Friday, March 30, 2007

Baby Steps

Although I haven't written much about the little one lately, he's actually been really busy. Right around the time we moved into the apartment he started pulling himself up to stand. Now he does it whenever he encounters an object that is taller than himself. Unfortunately several of the objects he has picked proved not to be as supportive as he hoped, leading to a few slips and falls. I try to be right there with him when he is exploring and pulling up, but I do not always foresee the hazards or react appropriately, so I haven't been able to prevent all the falls. I wouldn't want to prevent all the mishaps anyway, as some of that is part of learning, but, of course, I don't want him to get hurt.

He has also gotten really good at opening cabinet doors and drawers, but not so good at getting his fingers out of the way when he closes them, so, in addition to the bumps, he has been getting a few pinched fingers. Sometimes when his fingers get stuck because one hand is holding the top of the drawer and the other hand is pushing it closed I can see him stop and think about what's happening and how to extricate his fingers, other times, of course, he just cries. But it is neat to see his problem-solving skills developing.

Finally he is getting pretty good at picking up smaller things. He has not quite developed the pincer grasp yet, but he is getting close. This has opened up new possibilities for meal times -- I have been introducing a few finger foods, like teething biscuits and baby pancakes -- but it also means he now notices, and tries to pick up and put in his mouth, every little crumb, or bit of paper, or whatever, that he sees.

So, while all of this is exciting, because I love seeing him learning new things and developing new skills and just having more opportunities, it is a lot harder to keep him out of trouble. The minute I put him down on the floor he is off to try to pull the cat's tail or stick his hands in the dog's water bowl or pull on the electrical cords, and those kinds of hazards are everywhere, and baby proofing can't really solve all the problems.

Sometimes when I get tired of chasing him around we just go in his bedroom and close the door and play in there for a while, but even in there there are cords he can pull and the diaper pail and drawers. The safest, most baby-friendly area is the 4' square area created by the corner sofa on two sides and the entertainment center on one side. This is also a convenient play area because I can watch TV while he plays, but we don't have an easy way to block off the fourth side, as there would be nowhere to attach a gate. What has worked best is taking the cushions off the couch and stacking them up on the fourth side, but I'm sure that it won't be long before he can climb over those, and we will be chasing him around the apartment again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Laptop Dilemna

So, I want to buy a laptop for law school now so I have plenty of time to customize it and get comfortable with it by the fall, but the schools I am choosing between do not yet support Vista -- probably because Examsoft hasn't stated that they are compatible with Vista yet. I could just get a refurbished laptop with XP on it, but I want Vista and I don't want to have to pay more to upgrade later. I am almost positive that the schools will have to support Vista by the fall since all the new laptops have Vista on them now, but I don't want to take a chance on getting a laptop with Vista and then not being able to use it to take exams. So, anyway, the obvious thing to do is to just wait, but I hate waiting.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Law School Update

It has been a while since I posted anything about law school -- my life in the couple weeks has been consumed almost completely by the move. But there are a couple law-school-related items to report on.

Friday was the day by which finalists for the scholarships I applied for at downtown school were to be notified. I have not been notified, therefore I am probably not a finalist. Hubby called them Friday afternoon to ask whether all the finalists had been notified. They said they would be notifying some alternates early next week, but other than that, yes. So maybe I will be an alternate, or maybe I will be nothing. If the latter, then I will almost certainly go to uptown school. I mentioned before that I was leaning that way, but thought my opinion might change after the admitted student event at downtown school. Well I went to that two weeks ago (right before the move, so I never got a chance to blog about it), and while I feel like I got a better sense of what the school is like from that event, and I definitely feel more positively about it than I did after my first visit, and I certainly would not be unhappy there, I still think uptown school suits me better.

As an example of a difference between the two schools, when I was visiting downtown school for the first time, a current student who was there to talk to us was asked about the professor's teaching styles and the Socratic method and she said something to the effect that the professors weren't too hard on 1Ls. When I was visiting uptown school the student giving our tour made a comment that the professors don't use the Socratic method too much after the first year. Now, if the statements by both of these students are true, this would seem to represent a pretty big difference in teaching styles at the two schools. Personally, I think that it makes more sense to use the Socratic method more in the first year in order to really get students to "think like a lawyer." After the first year, hopefully, the thought process will be pretty well ingrained and the professors won't have to ask the questions because the students will already be asking them themselves.

So, anyway, while I am leaning towards, to the point of almost falling over onto, uptown school, I am still holding out a tiny piece of hope for the scholarships at downtown school, and failing that I will still need to see what my financial aid packages are like. Speaking of which, I don't think I mentioned that my third choice school, which had offered me a $15,000/yr merit award, sent me a letter telling me that I do not qualify for any need-based aid. I hope that is just because they already offered me money and is not an indication of what I should expect from my top two schools.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


So, we have been in the apartment for about a week now and there are still boxes everywhere. We have too much stuff here and will have to try to move some of it into our already-packed storage unit at some point in the future. Very little unpacking has been happening the last few days because we have all been feeling pretty run-down from last week's moving extravaganza and also all seem to have caught some kind of mild stomach bug. I really hate having all this chaos around me and wish I had just one full day to get everything cleaned and put away and the excess packed for storage. I may have said this before, but the most difficult part of being a mother for me so far is never having more than an hour or two at a time to get anything done.

On a more positive note, our house is closing on Friday and we will not be there. We already signed the things we had to sign and FedEx-ed them to the title agent and afterwards she will be wiring the proceeds into our bank account. So easy! It's a good thing we were able to do it this way, because I don't think any of us would have been up for the 10-hour round-trip drive.

Speaking of driving, on a negative note again, we will not be keeping a car in the city as we had originally planned because both nights that we had the car parked on the street overnight bad things happened to it: the first night two hubcaps were stolen, the second the window was smashed and the satellite radio was stolen. Now I know we were probably dumb to leave the satellite radio in the car, but it's not worth that much, and anyway you have to pay every month to use it, so I didn't think it would be a big target, but apparently I was wrong. So anyway, those two incidents combined with the hassle of parking in the city (street cleaning, etc) made us decide to just get rid of the cars and rent one if we need one.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Notes from the Move

We're not done yet, but everything is out of our old house and we are done with the big truck.

Some things that went wrong:

  • After locking the truck up securely the first night, we discovered in the morning that the only key we had didn't open the cab doors and had to call the rental company's emergency roadside assistance to let us in.
  • The truck wouldn't start on the second morning. We thought the battery was dead and called emergency roadside assistance again. Turned out the truck had to be in drive to start!
  • Not having done the math ahead of time, we didn't realize that an 8'x26' truck holds more stuff than a 10'x20' storage unit and we ended up having to give away more stuff than we had planned to.
  • Bringing the truck into the city on the fourth morning we spent a couple hours in traffic averaging about 10mph, followed by one hour in which we traveled less than a mile. I realized that I would take two hours of active labor over two hours stuck in a traffic jam any day. I think this is because I have a low tolerance for frustration (and a fairly high tolerance for pain).
  • Later that day, when we were getting ready to return the truck, I discovered the battery in my car was dead (probably because I had left the headlights on, doh!), and we had to find somebody to give us a jump.

Some things that went right:
  • We remembered all the tricks for getting the furniture through doors and around corners, and we remembered to take the drawers out of the desk and dressers before moving them, so moving the furniture went easier than we expected.
  • Our boxes were already packed from previous trips back, so loading the truck went pretty quickly, especially with the $25 hand truck we purchased.
  • Our 7-month-old handled all the time in the car (about 20 hours over four days) really well.
  • My mother-in-law was able to babysit on the day we took our stuff into the city.
  • The guys our super found to help us get stuff out of the truck and into the apartment worked hard and made quick work of the job, so that even with the other problems we had that day we were able to be home in time for baby's bedtime.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Things are Really Coming Together Now

I have now completed four of the tasks on my to do list for this semester: I have done our taxes, finished my financial aid applications, our house is under contract (we are closing in two weeks), and -- most exciting of all -- we found a place to live! Just by pure luck I happened to be looking at the apartment listings on cragislist (this was before we had a closing date for our house) and I saw this listing for a two bedroom at an unbelievable price. I sent it to hubby and he jokingly replied, "should I call this guy today?" But after we both thought about it for a little bit we realized, it would be worth it to pay rent on top of our mortgage for a couple months to get this apartment at this great price. So he went to look at it that day and the next day we all went to look at it again. It is not a very big apartment (especially coming from a 2000 sq ft house), but it has two bedrooms (which sounds like heaven since for the last five months we have been living in one), they accept pets, and, most importantly, it fits our budget much better than we had imagined possible. So we filled out the application. The same day we found out that the family buying our house had sold their house and the people buying their house wanted to close in a few weeks. So now it is perfect that we already found this apartment and we can move out of our house and into our apartment at the same time. After a bit more paperwork than I expected, our application for the apartment was approved and we signed the lease today! So, the next week will be filled with the joy of moving, which should be interesting with a 7-month-old in tow.