Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Halloween That Almost Was Not

I left the office at 1:00pm today to drive to a medical exam for a client. That exam was supposed to start at 2pm. It was supposed to last 30 minutes. I was supposed to catch the 3pm boat home just in time to pick up the kids, grab the Halloween costumes and my pulled pork chili verde, and arrive at my sister-in-law's place just in time for trick or treating.

EXCEPT. That exam did not start until 3pm. And then it lasted until 5pm. And then I was stuck in 5 mile per hour traffic for nearly 40 minutes. When the clock struck 5:30pm, I was still going at a snail's pace and I was still 1.5 hours from my kids and our trick or treat destination.

As I sat in traffic, I panicked. Halloween was not going to happen. I was going to be super late. We wouldn't get the kids' costumes in time and I clearly didn't have time to put together my carefully crafted Hulk costume. Trick-or-treating would be over before we even arrived! My son has been talking about trick-or-treating for a whole year. He's been counting down the days for nearly a month. He was looking forward to this day SO MUCH. A huge knot formed where my stomach should have been. I felt so horrible.  I picked my scalp uncontrollably the entire drive (my bad, nervous habit). My panic attack went to full throttle as my anxiety (and I'm sure my blood pressure) reached near cataclysmic levels. I had let my kid down. I cried at the thought.

I made a few calls. My backup plan, which I had arranged as soon as I realized the medical exam was running late, fell through. One call to my husband and plan C was formed. He would pick up the costumes, my chili, and the kids, and meet me at my sister-in-law's place. I didn't arrive until 7pm. The kids and costumes didn't show up until 7:30. But, somehow, there was just enough evening left for a quick trick-or-treat trip around the block, in the torrential, pouring rain.

As soon as they were in costume and ready to go, my anxiety finally melted away. Turned out I would not be candidate for Worst Mom of the Year. Plus, the kids looked pretty darn cute.

My Spiderman and my little spider

20 minutes of trick-or-treating and the kids were drenched. But at least their pumpkin buckets were already 1/4 of the way full. Everyone snuck back inside to dry off, watch some cartoons, and have.....

Naked Time:

Ry-guy chewed his way through a bag of M&M's. Daddy caught him just in time!

Things turned out ok in the end. Phew, but let me tell you, it was NOT my favorite day.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Happens At Grandma's

'One condition to my new employment was that I would be able to work from home two days a week. That was the only way I could justify traveling into Seattle for a 2+ hour commute (that's ONE way). However, I agreed to come into the office everyday for the first month so that I could get into the swing of things, learn how the firm operated, and become familiar with cases and the files.

Even though my commute was 2+ hours one way, it wasn't so bad coming in to work everyday. That's because the OTHER condition of my employment was that I would be working about 6 hours a day. Realistically, I work more like 7 hours on most days, but it's at my own perogative. I'm usually  so engrossed and wrapped up in what I'm doing that I don't want to leave! Crazy, huh?

It's been over a month now, so this week, I started working from home for part of the week. Monday was my first day. And it went pretty well. When I work from "home," I'm actually working from my parents' house, my childhood "home." This is where I drop my kids off on Mondays and Wednesdays so I thought I would use their spare bedroom. My dad set up a little office space and I brought in an extra monitor courtesy of my boss (once you start working with two monitors, it's so hard to go back to one!).

I quickly evacuated my spot at the desk my dad has set up and opted for the bed. This is what my workspace looked like for most of the day (please ignore my nasty socky, I absolutely can't stand bare feet and those socks were all I could find):

You can't really tell, but the mug says, "Old Guys Rule." Which made me laugh and think of my dad at random times throughout my day.

Before I snuck down to the office room, I explained to Jacob that I was going to be working and that he couldn't come talk to me while I was busy. I explained that there were two exceptions to this rule: (1) he could come get me at lunchtime so we could eat lunch together and (2) he could come get me at 4pm when my work would (hopefully) be done.

To my amazement he followed these rules really well. I was so excited when he knocked on my door at 12:00 on the dot to announce that it was lunch time. I sat down and had lunch with my two boys and my mom (how cool is it that I get to eat lunch with them twice a week during the work day?!). I had prepared a PB&J sandwich for lunch but my mom had me try her "BBQ" soup instead.

When she put it down in front of me, I noticed a unique array of ingredients. Peas, pineapple, chicken, potatoes, mushy croutons, and pepperonis. This is so typical of my mom. She is always making crazy experiments, to the bemoaning of my dad and brother. It was definitely interesting....but it wasn't so bad. I think the BBQ sauce really brought all the ingredients together :) Please note the bread roll covered in sprinkles.

After lunch, I snuck bad to my "office" and got busy. It was odd to hear Jacob watching Scooby-Doo in the next room while I was on a conference call with a client. But it was totally awesome to have had said conference call while wearing my favorite t-shirt and skinny jeans!

After two more hours of work, I needed to get up and stretch. I walked upstairs to make some tea and saw Ryan playing in his bouncy chair chomping on something that was obviously NOT baby food. I looked closer and saw that he was clutching a chicken nugget in his fingers, tearing off bits with his toothless gums, and chewing it to death. WTF? My six month old is eating a chicken nugget? I shook my head, grabbed my tea, snuck back downstairs, and pretended that I hadn't seen anything.

While working from "home" is awesome in so many ways, I have to remember one rule: "what happens at grandma's house, stays at grandma's house." well, at least until it is announced all over Facebook for the world to see.


(quote by George Bernard Shaw)

A lovely reader "challenged" me to reveal a bit more about my "7 little facts"... So here is fact #4! :)

4. If you ever invite me to your home, please don't cook meat for me, I'm a veggie!

Eating meat has never been my thing. Since I was a little child, I never liked meat. My mom had to "mask" it with lots of tricks, like mayonnaise, yummy sauces or breadcrumb coating... As an adult, stopping to eat meat was a conscious choice. I couldn't stand eating living creatures. After a time of slow transition, I completely stopped eating any kind of meat about 10 years ago. 

Monday, October 29, 2012


A lovely reader "challenged" me to reveal a bit more about my "7 little facts"... So here is fact #3! :) 

3. I love all seasons, but my favorite ones are Spring and Autumn!

Yes... I truly love ALL seasons... there is so much beauty in each and every season, and each one is unique! If ever asked if I would renounce to any of the seasons, for example Winter, and live permanently somewhere where one of the seasons doesn't exist... well, I would definitely say a big NO! I am so happy and I feel so lucky to live somewhere where the 4 seasons rejoyce my heart in all their splendor! :) But... my absolute favorites are Spring and Autumn... to me, they are the sweetest seasons, and I deeply resonate with both of them, although in different ways of course. I love the poetry in both of them, I love the soft light, the softness, the colors, the amazing beauty. They are, in their own and unique ways, true symphonies.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Big Boys

As I pulled up to our garage yesterday, back from a day of running errands, I saw that the leaves on the tiny tree in our yard had turned a bright red. It was gorgeous. It suddenly struck me that the red tree, in contrast to our white picket fence, would be a perfect backdrop for some outdoor fall photos.

So this morning, at 10am when the lighting outside was perfect, I dressed the kids up and shoed them outdoors.

At first Jacob wouldn't smile. So I started to make up a story about a monkey wearing underwear. That seemed to do the trick. The result of our photoshoot: my absolute favorite pictures of the two boys together. I can't believe they are so big.

By the time we got to this picture, the monkey story was wearing thin. To get Jacob to keep smiling, I sunk to a new low and started to wiggle my butt enthusiastically while singing an ad-lib song about monkeys trying to steal my underwear. At least it worked. But I seriously hope my neighbors were no where near their windows.

Jacob, about to drop a leaf bomb on Ryan:

Pretty good huh? Especially considering I was semi-hung over from three margaritas I had enjoyed the night before during an impromptu visit with friends (Hi Jessica! :).

Lately, Jacob's been saying some funny things (admitedly, they're probably only funny because I'm his mom). Ever since Jacob was little he's had a minor lisp. It's almost unnoticeable now but every once in a while I'll catch him saying "shushi" instead of sushi or "shtring" instead of string. He also calls rootbeer "rootbeard." And when he talks about ghosts in the plural, he calls them "ghostess."

Yesterday, as I was doing chores in another room, I heard Jacob approach his dad and ask: "Daddy. Are you a nock turtle?"

My husband replied, "Sorry Jake, I don't know what that means."

"It means you can see at night."

"Oh, you mean nocturnal?"

"Yeah, a nock turtle." The sound of his voice said "Duh Dad. That's what I just said." Big thanks to Kratt's Kreatures for that word. Everyone says TV is bad for kids but, seriously, it's probably the reason he has the vocabulary that he does.

I'm going to end this post with two more pictures. We finally got our act together this weekend and set up Jacob's bunkbed and Ryan's crib (he's been sleeping in a travel pak 'n play in our room). Seeing the two of them in "their room" blows my mind. It highlights for me how close they've become as brothers.

Yes, their room is tiny (just like the rest of our 990 square foot house). 
And yes, that pterodactyle is wearing a tie.

I've always envied the siblings I knew who had shared a room and grew up as best friends. They would fall asleep giggling over pillow-talk and doing their nails. I have no idea where we will be in five years (probably still in the same house) or whether the boys will be sharing a room. But for now, it's fun to see them together. These boys love each other so much. And now that they share a room, it seems as if they have their own little world, one that we will never be part of.

Tonight is the first night that Ryan will be sleeping in Jacob's room (oops, I mean "their" room). Crossing my fingers and toes that all four of us aren't wide awake at 2am.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Journey To Building A Plaintiff Practice: Preface

Yesterday afternoon, I sat in on a client meeting that ran a little late. By the time it had ended, I had missed my normal ferry boat and knew that I wouldn't get to the ferry dock in time for the next sailing. The only reasonable thing to do? Impromptu happy hour!

My boss and I walked across the street to our favorite dive bar/diner.  Over $3 beers, I was dubbed the "President of Plaintiff Cases" -- or something like that. I work for a firm that largely does insurance defense work. The thing about insurance defense is that all you need is an in with an insurance company and you are golden. You sit around and wait for cases to come in on their own. The fax machine buzzes and... cha-ching! New case!

But plaintiff cases are different. It's harder to bring clients in. And you can only bring them in one at a time. It takes a lot of work: marketing, networking, advertising. All the stuff that makes me shudder.  Since I worked at a plaintiff firm for a year and have (although scant) experience dealing exclusively in plaintiff case, I've been given the opportunity to take our plaintiff work and run with it. I've also been eagerly encouraged to assist in bringing in some clients.

Building a plaintiff practice nearly from scratch? No problem!

I'm going to start researching, reading, and networking. Perhaps develop a marketing plan. I have no idea what I'm doing. This should get interesting! Feel free to chime in with any tips :)


Here are some more photos showing the beauty of Autumn in my little corner of the world... The rain and cold-weather front from Northern Europe has reached us here too, but I still had a wonderful walk just a few days ago! It was a wonderful sunny day, and my little paradise was shining in all its beauty!

Casual Saturday!

happy halloween

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Busy Fo Shizzy

It's been insanely busy lately. Busy, but awesome. Work is getting more awesome as I'm given greater opportunities and responsibilities. In the next couple weeks, I'm scheduled to attend an independent medical exam, a deposition, and a court hearing. (Court...woo hoo!)

When I first started the new job, I was totally overwhelmed. There are so many freaking cases! The only thing to do was grab a file and dig in. Now I'm feeling a little more familar and comfortable with the cases and the work. On a daily basis, I feel as if I'm up to my elbows in litigation: answers to draft, discovery requests to send out, motions to prepare, legal research to conduct. I absolutely love it!

It's very clear to me from what little experience I have (3 years), that I belong in litigation. I love absolutely everything about it. There will always be times when I'll get nervous or feel a bit uncomfortable about doing new things (examining witnesses at trial, taking depositions, etc). And sometimes it can be a little bit scary to think that I'm in charge of someone's case, when lots of money hangs in the balance. BUT, I'm kind of used to it by now. I mean, I'm a mom for heaven's sakes. Human LIVES are in my hands! The things on I do on a daily basis could scar, maim, or mess up my kids for life. Compared to that, a little personal injury case is nothing. Right?

Things are awesome at home too. As with most four year olds, Jacob can be both really sweet and a real pain the neck. I have to bite my tongue at least once an hour to prevent myself from saying things that my mom used to say to me. For example: "I'm not going to tell you again!" or "Life's not fair!"or "Don't ask why, just do it." Ugh, major cringe....."Hello Mom, when did you suddenly sneak into my brain?

Lately Jacob has been doing puzzles when we get home for the evening. His puzzle skills totally amaze me. Two months ago, he couldn't do the 12 piece puzzles without help. Now he'll finish all four of his 24 peice Thomas the Train puzzles all by himself in one sitting. I think he's been taking brain steroids or something....

Story Time:

Ryan continues to be a very happy little guy. My favorite thing sbouy coming home is that first momen when I walk in the door. When it's my husband's turn to pick up the kids, I walk in the door in the evening to a warm, full house. Jacob's resting on the couch or playing with his cars or legos. Ryan is usually sitting on the floor next to my husband listening as my husband plays his guitar. The second Ryan catches my eyes, his face completely lights up, and he lets out a long string of high-pitched giggles. These giggles usually last a full couple of minutes. My husband tells me he saves those giggles just for me.

I can't help constantly reminding myself how lucky I am. I get to go to work to a job that I LOVE and then,I get to come home to a house full of my favorite people on the planet. No matter where I am, whether home or work, I am in a place where I want to be. Life is happy.


Lac du Mont-Cenis (2000 m), 21.10.2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


This time of year Nature is aflame with stunning colors... Autumn at its best in the Alps!