Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Four Year Old is a Genius!

Yeah, I'm just kidding. You know I'm not one of those parents. However, I must brag that he used two five-dollar-words this last weekend: metamorphosis and acapella. Seriously, I had to look up how to spell them both. I asked him if he knew what they meant (both utilized at different times during the weekend). He explained metamorphosis in the most basic aspects refering to a monarch butterfly and its cocoon. And he very quickly explained that acapella means "without music." While it in fact means without instruments, I was wholly satisfied and impressed with his answer. Then, when we were at church on Sunday, the priest was singing by himself and Luke loudly whispered in amazement, "Mom, acapella!" I nodded my head, more than a little pleased with his show of intelligence, and hoping that all the other adults around us heard his genius!

With that said, my kid still puts his shoes on the wrong feet and constantly asks to go home even when we are already at home. I don't know - I guess somethings take longer than others. Still, I'm wonderfully impressed with the education he is receiving at his new school.

I'll leave you all on that note as we head to H-town. First we have to attend a Thanksgiving Program at the school where the kids are apprarently playing the parts of Indian Chief and Pilgrim (guess which one is which: Luke is the former and Evie is the later). I'll let you know how it goes. To one and to all, I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving. I hope we all can understand and appreciate the gifts we have been given this season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Movie Quote 8 (for the holiday)

One last movie quote before our Thanksgiving holiday. There's a pretty good clue in this quote so you should be able to guess it.

What kind of Thanksgiving dinner is this? Where's the turkey, Chuck? Don't you know anything about Thanksgiving dinners? Where's the mashed potatoes? Where's the cranberry sauce? Where's the pumpkin pie?

Guess that Appendage . . .

George is almost always on the move now as he gets bigger and fills out my entire abdomen. These days I find myself gently pushing against various appendages that George decides to stick out there, but I can never actually tell what they are: arm, hand, foot, knee, butt? His bottom is probably the easiest to pick out, but I always wonder what the little appendage is on my right side that is constantly sticking out and moving. These days, it is the most likely thing a stranger would be able to feel moving in this big belly of mine. It is fun to gently push against whatever it is and feel him release and then push back again. It is our first form of communication and I love it.

I know I have spent a lot of time complaining about the discomfort of this pregnancy, but please don't doubt that I treasure every moment of helping God create this precious little being who is sure to win my heart the way Luke and Evie have. All in all, I really love being pregnant - especially the elastic waistbands in everything as I've mentioned before. It is an absolute joy to carry this sweet little boy with me to work and share his life all day long. I actually miss having the babies with me when I get back to work after maternity leave. It is fun to have a little companion to pat, monitor, and sometimes talk to. Even late at night when everyone else in the house is asleep, George keeps me company with his sweet little kicks and his big, painful, kicks and adjustments. But each movement and discomfort is a reminder of the sweetness he will bring to our family. I just hope we can make him as happy as he will make us.

Asian Baby

So, I heard some popping, crackling noises coming from the top of my baby belly yesterday and I decided to take advantage of my friendship with an obgyn and ask her what the heck that was. I described it as folding paper, but failed to expound upon the fact that it is more of a crackling and popping noise. She responded that the noise is probably my intestines that are pushed up really high right now and probably making funny noises, or . . . George is working on origami.

I have to admit that this comment led me to have thoughts all night about folded origami cranes flying out of my hoo-ha right before I pop out a baby who looks like an Asian Stewie Griffin (from The Family Guy). I just imagine him coming out slinging around offensive phrases like, "ha-cha-cha-cha" and "flied lice" while wearing a kimono and yielding a Samurai sword as he attempts Kamikazi attacks against his mother.

The pregnant mind is clearly unstable.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Have I ever mentioned how much Chuck cracks me up? Well, he does. Everywhere. All the time. About almost anything. I am so blessed to have a husband who makes me laugh almost all the time. Plus, laughing makes you live longer, so hopefully, I'll live a really long time and have Chuck with me. Hope your holidays are filled with laughter.

Movie Quote 7 (For Em)

This is a movie quote for Emily because Chuck and I are almost positive that she is the only one who will truly get it and appreciate it the way we do. Nonetheless, if anyone else knows (and not just by a random guess), I'll will laugh my ass off. Chuck and I just love this line out of the movie!

But the talking mice say she's the wrong girl.

Have fun today, kids!

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

I love that the holidays are finally here. It signals one of my favorite things (the holidays in general) and the fact that we're just a few weeks away from welcoming the newest member of our family. I hope you all enjoy this week as much as I intend to. Only two full days of work (busy, full days) and then we'll have a little Thanksgiving presentation at the kids' school and head to H-town. When we get back from gorging ourselves on turkey, dressing, pies, and family, I fully intend to start putting our Christmas stuff up. I can't wait to pick out a tree and decorate it! Plus, I have Christmas parties galore and lots of Christmas shopping! Can't wait . . . and this is just the beginning!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Peace Out

Headed home to catch up with the spouse, kids and friends. Next week is Thanksgiving and I can hardly wait to catch up with my family in H-Town! I can't remember the last time I visited. Plus, must visit with sister Mary (sounds like a nun) before she heads off across the pond! Peace out for now.

Aversions to Coats

I don't know what it is, but it seems to be universal (at least universal among my friends) that little kids do NOT want to wear coats. WTH? Do they have higher metabolisms so they don't get cold? Do we get colder as adults? Are they hanging onto the baby fat to keep themselves warm? Are they sneaking a little rum before leaving the house? What is keeping them warm, and what is causing this extreme dislike?

This morning it finally got cold. I am so grateful to have the weather matching my holiday mood, but my mood turned sour when I insisted that Luke needed to wear his coat and he pitched a holy fit about having to wear his coat. I mean a serious two-year-old-lay-down-on-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming fit. It has been ages since I've seen such a display. I tried to explain that it was cold and that he needed to wear a coat, but he insisted in a very rude way that he was not going to wear the coat. I insisted that he had to wear the coat and attempted to zip it up at which point he started jumping up and down, twisting and turning and trying to pull his coat off.

I gave him my very best stern mother voice as I said, "Lucas Berend! It is cold outside and you will wear a coat! Now stand still." Him in the whiney voice I loathe to hear, "I don't want to wear my coat!" Me, "It doesn't matter. It is cold and you have to wear your coat." At this point, Luke turns really ugly and in between his angry little sobs he reaches out and tries to squeeze my arm with his hands.

Sounds pretty harmless right? Well, you're right, it is pretty harmless because he isn't strong enough to hurt me that way (yet), but the fact remains that he was trying to hurt me and that does not fly at our house.

My eyes widened as I watched him try to hurt me and I pulled out the Pissed Off Mom Voice (which consists of a lower pitched but louder version of my very best Stern Mother Voice) and I said, "That is IT! You will not hurt me or anyone else. Do not even try it!" I gently tapped his bottom through his jeans (no harm at all, I promise, since he pulled the magic bowed back maneuver - if you're a mom you know what I'm talking about - if you don't know, ask me to demonstrate next time I see you). I pointed to the time out spot and ordered him "Get in Time Out now, and I don't want to hear any crying."

Before moving an inch he opens his mouth as wide as he can and wails as loud as he can in my face "AhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHH!" This turns me into Hysterical Pissed Off Mom, and I yell back (I admit, probably not a good decision), "GET OVER THERE NOW!" With a loud wail he runs to the living room and throws himself onto the carpet in the designated Time Out spot. Then he rolls into his automatic complaints (whether true or not) that he is sick and he starts to cough in a way that would normally indicate he is about to give me a second look at his breakfast, but that never amounts to anything other than him torturing himself to put on a display to gain my sympathy. This continues between sobs and running tears and boogers, as he informs me "I'm sick!" Alternating with a cough-cough and attempted gagging noises. Then he proceeds to grab his stomach and complain in between coughs and gagging, "My stomach hurts."

Now, the first two times he pulled this stunt, I totally was at his side comforting him and trying to soothe him and keep him from barfing all over. After that, I figured out that it is all a contrived show to get my attention off the fact that he just acted like a total brat or was behaving poorly. So now my response (whether appropriate in your estimation or not) is, "Stop it. You're not sick and your stomach wouldn't hurt if you would just stop crying." Of course, this just pisses him off more, but there's no way I'm going to acknowledge his temper tantrum as anything other than just that - a temper tantrum. Of course, he's probably quite right that he feels bad - I remember feeling bad after throwing fits like that too. Still, I'm not giving him sympathy when all he has to do to feel better is stop crying and do what he is told.

After continued coughing, gagging noises and crying, I tell him to get out of time out and go the front door (where Evie is waiting quietly and watching the entire episode without a word - smart girl). He still is ticked and barely moving from his time out spot so I go pick him up and tell him that he is being silly. I try once again to zip his coat, but that just pisses him off even more, so I gave up and walked him to the front door. (Remember, I'm carrying a four year old boy against his will as he struggles against my prego belly, and yet, I find it amazing that I haven't really lost my cool yet, well except for the moment of Hysterical Pissed Off Mom.) We get to the door and I've given up trying to reason with Luke so I just set him down (jacket fully unzipped but still on his body) and we all exit the house into the cold weather.

Before Luke can even get to the car, he starts whining that he is cold. I look at him with my evil squinted mom eyes and think, but don't actually voice, "No Shit!? Ugh!" What I did say was, "That's why you had to wear your coat. Now get in the car so we can get warm." And that was it.

I only convey that story to say, Why the hell don't kids want to wear their coats? Do they truly think that I'm an idiot and it isn't really cold outside? Do they think coats are just a torture device created by mothers and fathers? What is it?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

George is getting comfy.

I swear it feels like George is trying to bust out of jail. At least he is strong! My eyes got a little watery with George's last round of adjustments and I had to hold my breath for just a little bit. Can babies break their own water?

Movie Quote 6

For the holiday season, see if you can guess what movie this quote came from:

Happy Thanksgiving . . . it's your turn to say Happy Thanksgiving back.

Quite honestly, Chuck and I find this to be one of the most annoying exchanges in this whole movie. I don't know why it gets under our skin, but we cringe everytime we watch this part.

On our way to wellness

After a nice visit with our doctor (who totally rocks, by the way), it has been determined that Luke has a really bad sinus infection and Evie has an ear infection in just her right ear. Lucky us. We spent the afternoon holed up at the house. I was working while the kids watched tv. After administering dosages to both kids from multiple bottles of medicine and some ear drops for Evie, Chuck put the kids down at 8:30 and I retired to my bedroom where I set up my own sick bed complete with a humidifier, multiple pills, a huge glass of water, a book, and some Christmas music. This morning was more of the same, except I got to go to the doctor and get a prescription of antibiotics too. Thank God. Hopefully, we will be well my Monday.

As for George, the doctor confirmed that he is riding exceptionally low. The feeling where my leg occassionally feels like it is falling out of my hip socket has kicked in. What a pleasure. People who see this happen while I'm walking often want to call an ambulance for me and I have to assure them (while I catch my breath and wait for the feeling to dissipate) that I'm just fine. Blood pressure was up also - 140 over 84. Sounds like George is cooking up just right and if I keep playing my blood pressure cards right, we will have an early delivery.

Until then, we have Thanksgiving and a round of Christmas parties (oh, and one major hearing) to get through. On a bright note, I saw a one month old baby at the doctor's office today and I couldn't help but stare, feel my uterus do a little flip-flop of joy, and really feel excited that we are having another beautiful baby. I think in the midst of all this other stuff, I tend to forget how wonderful this little miracle is.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's settled.

Babies have a fever - guess I'll take them to the doctor this afternoon. Yay for me.

Why am I surprised?

Well, I thought I was on the mend, but I seem to have continued down the path of nasty cold. I'm not sure why I'm surprised by this, but I am. Last night I only got about 4 hours of sleep and I spent the rest of the time either trying out how to figure out if I could breathe out of one nostril or the other or thinking how many hours I had left until I had to get up and go to work. I woke up around 2:45 and didn't get back to sleep until about 5:30. Not fun, but I count my blessings that it could be a lot worse - at least it is nothing serious and it doesn't affect the health of baby George.

Both the kids are still suffering from the nasty cold too. I guess it is time to call in the doctor. Now, where do I find the time to get them to the doctor? Poor little, snotty darlings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Preparing for George

Okay, I've calmed down and can recognize that sometimes I am the stupid person that pisses off other people. Still, it is frustrating.

On a happier note: The women attorneys at my office are throwing a celebratory dinner for me in honor of George's impending arrival. Isn't that sweet? No more showers for this old mother. Plus, I can't imagine subjecting anyone to the pain of attending yet another baby shower for me.

Oddly enough I am woefully unprepared for George -- no diapers, bottles, pacifiers, formula, and I have no idea where Luke's baby clothes are. Luckily I've had a few gifts of clothing that should get me by at least for a few days. Still, I need to start getting prepared, although if I listen to Chuck he'll tell me that we don't need to do anything for George. In his words, "One trip to Babies R Us will take care of everything." Unfortunately, I can't just let it all go until George's actual arrival. And my attempts at redecorating Evie's pretty green/pink nursery (replacing the pink with brown and blue) is not going well. There are still plenty of remnants of pink, and I can't seem to get motivated to make the complete transition since what I've done to date looks pretty crappy. Poor George.

I better not die anytime soon, because if Chuck is left to raise these kids they will never have a birthday party, sign up for sports, get school supplies before the first day of school, or be prepared for anything or any event (except Aggie football games). And heaven help Evie getting ready for prom - Chuck might actually get the dress and shoes taken care of (since he is such a fashion hound - yes, it surprises the shit out of me too, but it is true), but I doubt he'll remember the boutonniere, transportation, her pantyhose and appropriate underwear, pictures, etc.


Stupid people piss me off.

London, Baby!

So, my sister Mary has decided to move to London. I'm thrilled! But I have to admit I did tear up just a little when she confirmed her decision.

She gets to work in London just a couple blocks away from Buckingham Palace. How freakin' cool is that?! She moves over in January and her family will follow at the end of the school year. Unfortunately, I won't be able to visit for a while since I'm taking 6 weeks of maternity leave. That only leaves a little room for sick days - and definitely not enough time to fly to London to see this:

Congratulations, Mary! Not only did you finish a half marathon, but you are following your dreams. You continue to amaze me.
I had to include this picture too, because I almost got myself and my infant (Luke) run over when I tried to get across the roundabout that surrouds this memorial in front of Buckingham Palace. My life flashed before my eyes as I dodged traffic with my stroller and watched as my in-laws and husband casually strolled across the street without me:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Riding low . . .

I swear this kid is going to fall out if I don't keep my legs crossed.

Movie Quote 5

I can't resist this one. Cracks me up every time!

Have you seen these toilets? They're GINORMOUS!


This weekend we pretty much stayed at home and rested since Luke, Evie, and I all have colds. I'm finally on the mend, but still pretty disgusting. Luke and Evie are about the same as me. While we were at home, we watched a ton of movies. We try to let Luke and Evie alternate picking out what they want to watch on TV. At one point, Luke had been outside helping Daddy work on the yard and when he came in Evie was watching a princess movie that she had picked out. He asked what she was watching and I told him, "A princess movie." Luke responded as his body collapsed against the couch dejectedly, "Ughh, another princess movie?!" (Read in very whiney voice). Me, "Yes, it was her turn to pick something out and you weren't even in here." (I must admit that even I am sick of her princess movies, but she never seems to tire of it.) Him, "I HATE princess movies. I HATE princesses." I continued to read the book I had in front of me and vaguely acknowledged his rant with, "Okay." But when I continued reading, he managed to get my attention saying, "Mommy . . . mommmy." I glanced up. "Mommy, I hate princesses. I don't want to watch princess movies." Me, "I hear you. That's too bad. It's Evie's turn." I start to glance back at my book, but he continued, "Mommy, I hate princesses and if I ever have to marry a princess I am not going to be be very happy!" I was at a loss for words as it raced through my mind that he would certainly be grateful if he had to marry a princess - particularly a princess that looks like any of the princesses on Evie's movies - not to mention the great monetary comfort that might come along with such a union. (Yes, these are the things that go through my mind.) So, after an "uh" or two I said, "Well, if you think so." Satisfied with my answer and apparently through with his rant, Luke located his hammer and started to "fix" his bulldozer.

I'm not sure what has put the thought of marriage into their heads, but Evie talks about who she is going to marry too. I think someone told them that you marry your best friend (not too far off, right?). The awkward part is that right now Evie's best friend is me, Luke, and Daddy. So, she announces that I am going to marry Daddy and she is going to marry me, and Daddy, and Luke. Okay, whatever you want kiddo.

With all that said, and considering I spent all weekend trapped in a house with those two little ones, I still think they are the most adorable things when they aren't being brats or throwing up.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, November 14, 2008

National Adoption Day

Every once in a while I get to use my law degree to do something good, and I mean really good and fulfilling. Tomorrow is National Adoption Day, and I have the privilege of representing a couple (on a pro bono basis) who are adopting a sweet, beautiful 18 month old little girl. I am so honored, blessed, and humbled to be able to participate in this momentous occasion. It is one of the most wonderful things I will have ever done with my law degree, and I am thankful that my firm is so supportive of this endeavor.

At National Adoption Day (in my area), each child that is adopted receives a book, a stuffed animal, and a pendant with their new name engraved on it. On a side note: A very special local jeweler donates the materials and his time and hand engraves each pendant himself for each child each year. This year, the jeweler will once again donate his time and materials although the event will be bitter sweet since a large donation of books will be made to NAD in the name of his son (my friend) who was killed in a car accident two months ago. It is also interesting to mention that the local young lawyer's group I am involved in honored this jeweler for his generous contribution to NAD over the years and his son (who is now deceased) presented the award to him last spring. I digress.

The best part of tomorrow that I get to present the parents to the court for the final adoption proceeding when the court grants the final adoption decree, and I have to ask the parents (and this is where I get choked up just thinking about it), "Do you understand that adoption is like a promise and that you are promising this child to love her forever and ever and to keep her as a part of your family forever and ever?" It's just the most beautiful thing!

I am so excited for this new family and all the new families across the nation that will be created or altered for the better tomorrow.

Much love to all of you, and may your weekend be as wonderful as mine is sure to be!

On top of 7 Widowed Weekends

Here I am, very pregnant and very uncomfortable, and Chuck is still pushing to go to the Baylor game this weekend (his 8th Aggie football game of the season) and asked if we could go to Bonfire while we're visiting family for Thanksgiving. I just looked at him like he was crazy!

With regard to the Baylor game, I said, "I can barely walk around my office right now, because I'm in a fair amount of pain . . . there's no freakin' way I'm going to go to a football game where I'll have to haul kids around and walk everywhere. Plus, I'm sick. I want to sit at home and rest this weekend." No response, except the ocassional comment of, "Are you sure I can't go to the Baylor game?"

With regard to the Bonfire, I said, "Do you even know when it is?" Him, "No, I'll have to find out." Me, "Well, I can't imagine it would be something we want to take the kids to yet, so we'd have to drive to Houston, drop the kids and then drive back to College Station for the bonfire." Him, - no words, just a blank stare as he tried to figure out what was wrong with this plan. I changed the subject.


Now I'm sick . . .

Little kids are just messengers of germs. One day at home with the kids and now I've got a full-blown cold. Stuffy nose, headache, coughing, drainage . . . disgusting! Working on just a few hours of sleep and trying to keep my patience with everyone and everything. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 13, 2008



Hot Topic for Working Moms

There's a hot topic of discussion among the female attorneys in the community regarding whether working women (narrowly focused on women attorneys) are divided into two groups:

Category 1: Women who have a family and go back to work part time so they can dedicate more of their lives to raising their children; or

Category 2: Women who have a family and go back to work full time and are fully committed to their careers.

I know both types of women. And I spoke with a fellow attorney last night who has been practicing for 12 years, has had a family and has decided to work part time so that she can spend more time with her children. Noble and worthy. I fully respect her decision. But it returns me to the question, is she sacrificing her career? Is it okay for the industry to classify her as something less than the women in Category 2?

I also know female attorneys (and think I am one of them) who falls into Category 2. I work full time, bill the budgeted hours (or more), and continue to commit myself to serving the community in various capacities, even though I have to still make sacrifices so that I can take care of sick kids and attend school open houses. However, this returns me to the ever present dilemma that I am spending less time with my children. Am I somehow cheating my children out of something? Is it okay for the industry to classify me as something more than women in Category 1 and/or something less than my male counterparts?

Moreover, is it okay that we are all paid differing salaries (i.e. Category 1 is paid less than Category 2 and Category 2 may be paid less than male counterparts - not that this is necessarily true across the board)?

Furthermore, there is still the business aspect of the entire thing: Women who work and bill fewer hours bring in less profit - plain and simple. Should this failure to bring in a profit be reflected in their salaries? Should salaries be even across the board based on experience? Should salaries reflect your community involvement? At a fundamental level, every business must consider the value created by and employee and how much that employee is worth. I can't honestly say that I am as available (with regard to hours committed to work) as my male counterpart. Therefore, should I be making the same amount of money as my male counterpart?

Whereas my male counterpart can be at work every day of every week and work early and late, I am held to a daycare schedule. My husband or I have to pick up our kids at a certain time - no one else is going to do it (except in an emergency - which we have encountered). We have to stay at home when the school is closed or when our kid is sick. We have to take our kids to the doctor for regular check ups and doctor appointments. We don't have a stay at home wife who can handle birthday party planning, doctor's appointments, soccer practice, dance lessons, phone calls from the school principal or nurse, grocery shopping, picking up the dry cleaning. My husband and I split all these duties, but we both make sacrifices for our jobs and for our families. We both could potentially be more successful at work if we had the time and freedom to spend more hours there or more hours drumming up business, but instead, we choose to have a family. We both could spend more time with our children if we cut back hours at work. As it is, we balance the situation we've chosen and we still try to have our own adult time, together and apart.

Back to my male counterpart who either doesn't have children and/or a wife, or the male counterpart who has a house wife, I can easily see how a business would find that he creates more value by being able to work later, attend more after-work functions building more client relations, and by not having to take off for 6 weeks or more to have a baby. If you simply look at cash in and cash out - the male counterpart is a better choice, and it is difficult to justify choosing a woman to fill the spot when you could choose a man who is just as capable as the woman. So, I think it comes down to the fact that women simply must make themselves better than their male counterpart. Women must offer something that the male counterpart cannot, whether that be better connections, better customer service, better job performance, better attitude, better loyalty, or whatever.

I know that there are plenty of women out there who disagree with this appraisal of the workplace. Many women believe that we are entitled to have a job, get paid the same, and still take a paid maternity leave despite the fact that we will not bring in the same amount of profit as we would if we did not have to take a maternity leave. And, quite frankly, I think the entire debate sucks. It's a crappy situation, because I have to bear the children. My husband can't split that duty with me on that. It is my career that takes a hit. I am the one who has to take off 6 weeks and miss the opportunities that arise at work during that time. I am the one who will have to pass off my responsibilities so that I can exit the workforce to give birth and nurse my newborn. I am the one who will have to ease back into the workforce after the child is old enough to start daycare. Only women can take bear the child, thus, only the woman will bear the brunt of this sacrifice on her career. This will never change. It is a fact of life, and it sucks.

Thus, I am brought to the question, of how this affects raises, bonuses, and the possibility of promotion (in my case, making partner). I haven't been able to take advantage of all the opportunities that my male counter part has because I've missed weeks of firm business. I have not been able to bill or collect the same amount of money that my male counter part has. Even if I make partner, I will still have a family to raise and commitments that will arise outside of work. Luckily, I think that many males today share many of these commitments so the gulf between us after the childbearing years lessens, but there are still the curmudgeons of yesteryear who see things differently.

It is also interesting to me that women who have a family, whether in Category 1 or Category 2, are thought less of in either case. If you are in Category 1 then the senior attorneys may think, "She doesn't care enough about her career to practice full time and she'll never be fully committed to the practice of law [or fill in other profession here]." If, however, you are in Category 2, then the senior attorneys may think, "She is not a very good mother since she isn't staying at home to take care of her children." I've heard both of these comments phrased by "open-minded" men with a more positive spin such as, "I can't believe she doesn't want to be at home with her kids more." or "She has such potential as an attorney, I can't believe she wants to give up on how successful she could be by going part time."

In the end, it is what it is, and I don't think there is a solution. (But certainly let me know if you think of one). Women will always be the ones bearing children. I just think we need to support one another's choices: Category 1 supports the decisions of Category 2, and Category 2 supports the decisions of Category 1, and male counterparts recognize and support the sacrifices that Categories 1 and 2 make for their families and careers. (Oh, and I would add (while I'm on my soapbox), please don't judge another person for choosing Category 1 or Category 2. We're all in this together. I personally don't think I would be a good stay at home mom, so Category 2 is my choice. Others may be kick-ass stay at home moms on a full time or part time basis - and I tip my hat to you and respect you and your ability to do that for your children.)

Sorry for the novel, but I've been engaged in this discussion multiple times in the last week, and obviously more than that throughout my career as a working mom. I'd love to hear your thoughts. There's plenty of debate in this topic.

Advice for New Parents (But not from me)

Generally, I don't give advice to parents unless someone specifically asks me for advice. Actually, I take that back, the only advice I give to new parents is to listen to your gut since you know your child best. In my experience, new parents are bombarded with well-meaning (but often misplaced and confusing) bits of advice from everyone they know, so I try to be the one who refrains from telling you what to do or how to do it. With that said, I ran across these two articles (oddly, written by a Canadian for Canadians) dealing with advice for women on how to deal with new fathers and advice for men on how to deal with new mothers, particularly in the first weeks of parenthood.

I don't think I could fully appreciate what the article had to say until after I had a child and actually experienced several of the topics of dicussion, but my motto is "The more you know, the better prepared you will be." (Well, that really isn't my one and only motto, obviously, but it is a pretty good one). Anyhoo . . . here are links to the two articles written by John Hoffman, and I think they are very insightful even if they are Canadian (just kidding about the Canadian bit). But really, there isn't much different between Canadian and American parents, eh?

A Girl's Guide to Rookie Dads

A Guy's Guide to New Mothers

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant

I feel compelled to post this on my blog simply because I've gotten hits from people who are using search engines to find out more about "mothers who drink while pregnant" or "drinking alcohol while pregnant" or "drinking wine while pregnant" etc. So, for those of you who have stumbled upon this blog looking for information regarding drinking alcohol while pregnant (and then realized that this is just a blog about one pregnant girlfriend seeking advice from her pregnant girlfriends), here is my disclaimer:


With that said, here are some links to great resources which can inform you regarding both sides of the fence (to drink or not to drink). These are more focused on a U.S. audience (I've had hits from other countries), but there is an article at the end that compares the stances taken by various countries around the world.

In my opinion (which counts for nothing since I'm not a doctor), this is a personal choice - as personal as deciding whether to get pregnant. Please inform yourself and make a decision from there. Please do not judge others if their decision is different from yours.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists state that no amount of alcohol while pregnant is safe:

Study by Oxford reveals occasional binge drinking does little harm:

Medical Textbooks still condone drinking while pregnant:

Federal Drug Administration and U.S. Surgeon General's stance:;col1
"Alcohol warning for pregnant women". FDA Consumer. . 12 Nov. 2008.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Frequently Asked Questions about FAS published by the CDC:

Article "Yes, You Can Drink While Pregnant"

Articles regarding Study performed by University College of London which found that light drinking while pregnant may be beneficial, particularly to boys: and

Articles regarding drinking alcohol to prevent preterm labor (this is not social drinking): and and

Oxford Study regarding linking drinking alcohol and preterm birth:

And my favorite, an article comparing different countries' stances on drinking while pregnant:

I hope you will take this information and make an informed decision. Again, I must emphasize that I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Happy researching, and congratulations if you are pregnant!

Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday to my Mom! Hope you have a wonderful day! You are loved!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Extremes of this Professional Mother

It amazes me that my day ranges from nasty poop, long arguments about barbie dolls and assorted toys, whether one child wants chicken nuggets or fish sticks and the makeup-less homebody that I become when I get home and put on my pajamas to the professional, usually well groomed, intellectually speaking, attorney who addresses crowds and judges. Today, I had the pleasure of addressing the local bar association on behalf of the young lawyers group for which I am the president elect. Everyone was quiet and respectful as I introduced myself and made the required announcements. I was mostly poised, articulate, and did not stumble over myself as I walked up to the podium and back. In fact, one of my bosses actually stood up and held my chair and napkin for me. Then I was able to listen attentatively to a discussion regarding the state bar association's recommendations to the legislature on court reform. It was, pleasant, intellectually stimulating, and dignified.

This is all in stark contrast to the person I was yesterday: jogging suit, bra straps showing and I didn't care, barely any makeup, hair in a pony tail, cleaning everything including, toilets, children, throw up, bottoms, runny noses, and dirty faces and hands. I spent my day managing toys, books, the house, a sick kid (and a healthy kid), phone calls to the doctor and to work, and filtering shows on channels such as Noggin, Disney, PBS, etc. Children, adults, and tv had conversations in raised volumes around me. No thought was my own. I couldn't go to the restroom in privacy (actually the kids were pretty good about this yesterday - but the dog was there as usual). And my dinner conversation ranged from discussions regarding questions as innane as "why can't I have my pillow?" to the uninteresting subject of feed prices (family business discussion).

I find it amazing that my daily life ranges in such extremes. And it leads me to wonder what my bosses and the judges look like at home. Surely, all of us have those days when the make up is not applied, the clothes are rumpled and carelessly donned. I must say that each type of day holds its charms. It is a pleasure to be dressed in professional clothing, making business connections, and engaging in intellectual conversation. Then again, it is a pleasure to wear jeans and a t-shirt, play with my kids, and sit at home not worrying about deadlines. But, under no circumstances, it is ever a pleasure to clean up anything. - All this is simply my opinion.

With all that said, even though I was professionally dressed, this is what I looked like as I approached the podium.

I'm getting huge!

More on Throw Up

I forgot to mention that my least favorite type of throw up (yes, there are types) is the kind that smells like a particular food. For a while I am completely turned off of whatever food I see in the throw up. This time, Luke's incident has totally banished any cravings I had for hotdogs. Mmmm, yummy.

As for being the one who is doing the ralphing, my least favorite kind of puking is sober puking. If you puke when you're drunk then you're less likely to feel the extreme discomfort that usually accompanies puking. So, food poisoning is probably my worst experience because you're projectile vomiting and you don't have the nice alcohol-induced numbness to make it less painful.

Of course puking at any time is pretty much a horrible experience for me. I can't imagine being one of those unfortunate women who pukes all day every day when she is pregnant. My sister-in-law is one of those people and she had four kids! There's no way I would have had a second if I had to throw up everyday. Hats off to all of you moms out there who are puking your guts up for your kids!


Ugh, sick. Spent yesterday at home with a child who excreted brown nastiness out of both ends. I really don't deal well with throw up. I've been peed on, spit up on, pooped on, and thrown up on, bled on, snotted on, and drooled on, etc. My least favorite is the throw up. Unfortunately, the bug has only hit one person in the house so far, more throw up expected in the forcast. Yuck.

As for the tailgate . . . it made it on tv, although you can barely see anything but people. And you definitely can't see Chuck or Tim. If you want to see it, here is the link:

Plus, in addition to the pleasant day of throw up and poop, we had a showing at 11:00 a.m. so I had to take my poor sick child out in public - not fun. Then my in-laws greeted us around 5:00. We ordered the crappiest pizza I've had in a long time and then the storms set in. Pretty much a crappy day all around. Hope you all had a better Monday.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Movie Quote 4 from the CM Crew

Let me know when you get tired of these movie quotes. Here's one from the Central Market group last night. Yet again, it's easy.

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

Have a great weekend!

The Tailgate of Champions

Most of you, if not all of you, who read this blog know that Chuck is a Texas A&M football redass fanatic. So, he goes down to College Station every weekend that there is a home game and he and his best friend Tim set up this outrageously ridiculous tailgate. I've been as patient as I can be while through the years he has announced one addition or another to the tailgate which started out with a cooker (owned by tim's family business). First they transformed the cooker into an Aggie cooker. To me, it is just a cooker. To others, this is an Aggie man's dream. People actually used to come by and take pictures of it. At first I thought it was weird. Now I'm used to it. Then the guys decided to add an Army Truck, then it was a console TV and satelite dish, then it was chainsawing a pair of longhorns off, then it was massive lighting equipment. Also throw in minor additions for the sake of atmosphere and comfort: a lava lamp, an Aggie garden gnome, tents, fans when it's hot, a heater when it's cold, more folding chairs than could ever be necessary. Chuck even built bar tables with special holes to hold your drink while you eat - this project remained uncompleted in my garage for approximately 1 year even though Chuck insisted that it had to be done THAT weekend. I am somewhat disappointed that these tables never made it to the tailgate because I think it would have been a great addition.

This season, some regulars at the tailgate contributed to the hullabaloo by purchasing and refurbishing an old fire truck and we purchased (as mentioned previously) our country estate (aka a single wide manufactured home with a red deck close to campus). All this in addition to our four season tickets (plus Tim's season tickets) located on the 50 yard line, first deck, 6th row. Plus, the food that is always present: meat, meat, oreo cookies, and more meat. If you want something other than meat or beer, you probably ought to bring it yourself. Plan to give your colon a good workout.

We've had many assorted guests to the tailgate over the years: family, friends, students, extended family, neighbors, co-workers, strangers, thieves (gotta love hungry college students), the priest who married Chuck and me, etc. And it has been a pleasure to have one and all.
I think one of the strangest things to me is when people started stopping by the tailgate to take their picture in front of the army truck. Aggie fans or fans for the opposing team will readily pose in front of the truck and have their picture taken. Either they think it is totally redass (which is good) or they think it is totally hick and crazy and they want to memorialize the fact that someone would actually bother to do this. Either way, I'm still a little stunned that people like it so well. Some politely ask if they can take their picture with the truck. Others just stop as if it is a tourist attraction and pose for the picture. It is strange.
For me, in the last few years as my attendance has declined with the increase of children in tow, I have experienced what it is like to come to the tailgate in the middle of the party. One time I showed up with a stroller full of kids and started looking around among the 40-50 people (it was a big tailgate day) for my husband. As I looked about some nice Aggie greeted me and offered me a beer saying, "Do you want a beer? This is Chuck's tailgate and he won't mind. He's cool." I smiled and said, "Yeah, that would be great." I later tracked down my husband.
Another time, one of our friends brought a co-worker to the tailgate and the co-worker insisted that I was his cousin. I can't tell you how many times he said (despite my assurances otherwise), "No, really, I think you're my cousin. Do you have family from Whatever Town?" Me, "Uh, no. Pretty sure about this." Him, "Are you sure?" Me, "yeah, pretty sure. My family is from X, Y, & Z." We did this for about 15 minutes until I determined that we had to exhaust all possible places where we could have met so that we could move on to another subject. Turns out that he went to my highschool. We weren't friends, but I recognized his name and he dated my "little sister's" (from drill team) older sister (hope you could follow that). So, that was settled.

This season, the tailgate was featured by some news channel out of Houston in a contest for best tailgate. A year or two ago, Chuck and the tailgate were pictured in a book about Big 12 Tailgates. (Yes, if you can find it, he will autograph it for you). And now, the granddaddy of all honors, the tailgate is supposed to be visited by ABC Sports on Saturday between 9 and 11 a.m. prior to the game.

So, for all of you who are wondering what my 1/4 community property looks like (which, is really limited strictly to the mobile home and the Army Truck) here are some pictures of the tailgate:

My friend Robin and her son Daylan are in a couple of the pictures. Sorry Robin; hope you don't mind.

This is the Army Truck. There are two beer taps on the side and the guys keep two kegs of beer inside in a sub-zero freezer or something like that. The guys can give you more details on the truck. The kids like to pretend to drive it. Oh, and we once caught a couple trying to get busy in the front seat. Never a dull moment.

The truck tops out at 55 mph so it is more efficient to haul it down on a semi at the beginning of the season and haul it back to the Falls at the end of the season (where it is stored). During the football season the guys rent storage in town and keep it all there.

This is a closer picture of the front of the truck.

This is the back (with our friends loading things up). Each week the guys replace the name of the university we are playing so that it accurately reads, "Beat the Hell Outta [insert appropriate college/university here].

And this is a picture (with Robin and Daylan) of the new Fire Truck. I might get this wrong, but I think it has to be filled up with gas every hour on the freeway.

Sadly, because of my lack of attendance this year (due to soccer), I can't find pictures of Chuck sawing off horns, or pictures of the most classic piece of equipment to the tailgate: the cooker. I will have to locate some pictures in order to provide a fully accurate picture/description of the tailgate - or I guess you can see it on ABC Sports this weekend if we're lucky.

So, as we proceed to the final home game of the season (which Luke and Chuck will attend and Evie and I will not), I leave you with one parting remark: BEAT THE HELL OUTTA OU!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Baby George Update

Blood pressure normal. Pee stick normal. Heart rate normal. Baby is head down. Take that! As predicted, we passed everything with flying colors.

Still, I'm horribly uncomfortable (wholly unlike my experiences with Luke and Evie). The pain is ridiculous since apparently all my stomach muscles are stretched out from the first two babies (thanks, Evie and Luke). So, basically, I'm carrying around 16 additional pounds with muscles that have no elasticity left. In other words, it is like the elastic in my pantyhose is shot and I'm trying to carry around a bowling ball in front of me. No joke, it sucks and it hurts. I'm sure I would recommend a third child to anyone, but I'm not certain I would recommend a third pregnancy.

Additionally, my pubic bone feels bruised every time I stand up and start walking. I can walk it out, but the more I walk the more I hurt later. Dr. said that with each child there is a hormone that allows a strip of cartilage in that bone to relax and stretch to allow the baby to pass through. Well, I guess with the third one it is super stretchy and there is some significant pain involved that cannot be helped with anything. (And when I say "significant" I don't mean anything as bad as actual child birth - but a steady and constant feeling of bruising and sharp pains when I stand up and walk). Lucky me. So, the belt I bought a few days ago was a useless effort to relieve this pain. Plus, the belt simply pushed on my bladder and hiked the baby up into my ribs. Sounds comfy huh? I ditched it this morning after the doctor said she really doesn't recommend them because, in her experience, the belts don't give that much added support or relief. Perhaps I'll foist it off on some unsuspecting pregnant lady. What a rip.

Good news is that there were no lectures about my blood pressure or my weight. That's always good. At this point in my pregnancies with the first two, I had already received a lecture about not letting my weight get out of hand. I don't think I weigh any less, I just think it has redistributed. So, the extra weight I was carrying to begin with has now shifted (probably permanently) to my ass and thighs. What a gift - now I'll have to go buy all new jeans for my super sized ass. Can't wait for that shopping trip. Enough bitching for now.

On the bright side, I'm finally starting to redo the nursery for little George. I ordered and received new bedding. I picked up some cute puppy dog pictures to replace the pink confections we hung up for Evie. Now I just need to start pulling out Luke's stuff and getting ready for our precious arrival. We're so excited about George, despite all my bitching (or maybe because of all my bitching). I also visited and secured a spot for George at a new school today. It is a relief to have that issue settled since we left the old school without being on a waiting list somewhere else. So, things are progressing and hopefully around Christmas, we'll have a new little face to add to the blog.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Apologies and Bras

My apologies for the previous post which was pretty much a rant. I'm not saying that I don't feel that way, but I'll try to control myself in the future.

I finally received feedback from the showing where the house was a mess and there was a bra sitting in the middle of my living room floor. They liked everything except the fact that we don't have a breakfast area. No mention of the bra. I wish I had left out a really sexy bra - at least then I could have been proud of what was on display. Instead, it was just your average, run of the mill, serviceable bra - not even an exciting color. At least it wasn't a nursing bra, right? I can't believe those are in my future again.

Speaking of nursing bras, any of you ladies out there know where I can find a pretty one instead of the ugly stuff you see at stores? I know I shouldn't care what the bra looks like, but if I'm going to subject myself to having to whip it out and feed the little munchkin in front of everyone (including my children), I'd like to at least feel pretty while I'm doing it. Instead, most of the nursing bras appear to be industrial uniforms handed out to factory workers. Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks!

Brief Google search resulted in the most beautiful nursing bra I've ever seen, but it is $120. Of course, it helps that the woman modeling the bra does not appear to have a post-partum body - lucky bitch. There's no way she just gave birth and is nursing a child with abs like that. It's a gorgeous bra, right? Now imagine what it looks like with nursing pads underneath the lace --- Not quite so sexy. But I still want one -- if only I was willing to drop $120 on a bra I don't intend to use for more than a few months.

To all the Election Grinches . . .

Give me an effin' break! I'm sick and tired of the nation being divided so bitterly against one another. Can we not focus on how much the candidates had in common? Yes, here in Texas today there are more disappointed (and sometimes pissed off) people than happy people as a result of the election, but come on - we're all people and moreover, we're all Americans. We all have the same fundamental beliefs - freedom, democracy, the pursuit of happiness, all men (and women) are created equal, etc., etc., etc. I understand that we are all passionate about our candidates and the leadership we want for this country (as we should be), but in the end, we all get a vote and the nation's overall vote was for a capable (if less than optimally experienced) man. He has proven his ability to take the heat, to face the consequences of his actions, to lead a people, to achieve success. Are there issues with Obama and Biden? - hell yeah. Would there have been issues with McCain and Palin? - another hell yeah. But the fact of the matter is that we have a new President-Elect, and we, as Americans (republican, democrat, independent, black, white, or red), should support him as he prepares to lead our nation to the best of his ability. To all the pissed off Republicans: Take a day to be pisssed off, and then get over yourselves. You've had eight years of the White House and I think most of us would agree that the country is not the better for it. There is no way to tell whether Obama will rise to the occasion or fail miserably. I, however, intend to reserve judgment until he has been given a chance to prove himself.

Now, by the tone of this blog, you might believe that I am an Obama supporter or that I am a Democrat. I am neither. Nor am I a card-carrying Republican. I do not intend to debate politics with you or anyone else. I simply want to say that this is our country. It is a great country. And we should support our country and our fellow countrymen. (Stepping off of soapbox now).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sweet Dreams

First, Happy Election Day. Chucky Love and I voted Friday, so I'm feeling good about not having any obligations today other than to watch the results roll in. Chuck is much too confident that one candidate beat the other. I certainly won't be surprised when they announce Obama the winner, but I am curious to see how McCain does and I'm very curious to see how the market and the world react to Obama.

Last night I put my sweet babies to bed while Chuck was at Fight Night at the Club (no, he wasn't fighting - just watching). I was exhausted and hungry yesterday so it was no surprise to me that I wanted to go to bed as soon as we got home. Instead, the kids and I watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Horton Hears a Who (both originals) after we ate dinner. They were so cute curled up next to me on the couch. I think they were a little tired too. We got upstairs and got ready for bed. I read a Little Critters book called "The New Baby" which enthralled them. Then we climbed into bed and turned down the lights. I sat on Evie's bed to sing her song of choice - Sneaky Snake. Then I sat on Luke's bed and sang his song of choice - Amazing Grace - while he snuggled up close to me and I stroked his hair as his eyelids got heavy. Evie snuggled into her blanket and smiled at me and then yawned a precious yawn.

It was one of those magical moments where you look at your kids sleepy eyes and hear the sweet lullaby you are singing to them and you know it is what motherhood is all about. As I sang, I thought sentimentally to myself, "You will never forget this moment." And then Luke farted. Yup, a big juicy one too that made it sound like he was out camping with the boys. So much for the perfect memory. He then smiled up at me with a sleepy smile, and said, "I love you." So, all was perfect except for the lovely fart that my child gifted me with. Ahhh, boys.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Movie Quote 3

Chuck wanted to contribute a movie quote, so here it is. Good luck. I wouldn't have gotten it, but that doesn't mean someone else won't. I have to admit that it is a pretty good quote even though it is from a movie I'm not a big fan of.

"Sex and golf are the two things you can enjoy even if you're not good at them."

True, oh so true.

Weekend Update (not the SNL version)

Luke v. Soccer has come to an end, and Luke won! It only took until the last game of the season, but Luke overcame all his fears and crying, and he has finally grasped the fact that he wants to score a goal and that the other team should not score a goal. It was fantastic. We have a final soccer party this Wednesday where the boys will have dinner and get a trophy. The boy has exceeded all expectations since his first practice - a trophy?! That's incredible! I'm so proud of him. I know everyone gets one, but I don't care. I'm bursting with pride. Here's the team picture. He is standing next to his Coach who he has a crush on. It's sweet. Also, here's a picture of him getting ready to kick the ball in. He's so big!

Also, big news - he has finally started reading!!!! He won't do it at home, but the teacher assures me that he is reading. I'm so proud of him. What a great kid.

Halloween was fun-filled. Luke was a transformer (Optimus Prime - never heard of him but apparently everyone else in the world - including Luke and Chuck - knows who that is). Evie was a princess - big surprise. Too much candy. Can I throw it away or do I actually have to keep it around? The new school had a little halloween party where the parents and kids could eat soup and sandwiches and then put on their costumes so they were set for trick-or-treating. Most of the kids in Luke's class are boys and each one was a superhero. There were no repeats except for two batmans - but the costumes were all different. Luke is the one on the far right of the picture. They all ran around making shooting noises and fighting. Luke declared his costume the best because he saves the world. He makes a compelling argument.After the school party we headed over to Wayne and Caroline's house. Caroline offered to walk my kids around with her daughter so that I could take a load off. I didn't think the walk would be too much so I joined her to go around the neighborhood. I should have listened to her and stayed at the house. Still, it was fun!

We had our friends Wayne and Caroline over last night for dinner and the Cowboys game. Dinner was great, the game was dismal. I was occasionally away from the tv while cooking and when I came back into the room one time Chuck asked me, "Did you see what happened to Romo?" Me, "What?! Romo went in?" Chuck, "No, somebody ran into him on the sidelines and jacked up Romo's ankle." Me with blood pressure rising, "What! OMG! No way." Chuck cracks a smile and Caroline and Wayne start to laugh. I realize I've fallen hook, line and sinker and respond, "You jackass! Ugh!" and I storm back into the kitchen to keep cooking. This is the shit I put up with daily - at least it actually makes me laugh in spite of myself - I seriously hate looking like an idiot. Chuck kept me laughing all night. I think it was all the scotch he was drinking.

We discovered a new use for boogers this weekend. Luke had a dried booger on his hand and I said, "Go wash that off. It's nasty." He stood in front of me, peeled it off, and said, "I put it on my boo-boo to make it feel better." No other explanation. Where do they come up with this stuff? Maybe boogers look like Neosporin. All I could say was, "Okay."