Office Perks

It has been an exciting week around here. And I mean that in a sarcastic sense. Luffy’s been ridiculously busy at work, the dumpling has been working on mobility, and I… well I’ve just been trying to make sure we all the leave the house with pants on*.

On of my coworkers (the only other female professional at our firm) is leaving. There are no hard feelings, just life and opportunities and little things like seeing her husband everyday are taking her away from the DFW area. Apparently, I paved the way for her as our partners actually entertained talks of her telecommuting. It’s been going well with me, so they were willing to give it a shot for her. That’s not going to happen (for a few reasons), but I was a little proud to have laid the groundwork.

Now that I’ve been working from home part time for over six months now, I can tell you that there are a few perks to working from an office that get overlooked:

  • Regularly interacting with humans who don’t require you to change their diaper. 10/10 would recommend. The dumpling’s not at home with me during the day, but then again, neither is anyone else. I highly recommend getting out of the house on occasion to go talk to other adults.
  • Free air conditioning. I know that we all complain that our offices are meat lockers (because I could have started an icicle farm there yesterday), but in the midst of a warm and muggy summer, free air conditioning ain’t a bad deal. If I want my home office cooler, I have to pay for it. One other perk of ridiculously cold offices: mosquito bites and poison ivy rashes get numbed by the cold. Things are much itchier at home.
  • Free snacks and drinks. The snacks part is really not that great because it just further delays me from my weight loss goals. However, the drinks part! My office stocks Le Croix in four flavors, diet Coke and Dr. Pepper, and assorted sodas, coffee, and teas. My home office stocks none of this and I blame the lazy office admin around here. Getting her to do anything is like pulling teeth.
  • Killing time with coworkers. Re: number one up there. Working from home has made me realize just how much time is wasted each day by simply talking with coworkers. There’s no idle chitchat at my home office. At my other office though, stopping by to ask a question could veer off into a thirty minute conversation about driving pet peeves. True story.
  • Seriously, getting to know your coworkers. I know half of these involve them, but it’s so true. There really is not idle chitchat between myself and my coworkers when I’m not there. So all of those little tidbits you pick up (John is thinking about backpacking through Europe next year) and life story arcs (Joe is buying a house), you don’t get any of that when you don’t physically work in the same place. The female coworker I mentioned above, she started a week or so before I went on maternity leave, so I really haven’t physically worked next to her for long. I realized yesterday that I have no idea what her husband does for a living – not even remotely (like I know Will’s wife is a teacher). No clue.
  • Getting ready in the morning. Now I admit that part of this is just a given now that I have a child (and will always and forever at-least-for-the-next-18-years be actively trying to get another person ready in the morning as well). I don’t take time to get ready anymore, and part of “getting ready” is self-care. For instance, I don’t put on my moisturizer very much any more. It has SPF 30 in it and means that I go without sunblock on my face for a good portion of the week now. Tsk tsk. I don’t put on nice clothes very much anymore – it’s all shorts and t-shirts. Which is great! Comfortable! Easy! Except that most people take me a lot more seriously in my work attire. In shorts and a tee, I look like a college student (at best).
  • Diet control. I know! I know. You’re thinking, Belle, what does working in an office have to do with your diet??? Peer pressure, my friends. Peer pressure and planned meals. You see, at the office, the only food I have available to me is the food I brought (which means I thought about it and purposefully packed so totes healthy) and the aforementioned office snacks. I have set myself up at the office as being the healthy eater. If anyone wants to lose weight, I 100% recommend doing this because now I feel like EVERYONE watches what I eat. Someone is always bound to mention it if I’m not eating broccoli that day (because I always eat broccoli). If we are celebrating a birthday with cake, someone will always make a joke that they’re gonna have cake while I eat my yogurt (which then means I feel soooo guilty even thinking about taking a piece of cake). Seriously – coworker expectations plus my own guilt equals the best diet around. At my home office though, not only is there no one around to watch me eat a second or third handful of chips, I am also in close proximity to my fridge and pantry and all the delicious things in them.

In looking back over my list here, the biggest thing is my coworkers. It all boils down to being very isolated while working from home. It’s something you don’t really think about when drooling over the prospect of working from home, but there it is. I think the half and half deal I have going on right now is pretty perfect, the best of both worlds, if I may bust out the cliches on you. Just enough time at the office to interact and connect with my peers and just enough time away to actually enjoy my life.

* Ok, confession time. The dumpling doesn’t ever leave the house in pants, that poor baby. In my defense, this is the one time in his life where it’s perfectly acceptable for him to appear in public sans pants and I want him to enjoy it to the fullest.

The Game

Before I had a child, I remember wondering what the allure of all of those baby games was. You know: peekaboo, nursery rhymes, so big – all of those. I mean, sure babies laughed and smiled, I suppose that’s cute. But what’s the fun in them? How could parents repeat them over and over and over and seemingly be just as delighted as their babies?

And then I had a child. And now I know.

To be fair, I’ve always just assumed it would be different with your own child and that’s exactly right. The dumpling looooooooves for us to sing to him. His favorites are Itsy-bitsy Spider and Open, Shut Them, but he’ll also take Disney songs or any other song you happen to be singing. If he’s in a good mood, he positively lights up when you start singing. If he’s in a bad mood, he’ll give you a teary little smile and put a pause on his cries (until the moment you stop singing, of course). He also loves to play peekaboo and he’s recently leveled up his abilities: he can now pull the cloth we’re playing with off of his own head. Score one for the dumpling! His little laughs and big smiles are infectious and Luffy and I will endlessly repeat whatever currently has him giggling in pursuit of MOAR giggles.

However, he’s got a new game now that he’s positively thrilled over and Luffy and I…. well we can’t get enough of it either:

So the dumpling has figured out that when either of us are holding him, he can throw his arms out to the other parent and be passed off. I’m not really sure why he’s so enchanted with this – perhaps it’s his first realization that he can communicate what he wants and get it*. Luffy and I love the little game though because the dumpling gives the best hugs and when he’s passed, he’ll sometimes turn around to you and give this little look like omg mom YOU’RE here too, that’s just amazing! i am so excited to see you!! and then throw his little arms towards you. Sigh. It’s the sweetest.

Last night, something threw the dumpling for a loop in the bath (we’re thinking maybe the water was too warm for his liking???) and he started crying. Big tears, long sobs. He did it the night before too and we were at a loss as to what to do. Nursing didn’t help. His zippy didn’t help. Pats and hugs and bedtime stories didn’t help. Eventually, he settled down, but it took him a while. Last night though, we brought him back to his room and played our little game again. Soon, he was giggling and smiling and all was right with the world.

Luffy and I would happily play that game with him for hours, especially with the knowledge that it won’t be long before he’ll have no patience for being held – he’ll want to GO and DO and RUN and SEE! So yes, right now we’ll pass him back and forth and back and forth and be delighted each time he throws his arms out to us.

*We’re working on some simple signs right now, mainly for milk and more. He hasn’t yet signed anything yet, but he definitely knows the one for milk. All I have to do is ask him if he wants milk (with the sign), and he goes ballistic with the hammy grins and the arm flapping. Yes! Milk! I love milk! I am so excited for the milk!!

Post-weekend sigh of relief

It’s not that I’m psyched that the weekend is over (cause that’s crazy talk right there – who is ever happy to have the weekend over???). It’s just that Luffy and I both succumbed to a mild case of food poisoning over the weekend and we finally feel better.

For the record, poor Luffy’s been sick since last, last weekend and was just starting to feel better from that when we got food poisoning. Which is probably why his manifested first, poor guy. We think it was from Potbelly’s, which we had for lunch Saturday. His kicked in by that night and was in fully force by Sunday morning. Mine was ramping up Sunday afternoon and peaked in the overnight hours. We never actually vomited, but I don’t know if I’d actually call that a win since I, at least, felt like I was on the verge of vomiting most of that time. The rest of the time, I just felt like I had a lead weight in my stomach. Seriously, last night I tried to eat a bite of Luffy’s grilled cheese since I thought I was feeling a bit better. I swear I could feel it settle in my stomach. Gross.

But today! Today I was actually hungry when I woke up, so yay! Feeling much better.


So yeah, our weekend was a wee bit boring. We did see some friends. They came over to play with the baby and scope out our neighborhood. They’re looking into buying a house this Fall because they just adopted an adorable, though very energetic puppy.

I also taught my class Saturday morning in the pouring rain (I mean, not actually in it, but I did have to drive through it).

And, uh, we played with the baby. Totally a weekend well spent.

Thoughts on a Friday

I’ve been battling a tension headache all week. It comes and goes and it’s only on my right side. It stretches from my temple, down across my ear and into my neck and shoulder. It’s made this week a little colored in fatigue and aches.

think it’s related to how I carry the dumpling. Or really, how I do everything else while I carry him. I’m right-handed, so I carry him with my left and do everything with my right. I’m guessing that I compensate for his weight or something with my right side.

ANYWAY – this is all truly fascinating talk, but I can’t help it. It’s flaring up again and makes it hard to focus.


Anyone else out there feel the need to purge their house of clutter right now? Spring Summer cleaning anyone? No? Just me then? Ok.

Figures. I spent all winter cooped up with a newborn and then all spring trying to figure out how to juggle work/baby/fitness/life/etc. I was a little busy, is what I’m saying. Now, though, it feels like I find a new, random project to tackle every day.

For instance, there’s a storage box full of old T-shirts of mine. Once upon a time, I deemed these shirts memorabilia worthy and refused to donate them. Ten years though does a lot to what I’d label as memorable now. So I want to go through it again – pare down what I’m keeping and donate the rest. Get rid of the storage box (which is in the office, by the way) and find a different place to store the rest. Now ask me how long that storage box has been sitting in my office? A couple of years maybe? A long time, is my point and I’ve never felt inclined to even open it and now, suddenly, it must be sorted!

So yeah, I’ve got that going on right now.


Did I ever tell you guys that we put a deposit down on a Tesla Model 3? Like two years ago? Because we did. I’m still not quite sure how I convinced Luffy to go for it. (Actually, that was a lie, it was the tax deductions. That’s how I got him to agree, that adorable nerd. He’s mine ladies, back off.)

Anyway, my gearhead of a coworker has been all excited this week because they are finally moving the first units into production. He wanted to know if I’d heard about my place in line yet. What about options? Timeline? Delivery date? ANYTHING WOMAN, give me some tidbit of info.

Alas, I couldn’t do anything for him; he’s more informed than I am. I’ve been deleting most emails from Tesla (most of them are trying to sell me on their much more expensive models and I laugh because, oh boy Tesla, you clearly overestimate my bank account). I was happy to hear that they’ve started production though. Perhaps I’ll get my car late this year or early next. Which is sort of amazing, given Late 2017 seemed ages away when we originally put down the deposit.


I officially ran out of time, sorry guys. It’s time to pick my dumpling up! Have a good weekend!

A boy and his wagon

Luffy and I are a big fan of walks around the neighborhood. Back before I got pregnant (and even while I was pregnant), we regularly walked two miles before work each day. We’ve also been known to head out after dusk in the summertime for a quick stroll. Not only does our little routine have health perks, I also feel like it’s pretty good for our relationship. We can’t be the only couple out there who can spend a whole evening sitting in the same room without talking to one another. Our walks force us to put away the technology and just be with one another.

When I was pregnant, we envisioned the day when our little dumpling would accompany us on walks – in his stroller or carrier early on, but someday on his own too. Because life with an infant can be a tad bit unpredictable (will he wake up at 6am today or 7:30am? Who knows!), we don’t get out as regularly as we used to, but we still try. Especially on the weekends, when we have all morning to get out.

This past weekend, Luffy discovered that the dumpling likes to sit up in his stroller. Now, we still use his infant bucket seat with frame as our stroller, so it’s really not meant to be sat up in. He did well though, holding on to the sides and (adorably) playing with the bar across the top of the stroller frame. I had an idea though, as we walked through the streets Sunday evening – a wagon!

I remember lots of my summer as a child spent playing with a wagon in the backyard. My brother and I used to leash our dog (a mini schnauzer) up to the handle so she could pull my brother around the backyard (mush!). We also took turns wheeling each other around in it (I always thought he was going too fast – he always thought I went too slow). We had the classic little red wagon – a red metal Radio Flyer. I think my parents actually still have it in the backyard. (Side note – you can actually still get them!)

Now, you know I couldn’t just get the classic wagon right? It’s practically the “entry-level” model of the bunch nowadays. Oh noooo – the wagon I got has two seats (with seat cushions!) that can be configured five different ways (with bonus storage!) and has its own kid table (with drink holders!) and detachable canopy (with storage case!). Luffy laughed at me, but come on, it’s an awesome wagon. We tried it out this morning and the dumpling loooooves it. He’s so tiny in it (we interrupt this blog to say that the wagon is technically recommended for ages 1.5 years+ so use with caution and whatnot) and he can swing his little legs in front of him, but he holds on to the side and we have him belted in. We’re careful with our starts and stops, but you should see the look on his face. He’s just so interested in watching the world roll past him.

You know I’ve made the decision not to post pictures of the dumpling here, but here’s the wagon with Jas, poor demoted first baby.

Randomness

Hey guys – remember when I used to post a bunch of random things together??? Let’s do that again.


I am super excited for our neighbors. They’re pregnant (having a little boy – squeee!!!). I knew she was due around the beginning of June and I vaguely remember her telling me that her doctor wasn’t going to let her go past June 5th, so I’ve been watching their house like a hawk. I noticed their primary car was gone late Sunday afternoon, but thought that perhaps they were enjoying a last hurrah. Then, like a weirdo, I checked after the dumpling’s 2am nursing session to find that their car was still gone. YAYAYAYAY!!! BABY TIME!!!

Sure enough, their car is still gone today, but I’m hoping that they come home today so I can catch a glimpse of them as they arrive. I swear I’m not a stalker I’m just so excited for them and their new baby! It has me all nostalgic for my own last few days of pregnancy and our first days at home with the dumpling.


Speaking of the dumpling, tomorrow he has his first splash day at daycare. Splash day is every Wednesday throughout summer and I seriously might pass out from the adorableness. I got him little swim trunks and a swim shirt and a little sun protection hat. PICTURE IT. Itty bitty 6 mo swim trunks!!! So cute!


I’m buckling down on my weight loss efforts. My baby is seven months old – I can no longer say I just had a baby. It’s odd, in a way, because it’s been so long since I’ve actively tried to lose weight. That’s not meant as some humble brag – har har har – I legitimately have been at the level of fitness that I desired for a very long time. “Dieting” for me was more of a oh, I ate a bunch of crap this weekend and feel so bloated so I’ll eat really well for a couple of days and voila!! So I’m trying to cement it in my head that this will probably take more than a couple of days.

I was actually feeling pretty good about myself until we went to my parent’s house for Memorial Day. I didn’t even eat that poorly, I just had a lot of champagne (what can I say, my mom and I both love champagne). And alas, all of those bubbles add up to definitely more than air. Le boo.


Speaking of Memorial Day, we had a great time in my hometown! It was the dumpling’s second flight (remember the first one??) and he did amazingly well this time too. This trip was his first time spending the night someplace else. I was a touch concerned, but vowed to just take it in stride. He reverted back to two night wakings, one normal and one out of the ordinary. I think the out-of-the-ordinary one was more due to him being aware that he was not in his own room and thus made it hard for him to go back to sleep in the early morning hours (around 5:30am). Overall though, he still did really well.

It was also really interesting to see his waketimes be affected because of his completely new environment. He was so busy observing and figuring things out that he’d be ready for a nap about an hour and a half after he woke up (he’s solidly in two-hour waketimes right now). It mostly meant he was a yo-yo of happy baby, tired baby. Poor dumpling.

Another first for the books – we went swimming! And here is when I really struggle with my decision not to post pictures of him because he was SOOOO ADORABLE. My mom, who was super excited about us coming, went out and got him a little floaty thing. One of these. He was very wary at first (and I don’t blame him – the pool is a lot bigger than his bath tub), but he warmed right up to it. He even paddled his little feet the entire time. He was exhausted afterwards, but I think he enjoyed it.


Lastly, that book I had on hold at the library, it actually became available much earlier. I read it last week and, honestly, I wasn’t impressed. I really like some of Rainbow Rowell’s other books, but this one wasn’t great. At one point, I honestly thought the writing was bad on purpose (the whole premise from her book Fangirl is that this book, Carry On, Simon is fan-fiction), but, after reading her acknowledgements, I realized that wasn’t the case. I can definitely see why most authors stick to specific genre. Rowell is really good with contemporary stories, little dramas that take place in current day. She was not adept at creating a world, however, as her descriptions of things like dragons or the magic in the book fell a little flat. Also, if you’ve read Fangirl, I oddly connected with the characters in her fan-fic (Simon and Baz, who are the main characters here – I know, it’s a little hard to follow) more deeply as presented there, in little snippets. For some reason, that did not translate to a whole book and they felt one-dimensional.

Anyway, read it if you can borrow it and were curious about, but I wouldn’t recommend buying it.


And that’s all I have folks! Along with trying to lose some weight, I’m also really trying to get better about posting but, you know, work and life gets in the way. Excuses, excuses.

Title Placeholder

My title should actually read “Hold Please, Again, But While You Wait Here Are Some Random Things I Want To Talk About,” but I thought that was a little long.

So yes, it’s been another one of those weeks. Work went all kablooey last week, which continued into this week, and even though I got everything sorted out on Monday, I had a metric ton of crap to get to afterwards. You know, everything that had gone un-done over the last two weeks or so as I dealt with the kablooey. Plus, the whole gestating business I’ve got as a side-gig over here has really slowed me down this week. However, it’s not fair of me to just leave y’all hanging on updates to my supremely interesting life, so without further ado I present: Things We Did This Weekend. Enjoy.


I believe I mentioned that we had a friend’s birthday party to attend in Austin this past weekend. We had a great time. In a departure from our normal Austin trip routine (where we crash at a friend’s house), we decided to get a hotel this time. We did this mostly because I am very pregnant and don’t necessarily need to be spending the night on the floor or the couch or kicking our friends out of their beds so I can noisily roll around. However, in a brilliant stroke of forethought, I relished our arrangement as our friends’ houses became overrun with party-goers. You see, what started out as a birthday party for Luffy’s friend, we’ll call him Max, quickly morphed into a sort of ultimate birthday party for everyone in our extended friend group who has an August birthday. Instead of celebrating one person, all of a sudden we were celebrating five people. And, of course, their friends were invited too. Instead of just a couple of people coming down from Dallas, suddenly there were dozens of people coming down from Dallas. Everyone needed a place to stay and most of them wanted to do it cheaply or for free. And with that, our friend’s three bedroom (but two bed) house hosted eight people. Max’s single bedroom apartment hosted five. Max’s girlfriend’s apartment hosted four (not including her roommates). There were numerous others spread out around Austin. So basically, our desire for a modicum of privacy and comfort for my pregnant self spared us from being heaped onto the pile of bodies that was our friends’ houses. Yay!

Having a hotel room also allowed us a little more freedom from the group when it came to food. Luffy loves finding delicious places to eat and our food desires often diverge from the groups’. So that’s how we found ourselves racing into a Chinese bakery literally one minute before their posted closing time to find the hidden banh mi shop that had such high ratings. (That sandwich was glorious, by the way.) It’s also how we were able to eat breakfast at a reasonable hour instead of waiting for the entire group to rise and get ready (they’re notorious for planning a breakfast, which turns into a brunch, which actually occurs at 1pm).

Speaking of breakfast, I have to admit that we had breakfast at the hotel both mornings. I got a waffle the first morning and it was such a delicious waffle that I got a second. And then I had another one the next morning. And just this morning, Luffy was looking for the same hotel in our area so he could take me to get another waffle – probably so I would shut up about the waffle already. The waffle is done Belle – it’s gone, you ate it – IT’S NOT COMING BACK. STOP TALKING ABOUT IT.

Ahem. Back to the party. While we did hang out at restaurants and bars (which is always a fun experience while pregnant), the main event of the weekend was a barge cruise on Lake Travis. We had a bit of bad weather Saturday afternoon which had us all concerned, but it cleared out in time and we took off on schedule. We had a lot of fun once they tied us off to a rock island and we got to get in the water. Someone had brought along a kid’s float – one of those tiny little rings with the animal heads. It was a turtle. People joked when Luffy tossed it to me, but that little turtle held me up admirably! It was just big enough to go around me – under the boobs, above the belly – and just small enough to make sure I wasn’t stretched too far. Great fun! So we swam and others drank and everyone danced to our party planner’s custom mix. Then we reached the shore again and the other 46* party-goers loaded up on a bus for the forty-five minute drive back to party central while Luffy and I (in another great move of foresight) got into our own car to drive the twenty minutes back to our hotel.

Anyway, we had a great time down in Austin and I would highly recommend the waffles at Hilton Garden Inn.

* Yes, you read that correctly. Including Luffy and I and the party planners, there were 50 people at this party! AND I ALMOST FORGOT TO TELL YOU THE BEST PART!!! Towards the end of the night, I got cornered by a … how shall I put this delicately … exceedingly inebriated guest. I’d met her a couple of times before, but wasn’t super friendly with her or anything. Anyway, she cornered me and for a good ten minutes went on and on about how excited she was for Luffy and I. Except that, through her thick haze of alcohol, she kept losing her train of thought, so it went something like this: OMG I’m so happy for you guys – I literally started crying when I found out – your baby is going to change the world – Luffy is just such an amazing person – he shut down an internet troll for me once – …. – OMG I’m so happy for you guys – I literally started crying when I found out – your baby is going to change the world – Luffy is just such an amazing person – he shut down an internet troll for me once – …. and repeat. For ten minutes. At top volume because we were standing by a speaker. I was so relieved when she got distracted.