Category Archives: parenting

A little bit of everything…

It’s been a while since I posted, as I am recovering from the election and dealing with all that I let pile up during it’s demanding pull. So here is a hodge podge update on life here at Law and Motherhood.
Law: The practice building continues with more contacts made everyday. There are now several family law attorneys in my world who have accepted my information and promised referrals. I have also gotten my resume to the office of the child’s representative and am hoping I can be added to the state pay list early. (Sometimes it happens.) I have also been working on my Lizard case, two divorces, and a trusts and estates case.

I have learned many things, such as, never expect opposing counsel to actually listen to you and take your clients needs into account when writing up a stipulation. Expect to rewrite it to reflect what you discussed with them on the phone, not once, but twice. Expect to feel sorry for the other side when you realize your client is paying you in trade for massage, and they are likely paying hundreds (think 4 or so) of dollars an hour for an attorney who will be able to bill for a) the phone call where you told them what your client would accept, b) the time they spent creating the stipulation that reflects nothing in that phone call, and finally c) the time spent reviewing and editing the new stipulation created by me.

I hate attorneys who pad their billables, especially since I rarely charge for more than 75% of the time I spend on a case. It makes me crazy.

Motherhood: Otter has moved into a big boy bed in the room he shares with his sister. Today we put the bed in place and he is so very proud of himself. He hops on and off of it, lies down on his pillow, and generally beams at everyone.

A cheery big boy room... complete with sleeping boy.
A cheery big boy room... complete with sleeping boy.

Monkey is pleased to be sharing sleeping arrangements, but is struck down with a majorly awful cold, so she is not getting around much. She was home almost all last week, felt better Friday, adn then was struck down again this morning. Poor girl.

Otter has been communicating more clearly, though he has no intention of speaking anytime soon. He asks for milk by carrying the Boppy to me and tugging on my leg, he asks to go along somewhere by taking his shoes to the door and trying to put them on, he asks for food by holding his hand out and saying “num”. He is so incredibly cute with all his actions, but I don’t expect him to talk soon. His Daddy didn’t talk until he was four.

I have been making pumpkin pie and other comfort foods, and generally loving avoiding everything I have to do. However, it is time to get busy this week. I need to get a lot done for work, so there will be little time for pie, walks, bike rides, and housework.

Betty Crocker meets Ruth Bader Ginsberg…

After spending two weeks networking nearly every day and sending my information out into the universe I finally got a chance to get several solid hours to work. Unfortunately I spent those hours wrestling with the Lexis-Nexis electronic case filing system instead of writing and researching my Lizard complaint. I need an assistant (and a housekeeper, chef, nanny, paralegal, and personal trainer.) It would appear that mac using attorney’s like myself (a designation I think only makes me a sexier attorney) create really huge documents when we scan to PDF. Gargantuan really.

My 8 and a half by 11 filing was blown up to 30 by 70 inches by the time my scanner was finished with it. Best of all, my filing was rejected over and over again for size. “File scanned in too large” was the error the clerk kept sending back to me. (The clerk may not know how to use a zoom in button.)

So, like any intrepid entrepreneur I boldly Googled “how to reduce the size of a scanned PDF image”. Happily instructions were easily found: Go to the Tools Menu, select Adjust Size. Great! That should be easy!

Oh. You mean the Adjust Size that is greyed out and inaccessible in my Tools Menu. Just great.

Many hours later, after accessing every single section of my HP Scan Pro application and settings several times, I had an 8 and a half by 11 file. (Only when I scan to PDF Image though, not when I scan to PDF anything else.) Of course, then the file was too big, MB wise. Lexis Nexis only allows 1.5 MB per document in their e-file system. My scanner, diligent little assistant it is, would only produce legible copies that were too large, or illegible ones that were small enough.

After much time I discovered I could create a ridiculously large and high quality scanned file, and then reduce it to a slightly more than barely readable state with the Reduce File Size quartz filter option under the Save As portion in the Preview application. (Say that 10 times fast.)

So I e-filed one of my cases today. Finally. Yay.

Then it was off to parent teacher conferences where Monkey’s hard work, dilligence, and generous nature was touted by all her teachers. She is a rock star, she is going awesome in most things and really well in everything else. All the teacher’s love her. We are very, very proud.

Which is why I ended my evening making 36 miniature apple pie muffins from scratch for her class Halloween party. What can I say, I asked her what she would rather have at her Halloween party, candy or muffins. She said both. (I am touched.) Then she begged me to make them. Her Dad added to the celebration by bringing home ice cream and waffle cones for dessert. We toasted Monkey’s educational success with Vanilla Orange Cream ice cream and Java Chip with caramel. Mmmmm.

Now, I am going to bed. Tomorrow I have a particularly painful, science fictionesque medical procedure to endure, and I am going to need my sleep.

Inviting them in…

(Also posted on API Speaks. Join us in celebrating Attachment Parenting Month!!)

Sometimes being present in your child’s life has more to do with inviting them in to your life, rather than joining them in theirs. We focus a lot on setting aside time for our children so we can engage in their activities, which is definitely important, but it’s not the only way to involve them in your life.

I had my daughter, now seven, when I was twenty five. I was in my last year of college. I distinctly remember reading my criminal justice and criminology text to her as she grew in my womb. Once she was born, she came with me everywhere. When I went to study, she came along, sitting up in her little baby seat, smiling away at the staff and Village Inn as I read up on trial practice, literature and the law, and basic evidence. She flourished at my side.

When she was two, I entered law school and she entered pre-school. There were days when I would pull her out of school and bring her to class with me, so she could see what mommy did all day. At two, she would sit quietly next to me in class for the full hour and forty-five minutes, listening to a lecture on federal wildlife law, administrative law, and be happy as a clam. She would often raise her hands and ask questions of my professors, and in the three years I attended law school, she enjoyed every class she got to sit in on.

When I joined the American Inns of Court she came to our weekly breakfasts, and loved talking to the judges and lawyers, listening to their stories, and stealing bits of their bacon and cantaloupe. To this day she attends these breakfasts with me, and is very proud that she gets to come along.

After graduation I went to work for an attorney in NJ. At one point in time I had to bring Monkey to work with me. We had a huge filing due the next day, my husband was out of town, and there was nowhere else for her to go. She sat in my office with me from 3:30 p.m. until nearly midnight, happily drawing away. On the ride home I thanked her for being so well behaved. She said “You remember how I used to go to law school with you? This was kind of like that, I have missed it.” I was so touched to realize how much she enjoyed being a part of my adult world.

I forget how much it means to her, to be allowed in on the things I am doing. Sure, she is thrilled if I play house with her, or paint a picture with her, but she will cry if she misses Thursday morning breakfast group. I always worried she would find these grown up occasions boring, but she doesn’t. She involves herself, and finds a way to participate, every single time. She is so proud that she gets to attend grown up functions, and she is always well behaved at them. We may have tantrums in the store, or wiggling at a restaurant, but she knows when she has to behave well, and she is so pleased to be included that she goes out of her way to do her best.

There are other ways to invite children in, letting them cook with you, clean with you, choose items at the grocery store or make decisions about what you do as a family on the weekend. In my experience, just being asked to join in makes all the difference to our little people.