Sunday, August 24, 2014

Entering the last year of my 20s

A 3D peek at what Bibbs looked like at 23 weeks, and Tim Tibbs at 4 days old. Any resemblance?
Not much to say (or much time to write today). After a whirlwind trip down to Santa Barbara and Oxnard two weekends ago, for a beautiful wedding of my dear friend and a 3D ultrasound as a gift from my mother-in-law, I am back in school full swing and staying busy as ever. I am only taking two classes that have exams (Professional Responsibility and Criminal Procedure). But in addition to those classes, my participation in Moot Court (both as a team member and the Executive Chair) demands a lot of work from me too. My Moot Court competition is in mid-October and the brief is due in mid-September so I am already up to my eyeballs in research for that. I have filled up the rest of the units for this semester by taking a clerkship for credit at the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing in the Legal Division. I have only had two days of work so far but I think that I am really going to like working with a government agency that investigates discrimination claims and advocates for people who have been wronged by employers and landlords. I’ll write more about what I am doing there once I figure that out myself. 


This week I have been thinking about the fact that on Tuesday I will be turning 29. As I think forward to all the things that I get to experience and accomplish in my 29th year I feel eager and excited and a smidgen scared. While I am 29 I will give birth to my first child, finish law school, take and pass the bar, and get my first job as a real, grown-up lawyer. Okay, so I might be counting my chickens…but I like to be optimistic and manifest the things I want in my future. Some things are certain, like the rapidly approaching birth of Bibbs, and some things are less certain, like the passing the bar and finding a job. But I know that each of these moments that will get to experience before I turn 30 are opportunities to cherish. 

And now, some snapshots before the wedding and, of course, more of Bibbs: 

Helping the bride with flower arrangements and making boutineers.

My gorgeous friends!


Bibbs is quite the yogi.

Sweet baby face! We are So excited to meet him/her.

Already being dramatic and hamming for the camera. "Oh, woe is me, being a fetus is so difficult..."

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Year to Come.

The alarm clock blares, the morning light seeps through the blinds, and it’s Monday. Work is back on, plans must be made, papers corrected, and meetings attended. 10 to 12 hour days will commence again and weekends will be a slight respite, but work still needs to be done.  
For the last two weeks I’ve been back at work. The week before last I was traveling to Stockton for Common Core Training and last week was a quick teacher’s retreat and some on campus professional development, with some Teacher Work Days thrown in the mix. However, students returned again last Thursday and came ready to rock this year.
I have started my second year at my school site and I couldn’t be happier. The summer was a necessary break where I was able to develop some materials at my own pace, relax, and find Myself again. Chelsea and I were able to take advantage of our summer schedules and visited the river, our families, and some lost friends who’ve been on our minds, but been so busy to take time and visit. It was a great summer and I think we took full advantage of it.
I am really excited to be going into my third year of teaching in Sacramento and know that I have gotten better every year.  I am teaching the older students, 10th-12th, and it’s where I think I should be. 


Before the Color Run
AFTER the colorful madness













It’s been a fun filled last two weeks. Chelsea’s mom came down last weekend and we ran The Color Run and then she helped organize the “guest-room--and-office-sometimes--turned-nursery” into an awesome space that looks like it is  not only  comfy for our guests (since guests can still sleep there), but also looks like it’s almost ready for a baby. This is appropriate since in a few weeks the second trimester will be over and Chels will be 2/3 of her way through the pregnancy! Wow! So close it’s been a magical time so far and there is still more to go. It will be interesting working and watching Chelsea progress through the last stage of this phenomenal moment of our lives. I plan on using this first half of the school year working on my life-work balance so when Little Bibbs comes I want to be able to spend as much time as I can with this incredible being.   
 
Moreover, our old Peace Corps compatriot, Annie, drove down on Sunday and spent part of the day at the River with us and Toast. It was a treat to see her since we live so close (only about 1.5 hours away), but we all are so busy so we haven’t made time to visit each other. We plan on remedying that in a few weeks when we go visit her.  
Then last Thursday (yes the same day the students came for their first day of school) Chelsea’s brother came down and we drove to San Francisco to see one of our favorite bands, Rx Bandits. Granted it was a school night, but I wouldn’t change the experience for the world. Friday was a little rough, but the show was great and I was introduced to a new band and danced a little bit the rocking sounds of Rx B. No regrets. Totally worth it. 
The year to come has some great potential and some really life changing moments (the baby and Chelsea graduating, for example) and I know with the positive energy I am feeling now, and true satisfaction I feel in my life at this moment, it can only continue to be magnificent. There will be rough patches, for sure, but there is always smooth sailing after and I can’t wait for it to happen.
Our message to Bibbs at the end of Week 22.
   

Monday, July 28, 2014

So this couple, a pup, and a fetus go for a drive…


Last weekend Tim, Toast, and I drove down to Oxnard to visit the Tibbses and our So Cal friends. I found out that the six-hour drive is a lot more difficult when you are five months pregnant. It isn’t as easy to sit comfortably in a car for long stretches as it used to be. But Tim made the drive pleasant by reading to me (and Bibbs). He learned that the baby can hear his voice so he started reading us a novel – the Dresden Files. It is a very entertaining story about a modern day wizard who solves crime in Chicago. Bibbs apparently loves to hear Tim’s voice because I can feel baby kicks and flutters every time he reads aloud. It is cool! Toast is generally ambivalent to Tim’s orations.

It is amazing how many things we managed to cram into one busy, fun-filled weekend! Mostly, we enjoyed the beautiful warmth of the Southern California summer with family. We played beach volleyball with Tim’s brother and niece (who is trying out for the freshman volleyball team when she starts high school next year) and splashed around in the ocean. We brunched with the in-laws and caught them up with all our baby related news. Everyone is so excited that we are adding to the Tibbs clan! We took Tim’s pop out to a movie, which was luxurious, since the two of us haven’t had time to see many of the summer blockbusters. 
 
On Friday we had dinner with some of Tim’s oldest friends. They have a 14th month old so we got another preview into what life with a baby will look like. It was especially interesting to watch Toast interact with a baby. We were nervous but she did really great! Sometimes she wanted to play with the baby so she would go into the downward dog bow position and then started running away to get the baby to chase her. The baby had no idea that the game worked that way and Toast got a little bored. Then Toast brought the baby her ball. She apparently wanted to teach the baby to play fetch but the baby didn’t get the idea that he was supposed to throw the ball. He would pick it up and Toast would wait patiently but the baby never threw it. Toast would nudge him gently but eventually gave up and came over to us. She seemed exasperated and, if we could read her mind, we think she would have told us, “That ‘puppy’ is either broken or stupid.”  Anyway, it was a hoot to see how she will do as a nanny dog. We are still planning on entering her into personal dog training starting next month though so we can rely on her to obey us 100% of the time when the baby comes, just to be safe. 
Tim and cousin Joey in a pic from 1994(?) found in an old photo album. What goobers! Some things never change...
Anyway, that night Tim and his cousin went to see his brother’s band play at the local bar (I stayed in because I am a lame, tired pregnant lady and didn’t want to be on my feet around cigarette smoke and drunk people). The boys had a great time without me and I got a wealth of advice from two experienced mom friends and then a great night’s sleep. It was good that I was well-rested because the next day we went to the Oxnard Salsa festival with our friends Heather and Jeff. The festival was such a fun event! It was a free fair that highlighted all things “salsa”. There was salsa music and dancing and, for only $5 we got a bag of chips and got to taste hundreds of gourmet salsas made by local restaurants and vendors. We had such a wide variety of salsas, everything from a sweet and mild strawberry to super hot habanero. It was, as Heather said, like wine tasting for pregnant ladies!

After our tatsebuds were fried off from the spice, we headed to Heather and Jeff’s house for the night. We got to meet their 4-month old puppy, Franklin. He is a cute pup and just loved Toast. The two dogs played all evening as we caught up with our friends. It was hilarious to watch Franklin follow Toast around everywhere and take cues from her, like Toast used to do with older dogs when she was a puppy. For example, Franklin didn’t know how to climb down the stairs in the house but after watching Toast do it a few times, and a little coaxing from us, he got the hang of it. Now Franklin is a pro at the stairs. 

They look almost the same size! Franklin "Beast" is going to be a big dog!
All in all it was a great weekend! Tim started back at work this week (teaching work days and professional development all week and the students come back next week). I am wrapping up work at the immigration law clinic and getting ready to start classes in mid-August. All that new school nonsense deserves a post in itself though.

And in brief, baby related news we saw Bibbs on an ultrasound a few weeks ago! All is healthy and well with the baby. We decided to wait to find out the sex of the baby until we meet him or her in person in four short months. Both baby and I are growing and doing well. Here is an updated Bibbs photo for your hilarity. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Short scenes of summer


This summer seems to be flying by. Before we know it, it will be mid-August and Tim and I will both be back in school. During the weeks, I have been working at the Immigration Law Clinic at school and taking summer school classes Monday through Thursday evenings. I am constantly busy, with real work, school work and work to prep for the upcoming year of Moot Court. Tim has been likewise busy, but in a different way. He is home for 5 weeks of summer “break” but, as anyone who knows a teacher knows, his break involves prepping and planning for next year. After we run-walk (I walk, then he goes farther for a run) in the mornings, he settles in for a day of reading the literature he will be teaching this upcoming year (Lord of the Flies, Hamlet, and Brave New World, among others). He has also been reading books on classroom management and teaching strategies and planning the first 6 weeks worth of lessons so he will be ready to go in early-August. So, as usual, the Tibbses stay busy, busy, busy.

However, this summer we decided that we needed to really make the most of every free moment and take advantage of this last summer that it will be just us two. So, almost every weekend (which are all three day weekends, since I don’t work or have class on Fridays), we make fun plans. Last weekend, for the Fourth of July we jam-packed so much into the weekend it was dizzying. On Friday my mom and her long-lost cousin, Josh, came to Sacramento. The four of us, and three of our friends went up the American River for an inner tube float with a BBQ picnic at the take out. When we got back to Sacramento, we joined our neighbors on our front lawn for a personal firework show. Since we weren’t allowed to have fireworks in Santa Cruz as a kid growing up, I was as excited by the thrill of lighting them off as much as our 7 year old neighbor was. Tim and I can imagine a future of lighting fireworks on future Fourths with Tibblet(s) in tow. Then, on Saturday, we headed to the Sonoma Valley to join Oma and Sampa to watch a show, a Broadway medley, in an open-air theater in Jack London State Park. We just love being outside these days! 

Last week, my dad came up to Sacramento for a visit and to watch the semi-final matches in what has proven to be one of the best World Cups ever (and also probably my sober-ist). This Mundial, Tim and I enjoyed watching almost every game, and wagering on the elimination round predictions (neither of us were right on, but Tim was closer this year). We aren’t quite sure what we will do with all the free time now that the tournament is over. Anyway, it was fun watching with dad since he is the one who introduced me to the love of futbol. I wonder what Tim will teach Bibbs to enjoy? 

This weekend, Tim and I drove up to Sea Ranch for a quiet weekend alone. It was lovely to be by the ocean and out of the Sacramento heat. We did what we normally do at our family’s house in Sea Ranch: read, hike, walk on the beach, nap, cook, read, write, and repeat. I got a lot of work checked off my to-do list and feel so super refreshed coming into this new week, which is good considering that in the next seven days we have an ultrasound appointment, an appointment with the midwife, school and work, a visit with my cousin Dallas and her kids who are visiting from Oregon, a wedding, a dinner date with friends, a baby shower, a brunch date, and hopefully a trip to visit more cousins in the central valley. Did I mention we are trying to have ALL the fun this summer? 

18 Weeks! Almost halfway there!

In the midst of summer fin, Toast helped us organize our file cabinet (our first step towards reorganizing the house to make room for the third Tibbs)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Law School Baby

Tim and I started talking about starting our family, and when would be a “good time” in our lives, when we were living in Guyana. I never thought I wanted kids until I had the chance to work in the health center and was surrounded by babies, mamas and pregnant women every day. I got to see first hand the joy and pride that being a parent brought to my clients. Tim has always wanted children and so when I told him I thought I was ready to have kids of our own he was excited. The only question we had then was when? When we joined the Peace Crops, the plan was always for me to go to law school right after. I had taken then LSAT before going overseas in preparation and was applying to schools when we began having the baby talk.

We began to discuss whether we should plan to wait until after I was finished with school or try to start our family while I was in law school. On the one hand, waiting would mean I would be working and bringing in income when there was another Tibbs to take care of. On the other hand, if we waited I would be over thirty and Tim would be thirty-four when we had our first child. This would certainly not be unheard of, but we like the idea of getting a Tibbs clan started a little earlier in life. Plus, in all likelihood, we wouldn’t have tried to get pregnant immediately after I was out of law school since I would like to work and build some credibility in my first real lawyer job before we had to ask for maternity leave.

Were we crazy to think that we could handle the pressures of law school and our first baby? Well, like with most decisions in our lives, we decided to do some research before we made a big decision. I spent some time online, googling around to see if I could find any advice. Were there any other women who had had babies in law school and, if so, what were their experiences and advice? After a little time online, I found a group of attorney mama bloggers who shared their stories about having their babies in law school. It was great to learn from these women that, with discipline, sacrifice and teamwork, it is doable.

So, with the inspiration of women who had come before, we decided to go for it. We may be crazy, but a law school baby is in the works. I only have one more year of law school to go and the timing works out so that I will be able to finish my fall semester before the baby comes. If the baby comes on time, I will have 5 weeks at home with Tim and the baby during Christmas break. Then, in mid-January, I’ll go back to school to finish my third year and graduate on time. I am taking summer school presently so that my spring semester will be light. I will only be taking 3 evening classes a week, which means I will be able to be home with the baby during the daytime. Then, when I have to go to class in the evening, Tim will be home to take over baby duty.

Although I am confident that Tim and I have a good plan I still sometimes wonder if this is a “good time” for us to have a baby. We aren’t homeowners and we still have student loan debt. But then again, is there ever a time that we will feel ready emotionally and financially? I doubt it. And it is encouraging to know that we are not in this alone. We will have the support of my mom, who is planning on moving up to Sacramento, and our family and friends, who are all so excited for baby Bibbs. I know this law school baby will be raised not only by us, but by our village of teachers, lawyers, nurses, young professionals and old parenting pros. So maybe we aren’t so crazy after all… 

As a bonus, here is a picture of me at 16 weeks. Even though Toast wanted in the picture, the Bibbs bump is still pretty visible! 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Reviving Tibbs Travels – Embarking on a New Adventure



Clearly law school and teaching has taken a lot of our time and focus this last year. I am embarrassed to say, it has been since October since we posted a blog. I suppose it didn’t feel like we were living up to the name of the blog, “Tibbs’ Travels” because we have been settled into our life and demanding routine, although we have been taking weekends and vacations to explore around and about California with friends and family.

However, now we are embarking on a new, wild adventure that we think may be blog-worthy, or at least interesting to our dear readers – our family and friends afar. We are going to have a baby! We are thrilled, excited, overjoyed, overwhelmed and nervous to become parents. Our baby, who we have been calling “Bibbs”, short for baby Tibbs, is due to arrive in early December.

 
I found out on March 31st that I was pregnant. Tim was at work already and I was home alone. This was something we had been hoping for for quite some time so I was on alert to the possibility that we might finally have a baby on the way but I was still shocked to see the home test result. I started crying with joy and trepidation and had to sit down and let the magnitude of the realization sink in. I decided to wait to tell Tim until he got home from work that day.

Waiting all day, holding this new secret to myself was surreal. I felt like I was walking in a dream, until I was able to share the news. Ironically, I had an errand to run that day that involved buying diapers to donate to a charity event at school so I found myself browsing the baby section of Target, feeling hopeful and overwhelmed. I bought the diapers to donate and also decided to put together a gift bag for Tim as a way of telling him we were going to have a baby. I bought a packet of nursery hangers and a tiny onesie that said “My dad is cooler than your dad” on it. I found a card that said on the outside, “It was never a question of IF, but only a matter of WHEN” and I wrote “Congratulations, you are going to be a father!” on the inside of the blank card. I put the whole gift bag together, went to class as if my day was normal and then waited for Tim to come home.

Tim was surprised to find a present and even more surprised when he opened it. He was confused by the nursery hangers, but I think he knew at that point what I was trying to tell him. However, he is the kind of guy who likes to see things in writing for them to sink in. He picked up the onesie next, laughed and commented on how small it was. Then he got to the card. When he read it, I think the words made the message real. He acted surprised, but I think he had known all along. After a few shocked curse words, he came to give me a hug and we were able to cry and kiss and enjoy the huge, weighty reality that we are going to be parents.

Now I am 16 weeks along in the pregnancy and the reality has taken almost this much time to sink in. We have been documenting, in picture form, the journey thus far and have so much to share. We want to try to get back into the blogging habit, both to keep our family updated and also so we can have a journal of this crazy new adventure we have started. For now, I think the best way to share how far we have come in just these four short months is to share these sort of embarrassing photos of Bibbs and me, growing together. 






Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thoughts on Puppy Training and Dominance



I guess you can’t reason or guilt a dog into good behavior. Recently, our sweet Toast has shown a few signs of teenage defiance (in dog years of course). On three recent occasions our normally docile dog has show the first signs of aggression we have seen in the year we have known her. On a side note, it is hard to believe we have only had this little pup in our lives for a year. At times she seems like the best friend we have had all our lives, and at times she is so quiet we forget she exists… hmmm… But recently, she has been a total brat. She has snarled and snapped at three dogs (two puppies) on walks and at the dog park, in the last two weeks. We can attribute her behavior to three things:

1.     Our next-door neighbors have their in-laws come by at least a few times a week to care for their young daughter and with them they bring Titus. Titus is an asshole dog. There is really no other way of putting it. He is a total aggressive asshole. This dog barks at every living creature (human, dog, cat, whatever) that walks near the house. When I go out to my car he charges the fence and snarls and barks at me like I am an evil, threatening criminal. I hear him as early as 6 in the morning when the parents come over because they let him out in the yard instead of keeping him inside where he would be less aggravated. Anyway, since our fence butts up against theirs Titus and Toast have been “fence-fighting”. When our little guard dog hears Titus, she runs outside to the small section of chain-link fence that adjoins our neighbors and those two go at it. I hate that she has become so aggressive in reaction to this other dog. When yell at her to stop she comes in but she is super agitated. I can only imagine how she feels when she is at home alone when Tim and I are at school. Poor pup. The long overdue solution is that I need to talk to my neighbors. Maybe we can coordinate different times when the dogs can be out in the yards or erect some barrier or something. In any case, I bet the fence fighting has contributed to her bad behavior.
2.      This is an easy one. Exercise. More, more precisely, lack thereof. We have been lax about taking this dog out for walks and jogs. She is young and super athletic and needs to get out and run. We were good about taking her for regular walks when she was a puppy but schoolwork has gotten the best of us and we have been seriously negligent. I think a few weeks ago she went a whole week without a proper walk. I can only imagine that her pent up energy contributes to her recent aggressiveness.
3.      Dominance. We have to remind Toast who is boss. I can’t say I prescribe fully to the Cesar Milan theory of dog training but I do know that when I show Toast that I am the pack leader she is much better behaved. When we went to dog training we learned a bunch of things to do to assert human dominance that, frankly, we have been slacking off on. For example, the humans are always supposed to walk in the door to the house before the dog barges in. When we give her a command she is supposed to obey instantly. We must invite her up on the couch before she is allowed to jump up herself. In the past few weeks we haven’t been asserting these rules and I think that her behavior suffers as a result. So we are cracking the proverbial whip with this dog. The technique that has been working the best has been putting her down. No, not putting her to sleep. Just forcefully rolling her onto her back and holding her there for a moment. Dogs do this to each other to assert dominance and it has been very successful, especially when we put her down immediately after she has shown any signs of aggression. Interestingly enough, the skills necessary to get a submissive dog are the same that Tim is practicing in his classroom with his students. He has been told he needs to work on his classroom management (I can only imagine that he is too rational and forgiving). It appears that in order to have consistently well-behaved puppies and teenagers, it is important to be consistent, assertive, disciplined and firm.

Anyone out there have any thoughts or experiences with working with suddenly aggressive dogs (or impudent teens?)?