Friday, April 28, 2017

Books I Read (March-April)

Before we dive into this post, 
I had to share these words of wisdom from a Dove wrapper. 


"Read the Last Page First." 
I'm sure that sends shudders down the spine of any literary expert. 
It cracked me up because if I really can't stand a book, 
before I give up, I'll read the last few pages just to see how it ends. 
I know, I'm a disgrace to the entire literary community. 
I accept it. 



The Opposite of Spoiled 
by Ron Lieber 

I already wrote a lonnngggg post about this book here
Quick summary: 
Interesting, 
insightful, 
and I highly recommend any parent read it. 





The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo 
by Amy Schumer 

I didn't love Trainwreck, 
but I love this book. 
Amy has the amazing ability to laugh at herself 
in an uplifting, non-awkward way 
(versus Jessi Klein from my last review
whose book just felt depressing and uncomfortable at times). 
I laughed out loud A LOT. 
It reminded me of Drew Barrymore's autobiography in that even when bad shit happens, she describes it all in a way that you feel she came out the winner. 
Also, unlike any comedian I've ever read, 
her ability to switch from hilarious to
 really-very-serious-as-in-not-funny-at-all is outstanding,
 (while in contrast I felt like Amy Poehler's book truly missed the mark on that). 
I think Amy's book may be the favorite celebrity book 
righhhht behind Mindy because Mindy is still my spirit animal. 




Talking As Fast As I Can 
by Lauren Graham

Not a fan. 
I love me some Gilmore Girls, 
but this book is written like Lorelai is talking, 
and while I love Lorelai talking, 
I don't love reading her talking. 
It's like reading ADD talking. 

I ended up skimming a lot of it, 
and honestly sometimes forgot what I was even reading about. 

Also, and I'm sure this was a factor, 
I didn't realize this was NOT renewable at the library 
until 72 hours before it was due, 
so I was rushing to finish it in time to not pay library fines, 
and even though it's short enough to read in 72 hours (for sure!), 
the rush made it less enjoyable. 



One True Loves 
By Taylor Reid Jenkins 

I really liked the storyline of this book; I thought it was very clever. 
As always, her writing is easy and wonderful to read. 
For some reason though, I wasn't as much a fan of this book versus others. 
Usually she keeps me guessing about her twisted outcomes 
but I felt like this one was fairly predictable 
and, even though her books have a hefty whiff of a good fairy tale, 
this one wrapped up a little too perfectly, 
as in a little "ok yeah sure" eye roll. 





Everyone Worth Knowing 
By Lauren Weisberger

First part: slowwwwww. 
Second part: oh crap, this is just like Devil Wears Prada all over again. 
Is she going to betray her life and lose everyone just like Andy?
Third part: Hmm seems not. Def getting better.
Fourth part: yes, really love this book!

While this book is missing the saturated sarcasm of The Devil Wears Prada, 
I think I like the characters herein better than those. 
I like the best friend. 
I like the love interest. 
I love the side characters. 

So overall, yes I would recommmend! 

Run Fast. Eat Slow. 
by Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky

First and foremost, yes this is a cookbook. 
BUT the reason I put it on here is because I "learned" from it as I would from any other educational book. 
The idea is that "real food" (butter, fresh meats, etc) does more for your body 
and training (whether it be running, swimming, or hell, just living) 
than protein bars, gels, and other disgusting things that athletes eat. 
The book has a huge section that breaks down the health benefits from anything
From grass-fed cow butter to full-fat Greek yogurt to, well, anything!
It inspired me to up my butter game 
(I've already been using kerrygold grass-fed butter for spreads but now I'm buying it for recipes too) 
and also to explore the world of full-fat Greek yogurt (nearly impossible to find!!!) 
where I found Fage and have fallen in love. 

I always came away with a few recipes that I - and the boys! - love, 
like superhero muffins and blueberry cornmeal scones. 



Dark Matter 
By Blake Crouch 

I was skeptical about this "sci-fi thriller" because I'm not big on sci-fi or thrillers. 
But enough people (like Natasha) liked it so I decided to give it a shot. 
It was definitely good. 
It felt a little reminiscent of a recent popular movie 
(I won't say what, because it gives it away), 
but I was surprised by the ending so overall a cool book. 
It also fit the category of "not too girly so I can recommend it to Adam", 
which very few of my books do since I'm a lame connoisseur chick lit. 



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

One Year Postpartum

It's been one year and a week since Oliver was born. 
I already talked at length about Oliver at age 1
but how am I? 
Oh I'm so glad you asked! 

***

Weight

Let's just start off with the juicy part. 
(The part that everyone cares about.) 
How am I on my weight goal? 

I wrote at length about my weight early in 2015 (post here). 
To recap, I fluctuate a lot in my weight, 
and prefer to measure my weight by sizing rather than poundage. 

My happy size is a size 4, 
which I saw briefly in 2015 thanks to two stomach bugs, 
but then the summertime beer and BBQs hit 
and I inched back up to a size 6. 
Therefore, Size 6 is my official pre-pregnancy size. 

Unlike many blessed women on this earth, 
I do NOT lose weight breastfeeding. 
My body clings to every last fat cell in case I need to breastfeed my child through a zombie apocalypse.  
This added weight is most likely an aid in my breastfeeding journey, 
as I've now successfully breastfed/pump two babies past a year. 
However, as happy as I am to breastfeed, 
I'd love to do so not looking like Jabba the Hut. 

Moving on.

The first months postpartum, 
I was around a size 10-12, 
then slowly inched down to an 8, 
and just this past month got to size 6. 
I'm only 3 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight on the scale, 
so I'm not QUITE at my goal, 
but 3 lbs is pretttyyyy close. 

Now my goal is to inch back down to a size 4. 
We'll see. 

Most recent photo of me (from Oliver's bday party Saturday)


From 1 to 2 Kids

Overall, I felt that going from 1 to 2 kids was relatively easy. 

I had friends who made it sound like a horrible, overwhelming experience, 
some so traumatized that they swore off future children. 

For me, not so. 
Perhaps it was because of the 3-year-age difference between Aaron and Oliver, 
but it wasn't a terrible adjustment adding a second. 
At age 3, Aaron was fairly independent, 
fully potty trained, 
and had no attention issues with a second child. 

To this day, it's not hard for me to tote around 2 kids. 
Yes, it is EASIER with 1. 
Like overwhelmingly easier, 
but it's not so difficult with 2 that I stay housebound. 
Never! 

One of my most favorite recent photos.  I call it the "Brother Choke-Hug"


Anxiety

With Aaron I had very mild postpartum anxiety. 
I'd wake up with nightmares that someone was stealing my child out of his crib. 
I had virtually no postpartum anxiety with Oliver... until we moved
Then the anxiety hit pretty hard, 
as in full blown insomnia anxiety. 
I wrote a bit about that here

I didn't end up seeing anyone, 
although I probably should have. 
Eventually it went away. 
I'd say there were three things that helped it pass: 

1. We got a security system for our house.

2. In November, Adam's had two separate surgeries for carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel, 
which meant he wasn't working crazy hours during recovery. 
Having him home at night definitely helped. 

3. Time. 
It took time for me to adjust to our house and for it to feel like "home." 
Once I adjusted to the noises of our new home and neighborhood, 
I felt more relaxed. 
Plus, time in general helps postpartum anxiety pass. 

*** 

And that wraps up my postpartum analysis, one year later. 
Anything I'm missing?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Baby Products for Baby #2

Baby #2 generally inherits all of Baby #1's products, 
so there isn't a lot to buy. 

Therefore, I'm always fascinated to see what people buy for the 2nd (or 3rd, 4th) baby, 
since this time I consider the buying to be "experienced buying" 
versus "frantic new parent buying." 

Additionally, by the time 2nd/3rd/4th baby comes around, 
the parent has a better sense of what kind of parent they are. 
For example, during my first pregnancy, I put a lot of research into strollers. 
Turns out, I almost never use a stroller. 
Certainly never with an infant, and very rarely with a toddler. 

Buying for Oliver meant I could invest in things I would actually use
Thus, in order, are my favorites: 

1. Solly wrap. 



I am a babywearing mama, 
not a carseat-and-stroller mama. 
I like having my hands free and both my babies have preferred it. 
With Aaron I used the moby. 
It was hot and ugly, but it did the job. 
With Oliver, I splurged for a Solly. 
And the angels sang. 
It is pretty, lightweight, and breathable. 
I wore it all summer and received many compliments on it. 
And when Oliver graduated to the soft-shell babycarrier, 
a friend borrowed my Solly and her baby lived in it for months. 
BEST PURCHASE FOR BABY #2. 



2. High-End Car Seats. 

This falls under "why didn't we just buy this for Baby #1???" regret. 
When Oliver needed out of his babyseat, 
our option was to buy another of the Graco/Britax variety OR... 
go big
We went big. 
We bought the super-all-raving Diono Radian RXT for Aaron
and luxurious Clek Fllo for Oliver. 

These two were the winners because (in order): 

1. Rear-facing: Diono up to 45 lbs, Clek up to 50 lbs!!!! 

2. Skinny: These seats are among the few on the market that fit 3 across in standard cars. 
Now, Oliver sits in the middle next to Aaron, 
and we have a whole seat free in the back. 

3. Life-span: Because Clek and Diono are made of metal, they have 9-year life. 
The Graco/Britax models are all plastic which means they have a 6-year life. 
If Oliver was our last planned baby, a 6-year life would be sufficient. 
But assuming our reproductive health remains the same, 
hopefully we'll have a third baby someday who will be advancing through these car seats.


Additionally, Adam raves over and over and over how awesome these seats are to install and adjust. I can't speak to this, but Adam has been installing/adjusting Graco/Britax seats for 4 years and he can't say enough good things about Diono/Clek. 


3. Retract-a-Gate

Their website looks like fake crap 
(as in, do I want to give them my credit card number? Nope, I'll use paypal)
but their gates are pure gold. 
Originally discovered via Lucie's List
I now recommend it to anyone with stairs. 


4. Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit

Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit. 
Oliver did not sleep like Aaron did. 
Oliver was a twitchy baby who woke himself very easily. 
We started with the standard SwaddleMes, 
then bought the Halo SwaddleSacks because he still wasn't ready for arms-free. 
At 4 months, Adam declared we couldn't continue the swaddle since he was rolling over. 
Ugh. 
Based on a friend's recommendation and middle-of-the-night research, 
and it was perfection. 
Eventually when he outgrew it, we moved to the regular Halo sleepsacks without trouble. 


(Also, I briefly tried the Zippadee-Zip but the fabric would cover his mouth since he slept with his arms up, so that only lasted one nap and done!)



5. Reusable nursing pads. 

I'm not a leaker. 
I breastfeed my babies on demand, 
which means when they cry they get fed, 
even if they just nursed 30 minutes ago. 

So generally, I don't have the opportunity to leak. 
However, nighttime is a different issue. 
And sometimes, when baby starts nursing on the left, 
the right boob decides to start going too, 
because apparently my boobs think I have twins. 

I used to wear disposable but they were itchy, 
and the sticky stuff would unstick and fold over on itself. 
And they were annoying. 

I bought a pack of the cheapest possible (NUK from Target - $5) 
and guess what? I love them. 
Maybe for Baby #3 I'll buy nice soft bamboo ones or something. 

But these were plenty enough for me. 


6. Lifefactory glass baby bottles. 
I've blogged before about my hatred of plastic
so I wanted to switch to from our Medela bottles 
to something glass that was still compatible with my Medela pump. 
Lifefactory was the answer and I loved that I could buy sippy caps, 
which was a perfect solution for Oliver's bottle strike. 

Now, full disclaimer, Adam hates these. 
He thinks they are too heavy. 
He is afraid Oliver will break them (hasn't happened yet). 
And generally spends all his time to convince me to switch back to "the poison stuff" 
(as he sarcastically refers to plastic bottles/sippies). 
Whatever. 


7. Nose-frida 

Ok, so this I bought because it's one of those crazy raved-about products. 
It was cool for a bit, but really, I just don't use it much. 
It's a pain because I have to take the time to wash it and all every time. 
Technically, you could argue I SHOULD be washing the snot snucker, 
but since it's opaque I pretend not to know how dirty it is inside. 
Judge me, I don't care. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Oliver is 1

Oliver is 1 years old today! 



365 days ago, Oliver was born on a Sunday night. 
Which, as big of a milestone as this is, 
I can't help but realize it's been 367 days since I last worked. 
Wow. 
367 days since sitting in my open office cubicle of death light
367 days since I had to pack lunch for work, 
commute down the great expanse of highways, 
and pretend to be paying attention when really I was dreaming of maternity leave. 

ANYWAY, back to the subject of this post: 
OLIVER. 

Oliver is 1! 


And a few things about this 1 year old man:

He's BIG 
An informal bathroom scale measured him at 25.8 lbs. 
WHOA. 
I can't wait to see what the doctor says at his 1 yr checkup this Friday. 
He is full of chubby deliciousness, 
and I love it so very much. 


Very Curious 
I can't remember how he is compared to Aaron, 
but I imagine it must be similar for most babies this age. 
New sounds, new people, new anything, 
Oliver will twist/crane/contort his whole self to investigate. 
We had painters here over the weekend, 
and every time they ripped their painting tape, 
Oliver was scampering to investigate the noise. 


Still my introvert baby
He generally hates parties. 
He generally hates lots of people. 
I'd say about 50/50 hatred/tolerance for the social world. 
He just wants to chill quietly in his little space. 
He doesn't smile or wave at people in the store. 
No, he stares them down with a judgmental look of disgust. 

And yet, Adam talked me into throwing him a 1st birthday party this weekend, 
so LOL we'll see how that goes. 


Still my Velcro Baby
Yes, he will occasionally accept other individuals. 
He [finally] smiles for Adam. 
But Mommy is pretty much the be-all-end-all of his world. 
And I'm still okay with that. 


Good sleeper now
At his 9 month visit, I asked the pediatrician: 
"Will this kid ever stop waking up?  My first son slept 11 hours at 6 months!" 
To which the pediatrician replied: 
"We don't condone cry-it-out until babies are past 6 months, 
but at this point, if you want him to stop waking up, 
you're going to need to turn off the monitor." 
So I did. 
That night he woke up at 4am and I turned off the monitor. 
Next night? 
He slept 11 hours. 
And he continues to sleep 11 hours every night since. 


Better at reading. 
As parents we had seriously slacked on reading
and I made a conscious effort to change that. 
At first he would swat away the books, 
but now is better. 
In fact, he sits GREAT for Adam, often for multiple books. 
I think for me he just wants to get to the good part [nursing]. 


Breastfeeding still going strong
Had a brief blip where he started this nasty "chewing" habit 
but a visit to a Lactation Consultant fixed that. 
Imagine taking a 11.5 month old baby to a Lactation Consultant!!!
Seriously, just laughable. 
I have a breastfeeding post that's 90% written, 
to tell the story of breastfeeding baby #2. 


Naps for 1 hour 15 minutes, twice a day at 9:30am and 1:30pm.
Still morning and afternoon nap (with exceptions noted below). 
I know some kids drop this right after they turned 1 (Aaron) 
and some kids keep it up until they are nearly 2. 
I am looking forward to dropping that morning nap 
to both free up our schedule, 
and get a longer afternoon nap. 


Still not close to walking. 
No way. 
Aaron walked at 14 months. 
Adam walked at 18 months (lazy baby). 
I expect Oliver to be on his daddy's timeline. 


More picky than Aaron but eats a ton. 
Obviously, we know by weight alone he's eating plenty. 
But while Aaron ate anything on his plate, 
Oliver has a more critical palate. 
If he doesn't like it, he tosses it overboard with gusto 
and then SCREAMS at you to replace it with something more to his liking. 

He also screams at your if his plate his empty. 
Like ANGRY SCREAMS. 
My sister Melissa noted: 
"With Aaron, it was an excited scream for food. 
With Oliver, it's an offensive scream like 
'YOU STUPID PEASANT, FETCH ME MY FOOD YOU INCOMPETENT IDIOT'"
100% true. 


Such a Second Child 
He is certainly accepting his role as a second child. 
Interrupted naps, postponed naps, missed naps... 
all things we would never dream to do with Aaron. 

We thought Oliver might be a quiet child, 
given that Aaron is so loud, 
but it seems Oliver has realized that to be heard in our house, 
you have to be loud. 
He'll interrupt Aaron with shrieks and screams, 
and Aaron meanwhile loses his shit because it was his turn to talk. 
I die laughing. 


Am I sad or emotional about Oliver turning 1? 
No. 
I wasn't this way with Aaron either. 
I'm excited for the days ahead
 and the new personality he will develop. 
I won't lie it helps knowing that, 
given our health and reproductive systems remain the same, 
Oliver is not our planned last baby. 
This wonderful baby stage full of snuggling nursing is not my last. 
Thus I can continue to celebrate Oliver getting bigger and bigger, 
without lamenting about losing time before. 
And bigger he is certainly getting!


(All photos brought to you by the TV remote as the bribe for smiling)


Thursday, April 13, 2017

You lied about 4

Terrible 2s. 
Traumatic 3s. 
Fabulous 4s. 

A month ago, I ran into a former coworker 
- literally ran as I was out for a run - 
who was aghast to find out Aaron was almost 4 
("I met you when you were pregnant!") 
and then proceeded to tell me how much he loved the 4 age 
and every day tells his 11 year old daughter how he wishes she could be 4 again. 

Well guess what? 

IT'S ALL LIES. 

 IT IS NOT THE FABULOUS 4s. 
IT IS THE FUCKING AWFUL 4s. 



The tantrums that were supposed to magically melt away have not done so. 
True, they may be slightly fewer between, 
but they continue with a particular new level of aggression. 

Example: The Two Hour Tantrum 

Last week, Aaron threw a two hour tantrum. 
Literally, threw
As in, he was in his room for TWO HOURS THROWING SHIT. 
My sister, who had been babysitting when this tantrum commenced, 
texted me: "You may need a new bedroom door." 
To which I replied: "Might be easier to just get a new child." 


When I arrived home, I removed everything from his room. 
Every book. 
Every toy. 
Every possible movable object. 
And still the tantrum continued. 

Finally, at the end of 2 hours while I was nursing Oliver to bed, 
Aaron came quietly into Oliver's room, 
sat in the rocker next to me, 
and held me hand. 
It was pretty sweet. 
Good thing too, because I was about to submit the up-for-adoption papers. 


A few days later, I asked the pediatrician at his 4-month checkup: 
"When do the tantrums stop?" 
And she looked at me with a smirk and say: "Age 18 when they move out." 

At least someone is honest!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Time Study (Part 3 of 3)

Wow you're really back again? 
You must be a glutton for nerdy stats. 
Thankfully this is the last installment of these lengthy time studies, 
although since I've had so much fun doing it, 
I want to make a yearly habit out of this. 
But perhaps I will spare the blog world in the future. 

Time Study: Part 3 of 3



SLEEP: 55 hours
Just under 8 hours a night. Perfect. 

LEISURE: 10 hours 

3 hours running
2.75 hours blogging
1.75 hours reading
1.25 hours house reorganization
and 1.25 hours massage

First of all, all three weeks I have spent exactly 2.75 hours blogging
so we know that's my standard time there! 
Of course if I was recording my time this week, 
I'd add another 3 hours for these damn time study posts. 

1.75 hours reading is very light this week. 
I didn't read at all before bed, 
and spent much of naptimes doing other things like laptop, blogging, and playing on my phone. 

And I see your raised eyebrow, 
but 1.25 hours house reorganization is leisure
I consider reorganizing to be VASTLY different than house cleanup, 
so please don't confuse the two. 

House reorganizing is completely re-configuring the flow of a particular area or space. 
It may mean totally revamping a closet, 
or purging a toy bin, 
or something that is beyond the normal "pick up and put away." 

SELF CARE: 5.5 hours 

Again the average 30 minutes morning shower and makeup, 
and the average 15 minute in the evenings. 


PARENTING: 24.75 hours 

21.5 hours on physical parenting
including 8.25 on just getting my kids ready to do shit. 
How how how. 

3.25 hours on parenting I love
including 2.75 hours reading to Aaron, 
so a little under 30 minutes a day. 


ADAM: 10.75 hours 

9.25 hours of TV time togetherness, 
and 1.5 hours of uninterrupted talking. 


OUT OF THE HOUSE: 11.75 hours 

Split between kids activities and errands. 
Again, no church. 
(Excuse below)


SOCIALIZING: 13.5 hours

4.75 hours visiting, 
which includes 1.75 hours playdate 
and a 3 hour purge session at my SIL's house on Sunday morning (my church excuse). 
The Sunday morning purge checks off two of my favorite things: 
Socializing and House Reorganizing. 
It was like heaven. 
I so need to start a business. 

Another big chunk of this was the 6 hours on Friday night, 
when my sisters came over and we had "Sister Night" with board games. 
It was such a fun night and we absolutely need to do it more often 
(or at least, it was fun for me and the middle sister, the college student sister may have thought we were super lame, lol). 


FOOD: 18.25 hours 

Very similar splits as Part 2, 
with about 3 hours cooking, 
 9 hours eating, 
and the remaining time spent grocery shopping, 
cleaning up the kitchen, 
meal planning, 
etc


Non-Productive / Little Shit: 15.5 hours 

3.25 hours house cleanup (less than 30 minutes a day!). 
1.75 laundry. 
4.5 hours laptop stuff. 
3 full hours of TV (again, must've caught up on This Is Us). 
and a few other random things, 
including 3 hours lying awake in bed. 

UNKNOWN: 3 hours

ANALYSIS

While it was a poor week for reading, 
it was a great week in other leisure activities. 
Just like in Part 2, I could have picked up a book during that insomnia time, 
rather than just staring at the ceiling willing myself back to sleep. 

It was a great week for socializing, 
and I'd like to keep that up a little more. 


IF YOU'RE STILL READING THIS, 
WHEW YOU MADE IT TO THE END. 

I had so much fun doing this 
and blogging about this. 

The question of course becomes: 
Now what? 

Well, I know there are areas I want to improve on 
(reading for myself, reading to Aaron, socializing, etc). 
But additionally, I can now answer the question: 
"What do you do all day?" 
With: "Well, I spend 8-9 hours a week getting my kids ready." 
Like wtf is with that. 


Screenshots of Time Study: 
(see key in Part 1)