Tuesday, September 16, 2014

No Sugarcoating Here

So I've slept under this roof for ten nights now.  And as our things finally find a place within this house, it is slooooowly becoming our home. But it's been hard.  I've been a bit of an emotional wreck at times.  This started a few weeks back, even before the actual move.

The morning we closed on the house I was happy.  I was excited.  A new start.  All the good was bubbling to the surface.  And then I drove home (i.e. to Atlanta) a few hours later to spend the weekend with my best girlfriends from law school to celebrate the upcoming arrival of a new baby boy.  He's my friend's first baby.  And I won't be in the same city anymore to just drop by on a whim and hold him.

A few hours into the evening I was hit with a panic attack. A slow wave of anxiety rolled in and it simply wouldn't leave. I was with friends I've known for 10 years.  People I love and trust. But I couldn't shake this awful feeling and pounding in my heart. As the minutes ticked away I kept trying to tell myself that I was fine.  I knew this was just anxiety, but I couldn't stop the feeling. Eventually, after midnight, I got in my car and drove to my parents so I could sleep in the same bed with my husband and wake up to my boys' smiling faces.  It is hard to admit that I couldn't shake it on my own.  That I needed my husband to make it all okay. But that night, that's what I needed.

Looking back, I think that night it hit me (maybe subconsciously if not consciously) that the signing of the papers to purchase the house meant we were really moving. And that the time was coming quickly.  It is one thing to anticipate a big change. It is quite another thing when it actually happens.

Thankfully that's been the only major anxiety I've had in the past month, but there have been bouts of sadness and tears.  I'm frustrated not knowing where anything is - a good park, the best coffee shop, a dry cleaners.  And it's hard going from working full time to staying-at-home with two small children.  I know that part is temporary and there have been many moments of joy in my current SAHM role and I love most days of it, but it's isolating. Many days the only adult I talk to is my husband when he gets home from work.  It is a massive change.  So much change at once.

I know. I know I will make friends.  I know the boys will make friends.  I know we will make a life here and I know I will be happy.  But this starting over part is rough.  It's scary to reach out to friends-of-friends and hope you make a connection. You second guess if the neighbor who came over with cinnamon rolls and offered you her phone number and said to call if you need anything really meant it. At this point, I know it won't hurt to try.  But it's still hard to put yourself out there.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The House: BEFORE Pictures

From the street.  We loved the Tudor style

Family room/den: The dark wood was screaming "paint me please!"
Sunroom which is now a playroom
Eat-in kitchen.  Please note the wallpaper.
Eat in kitchen looking into the kitchen.  First order of business was removing the cabinet obstructing the view into the kitchen.  It has made a HUGE difference.
Kitchen.  At least the countertops are granite.  Sort of makes up for the 11 inch deep cabinets.
Kitchen again.
Guest room.  They had changed the lovely blue carpet for white, but the brown walls still remained...
Downstairs bathroom wallpaper and fixture. She loved wallpaper. 
Formal Living room.  I wish this were a better picture so you could really grasp the impact of the red walls.
Formal dining.  Red walls again.
Bar.  The wallpaper still remains.  I'm thinking of keeping it.  #kidding
The bar light.  It will remain.  I actually love it. It's sort of kitsch.
Fireplace in the master.
Backyard - which is actually great.
Backyard
Boys' bathroom tile.  Master bath tile. Parquet floors downstairs. Guest bath tile.

So she needs some love.  A facelift if you will.  We've already painted most of the house and taken down the wallpaper, which has made a HUGE difference.  We're thinking a full kitchen renovation is in order, but are not ready to tackle that just yet.  However, more more burnt dinner in my 1970s oven and we may get there.

It's a work in progress, but it's our home.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hello from South GA

I'm alive.  It's just been a whirlwind 6 weeks.  So let's backtrack and recap:

July 31st was my last day in the office and the boys' last day at Primrose.  August 1st we got on an airplane and flew to California for a week.  We visited with my brother and his girlfriend, Lara, my two amazing nephews, my 92 year old grandmother, my aunt and uncles and my cousins and their kiddos. It was a fantastic trip and we have lots of great memories!  The downside to the trip was Julian's inability to sleep away from home.  We were all tired but happy.

Mr. Cob flew back to Atlanta the following Thursday and then picked up the dog and they got in a car and headed North.  He met me and the boys in Chicago Friday afternoon (we flew - a 4 hour airplane ride alone with two small kids is about as far as I'd recommend)!  We then dropped Mr. Cob at his little brother's bachelor party (where we picked up Nana) and then drove to Michigan for a week at my in-laws.  Well, kind of "at" my in-laws.  They're currently renovating their house so it's not exactly livable/kid-friendly, so we rented a house a few doors down.  We had a lovely week on the lake - I even rented a Stand-up Paddle Board!  Auntie Al even joined us for a few days and we ended the trip with brunch with Mr. Cob's college friends and their kiddos.  And then we drove through the night and arrived back home at 3am.  

So that puts us in mid-August.  We had a week to just kind of chill at my parents house (they were still in Cali) and then we closed on our house in Macon on August 22nd around 10am and then at 11am we started some demo in the kitchen to remove the intrusive hanging cabinet.  I'm not sure why it was there in the first place.  Then we headed back to the ATL so I could spend the weekend with my law school girlfriends as we celebrated the upcoming birth of a new baby boy!

Mr. Cob moved to Macon on the 24th and started work on the 25th.  We had painters come in, take down a lot of wallpaper and paint almost all of the rooms in the house (it seriously needed a face-lift).  Half of our furniture arrived August 31st (our 6 year wedding anniversary!  Iron - Mr. Cob gave me an awesome Le Creuset wok!!!! My present to him was moving to Macon. I kid. #notreally). And then the rest of our furniture came 6 days ago, September 6th, which is when I finally moved in.  The kids came the next day. And here we are.

So we are officially Macon residents.  Hooray.


Monday, July 28, 2014

A Sad Goodbye

Lukas 1st day - February 14, 2011
So after almost two months of knowing this was coming, this week is here.  The boys last week at Primrose and my last week working in my office.  It hit me hard this morning after I dropped the boys off.  Primrose has been a constant in our life since February 2011, when Lukas was only 14 weeks old.  Every weekday morning we drive in the parking deck, ride the elevator up, say good morning to Sharon, Stephanie or Keri, and then we walk down the hall to the boys' classrooms.  And every evening we repeat, but say goodbye to Hope and then we head home.  This place has been our second home for almost three and a half years.  I just start crying when I think about leaving the boys with anyone else.  My heart hurts over this loss.

Rome & Lukas - Spring Bonnet Parade 2011


I think back over the past 3.5+ years and it hits me how much this school has helped shape me into the mommy I am today.  The teachers and the administrators have been a huge part of our life.  First it was Tiana and Bianca in infant 4 with the boys club.  I still remember handing Lukas over to Tiana that very first day and just bawling my eyes out, and then how quickly she become a trusted part of our family.  And they were joined by Ms. Mays who was always on the ground singing with the babies and bringing so much joy into their little lives.  Next, we welcomed Ms. Hope and Ms. Tyra and they watched as all the boys started to walk. I vividly remember walking in one morning and all the boys (Bennett, Sawyer and Rome) were sitting around a table in their little chairs and Ms. Hope was helping them with breakfast - that day it hit me that they were no longer babies!


The picture from Keri assuring me Lukas was OK
Lukas then moved down the hall to his young toddler class with Ms. Vaugh and Ms. Peavy where he had some terrible separation anxiety, but they handled it with ease.  There are two highlights from that class that stick with me.  The first is receiving an email from Keri, the owner, on one of the particularly bad separation anxiety mornings with her reassuring me he was having a good day.  She helped more than she'll ever know.  And the second was Lukas' unfortunate meeting with a table that resulted in an ER visit and a few stitches.  His little scar on his forehead always makes me smile for some strange reason.  A reminder of happy times perhaps?  (Not the incident, of course, but the time in his life).


Mother's Day photo from EPS
The next year Lukas moved down the hall even further to his Early Preschool class and had a few different teachers as babies were born and new jobs were pursued. But our favorite that year was Ms. Pitts.  Oh Lukas absolutely adored Ms. Pitts and so did we.  We were so sad to see her go at the end of that year.  She just had a way with Lukas, when his separation anxiety lasted for months on end and every morning resulted in tears.  The mornings she was at school made all the difference.

And now this year Lukas has been in Preschool with Ms. Russo and Ms. Asijie, who we also adore.  Lukas has grown so much this year and most mornings runs into his class to see his friends - hardly any separation anxiety to be seen.  His teachers have encouraged him to be independent, but they are also always there to give a hug when a hug is needed.  They've also laughed with me and shared in the joys and hilarity that comes along with daily life with a 3 year old boy!  Ms. Asijie is about to move home to Arizona and her last day will be Lukas' last day as well.  I must say I couldn't imagine being at school without her, so while it's bittersweet, I'm glad our departures line up.

Julian's first day - 11/14/13 with Ms. Mays
And that leads us to JuJu, my baby.  Almost a year ago he started school at Primrose like his big brother.  He's gone from being the youngest baby in infant 1 to being the oldest!  He spends his days with Ms. Mays, who is the sole reason I wasn't a complete disaster going back to work when Julian was 12 weeks old - our whole family loves her. I wouldn't have wanted him with anyone else this
year! I just love that she cared for both of my babies when they were little. We've also grown to love Ms. Angela and Ms. Alexis and they love him (and all their babies).  We are going to miss these ladies so, so very much.

And there are so many other fabulous teachers at Primrose that we love!!!  This place has been so much more than just a daycare or school to us.  It has truly been a second home for our boys.  They love going to school every day and playing with their friends.  I really am so sad to be leaving this amazing place.

And inside those walls I've met some amazing women who I'm lucky to call friends. I loved going to pick up Lukas when he was a baby because I'd get to see my friends as well.  Our wine dates kept me grounded and having these like-minded momma friends to share a cry or a laugh with was all the therapy I needed most days. And over the years I've met more of the mothers of my boys' friends and I'm sad for those friendships that likely won't continue to grow now that we're moving.

I have loved being a Primrose mom.  If you ever have the opportunity to send your babies to a Primrose, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so.  We've truly been blessed to have this place in our lives and I fear it is irreplaceable.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Problem with Women

There are lots of articles out there about why women aren't in the higher ranks of the legal community.  Why there aren't as many female partners, never mind female equity partners.  Well, the answer is simple.  Women.  We are the problem.  And the backstabbing of one another, to be exact.  Rather than take an opportunity to lift another female attorney up and help her along the way, too often women don't celebrate each other's accomplishments.  Or women will refrain from offering support when support is needed in what is still largely an old boys' club.  The most deplorable offense is taking a stand AGAINST a fellow female attorney because she is asking for something that you didn't get (or perhaps weren't even strong enough to request yourself).
 
Case in point: A good friend of mine is pregnant with her first child.  Her firm's maternity policy (if we can even call it that) is 6 weeks of paid leave.  That's it.  So on day 43 she is expected to return to the office and pick right back up.  On day 43, when she will likely still be bleeding from her recovering postpartum vagina.  On day 43 when she likely won't even have gone in for her first postpartum obstetrician appointment.  On day 43 when her body has healed just enough to possibly have sex again for the first time postpartum. On day 43, when she is finally getting the hang of this nursing thing.  On day 43 which the La Leche League says is too soon to introduce a bottle if you want to have a successful nursing relationship.  On day 43, when her baby is unlikely to be sleeping more than 4-5 hours at a time (and that's if he's a good sleeper).  On day 43, when her hormones will still be a hot mess (and she'll possibly be suffering from postpartum depression, or the baby blues).  On day 43, when that baby who she loves dearly, finally looks at her and smiles for the first time after 6 weeks of giving all she has to meet his every need.  That's the day she's expected to go back to work. 
 
It is simply ridiculous.
 
I've told this dear friend as much and how I don't believe I could've left either of my children at 6 weeks.  It was hard enough to pull out of the driveway at 12 weeks.  She had already thought it would be tough to do, so she approached the partner she reports to and requested an additional 6 weeks of UNPAID leave. He then took her request up to the rest of the partners and she was just told that her request was denied.  Even though she's put in 7 years of service, they wouldn't allow her the standard (which is already too little) 12 weeks of maternity leave that most other firms in town offer.  This alone would've been bad enough.
 
Here's the kicker:  He told her that the reason the partners wouldn't grant her request was because one of the female partner swayed them against it.  SHE had only taken 6 weeks, so why should my friend need any more?  So that was that.
 
I don't have adequate words to describe how awful I think this is.  And my friend, she is just beaten down.  And I don't know what can be said to help her.  So her options at this point are to either quit or leave her newborn baby when he is 6 weeks old.  To go be a lawyer, with old men and women who won't stand together.
 
And this is why women aren't succeeding at the same rates as men. Period.
 
So what can we do?  Simple.  We can support each other.  We can understand that my decisions may be different from yours.  We can recognize the value in helping one another along.  We can lift up, rather than beat down.  We can set aside any "wrongs" we feel we've endured and help others to avoid those same pitfalls.  We can do whatever we can to help bring back the village. 
 
So the next time you have an opportunity to help another woman, think of how you would want to react if this woman was your sister, or your mother, or your aunt, or better yet, your daughter. Because one day, it will be your daughter, and don't you want her to have every opportunity out there.  Don't you want her to be supported and encouraged along the way?  I don't even have a daughter, but I know that I want to live in a world where women love one another and stop tearing each other down.  Perhaps I picked the wrong profession for compassionate women, but I know enough amazing female lawyers to know that is not the case.  I know plenty of women who go out of their way to do whatever they can for the advancement and success of others.  It is just unfortunate that all it takes is one bitter woman to ruin it for the rest of us.
 
So I beg you, women of the law, let us start standing together and stop this nonsense.  Our own happiness shouldn't be dependent on another's failure.  And there are men out there who want to support us, but why should they if we can't even support each other?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Second First Year

Some more thoughts on Julian turning ONE!?!?! 

The Second First Year

And some pictures from the party that Mr. Cob threw for him!  (It was just the four of us, and I did nothing.  Nada.  He bought everything, DECORATED THE HOUSE and surprised us all - it was one of the most loving things my husband has ever done for me.  I'm a lucky girl.  The boys loved the house full of balloons and the noise makers.  It was a hit!)


Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy First Birthday Julian!!!

My dearest baby boy Julian,

Today you are ONE!  It's hard to believe that a year ago you had just been born and we were meeting for the very first time.  How my heart has grown so in the past 365 days!  My life before you came along is fuzzy in my mind - it simply feels like you've always been part of our family. That we've always been four!

Only a few days old - you were so cute!!!

You, my little one, are such a joy.  You are a HAPPY, happy baby (or should I say toddler!) and always full of smiles.  You love to flirt with the ladies, but are skeptical of most men (except those you know well). You've been known to run to the other side of the room when other kids' daddies pick them up from school!  But you're always quick to flash your pearly whites to the mommies and all the teachers at school.  Just the other day we were grocery shopping and three different ladies stopped me to say how adorable you were - you kept giggling and batting your eyes at all the ladies as we walked the aisles.

ONE YEAR OLD TODAY!!!
You have been a chill little dude since the day you were born.  You rarely cry except when you're tired.   But you're not the best sleeper, so there are many tears at night.  Well, there are tears until mommy or daddy goes and gets you out of your crib.  (We're still suckers and come hug on your if you cry out at night.)  You love being cuddled at night, but I think it's because you're too busy to stop for hugs during the day.  You want to just GO GO GO when you're awake.  You're trying to keep up with your big brother, I think.  One day soon I know you'll get the hang of sleeping through the night!
With your big brother  Lukas
You started walking a few months ago and you're just now starting to run.  I see you watch your big brother and you just love him and want to do whatever Lukas is doing.  You light up when he enters a room and he can make you laugh like no one else.  My heart sings when I see you two together.  I know there will be many fights over the years (toys and maybe girls down the line), but my hope is that you will be the best of friends.  

You, my little buddy, LOVE to eat!  Which is funny, because you're really a tiny little thing.  Mommy nursed you for about 9 months and thought we'd make it to a year and way beyond, but you had different plans.  You love your bottle (your "ba ba") and would rather drink a bottle and watch what is going on around you, rather than sit alone with mommy and have your milk - my social butterfly!  I'm trying to switch you over to a sippy cup, but I have a feeling that might be a difficult transition!  But back to the food - you have been feeding yourself for over a month and really don't care for anyone feeding you from a spoon or fork.  Right now some of your favorite foods are blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, grilled cheese, eggs, pancakes, peas, corn and cheerios.  Honestly, there's very little that you won't eat!



You have a head full of blonde hair.  Mommy and Sip Sip gave you your first haircut about two weeks ago before Auntie Al's wedding - we just snipped a little off the top so your bangs weren't in your eyes...I couldn't risk cutting out the curls at the nape of your neck.  You have five teeth up top (one of them, we think, is an "extra"! tooth) and four teeth on the bottom.  I think you're weighing in around 20 pounds, but we'll find out for sure at your 1 year appointment later this week!

You're starting to talk more and more.  You say "momma" and "dadda".  We think you're starting to say brother and have said "Ukas" a few times for Lukas.  You say "ba ba" for your bottle and dog for, well, dog.  At night you say "nigh nigh" when it's time for bed.  I think any day now you'll start jabbering on and on!



I am so honored to be your mommy.  My heart is so full of love for you.  I have loved watching you grow this past year and am excited to continue on this journey of life with you as my silly, sweet son!  I super excited about scaling back from full time work and getting to be even more present in your day to day life.  I love being your mommy buddy.  And the words I sing to you every night are true to my heart: I will be your home.  I will be your guide.  I will be your friend.  ALWAYS on your side.

Happy 1st birthday my boy!

Love always and forever,
mommy