Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back to work and Christmas prep

I feel like I have been a lazy blogger lately - relying entirely too much on photos of an adorable 6-month old to carry the blog and tell the whole story. It is just that I have felt super busy in these last few weeks as I have been getting things squared away for my return to work. I finished making books with all of the blog posts from this blog for the past three years using a service called Blurb that prints and binds the books. It wasn't as user friendly as I had hoped and ended up taking a long time, but I had a 25% off coupon and it was something I had been wanting to do for a long time so I am glad to have those ordered and on their way. My 2008-2009 book ended up at 214 pages and the 2010 book is 174 pages. It was interesting and fun to go back through all my old posts and pictures and see how our life has changed. I also have new insight on how to structure future blog posts to make it easier to put these books together for coming years. 

I ordered Christmas cards, addressed envelopes, and put them all in the mail, which is another time-consuming task but I like how the cards turned out and it is always so fun to receive cards (and pretty much anything other than bills) so I feel like it is worth it. Unfortunately, I got lazy and just skipped putting a return address on any of the cards before mailing them so if you don't get a card from us, it probably got lost and we won't know about it because it won't be returned to us. Oops.
I also finished our Christmas shopping, which is a huge relief. And it is not even December yet! Each year I get the insane notion that I should make Christmas presents for some person or other in my family. In the past I have made aprons for my mom, sisters, sisters-in-law, niece, and mother-in-law. I have also made pajamas and church bags for family members. And each year I take on one of these sewing projects I find myself regretting it because it inevitably takes way more time and energy than I anticipate and I get stressed out about it and say that I am just BUYING all the presents the next year. This year I had the genius idea of making stuffed elephants for each of my nieces and nephews and one for Clara too.
That is seven pachyderms. If we are going by my billable hour rate at my law firm, each of these elephants is worth well into the thousands of dollars. I love each of these little hooligans - Elizabeth and Emma and Robert and Colton and Lily and Vaughn (and of course Clara) - THAT much. What took so long was handstitching on each of the ears, saddles, and eyes. My fingertips are now callused and rough, but I am happy with the way each toy turned out even if I think Santa's elves have the worst job in the world.
Today was my first day back at work and I have to say that I really appreciate all of the kind texts and emails and prayers sent our way expressing support and encouragement and love. I did most of my crying yesterday afternoon and evening although I couldn't hold it together entirely this morning when I dropped Clara off at daycare. Somethings that have made going back to work more bearable for me:
  1. I have WAY more friends who went back to work at some point than friends who have always stayed home after having kids. In fact, I can only think of three people I know who stayed home and didn't go back to work at all. That doesn't exactly make me feel better but it eases some of my guilt and makes me feel less lonely. In some cases, it makes me feel a little ashamed of complaining in the first place since I had a much longer maternity leave than most women get anyway. Frankly, I am a little surprised at how gracious some of you have been when I have been expecting someone at some point to say "cry me a river!" with exasperation at my whining. (Incidentally, I have always been a HUGE whiner and it is one of those character flaws that I can't stand about myself but never seem to get around to fixing).
  2. I got a new chair at work that is ergonomically designed and SO much more comfortable than my old chair.
  3. I know it is not for forever. I keep telling myself that today I will leave by 4:00 and this week is only a three day week and then there are only a few weeks before Christmas (temple sealing! family! kayli! presents! non-stop fun!) and that even in January and February there are some long weekends and then before I know it the days will start getting longer and everything will start feeling better. I typically try not to live my life like that - wishing it away and focusing too much on the future instead of on the present - but for now it is helping me to get by.
  4. The cafe at work has great soups and sandwiches that I love...
  5. Clara is a GREAT baby with a sparkling personality and everybody adores her. She is smart and happy and will figure out that daycare isn't such a bad place and that mommy can't wait to see her every night. She will never grow up to remember the time when she was tiny where someone else watched her during the day and everybody says that it is much harder on the parents than it is on the child to have both parents working when they are young.
  6. I have some awesome audiobooks to listen to while I commute. Has anybody else read the Bloody Jack series yet? I am still on the first book (of 9 or 10) and I LOVE it. Plus, the narrator does the most amazing irish, welsh, british and pirate accents. Basically it is about an orphan girl in the late 1700's who cuts her hair short and becomes a shipsboy to live a life of adventure on the high seas. 
  7. The associates and partners at work seem geniunely excited to see me. Seriously, everybody has been so nice and enthusiastic to have me back and that makes me feel special. Granted, maybe the warmth of the welcome is due to the fact that there is now another person to take on projects, but I like to think it is because I have been missed for my clever wit and enchanting personality. 
  8. Paul is calm and collected when I am panicked and stressed. In fact, the more whacked out I act, the more he seems to like me, which is totally weird but sweet. He doesn't tell me to "suck it up princess" which is probably what I would say to myself if I were in his shoes. I've apologized to him in advance for any moments where I lose my temper in the upcoming weeks and I've warned him that he better take over his share of doing the dishes (which he did tonight even without me saying anything about it, bless him).
The only other thing of note around here is that we have all of our Christmas decorations up now.  I think that the tree looks very nice with all of our ornaments on it that we have collected from around the world.  I took these photos before we got Clara's name embroidered on her stocking.


  1. I suppose I am one of those 3 friends of yours that has not been back to work (unless you count my EBay store), so I can't imagine how difficult of an adjustment it must be for you to go back. I admire you for seeing all the positive aspects of it.

  2. is now a bad time to tell you the Norman's have moved?

  3. Okay, excuse my phraseology, but how in the H do you get everything done??? I am starting to get a complex! I can barely take care of Noah, take a shower, and get the house picked up each day. You are SERIOUSLY impressive. I don't know how you do it. WAY TO GO.

  4. I'm with Rachel here - I have no clue how you get everything done. I'm secretly hoping that since you're going back to work you'll have less time to be ridiculously awesome, but I'm not holding my breath. Those elephants are SO cute. I'm excited that one of them will get to live at my house!

  5. Love those makes me want to be more creative with my sewing machine! Right now I am stuck on curtains, pillow covers for my couch, and crib sheets for the babies of many pregnant friends I have. I will have to make a crib sheet for Clara and stick it in the mail, I'll send you an email and you can give me your mailing address, if you like.
    I LOVE that you're a total Type A personality, I totally write emails that sound just like your blog post! We Type A's know how to multitask, push ourselves with deadlines and sometimes to our own detriment, use our achievement-driven mentalities to stress out those people who do not have the same sense of urgency we do (I totally took that almost word for word from a recent training I attended on work-personality types). I am also guessing that you are probably the oldest child in your family, too? ;0)

  6. I was thinking you all week and I am relieved to hear that it wasn't so bad. Tose elephants are adorable!! I love them - you did a wonderful job on them!

  7. I've been thinking about you and wondering how it'd been for you back at work lately. Sounds like you're adjusting, mostly. Hopefully it'll get easier with time. I'm sure everyone is excited to see you because I'm sure you were missed.

    My favorite part of this post is you apologizing in advance to Paul for all the moments you might lose your temper in the coming weeks. I think we've had similar conversations. I'd love to know what Paul said during this conversation. Sounds like he took the news perfectly. It drives Stephan crazy whenever I apologize in advance for something I "might" do or how I "might" behave.

    I think I was way more productive when I was working after Penny was born because I had to be. I never wasted my time at home because when I was at work, all I did was think about what I wanted to be doing at home. But, I had it easy, I took Penny with me most days to work and she'd sleep under my desk or in the next cubicle over. Stephan would pick her up on his way home from class. Since I worked nights and weekends, it was mostly easy for us. And, I only ended up working for a few months anyways so I shouldn't even talk.

    My sister just told me about the bloody Jack series and she loved them, by the way.

    And, your cards turned out great! They were so pretty!


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