February 25, 2010

There IS Cake!

So how awesome is Sloane Crosley? She read my previous post, said she was glad I liked her book (ponies and all), and friended me on Facebook. Probably, because I stalked her and begged her to be my friend. But still - there IS cake!

February 24, 2010

Told There Would Be Cake

My husband has abandoned me. Again. This time for North Carolina. What does Ms. Carolina have that I don't? Besides mountains. Wait... um. Okay, so I am not abandoned. Just dramatic.

Anyway, upon the gleeful book recommendation by my friend, Mandy, I ordered a copy of I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley. I put the kids to bed, hauled six old dining room chairs to the curb, praying that the garbage men will take the chairs and the forty bags of poopy diapers tomorrow at pick up and not choose to take the chairs and leave the diapers... and then I sat down on the patio (yes, it's 34 degrees outside, but it's so blimy hot in my house and after hauling the chairs...well, I was just sweaty). I sat with my shiny new book, in the freezing cold, and began to read. Within seconds, I was rolling. This book is a hot mess, and I love it. Within three pages, I realize that Ms. Crosley is really my twin incarnate. Of course not because we are twin writers (I dearly wish I was a real writer), but because she is a mindreader.

For instance, her book starts out how she is horrified if she were to randomly die, just on a given day, and people would see the state of her house. Not that she was dead, but the horror of her housekeeping: the bed gone unmade and the dishes unwashed..the day before laundry Sunday...before I decided to clean out my closet, got bored halfway through, and opted to watch sitcoms in my prom dress instead. For me, this is my wedding dress, but still. Drinking wine, watching the wedding dress episode of Friends, whilst actually wearing an actual wedding dress... that cannot be beat. I think about this all the time on my drive into work: Please dear Lord do not let me die in a fiery car crash, I left my dirty drawers on the sink. My mother would die (and is probably dying at present from the sheer fact I mention drawers, poop and death in a blog, anyway).

Ms. Crosley talks about her horrid collection of plastic toy ponies she keeps beneath her sink, saying: "I don't even like ponies. If I made one of my throwaway equine requests and someone produced and actual pony...I would run very fast in the other direction." At this point in the book (ah-hem, page 3), I am losing it. Tears are streaming down my face. Me too! I am seventy-five percent certain that I have a plastic bin of My Little Ponies, and I too hate horses but "love ponies in the abstract." My boss said she had a present for me last Christmas. I too asked the question: "Is it a pony?" And I don't like ponies either. Me too! Me too!

Okay, so this fab new book is hardly National Book Award stuff. Although it would be, if I were in charge of said book award. I used to read. I mean, really read. All of you stop laughing. I really did. Somewhere between a degree in English with a ridiculously strong minor in Comparative Lit and two years of Latin, followed closely by the beating that is law school, and reading and writing stupid messes on a daily basis in my life such as "equity intervenes where the intention of the parties was to create a contract but some dumb fool forgot to actually include the language that creates the kicker where someone can actually do something about said intention"....I used to read.

Now, at the end of a cross-eyed day, I need nothing more than a hot bath and a silly book. Good lawd, this is a good one. I mean, I could spend my time reading Dostoevsky and having to look up every word (since I have forgotton how to really read), or cleaning out my junk drawers. But I choose this book. Afterall, this book makes junk drawers make sense. There's no harm in a junk drawer. Preach it, sister. Preach!

Anyway, I could quote this whole book and brandish it from the rafters, as it appears to be a biopic of my non-biopic worthy boring life. I love it. Even though I'm not even finished with Chapter One: The Pony Problem, I think I will be calling Ms. Crosley for a lunch. I wonder if she would go with me... that lunch is going on my Bucket List.

Dear Ms. Crosley,
I love you, but I swear I am not a stalker. I too have a My Little Pony bin under my kitchen sink and am scared that my house is too messy to die. But I swear, I'm not weird. I just want to have lunch. With you. And talk about how we are twins. Well, not really twins, but abstract twins. I'm sorry, really, I'm not stalking you.... Ms. Crosley? Please have lunch with me. Please??!? Wait, why are you calling the cops... it's not like that..... I swear...

The Delightful Burden

For over two years, I have been slowly peeling back a giant pile of unspoken truths in my own motherhood experience. Truths that arise from the frenzy of diapers, screaming, giggles. Truths that I find to be ...well, true... things that other mothers could never/would never utter/think/imagine. I am honest with myself regarding my truths, which are not necessarily those of other mothers. (This is the legal disclaimer part, BTW.)

My truth finds the day-to-day of motherhood to be a colossal burden. I do not stay at home, and I cannot imagine how difficult the day-to-day for a stay-at-home actually is, seeing as how I have amazing support from a wonderful nanny and husband, and a chance to leave the house every day for a career. Motherhood is a tricky situation and a ridiculous juggling act. Coupled with my job as an attorney, motherhood becomes really rough. However, when compared side-by-side to the gritty practice of law - law is a walk in the park and motherhood is the actual beating. The burden of law lies in the details. The burden of motherhood lies in the details upon the details (which are situated on top of the details), the smallness that makes up the "good mother" and the complete family. The burden of allowing oneself to say, yes, today I was a good mother, a good person, a good lawyer, a contributing member of society. Motherhood becomes the burden when that statement is doubted, is silenced, is judged by others. Burden. The burden of hoping I am doing everything to raise good children, happy children. Children who can stay out of therapy and unmedicated (at least until teenage years). Children who like themselves. Children who like others. Burden.


What a horrific word to describe the blessing of motherhood, you may say. Welcome to my blog, Judgy-Wudgy folks. Stay tuned. I have plenty to judge. Do not give up all your judgments yet.

One of my favorites quotes in the world is from Bishop Jeremy Taylor, regarding marriage. He writes,
"Marriage hath in it less of beauty but more of safety than the single life; it hath more care, but less danger; it is more merry and more sad; it is fuller of sorrows and fuller of joys; it lies under more burdens, but it is supported by all the strengths of love and charity...and those burdens are delightful."

The burden of motherhood, of children, is much like that of marriage. The strength of a marriage is often in the small details, the daily so-called burdens. The side-by-side sleeping, the sharing of toothpaste, the grocery lists. After years and years of the mundane actions, a marriage can become a place of beauty, of safety. Years and years, and I do not have to ask what Jason is thinking. I know it, I grab the crackers and cheese, crack open a beer...hand it to him, and he mumbles some sort of thank you, and we continue American Idol. A delightful burden.

Same goes for mommyworld. The beauty of motherhood is painted in schools of Goldfish, streaks of laughter, and stains of poo. Yes, I always mention poo. Poo is an integral part of motherhood. Poo poo poo.

So when I say motherhood is a burden, I do not take away from the word burden. Believe me when I say, signing up for children is no joke. Not for the faint of heart, not for sissies. Perhaps for crazies. If someone really predicted the battles, the lack of color in the room, the loneliness of the three o'clock in the morning newborn cries, I am not sure anyone would do actually do it. Or agree to do it. At least not in the early years.

Before children you make choices based on you. What do you want to do? Hmmmm, do I want to lay on couch for thirteen hours straight? Do I want to go to a concert? Do I want to paint my nails? Once you are a mother, these things are no longer simple choices. The burden of painting one's nails becomes bizarre: what if I paint my nails and the kid needs to have a diaper change?

All of you who have been shielding your eyes, now comes the part of this ramble where I say: who gives a flying trapeze about burdens? When my two-year old son says, Mommy so cute, Mommy so pretty, I love Mommy - do I really care that he painted the walls with poo (there it is again, poo)? No, I do not. When he sings Twinkle Twinkle and dances some sort of abstract version of the running man, do I wish he was not here? Are you kidding me? I would claw out my eyes if I did not know that boy. When my baby girl says, Ma ma ma and leaps into my lap with her sippy cup, do I care that she ripped out three handfuls of my hair seconds ago? No, I do not. When she makes spit bubbles, runs to me, and then sticks her fingers in my nose - can I trade her for a career? For "freedom"? Shut the front door. These children are my life, my world, my precious burdens to protect, to care, to bear.

This is what I mean. Motherhood is a colossal burden. It is full of sorrows, full of joys. It is the burden of hoping you can do everything correctly, right by those precious little faces. It is the burden of all the silences, the fears, the nights laying awake praying they are safe, that they will remain safe forever. Motherhood is full to the brim with burdens.

And those burdens are delightful.

Love to all you mothers.

BlogVentures of James & Stella
www.atwoodbabies.blogspot.com

February 23, 2010

Biotech startup to remain local - OnlineAthens.com

Biotech startup to remain local OnlineAthens.com

By Don Nelson - don.nelson@onlineathens.com

Published Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An Australian company that sells lab research products plans to buy a University of Georgia-based biotech startup business and establish the company's North American headquarters in Athens.


Sydney-based NuSep, which markets gels, diagnostic devices and other instruments used in research facilities, last week agreed to buy BioInquire, which designs computer software for analyzing proteins out of UGA's Georgia Biobusiness Center on Riverbend Road.

Once NuSep shareholders approve the deal, executives plan to relocate the company's U.S. headquarters from Lawrenceville to Athens and merge BioInquire's staff with NuSep's, said James Atwood III, co-founder and CEO of BioInquire.

NuSep expects to pay between $3 million and $4 million - including $500,000 in NuSep shares - to BioInquire's owners, who started the small company in 2006, Atwood said. The price will be based on BioInquire's net profits for the current fiscal year that finishes at the end of April.

Atwood, Chief Technology Officer Brent Weatherly, UGA professor Ron Orlando, UGA research professor Rick Tarleton and computer engineer and professor Lin Lin make up NuSep's partners.

Orlando and Tarleton spearheaded research to develop the ProteolQ technology BioInquire uses to analyze and identify proteins. After licensing the software, the five partners launched the company with Atwood and Weatherly running it.

Five BioInquire employees, including Atwood and Weatherly, will join NuSep's new Athens offices, and about four employees from the Lawrenceville office will work out of the Athens location, Atwood said.

Atwood will join NuSep as its vice president of sales, and Weatherly will assume the role of chief technology officer for the company.

NuSep is looking at warehouse space on Commerce Boulevard for its new Athens headquarters, which the company may occupy as soon as June, Atwood said.

The company also will be adding some sales representatives to work across the country, Atwood said.

Unlike some other startup biotech businesses that have left the state when they were ready to leave UGA's biotech incubator, BioInquire's graduation from the Biobusiness Center will contribute to the biotech industry in Athens, Atwood said.

"It's really exciting," Atwood said. "Not only because we're an Athens-based biotech business, but also because we were able to spin it out (of the incubator) and bring more biotech business to Athens."

Other companies made offers to buy BioInquire, but NuSep provided the best option, Atwood said.

"It's ideal for us, because all our staff stays intact, and we can keep the relationship with UGA and can continue to look at other UGA research," he said.

NuSep also will provide financial resources BioInquire did not have to expand its product lines and develop new software tools, Atwood said.


Biotech startup to remain local OnlineAthens.com

February 22, 2010

Poop Patrol II

Seriously. Apparently, our dear boy is at the digging-in-the-diaper-and-fishing-out-the-poop stage. I walk into his bedroom, smell it first, then see it. The little rabbit pellets everywhere. On the floor, in the crib. and I say, "Oh, boy buddy."

Then he looks up and says, "I sink." Yes, dear son... you do stink.

I was at home this morning and he did it. I washed everything and him...yet, I could still smell poop. I swear our house smells like we run a zoo.

Then our nanny called me about five hours later. He went fishing again during his nap. She suggested I buy footed, zip-up pajamas to prevent him from actually getting to his diaper. Genius. I have ordered four pairs.

Although, he hates footed pjs... but not as much as I hate nomadic poop. He will wear the jammies and like them.

I cannot handle this. I cannot. Help me! As if poop isn't bad enough, when contained. Poop should stay in diaper. POOP SHOULD STAY IN DIAPER!!

February 19, 2010

The Idiocy Continues

So last night, I pour a nice glass of cabernet and prepare to plop down with the tube. The kids were in the bed and Jason was at a business meeting, so it was quiet time central. Hooray.

However, somewhere in between picking up my wine glass and making it to the couch, I manage to not only drop the glass on the floor, but also knock the entire bottle of wine off the counter. And yes, smartypants, it was my first glass. I'm replaying this in my head, and I'm really not sure how I managed such destruction. Unless there was some sort of spontaneous dance move, which I just cannot recall....

February 18, 2010

Decision Making Idiot

In motherhood, for me, the most difficult decisions have become the simple ones. The carrots versus broccoli for dinner. The mall or the aquarium on the weekend. I have noticed recently that these everyday decisions paralyze me. I find myself staring into the freezer and thinking: I just cannot make this difficult choice (veggie nuggets or spaghetti). Oh, my goodness - the Size Five or Size Six diapers (the Fives fit fine and there are more to the package, but the Sixes appear to work better for some reason, but there are fewer in the case). I spent no less than ten minutes staring at bath wash for the kids at the grocery store (I want organic, but is organic really "tear free" and is this organic more organic than that one). No less than five people managed to pass me, make their shampoo/wash/lotion choice and move on. And there I stood. Time ticking on.

Lately, this decision making issue is pouring into other areas of my life. Maybe I am just tired and need a solid night's sleep followed by a nap. Then I think that Jason's trip to Australia and absence was a little more stressful than I had planned, and this decision making paralysis is simply some sort of stick-my-head-in-the-sand impact from that. (This is the part where all military wives may roll your eyes at me. God bless you - I do not know how you can handle the loads you do...I am clearly a sissy).

These small choices: what do I do with my hair, my workouts, my laundry, my dirty car. My shoes are frustrating me. The house is overrun with my shoes. One shoe, two shoe, mismatched shoe. My closet is reasonably clean, only a little disorganized. There's just all this stuff around me, and even after throwing out everything I owned a few months back in the Atwood garage/closet overhaul, I still want to throw out more things. I am tempted to throw out all my shoes except my black pumps, boots and my sneakers. If I only have three pairs of shoes, then I won't have to stand in front of my shelves in the morning, drooling and paralyzed at the choice of shoe. The same applies to shirts, pants and skirts.

Ah, the "big" decisions. How do I make those big choices without blinking, shooting from the hip, and those choices tend to be correct, and I am satisfied? Is it the instinct/gut factor? Where the instinct fight-or-flight factor is not present in the small choices?

Or is it because the days have become rife with a zillion small choices, and I cannot even make a proper list to handle them?...Maybe if I had a list. Yeah, that's it... I will make a list.

But then how do I choose the priority of the things on my list? That does not help me make decisions. A list is not the answer. A personal decision maker would be nice, along with a sister wife. Now, we're talking. Wait, just the sister wife! I could make the sister wife make all the small decisions, and I could be in charge of big ones.

See, again? The second wife is the answer.

February 13, 2010

Snow Babies II


Snow babies. We had a snow day around this time last year, but this time both babies were able to enjoy it. Stella accepted the puffy jacket with grace today, and we had a great time playing in the snow. James aptly pointed out that Snowman Steve on the back deck had no nose, so Jason dug up one of the frozen carrots from our square foot garden. James sighed with relief, saying "Eyes. Nose. Mouth. Snowman happy." To me, Snowman Steve looks a little scary.


Snowman Stan is in the yard, and stands as tall as Stella. He was more handsome. Less freaky.

I couldn't find James' gloves, but he looked dashing in Stella's pink mittens. Sorry, bud.

Stella has no fear of the snow (or anything, for that matter). She loved her time outside and cried and stared out the backdoor, once brought inside.

These are the moments, I swear I will never forget.

Happy Valentine's Day, Ya'll


Had a great night out last night with my dear husband. Stayed at the Mansion on Peachtree in Buckhead, which is ridiculously amazing, and I am moving there tomorrow. Well, not officially. Or really. But anyway.




Tomorrow, will be our 12th Valentine's Day together - time flies when you're having fun. And somehow, we always manage to have a ridiculous amount of fun. I love you, Jason.


As far as the two little valentines are concerned... there is snow on the ground, which means I should have tons of adorable pictures of the munchkins in the snow. However, Stella does not like to wear her puffy jacket... so I'm not sure the snow bunny pictures are forthcoming. We will give it the standard college try later.

February 7, 2010

Down Under

Let me tell you, after yesterday and today, how I am so glad my husband is on the big bird, on his way back to the States.

The kids were down for a nap today, and I finished a painting for my new office. I still had about an hour before they were scheduled to wake up so I thought I'd lay down. I took the finished painting on the back deck to get some sun and dry, and I passed out in the bed for an hour.

A while later, the monitors went off with both kids crying, and I popped up, ready to do the nighttime routine. I wandered out into the living room... and gasped, as I saw the back door, wide open.

I thought, I really cannot take much more of this.

There it was. The door stood wide open, and the wind was blowing into the house. I could hear James and Stella rustling around upstairs, and I thought, oh my God, someone is in my house.

I dashed back into the bedroom and grabbed the handgun. As I crept around corners, opening doors and closets and the garage. I went upstairs, checked every nook and cranny. Nothing. No one was here.

One solid heartattack later, I realized, I must not have locked the back door when I took the painting outside, and the wind must have just blown it open while I was napping. It made sense - happens all the time, if the door is not shut properly.

Still, does not make me feel any better about my household management skills sans husband.

I'm glad you are your way home, honey. If not for the sheer fact that I miss you... but then, for the fact that I cannot remember to shut doors and I almost lose children down hills while you are gone.

February 6, 2010

Another Reason to Become a Hermit

Jason is in Australia, and I braved an outing with James, 2, and Stella, 1, to the Mall of Georgia. Surprising uneventful. I even managed to buy some jeans, and have the right side of my hair accosted by one of those straigtening-iron people at a booth in the middle of the walkway. (Why, oh why, do not ask me.)

The weird thing is that I wore my sneakers to the mall. I never do that. I find it fashionably offensive (even though my ugly black clogs are usually no better). But today I wore my sneakers, and now I know why.

I was feeling pretty good on the drive home, feeling like a good mother who managed to take the circus on the road, and feed the kids a reasonably healthy lunch. I was patting myself on the back as I pull into the driveway, and let James out of the car. Holding his hand, I walk him around the other side to get Stella. I pin him between my knees as I pick her up. But as I close the door, and reach for his hand, he takes off running.

Our house has a reasonably steep, but short hill towards the left front, the bottom of which leads to a small creek recently filled and rushing from the heavy rains. James was making a mad dash for it. Holding Stella, I run after him screaming, "No! James, nooo!" At this point during any typical mad dash for anything, he usually turns around and gives me some you-know-what-eating grin, testing me...but he always stops or comes back. Today, he didn't stop. He didn't even turn around.

With Stella in my arms, I take off running, thanking God that I'd been on the treadmill twice this week, and for giving me the strange intuition to wear my Nikes to the mall. I am so close to grabbing him, but I clearly see I'm not going to make it. I scream No! in a panicked voice, which I can still seriously hear ringing in my ears, and without stopping, he runs slap off the edge of the hill and disappears.

For a milli-split second, my mind must've thought: drop Stella, hope she doesn't follow and go for James? run Stella to the grass, and then go back for James? or just tuck and tumble immediately, and go?

It must have only been a second pause, but I opt for tuck and tumble. I pull Stella into my chest and we both head sideways, rolling down the hill after James. Seconds before I reach him, I see him land at the bottom of the hill, three feet from the rushing water. Luckily, he was pretty stunned, and didn't venture any further. When I reach him, I grab his foot and yank him to me, and we were all safe.

Covered in mud and leaves, I sit in the wet grass covering both babies for what seemed like ten minutes. James is sobbing, Stella looks like she might have actually enjoyed the adventure, and I am am shaking beyond words. What in the hell just happened? This could have been so much worse. If I'd had been wearing my crappy non-running shoes... if he had run for the street....if he'd rolled three feet further. I was not even slightly careless... I wasn't texting or talking on the phone, I was pinning my son between my knees and pulling his sister out of her carseat, and in process of reaching for his hand to go into the house. Just run-of-the-mill careful parenting, and my son could have ended up in a creek.

As if I needed another reason to become a hermit...