Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lunch Meeting

Today Grace and Kate were having a great time playing outside. After a few minutes I realized they were playing "lunch meeting." Grace would tell Kate that she had to run to a lunch meeting and then she would hold the meeting, then run back to Kate and play with her. This happened again and again. I blame Grace's Mommy and Daddy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Parents Night Out

Every month our church holds a "Parish Night Out," which is a great opportunity for church members to meet and mingle. The best part of the night is that we offer free child care, which is such an incredible ministry as it gives parents a gift of freedom to meet other like-minded people. I had the opportunity to serve as a nursery worker today and had a great time. My daughter really enjoyed craft time, as you can see below. By the way, all faiths are welcome, so please consider joining us in January 2011.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas Comes Early

As I do not have a traditional 9-5 office job, I have the opportunity to have some unique experiences with my girls. My wife had a client meeting on Veteran's Day and I had the opportunity to spend the time with the little ladies. Fortunately, the Blue Willow, which is a local gift shop, had a Christmas event we could attend. I must commend the Blue Willow on an incredible event. The highlight of the morning was Grace's first opportunity to talk to Santa.

The children also had an opportunity to write a letter to Santa. Grace was really concerned that Santa would not be able to understand her younger sister's scribbling. Fortunately, Santa was most pleased with Kate's letter and said that he understood every word!

The Event was a party to honor the "Magic Elves." I was really proud of the girls as they were not afraid of the elves at all. I actually had to remove Kate so as to give other children a chance to meet the elves.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lessons from a Four Year Old

Grace gave me another good lesson today. Out of the blue she said "Daddy, I like being a girl. I really like myself." I am in awe of her natural self-confidence and it is something I need to strive for myself.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

St. Thomas More

I attended a meeting today of the St. Thomas More Society, which is a group of Catholic lawyers that meets monthly to discuss faith and the law. It may surprise many people that some lawyers are actually concerned about the morality of their daily actions. I really enjoy the dynamics of the group and discussing the struggle of living our faith in the "real world." We also recite a great prayer, which is as follows:

St. Thomas More Prayer

Lord, grant that I may be able in argument,
Accurate in analysis,
Strict in Study,
Candid with clients,
And honest with adversaries.

Sit with me at my desk,
And listen with me to my client's plaints,
Read with my in my library,
And stand beside me in court,
So that today I shall not,
In order to win a point,
Lose my soul.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Little Assistant

I recently sent a mailing to make some great announcements about my firm. Some of you may notice that the stamp on your letter was quite crooked. I apologize for the unprofessional appearance, but my assistant (who insisted on helping me) is 4 years old.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life is not fair

I have found myself practicing quite a bit in Domestic Court. You really have to be careful when you swear you will never do something. Grace (my 4 year old) asked me about what I do for clients (referring to a divorce client I finished speaking to). I did not want to explain divorce, so I told her that sometimes people aren't fair and that I need to help them when that happens. Her response was: "Daddy, that is not very nice at all!" She was stunned that people would not be fair. Unfortunately I cannot insulate her from this unfortunate reality of the world.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Morning with Grace

I had an opportunity today to spend a morning with Grace (my 4 year old). Her younger sister was hanging out with her Mom, so we took this opportunity to spend some time together. We started with breakfast at Panera. We had a great conversation about self-affirmation (something I really struggle with). I told Grace that she was "so sweet." She responded, "Daddy, don't call me sweet, why don't you call yourself sweet? You are sweet too, you should tell yourself that." She made me tell myself that I was sweet and then she did the same for herself. Grace, you do not know how insightful you are sometimes.

When we got to my office, Grace told me that she could color for me. I struggled to find a use for such a skill in the legal field, but I could not find one. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!

Grace did ask me if she could sign a document, so I gave her a draft of the first document I had handy--- an Advance Health Care Directive. She was very into it and really wanted to complete it. I told her that she could use it to let people know if she wanted help when she was really sick. She of course said "yes," but then changed her mind and said no (as you can see below). I sure hope she does not have problems in the future because her Dad discussed these horrible things with her.

For some reason Grace and I were talking about "will," not the testamentary variety, but rather the desire to do something. Grace confused the two and asked: "Daddy, I have a Will, don't I?" She then followed-up with "what is a Will?" I explained that it is a document that says where you want your stuff to go when you die and go to heaven. I told her that when Mommy and Daddy go to heaven (in a long long time), everything we own will go to Grace and her sister. Grace perked up and said, "Daddy, I am going to do a Will for my kids and I will give them my flip flops and head band. They will love them!" She was referring to the flip flops and head band she was wearing at that particular moment.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Toys for the Office

Grace and Kate were shopping with their mother at the Dollar Tree and they bought some new toys for my office. I frequently have children accompany their parents to my office and toys have become a necessary component of my law practice. Grace is trying out one of the new puzzles that is now a part of my supply. She told me that everyone but Kate can play with the new toys. Poor Kate- Grace thinks she is still too little to trust with any new toy!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Death and Dying

As an estate planner, I frequently have to discuss the topics of death and disability. These topics can be extremely uncomfortable for people (and on top of that I ask people to pay me for the privilege of this discussion). I recently learned a good lesson from my four year old about the fear of dying. First, just a few days ago (and totally out of the blue), she told me “Daddy, I don’t want you to get killed.” I replied “me neither” and we had no more to say about that topic.

Just a few days later, Grace told me that she had to tell me something. She put her hands on my cheeks and said “Daddy, I love you. Will you promise something? When you die and are in heaven, you watch me, ok. I will be old when I get there, but when I get there we can love each other forever and ever, ok?“

I was of course a little surprised and had an immediate dread that something was coming for me and this was my omen. She then made me laugh when she said, “write it down ok, so you don’t forget.”

After some reflection I learned a lesson from Grace. She is too young to harbor all the fears and concerns our society has about death. Perhaps it is something (especially those of us who are Christians) should feel comfortable discussing and perhaps we should even embrace it. By the way, Grace, I will watch you.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Play Date

Grace often calls our time together at my office a “play date” and that she loves having them with me. She also really likes to write and draw on my letterhead (I know, it is an expensive piece of scratch paper for her). She asked me if I could order her some letterhead, which could be pretty funny, especially for letters to opposing counsel.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Keep Me Busy

Grace really enjoys working with me in my office. At my home office, she has her own little desk and chair. When she comes with me to my business office, she has her own lap top and a stack of coloring books on my shelf. The last time she was at my business office, she became a little frustrated because she did not have much to do. She pleaded with me “Daddy, keep me busy. I need to be busy!” One day she may understand that not being busy can be an incredible blessing!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I never thought that goldfish would be such an important part of my law practice. When I refer to goldfish, I am not talking about the actual fish, but rather the tasty little cracker. I often take my daughters to my office. Mrs. Barbara (who is the office assistant for my landlord) always has a supply of goldfish, which are especially for kids. My girls have certainly caught on to the plan. On one of our last visits, Grace asked for a snack and I told her we had none. She responded "you have goldfish, you always have goldfish at your office." Her younger sister even gets into the game, for every time she comes to my office she stands in the lobby and cries "I wan cacker." [sic] Thank goodness for goldfish. I could not practice law without them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grace Should Write Greeting Cards

I have some new artwork in my office (see below). It was Grace's "work" one day when she was spending some time with me. The picture depicts Grace and me. There are also two stickers on the paper: a heart and a smiley face. Grace actually had a specific reason for these two stickers and I quote:

"I put the heart on because I love you and the smiley face because I smile every time I see you."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kate's Charity Work

If an 18 month old ever needs a resume, then Kate is well ahead of the game on building her own curriculum vitae. I am so lucky to be able to spend a lot of my time with my girls. Often this leads to some childcare issues and I have to depend on the kindness of others to put up with my kids. I serve on the board of Neighborhood Housing Services, which is an incredible charity providing housing counseling and foreclosure assistance to those in the Birmingham area. This month I had to bring Kate to our monthly board meeting. NHSB is amazingly kid-friendly --- or at least no one seems to mind the antics of my children.

She behaved very well (primarily because I let her share my Chick-fil-a lunch). The highlight of the meeting was when she walked across the room and began to help herself to some chocolate in a candy bowl. I did not know her eyesight was so well developed! Believe it or not we were actually able to conduct some good business at our meeting.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kate Goes to a Client's Office

I met with a client to discuss a lease agreement. We decided to meet at the client's office. Kate was out of school and I had the pleasure of spending my day with her. I decided to take a risk and take her to the client's business. My hunch proved correct and the place of business was most kid friendly and in fact my client had her two young daughters with her. Kate had a great time and I was actually able to do some good work.

Kate and her new friend.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Casual Day

One of the benefits of having my own practice is that I set the dress Code for the office. On days like today (when I have no client meetings or court appointments) I generally dress casually (golf shirt, shorts and sneakers with no socks). There is always the risk that a client may drop-by. I had such a drop-by today and had to endure some good natured kidding about my dress code. Fortunately, my client did not mind my casual dress and in fact I believe he was a little jealous.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Amazing Vacation

The entire family (along with my in-laws and my sister-in-law and her family) had an amazing vacation in May at Club Med in Florida. I was able to work just a little, but I actually enjoyed the rest and relaxation so much that I did not work near as much as I had planned (probably a good thing).

A great sunset

Sarah on the archery range. She was actually very good.

Nana and the girls

My brother-in-law and I participated in a sailboat regatta. We finished dead last in the first heat, but I am most proud of our second place overall finish. I must admit that I did not know a thing about sailing prior to this event and I only served as an ornament decorating the deck of the boat.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Seminar Day

I had an opportunity to attend a NBI Seminar on Trust Administration today. The primary reason for my attendance was to speak for about an hour on the issue of ethics in a trust practice. I decided to stay for a few extra hours to see if I could learn something from the other speakers.

The highlight of my day is that I had lunch with my girls at my wife's office. My wife had a client meeting today, so she needed me to sub for her for an hour or so. Lunch was wild as always and I probably let the girls eat more sweets than actual lunch food (such is the prerogative of a Dad).

Grace and I had a most interesting conversation when she asked me if she could eat a lollipop that my wife had in her office. I told her "no" and her response was "ok, I will wait until you died [sic] and then I will decide if I will eat it." She added further that "when you died I will be old, so I will not need you to take care of me." At that point I must admit I had my feelings a little hurt. I asked her if she would miss me and she responded, "no, I'll see you in heaven one day."

Once I overcame my surprise about the nature of our conversation, I began to reflect on the fact that children can speak about death with incredible ease, whereas we as adults become instantly uncomfortable with any mention of the subject. Death is just a part of life and for Christians we see it as the beginning of our new and better life. Perhaps I should accept this as a lesson from my 'wise' 4 year old.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bye Bye

Due primarily to my car being in the repair shop, I have had an opportunity to work a lot at home this week. My 15 month year old has been a frequent companion. I have had to make numerous phone calls to clients, which is always dicey with a little one in the room. Nevertheless, she becomes quite enthusiastic at the end of each call, for every time I say bye or find myself about to say bye, she starts chirping 'bye bye, bye bye, bye bye." If we have been on the phone this week, I am sure you may have received this extra "bye."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Morning Errands

Had a great morning today running some business errands with Grace. She was so excited about helping me. By the way, if you receive a package from me and the mailing label is a little crooked, I blame my little assistant!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On the Phone Like Daddy

I was walking around the house talking on the phone to a client, when I noticed that Kate picked up a toy screwdriver and began to imitate me. She was even talking, which sounded like "la la la la ta la la ta da da ..." I imagine that is how I sound at times, especially when I lapse into legalease.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Getting my Niece Involved in the Family Business

My niece is spending the week with us. We have had a great time. She even had an opportunity to come by my office and spend some time working with me. If you receive a bill from me with this time entry:

Colored Elmo and friends- 30 minutes

You will know that Isabella was responsible for that good work. I also provide fruit snacks and juice for folks who get a little restless!

Friday, January 1, 2010


I enjoy using a digital recorder, which allows me to dictate letters, legal documents and special instructions for my secretary. It is a great device, especially for my practice on the go. My three year old routinely uses it to record songs, stories, etc. I was dictating a letter today and she came over to me and said "I want to say hi." I of course let her say "hi" in the middle of my letter. About five minutes later she wanted to say "bye." Hopefully my secretary will pick-up on the voice change and I will not have a couple of extraneous words in my document!