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The Baby Plan

27 May

We’re 130 days in. Up 1.5 pounds [but somehow dropped 6 in the first trimester, so arguably up 7.5 pounds]. The belly has popped out, but the button maintains its “innie” character thus far. There are approximately 152 days to go, depending on when the little one makes his or her appearance. Number of individual-sized sour watermelon candy packages consumed: 3 (equaling a 300% increase over the past decade).  Percentage of time since February with ice cream in the freezer: 100%, usually with a spare (another feat previously unaccomplished in the past decade). Amount of time I’ve spent lamenting the fact that I can safely consume neither unheated prosciutto nor delicious red wine: too much to admit here. Amount of times J has asked me what he can to make me more comfortable or happier: countless, thankfully and with gratitude from me.

Truth be told, we planned this journey for many years.  In our college days, we agreed that our late 20s would be the right time for baby-making. We recently took our last-hurrah trip to Mexico to ring in the New Year, during which we engaged in much drinking/adventuring/relaxing/taking baby-inappropriate risks (such as eating delicious tacos from dirty street carts and navigating the Pacific Ocean via an over-packed dingy sans-life jackets in a gnarly rain storm). In accordance with our plan, our pregnancy officially commenced 2 weeks after we returned home from Mexico. The one negative pregnancy test we took was much harder on me than I expected it to be.  It made me more empathetic for the people who want it so badly and can’t make it happen on their preferred timeline. It also made me exceptionally grateful when our timeline somehow worked out precisely how we hoped it would. There was effort, without doubt, but there was also luck and happenstance and maybe some other force that I cannot articulate or understand.

It’s a strange thing to plan to make a baby, to have the plan come to fruition (!) and to know exactly what’s coming next (because, true to character, we’ve read every pregnancy book we can get our hands on), yet still feeling completely and utterly without control over the process. I suppose its good practice for having a demanding newborn, then rambunctious toddler, then precocious (I assume) kid, then awkward preteen, then hopefully not maladjusted teenager, then college wanderer and world explorer (I hope), then independent 20-something with a plan and a penchant for making the most of opportunities (I really hope)….and on and on. J and I have always had a plan and we probably always will. The funny thing with our latest plan—the baby plan—is now that it’s in action, we will have to learn to sit back and let the path make itself known. Wish us luck letting go of control.  We’ll need it!

Stella.

12 Jan

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Stella, you taught us great lessons about loss and love.  We returned from our trip to Mexico and couldn’t wait to see you.  We talked about you while we were on the beach, hoping you were behaving yourself and being a good houseguest for my parents.  We hoped you were having fun running around at the lake house.

I opened the door to my parent’s knock, looked down to greet you, and saw nothing but hallway carpet.  I looked up and the pain in their eyes said it all.  You were gone.  J was at work that Sunday morning, preparing for trial, so it was only me who knew for a few hours.  They said you were walking in the woods, heard a loud noise, and ran.  They searched for hours, for days.  They put up signs and offered a reward.  They did everything to find you.  But you weren’t findable.

My tears came quickly, but not as quickly as my sadness in knowing how much your loss would hurt J.  Then came the scenarios that played over and over like a movie reel that wouldn’t—despite how hard I tried—turn off.  The lake property is surrounded by woods that house coyotes.  I know this because I’ve slept in a tent and I’ve slept in the house and both ways you hear the screaming coyotes throughout the night.  You ran away after it had snowed.  You weigh no more than 25 pounds.  Heartbreaking.  Awful.  Tragic.  Your end must have been shrouded in terror and viciousness or freezing loneliness.  Whatever way it happened, it was unbearable.

We learned about your plight 11 days after it began.  There was no hope that you, a condo dog, feisty as you were, had survived 11 days and nights in the winter woods.  All that Sunday, we tried to make our peace by crying and holding each other and crying and staring at your empty bed and crying and grocery shopping with swollen eyes and crying and sadly watching the Seahawks’ big win and crying when the dryer buzzed and you didn’t bark and finally climbing into bed at 9 p.m. because there was nothing better to do. 

You were our family.  The three of us made a life together right after J and I graduated college, first in Fremont (a perfect post-college years neighborhood), then to Mercer Island (none of us much approved), followed by South Lake Union (that was more like it), a stint with me in Boise (you sure loved those sunrise hikes in the hills), and finally to our longest-term family home in Eastlake.  You loved watching the boats and barking at the dogs across the street and saying hello to our neighbors.  We, a family of three for over seven years, were suddenly a family of two.

In all honesty, the Facebook post was meant to inform our friends and family that our beloved pup was gone more than it was meant as a true request for help in finding you.  11 days in the freezing woods is not a fair match for a little guy like you.  But, post we did, because we didn’t know what else to do.

But, to our extreme shock and pure giddy joy, the Facebook magic touch worked like a charm.  Enter: the snowball effect and friends of friends of friends caring and the goodness of humanity coming together for a 25-pound common purpose.  Three days after you were reported to us as forever gone, suddenly you were looking into my eyes, freshly bathed and fed, curled up in your cozy bed.  No major injuries.  No illness.  No rabies.  A miracle.  Your story of what exactly transpired during your excellent adventure will forever remain your secret.  What we know is you were likely in the woods for 4 days and 3 nights before a nice family found you walking along the road like you owned it.  4 days.  3 nights.  Freezing temperatures close to the Olympic Mountains.  Coyotes and countless other creatures large and small.  You survived, essentially unscathed.

Thanks to humanity for showing us your love.  And thanks to Stella’s excellent adventure for teaching us what she really means to us.  And thanks to Stella for being the Winningest Wiener, as our dear friend deemed her.  She’s our fave and we’re so happy she’s home where she belongs.

Sometimes I like dessert.

27 Oct

Generally, I’m not a huge fan of dessert.

Presented with the option of cake or tacos, I’m going tacos.

Doughnut or chips? Chips.

Peach tart or steak? You get the point.

But when I do eat dessert, I like to commit. Fully.

My Achilles heel is peanut butter and chocolate. Reese’s peanut butter cup, chocolate peanut butter milk shake, a spoonful of peanut butter and two chocolate chips on top . . . as long as it has those two ingredients, I’m going to indulge.

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So, it makes sense why I asked S to make Smitten Kitchen’s chocolate peanut butter cake for my birthday. This cake is the real deal – it’s technically called the Sour-Cream Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze. SK’s recipe calls for 3 levels of cake. I begged S to only make 2 levels. There are not enough hours in the gym to undo 3 levels of damage.

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This cake is dinner. And lunch. And breakfast. You are not so much eating the cake as you are allowing the cake to grow inside of you and take over. I justified cutting slices slightly bigger by saying that peanut butter has a lot of protein.

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And like some wine, this cake only gets better with age. Place the cake in the fridge for several hours and the glaze hardens a bit.

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In the end, this cake had to be shared with the world. I brought it into work and my co-workers descended upon it, not knowing that this cake was no match for mere mortals. After a few hours, there was nothing but crumbs left on the cake dish. People loved it so much that they asked if S was actually a baker and not a lawyer. It was quiet the rest of the day in my office – I’m convinced that everyone needed a nap.

Passed.

25 Oct

After 1 summer lost to studying and 3 months lost to wondering, I finally found out that I passed the Washington State Bar Exam. I’d love to say that I never doubted myself, but that would be a lie.

I had doubt . . . every day. In retrospect that fear of doubting myself is what forced me to study so hard to begin with. While some of my friends, including S, may say that I over-studied, the cost-benefit of studying to passing was worth the work.

With the bar exam behind me, I’ve found that I can focus at work on how to do my job better, as opposed to thinking if I’ll even have a job if I fail. This, in turn, has taken pressure off in other aspects of my life. My friends don’t have to kindly avoid the words “bar” "or “exam.” S can rest assured that her support and encouragement through the past three years was well worth it. And Stella can stop feeding off my anxiety.

I also want to thank readers that passed along their well wishes. It was nice to know that even “strangers” were cheering me on.

Via Tribunali

28 Jun

Ever since our first trip to Italy, S and I have shared a love affair with traditional Italian pizza. And who can blame us? Certainly not the Italian government who allows the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana to give a special designation to pizzerias that meet strict requirements that respect the traditional art of Neopolitan pizza making.

At the bottom of our junk drawer, we found a coupon for brunch at Via Tribunali. I can’t remember how much we paid for this coupon, but whatever it was, it was worth it. Brunch included 2 breakfast pizzas, a fruit plate, and a bottle of prosecco and orange juice for self-made mimosas.

Hello Sunday morning not studying for the bar!  Nice to meet you! Come back anytime . . .

There is something wonderful about combining pizza and breakfast. These pies are smaller than normal traditional pizzas, which makes sense that our coupon included two. The Pizza Cotto consists of mozzarella and prosciutto, topped with arugula and a sunny side up egg. Cutting into the pizza is wonderful. The yolk breaks all over the top, mixing in with the arugula. The Patata pizza also has similar breakfast staples: egg and potatoes. But this egg and potatoes are atop mozzarella and gorgonzola.

It was a wonderful Sunday – I worked pretty hard through the week, doing extra essays on the weeknights so that I could have some free time this weekend. The bottle of proseccco at around 11am didn’t hurt either. S and I followed up brunch with a stroll through the market (I’m sure S will post pictures later) and a couple of episodes of Nip/Tuck. I’m not psyched about getting back to studying, but having a few moments like today reminds me that I only have 5 more weeks of studying for the bar.

Pizza Cotto

Patata

Pizza Cotto

Photo Essay: Instagram Fun

27 Jun

I finally caved and joined the cool kids on Instagram. Our name is: MakeHappyBlog (duh). Here are some sunny shots of Seattle.

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On The Bus: Your Mic Is On

12 Apr

Although I appeared to be reading Thought Catalog on my iPad, I was actually half asleep.  There were only about 10 other people on the bus, which was odd, but I appreciated that I didn’t have to vie for any elbow room.  A man came on the bus, and he must have known the driver because they instantly started talking about the NCAA Championship.  This would normally not be noteworthy, except for the fact that the bus driver’s microphone was on.  While we continued on our journey, I learned three things about the driver.  He is a huge fan of UConn and is sick of Butler’s Cinderella story, he ate a lot of popcorn while he watched the game, and the speaker system emits an excruciatingly loud squeal every time the driver laughed.