Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day wistful

is not a recognized Holiday in the US, which is a shame. While my office is actually stocked today, my guess is many other people's offices are not.

So, Christmas Eve and Christmas were absolutely lovely. I strategically planned to put Mia down for her nap at 3:30 (instead of 12:30) so that when she woke up, she'd have a full tank of gas. And, it worked out perfectly! She was her happy, friendly, and hilarious self until 10:30, when she finally went to bed! We went to some family friend's house for Xmas eve, and really had a great time. There were games, libations, and excellent Filipino food. Then, back to our little home to put Mia down and set up for Santa's visit. We forgot to leave him cookies, but thankfully, he dropped the presents off anyway!

Mia, at 2 and 1/2, really got into it this year. We left the Santa gifts unwrapped and around the tree, and she was in absolute awe as she made her way down the stairs. She immediately noticed the pink tricycle from Grandpa C, and before we could direct her to any of her other presents, she had to do a lap around the kitchen island. Then, so on with the rest of the gifts. She'd open something, exclaim: "For me? This mine? Thank you! You open it, Mama?". I'd have to gently coax her into opening another, ad assuring her that she'd be able to play with everything eventually. She got several books that she wanted to stop and read, art supplies she'd want to stop and color with... (Also, I put a few aside to bring back out in a few weeks. Let her enjoy her new toys little by little.) She was absolutely delighted with everything, less enthused about clothes, but put her new pair of Toms from her Godmother right on.

After about an hour of relaxing and playing with Mia's toys, we got dressed and headed out to the movies to see Frozen. I didn't have any expectations about the story, but it was absolutely terrific! Mia was captivated and I definitely recommend it to anyone (with or without kids!). We had a little Christmas lunch at the only restaurant open within walking distance of the movie theater and spent the rest of the afternoon with friends.

It really felt like Christmas. Mia was just so happy, and even though B and I were on our own with her that morning, it felt so special and happy. Our little happy family. Mia is such a sweet little girl, that we seriously could not have been luckier. I hope everyone else had a fantastic holiday!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I do my relaxing at work

As with every year, it feels like this pesky thing called WORK is getting in the way of my Christmas. I am here, everyday, all day, puttering around with little projects not requiring my immediate attention. I have one measely little report to turn in to court on Friday, and I'm slowly gathering the required documents to just stretch it out, while also wandering around the office asking people how many people they intend to bring to the holiday party.

While there isn't much shopping left to be done (though a little -- just stockings), when I get home at night, I race around the house with varies beads and wires and gift boxes and shipping envelopes. Stop for dinner, sit down for 15 minutes to play with Mia, then upstairs for her bath and bedtime. Once she's settled, I sit down and put together the gifts for daycare, wrapping and tagging each item. After spending some time trying to remember everyone's names, I just write "love, Mia" on every tag and hope they don't have more than 10 staff members. At least that was last night. Then, at 9:45, I pull out my knitting needles to finish up some co-worker gifts for 20 minutes, and then, 10:15 bed, because as it turns out, I am also getting a cold.

Tonight, I do the same (minus the beads and wires and gift boxes unless I get more Etsy orders today!) except putting together gifts for work. Every year, I organize Secret Santa (except this year, when a new girl totally stole it from me which I hate her for) in the hopes that people still stop buying individual gifts as well, but every year, a bunch of little gifts show up on my desk. So, individual gifts it is, but always of the handmade variety, which, while it may be easy on the bank account, is NOT easy on time.

All of this while my husband, sits in his usual spot and wonders why on earth I am so tired. B, can you at least tie some bows or something?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

One item crossed off the Xmas to do

Mia may not be smiling, my hair may be in a ponytail, and people may not get it until after the 25th, but I think we still managed to look like a happy little family.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Birchbox: First Impressions

So, I think my turning 30 this year has made me much more aware of my quick descent into middle-age. I've always been somewhat mildly interested in make up, though in my adult life, my "daily beauty routine" never consisted of anything more than moisturizer and concealer. As I started working, I added on tinted moisturizer and blush. But that was it. Really.

But, since my pregnancy, I really started getting down on my appearance whenever I did a quick check in the mirror on bathroom breaks. Blame exhaustion from growing a person, and then exhaustion from raising a child, just yeah, blame exhaustion. That's really all it comes down to, isn't it? When you're tired, or stressed, or sick, you age?

So I started on my hair experiments, which have been pretty successful. As an update to that, I've noticed dryness creeping back into the picture since I am not conditioning as often (damned if you do, damned if you don't, amirite?) so I'm on the hunt for a deep conditioner, if anyone has any recommendations.

With a hair routine now set, and with results that have really made me feel good about myself, I decided to start spicing things up with my skincare, too. I started reading The Small Things Blog a little while ago, and have been trying a few things out. I've added eyeliner, and even lipstick! I also want to do a bit better in taking care of my face, eyes, etc. So, when I started hearing about those monthly beauty box subscriptions, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. I think there are a few out there, but I decided on Birchbox because of the price ($10/month) and its general popularity. I got my first one a few weeks ago, and I was pretty underwhelmed until I started using the products. With Birchbox, you get 4 samples of products based on your member profile, every month of varying sizes. You get one additional non-beauty item, like teas, chocolates, things like that. I've found the sample sizes of the beauty products to be pretty decent. I've been using some of them daily and still have product left to take me through the end of the week, at least! So, here are my thoughts on what I got in my box in November.

I got:

DDF Amplifying Elixir: This stuff is nice, I feel like my skin has gotten some nice hydration. I don't think I'll be buying this product full size, since it costs $70, but I will consider adding in a serum if I can find one that is more affordable but still not greasy, like this one.

Ayres Body Butter in Midnight Tango: As far as body lotions go, it's nice and thick but the smell is not at all my style. It's musky and strong - kind of like patchouli. Maybe in another scent?

Supergoop CC Cream: This stuff was the best. I absolutely loved it, and it was leaps and bounds better than the BB cream I was using. I've been using BB creams for about a year now, but whatever the difference is that elevates a BB to a CC is significant. I ordered the full size yesterday and just squeezed out the last dollop from the sample, so I hope it gets here fast!

Fatty Sunday Pretzels: A tiny bite - tasted good, so a nice little treat, I guess?

and a dark blue nail polish, a brand I had never heard of. It is a pretty shade, but I haven't had any time to do my nails. Maybe Saturday!

So, all in all, I'm pretty thrilled with my decision to subscribe to Birchbox. I'm super excited to get my December box, which should be on its way to me any day now! I'll take pictures of my next one to include in my review.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Hurdle

In addition to the aforementioned sickness, whose lingering effects are evident from the bottle of pepto bismol safely tucked in my desk drawer just in cases, this was THE week I've been dreading for several weeks. My mind has looked at every event and related it back to this week. I remember hearing about the Sound of Music live on NBC being on December 5th, and my stomach tying itself in knots thinking of it as my deadline to submit some documents to our outside counsel. Everything related back to this week, December 9th, 10th, and 11th. I realize I'm being cryptic on what was going on, but I assure you that it is only to do with work, and completely beside the point.

Things did suck, for those three days, culminating in less suck on the 11th, where I managed to play my own role very well. I was proud of myself and felt very well prepared for the 11th (date of hearing), so going into the morning, I wasn't too anxiety ridden. Anyway, things weren't as fine as they could have been (we didn't win anything) but now I've got time to do work on everything, and know exactly what needs to be done. So, all in all, R.E.L.I.E.F. December 12th, and I (and the Company) am alive and well.

So relieved, that I am finally finally allowing myself to think about the holidays! I already decorated our house (in an effort to distract myself from the fact that everyone was away from their desks during Thanksgiving week when hello! there is so much to be done, why are you all away when all I want to do is call you a gillion times a day!) So, now, with very little on my calendar between now and January, I am officially in Christmas mode. Unfortunately, it also means I only have 2 weekends left to do ALL THE CHRISTMAS THINGS!

As soon as I got home last night, I wrangled my two unwilling family members into some nice clothes, set the camera on automatic timer and took our Christmas photo. It may not be the nicest quality, and we may all look a bit haggard, but I'm sure I'll manage to find a decent enough photo. It may not go on Pinterest, but it will do just fine. I have been working on Mia's annual calendar (our yearly gift to all sets of Grandparents) throughout the year, so hopefully just a few finishing touches will do the trick.

This Saturday, B and I are hosting our second annual holiday get together with two sets of couple friends. I briefly considered having a bigger, real, Christmas party to solidify some of our newer 'friends', but in the end, a dinner party was all my brain could muster at the beginning of the month when invitations needed to be issued. B is making the dinner, and I will make homemade ceasar salad, and a bundt cake. I did the majority of our Christmas shopping online just a few minutes ago and decimated my Etsy bank account, but it's all on its way to the happy recipients (and one to my own house for B).

We still have to visit Santa, see the holiday flowers at the Bellagio conservatory, wrap and put together daycare gifts, co-worker gifts, and friend gifts. This is a to-do list I will happily check off!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sick part two millionth

I hate writing about when we've all gotten sick. I wish I could just gloss over it when it happens, but when all three of us are sick, it is just so debilitating that I'd just let the silence go on until something new and exciting happened. And maybe that's what I should do instead, but I really don't like it when it starts creeping up on one week of no posts.

Anyway. Enough blathering.

We're sick! Weird, I know. On Saturday, Mia and I went to an indoor play gym, which was tons of fun but it turns out, infested with rotavirus, or norovirus, or whatever virus it is that makes all family members gag at the sight of food or dashing to the bathroom every forty minutes. We'll go back to the play gym, hopefully by the time we go back, we'll be immune to that place's virus lord. It feels like a stomach bug hits us every time we get exposed to some new child-dominated place. Once when daycare started, another time when Mia started hanging out i the 2 year old room, and now, the indoor play gym. Yuck.

This week though. The worst week for me to get sick. While B and Mia malaised at home, I had to be at work for some meetings. Excuse me rotavirus, I am booked until Thursday, didn't you get the memo? So, here I am on Tuesday, still feeling ill while my family has returned to their own respective places, quite perky from their day of rest.

One more full night's sleep and I'm sure I'll be right back to normal, though by then, I'll be able to take a sick day.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Teaching a 2 year old a second language

I'm bilingual. While my fluency in French may be rusty, it's there. Up until high school, I went to French language schools, read in French, spoke French to my friends, everything in French. In High School, I spoke French for an hour a day, because there was a little program in my high school for French kids. There were three of us, and one teacher, and we did correspondence courses, culminating in a French high-school equivalency exam at the end of my Junior year. The program was intended for those who were planning on going back to the "mother country" at the end of their parents stints abroad. While none of the people in my class actually went back to France, we could have.

My Dad's family is all in France. The younger folk speak English with a lovely and thick French accent. The older generation? Not a lick. I mean, my grandmother gets confused when B answers the phone and they can't even make basic small talk with one another. My grandmother turns 90 in March, and Mia and I are flying there for the party to meet up with the rest of my family. That's 4 months away. I'd like Mia to have at least a basic understanding of French by then, or my dual citizenship might be revoked.

So, I've been casually looking for tips on how to do this, but most are short articles listing various methods. (Bilingual toys, Dora/Diego, almost everything is Spanish) How about someone real? So, while I'm doing it in real time, I'll try a few things out, and share them here. Realistically, I know that me speaking French to her 100% of the time would be the best and quickest way for her to learn, but I don't think it's realistic for me. B doesn't speak French, and how exhausting would it be to have to translate? Very.

Instead, a few months ago, I had decided to start French Saturdays - the only day Mia and I are consistently on our own while B is at work. But, truthfully, I've been really bad at it. Saturday mornings, I usually plop Mia down in front of a movie while I do some housework. At first, I would switch the movie from English to French and she didn't seem to have any objections to it, and reply to her multiple requests for cheese in French, but then I kind of... forgot about it. So, here I am, creating some accountability for myself. FRENCH SATURDAYS.

I'll write about how it's going, whether I manage to find anything else to help, some french speaking toddlers who will just teach my kid for me, perhaps? Probably not. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Family seeking three row automobile

Full disclosure: I was invited to attend the Las Vegas Motortrend Auto Show by some Toyota reps, the opinions on the vehicles are 100% my own. Truth be told, we were already planning on going, so the email was just a bonus!

So, cars. They remain on my brain. Last year, we thought we were going to trade in my car for a bigger, mommy-type car. And then we weren't, because we wised up and realized that having two car payments sucks (and still does) so let's wait. And waiting we are, but I am determined not to make an emotional decision this time around.

The earliest we could possibly be looking at trading my car in is March 2014. If we wait a few months longer, we're in better shape still. A few more payments towards my car means a bigger trade in value, etc. So, we're aiming for the summer of 2014 unless something comes up to derail us (or to speed up the need...). Either way, I'm doing my homework and test driving three row cars until I am fully decided.

What better place to go to get an idea of what is on the short list but the Las Vegas Motortrend Auto Show? This was actually our second time going, because, well, we thought we were buying a car last year, too! But, the last time we went, we concentrated on two row cars, and I've 100% ruled that out. 3 rows, or just stick with the same darn car.

Mia in the front seat of the 2013 Highlander. Pretty nice-looking dash!

We went through two of the cars pretty thoroughly. I didn't get a good look at the Sienna, mostly because I'm not that interested in having a minivan, and it was occupado for a lot of the time we were there. First, the 2013 Highlander, which seems like the logical choice. Decent gas mileage, three rows, nice looking. The seats were easy to maneuver, and it was low enough to the ground that getting out didn't require a step ladder. The driver's seat was comfy, the passenger seat was comfy. But, there wasn't much cargo room with the third row out. While that isn't a deal breaker, it was a bit of a downside. There was limited access to the 2014 Highlander since it isn't out yet, but we're told that it's expected to have additional trunk and leg room in that 3rd row, so we'll take a look at it when it does come out at the dealerships.

We also looked a the Sequoia. Now... I am not sure what it was about that car, but I was so into it. It looked big, like, from the outside, but when I was sitting in it, it just felt good. Like, it felt like I had lost 20 pounds when I was sitting in the driver's seat, and I did all the fiddling with this one that I did with the Highlander, and it all just seemed to click better. This car and I were one. I even sat my butt down in the third row, and you know what? It was comfortable. Like, I could sit in this back row for hours and I would be fine, comfortable. Like a minivan, but sexy.

This is us in that luxurious 3rd row - see how my legs don't touch the second row? Yeah, me too. More leg room in this 3rd row than in my current car's 2nd row.
Alright, so back to reality though. With the Sequoia, you can't have your cake and eat it too. While I was gushing about the car, my husband, ever the environmentalist, steered me towards the gas mileage card. 17 mpg, highway. That is probably pretty good, compared to most full-size SUVs, but considering my car current gets 45 mpg (Honda Insight) - that's a tough pill to swallow. We'll have to check the pros and cons on that one, whether we'll have enough family in town to justify a full size SUV, whether we'll make more children, whether we want to pay the price for the comfort.

Having never driven either car, both are on the list. B likes the reasonableness and absolute convenience of the Highlander, while I am being a bit cheeky and leaning in the Sequoia direction. The latter might be a better option for a different family - you know, one with older children, with many activities and many THINGS to go with those activities.

After visiting the rest of the show, we also have on the list the expanded Hyundai Santa Fe, the Honda Pilot, and the Nissan Pathfinder.

Monday, December 2, 2013

2 Week Update - with pictures!

It's been two weeks. I'm not sure how that happened, but there it went anyway. We've done a lot in the past two weeks, and not much of it was done in front of a computer, so that could be part of the reason.

Two weekends ago, we took a nice trip to L.A! More specifically, we were in Santa Monica. We left early Saturday morning, to get in around lunchtime on Saturday, and took an unfortunate 7 hours to get home, but LA to Vegas traffic is no joke, especially during a holiday week. It was really fun, though. We checked out Shop House, the new Asian restaurant by the Chipotle folks. My opinion: definitely delicious, but, like Chipotle, will take a few visits to figure out the right combination. We spent an evening at the Santa Monica Pier. The girls rode the ferris wheel - the boys were too chicken. The boys played some games and won a couple of the very small stuffed animals. One went to Mia, the other, to their own baby (a yorkiepoo).

I took Monday off, so it was a quick 1 and a half day work week for me (our office closed at 1pm on Wednesday), and then, a nice few days away. I spent Wednesday afternoon at the grocery store, Wednesday night prepping, and Thursday morning cooking pumpkin pie, scalloped potatoes, and mini hotdogs. We spent thanksgiving with Brian's co-worker and her family and had a lovely time.

A kids table! It was excellent - not having to fuss over whether she was eating or not! And she did! Eat!
 The rest of the weekend, I obsessively made earrings for the Etsy Shop. I decided to try my hand at some earrings, and once I got started, I just couldn't stop. Twice my budget later, and I've made about 25. I know what I'm giving the daycare ladies!

Promptly the day after thanksgiving, I went through the Christmas boxes and everything was up by Saturday night! Including our newest addition, Pippin the Elf on the Shelf.

Lastly, and sorry to end on sad note, but we said goodbye to our Chloe last Friday. If you'll remember, I had posted a while ago about Chloe being on her last leg. Well, almost a year and a half later, and it was true. She started having some blood in her urine and wincing when her abdomen was touched. And most alarmingly for our little glutton, she stopped eating. So, it was time.

Goodbye, Chloe. We miss you, but as we explained to Mia, you went away to rest.

Monday, November 18, 2013

On adding a second to the mix

It's the eternal question. Once you get married, everyone asks themselves, when do we have a kid? You think of a million things. Finances, living situation, job situation, whether you have the time, the energy, the stability. When B and I first got married, we started trying 4 months later, and got pregnant immediately. We didn't think about it much, we threw caution to the wind and decided that there was never a good time to have a baby, so now was as good a time as any. Never, not a single moment of my life, have I ever regretted it. Not for a single moment do I wish we had postponed our decision, even while my closest friends have yet to do any baby making of their own.

Now that Mia is 2 1/2, my body is starting to physically feel ready to become pregnant again. Not that I'm back in tip top shape or anything, but I feel normal. Normal at my new, pudgy size, and comfortable. I'm healthy, I'm physically well, flexible, strong. I've been keeping up with a yoga DVD 2-3 times a week. Nothing complicated, nothing terribly challenging, but my body is feeling good. 

The rest of me is starting to come around to the idea of adding this mythical second child into the mix. B and I are ready to love someone else, to take care of someone else. We're probably not ready for the lack of sleep, constant attention, and general high maintenanceness of a baby, but honestly, nobody every is. What we are ready for, though, is for that mythical non-existing second child to grow into a toddler, a child, a generally awesome member of the family. And that's what you're really getting, isn't it? Once you're out of the baby phase, the cute, cuddly, exhausting baby phase, you're getting an energetic, wonderful child. 

That part, I do feel ready for. I do. But the part that requires a larger car, a second daycare payment, and dividing my attention away from my very real, very clingy two year old? That, I am not ready for. The former two reasons, practical considerations... it's just money. It can be worked out, with time, it will be just fine. But the latter, 3rd reason? This part is what I still struggle with.

Of course, I know what the benefits are of having a sibling. A playmate for life, another family member, someone to team up with against your parents, someone to share Christmas morning with, and everything else that comes along with that. But I am so scared that adding another kid would take away so much of what Mia gets now. Undivided attention, no competition for lap space, time, patience, praise, everything. I feel so guilty for taking some of that away from her. She won't understand, and I'm terrified of how she'll react. In reality, and in my heart, I know she'll be fine. She's a sweet, sweet girl, who tucks her dolls in and shows empathy. She may have a wicked temper, but she always wants everyone to be happy.

In reality, it's not her I'm worried about, it's me. A big part of me wants to give all my time, attention, love to her and only her. But another, equally large part of me wants another sweet, loving, sassy, happy human being to join our happy little family. Someone for all three of us to love. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Philippines

I've felt the need to post something, anything about what's going on in the Philippines, but whenever I start something, it always ends up sounding trite. But, 5 days later, it seems like too much time has passed without me acknowledging what happened. For the first time in my life, a place that actually means something to me, personally, is affected by one of these natural disasters. It has always been so easy to hear about devastation without personally relating to it, without letting myself realize how stressful, difficult and devastating these situations can be. Again, I'm already feeling like I'm sounding trite...

Obviously, we're all aware that entire provinces are suffering because of the Typhoon. Tacloban, the biggest city from my Mom's home province is completely devastated. The majority of my family lives in Manila now, but a few of my Mom's first cousins are still living in Eastern Samar. We were completely out of touch with these cousins for the first few days of the storm, and while I was thinking of them the whole time, I didn't feel like I could say anything aloud (or in writing) until we heard from them.

Finally, two days ago, we got a facebook message. They're alright, but obviously they have no power or any other means of communication. They had managed to borrow someone's laptop for a couple of minutes, just long enough to notify their friends and family that they were alive. Yesterday, after some effort, they've been moved out Tacloban, where conditions are just getting worse and worse for everyone left behind.

What do we do to help? I have no idea. What I've been hearing is that money, donations, etc aren't really a problem. It's mobilization, organization, and actual boots on the ground help that is lacking. Tacloban is difficult to get into and out of, there are no resources, potable water is scarce, etc. If I find out about any real ways to help, I'll post again. But in the meantime, let's all remember that the images we are seeing are pictures of real people, with real families, and real lives. Not just pictures scrolling by on the TV...

Adult Friendships

An adult friendship is a complicated thing. Adult friendships don't start organically, the way they do when you are thrown into a dorm room, or a high school classroom. I'm not talking about the friendships that started there, and that we may have maintained through adulthood.

The other type, the type people that you meet as an adult, as a parent, as a co-worker. I've written about this before, how it's so weird and awkward to make friends with someone as an adult. When I wrote about it initially, I was still pretty new to Vegas, pretty new to parenting. But now, three years as a Las Vegas resident, and two and a half years as a parent, things are a bit different. Friendships have developed (slowly), but inherently, they are not the same kind of friendships. We've gotten to know and have spent some time with parents from Mia's daycare. We've spent some time with B's co-worker's and are spending Thanksgiving with some of them. I've gone to some knitting circles. I don't have room in my life for much more than that, casual friends, going out to dinner friends, holiday friends. [When communicating with these people, I always run my messages past B: "Am I coming on too strong with this invitation?" B always reminds me that we are NOT DATING. My thoughts, aren't we?] My head is full - full from the demands of having a family and a job. Unless you are related to me, or giving me a paycheck, I have very little time left to give to you every day. 

As a 30 year old woman, and probably more pointedly, mother, I've come to accept that the era of "hanging out with friends" just for the hell of it and without any planed activity has come to an end. You know how in high school, or in college, you'd just go over to someone's house, and sit around talking for hours and hours? Of course you could do that when you had little more than studying to worry about. I've accepted that doing this, sitting around and just talking, plus the shared idiotic experiences you have with these people, is how you really become friends.

Maybe some people can still make these types of friendships into adulthood/parenthood, but I think it's over for me. And I'm OK with that. My everyday life is full. I feel fulfilled. I have a lovely daughter, I have a husband who is still my favorite person to hang out with. I have hobbies that I dream about, that keep my hands happily occupied. But on Saturday afternoons, when Mia and I are home on our own because B is at work, I get pangs of loneliness. Doesn't anyone want to come over and just hang out with me?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hats, the knit kind.

Even though it's 75 degrees here today, that isn't the normal 100 degrees we've been getting since May, so that definitely feels like winter. And, since we are creeping very quickly towards the holidays, I have really increased my knitting production. Namely, hats.

I made my first hat without any kind of pattern. It's more of a mashing together of different techniques that I've learned by making other hats, using patterns. This was intended to be a slouchy beret/beanie type hat, but it turned into just your basic beanie. And it's cute. I intended it to be for Mia, but, depending on what kind of knitting I manage to get done throughout the next few months, it may very well be gifted elsewhere. I made it with some acrylic red sparkly yarn left over from last year's Holiday Ornaments.

On the adult side of things, I picked up a little pamphlet of hat patterns from Michael's. Generally, I do not like shopping for yarn or patterns at Michael's because I like to make an effort to support Local Yarn Shops, but once in a while, life requires you to make a trip to Michaels, and while on that trip to Michael's, I cannot be expected to skip over the yarn section. It's a nice little pamphlet, and this Truly Purple hat (not knit in purple) is what I started with. It's not finished, which is unfortunate, but I'll be done by Tuesday night at the latest. Again, I would very much like to keep this hat, but I almost certainly will be giving it as a gift and hoping to make myself one down the line.

The pattern is only OK. It feels like it was not very well written, and while it's turning out quite pretty, it feels a bit clumsy. Most of the other hats are not so elaborate, so I am not disappointed in the $4 I spent. Plus, it really is turning out slouchy and will be even slouchier after I'm done blocking.

Next up, another beanie, probably from the same book, in Chicago Blackhawks colors, for my dearest nephew, whose interests are limited to Trucks, Trains and the Chicago Blackhawks. And I am most certainly not attempting any truck or train patterns.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Hair Experiments, concluded!

A completely unsolicited, unsponsored post about my hair, as a follow up to my original Hair Post from over 6 months ago.

Even at this length, I couldn't get any moisture down into the ends.
I've been obsessed with my hair ever since we moved to Vegas. I don't know what started it, whether it was pregnancy, the water, or just moving to the super dry climate, but either way, I've been obsessed with it. I cared about my hair when we lived in Chicago, but I was never concerned about it. I used shampoo, conditioner, sometimes a 2 in 1, blow-dried it, whatever, normal stuff. When we moved here, all that "normal stuff" was over. My hair was so dry and crunchy, I just cut it in a short bob and pretended I didn't want to have long hair. (but I did!)

I've tried moisturizing product after product, shampoos, conditioners, everything. Only conditioning the ends, blasting my hair with cold water at the end of a shampoo. I tried NOT shampooing my hair, and using baking soda and vinegar instead. I asked my hair stylist, her instructions were just not to wash it every day. And yes, that's what everybody always says, but my hair would get so oily at the roots while staying so dry at the ends that it wasn't much of an option. So on it went, but I didn't stop googling shampoo alternatives.

February 2013, in the process of growing out my hair. Pic was originally published in my inexplicably popular post, House of Cards and Hair. I think I was still using Wen at this point.
I decided to try cleansing conditioners. First, Wen (from the infomercials and QVC). It was great, actually. I really liked the scents and it definitely softened up my brittle ends, it was costing me like $50 a month, which... is not in my hair budget. I found a pretty great, much cheaper alternative in L'Oreal Evercreme, and I've had a bottle of it ever since. I used it religiously, daily, for a few months, when I finally found that my scalp's oil production was under control enough to skip shampoos. SKIP THEM!

Day 3 Hair! Granted, it's up in a top knot, but I assure you that it is not oily.

Now, in order to actually skip a shampoo is still have a "style" (aka anything other than limp, slept on hair), I need to use dry shampoo. I tried a bunch (I was obsessed for a while), until I finally settled on Batiste Dry Shampoo. Batiste is not expensive (like $8 at Ulta) and has been the only product to allow me to skip more than one shampoo. Seriously, I'll go two days in a row without washing my hair and still be able to wear it down on the 3rd day if I want to. Now, the longer I go between Shampoos, the more I end up going back to a regular plain old shampoo (it's hard for the cleansing conditioner to really get all the product from 3 days o styling out), but only twice a week. If it's only been a day or two since my last wash and I need to wash my hair for whatever reason, I'll still use the Evercreme.

Day 1, Blow Dried Straight.
Now, I'll generally do a routine of Day 1: Wash and Blow Dry Straight, using just a paddle brush and anti-frizz serum. Day 2: Dry Shampoo, them curl it wavy (pictured below), with a bit of volumizing powder (I use Powder Play from Big Sexy Hair) at the roots and hair spray to finish. Day 3: Up in a styled ponytail, or half up, or on days when I'm feeling ambitious, I'll try a style from The Small Things Blog (pictured above - incidentally, I also follow her recommendations on how to curl one's hair. It turns out, I was doing it all wrong. AWAY FROM THE FACE, FOLKS!).

 On Day 3, typically there is more Powder Play, and even more hairspray to hold the style. Incidentally, I think it's important that you use a nice tight brush and really brush your hair out at the end of the day. You know how on the Brady Bunch, Marcia would count to 100 brush strokes? Well, now that I'm not washing my hair everyday, I get it. I use a boar bristle brush that I got from Target.

Day 2 hair, curled.

So now, it's long, it's healthy, and it's not oily. I'm pretty happy with it! I'm not sure how much longer I'll go with it, though this is probably as long as it's ever been! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Swearing in Ceremony, and general update.

Tomorrow, I am getting sworn in to practice in Nevada. I'm excited, a lot more excited for this one then the first one. I'm not sure why, since nothing is essentially going to "change" in my life once I re-swear to uphold the Constitutions. But, B was able to get the afternoon off work, and there's a little reception afterwards, so it should be a lovely afternoon. We'll leave Mia at daycare until after the ceremony, because, let's face it, it probably isn't the place for a two year old.

Mia, in the midst of serious 2 year old drama.

It was actually a bit touch and go for me to take part in the swearing in ceremony. There were some delays in processing my application, and the State Bar had put a hold on my application. I wasn't even planning on attending the ceremony as of Monday, but thankfully it was resolved quickly and all is well. Something to do with matching up my maiden/married name on my law school transcripts and Illinois admissions.

Otherwise, we haven't had much going on (hence the lack of posting). I've been knitting like a crazy person in preparation for the Xmas. November 5th, and I'm about 2 down on the list of around 20 knitted gifts (mostly infinity scarves, hats and some household items). I'm completing a project once every three days or so, and a couple that I intended to keep for myself (or Mia) are... not going to be kept. I can always make more in January!

OH! And take a look at my Etsy shop for some of my new items!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Good news all around.

The NV Bar Exam? I passed it. No big deal.

Of course, now comes the flood of thoughts regarding finding a new job. I'm applying, for sure, and hopefully not completely in vain. My boss was thrilled and offered me a vague raise. I say vague because there was no number, and no time frame. Just kind of: "Oh, I'll have to start paying you more now that you're licensed in two states! As soon as we get a bigger patient load." Right. Still, it's nice to hear.

Oh, and also, my Tale of Woe? Also resolved. While I did not get my shoes, because I did not intercept the package between FedEx dropping it off at the local post office, and it going on the mail carrier's truck, I was able to get in touch with my parents' tenant, who kindly 'rejected' the package. So, they are on their way back to DSW, and DSW has already processed by refund. So, I am bootie-less, but happy with the customer service conclusion.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Yet another tale of woe.

Shoes. I haven't bought them in several months. Other than the occasional purchase of the $14.99 shoe at Target, I haven't bought a proper pair of shoes, from a proper store for several months. Last spring, I bought a pair of Minnetonka Moccasins at DSW. I love them, I wear them at least once a weekend, and usually on casual Fridays to work.

Minnetonka Moccasin Women's Kilty Suede Moc Shoe
Minnetonka Moccasins

This fall, I had decided to purchase a pair of booties. I wanted a pair of taupe booties, so that they would work with black and brown. This is the one I want, but at almost $90 and no coupons or gift cards, it had to be out of the running. Nevertheness, behold the beauty that is the Sole Society Kelsa Bootie.
Sole Society - Kelsa in Mushroom Fudge

I found a compromise, but in the wrong color. For $49.95, it was worth compromising on the color, but I wasn't quite ready to settle down just yet. I tried it on, it fit, but I couldn't commit.

Crown Vintage Carlton Bootie
After going back to take a second look at, I searched for more in the same style and found another compromise. Despite the unappealing brand, at only $10 more, it was another consideration. And, with free shipping and the ability to make returns directly at the DSW store, I took the plunge and ordered this pair:
Fergalicious Lucid Bootie
In the pictures, I don't love it. I'm not sure what the deal is with the how the heel is kinda rounded in the back, and I don't love that the toe is rounded upward. But, it's worth a strut around the house. And I got the shipping notification this morning, and here's the woe part... it shipped to my address in Chicago!!

Apparently, DSW doesn't automatically updated your shipping and billing information when you update your home address, so while the home address was properly in Las Vegas, the shipping address was still my apartment in Chicago. Of course, I can't blame DSW entirely here, I should have double checked all the addresses before clicking, but I find it perfectly reasonable to check the "home address" section and assume it is all going out to the same place! WOE IS ME!

And more woe: DSW can't intercept and reroute the package, even though they are shipping through Fed Ex because..... I don't know and it's too upsetting to listen to why. Instead, I have to check the shipping status and HOPE that I manage to notify the post office between the time it is delivered to them and before they put it on the truck for delivery to my old apartment and my parents' tenant. I'm guessing that's not a huge window of time, and everyone knows how efficient it is to try and do anything through the post office over the telephone. I've sent an email to the tenant, and asked her to graciously REJECT my shoes if they get delivered to her house, so that they can be sent back to DSW and then to me. WOE IS ME!

So, there concludes my tale of woe. By my estimation, see you in 2 months, shoes. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

One sick day, two tales.

Over the weekend, Mia had a fever on and off ranging from 100-102 degrees. We considered taking her to the drug-store clinic on Sunday, but decided it was best to wait until we could see her pediatrician on Monday morning. 

I called first time on Monday morning, and quickly got an appointment for 9:30am. We loaded up in my car and drove across town. Despite having moved clear across Vegas, I haven't switched Pediatricians. A 20 minute drive is worth it to me, I really like her. But, this does mean a lot of driving. So, we headed back towards our neck of the woods after a quick diagnosis for an ear infection, and an antiobiotics prescription in hand. As soon as we got back to our neighborhood, I drove through and dropped off the prescription at the pharmacy window. It would be ready in an hour. 

I decided that it was better for Mia to get her medication earlier in the day, rather than waiting until after 5 for B to pick it up on his way home from work. So, I headed to Target to pick up some kid-groceries. We did our thing, picked up a bonus pair of shoes for Mia that were on sale for $10 and desperately needed since Mia now only has 1 pair of school shoes that fit. After a quick potty stop, we headed back towards the pharmacy.

I headed back into the drive through aisle to pick up the prescription, which I had already been notified was ready. I got everything I needed, and proceeded to navigate through the busy lunchtime parking lot, where I was stopped behind a car waiting to turn right, into the aisle that led back onto the road.* At that point, a woman in a red chevy impala (a rental) was backing out of her parking spot, directly to my left. I honked, HOOOOOOONKED because I couldn't move forward, but alas, she did not stop and she ran into my car door.

She was going very slowly, so the impact was fine and nobody was hurt. I'm not sure Mia noticed anything strange had happened. The damage looks pretty minimal, but my car door is jammed. I can open it about 6 inches and force my way through it, which I did. We exchanged contact information, she gave me her insurance and admitted liability. I squeezed back into my car, snapped a couple of pictures of her license plate and driver's license, and headed back home. The car is a bit rattly as I drove it home, but hopefully there is nothing seriously wrong with it. 

I set Mia up with her medication, put her in front of a movie with a blanket and her Bunny, and got to the phone to make my claim. We've been in contact and hopefully, I'll be able to make arrangements to drop my car off and pick up a rental by tomorrow. Luckily, B is off work today, so I'm driving his car while mine ails in the driveway. So far, everything's fine and there's not a lot to be too upset about, except having to deal with dropping my car off and making several phone calls to insurance companies. Hopefully everything concludes itself drama-free.

That is how the story goes if you ask me what happened to me yesterday.

But, if you'll go back to the asterisk (*), you'll  need to insert this portion:

After I left the drive through to pick up Mia's prescription at the pharmacy, I remembered that the last time Mia got this prescription, she vomited after I gave her the first dose (a double). Since she's been sick, she hasn't been eating a lot. And I don't know about the other parents out there, but I know of one other drive thru that will guarantee my kid has a full stomach - McDonald's. So, I admit it. That's what I was really exiting when the rest of the story took place, the McDonald's drive through. [Yes, I am ashamed to say it] And no, I didn't only pick up a Happy Meal for Mia, I also got myself my favorite - a cheeseburger and fries. Hey - at least I skipped the Sundae. So, that's what I get for going to McDonald's, that's what I get for picking up a lunch that likely contained my entire daily value of fat for the day. BLARG.

Plus, my fries were cold by the time I got home to eat them. Though Mia's belly was predictably full within 20 minutes of being home, and she tolerated the 1st dose of antibiotics very well.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Conversations parents have

Me: B, Mia needs some pants now that the weather's getting cool.
B: Ok, how many pairs does she have?
Me: Maybe 5 that fit her.
B: That sounds like it should be enough!
Me: For a normal person, yes. But for a person who pees and craps herself at school? It's not.

Potty training still continues to go pretty well, actually. But apparently, once the 2 year old teacher leaves, all the kids who are simultaneously potty training forget to tell someone when they have to go, so the longer Mia stays at daycare after 3 pm, the higher the odds of her coming home with one of those dreaded plastic bags tied to her backpack. Yesterday, she came home with 3, and the 2 feet surrounding her bag smelled like a homeless person. They explained that Miss Sue left at noon today.

Mostly, this was meant as a quick updated so that the last post was no longer my tagline on anyone else's feed. I feel much better now, thanks for letting me bitch a bit!

Monday, September 23, 2013

One of those fall asleep on your face kind of moods

This weekend was not great. For not one particular reason, but just a combination of kind of crappy things that just kind of... made me have a minor meltdown / explosion.

Since we removed Mia's crib railing, she's stopped taking her habitual 2 hour midday nap. She still naps, but she won't be down for nearly long enough to make it count. It's probably that when the crib railing was up, she'd wake up a few times during those two hours, but doze back off to sleep when she got bored. Now, she'll wake up and get up out of bed on her own and play quietly in her room for a while. It's nice, for us, to still have that little break in the middle of the day, but the less than 45 minutes she's down means that by around 5 o'clock, she's in a near meltdown state. I'd like to think that I am normally pretty levelheaded and patient with her when she's like this. I'll let her have her tantrum, ignore it, and she'll come back to me once she's done, saying "Ma (I'm) okay now, Mama" and climb on my lap to recover. But this Saturday, I found that I actually had to remove myself from the room while she was inconsolable. I sent her to her timeout mat, and marched straight up to my bedroom and planted myself face down on the length of the bed, and stayed there until I actually fell asleep. I woke up 40 minutes later, completely stunned as to why I was face down on the bed, when I heard B trying to prevent Mia from coming in the room. She, was completely recovered and fine, of course. I recovered my patience enough to deal with Mia, but not with the rest of... LIFE like dogs who want their food, or husbands who want to watch football all day, or annoying status updates on facebook. You know, the normal stuff.

It couldn't have been that one thing, but it was more like that afternoon, that particular tantrum, was the straw. August and September have been bad for us, financially. The thing with B's job is that it's not exactly predictable. Yes, he has a base pay, but when his numbers aren't there for the month, neither is the commission check at the beginning of the following month. So, generally, we know about 30 days in advance when the check isn't going to be its usual size. On the same token, he can also have stellar numbers, and we know that in about 30 days time, we'll have a bit extra. July and August were the former, which unfortunately, means that August and September were going to be bad. We've known that for a while and have completely cut out any unnecessary spending. Bills paid, but nothing left beyond that. Which, of course, is not a bad place to be, relatively speaking. But, it still takes a toll. So I'm counting down until September is over (and have been since August 1st), and October rolls around. B's September was amazing, and we should be getting about three times his normal commission amount, which should balance out our deficiencies. The lists of not extravagant but not necessary things that I've put off buying is building in my head (cleansing conditioner, face cream, eye cream, dry shampoo, lipstick). Things also on my list, but that still have to wait: shoes, pants, glasses. Thankfully, my paychecks have been on time and full sized since I've been working 5 days a week, every week. Without those, I would probably have broken down ages and ages ago.

Oh, and have I left out the part that made me feel justified in taking some of this frustration out on my husband? Last weekend, I was getting ready to go out for a girls night (my one splurge - paid for by Etsy orders) and was in my bra and underwear, undoubtedly while I was bending over or doing something equally as unflattering, my husband sighs and says QUOTE: "You have such a Mom body now."

[pause to let that sink in]

In that moment, I kind of let it go. I was trying to get myself out the door and looking as nice as possible to meet up with a group of girls I didn't know (except one). I ended up having a great time, so the comment didn't come up again until this weekend. I don't even know in what context I brought it up, maybe when I pointed out a pair of shoes that I really wanted and B reminding me (again!) that his car needed new tires, so shoes would have to wait. Maybe I said something real mature like: "What? They don't look like Mom shoes enough to match my MOM BODY?!?" Either way, I was belatedly incensed about the comment. He tried to explain himself, to say that he didn't mean it as an insult. Honestly, as I'm writing it out, I can't even remember how he tried to spin it because of how ineffective that spinning was.

Oh, and have I mentioned the trouble I've been having with my application to the Nevada Bar? Apparently, there's still missing about a gagillion things of mine because the post office stopped working, or because it's just too difficult to make note of my married name versus my maiden name, and this morning I got an email that just mentions that I have a week to get this straightened out or I will be DISQUALIFIED for the November swearing in, provided I pass the exam.

So, add to all that Mia falling out of bed at about 4:30 this morning, and then tossing and turning in our bed until 5:30 this morning, when she went back into her own bed because even my 2 year old had enough sense to realize how little sleep she was getting by resting her head on my throat. And of course, at 5:45, there goes B's work out alarm, and I've been awake since 4:30 and now he's going to work out in our room because me and my mom-body don't need any stinking beauty rest!

Before B left for work, he's all... "Um, honey? I know you're struggling and all, but I just kind of need to know you're okay before I leave." I'll be fine, nothing a few weekdays in a row won't fix. Amirite?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fall TV line up

I will freely admit that the television is on in our house much, much too often. B loves movies. On his week days off, I'll come home and he'll have watched, three or four, in a row. He's not on his ass watching movie after movie after movie, his days are very productive, but always with movies on in the background.

I like movies, generally. I like sitting down on a Friday night after Mia's gone to sleep and watch whatever we have from Netflix (I think I am one of the last few people who still gets DVDs from Netflix). But, if it's up to me, I would much rather watch a TV show. My ideal way to watch TV is of course in the serial form, as I've discussed many a time. One after the other, and whenever I want. I've really come to love netflix original series. House of Cards isn't the only one anymore, you know! Orange is the New Black was great, I even liked Hemlock Grove. While Netflix series are great for the summer, the regular fall series are all coming back! 

Another great thing to watch during the summer? Cable TV. This summer, we watched The Newsroom, whose second season was not as great as the first, but wrapped itself up very nicely this weekend. We discovered the wonder that is HBO Go, so we watched the first and part of the second season of True Blood. We didn't bother finishing the second season, it started getting a bit annoying (with Sookie being ridiculously annoying). When we have about 100 hours free, we plan to re-watch all of the Sopranos. Also, guilty indulgence: the While Queen, on Starz which was based on the Philippa Gregory novels that I love. The series itself was not amazing, but seeing the books come to life is completely worth it.

And, since I know you've all been wondering, here is the lineup of regular tv shows that are going to be lined up on our DVR this fall:

How I met your Mother: If this wasn't in its last season, this would have been axed this year. It's been too many seasons of basically the same storyline. We liked it so much at the beginning, our Swarley's name is taken from an episode. And, at the end of last season, Marshall (the lawyer with about 2-3 years of experience) got offered a judgeship, and that is just WRONG, so they almost got the boot. You have been warned, HIMYM. Wrap it up nicely.

Modern Family: steadily funny, reliable. Not one that gets watched immediately, but once we do get around to playing it, we're always glad we did.

Parks and Rec: A couple of years ago, this was the funniest show on TV. It may very well still be. Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari are seriously magical.

New Girl: Brian likes this show more than I do, probably because he (like all other guys 28+) lurves Zooey Deschanel. He also likes Schmitt as much as I love Tom Haverford.

Walking Dead: By far, the show that I am most excited to see start up again. It's much more satisfying when watched serially, but last season we really looked forward to Sunday nights specifically for it. It starts October 13th, and really, should be great. Though the hopeless negativity better ease up a little bit, or it's going to start to get too exhausting to watch.

American Horror Story, Coven: Okay, so I didn't watch Asylum because I caught on to American Horror Story too late to catch up, but the beauty of this show is that every season has a completely independent story line. So, watching Murder House on Netflix gave me just enough of a taste to know that I am definitely, 100% watching Coven. The previews hint to almost nothing, but are so creepy!

The Mindy Project: actually a new addition to our DVR this year. We watched a couple of episodes here and there last season, and it was always funny, but somehow we never got around to recording it. Mindy Kaling is seriously hilarious in such a smart, self-deprecating and ditzy way. I read her book last year, and was THAT girl laughing out loud at subway while eating my lunch. So, it has earned a spot on the DVR.

New shows that are going to get a try: The Goldbergs on ABC, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Andy Samberg's new show, Super Fun Night, Rebel Wilson's new show. Anyone else looking forward to anything this fall?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Now, I realize that my plight as a mother of a spunky and vivacious two year old is hardly original or ground-breaking here. If I ask Mia: What would you like to dress up as this Halloween? She'll likely reply by telling me what kind of snack she would like me to feed her. So instead, I approach her with some choices, very thought out choices based on her obvious preferences.

Olivia the Pig! My first instinct because I love her more than Mia does. But, maybe I've done too much Olivia already. We did do an Olivia-themed second birthday.

Mia, how about a mouse? Would you like to wear a mouse costume? I suggested a mouse, because she is constantly pointing out in the mouse when we read Good Night Moon. I mean, every time the mouse is on the page, it's "MOUSE! Mouse! Mama!!! MOUSE!". Then, I wonder. Will she keep the ears on all night? Or will she just be some weird kid walking around in a black spandex unitard? Mia's answer: Mouse? Mickey Club House? I want WATCH!

Onto the second thought: Minnie Mouse, then! She got a pair of ears from B's sister when they went to Disney World this summer. We'd only need to buy her the dress, that could be fun! Mia, Minnie Mouse? Do you want to dress up as Minnie Mouse? I grab her Minnie Mouse ears and she takes them off after about 5 seconds on her head. Fine, Minnie Mouse is out, too.

B's suggestion: Vanellope Von Schweetz, aka the Glitch from Wreck it Ralph! Mia's favorite movie at the moment. We have a short discussion about how she might not get it, or about how nobody else will get it. But then decided, who cares? I am sure this is the last year she will let me put whatever outfit I want on her. She's giving us her opinion on many, many things now and we are quickly progressing towards a all-pink wardrobe. (Every morning, I take out her school shoes for her to pick from. One pair is blue and one pair is purple, and she says "Noooo! Pink ones! Pink shoes!") So my feeling is that next year, she is going to squeal at the all-pink princess costume we pass in the aisles at Target, so, yeah. This year, we're doing something cool. So, Vanellope Von Schweetz it is.

Here's my pinboard for it, in case you guys are interested!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Potty Training part 3 - almost there

I was going to start this post by promising that I wouldn't mention potty training again - but honestly, I'm lying. I will mention it again because I have very little else going on. After some reflection, B and I decided not to treat the no #2s in the potty thing as not a thing. She continued to hold off until she had a diaper on (usually at night, sometimes in the morning just as she was waking up), and we'd continue to tell her: Next time, it's in the potty, OK? We'd put it where it belonged (in the toilet), flush it down, and that was it. After making the decision not to treat it as a problem, I found it a lot easier not to get upset or frustrated that she wasn't responding.

I did, however, search the library for some potty training books, just to have a bit more of a reference on the topic than just google. But! This weekend! Mia requested we go to the potty because she had go #2. B went with her - maybe a change of pace on who was with her would make her less nervous about it all. And sure enough, she went, and boy did we celebrate it. She was a bit surprised at how happy it made us, I think, but she was very proud of herself. While we aren't quite at the point where she's going in the pot every time, it's been a huge sigh of relief that she's at least willing to try. She's told us every time she's gone, and sometimes we make it, and sometimes we don't, but... we're getting there. So... YAY. I'll still waiting on the potty training book to be transferred from a different library - maybe we'll have a bit more insight to share on this problem once we implement whatever they recommend.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Potty Training Part 2: #2

We are just about to hit a week of full-time awake diapers. At home, we no longer have accidents with #1. On our as short as possible excursions away from home, I've been putting her in a pull-up, and she keeps it dry the whole time! At school, she has consistently come home with two wet pairs of shorts. So, two accidents at school for the past two days. I consider that a win; I don't expect them to ask her whether she has to go potty every 20 minutes, like I do at home. Besides, this is a good chance for her to learn that she needs to ASK! Like I said, we're not even a week in, so I'm hardly complaining.

BUT, this kid. She won't do a #2 in the potty! In nearly 7 days, she's #2'ed ONCE in the potty, and judging by the look on her face, it was completely accidental. Yes, I praised and congratulated, and jumped for joy when it happened. Clearly, not enough to show that this was a good thing. So this clever child, she waits to do her #2s. She knows that I am going to put a diaper on her at bed time, so, she holds it! Until bedtime! Until she has been comfortably tucked in with her overnight pull up on! Then, she peeks down the stairs and discreetly informs us of her situation. 

I don't know what it is. I've read a couple of things where kids don't like the feeling of "letting it loose", or they don't like sitting on the potty for as long as a #2 takes. We'll keep trying, obviously. We'll flush the #2 from the diaper into the potty, tell her that's where it goes, etc. So, that's what we'll concentrate on this weekend. Another fun-filled one, centered on the all consuming potty!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cancelling the Holiday Travels

When we moved out here almost 3 (gasp!) years ago, we thought we were making the decision to move away for higher salaries, but that those higher salaries would allow us to come back to Chicago for the important stuff. While that's been mostly true, it seems like wedding travel dominates our yearly travel budget. Lucky for us, 2012 had two weddings in Chicago, so two birds two plane tickets, it all worked out.

2013 had one wedding, this time in upstate new york. We were able to see my college friends, which is great - so far I haven't gone a year since graduation without seeing them at least once. We told ourselves we'd do at least one holiday in Chicago this year, whether Xmas or Thanksgiving, whichever one worked out best. Summer's wrapping up and it's time to solidify those plans. Thanksgiving was out - no vacation time, airfare was ridiculous.

So,  Xmas. We've been talking about it for weeks. We need to do it: B's grandparents haven't seen Mia in over a year; Our 2 Chicago weddings celebrated their anniversaries on facebook; Mia probably won't be an only child for much longer; Mia's going to LOVE the Holidays this year.; Mia hasn't seen snow; My sister in law is due on Nov 1st, we'd be able to see our niece while she's still a little bundle of an infant. So many reasons to say yes, to book the tickets and move forward with our planning.

I shopped some airfare. I found a pretty decent price, but we'd be travelling on the 25th and leaving on the 1st, which honestly, who cares? I was sure B's family would be happy to celebrate on the 25th, too. I thought it was a perfect compromise, we'd be there 7 days, B's got the time off we were already telling our family and friends we wouldn't be making it, but secretly keeping our eyes on Kayak plane fare just in case it dipped below $1,000 for the three of us. And this weekend... it did. Just as I was getting ready to put a nice little bow on everything and present it to my dear husband, he breaks the news. His car needs new brakes, new tires. And the total cost of these repairs? Exactly the same as the 3 plane tickets I found to shuttle us to his grandparents' house just in time for Xmas dinner.

ARGH, adulthood. You stink.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Potty Training Part 1

Last time we bought a 50-pack of diapers, I decided this was the last of it. We switched Mia to pull ups when she moved up to the 2 year old class, because they informed us that the teacher would automatically put her on their little bitty toilet every time she had a wet diaper, just to get her used to it. 3 months later, her teacher told us that she was OK with us dropper her off in undies, if we wanted to.

I take that as a gentle nudge to get this transition done already. So, for the past few Saturdays and some Friday afternoons, I've been letting Mia go diaper free all morning, and having her sit on her potty every 20 minutes or so. After the umpteenth time I'd interrupt her activities to sit her on that little frog-shaped toilet without her actually going, she'd start getting real annoyed with me. And vice versa. I would get super frustrated that she'd wet herself within 5 minutes after I just took her to sit down, so I gave up after 2 sets of undies. This weekend, I told myself to just give it one more chance past the 2 accidents.

After that second one, I watched her like a hawk. Like a weird stalker hawk continuously staring at my daughter's crotch. But, the weird crotch stares paid off when I was able to grab her just as I saw a TINY speck of moisture and run to the potty. It scared the crap out of her, and she was super upset with me, but once she calmed down, she did it. She finished up in the potty, and we celebrated and cheered, and gave her some candy. And with that - she understood what the potty was for! We continued with undies until around noon. She had one more accident, but tinkled in the potty many more times. So, challenge continues, but at least she knows what we want when we put her down on the potty now!

We've been continuing training every evening after she gets home from daycare, and while we have yet to do a successful #2 in the pot, things are still going pretty well (she waits to #2 until she's got a pull up on...). The tentative goal is to go pull-up free all weekend, except for night time and naps. So, here it goes!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

For a bit of light reading...

Since I haven't picked up a non-study guide book in over 6 months, one of the things on my post-bar list was: Read fiction. With that being the first criteria, there are several others that I had to impose on my tired, overcrowded brain. Easy, unrelated to my life, and nothing that would even remotely qualify as "literature". 

First up, the Beautiful Creatures series, also known as the Caster Chronicles, though I had no idea of what in the world that meant at the time I downloaded it onto my Kindle. It's a young adult (Easy = check!) series of 4 books which I believed to be a love story between a human and a witch (unrelated to my life = check!). You know, Twilight meets Harry Potter (not literature = check!).

Not surprisingly, I finished the first book by Monday evening and it was extremely satisfying. There really is nothing like losing yourself in one of these books! More Twilight than Harry Potter, but the heroine is significantly less annoying than Edward and Bella, which, in my opinion, the biggest downfall of the Twilight series. It has its roll-your-eyes moments, but overall, it is exactly what I needed. 

Next on the list, the Divergent series!

Oh, on a side note, I've decided to stop making the bracelets from my Etsy Shop, so I discounted the bracelets to cost, and hope to close out my inventory before moving on to something new. So take a look at anything you might have liked before, and buy it at a much lower price!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Coming out of it

I have several posts started in my draft folder that were soooo depressing that I couldn't even finish typing them. I mentioned briefly in my first post-bar post that I was having trouble adjusting to life post-bar. I'm finally adjusting from my postBARtum depression. (GET IT? I'm funny.)

In this moment, I can hardly explain how I was feeling, but I seriously struggling. I would look up from whatever I was doing, and say "Ughhh, I'm struggling", silently and to myself, of course. But today, after taking a sick day to take Mia to the doctor for a long-time cough, things seem... better. For no good reason, they just seem better.

All the things I was sad about before? They're still there. Whether I want to check job postings, find out whether I could work with a recruiter, whether I want to ask for a raise... all those things are still there, still problems. But I don't feel them physically weighing down on me the way I have in the past couple of weeks.

I'm adjusting - waiting, knowing that however difficult it can be, we're getting there. B and I go to bed every night giggling about something cute and funny Mia did that day. Last night, we were a bit more sentimental than usual and asked each other how we could have gotten so lucky with our little one. So sweet and so fiesty, so smart and so silly. Are all parents this obsessed with their children? He said probably. I said I hoped so.

PS - MPRE tomorrow! And then, finally, I will get to the books waiting for me on my Kindle.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The big girl bed adventures

The second your kid turns two, that magic number seems to trigger a series of milestones that everyone believes you should start achieving. Mia turned two a couple of months ago, but those two months were filled with stacks of bright orange BarBri books, streaming lectures, highlighters and flashcards (one flashcard was devoted to a list of said milestones awaiting bar completion). And this weekend, we started on one of the items: transitioning Mia into a regular bed.

Mia wakes up almost every morning, crying. If she wakes up at night for any reason, she's also crying. I read somewhere that though most parents take their kid falling from their crib when trying to climb out as the sign to switch to a bed, sometimes a toddler still waking up crying can be a sign that they are ready for some freedom. Hopefully, this was Mia's problem and we weren't going to be doomed to be woken up by a crying kid for the rest of our lives.

I had fully intended on moving her straight from her crib into a twin bed, but this month's budget is a bit tight, so that will have to wait. I didn't want to put off the transition though, so instead, we just turned her crib into a toddler bed by removing one of the side railings. Things went... about as you would expect.

The first night, she was thrilled at the novelty of being able to get in and out on her own. She gleefully climbed in, but about 10 minutes later, we had a little person peering at us in the living room from the top of the stairs. And then again 20 minutes later. And 20 minutes after that. So... that first night, B and I gave in to Mia's request to "sit der, on floor" until she fell asleep.The second night, bedtime went much more smoothly. She went down, and didn't get up. But, when we went to check on her, she was face down, on the carpet, with her head under the bed. Oops. That day, we decided to give it one more night, and if she was still falling off, we'd wait until we could get a twin bed and a bed rail.

Of course, in true toddler fashion, she spent all night in her bed, and woke up fresh on her own, and B found her quietly reading a book when he came to check on her after his shower. This is exactly what I was hoping for!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Is back!

Well, Nevada Bar Exam July 2013 is official over! Well, not quite because it turns out that, adding insult to injury, I also have to re-take the MPRE next Saturday. But still, relatively speaking, I am over the biggest hurdle.

The whole ordeal of studying, and then sitting for the bar, was physically, mentally, and personally grueling, but in the end I got through it. In reflecting on the exam itself, I find myself completely perplexed at how to deal with the low pass rate. If 40% of the people taking this exam will not be making it through, and if 60% of the people taking this exam performed better than I did, I absolutely cannot see myself doing ANY better the second time around.

Now, do not take that in the "Well, I could NOT have done any better" sense saying that I was excellent and nobody could have done better, but instead, I just cannot see myself doing the whole thing again and having the result come out differently. While I'm not saying that I wouldn't retake it, I am just not sure I would pass the second time if I did have to retake it.

I've found that coming back to "normal life" post bar exam has been a bit more difficult than I anticipated. I feel like complete mush, of course, but more than that, there's a sense of dissatisfaction. You spend the months leading up to the bar building anticipation to cross this hurdle, and then once you cross it, you go back to your normal life to wait. But wait for what, exactly? The results, yes, but if I do pass, I'm not entirely sure I am going to be launching into a full-out job search.

First, while I was away, my Company started doing well again. No late paychecks, no more unpaid time off. I am officially back to 5 days a week, every week. Second, while I'm still somewhat dissatisfied in the lack of lawyering in my day to day, B has (frequently) pointed out that the grass is not always greener.

Besides that, I am back and trying to figure out what I want to do in terms of this blog, my Etsy shop, and... all the other things ever.