This blog is the story of my journey from lawyer to stay-at-home mommy. After finding out I was pregnant with baby #2, we decided that we would give it a go for awhile with me staying home with the kids. I worked after having our first child Deacon, so this experience will be a new one for me. I decided to blog mainly so that I would have a memorialization of the process since those first few months with a new baby are a fog anyway. But years from now, whether I never made it back or whether I am spending my days in suits and heels, I want to be able to look back and see what God is teaching me in these days of going from the courtroom to the playroom.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Baking Blunders

Has it really been SIX MONTHS since I last blogged?!?! I know that someone out there has just been dying with suspense for another good read. And that person is most likely my mother. Anywho, the subject of my blog post today is about baking. Now you may think, "Gee, Jamie lots of people put their recipes on the blog and post great pictorial how-to's - why should we read yours?" Well, in the hopes that there is some flustered mom out there like me who makes stuff that never looks quite right or turns out quite right, I am going to detail my latest baking blunder from this morning.

I set out to make a strawberry yogurt cake for a neighbor of mine. Simple enough - hop on Pinterest, print the recipe and follow the directions. Therein lies my problem. I am really bad about following directions when it comes to baking. I read the recipe, think to myself, "yeah, yeah, that's easy, you got this." Then, I somehow manage to seriously botch it up. See, I simply can't be bothered to do things like fold in, sift, alternately add, or the latest baking directive to stump me - make a well and put the wet stuff inside. Seriously?! I have two children nipping at my heels. That junk is just going in there all together American style - like a melting pot. I am sure Betty Crocker would not approve.

Today, the recipe called for 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of powdered sugar. The directions said to cream together the butter and sugar. I scoured the recipe to see if there was any other mention of powdered sugar, but I saw none, so I mixed all the sugars in. I SWEAR there was no other mention of powdered sugar. Whoopsie - I was wrong. The cup of powdered sugar was to be used to make the glaze. You know what that means - an extra cup of sugary goodness that was (1) likely give everyone who ate it diabetes, and (2) not going to meet Michelle Obama's plan for childhood healthy eating. Yikes, not only was my cake done wrong, but it was also going to contribute to the obesity epidemic of our nation and our rising healthcare costs. I just couldn't handle that kind of pressure. So I just improvised a bit, changed the recipe to involve blueberries (so I could save my strawberries for another cake for my neighbor) and came up with the following. It is adapted from the strawberry yogurt cake recipe:


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
3 eggs
2 tbsp. lemon juice
zest of one lemon
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
10.5 oz plain Greek yogurt
1 pint of fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a bundt pan. Tell your kids that mommy needs just a few minutes.

2. Sift (oh, who am I kidding - just mix) together the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest. Change out a load of laundry and make sure the kids haven't destroyed the house.

3. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and BOTH sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the lemon juice.

4. Mix in the yogurt. Add a little of the flour mixture at a time, mixing together as you go. Tell the kids that you are not put on this earth to entertain them day and night.

5. Mix the blueberries gently into the batter until well incorporated. Tell your kids that if they don't stop fighting with each other, they'll be licking the beaters with the mixer still running. If you have preschoolers who take everything literally, make sure they know mommy is joking.

6. Pour in the pan and bake for 60-65 minutes. When toothpick comes out clean, pull out of the oven and completely cool, then invert pan on to a plate.

Are you ready for a pretty picture? Not happening, folks. The directions said to let the cake cool 20 minutes in the pan, but I just had to go ahead and pull that thing out about 13 minutes too early. Again, I simply can't be bothered with directions. So, of course if fell apart, and here it is!!!

But I will tell you one thing - it tastes AWESOME! And I know my husband and kids will eat it up this evening for dessert. I can just hear the hubby now -"That is fine!" He often describes food as being "fine" they way we used to say in 8th grade, "that boy is fine!" which used to kind of creep me out, but after 6 years of marriage I'm over it.

So, it ain't Pinterest pretty, and it was a complete work in progress, but it is still good. So good, in fact, that I momentarily contemplated giving it to my neighbor in that condition, but decided I didn't need one more person in this world thinking I am a little wacky.

For those of you who need a good summer recipe, try this one out (I would probably try with strawberries first) and know that unless you are more direction averse than me, it will definitely turn out prettier than the picture, and really, how often does that happen?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Revisting Senior Superlatives

When I was a senior in high school, my class, like most high schoolers, voted for what are called senior superlatives, or for the less fancy-schmancy, the "most likelys." I was voted Most Likely to Succeed. I am still not completely sure why. I thought I might be a more likely candidate for the Most Horrifyingly Insecure in a Totally Crippling Way award. High school was sort of a middle ground for me - I certainly would never (ever, ever, ever) want to go back, but it was still a very good experience in many ways. My husband, on the other hand, was voted by his classmates as Best All Around, Most Popular, and Class Favorite. I mean, come on! Did I mention he was also voted most likely to marry someone who likes to tease him about his senior superlatives? For some reason he just can't seem to understand why my high school experience wasn't as totally and completely blissful as his. Really?

Anyway, I was looking at some old yearbooks at my parents' house the other day, and I got to thinking about whether I had lived up to my given senior superlative. Am I successful now? Have I been successful in the past, at least? I thought about this in light of my decision to put down the practice of law for awhile to stay home. Does that make me less successful? Or more? I guess it is all in how you define success and is definitely part of my own internal struggle to reconcile this season of life with some of my long-held beliefs on what success means.

Some days, when I just "get" something about my kids that I wouldn't pick up on if I was working and away from them all day, I feel successful. And then on days when I see news of my law school colleagues taking off professionally and winning cases and awards, I can tend to feel not so successful. And maybe a little left behind.

Success, or a lack thereof, also has many facets aside from work. You know, success can be defined as getting around to shaving your legs at least once a week. Just sayin'. It may mean being the better negotiator in the battle with your 3 year old over how many Skittles he can have after lunch. Or making just one supper a week that is not too bland, too salty, too undercooked or too overcooked. It may also mean loving a seemingly unloveable person, serving others in an area that you are uncomfortable in, or doing something you know is right even when the world thinks you are crazy.

I continue to tinker with my definition of success, but for now, I believe it is living my life doing the things that God intends for me to do with purpose, conviction and enthusiasm. Now working with that definition, I still don't know that I can say I've been successful all the time (or any of the time, for that matter), but I am working on it. And I am working on knowing that in different seasons I will be doing things that will look much different than what I do now, and I must have my eyes and ears open to the possibilities. Maybe one day, I'll be as close as possible to reaching my definition of successful. And perhaps the most beautiful thing in all of this is knowing that to reach any level of success, I'll never have to go back to the high school version of me. Yuck.