Thursday, March 15, 2018

Routine - Spring 2018

With the pending changes next fall, 
(kindergarten for Aaron, preschool for Oliver) 
I'm taking a moment to document our daily routine. 

The last time I documented was Fall 2016, 
where Oliver was still napping in his swing 
and Adam was still working Big Law Firm Hours


6:00-7:00am: Wake-up 

Oliver starts making noise at 6, 
and Adam usually gets him around 6:15ish, 
when he hangs out in bed with us. 
Aaron bounds into our room when his clock turns green at 6:30. 
Then Adam goes to shower, 
Aaron gets dressed, 
and Oliver hangs with me. 

7:00-8:00: Breakfast, TV, and Running 

Adam gives the boys breakfast. 
This is when I go running (about 3-3.5 miles) 
or if I'm not running, 
I'll try to get as much done in that short time period as I can before Adam leaves. 

They all eat cereal together, 
then Aaron and Oliver watch 1 PBS Kids show (25 minutes)
(Examples: Daniel Tiger, Cat in the Hat, Bob the Builder*, etc). 

*Adam, as in my husband, (not a typo) LOVES Bob the Builder. 
It's kind of weird. 

8-12: MWTh: Aaron is at preschool. 
Adam drops him off and I pick him up. 

8:00am-9:00ish: Get Ready & Upstairs Pickup

Oliver plays in his crib, 
while I shower and do my makeup. 

If Aaron is home, he entertains himself wherever. 
Sometimes his art center or he plays in his room. 

After I'm ready, I use this time to pick up the upstairs. 
The downstairs is picked up every night, 
and then I pick up the upstairs every morning. 
I've written before about being a clean freak
And that means that I usually won't go downstairs in the morning 
until every upstairs room in my house is ready for it's HGTV shoot (eye roll). 

9:00: Snack-time 

I ALWAYS make sure my kids have eaten before we leave the house. 
I very rarely pack snacks for on-the-go, 
because said snacks are either messy or unhealthy. 
I'd rather they eat fruit at home 
and disperse pretzel crumbs on the floor, 
than make my car sticky or crumbly. 

9:00ish-12:00noon Out-of-the-House Activities 

I wrote extensively about our out-of-the-house activities here

Some days have reoccurring activities, 
like every Monday, Oliver and I make the trek out to The Grocery Mecca

Wednesdays are usually mine and Oliver's "errand days," 
where we hit up all the required "to do list" of things. 

But most other days we are doing FUN activities. 

12:00-1:00: Lunch and Preschool Pickup

We try to be home for 12noon lunch. 
This is when I often pack Adam's and Aaron's lunch for the next day. 
An example of our menu here

1:00-3:00ish: Nap and Quiet Time 

Oliver naps in his crib consistently about 2 hours. 
Every now and then we have short streaks, 
with molars or stuffy nose causing him to wake early. 
But generally, 2 hours is the norm. 

Aaron gets 2 hours of quiet time in his room. 
He can do whatever he wants during that time alone. 
And sometimes he opts to be completely naked
 (wrote about that here). 
He usually spends the first bit of time playing with 
whatever toy he has selected from our Toy Rotation
and then spends the latter half "reading" (thumbing through books). 
Where's Waldo has been a recent big hit for him. 
He LOVES LOVES LOVES looking through the Waldo books. 

I spend this time in a mix of productivity and relaxation. 
Sometimes the "to do without kids" list is super long 
and I spend the whole 2 hours running around the house 
or on the phone making calls. 
Sometimes I can sit and read or blog or catch up on This Is Us. 
As I type this, I think I'm 2 episodes behind on This Is Us. 

3:00: Snack

Now that we've moved to a late dinner, 
this is a very critical snack to hold them off. 

We don't normally have a chocolate snack, 
but this photo of him eating a Valentine's Day cookie cracks me up. 

3:00-6:00: The Great Void 

This will always be the hardest part of the day for me. 
The Great Void is this empty space post-nap and pre-dinner, 
where often the kids are starting to dissolve 
(you know, that late-day energy / cranky combination). 
I am very curious to see how this changes with kindergarten. 
Will it get better or worse???

As for us now, when the weather is nice, 
I try to get us out to parks or the small local zoo. 
Too hot or too cold, this means a LOT of library time

6:00-6:30: Dinner Prep

I've moved away from prepping meals at naptime, 
to assembling meals right before we eat. 
Many factors for this, but mostly it is to free up naptime for my relaxation. 
Some meals still take multiple steps to prepare, 
and thus make better naptime cooking, 
but I'm trying to move away from that. 

During this time, the boys get another PBS Kids show (25-min), 
which sometimes turns into 1.5-2 PBS Kids shows 
depending on the length of dinner prep. 

6:30-7:00: DINNER AS A FAMILY 

I caps lock this just to emphasize how much I still cherish this wonder. 
After so many years of eating alone with the kids while Adam works, 
it's amazing to fulfill a lifelong dream to sit down as a family together. 

7:00-7:30: Bath/Shower and Bed 

Aaron gets a shower every night, 
unless Oliver needs a bath then Aaron joins Oliver in the bath. 

I recently bought the boys robes, 
and they lovvveeee running around in their bathrobes. 
I often find Oliver sitting in the corner of Aaron's bedroom, 
flipping through a book. 
He hasn't open-peed..... yet. 

Adam usually puts Oliver to bed, 
while I put Aaron to bed. 
Every now and then we switch. 
It's nice to have that flexibility 

7:30-9:00: TV with Adam 

We jump around to a variety of different shows. 
On Netflix this means series like The Crown or OITNB or Travelers 
(LOVE  Travelers!) 
but when we exhaust those series, 
we resort to random TV like Duel Survivor and Robot Wars. 
We are such nerds. 

9:00: Read in Bed. 

One of my resolutions this year was to read 30 minutes every day. 
I tried to incorporate this into naptime, 
but I kept resenting the 30 minute commitment chewing up my productivity time. 
I've done much better fitting this in before bed. 
I think it also helps me sleep better. 

10:00: Try to be asleep by this time

Sometimes I fail. 
Particularly when I'm reading a really really really good book. 
Oh my that was a good one! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Breastfeeding Round Two - Part 2

Well, my friends, I have reached the end of breastfeeding for Baby #2. 

I wrote all about breastfeeding Oliver here
From bottles strikes to lactation consultants. 

9-month-old Oliver nursing on the plane to Florida last year

My goal was to make it to 18 months, 
which I did. 
In fact, we sailed right past 18 months without so much as a hiccup. 
At 22 months old, Oliver still LOVED nursing. 
He was so excited to nurse 
and was so devastated if he was turned down. 
He was a good breastfeeder, too. 
He didn't fidget like a lot of kids I read about. 
Sometimes he'd tried to titty-twist my other nip, 
but a shirt adjustment would fix that. 

And nutritionally, he was still getting all the antibodies 
which I think is what helped him escape 
virtually unharmed from this winter cold season. 

So, if he loved it so much, why stop? 
Our American culture tends to frown upon extended nursing, 
but there are lots of benefits to breastfeeding a toddler
and many cultures continue breastfeeding well into age 3. 
So why did I stop? 

Because I was done. 

Lots of reasons. 
They were all selfish reasons, 
but they were reasons enough to stop. 

1. Even when I was home, 
I wanted someone else to put Oliver to bed. 

If I was gone for the evening or naptime, 
Oliver accepted a replacement person just fine. 
He wouldn't get a bottle (bad for teeth!), 
but whoever it was, Adam or a babysitter, 
would sing and he'd go down just fine. 

But if I was home, all bets were off. 
He was not going to settle for some lameass song if he could get boobs. 

As a Working Mom, I may have appreciated the quality time together at night. 
But as a stay-at-home-mom who had spent all day with him, 
I was ready for a break. 

2. My period. 
(A little lot of tmi here)

I was on my regular dose of birth control
 (I've been on the same generic brand for 10+ years), 
but my period gave zero shits about said birth control. 

Sometimes, I would get my period in the middle of the month, 
then not at all during when it was "scheduled" to come. 

Sometimes, I would get my period in the middle of the month 
and then AGAIN during the end of the month. 

Sometimes my period only lasted a day. 
One time (when I started cutting back on nursing), 
And not like 10 days of spotting, 
but 10 days of super-thick tampons. 

The unpredictability was driving me mad. 

I didn't start birth control until after I was done nursing Aaron, 
so I had no comparison for this phenomenon. 
The OB confirmed that breastfeeding was causing the fluxes. 
But she wasn't willing to increase my birth control dosage until I was done. 


The Weaning Process

While my reasons were not of any noble intent, 
they were enough for me to be done. 
For the past year, Oliver nursed a very predicable schedule:
morning, before nap, and bed. 

In January, I cut out the morning nurse. 
It was my least favorite (that uncomfortable side-lie in bed!) 
and the one that he was least upset about missing. 

Oliver would "uhm" ("'more") while tugging my tank top straps, 
or make the "milk" baby sign with his hands, 
but when I said : "No" 
he would accept it and be fine. 

The nap and bedtime were tougher. 
At the end of the post here
I wrote about my attempt to eliminate the bedtime nurse, 
at which point his totally devastated face won me over. 

When Adam started his new job, 
we seized the opportunity for Adam to regularly put Oliver to bed,
 even when I was home. 
The screams were devastating
I'd be putting Aaron to bed 
and all I'd hear from the nursery was: 
You'd think Adam was torturing him. 
After a few nights of this, 
Oliver calmed the hell down 
and bedtime became less and less painful. 

At this point we were left with the mid-day naptime feed. 
I didn't want to eliminate this feed until after our Florida trip. 
Always preparing for the worse, 
I figured if we got stuck on the tarmac for 3 hours or something 
(I know there are new laws about this, but shit still happens), 
I wanted to have a reserve supply of emergency milk. 
Just in case. 

Us on the plane this year

We had no such instances. 
We got home Saturday late morning, 
Adam put Oliver to nap and bed for two days straight. 
The real test would be when Adam went back to work Monday. 
Could I resist the super sad face of rejection? 

Yes, yes, I could. 

I put Oliver to nap and when he signed "milk," 
I said: "No. We are going to sing." 
And that sad little lip puckered out 
but I held strong. 

He didn't cry until I put him in his crib and walked out of his room. 
Then he let out the most heartbreaking little sob. 
I mean, gut-wrenching. 
But that was it. 

Over a week later, and he still occassionally signs for "milk." 
Usually on the changing table right before nap or bed. 
He's ok with the "no" though. 
I guess he figures it never hurts to try. 

The New Free Me 

Some more TMI, my boobs grow substantially when I'm pregnant, 
and stay about the same for the first year of nursing. 

With Aaron, when I stopped nursing, 
I looked like a balloon deflated. 
My boobs went from "HELLO THERE!" 
to "nope, nothing to see here, move along" in a week. 
It was pretty dramatic. 

Over the last year with Oliver,
 I'd started to notice a decrease in size, 
so I was hoping I could emerge from the weaning process without deflation. 
Eh... I think I still dropped a cup size. 
I was a 34D and I think I'll be back to 34C, 
but hopefully not all the way back down to 34B. 

As for my period? 
Time will also tell on that. 
So far there has been no mid-month appearance, 
so I hope this means we have returned to our regularly scheduled programming. 


And that, my loyal handful of readers, is my end of breastfeeding story!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Highschool Class Recap

We are back from our vacation in Florida and it was a dream. 
We also narrowly missed the Noreaster that blew through Philadelphia, 
with winds over 50mph. 
Our yard was litered in branches 
and we have one small tree leaning on our neighbors fence, 
but overall not too bad. 

Anyway, I decided to kick off with another survey. 
Allena published this for her 20-year class reunion, 
and although mine is still a few years away, 
I thought it was cute enough to publish now. 

Of course, I have to throw in a brief explanation 
(eye roll)
that I consider "highschool" to be grades 9-11. 
My senior year we moved to a new state, 
which meant an emotional rollercoaster coupled with a side of depression. 
I've blocked most of that year out, 
and thus when anyone says "highschool memories," 
I'm immediately transported back to Grade 9-11. 


1.  Did you know your current spouse? 

I lived in Central NY and Adam lived in Philly. 
About 4.5 hours away in a different state. 

2. What kind of car did you have? 

'95 Toyota Camry. 
I called the color "teal." 

3. What kind of job did you have? 

I babysat all the time. 
I was the go-to babysitter for many families, 
particularly large families 
and also by families with small babies, 
since I was 12 when my sister was born 
and thus had a ton of baby experience. 

4. Were you a party animal? 

Meh, I don't think so.
It's not like I was getting drunk or high like other kids, 
but I was friends with the kids who were getting drunk and high. 
I liked the bad kids because they were interesting. 
They had fun stories and crazy experiences, 
and they weren't afraid to push boundaries. 

And while my friends and I did some 'bad" things, 
they weren't bad dangerous
but bad stupid
(or bad funny). 

Example: we pinneddissected frogs to the bio ceiling, 
so when the next class came in 
and the pins gave way, 
it rained down dissected frogs. 

Truly though, most of my memories are just hanging out my friends 
in whoever's house was big enough to hold us. 
That, and sometimes driving around for hours
Back when gas was cheap. 

5. Were you a jock or a nerd? 

You could say I was a nerd because I had all honors/AP classes, 
but I sat in the back with the kids who goofed off, 
so we weren't the goody goody kids 
(looking at you Allena!). 
I was in the top 3% of my class, 
but didn't advertise it. 
I once had a teacher pull me out of class because I was "distracting." 
My argument? "But I have 100s. I don't need to pay attention!"
Her response: "'I know that, but the kids around you are failing!

Oh, but I definitely wasn't a jock. 
I didn't take up running until college. 

6. Were you in choir/Band or orchestra? 

In my school, those were the nerds. 

7. Did you ever get suspended from school? 

Suspension means you got CAUGHT. 
And who is stupid enough to get caught? 
C'mon people! 

8. If you could go back would you?  

Tricky question. 
I love my life now, 
specifically having MONEY and NO CURFEW! 
But if I could go back in time and spend a week in highschool? 
All that free time we had to
hang out with friends, 
and do nothing? 
Give me a week of pure bliss. 

9. Do you still talk to the person you went to prom with?  

Sadly no. 
He was my first boyfriend, 
named Tyson
 (yes, like the chicken company). 
He was such a perfect boyfriend. 
Of all the guys I dated, he's the closest to Adam's personality. 
He was so loyal and so chill. 
And me being me, 
I later dumped him to hook up with this guy I wrote about here
I don't know much about Tyson anymore 
except some light facebook stalking confirmed 
he's pursuing a career of a pizza delivery boy, 
which is sad because he was super smart. 

I loved that prom dress with a passion. 
It had this lace-up back and I just loved it. 

10. Did you skip school? 

We had unofficial "senior skip days," 
which turned into "junior skip days" 
and "sophomore skip days" 
and basically all the teachers planned movies that day, 
so only the goody goody kids stayed in the school, 
and the rest of us peaced the hell out. 
I remember arguing with my dad 
(my dad = a perfect student who couldn't fathom the idea of "skipping")
Finally, my parents agreed. 
I don't even know if the school ever called them, 
because there were so many students out that it probably wasn't worth it. 

11. Go to all the football games? 

I think one or two. 
Mostly we just hung out behind the bleachers. 

12. Favorite subject? 

Oh man, so many I liked
 (here's the nerd part sneaking out).

I LOVED global history (hated American history). 
Dark Ages, Renaissance, the Crusades, the French Revolution, all of it! 

I also loved my math classes, 
because I was so crazy good at math. 
For geometry, I was 1 of 2 students in the school 
who got a perfect 100 on the Regents. 

13. Do you have any of your yearbooks? 


14. Did you follow the career path you imagined? 

Sort of, yes. 
I learned early on that my skills made me perfectly suited for an accountant, 
and that's kind of what I became. 

15. Still talk to your best friend? 

Wrote about her here

Pre-bangs me!

16. Favorite singer? 
Oh man, I don't remember. 
I do remember punk rock bands, 
like the Offspring. 
I also had a thing for Eve6 and Blink182. 
I taught my sisters the lyrics to "All the Small Things."

17. Favorite Teacher? 

Oh so many!

My global studies teacher who looked like a walrus, 
and sweat like no one I'd ever met before
but was a great teacher 
and I still remember his lessons on the French Revolution. 

My 11th grade English Honors teacher who I'm pretty sure was high... a lot. 
My 10th grade English teacher who was dating the Color Guard Instructor. 

My AP Chem teacher who was so chill and awesome, 
but unfortunately was having an affair with the track star 
which was particularly sad because his wife was the AP Bio teacher 
and everyone loved her. 
The school found out a year or two after I left, 
and it was UGLY. 
So sad, too, because he was the only teacher who made me like science. 

Talk about DRAMA!