Archive | August, 2011

Well, Here We Go Again!

23 Aug

And 2L year has officially started. Friday was the first day of classes. Joel’s taking Evidence, National Security Law, Foundations of Law, Professional Responsibility and Ethics, and Pretrial Litigation.

Sounds exciting, right?

Mondays and Wednesdays will be long days (Mondays 8am to 8 or 9 at night, Wednesdays 8am to 4pm), but he has Tuesdays and Thursdays off from class, and Fridays just 2 in the morning. Seems like it will be a nicer schedule than last semester (aside from those torturously long Mondays). We’ll see, I guess. I’m planning to keep myself busy on Mondays and Wednesdays, so if you find yourself in need of something to do and want to get together, just holler.

So… 2L year… ready, set, go!

Dear Clara

18 Aug

Dear Clara,

Apparently we had different plans for the hours of 2-5am last night. But thanks for waking me up for our battle of the wills playdate. It definitely beat sleeping.

From now on, let’s play during daylight hours. K? Thanks.

Your sleep deprived Mommy

Nervous Energy

15 Aug

After we got home from Clara’s surgery and knew that she was ok, I think the rest of us didn’t know what to do with ourselves.  We had so much pent up nervous energy, that we couldn’t just sit around.  Clara just wanted to eat and drink, and play every now and then, but was pretty low key compared to a normal day.  So we took advantage of the energy and the time, and worked on a few little projects around the house.

Joel and I had taken a trip to IKEA on Tuesday to get a few extra bookshelves for the office.  We had 3 big ones from before, but with law school and Joel’s insatiable love for books (I love them too, but don’t have all that much time to read anymore), our book collection had outgrown the available shelf space.  So we figured out that 3 of the skinny Billy bookshelves with the corner hardware that allowed us to put one on a short wall, one in the corner at an angle, and the other on the long wall beside the 3 big shelves, we’d have more than enough room, and it made a complete bookshelf wall.  Here’s the after.  I forgot to take a before photo.  Whoops!


While my dad and Joel put together the bookshelves, I asked my mom to help me with my hallway art arrangement.  I’ve been planning this ever since we bought the house.  I knew I wanted a big arrangement of photos and other pieces, but I was having a hard time picturing it in my head.  I finally ordered some canvases that I knew I wanted to incorporate into the arrangement, and when they arrived a few weeks ago, I knew I finally had all the pieces I needed.

The stained glass was a christmas gift from my mom a few years ago – there is a great salvage shop near where they live.  I’ve been wanting to hang it ever since I got it, but never had the perfect spot.  I knew it had to be a part of the hallway.


Last year when we were home for Christmas, my mom and I went to an antique store/salvage shop and found a bunch of great pieces.  I knew at that point that I was going to work on this project, but that I didn’t have all the elements I needed.  So we spent a few hours walking around, picking out fun, different pieces.  Here’s what we got:  4 different shaped iron pieces, 5 old keys, a keyhole, an old drawer pull, and 2 old metal stencil letters.

Other items included: frames I already owned, blank canvases (already owned), an old map, thread, a knob ($1.50 at home depot), corrugated cardboard, some old keys we had, hot glue, and some chain we bought at home depot.  Who would have thought that all of these things could come together to make a cohesive arrangement?

So, after an afternoon of painting, glueing, sewing, and hanging, here is my hallway!  A couple of the frames still need new photos – I’m planning to print more family photos for those (the three across frame and the top right hand frame) and then it will really be done!



I love coming down the stairs and looking toward the front door and seeing this.  Makes me smile every time.  For those of you who will ask, my sister took the photo of the three of us in the snow, and the one of Clara alone is from her first week here on earth, and the other photo canvas is from our trip to Hawaii a few years ago.  I love the way it all turned out!

My dad also cut a piece of plywood for me to put on top of two shorter bookshelves that we had that I’m going to use as a sewing desk!  Woohoo!  Photos of that when I get the sewing room all put together.



A Sigh of Relief

13 Aug
Caution: Incredibly Long Post Ahead
We made it.
It has been a whirlwind 2 days, but we made it.
On Wednesday, we decided that we’d take Clara swimming as a kind of last hoorah before her surgery.  She loved it as always, and seemed to have a really good time.  We got a phone call that we needed to be at UNC at 7am.  Early = good.
As part of our instructions for pre-op, we had to wash Clara with this anti-bacterial soap they gave us the night before surgery and again the morning of.  Clara loves the bath, much like she likes the pool.
I wanted to get a before shot of the spot she was having removed.  That is tough with a wiggly baby, but I think you can see it ok here.  It’s that bald pink spot just above her ear.  It used to be bright red and really bumpy.
Clara loves to look at herself in the mirror.  She thinks that baby in the mirror is hilarious!
Her new favorite thing to do is to climb up the stairs.  She’s pretty quick at it.  And that crazy crawl she has – she climbs the stairs the exact same way.  Right knee up on the stair, left foot up, repeat.
So, after a little play time, everyone went to bed.  7am arrival at UNC meant leaving at 6am, which meant getting up at 5am.  I tried to go to bed early, but couldn’t fall asleep.  When I finally did fall asleep, I woke up 4-5 times in the 5 hours I was in bed.  Not very restful.
Clara was awake when I got up.  It’s almost like she knew something strange was going on.  When I got her out of bed at 5:30, she was freaking out crying.  She seemed scared, like she was having a nightmare or something, but she was wide awake.  I managed to get her yet another bath, dressed in the outfit with the largest neck opening I could find, and all ready to go.  No food, formula, or liquids, or we’d have to delay the surgery (which apparently happened to someone who was at the ACC with us – the dad was walking around mumbling something about having to wait 3 hours for some “stupid applesauce”).

We made the trip over to UNC, seeing an amazing sunrise on the way.  Since Clara’s surgery was outpatient, we were at the Ambulatory Care Center.  Let me tell you, early is what you want over there.  (By the time we left the place was buzzing, people were waiting 30 minutes just to get checked in, and it just seemed much more hectic.) When we arrived there wasn’t even anyone at the information desk to tell us where to go, but a nice nurse pointed us in the right direction.  We checked in, got our arm bands (or ankle bands), and were sent to our very own little waiting room with toys and kid-sized chairs.  It was awesome.

Right at 7am, they came and called us back into the Pre-Op area.  We were put in a little room with a bed, a computer, and a couple chairs, and given a little hospital gown to put on Clara.  Seriously, couldn’t they pick a better color for these gowns?
Clara did pretty well, but she did start to get hungry after a while and was fussing when she wasn’t distracted by something more interesting.  We talked with the surgeon, the nurse, the anesthesiologist, and the nurse anesthetist and signed more consent forms than I can count.
My favorite thing about this? The neon yellow leg warmers that were meant to be socks for an adult.

She started to get really hungry and I think figure out that something wasn’t quite normal.  That little tear just about made me cry.

Practically everyone who came in our pre-op room made some comment about how cute Clara is, which was sweet, and somehow made me feel better about letting her go… I don’t know, maybe I figured that if they thought she was cute they’d take extra special care of her.  Not that they treat patients preferentially like that, but in my head it made me feel better.

I thought that we would get to go back with her and hold her until she fell asleep, but it may have been for the best that we didn’t.  The nurse just wrapped her up in a big blanket and took her off to the OR.  Before she left she asked me if it would be tragic if we didn’t get the pacifier and strap back.  I told her that as long as I got Clara back, nothing was tragic.  Seriously, who cares about a pacifier?

The surgeon had told us it would take about 30-45 minutes for the anesthesiologist to get her to sleep and monitor her, and then it would take him an hour for the surgery, and 15 minutes or so afterwards before we would see her.  We planned for 2 hours before we would hear anything.

Joel and I headed out to the waiting room where my parents were.  I think the first 15-20 minutes I must have looked at the clock about 50 times.  The time just seemed like it was going so slowly.  They have a cell signal blocker there, so I couldn’t get online to pass the time until I finally found their guest wifi.  I just played some solitaire to keep my mind busy and then all of a sudden, our surgeon was walking up to us.  He was practically skipping.  It was only 9:00, so we weren’t expecting to see anyone just yet.  He said that everything had gone great and that she was in recovery.  She just needed to keep the bandage on her head until the next morning, but if she pulled it off in the night, it was no big deal.  Then we just have to put some neosporin-type stuff on it twice a day.  She can swim, have baths and really anything else she wants.  With that, he skipped away, and out came the recovery nurse to take us back to get Clara.
You could hear her as soon as you walked into the recovery area, but it was a cry that I didn’t recognize.  We walked down what seemed like the longest hallway I’ve ever been down, and saw my baby, being held by a nurse she didn’t know, shaking, and crying.  Still hooked up to an IV and a pulsometer, and not liking one bit of it.  I took her from the nurse and sat down in the rocking chair.  She was shaking and crying, and if there hadn’t been someone there to tell me that is normal when a baby comes out of anesthesia, I really would have freaked out.  It was so sad, and it just about broke my heart.  She was petrified – surrounded by people she didn’t know, in a strange place, and I’m sure feeling like crap.  She was shaking and convulsing so hard that I had to hold her tight to my body to keep her from flailing all around.  Joel went back out for a minute to get her sippy cup so we could give her some apple juice, and I started bawling.  I think the nurses were more worried about me than Clara.  They kept reassuring me that she was fine and all this was normal, and I kept telling them I knew, that I was fine, and that it was just sad to see her like that.  I don’t think they believed I was fine, or that I knew she was ok.  

They finally unhooked her IV after she started drinking the apple juice, and she really didn’t like that, but did calm down after it was out.  I gave her her turtle too, and as soon as she saw him, she seemed to know that everything was going to be ok.  Funny the things that comfort a baby.  They gave her some tylenol, and after she had calmed down some more, they gave us instructions and said that we could go home.
Doesn’t she just look pitiful? My dad has a way with kids… they love him, and as soon as she saw him, she reached out for him.
She fell asleep after about 2 turns on the way home.  She didn’t make a peep.
The nurse was very proud that she’d found a pretty pink hello kitty bandaid to go where the IV had been in her hand.
She woke up as soon as we got home, and the only thing she wanted to do was eat.  I can’t blame her – she hadn’t eaten since 8:00 the night before.  Poor baby!  The little thing on top of her head made her look like Gonzo or a teletubby.  Between that and how loopy she was, we got a lot of laughs that afternoon.
Clara, you are one heck of a resilient kid.  
My Grammy had some balloons and a bear sent over.  Clara loves stuffed animals and balloons too!  She was enthralled!
Unless you’re a big stuffed animal, Clara’s not much of a cuddler.  She just wants to be moving all the time, and doesn’t have time for suggles.  She still wanted to be on the move, but every now and then she wanted a little hug and kiss from mommy.  I loved those moments.
She also loves to look at herself in the mirror and has recently started kissing the baby in the mirror.  Hilarious!
I tried to put her down for a nap, but I think she was scared.  She just freaked out!  So no naps all day, aside from the 45 minutes home from the hospital.  But she was surprisingly happy considering all she’d been through.  We gave her tylenol several times throughout the day – you could tell when it would start to wear off, and she would get a little cranky.  But overall, I have to say, it was a much better day than I expected.
Our awesome neighbor, Sarah, and her sister-in-law brought over dinner for us, which was super sweet of them.  They also brought one of Sarah’s world-famous pies… and oh, let me tell you, it was AHHH-mazing!
She slept all night long and didn’t wake up until about 9:30 Friday morning.  I could hardly stand to wait until that morning to take the bandage off her head.  The surgeon had told us that he wouldn’t have to shave very much of her hair off – maybe just a centimeter around the spot he was removing – which was welcome news for sure, but I tried not to get my hopes up until I saw it for myself.  The bandage slipped back a bit while she slept, so we decided to just go ahead and take it off when she woke up.  

You can imagine my happiness when I saw that she still had ALL of her hair!  It really doesn’t look like they even shaved any of it.  In the grand scheme of things, it definitely wasn’t the most important thing on my mind, but it is nice that he was able to let her keep it all!
She did great, and wasn’t bothered by it at all until we had to take the tape off of her head.  It was stuck to some of her hair, so I’m sure that hurt a little as we took it off.  There were a few tears…
And then she was fine.
Warning: if a little bit of blood freaks you out, don’t look at the next photo.  The little spot on her head is now just a little thing that looks like a scratch.  This was taken before we washed her hair, but it looks even better now.  The surgeon used dissolvable stitches underneath the skin so she won’t mess with them – and it barely looks like anything happened.
By last night, Clara was back to her normal, crazy, silly, energetic self.  She’s really doing well.  It doesn’t seem to bother her to have it washed, or even when I touch it to put the medicine on it.  She is such a trooper.  And I am so glad to not have to worry about it any more.  I would check that spot every single day to see if it had changed.  It was always in the back of my mind.
Clara seems back to normal already, but I still feel like I got hit by a bus.  I think after we got her home and knew she was going to be ok, I just had a lot of nervous energy to get rid of.  I am so thankful that she’s ok and bouncing back so well.  It’s behind us, and man, I am glad of that.  I’m not sure I really have the words to accurately describe how I feel right now.  Relieved.  Thankful.  Blessed.  Exhausted.
Thanks for all your love, prayers, and support.  We appreciate it so much.

The week ahead

9 Aug

Just a word of warning – I wrote this at 1am Monday night, after drinking 2 cups of coffee at 10pm.  I couldn’t sleep.  I ramble when I can’t sleep. There, now you’ve had fair warning… 


As much as I would like to put on a brave face and tell you that I’m not the least bit worried about Clara’s surgery Thursday, that would be a lie.

And since I promised from the beginning that I would keep it real here, I won’t lie to you, oh Internets.

I can hardly think about anything else. And since we are going to ikea this week, that is saying something.

Today we got a phone call from unc, but of course we missed it, so we have to wait until tomorrow to find out what it was about.

I’m running through the possibilities in my head over and over. Maybe they’re just calling to tell us what time to be there on Thursday (I never hope for things to happen at 6am, but since Clara can’t eat after midnight, I hope this is at 6am. A hungry Clara is a cranky Clara. Wonder where she got that from??), or maybe it’s something else. I have no idea.

(Turns out the phone call was just to remind us about the surgery. Really? Like I could forget?  They couldn’t even tell us yet what time the surgery would be.  Though we did hear today that we have to be there at 7am.  7am is good.  She won’t be too hungry yet.)

I’m thinking about how Clara will react to anesthesia, what recovery will be like, how long she’ll be in surgery, how much of her hair they’ll have to shave, if I’ll cry (probably definitely), if she will cry (probably not), how big of a turban she’ll come out with (ginormous), and countless other significant (and insignificant) things.

Most of them are ridiculous, and since I drank 2 cups if coffee at 10pm, they’re even more ridiculous right now.

Late night coffee and a brain that won’t shut off anyway are not good in combination with stress.

My parents are coming on Wednesday, which I’m very thankful for. I’m glad they’ll be here, but it also means my house needs to be cleaned, which is helping me keep my mind preoccupied. It’s a good thing.

I know that Clara will be in good, capable, caring hands. But there is still a part of me that wishes I could be in that OR with her. I’ve watched surgeries before (in my previous career as a medical device engineer, I observed heart surgeries). But I also know there is a reason I shouldn’t be in there. Probably thousands of reasons.

I am confident she will be fine. This is a very routine, outpatient surgery. The surgeon is very experienced. The hospital is good. God is great.

You could pray, if you want. For Clara, for the surgeon and anesthesiologist, for the nurses, and for a couple nervous, brave-faced parents. We’d appreciate it more than you know.

I don’t really have a conclusion to all of this. Just my  Monday night, 1am ramblings.

Highly caffeinated ramblings.

Law School Year 1 (and summer school) Round Up

8 Aug

Well, we did it.

We survived the first year.  They say the first year is the hardest.  Whoever “they” are, I sure hope they’re right.

We made it through, and we’re all still alive.

Actually, Joel has done really well so far.  I’m proud of him for working so hard and studying so much.  But I’m not gonna lie.  It’s been difficult for me.  It’s not like he goes off to work and comes home and can then be around to hang out and participate in what’s going on in our house.  He goes off to class for the day, comes home, and then has homework to do for the duration of the day.  Sometimes I don’t even get to have a non-law-school-related conversation with him at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I still get the play by play of every class and everyone in them. (If you are in classes with my husband, I probably know a lot about you. Fair warning.)  But there’s not always time for a real conversation, and that is sometimes hard.  I spend most of my time with a 10 month old… that doesn’t afford me lots of opportunities for adult conversation.

Summer school was a little easier – the load was lighter, there wasn’t quite as much time spent studying, and there was a little more time for him to spend with us.  He was able to take a couple of classes to get him a little bit ahead of his classmates as far as classes go, and allowed him to get some of the more highly-sought-after electives when he registered for this fall.  So, that’s cool.

As I’m writing this, we have about a week and a half left until Joel starts back for his 2L year.  We’ve had some summer fun.  We’ve been to the beach, made ice cream, taken Clara to the zoo.  Next week we’ll make another IKEA trip and have Clara’s surgery, and then the following Thursday he’s back to school.  It seems like the “summer” has flown by!

One thing I’m really glad about is that Joel was out of school when Clara started walking.  I know he really wanted to be here to see that happen, and I’m thankful that he was.

So onward we go.  Bring on the 2L year.

Dear Clara (10 months)

2 Aug

Dear Clara,

You’re 10 months old now, and even in just the last month, you have all kinds of new skills and tricks that you like to show off.  It’s amazing how quickly you learn, and how we can see improvement in those skills literally from day to day.

You’ve started walking.  Yep.  You heard me right.  You’re a walker.  At first you would only walk between me and your daddy.  And when you got close you would launch yourself forward, so we had to keep a real good eye on you to make sure that we caught you when you decided to faceplant into the floor.  It’s funny.  Something that we grown-ups do every day, but it’s so thrilling to watch you learning how to take these steps that one day will become so normal.  When you’ve made it from one of us over to the other, you like to look back at where you started, grin real big, and clap for yourself.  And of course we clap and cheer, too.  Now you will stand up by yourself and start walking over to another object.  Your steps are a bit wobbly, and you kind of look like you’re milk-drunk, but it’s awesome.  You can go a pretty long way by yourself if one of us stands in front of you and backs up as you get closer.  You walked all the way across the living room the other day.

In the past few weeks, you’ve decided that I’m really funny.  You laugh a lot more, and think that my silly faces are hilarious.  You love to play in the corner of the couch and I’ll pile the pillows on top of you and you just crack up.  You peek out from behind them and giggle when you see me looking at you.  It’s really fun.

You and the giant bear have become the best of friends.  Long way from when you were petrified of him.  You walk over to him, fall on top of his tummy and growl at him.  And sometimes you’ll lay your head down on his belly and wait until one of us says, “Awwwww” and then you laugh.  Yeah, it’s pretty sweet.  You’ve even started saying the “aww” for yourself if we don’t do it quickly enough.

You’ve started making this funny face… I find it absolutely hilarious, but I’m not sure where you picked it up.  You purse your lips and make a zoolander-type face.  I don’t know if you will have seen that movie by the time you read these letters… maybe we’ll have to save a copy for you just so you can see it and understand what I mean.

You are not content to play by yourself most of the time.  I sit on the floor with you and play a lot.  You play and play and play until you are completely worn out and almost passing out.  I wonder where you got that from…  And when I take you to your room to put you to bed, if the lights are out and the noise machine is on, you know exactly what is coming, and you arch your back and put your hands on your head before I even get you in the crib.  You almost never complain about going to sleep, and almost always fall asleep right away.  You do like to make laps around your crib at night though.  I always put you in the back right corner when you go to bed, and often we’ll find you in one of the other corners or at the opposite end of your crib the next morning.

Your hair is finally starting to grow in, so much more in the last month, and it’s blonde and curly in the back.  I’m a sucker for curly hair, so I hope it stays that way for a while.

In a couple weeks, you’ll be having surgery.  You have a little spot just over your right ear that the dermatologist thinks we should get removed.  So, on August 11, we’ll be making a trip to UNC Hospital for the surgeon to take off that spot.  I really hope they don’t have to shave too much of your hair off… but overall, I guess that’s a silly thing for me to worry about, huh?  We’ll just be there for the morning, and should be on the way home shortly after your surgery is over.  I’ll take pictures so we can tell you about it later, because I’m sure you won’t remember.  And I’m glad you won’t.

You’re teething again.  I have no idea which teeth are coming in this time.  You’ve not been eating as much as normal, and you are kinda fussy during the day and not sleeping very well at night.  But you won’t let me look in your mouth to see which ones might be bothering you.  I even tried putting chocolate syrup on my finger, but you were having none of it.

You have finally started saying “mama,” though I’m not sure you use it to call me.  It’s more just your babble sound.

Anytime you hear music you start to dance… well, really it’s more of a bouncing up and down and waving your hands in the air.  But it’s real cute.

Yesterday you made your first attempt at the stairs.  You made it all the way to the top, all by yourself.  And you didn’t use your knees to crawl up, either.  For most of the steps, you got your foot all the way up to the next step and used your big muscles to pull yourself up.  You are one strong little girl.


Your daddy bought you this walker toy a couple of weeks ago.  At first you were only interested in the fun buttons and songs that it sings.  But then you discovered it has another function… and now you are all over the place with this thing.


This is maybe one of my favorite videos of you.  You had pulled out all the laundry from the basket of clean and *ahem* folded laundry. (You can feel free to applaud.  Never mind that it never got put away.  It was clean and folded.  That is what counts.)  Anyway, you found this sock, and you thought it was hilarious to throw it on my face and then crack up.

You’re growing up so fast, munchkin.  You could maybe slow it down a little, ok?  Just a tad.