So I, uh… I got a job. I’ve been at home for three years, essentially; I worked full-time while Georgia was little and then left my job when Adele was born (2 kids at full-time daycare + one nonprofit salary = you do the math) and I wanted to do that, anyway. So I had a wonderful three years at home, spending time with Adele and being able to pick Georgia up from preschool at 3 every day. We did music classes, we had playdates, I did photography on weekends, and it worked really well for us. At the beginning of this year, though, we sat down and looked really hard at our budget and it was just time for me to go back. We’ve made a lot of sacrifices over these past few years to keep me at home, and while it worked and was FINE, it was time to make the big change and for me to go back to work.

Georgia is in kindergarten now at an amazing school downtown (we love it and she loves it) and Adele is going to the same preschool where Georgia went at her age. Both schools have an afterschool option; Georgia takes Spanish at hers, and A has SPanish and music classes. Truly, we’re so lucky to have options that we’re happy with and that make both girls comfortable. It’s win/win. Well, except for the guilt. Because how can there not be mom guilt involved in all this?

My second week of work (last week) both girls got horribly ill. Ear infections, bronchial infections, antibiotics… the works. And both of them are normally fairly healthy, as it happens; I can’t remember the last time that they were both sick, especially at the same time. But of course, since it was my second week, I really felt like I couldn’t call in sick, so Casey took take two and a half days off work. I took a half day that third day so I could give Casey time to get to his office, and I felt rotten that I couldn’t be at home when my girls both wanted me there. But I also didn’t want my boss to think that I’m going to be the kind of employee who hops off at a moment’s notice, so… you know. Lose/lose situation here. My boss was very understanding and couldn’t have been nicer about it, but you know how it is. SECOND WEEK OF WORK.

In any case, I think the job is a good fit for me, and for my family. It’s pretty flexible, so that’s a good thing, and the people I work with are incredibly nice. It’s a small team, and that’s a nice thing, too. I think the girls are adjusting well (G better than A, understandably) and we’re still managing to eat dinner all together every night and get the girls to bed at a reasonable hour. It’s a little crazy, but I’m sure we can make it work.

Speaking of dinner, I’d like to ask you all a few questions about your dinner routines. Until I started work, I cooked every night. Not an exaggeration; I cooked dinner EVERY NIGHT. We rarely eat out; by rarely, I mean maybe once every two months, and that includes getting takeout or pizza or anything. I cooked every weeknight and usually Saturday, and Casey cooked on Sundays (his meals are way better than mine, btw, because he uses a cookbook and goes out to get the fancy ingredients and I’m all “hey! chicken and broccoli stir-fry and a salad! Enjoy!”) Nowadays, Casey gets home before I do and starts the dinner; last night he cooked pounded breaded pork chops and pasta and garlic-sauteed spinach. I am totally ok with this, by the way. I have no problem with being the cleaner-upper (we have a deal – – whoever cooks doesn’t do the clean up) and it seems to be working well so far. So, in your house, how does your family do dinner? Do you take turns cooking? Do takeout? Do crock-pot cooking? Do you eat all together or feed the kids first? Share the secrets, ya’ll.


Thirty Three

As of Saturday last, I am thirty-three years old. (Side note: I’m not suddenly British, what with the order of that sentence. I would normally say “last Saturday” but I am feeling fancy, what with being THIRTY THREE and all.) Thirty three, in case you were wondering, feels an awful lot like thirty-two. I suspect that at thirty-five I’ll have some sort of seismic shift wherein my face will proclaim to the world “I feel MIDDLE AGED!” but so far I’m not there. I’m also discovering that the older I get, the less willing I would be to go back and relive the previous decade again. For example, when I was twenty-three, I was living in a New York city fourth floor walkup apartment that contained a bathroom with no sink. I… enjoy that my current bathroom has a sink. I wish it was a LARGER bathroom, as it is roughly the size of 3 bathmats stitched together, but hey, it has a sink, and I like to brush my teeth. Hoorah for sinks!

So. Thirty-three. Or, 33, because I’m getting ever closer to 34 as I type out “thirty-three” since it’s taking forever.

I’d like to accomplish a few things this year. This is no Mighty Branded Lifely Type List, but I’m starting a new year, dammit, and I am going to stop biting my nails if it KILLS ME SO HELP ME. I’m not the kind of biter who nibbles fingernails down to the quick… I do find that to be pretty gross, and that’s not my issue. No, my issue is nerves. I nibble out of habit, or stress, or during scary movies or TV shows that make me uncomfortable. This is why I cannot watch reality TV. Toddler and Tiaras? My fingers would be shredded to NUBS, I tell you.

Also, I’m going to improve my posture. (I know. Pass the Dentugrip.) I feel like I would FEEL taller if I stood up and didn’t stoop or hunch or slump, as I am wont to do. I’m slumping right now, in fact! As I type! Must stop this.

And now, for the Internet resolution.

The internet, people, is a great place, but I fear it’s taking over. There’s blogging. Twitter. Facebook. Google+. Pinterest. Spotify. Goodreads. So on. Et cetera. Add in any others you might wish to.

Not everyone needs or wants to know what I’m up to in every arena of my life. In fact, my internet life is fairly separate from my actual life in that I only have a few friends who read here. I have lots of friends who check in over at Style Lush (and you should too because it’s fabulous) but for the most part, the internet and real life don’t seem to overlap too often. Also, I think that the tendency to “check in” with the internet in case we missed something is becoming a phenomenon as well. I don’t want my kids to think that I live life with my phone in front of my face, but I KNOW that there are some days when that happens, for whatever reason. (Usually that reason involves lots of whining, and not by me.) So, an achievable balance with the internet is a third thing I’d like to do in this, my 33rd year. (See? British again.)

Since I’ve established that this year will include posture (good), biting (bad) and internet balance (achievable), I think it can happen. Now! Let us speak no more of the internet ON the internet, because if a tree falls on the internet and no one’s around to write about it on Twitter… WELL. You know.

Let’s talk about the weather instead! Everyone loves that! Seriously, I’ve never wanted to leave Texas so much during my time here. It is supremely boiling hot outside. I am, actually and literally, going to try to fry an egg on the sidewalk tomorrow, because I want to see what will happen. It is so, so hot, y’all. As in, over 105 degrees for more than 28 consecutive days hot.

Part 2 of our road trip involved a stop in North Carolina. I grew up going to summer camp in North Carolina, and I love it so much I can’t even put it in to words. A lot of my love for the state comes from the fact that I loved summer camp so much (LOVED IT. Even now I can sing you songs, should you desire. Look out, Blathering attendees!) but MAN, is that state beautiful. And green! Because it rains there! We have no such moisture here. We just sit around roasting in our own juices and complaining about the heat. The cold water runs tepid from the taps; I haven’t done a load of warm water laundry in weeks because why fire up the ol’ hot water heater when ALL THE WATER IS HOT ALREADY?

Anyway, North Carolina. I want to move there. And look at my camp!

We got to wander around a little, since it was rest time and we weren’t scaring any unsuspecting campers, and it was just the best thing in the world to be able to show Casey and my girls a place that means so much to me.

And Adele is totally considering jumping off that diving board.

In any case, it is cool there, and green, and rains regularly, and BY GOLLY if I can get Casey on board with this, we’re out of here. I cannot take it anymore. So if you’ve ever felt the urge to come visit Austin, come soon and you can stay with us. After that, you’re on your own.

Also, and apropos of nothing, is 33 too old for a nose piercing? Because I kind of really want one.

A Brisk Clap and a Move On

Well! Nothing like completely stepping away from all things internet-esque for, uh, a month or so… we went to my happy place (Pawleys Island) for two weeks and lo! There was no internet and it was AWESOME. If you can escape civilization for any period of time, I highly recommend it. We ate seafood, we sat on the beach, my children both came back with foot injuries… you know, your basic good vacation. So other that the fact that small A is now on both oral and topical antibiotics for TEN DAYS (yes TEN DAYS have you ever tried to give an eighteen month old antibiotics even once let alone three times a day for TEN DAYS sweet fancy bananas you can see why I’m going crazy here right?) we had a lovely time. Also, we drove back from the beach with my mom and then stayed with my parents in Louisiana for five days, which was heavenly, and then my mom drove us all the way back to Austin and stayed for three days and I guess what I’m trying to say is that I did indeed burst into tears when I watched her drive away this past Monday.

However, for a more cheering mental picture, I invite you to feast your eyes upon the sartorial stylings of Miss Georgia. Said outfit was donned for a brisk walk around my parents’ land during which she examined the beehives and turned the compost with my dad. So you can see that the dress was a necessity. OBVIOUSLY.

{note: I think this is her zoolander face.}

Anyway, being with family for so long just reinforced my feeling that I really hate living so far away from my parents. My girls adore them. When we’re all together I run a distant third to G and Bopa, and please believe me when I say I’m not at all offended by this and hey, did you know it’s really nice to be able to eat your whole lunch without someone on your lap? Well, it is. They’re just so great with the girls and they answer all the questions Georgia has that tend to drive me a little batty, and they carry Adele as much as she wants to be carried, and I’m so beyond thrilled that my girls are going to know and love and remember my parents for their whole lives. It really makes me teary to think about it.

Not as teary as I was when my mom drove away, obviously, and not as teary as Adele was when she saw my mom’s car disappearing down the street and let out a piteous wail that I’m sure alarmed many of my neighbors. We’re getting along ok, but man, life is  so nice when my mom is around. I miss her.

{g and the girls on the beach, early morning, low tide}

It’s All Been Done

Sometimes my days have a sense of terrifying sameness. I don’t mean that my days are terrifying… just that some days I genuinely don’t know if it’s Tuesday or Thursday, and on Saturday mornings I sometimes have to be reminded that I don’t need to leap out of bed and make breakfasts and lunches, find socks and shoes,  or change diapers (ok, that still needs to be done on Saturdays.) It’s definitely the strangest part about staying at home with Adele, and the part that I miss the most about my old job. I know that referring to The Workplace is somewhat verboten on the internet, but I worked at a pretty unique place. It had its red tape, of course, as all jobs do, but the interactions I had with my coworkers and our constituents pretty much made every day different. I MISS interactions. I miss talking with adults regularly. I miss working for an organization that made a difference and where I got to do really unusual and unique things. (I know, I know, why mention the unusual and exciting if I can’t talk about it? I guess I don’t want to break the cardinal rule of blogging, should I ever want go back to work at that same org.)

But I’ve also had both sides of the coin now. I went back to work full time when G was three months old and it SUCKED. I was a total wreck. I have no idea how Casey lived with me during that time; I could barely live with myself. I cried all the time. I made it through the workdays just fine, but I totally fell apart every night when I got home. My difficulty with that situation was what really helped us decide that I should stay home when A was born, though it was a stretch at first and hasn’t been the easiest thing financially.

We’re visiting a preschool next week to see where Adele will be going in September. And you know what? I’m ready for it this time. I won’t have the difficulties I had going back to work before, because I’ve been there already, and I know what to expect.

Plus, I have this to come home to, no matter what happens.

my girls

a running fool

When Georgia was seven months old, I started training for my first half marathon. I gained a lot of weight with both pregnancies; I’m not one of those people who just has a belly. I’m one of those “my hair looks pregnant” kind of people. And this isn’t something that especially bothers me, even though looking at photos from my baby shower kind of makes me cringe. (My ELBOWS looked pregnant, seriously.) I had never been a runner before, but my husband is and has been since high school. He runs to let off steam, to exercise and to have fun, and he always comes back from a run in such a great mood. I was a competitive swimmer for a long time, but that just wasn’t in the exercise cards (lack of pool being a primary reason) and so I started running. I didn’t really enjoy it, per se, and so I needed a goal… a tangible, attainable goal that would make me lace up my shoes and get out the door every day. I signed up for Austin’s 3M Half, which, in addition to being an entirely downhill course (woot!), has the reputation of having one of the awesomest swag bags ever. Just to give you an indication of what is in said bag, let’s remember that this is the 3M Half Marathon. I will never need to buy tape, post-it notes or paper clips ever again. But I do anyway, because I love office products. I know. Weird.

I trained really hard for that race, and it was due to my husband and his support and his training diligence that I finished, and finished well. I was so happy with my time and I had such a great time during the race. That was in January of 2007. So in June, I committed to run the New York Marathon that November. Casey trained me for that too; every day, we got home from work and school, loaded G into the jogger, and ran. Every single day. (Except Mondays. Mondays are hard enough as it is.) We did our long runs on the weekend, and as the distances progressed we started getting babysitters, because G was getting really bored on runs that lasted more than an hour and a half (SO DID I but that’s not what this is about.)

We ran and ran and ran and I felt so ready for the race. However, October was always my busiest work month, and I came off our Longest Work Weekend (think: no sleep, demanding people, unhealthy food) exactly one week before my flight to NYC. And I got sick. as. a dog. So, so sick. No breathing through my nose, achy joints, stuffy head sick. And I made a decision that horrified my parents and surprised even me… I ran that race anyway. And it was awesome. It took me longer than I had hoped, but while I was on that course, I felt like nothing could stop me.

I felt like hell the next day and it basically took me about seven weeks to get well again, but I’m still not sorry I did it. And that’s why I’m so anxiously awaiting the middle of this month… because I’ll find out if I got in to this year’s NYC marathon lottery. And if I do? I’m going to train like hell and be WELL this time.

just an average evening

SO. You’re sitting at home one night, on your couch, having a nice chewy brownie and listening to your best childhood friend catch you up on what’s been happening in her life (such get-togethers happen way too infrequently when one of you has two kids under four and the other is a late-night drag performer… schedules don’t really mesh. True story, by the way… probably a post for another day.) Anyway, we were enjoying our treats when suddenly there was a knock on the door. Let’s keep in mind that it was about 9:30 at night, so, therefore, not prime visiting hours. It was even too late for those alarm system companies that sometimes stop by to ask about “just putting a sign in (our) yard and you’ll get a free alarm system! aftermailinrebate/payingoutthewazoo/sellusyoursoul/totallynocommitmenttreally!”
Completely confused, I answered the door, only to be met by the sight of an extremely jumpy little guy who looked kind of like DJ Qualls. He proceeded (as his truck idled in front of my house) to try to sell me some seafood! Or steaks! Whatever I wanted! Out of the back of his truck!

Do people seriously do this? And do people actually BUY said truck-food? I was so confused that I just mumbled something unintelligible and closed the front door. Normally I’m the kind of person who hears out a spiel in its entirety; I will listen to anything anyone has to say because I’m too afraid of hurting people’s feelings.  I’ve even gone so far as to say to one of those alarm installers, “Sure! Sounds wonderful! Let me take a card and I’ll talk with my husband about it when he gets home!” (Then I make Casey be the bad guy. We’re a good team.)

So after I closed the door, I started feeling guilty, of course. How sad is it that this man’s job is to drive around and try to get people to buy food out of the back of his truck?

Still. I think I made the right decision.

Imitation is Flattery. Or Something.

I read SO MANY BLOGS. I went on vacation last week and when I came back my Google reader was so choked that my eyes rolled back in my head and I just hit “mark all as read” and then went to my bookmarks so I that I could read each one slowly and not feel overwhelmed. I don’t like to skim, either, so I know that would have happened had I just tried to whittle down the ol’ reader.

In realizing the sheer volume of words out there on the internet, I realized that it’s nearly impossible to not be influenced by all the other writers out there. Not necessarily the topics (I can talk about baby poop – inthetubbleccchhhh- and parenting just as anyone else can) but in the way they’re written. I do things that many bloggers do (write in caps to make a point – ex: the very first sentence of this post) and I’m not sure when I started doing that. I do it in emails, on Twitter, and sometimes when I talk I can picture what’s being said IN CAPS. Hm.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this exactly, but I read so many blogs and saw so many great women creating meaningful online dialogues with others that I wanted to join in. Is that weird? Is it weird to want to connect with people I don’t know in real life and probably won’t meet? If you blog, why do you blog?