Thursday, December 31, 2015

Books I Read (December)

I always prefer chronological order, 
but my love letter to Mindy Kaling is so damn long, 
that I stuck it at the bottom. 
You are warned. 
 #Girlboss 
by Sophia Amoruso 

I picked up this book with the attitude:
 "fine, nothing else is available, I guess I'll read it." 
I expected it to be a "GIRL POWER" book about being a big bad CEO. 
Yawn. 
But not so!

In contrast, the book is very interesting life story 
(and her life choices, VASTLY different than I would ever make) 
as well as a great summary of basic life lessons, 
that can apply to a CEO or a stay-at-home-mom. 
I wouldn't call it my favorite book this month 
(oh no, that love letter is at the bottom), 
but I liked it much more than I expected. 




Counting by 7s 
by  Holly Goldberg Sloan

This book is very easy to read 
because it's written from a child's perspective. 
However, the subject matter (loss of parents) is VERY heavy 
and therefore makes it a dark and depressing book. 
I wouldn't recommend this for your cheery vacation by the beach. 
That said, if you can get through the depressing parts, it's a well-written book that will [eventually] put a smile on your face. 

Also, I was a bit shocked to find this in the children's section of the library. 
When I commented on the dark subject matter, 
the librarian responded: 
"Well, Harry Potter is here too." 
I guess that makes sense.



 Why Not Me? 
By Mindy Kaling 


It is absolutely amazing how much I identify with Mindy Kaling, 
yet have never seen more than a minute of her on TV. 

Both her books "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me" 
and "Why Not Me" are my most favorite celebrity books 
by a lonnnng shot. 
I'm AFRAID to watch Mindy's show in fear I will like her less
This book is just as good as the first, 
perhaps even better. 
There are 2 boring chapters, 
mostly made-up scenarios in her head, 
and I just skimmed those. 

The rest, though, is pure gold

I generally dislike direct book quotes, 
but these were just TOO GOOD:

"People don't say 'give me your honest opinion'
 because they want an honest opinion. 
They say it because it's rude to say
 'please tell me I'm amazing."


"When you meet me, 
within the first five minutes I have loudly explained my whole deal to you. 
With the exception of an auctioneer and maybe Kris Jenner, 
there is no one in the world less mysterious than me" 

"I want him to think I have a carefree personality, 
which is a lie. 
I have a very anxious, argumentative personality.


"Attending the White House correspondents dinner 
as a guest of the New Yorker was a dream realized, 
especially since none of the editors touched any of the rolls in our artisan bread basket,
 which meant I could have at 'em. 
While I chewed on my eleventh brioche rolls...


(Just letting you know, if I'm ever invited to a White House Correspondents dinner, 
I too will be eating 11 brioche rolls.) 

Ok, ok, ok. 
Enough gushing. 
I'm done. 
Until she publishes another book and then... be warned.  

 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mamas Day Off - Christmas Edition

Of all the blog posts I write, 
my favorite to re-read is my Mama's Day Off
I really don't have any other place to document these days. 
They certainly aren't exciting enough to make it in our annual family photo album 
and I've long since given up a paper journal. 
So here they sit. 

Monday

Cleaning lady arrives and I scurry out of the house to stay out of her way

Drop off dry cleaning

Michael's: buy picture frame for Aaron's new school pictures

KOP Mall: GAP & Nordstrom returns, Williams Sonoma peppermint sticks as a hostess gift, Victoria's Secret new bra

Facial - one thing to check off my 25 things before next birthday list! 

StitchFix box arrives with new maternity clothes!

Clean out paint room / travel gear:This is, of course, one of the best parts of the day. Ever since reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, I have been so energized to clean and purge. I wrote long ago of our storage area problems, and they have hung over our head like a plague. To go through and trash, donate, trash, donate is so freeing! 

Clean washer / dryer (tutorial here)


Tuesday: 

Wash baby clothes.Cue awwwwww 

Sort & purge under stairs: As a brief example of my hoarding tendencies, I had an entire storage container filled with receipts from a decade ago. Wtf. 
Haircut 

Post office - return the unwanted StitchFix item

Grocery shopping 

Clean dishwasher (tutorial here)

Make this Chocolate Whiskey Spice cake referenced by the New York Times. Conclusion? It was okay. It was very flavorful, but it truly didn't WOW me like I had hoped. 


Wednesday

Pick up dry cleaning 

Glucose / OBGYN  - SO MUCH BETTER this time than last. With Aaron, I nearly hurled (wrote about that here). This time, the drink was dye-free and I had a choice of fruit punch vs orange. I choose fruit punch and it was pretty good. I watched Orange Is The New Black on my phone and the hour sped by. 

25 minute drive into the City 

Ring clean - another checklist item! 

Lunch with Adam - this was supposed to be a fun date lunch with my husband but he got slammed with a new deal as I was driving into the city so it turned into a super-quick stop at the food court 

1.5 hour drive out of the city - because the Schuylkill Expressly is THE WORST EVER

Manicure (which included a 1 hour wait for holiday busyness, so I watched more Orange is the New Black on my phone)

Pickup Aaron 

Pack for NY! 


It's not a glamorous photo, but this sums up the best parts of my days off: 
THE DONATION PILE!  




Tuesday, December 29, 2015

25 Weeks

25 Weeks. 
Otherwise known as the week of Christmas
so let me kick this off with a quick Christmas recap. 

Monday-Wednesday were my Mama's Days Off 
(post coming shortly). 
Thursday morning we left for NY. 
It was a 3.5 hour drive and Aaron did awesome. 
We celebrated Christmas with Adam's extended family (the non-Jewish ones), 
and then went to the hotel for the night. 
THE FIRE ALARM WENT OFF AT 2AM IN THE HOTEL.  
Aaron went right back to sleep after, 
but Adam and I were up for hours. 
Christmas day was a sleep-deprived celebration with my family, 
followed by a 4 hour car ride home where Aaron had one brief meltdown 
(because we wouldn't let him hold the bag of trail mix), 
but otherwise was great. 

Whew. 

Saturday my sister babysat while we saw Star Wars in the afternoon 
(I know this is blasphemy but... it was "okay", 
definitely better than Episodes 1-3, 
but did not live up to the hype I had hoped for), 
and then went to another Christmas party at a friend's house that night. 
Sunday was a relaxing day at home, 
followed by our very last Christmas party at another friends house. 

So many Christmas parties! 
So much sugar! 
So little sleep! 
  

Baby Size
Cauliflower


Total Weight Gain
12.5 lbs 
2 lbs jump week-over-week. 
Only 3.5 lbs less than with Aaron. 

So many factors. 
Christmas food. 
Travel snacking. 
Lack of exercise. 
Not my best week.


Sleep
Horrible, but can't blame the pregnancy. 
More like lots of travel, 
late parties, 
and no exercise.


Cravings
Grapefruit.


Symptoms of the Week
Fatness.


What I miss
Drinking. 
I had a flute of champagne on Christmas Eve and again on Sunday, 
which is the most I've drank this pregnancy. 
It was delicious. 


Still Running?
No. 
This was my first week off running entirely. 
We should be well into snow terriority by now, 
but the rain just doesn't stop. 
I don't mind running in snow, 
but I HATE running in rain. 

I'm planning to run today after work so... 
cross your fingers.  

Excited for
My birthday! 
I'll turn 31 on New Year's Day (Friday). 
No grand plans like last year
just dinner out on NYE, 
and lunch with my family that day. 


General Mood
As I type this, 
I most definitely have post-Christmas blues. 
I love the parties and the socializing, 
but the trek to NY was particularly painful this year with the lack of sleep
(even if Aaron did travel like an angel!). 
Combine the lack of sleep
 with the post-sugar hangover 
and muscle deterioriation from no exercise, 
and I'm ready for routine again.


 
25 Weeks with Aaron here

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Week 27: How You Envision Your Life to Be

Week 27 in the 30 Week Writing Challenge

How your envision your life to be


One aspect of my ESFJ personality
is that I place a lot of value on doing something 
"the way it's supposed to be done."

So when I got this topic, 
I panicked a moment and thought: 
"Is it how I envisioned my life would be now?" 
"Is it how I envision my life will go?" 
"Or is it, detailing my thoughts about my life right now?" 


My gut reaction was to email Amanda and Natasha
to see how they interrupted this. 
Because I wanted to make sure I was answering "the right way." 

And then I decided, 
"Stop, Emily. 
It's a writing challenge. 
Not a graded essay." 

So I'm interpreting this as: 

If I were to picture my dream life, 
what would it be? 

**********

Kids

Let's start with kids. 
I like a lot of kids. 

I'd love 3-4 kids of my own. 
And then adopt 1 or 2 more. 

I also want twins. 
Like really want twins. 
I know it's like the marathon of parenting, 
but I think it's so cool to raise two best friends. 





House 

I have two types of dreams, 
the realistic dream and the win-the-lottery-dream

The realistic dream would have us in a comfortable 4-bedroom suburban home, 
with a private backyard, 
on a cul de sac. 
Totally attainable, 
and in a few months, might be real item. 
(No leads just yet though!)

The win-the-lottery dream would have us in a mansion 
on the Main Line. 
While this is a realistic dream if Adam were to make partner, 
but I don't see Adam wanting to make partner. 
And quite frankly, after those 12midnight / 1:30am nights, 
I don't want him to either!


(Not actually a main line mansion,
 but oh my I want that sunroom!)


Pets

Pass. 
Maybe. 
Pets are dirty. 
So are children. 
But children say things like: "I love you" 
and pets just slobber. 

My perfect-picture pet would be a big strong dog, 
maybe even with a rottweiler mix. 
Smart as a whip. 
Gentle, yet protective. 
 So basically, I want Shadow from Homeward Bound. 
Except not a golden retriever 
because they shed like crazy. 




What would I do

Once the kids were all in school, 
I would go back to culinary arts school. 
I love food, 
and would LOVE LOVE LOVE to train in preparing it. 
In the we-win-the-lottery scenario, 
I'd also open a Wine & Tappas bar 
(just like Tria in Center City).
But even without the lottery money, 
I'd love to enroll in culinary arts school. 


This made me laugh more than it should. 
It's an actual greeting card you can buy here.


Where would we go

OMG EVERYWHERE. 
I already wrote about my love of international travel here.
Where else would I go? 
Definitely Southern Italy. 
Perhaps back to Africa for a Safari. 
And someday to mainland Asia (China, India, etc), 
but that's gonna take a lot of wine and Valium to get through that flight again. 
Whew. 




**********

And we'll call that a wrap. 
Trust me, there is more. 
So much more. 
SOOOOOO much more. 
But I don't want to reveal all my dreams in one place, haha.


Monday, December 21, 2015

24 Weeks

24 weeks. 
Baby either kicks/flips like crazy, 
or sleeps for like 12 hour straight. 
Not consistent in the least. 


Baby Size
Cantaloupe


Total Weight Gain
10.5 lbs
(-5.5 lbs versus with Aaron) 

You know what makes a great holiday diet? 
Heavy congestion. 


Sleep
Pretty horrid, 
all due to this horrid congestion / runny nose, 
which Aaron so kindly brought home from daycare. 


Cravings
Chick-Fil-A chicken. 
Not to be confused with any other type of chicken. 
Like work cafeteria chicken. 
No no no. 


Symptoms of the Week
 Congestion. 
 Congestion. 
Congestion.


What I miss
Being able to smell. 
Not sounding like Darth Vader. 


Still Running?
 NOT A GOOD WEEK. 
Perhaps it was the congestion hell, 
but I only made it 2.0 and 1.7 miles. 
I don't want to give up, 
but with all I have going on this week, 
and with how badly running wipes me out, 
I really kinda wanna take the week off. 
I know that's just a downward spiral into quitting... 
but... but... 
I don't wanna! 


Excited for
Accomplishing all I can on my 3-day Mama's Days off. 
Monday proved very productive. 
Hopefully Tuesday and Wednesday follow!


General Mood
Good, minus this freakin' congestion cold. 


Don't mind the toy mess behind me.


24 Weeks with Aaron here

Independent Play

I have no background in childhood education, 
but based on various articles I've read, 
conversations I've had, 
and my own experience, 
I can say this: 

I value Independent Play as one of the most important development milestones of childhood. 

Of course, I understand the value of preparing my child for school, 
learning ABCs, 
writing, 

In summary though: 
I think it's healthy for children to be bored* every now and then. 
I think it's healthy to exercise their imagination. 
And I think it's healthy for me as a mom to have some time to myself, 
even if "time to myself" is just doing laundry or cooking dinner in peace. 


* I say 'bored' NOT meaning totally unstimulated sitting in an empty room. 
By 'bored', I mean 'not entertained.' 
No tv, no electronics, no scheduled activities. 
Just you, yourself, and your toys.  


There was a time when I thought Aaron would NEVER play independently. 
Where I would ALWAYS have a little shadow following me, 
demanding attention. 
But slowly... 
ever so slowly... 
I find the stretches of independent play grow longer, 
and longer, 
and longer. 

Sometimes it's playing with blocks. 

Sometimes it's browsing "magazines" 
(toy catalogs). 

And sometimes he goes down in the basement, 
and just plays by himself, 
no warning or anything. 
  It's kind of crazy. 
Crazy AWESOME. 


Of course he still requests 
"Mommy play with me" 
or 
"Mommy build a zoo." 
And that's fine, too. 
 "Mommy's zoo"
But the fact that he CAN play independently, 
is amazing. 
And it makes me so so so so so happy.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Mamas Day Off - Friday Edition

Last Friday, I took a day to myself. 
Adam worked. 
Aaron was in daycare.
It was heaven.

In chronological order: 


Caught up on blogposts.
I read a lot of posts on my phone, 
but have trouble commenting and pinning posts, 
which means there's always a backlog of posts I want to review on my trusty laptop. 


Run
3.4 miles. 


Starbucks
I have a super high sensitivity to caffeine 
(me on caffeine = most people on speed) 
so it's very rare that I frequent this cultural establishment. 
I selected my go-to iced nonfat chai tea latte with a dusting of pumpkin spice, 
and this time paired it with a salted caramel cake pop 
(medicore, I'd stick to birthday cake) 
and a bantam bagel, which was absolutely decadent when warmed up.


GAP
New jeans for Aaron 
and swiped a side-zip maternity sweater
Decided I'm going to return it. 
It's just too bulky and makes me feel even bigger. 
Not what maternity clothing shoul ddo!


Pea in the Pod
Bought this dress to wear with my favorite OTK boots.
Pictured in my 23 week update here.


Tackled the Filing cabinet. 
I confess to be a hoarder of paperwork. 
I made it through 1/4 of the cabinet in one hour, 
when my back started to give out.


Wrapping gifts
And realizing, 
for the first time in my lifetime,
I'm running low on Christmas paper! 
GASP. 
HOW COULD I LET THIS HAPPEN?


Clean fridge & Bleach Shower Curtain Liner
Doing little shit like this just makes my day. 
OCD cleaning above-and-beyond the normal 
(I hate everyday cleaning, that's why I have a cleaning lady) 
that just makes my life sparkle a little bit more. 
Stuff like this motivates me more than a chai latte. 
And I have zero shame about it!


And that was it. 
In fact, I was so productive, 
I only took ONE picture: 



Evidence of the Shredder 

 
And to think that I have THREE MORE DAYS 
of Mama's Day Off Next week, 
one of which even includes a facial! 
Talk about luxury! 
Unfortunately one of the other days includes my 24 week glucose test so... BARF.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Week 26: Something You Could Never Tire of Doing

Week 26 in the 30 Week Writing Challenge

Something you could never get tired of doing 


Does eating count? 
Kidding. 
Or not. 

Anyway... 
For this I have to say ORGANIZING

I love 
love 
LOVE 
to organize. 


Tackling a new space and organizing it 
gives me butterflies that I cannot explain. 


The absolute thrill of taking something that's a total mess, 
sorting, 
purging, 
and rearranging 
is the greatest therapy for me. 
An absolute bad-day-fixer in a moment.  


Our basement storage areas are constant disasters. 
And periodically I'll tackle them (example here), 
but I also appreciate quick project likes my freezer here: 



Our office has "clean out day" every Earth Day, 
and its my favorite day of the year. 
My coworkers think I'm crazy. 
I love sorting through old boxes, 
shredding unimportant papers and sending the rest of Iron Mountain for archiving. 


When I see people's disorganized rooms, 
I secretly wish they'd invite me over to organize. 
Closets are my favorite, 
but I'll take kitchens, 
basements, 
whatever. 


My parents have acquired a fair amount of "stuff' over time, 
and while my sisters and I spent some time in January purging their basement, 
I would LOVE to have at my parents' kitchen 
and get rid of 30-year-old tupperware that is long past it's prime. 


Seriously, if anyone wants to invite me over to organize, 
I am ALL THERE! 
I'll even bring food!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

23 Weeks

 23 Weeks Preggo! 


Baby Size
Grapefruit


Total Weight Gain
10 lbs 
(-4 from Aaron - woohoo!)


Sleep
Decent. 
No horrible insomnia nights this week. 


Cravings
Vegetables. 
I could eat cooked carrots all day long.


Symptoms of the Week
I'm pleased to say the back pain wasn't too bad this week. 
Perhaps yoga helped?


What I miss
Regular clothing. 
I am already at the "I hate everything in my wardrobe" state. 
I bought a new sweater dress for holiday parties, 
but then it was like 72 degrees 
and I was sweating my ass off. 
I'm loving this record-setting warm December, 
but it's becoming quite problematic since I have ZERO summer maternity clothes. 


Still Running?
 Yup, 3.4 and 3.6 this week. 
So still an average of 3.5 miles. 

Excited for
THIS IS MY LAST FULL WORKWEEK FOR THE YEAR! 
I had a luxurious Mama's Day Off last Friday, 
and next week I have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to myself. 
Cue the hallelujah chorus! 
After Christmas I go back to work but only for 3 days. 
Whew.


General Mood:
Good. 

I feel like I'm getting bigger by the second. 
And I'm increasingly nervous that this baby is going to clock in at another hefty 10 pounder, 
meaning a scheduled c-section for me. 
(But we will find out at 38 weeks - more details on that here!) 

To be the honest, the thought of a scheduled c-section scares me. 
I have no fear of natural birth. 
And I didn't have any problems accepting the c-section with Aaron, 
but the idea of scheduling it just fills me with dread.

I had a the world's EASIEST c-section recovery with Aaron. 
I can't fathom I'll get so lucky again. 

Btw, I think my ass looks enormous in this picture. 
Like as big as my belly. 
 

23 Weeks with Aaron here.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Doing Santa

Do you do Santa? 


(PLEASE someone respond with:
"Only if I'm feeling ho-ho-ho-ish" )


I grew up knowing who Santa was. 
He was a character of Christmas. 
Just like the princesses in my Disney movies. 
I'm sure he was once based on a true person, 
just as Robin Hood was based on a true person. 

But Santa didn't "bring me gifts." 
My parents and grandparents bought me gifts. 
We didn't do any cookies & milk. 
Writing "letters to Santa" at school felt silly but whatever, 
I can still fake it!

 Adam grew up Jewish, 
so um yeah, 
there's that. 

As parents, it has never crossed our minds to blow up the Santa experience, 
other than just another character at Christmas, 
and a fun/awkward photo op at my work holiday party.

We aren't adamanelty against it!
We just don't give a crap. 


Scary Mommy published this article: 


On one hand, 
I think this falls under our hyper-sensitive society 
where you can't ask anyone anything for fear of being offended. 

On the other hand, 
yeah, I see her point. 


Now in Philadelphia, 
with a super strong Jewish presence in both Cherry Hill 
and the Main Line, 
I don't hear Santa thrown about as much. 

However, growing up in Upstate NY, 
where there was exactly 
one Jewish kid for every give hundred kids,
Santa was a bit more prevalent. 


Also, can we talk about Elf on the Shelf? 
I LOVE seeing people's creative ideas with posing the Elf. 
But the actual Elf STORY? 
Someone who spies on you and then reports back to Santa? 
CREEPY AS SHIT. 
Hell no, thank you. 

 It's the same level of creepy as that 
that parents cry over. 
I think that kid needs a restraining order. 
A mom who travels across town to hold her son in bed? 
What if he's naked? 
What if there's a chick in his bed with him? 
WHAT THE HELL MOM?!?!?!


Ok, sorry, I'm done. 


Back to Santa. 
Yeah, we don't DO Santa. 
We fill the stockings, 
and open presents, 
and stick our child on Santa's lap at my work party. 

 (side note: pretty sure santa was a scrawny 16 year old)

But DOING Santa? 
I leave that to Mrs. Claus. 
Or Mistress Claus. 
Whatever Santa likes best.