Thursday, May 10, 2012

Welcome Home!

I have an in-flight ritual.  I sit down and as soon as the initial take off butterflies settle, I pull out my legal pad and begin writing a letter to Zach.  Today, I sat down, pulled out the legal pad, and started crying.  Yup, crying.  The poor kid next to me.  Happy tears - happy tears that in a few short hours I will get to see my baby brother.  For all of you reading (yes, all 7 of you - that's being generous), you already know how much that guy means to me.  He's a gift from God.  Seriously.  He is the most fun-loving, kind and sensitive little guy.  He has a soft spot in the hearts of everyone in our family.  Of course, we love each other dearly, but Zach, he's special (and no, not in the short bus kind of way).  I know my siblings reading this won't hesitate to agree with me.  It's tough to articulate (even for me) how much he brings to our lives.  Anyway, the poor kid next to me, really.

Let's just say that as fast as these past two years have gone by, Zach's presence was really missed.  I can speak for all of us when I say we are SO excited to have him back.  Just to be able to Skype (or FaceTime, now) him randomly during the week will be awesome.  I have missed harassing him!

I am excited for Zach to get back in the grove of things, too.  He has a lot of catching up to do -
  1. Meet DEAN - he hasn't met the little guy.  When I miss him so much it hurts, I think of how Zach has not been able to even meet him and it makes my little heart ache a little less.
  2. Meet Hazel-Pop - he says babies don't do much when they are little anyway, so they are kind of boring.  Lucky for Zach, he missed the first few months (um, my favorite - they are SO sweet and cuddly and soft and cute and drooly and amazing).  I can't wait to see her huge smile when she recognizes him.
  3. Meet Pete - my handsome.  After Pete finishes teasing him for being a redhead, they will get along like crazy.  Plus, to ensure he wins over my twin's heart, he sent me with the 2010 Giants World Series DVD.  He cannot believe that Zach missed the Giants win AND Jimmer.  So, I'm giving Zach a BYU Jimmermania DVD to recap the missed basketball time. Shhh, don't tell.
  4. Give Mom enough hugs to make up for the two years.
  5. Train for the 70 mile relay race that Dad signed him (US) for.
There's so much more he has to do, but those are just some highlights.  As happy as I am that he is coming home, I am just as happy that he loved his experiences in Texas.  This excerpt from his very last email sums things up pretty well:

" desires to serve have increased so much.  (I know that's true because when dad mentioned that there were a lot of chores at home, I didn't instantly think of my refuge, hiding spot (el inodoro -translate that one) [editor's note - that means toilet]
I can't really explain the way i feel right now.  All i know is that I will serve the Lord faithfully for the rest of my life."
He will.  He will do it in so many different ways.  He's going to meet a hottie wife and have some cute little munchkins.  He is going to succeed in the medical field and help others (just like my pops) daily.  He is going to keep being the amazing brother, son, uncle, friend, cousin and grandson that he has been his entire life. 
Anyway, I better get to work since I am working "remotely" (code for answering emails if they come in) for the next two days so I can welcome Z Wag home (and see my munchkins, siblings, parents and friends that I've missed so dearly)!
EEEKKSSS - so pumped!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Z Dubs and Little Loves

I clearly have dropped the ball on this whole blog thing (sorry, Zach). Funny thing is that I don't think he will really mind. From what it sounds like, he is having the time of his life in Texas, even learning how to speak Tongan? And homeboy is coming back in a month - A MONTH. I cannot believe it. I mean, it feels like he missed a lot, but at the same time, it feels like he just left. Sounds stupid, I know...but it's real.

In any event, I am a busy bee out here in Chicago. Working in "big law" is no joke. There's a reason they give you "unlimited" vacation - you don't have any time to take it. But really, I am enjoying it and learning a lot. I am really loving Chicago too - the mildest winter yet and I am finally making some great friends. I had some great friends from school, but they moved to NY, Houston, you name it. It's odd trying to make friends as a working adult (yeah, I am an adult now). For a while there I was searching for the friend-making equivalent of Fortunately, I didn't need it and only went on a couple awkward girl dates to find some friends that I really connect with.

Honestly, over the past 10/11 months since I last updated, all I have been doing is working, hanging out with Pete, traveling back to Napa for my BFs wedding in September, facetiming my adorable nieces and nephews...trip to Antigua in there...OH and little miss Hazel joined my life.

Every time a new miracle joins my world I am amazed at how my little heart makes room for that as soon as they enter this world and I see a photo or hear a cry...I am unabashedly and irrevocably in absolute love. The power my little loves have over me is indescribable. I love them with every single inch of my being and thinking about that love, what the tiny little bundle evokes from my imperfect person...overwhelms me. Every little being that joins my world makes me feel all that more complete. It is like I can not even fathom what my world was like before they were in it. And it aches that I cannot see them nearly as much as I would like. BUT, they will grow up knowing Auntie Erin loves them - that I am certain of!

I can only imagine what it will feel like when I someday have one myself. (Shhh, don't tell Pete - we have a few steps to take first!)

I am a lucky lady - so happy my loved ones are happy, healthy and prosperous. Because if they are happy, I cannot help but be the same.

Here's to 11 more months of hard work, love, travels, family time and fun. I know trials and oopsies will be mixed in there, but I've got some stellar folks to keep me moving forward.

And for that. I thank you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Beginnings

Chicago River at Night

I know it has been a while, but not much has been going on - well, okay, a LOT has been going on which may be why I haven't forced myself to take a break, sit down and record life's happenings.

February - freezing cold, survived a crazy blizzard and managed to secure a lot of runners for Bright Pink's marathon team. Took the Illinois Bar.

View under L tracks on Lake + Desplaines

March - still freezing cold.

April - I passed the Illinois bar! Pete met the family in Napa: Cory, Katie, Ashley and Ron put on an awesome BBQ with my closest Napa buds so he could meet them all in one place. Cory and Katie also pulled out all the stops with a beautiful Sunday spent up valley at some amazing wineries. Oh yeah, and I GOT A JOB in Chicago at Kirkland & Ellis - interviewed on a Friday and received the offer on the spot! I start TOMORROW and I could not be more thrilled. So yes, I am staying in Chicago for at least a while longer - who would've thought??

Pete & I at Viader Winery in Angwin, CA

May - Trip back to Napa after my last day with Bright Pink (such a great experience) where I was able to see friends, family, munchkins and beautiful weather (horrific allergies though). I also made it to Nic + Flynn's wedding which was wonderful! I was able to chit chat with my favorite missionary on Mother's Day (shout out to Elder Z Wag). Did some "grown up" clothes shopping (since tomorrow I will be forced to grow up), ordered my Blackberry and attempted to beef up my legal writing skills. Oh yeah, and last night I watched the Giants beat the Cubs in the rain (awesome).

The ladies at my table for F+N wedding

So, here I am, not a year out of law school - I have given up a great job in San Francisco to take another fantastic position as a litigator in Chicago. Ask me a year ago and I would have NEVER thought I would be where I am now, but I have never been happier, more in love and more content with my decision to be exactly where I am. Of course I wish I could be close to family but the good thing is, now that I'll be a fancy pants lawyer, I'll be able to afford to take more trips out there (or bring them to me = more likely scenario).

Katie, Jason, Devyn, me, Cory & DEAN

A life is full of surprises, changes, bumps and bruises, but when you fill that life with LOVE (a little hard work) and make it your OWN, amazing can happen.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Frozen Chocolate

Since I cannot do anything productive because I am busy hacking out a lung, why not update the blog? I can't really say I have much to update, except that it's still cold in Chicago, I'm still working, still paying too much for my apartment, yet surprisingly, I'm still a happy camper.

It's about that time in the winter where I start to get real annoyed at the pesky cold. The weather is fine in December; in fact, it's kind of pretty. The first snow, the less bitter cold spells, the beautiful lights lining the streets, the hot cocoa warming up your insides and the Ugg boots still looking fairly clean. You leave for a few weeks on a nice jaunt back to the best coast to celebrate the season with family and dear friends. Unsuspectingly and quite naively, you step out of Midway Airport to hail your cab and immediately run back inside, typically screaming expletives. Inevitably you failed to bring your warm down coat to California because why bother with that thing when you'll never wear it?

I'll tell you why bother! That bitter chill only to be experienced right around New Years is not habitable in some fleece or silly sweatshirt. It's like bathing in the kitchen sink. Just doesn't cut it. Sure it was raining the entire time I was in California, but 55 and raining is nothing compared to 10 before windchill is factored in. I wonder when I will ever learn. Suffice to say, I survived (barely) - I managed to shutter myself into a cab and back to my nook on Dearborn St. Only, of course, to repeat the same mistake again next year (well, if I am still here...which warrants a whole different post (that I will likely never write) altogether).

Chicago in late January may just be the most horrible time to visit - EVER. It's frigid; I am talking -30 with windchill last weekend. YEAH, NEGATIVE 30. Sure I only have a 1/2 mile walk to work, but do you know what a half mile feels like in -30 degrees? I didn't think so. And that hot chocolate I mentioned earlier - how it warms the insides in December. Well, in late January you have one of two choices: (a) chug it immediately once you step outside of the Starbucks, successfully scalding your insides, or (b) wait to let it "cool down" and it's a frozen chocolate brick in 3 1/2 minutes, literally (ok, maybe 5). Last week, I got the brilliant idea to leave my water bottle half full in the car, so the next day I wouldn't have to go purchase another one. You know, go upstairs and drink from the Brita, saving the bottled stuff for the car rides. Yup, frozen solid the next day. And no, I don't park outside. 3 1/2 years out here and I still haven't learned!

From all that, it may sound like I am not a fan of this place. But here's the kicker - I AM! I love it here! I live 3 blocks away from a Nordstrom Rack, Anthropologie, Lululemon (2 of them, actually); there's a McDonald's across the street and a rock 'n roll McDonald's only 4 blocks away! Can you say McGriddles?? When it's not bitter frigid, I jog 1/2 a mile and I am on the lake shore. Chicago has this amazing 16 mile long paved path along the lake shore. It is like nothing else I've ever seen. And get this, I live less than 2 miles away from my boyfriend! For any of you who know me know that is a HUGE accomplishment. Let's just say, in the past, I have kept the men I've dated at a distance (anywhere from 150-2000 miles). Who knew how fun living in the same city as the person you are dating could be?

And, my job! I love my job. I work with 4 awesome, under 30 women who rock my socks. In addition, I work on saving lives every day. We educate and empower young women who are at high-risk for breast and ovarian cancer to be advocates for their health. We provide education, support and a sense of community to young women so they can catch breast or ovarian cancer at an early, non-life threatening stage, or help them to take the steps to avoid developing the cancers altogether. The women I deal with are amazing. Talk about a cause worth waking up for everyday with a little pep in your step.

There are, of course, the obvious negatives: people from out here always screen your calls (who in their right mind knows where 707 is from), the whole CA salad movement has yet to catch on out here, Boba is practically non-existent, and it's a lot harder to pull off the blonde hair when your skin is see-through from your unhealthy Vitamin D deficiency. There were five other reasons...but I can't seem to put my finger on them...ah well, must be the cough meds.

Sending my love to you all. When you get it, don't be alarmed if you get the shivers.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Snow

In the midst of the city awakening from the cocoon of night, filled with horns and chilled pedestrians, there exists an incredible stillness during a snowfall. It is something I never had the opportunity to experience until I moved here. The world around you may be moving a mile a minute, but as you walk down State St, the stillness of the snowfall engulfs your being. It sounds so oxymoronic. Flakes are fluttering, cars are roaring, cabs are swerving, music playing in your ears, and yet you can feel completely calm, serene and at peace. It is the moment where your eyes focus utterly and completely on the flakes fluttering that your rush to get to work on time or the to-do list you are going over in your head absolutely vanish. It is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world.

This city ain't all bad. Although I am not a fan of the cold and my family is far far away, there are so many things I love about this place. Since moving downtown and as the temperature drops, I have been compiling a running list of what I love:
  1. The Hancock tower (which can be seen from my balcony) is lit up with red and green lights during all of December. Many other office and condo buildings follow suit. It is a constant reminder of my absolute favorite time of the year
  2. The trees lining Michigan Avenue (home of some of the best shopping & people watching you will ever find) are decorated from trunk to top with beautiful white lights
  3. Work holiday parties (I know, they happen everywhere)
  4. A paycheck (yeah, yeah, same as above)
  5. Snow falls - just the falling part, well, and the piling part (but only on places I don't have to walk or drive through)
  6. Pete
  7. Down coats, scarves, warm boots and a good pair of gloves
  8. Indoor exercising options - I took my first "bar method" class last night and OH BOY am I sore. But apparently I can get a Kim Kardashian butt, so I'm going to keep at it
  9. Knowing I get to return home to Napa for 11 days in a very short while where I will see my munchkins, parents, friends and siblings (fingers crossed for a skype date with Mr. Z Waggles)
Oh, and I might have a little extra pep in my step, since I did pass the California bar :)

Miss you Zach. Keep up the good work my boy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Oh, why, hello there.

I have been severely sucking at posting, but I have decided to make sure I do it at least once a month from here on out to make sure Zach has some idea of what is going on in my life during his absence. I have actually composed a post or two, but didn't publish them because they were a little weepy--missing Zach, the munchkins and my family. You're welcome for sparing you the sob sobs. What a wuss.

Addie girl

Since I moved into my place in September, I began a nanny position in Chicago. I knew I needed to do something to help pass the time until my November 1 start date at work. I pick up two (not-so-young) kiddos from school every day and help the 13 year old with her homework. It has been so much fun. I had to re-learn algebra. Every time she opens up that homework folder, I hold my breath because it's not every day that I find myself smarter than an 8th grader. Seriously. It's a bit humbling/humiliating for a girl who can't remember life before school. Topographical plotting on a map? The capital of where??

I made it home for Katie's 30th birthday celebration. It was SO much fun. I was missing those munchkins big time and I ALMOST made up for lost time with Dean. I was a bit of a hog (or as the siblings call me--the baby stealer). I got to play with Addie, went to Ethan's jog-a-thon and put my hair teasing skills to good use for Katie's 80s themed party at Flora Springs winery. I have an unbelievably fantastic family and have so much fun every time I go home. I was even able to squeeze some friend time in. Going home is never very relaxing. I am not complaining but it is always a whirlwind of babies, friends, family, mom's awesome cooking and alergies. I always sleep on the plane ride home; I feel like a puckered out toddler out cold after a long day of playing in the park.

The 80s fits (blurry. Someone needs a new camera. So sad)

The little Dean munchkin was a care bear. Devy was an 80s prom queen. I think.

The birthday girl and her hubby.

Lindsay and I got to visit Kendyll at her new job for Whitehall Lane Winery

November is a very exciting month. I start working, receive my bar results (eeekk), the next Harry Potter comes out, I am getting a visit from a dear friend AND the GIANTS are in the World Series. Plus, I am going to put together a CD for Zach of the newest dance-songs that have come out since he has left.

Coco is coming to visit ME! AGAIN!! McDonnald's proposal night.

I am starting my new job tomorrow, and I know I will have exciting things to post about that once I get rolling. I will be working for Bright Pink (Check it out at It is a non-profit organization that works on outreach, counseling and generally educating young women who are or may be at-high-risk for developing breast and/or ovarian cancer. It is an amazing organization; it really fills a niche that hadn't been addressed before. The Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization is a huge supporter of us. The focus is about taking control of your health and well-being as a younger woman--being proactive and knowing you don't have to take scary tests or undergo uncomfortable procedures alone. I am SO excited to start helping Bright Pink with their legal needs. Finally!!

Only 55 days until I get to talk to Zach. I hope his mish president lets us skype. Also, I hope Cory gets to see him while he is in Dallas for the WORLD SERIES (words cannot explain the extent of my jealousy).

Until then, god bless, GO GIANTS and vote!

Yes, we are related.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer Fun

I know it has been a while, but I have a pretty decent excuse this time around (again). After a quick week in Napa following the bar exam, I left for a European adventure. I must say, I had a fabulous time. It made taking that horrible test almost worth it. I have so many photos and stories, but I will try and stick to the highlights.

I started and ended in London. Big Ben

Headed out to Athens. Parthenon.

My travel companion, Tessa, on the right. Christina, her Greek/Mexican friend who was the best tour guide, ever. After this photo, we ate amazing Greek food, with a killer lit-up view of the Parthenon.

Then, Tessa and I boarded a high-speed ferry for Santorini, which is perhaps the most beautiful place in the world.

A view from breakfast one morning.

We took a boat cruise one day to a volcano and ended up at this tiny piece of land, where we ate lunch and swam around a bit. I was completely mesmorized by the fact that the little piece of land I was on existed on no maps of the world I had ever seen. It is an unreal feeling.

A snapshot of the gorgeous Mediterranean water

After Santorini, I left Tessa and headed over to Spain. After taking 5 years of Spanish throughout high school and college, Spain was my ideal destination. Barcelona was absolutely amazing.

Atop of Park Guell, looking over the city. After Barcelona, we headed to Marbella, a gorgeous beach town at the Southern tip of Spain, close to Gibraltar.

View from the hotel pool. You could actually see Morocco from here!

The trip was unreal. I am so happy I was able to take the time to do this. After all the law school hooplah, it was an awesome treat.

I did return from Europe over 10 days ago, but then, even before the jet lag subsided, I headed back to Chicago to move from one apartment to another. I am now officially a grown up, with my very own apartment! It is so much fun! Imagine that mess on the counter being from you and only you. Or opening the fridge door to reveal food that is mine and only mine! Clearly, I am excited.

Now that I have my own place, I am taking visitors. You can come to this place.

And hang out with this girl.

What more could you ask for?