Archive for November, 2012

Playing Nice in the Sandbox

Friday, November 30th, 2012

I remember thinking far too often in law school that being a 1L – a first year law student – too closely resembled reverting back to elementary school. Suddenly, any guy I walked down the hallway with was a secret boyfriend. (I was engaged at the time.) Wearing form-fitting clothing was somehow a sign of being a stripper. (Okay, the leather pants were perhaps a little risque for the bars of Concord, NH, but still!) And speaking to someone of the opposite sex, of course, meant we were in LUV. (Yeah…riiiiight)

So we graduate from law school, pass the bar and get our first job as law clerks or big bad lawyers. And you’d think with all those years of schooling and those fancy degrees on the wall, we’d finally learned the art of growing up.

Unfortunately that’s not the case with all of us who have that fancy “,Esq.” after our names…

As a female attorney, I have to deal with nonsense that my male counterparts never have to encounter. I’m sure that upon seeing a young MALE attorney walk into a room to take a deposition, no one has ever loudly told their client, “HA! They sent a little boy to do a MAN’s job.” I have male adversaries who insist on calling me “sweetie,” “honey” and, my personal favorite, “dearie.” UGH! Really? Do you pick up the phone and call your male adversaries “bro,” “dude” or “my man”?

I’ve been engaged in what can only be described as a day long grudge match (I’ve cleaned that up considerably) between two law firms. My innocent request for an update on a case spiraled out of control due to the arrogance of another attorney who decided to insult not only me, but my firm and everyone in it. He’s continuing to do so – in front of the client – as I write this.

And I’m still baffled how this even happened… We represent the same client. In the same case. We HAVE TO work together. So why turn this into something so ugly so unnecessarily?

Also as I write this post, I’m watching my son playing a board game with Hubby. Andrew is losing. He’s not taking it well. In fact, he’s whining and pouting. In a couple minutes, I anticipate either the fake tears or some major foot stomping…

Yes, he’s still 4. But we’ve tried to teach him better. To know that winning is REAL nice, but it’s not everything. That he should play fair and not cheat so that when he DOES win, it’s because HE did well – not because he was sneakier than the other guy. To shake the other team’s hands and say “good game” at the end of a crushing defeat instead of bragging…because he will see them again and they will remember how he handled the situation…

And I sincerely hope that these lessons, even though he rolls his eyes at them, are sinking in at least a little bit. He should be better than the guys I’ve been dealing with all day. We’ve certainly raised him that way…

Have a good weekend everyone. And try to play nice in the sandbox with the other kids, even the mean ones who may not really deserve it…

‘Tis the Season

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
We spent the weekend decorating our home for Christmas. The tree is trimmed with the finest kid crafted ornaments, and the stockings are hanging from the mantle. The boys did their best to help make our house look festive.

Last year we added a new tradition to our family. We read “The Elf on the Shelf.”  Our family elf is named Zack. He watches the boys everyday and returns to the north pole each night to inform Santa Claus if they are being naughty or nice.  This week Zack returned to watch our boys. Each morning the boys must find Zack’s new hiding place.  My husband and I are having fun coming up with creative ways and places to display Zack.   So far, Jack’s behavior has been excellent.  I find him looking at Zack to make sure he sees his good behavior.  Tate is still learning about Zack and talks to him throughout the day.

We are happy to have two kids who believe in Santa Claus and remind us about how much we loved Christmas as kids. I just hope we don’t run out of places to hide our elf. It is going to be a long but joyful month for our family.


Monday, November 26th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika

Like Wednesday Mom, I had my in-laws in town for Thanksgiving. I get along great with my husband’s family, and I enjoy the opportunity to spend time with them. The best part of their visit is the amount of time they get to spend with Haley. They really bonded with each other despite the fact that we don’t see them very often. Luckily, Haley warmed up to them quickly, so they were able to get the most out of their precious few days together. Her favorite activity over the weekend was “locking” her grandmother in her play fort then running away, clapping and laughing. Her grandmother was very understanding, and was always rewarded with hugs and kisses at the end of playtime.

In addition to a lovely Thanksgiving meal at my parents’ house, we all enjoyed watching college football games. Our team, the Alabama Crimson Tide, pummeled their rival and they are heading to the conference championship! Haley wore an official team cheerleading outfit—she’s a huge fan. It was really adorable. We even taught her to say, “Roll Tide!” and she almost got it.

We also spent time simply going through our every day routines, giving our visitors a taste of what our urban life is like. My in-laws loved our new neighborhood, the great restaurants, and the accessible park. Most of all, they enjoyed experiencing Haley being a typical feisty toddler. However, after dealing with her for a few days, they get to leave! I kid, I kid.

After dealing with an event like Hurricane Sandy, you really appreciate everything you have to be thankful for. Times are tough for people in many ways. I know it’s easy for me to be overwhelmed by an issue as common—and when it comes right down to it, trivial— as staying up all night with the little one. Thanksgiving is the kind of moment that comes by and reminds me to keep it all in perspective.

Gobble Gobble

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:

As Andrew would say, “Happy Thanksgiving, gobble, gobble!”

Wednesday we got to see Andrew’s class put on their seven and a half minute long holiday show. Their teachers asked the kids to keep things a secret so all the parents would be surprised. Shockingly…Andrew did. All we knew was that we needed to dress him in BROWN when he went to school on Wednesday.

Brown? Who owns an all brown outfit??? It prompted a round of frantic, last second Tuesday night shopping. But we managed to acquire a brown shirt…which was actually pretty cute…AND on sale. (If you know anything about me, then you know that I am the kind of shopper who will walk into a store where EVERYTHING is on sale and manage to walk out with the one item in the whole store that miraculously was NOT discounted.)

Anyway, the teacher started off by saying that it was really good for the kids to get into these kinds of social interactions and it was really hard for some of them to perform before an audience. One of the little boys was too nervous to do any of his parts. Not Andrew though.

MY son was loud. He was giving everyone else stage directions. He knew exactly when his parts were coming up and was up there well in advance of his cues. And, I regret to say, he actually blurted out “Okay, I’m done with this!” after the first song… He also had a battle going on with the little boy next to him, who had the misfortune of being dressed as a turkey, tail feathers and all. Well, the feathers hit Andrew’s arm and Andrew spent the rest of the show alternating between slapping the feathers away from his arm and giving the turkey hugs. (Yeah… we were less than pleased with that one.)

Afterwards, one of the teachers came up to us. I thought it was going to be a “will you control that one” kind of talk because I was more than a little embarrassed over his turkey-bashing performance… But she actually said how great it was for the other kids that Andrew was so confident and so into it. He apparently had been great about helping the other kids with their lines and not being scared to talk about what they were thankful for. (In case you were wondering, Andrew is thankful for “his house and his toys.” You can’t see me, but I’m rolling my eyes.)

Yesterday the family got together for the Thanksgiving trough at my parent’s house. We were very happy that Grammy and Papa schlepped down from Maine and that my cousin Matt was able to join us this year. We ate too much. We embarrassed each other with ridiculous stories. With everything that’s going on recently, there hasn’t been a lot of time to just relax and be with everyone. But that’s exactly what I love about the holidays and this one was no different.

Andrew promised this year he would try some good Thanksgiving stuff. He still refuses to try the stuffing which both horrifies and overjoys me. For the record, my mother makes the best stuffing EVER. So while it’s annoying he won’t try it, it also means there’s more for ME 🙂 But somehow Grammy convinced Andrew to eat turkey and sweet potatoes. (Way to go Grammy!)

We don’t really do the Black Friday thing. So today my sister and I are going to a movie (yes, it’s Breaking Dawn, part 2 – don’t judge!) while Andrew and Daddy go to the zoo to enjoy what could be the last warm day of the year.

I hope you all had a great thanksgiving, found some good deals shopping and enjoy the long weekend!


Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The holiday season is upon us again. Our family has not traveled for the holidays in quite some time.  We have hosted countless local families here but never any out of town guests for Thanksgiving.  This year we invited my husband’s parents to Mississippi for some southern cooking and grandparent love.

My husband is a pretty good cook. He loves to plan large meals for guests. This year he is brining a large turkey in seasoned brine. He even ordered ingredients and spices online.  He planned several other side dishes, including his made-from-scratch apple pie. Jack and Tate will be little chefs I’m sure, helping out in the kitchen.  I’m hoping all three of them keep the mess to a minimum.

Our guests will be with us for a week, which is great because both boys have off from school. They are both looking forward to an exciting week with their grandparents, learning some important lessons about the value of family. They do not get to see them for months at a time, so everybody is excited for Thanksgiving this year.  I hope you all eat lots of turkey and enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Girls Night!

Monday, November 19th, 2012

My friends and I recently got together for a “Pre-Holiday Girls’ Night Dinner” at a trendy downtown restaurant. We had been planning it for a long time and when it finally got here, I couldn’t have been happier. Things have been so hectic with my move and the big storm that I have hardly had the chance to stop and take a breath. But here came one night for me to enjoy and socialize and take a break from all things toddler. It was wonderful.

My husband knew better than anyone just how badly I needed a night off. Although Haley is going through yet another sleep regression and gets up several times a night, he told me to feel free to stay out late and have a few cocktails—he would attend to her. I took him up on his offer, enjoying a “Cucumber Cosmo” and some delicious sangria. I also had a yummy salmon dish, a perfect chocolate soufflé, and my favorite end to a great meal—a decaf cappuccino. I spent the night catching up and gossiping with old friends. Then I came home and crashed!

Taking care of Haley feels like a marathon—especially when she’s not sleeping well. There’s no break. There’s no wonderful point at which I can say, “at least now she’s down for the night”. It’s one thing after another all day, and I brace myself for the constant interruptions at night. I start watching a TV program knowing that there’s a good chance I will have to catch the rest later. I run around like a crazy person doing the dishes and throwing a load of laundry in because I simply won’t get another chance to do chores “later on.” When I do manage to sit on the sofa, the pressure is on to relax, to get the most out of the break! As you can imagine, it’s not fun.

My husband and I have a plan in place to get Haley sleeping through the night. We don’t think that the methods we have used in the past (straight-up “cry it out”) will work now that she’s older and much more aware of her surroundings, so we will be going with a gentler, more gradual approach. (I’m sure our neighbors will also appreciate that!) I really hope it works because this is a difficult way to live. I’m grateful that I sometimes get to be with my friends and recharge my batteries. But it would be nice if my batteries didn’t always get quite so depleted.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! I am very, very thankful for being a parent—wake-ups and all.

Place to place…

Monday, November 19th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
I promise that not every post from here on out will be about how we’re doing since the hurricane, but it’s been kind of an all-consuming thing these days.

There are days that I’m angry. There are days that I just want to cry. My mom, with all her psych degrees, keeps assuring me that it’s perfectly normal to be mad at the trees for coming through the house, frustrated that other people got to go back to “normal” as soon as the lights come on, and sad that I can’t just go home.

Andrew has been going through a “I’m not going to listen to anything that anyone says to me” phase. That too is frustrating. But more so because I don’t know how much of that is normal, 4 year old boy attitude or if it’s because he’s also having trouble dealing with being displaced… And if it’s the later, how can I really get mad at him for acting out? I do it myself!

Our insurance company hooked us up with a great company who helped us find a townhouse that we’ll be living in for the next couple months. Being a tenant again is not really what I expected at this stage of the game, but it’s a nice little place and will suit us fine for a couple months. We’ll move in over the weekend, though we have a bunch of stuff there already.

Last night we were trying to get Andrew excited about the place, telling him about it and how he’ll have his own room again. While he’s very excited to have his own bathroom – which is CONNECTED to his room (truly important stuff here!) – he’s also confused. He scrambled up into my lap last night and said, “Mommy! I am very confused. We have our new house. We have our old house. We have the hotel. We at Nana’s. We not at Nana’s. Now we have this other place?”

I couldn’t really say that some days I wake up and am so disoriented it takes a few minutes for me to realize where I am too.

I tried to explain the best I could. Maybe he understands some of it. I wish there were some kinds of magic words to make him feel better about everything that’s happened the past couple weeks. Well, I really wish there were some way I could just speed up time and fast forward to when we can all go back to our place… But for now, he’ll have to settle for some extra hugs and whatever extra patience I can muster up.

It’s hard to believe that next week is Thanksgiving already! I hope you all have a great one.

Bye, Bye Training Wheels

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Last weekend marked another milestone for Jack.  He learned to ride his bike without training wheels.  We’ve been practicing for awhile, and his persistence really paid off.  Jack announced he wanted to take his training wheels off his bike because he saw a friend of his riding without them.  We agreed it was time and off those wheels went.  We borrowed a tall handle that attaches to the back wheel which alleviated the back strain when trying to teach a child to ride.  I highly recommend one.

Jack rode further and further each day we practiced without any assistance.  His confidence level went from a one on the first day to a ten in a few days.  It was a good learning experience for him to realize the more you practice the easier things are, just like all of life’s lessons.  From the start, I told him some day it will click and you’ll get the hang of it. He assured me last weekend it “clicked.”  Finally, on Sunday he was able to go the length of our street and around the cul-de-sac. Daddy witnessed it first.  Jack was was so proud of himself and ran to find Tate and I so he could show us his skills.  It was a proud moment for all of us.

Jack is still working on getting the bike going from a stand still.  He knows to put one foot on the pedal and push off with his other foot, but knowing and doing are different.  It’s a hard task, but with time he’ll be zooming all over the place. My husband and I look forward to bike rides with him in the future.  Brother Tate tries to mimic what Jack does on his balance bike including lifting his hands off the handle bars.  Oh, how I remember those days.  Soon it will be Tate’s turn to learn and we can all ride together.


Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Monday, November 12th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
We hit some chilly temperatures last week—while the area is still recovering from “Superstorm” Sandy and many are still without electricity or heat. Although out building never lost power, we did have a cold night without our steam heat kicking on. The reasons why are dubious; the bottom line is that the landlord needs to figure some things out in the basement. We are usually comfortable, but go through periods of being way to hot or way to cold during every 24-hour cycle. We often dress warmer when it’s cold and open a window when it’s hot. Being that several folks in the community are worse off than we are, we’re trying to roll with the punches.

I like the winter. I enjoy curling up on the couch with my sweats on and a warm blanket—maybe even throw in a nice steaming cup of hot chocolate—and I’m set. Turn on a movie or hand me a good book and I’ll be happy for hours. Haley on the other hand, takes after her dad. She is not a homebody—she likes to get out. Like most kids her age, she really needs to get her energy out. We take lots of walks, which are great exercise for me to. Her favorite outing? The park! Where you can swing! It’s almost comical the amount of time Haley can spend swinging without getting bored or unhappy. Unfortunately, when it rains or snows, the park is not an option. During the big storm, the city parks were closed for days. During that time, we went for walk one day, and when Haley saw the playground, she screamed. I took her up to the gate to show her that it was closed and that we couldn’t open it, she kicked it!

Luckily, I don’t think the playgrounds will be closed very often. As long as there’s not precipitation, I can always bundle Haley up in extra layers and head to the park. And the days when it is kind of gross outside, I can take her to out local YMCA, where there’s an indoor playtime set up several mornings a week. It’s a great option for young kids in the winter. They may not have swings, but at least Haley can get some of her energy out.

Have a great week, everyone! Stay warm.

Better late than never…Trick or Treat

Friday, November 9th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
It seems so strange that while virtually all of New Jersey was without power and devastated by the hurricane, the rest of the country was largely unaffected by it. On day 3 of being without power or heat for most of us, I was getting all my news from Twitter and Facebook posts and only knew that it was Halloween seeing posts of other people’s kids in costume. Trick or treating was “indefinitely postponed” in Jersey.

Now here we are at day 11 post-storm. There are still at least 2,000 people STILL without power or heat, my parents included. (Thank you again to Grammy and Papa for schlepping generators and gas down from Maine to keep them warm!) Entire towns were so decimated that they may never make a come back. But slowly, we’re starting to recover from the wreckage Sandy left behind.

Daycare got its power back Sunday night and was able to open its doors Monday morning. At first Andrew fought trying to go, but he missed his friends and teachers. He has been so happy being back in some semblance of a routine again.

Tomorrow they are finally getting to do their Halloween party. Andrew is psyched to bring in munchkins. In the afternoon, all the kids are dressing up for “Trunk or Treat.” Yeah, it’s exactly how it sounds. Trick or treating out of the trunks of cars. I still need to acquire some candy for that one!

Halloween in our town has been postponed a number of times, but yesterday the state of emergency was lifted in town. Saturday will be the official trick or treating day. Andrew is going to be Luke Skywalker. 🙂

It’s going to be a while before things are back to “normal” for my family. But having these little things – going to school or work again, having a snowball fight in the middle of a parking lot, or celebrating Halloween – make everything seem a little more normal.

Have a great weekend everyone. And to those of you who are also finally able to participate in a belated Halloween, enjoy!