Being Frank

So I was talking with a friend. And we talked about work. Somehow the topic crept ever so slowly to the red zone--salary. Without blinking, she very candidly blurted out how much she made.

This friend has a BA with half of her credit hours earned at a community college. She did not to go graduate school. During high school, while I was working every Saturday and Sunday to bolster my college applications and get some work experience, she was playing and partying. While I have three years of being a lawyer under my belt, she has maybe a full year of experience holding a full time job. Unlike me, she did not spend nearly a full mortgage on lawschool tuition.

And yet, here we are. Ten years later. Making nearly the same amount. GUH!

I try to avoid comparing myself to other people and I definitely try to avoid talking about money and finances and salary with anyone. But a little piece of me wanted to scream in frustration. The path that led me to the present was a rough path full of hard work, smart choices, sacrifice of time, and sacrifice of money. Where did all that "responsibility" get me? In the same exact place as those people who never really cared.

Before you say it, I will say it for you: money is not the measure of success. Yep I know that. Trust me, I know that. I say it every day a medical bill arrives in the mail. I say it every time my tuition payment is deducted from my bank account. I say it every time I have $100 to stretch for gas and food for the last week of the month. Money isn't everything. There is also balance. And family. And loving what you do. And being challenged and stimulated. And having room to grow.

While I made the decision recently to make keep more balance in my life (less billable hours for less paycheck), life has been far from rosy. Even though I took a 75% position, the honesty is that it takes 100% to do my job. That's the beast of litigation. While I still have flexibility (working from home twice a week is pretty awesome), I do have alot of the stress that I was trying to avoid. AND when I do try to reign in my stress and my time spent working, it somehow just makes me feel guilty. And yet, I would be feeling guilty about not being with the kids if it were the other way around. I guess, if I had to choose, I'd rather feel guilty about missing work than about missing the kids.

I have to say that I love my job. I absolutely love litigation. Everyday it is challenging and new and exciting and scary. But sometimes I feel like I could have coasted through life a little (or a lot) more and have ended up in the same place. That might not be entirely true. It might be entirely false. But it sure feels that way sometimes. Those are usually the times that I scoure craigslist for random job openings and romanticize about being a donut maker or personal trainer or having some mind-numbing desk job that pays the same as my lawyer job. But the grass is always greener, right?

I need to end this post now because the conservative in me is screaming "Shut up! You got exaclty what you paid for. You don't get a bailout for the choices you make. Be happy you have a job and can provide for your family. And, besides, your boss totally buys you beer!"

So, the take-away (aside from the fact that I am a whiny person) is this: I would never discourage anyone from going to law school but law students need to know what to expect. They need to know what they are buying when they fork over $100+K for tuition and books. When you make the big decision to go to lawschool, you may be sacrificing 1/3 of your income for the next 20 (or more) years to pay back your student loas.

Yeah. Big commitment. And you can't divorce your student loans.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


This week involved:

An ear infection
A bleeding diaper rash
One rush trip to the pediatrician
3 episodes of bed-wetting (not me!)
Two motions
One 12 hour work day
One 5 hour meeting
Having to wake up at 5:30 a.m. for four consecutive days
Praise at work
Scolding at work (same day as above)
Being woken up at 1 a.m. to Jacob's night terrors (twice)
16 hours of commuting to/from work

However, all of those moments were totally outshined by this one:

Someone tell him to stop growing please! My poor heart cannot stand losing another chubby-faced baby to toddler-hood.

Friday, March 22, 2013

High Five For Friday!

1// Highs fives all around for sweet Kallahan!  Obviously he is feeling much better and loving his spaghetti lunch!   Also we were referred to a great cardiologist in Amarillo for a echocardiogram on April 10th.  After talking to several people we have learned that even if he does have a left to right shunt it is an easy surgery repair.  Our worry meter has gone way down.  Thanks again for all the continued prayers.  #letgoandletGod    
2// I love our new Easter tree.  Jacey made this last weekend...super cute!    
3// Keeler is out of preschool for springbreak this week so Granny (his sitter) has been keeping the boys busy with some extra special treats and outings.  They've made frequent visits to the Goody Shop for snow-cones and Keeler has had a couple play dates with his school friends.  She is so sweet to have extra kids over :)  
4// Starburst Jellybeans!!  These delicious little dudes are not so good for the ol' diet plan.  
5// And lastly high five for moisture in our weekend forecast.  Keeping our fingers crossed - this drought stricken land needs it!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Spotted Leopard Goes To The Doctor

This weekend I had a temporary post about some not so fun things that happened at work on Friday. Because of the sensitive nature of the post, I had to eventually take it down. But it still felt good to get everything off my chest. In short Friday was absolutely horrible. At one point, I was hiding in the office supply room silently sobbing my eyes out.

Friday was one of the most horrendous work days I have ever had as an attorney. It was second only to the day a random internet stalker copied all of my Facebook status updates and photos and pasted them in an email to all seven partners of my old law firm. The email also accused me of sleeping with cleints (FALSE!) and drinking during work hours (no comment). It's kind of hard to beat that.

Anyway, Monday I was excited to turn over a new leaf. I wanted to be productive and effecient and just obliterate my to-do list. Of course, that's the day my 4-year-old had to wake up completely covered in itchy white and red spots. I named him leopard. When he wasn't itching uncontrollably, he found the resemblance slightly amusing.

My first thought was obviously...chicken pox! But my mom assured me that kids don't usually get chicken pox anymore if they have been vaccinated. My first thought was one of disbelief. Seriously? Kids don't get chicken pox anymore? What is the world coming to? When I was growing up chicken pox was a central part of one's indoctrination into the real world. Sheesh. Kids these days!

I called to make the obligatory doctor's appointment. They couldn't get us in until 4pm. So I strapped the kids into the car, drove them to the store, unloaded them from their car seats, hauled them around the store in search of Benadryl. Then we piled back into the car and headed to my mom's house so I could attempt to get some work done. I was so focused on work that I nearly missed the doctor appointment. When I saw the time, I crazily shuffled the kids back into the car and we headed out to the clinic.

It wasn't until we landed into an exam that I caught my breath and assessed the situation. In my rush to get the kids out the door this morning, I let Jacob put on the clothing and the shoes of his choice. The result: he was wearing sweatpants nearly 2 inches too short, thick snow boots (it was not even raining), and Christmas socks. Mysterious speckles of leftover lunch covered his fleece sweatshirt. Was that speckle peanut butter? Was that one cream cheese? To top it all off, he still had remnants of St. Patrick's Day face paint all over his cheeks and forehead. AND my mom had decided to use a black marker to color a cat nose and whiskers onto his face. 

My kid looked like a ferile, green cat that had run through a basket of dirty laundry....who was also covered in itchy red welts.

I was suddenly very embarrassed. My kid was in worse condition than one of the octo-kids. But it wasn't until the doctor tugged at my son's clothing to check the extent of his spots that I realized the worst part. He wasn't wearing any underwear! Apparently he had a minor accident at my mom's and had no choice but to go commando.

The doctor did not look amused at all. I am very lucky that she let me leave that place with both of my kids in tow!

Just a sampling of the spots:

Oh, and the verdict? The spots are an after-effect of his ear infection last week. No, not an allergic reaction to his amoxocillin but actually from the ear infection itself. This is the same ear infection that caused me to spend 4 unpleasant hours in Urgent Care with two antsy-whiny kids on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Weekend Whoas

I don't even know where to begin?  Last Friday feels like light-years away.  
The weekend started out great.  The weather was amazing.  When I got off work it was close to 80 degrees, the sun was shining and we had very little wind.  It was the perfect day!  
  My parents and my sister's family arrived in the afternoon.  They had been on spring break and a trip to Kansas was their grand finale.  The guys raced to the golf course while us girls and the little kids played outside and made dinner.  
After dinner, Jacey put the little ones to bed with a bedtime story.  I still can't get over that she is old enough to read so well!  After the little ones were finally asleep we stayed up later than normal and watched a movie with my oldest nephew Jakob.  
On Saturday my sister and I got up early to run the local Shamrock 5K.  
We had a great time.  Samantha has been doing the 'couch to 5K program.'  This was her first time to attempt to run without incorporating walking.  I might have pushed her too much but she did amazing!  We finished at 32:17.  She has a color run this weekend and I know she'll do great.
In the afternoon we went shopping around town and then went bowling.  
Bowling is something that we never do but we had a fun time.  Kallahan might of had the most fun once aunt Samantha showed him how to bowl!
We love our grandma Kak!

    That evening we made a special St. Patty's day meal.  We had our neighbor's famous ribs, green macaroni and cheese, green salad and green rice crispy treats.  The kids loved it!

Saturday evening we noticed that Kallahan was back coughing so Tyler gave him a breathing treatment right after dinner.  He went to bed around 8pm but around 10:30pm he woke up crying.  We decided to let him "cry it out" hoping he would fall back asleep.  However, when Tyler went into his room about 10 minutes later he quickly realized he was having trouble breathing and sounded terrible.  We tried another breathing treatment but we were still very concerned and decided to go ahead and take him to the ER since he didn't seem any better.  After he was evaluated, X-rayed, poked and prodded the ER doctor decided to admit him since his oxygen level was so low.  They thought he might of had an asthma attack or an allergic reaction to his antibiotics he was taking for his bronchitis.
    After some medication to open up his lungs his oxygen thankfully went from the 70s to the 90s.  He slept well through the night.  I sent Tyler home once Kal was asleep (around 2am) and tried to rest myself.  My heart goes out to anyone with hospitalized kids.  It was such a long and worrisome night.  
We were all exhausted the next day.  It was nice that my family was still in town to help with Keeler. Kallahan HATED being cooped up in his hospital room.  He was placed on a liquid diet so on-top of everything else he we was hungry and very cranky.  However, he was feeling better, his fever was down and his oxygen was holding stable in the mid 90s.  Once we finally got the word that he was going to be discharged around 1pm, we let him roam in the hall.  He was so happy!  He ran to the furthest corner of the hospital hall and hid under this chair. 
I don't know what this silly guy was thinking (if I hide they cannot take me back to THAT room!).  We were all so relieved to go home and very thankful that he was feeling better.  Thank you to all our family & friends for the prayers and support :)
Yesterday we had a follow-up with Kal's regular doctor.  He said that he thinks Kal has the croup by the sound of his cough and cry.  He agreed with the medication and treatment from the hospital so we'll continue on that path.  
However, when we got home I got a call that his doctor had noticed something in the ER X-ray after we left.  He noticed that his right heart boundaries appear larger than his left which could indicate a left to right shunt.  He has been referred for an Echocardiogram.  So now we have an appointment in Wichita at the Kansas Kids Heart Center in mid April.
 We are trying hard to not get worked up as we really don't know what any of this means.  It really might not be anything.  His regular doctor has gone out of town now and researching online just confuses me.  I debated about sharing this but I just ask that you keep our precious little cowboy in your prayers.  
It was amazing how quickly things turned and made us realize more than ever how blessed we are.  
Also, please pray for my cousin's little one, Brynlee, as she has been having unexplained seizures.  She is scheduled for a sleep deprived EEG on Friday and then will go to Cook's Children's in Fort Worth.  We hope and pray that nothing is serious.   

Monday, March 18, 2013

Little Miss Muffet {Letter L}

For the letter L, Taitum learned the rhyme Little Miss Muffet.

Day 1

She made a spider out of a paper plate, construction paper and googly eyes.
We later tied him to a curtain rod so she could run around frightening people.

Day 2

We played the tuffet game.
The girls collected all the pillows in the house and laid them on the floor to be used as tuffets.
I then added tape to each pillow with various letters written on it.
I recited the poem with a little twist:
"Little Miss Muffet sat on a 'B', eating her curds and whey."
Tait or Piper would then run and jump on the pillow with that letter.

Day 3

Taitum posted a video on Facebook to survey who is and who is not afraid of spiders.
(Her homemade spider makes an appearance , too!)

She then compiled her data.
She placed a sticker on either the 'yes' or 'no' spider web.
Our FB friends are awesome at participating!
We ran out of spider stickers and had to switch to using do-a-dot markers.
It turns out more people are afraid of spiders!
I understand!

Day 4

We did a curds and whey experiment.
Tait added vinegar to some milk and observed how it causes the milk to separate and become chunky.

She later had a chance to eat her own curds and whey (cottage cheese).

Day 5

Finally, an 'L' craft featuring Miss Muffet, her curds and whey and that irritating spider!