Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WIDN

It took me an embarrassingly long time to catch onto the #widn hashtag on instagram. 
(And if you're as equally uncool as I am, 
it means 
"What I'm Doing Now" )
...which in my case, 
90% of the time includes eating. 


While sitting in my hotel 
(because business travel succkkksss)
and catching up on the way-too-many blogposts I haven't read while traveling, 
I ran across this cute "taking stock" post by Bridget.

And thought, why not? 
Maybe it'll give me a chuckle in a year. 
Like how Timehop gives me a chuckle every day. 



Making

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole 
I left this casserole home for the week while I traveled, 
and it has already received rave reviews from my both mother-in-law and child, 
so I call that a raging success.



Drinking
Yuengling's "Summer Wheat." 
I love a good summer beer and this has all the right taste.



Reading
"Michelle Obama: a life" by Peter Slevin 
I preemptively wrote about this last month
and my views haven't changed. 
It's a heavy (and looong!) book, but very insightful.



Wanting
A juicy burger and salty fries.
PMS cravings, anyone?



Watching

1) The Royals -
Shallow, tween-drama, Gossip-Girl-knockoff 
(Renewed for a 2nd season, but I predict it dies shortly after)

Opposite spectrum: serious, conniving, manipulative... I love it. 
My favorite character is the wife (Jenny from Forest Gump). 
She literally takes my breath away. 



Listening to
This songs gives me the chills



Eating
My salad obsession has been a spinach & baby kale base, 
with chopped organic strawberries, 
crumbled Gorgonzola, 
toasted walnuts (maple syrup and cinnamon under broiler), 
a tsp or two of real unprocessed honey,  
a splash of balsalmic vinegar, 
and a drizzle of olive oil. 
Heaven in a bowl.
 


Smelling
Nixed this category since I developed anxiety about artificial / manmade fragrances after reading "The Honest Life" by Jessica Alba.
Damn, hippies ruining all my fun!


Wishing
I could be there when Adam snapped this photo of him getting Aaron ready this morning. 
His chubby little cheeks are so in need of my kisses! 





Enjoying
Catching up on all the blogposts out there. 
I particularly loved Amanda's "Rebel Without a Cause" post 
which had me in complete stitches.


Loving
This video of Aaron playing mini golf this weekend. 
I watch it over and over and over again. 
"Where'd it go?  Where'd it go?"



Hoping
For a smooth flight home on Saturday. 
I hate flying and nothing gives me anxiety like turbulence.


Needing
To finish epilating my legs. 
But I'm totally chickening out right now. 


Wearing
Capri yoga pants from fabletics 
Last fall, I tried this once-a-month workout gear line by Kate Hudson. 
I canceled after my first outfit, 
because I found the quality didn't stand up to my standard Under Armour running gear. 
However, as the warm weather rolls in, I've become obsessed with the capri yoga pants. 
I feel like I should invest in a real quality pair, 
since these are starting to fray, 
but in the meantime, I'm living in 'em!


Bookmarking
Rosemary Beach as a future vacation spot. 
Meredith posted the most perfect couples-only vacation recap 
and I was literally swooning. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Ugliest Monkey

"Buy them a gift and all they want is the box." 

Little kids are the opposite of materialistic. 

Fancy, expensive toys? 
A piece of lint works just fine. 

For Aaron, we received so many beautiful stuffed animals, 
among my favorites being a super soft Tiger and two adorable Winnie the Poohs. 
 Aaron didn't care about stuffed animal, 
until just after he turned a year old, 
and was given THIS THING as a gift. 


 This is the world's ugliest stuffed animal. 

I call it the "shag carpet monkey" because that's the texture of the fur. 
The shaggyness means that all sorts of grossness, 
like snot, tangles up and crusts over. 
I can wash Monkey over and over but it doesn't help. 


And this is Aaron's BFF stuffed animal. 
He loves Monkey. 


Monkey goes everywhere with us. 
If there's going to be a nap, 
then sleepsack and Monkey are a must. 


But if we ever have another child, 
I'm determined to not make the same mistake! 

No ugly stuffed animals allowed! 
All stuffed animals will be pre-screened by my 
"how hideous is this and can I wash it?" criteria. 


I'd love to have a child who has a Steiff teddy bear. 
I was first introduced to Steiff toys through Annie Dean
and have always loved the idea of a mohair teddy bear.  
But I know, I just KNOW, that if I ever buy an expensive teddy bear, 
the child will NEVER love it. 
Because its expensive. 
Sigh.



Monday, April 27, 2015

Books I've Read (March-April)

As a quick recap
I am not literary expert. 
I'm more like a literary idiot. 
I am a shallow, impatient reader. 
 I have exactly ZERO qualifications to provide books reviews. 
But being completely unqualified has never stopped me before!



Inferno 
by Dan Brown

Dan Brown books are about as long as I'll tackle. 
(I warned you, literary idiot right here!)
I like them because they read like a mystery, 
but not so much that I end up skipping ahead to see how it ends 
(which I am prone to do) 
Inferno is classic Dan Brown regarding European art history, 
with the twist that Tom Hanks (I mean... Professor Langdon) has amnesia. 
If I were to rank the Dan Brown books I've read, 
this would fall as such: 
1. Deception Point (so different than his normal but so cool)
2. Angels & Demons (ending is 1000x better than movie) 
3. Inferno
4. Da Vinci Code
5. Lost Symbol (hated the end)




Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady 
by Florence King 

This book was really funny and light-hearted. 
I love books through the eyes of the child, 
and the quirky family was so amusing. 
This was a fantastic pick-up-and-put-down book 
versus a hardcore power reading session (like Dan Brown). 
My only complaint is that the last quarter of the book felt a little slow, 
but that's because it was into the more "serious" parts of life (love, sex, etc), 
rather than the quirky happenings of everyday life as a child. 



Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls 
by David Sedaris 

It's not fair to say I "read" this book, 
because I didn't even get halfway through. 
What I expected was a quirky fun book without various hilarious stories, 
but instead got a series of whiney/venting essays 
spewing opinions on everything from healthcare to parenting. 
It was quite off-putting. 
I promptly returned it to the library and moved onto the next...





Little Known Facts 
by Christine Sneed

This book is unlike any other I've read. 
It revolves around an actor of "Harrison-Ford-like-stature" (to quote Amazon), 
and each chapter is written from the perspective of those around him. 
I spent the book imaging it really was Harrison Ford, 
which made it ever so much more fun to read 
I won't lie that some chapters are significantly more depressing than others. 
I wouldn't necessarily call this an "uplifting" book, 
but its an interesting read for some fictional insight into the world of Hollywood. 
In my literary idiocy, I'd call it a medium-easy read. 
Much of it read like a conversation, 
but every now and then the narrators would delve into some philosophical thought 
or reflect back on some terribly boring tangent that droned on and on. 
But other than that, I really enjoyed it. 




Michelle Obama: a Life 
by Peter Slevin 

Let me preface all this with the disclaimer that I despise politics.
I couldn't name you a single one of Obama's policies or advisers or campaigns, 
but I do know that I like how Michelle Obama presents herself as First Lady 
(or rather, how the media has presented her - take your cynical pick)
I like how she focuses on things like child nutrition and activity. 
Of course, in all fairness,
Laura Bush could have had the identical agenda for all I know, 
but I didn't notice/care because all my efforts were focused on great causes like maximizing my drinking while maintaining my 3.94 GPA. 


That lengthy disclaimer aside, 
this book is heavy
I would not call it a "light summer read." 
It's absolutely packed with detail and insight.
For someone like me, 
who grew up in white middle-class suburban America, 
it's incredibly insightful, particularly about being black at Princeton.

Friday, April 24, 2015

So

"So" is my grammatical weakness. 

I know effect vs affect, 
then vs than, 
e.g. vs i.e. 
(ok, fine, I just learned the difference in e.g./i.e. recently)

I know all the conjunctive adverbs, 

BUT I STILL start Every. Single. Sentence. with "so."

Public speaking, I'll rarely stutter or use filler words like "uh" 
(thank you, 12th grade Nazi Public Speaking English Teacher
and have been told that I have "outstanding projection." 
I've also been told my multiple MBA colleagues that they "enjoy watching me present" 
(which I consider a HUGE compliment because after watching years and years of MBA presentation, I would rather step on a Lego than sit through another MBA case study presentation). 


But in every day life, 
I will start 90% of my sentences with "so." 

Worse, I start 99% of my written sentences with "so". 

Any recipient of my emails can ALWAYS tell how I proofread an email based on counting the number of "so" sentence starters. 

And, similarly, you can see how I've proofed a blogpost by the number of "so" sentence starters. 

If you made a drinking game out of my "so," 
you'd be wasted in 10 minutes flat. 


It's a problem and I don't know how to fix it. 

I have essentially taken "uh" and turned it into "so." 


You can even SEE it in pictures. 
"Soooo... do you like your faux hawk?" 
(as I take a selfie with Aaron) 



So.... to wrap this up, 
I apologize. 
For all the times I write "so" 
and don't catch it. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Almost-Impulse-Buys at Target

 We've all been there. 
Or at least, all moms have been there. 
An innocent excursion at Target. 
Browsing through the aisles, 
then suddenly, 
"Oh I MUST have this!  My life would not be complete!


When the largest Target on the east coast opened it's doors 
a mere 1.5 miles from our house, 
you best believe that my Target obsession 
jumped from mild to RED HOT ALERT. 

I'd read on midwestern blogs about these great Target amenities, 
(what is this "free cookie" you speak of?
and awesome home products 
(pretty white interlacing baskets? where?),
but all our local Target inventories were sorely lacking. 
Now, this new Target STILL doesn't have free cookies (?!?!), 
but it does have all the products that I'd been drooling over in other blogs. 


Still on the blog topic...
Some blog somewhere had a post about almost-impulse purchases at Target. 
I would reference it if only I could find it again. 
It totally cracked me. 
The other day, 
while browsing through Target, 
I thought I would snap a few photos of my own 
almost-impulse-but-I-didn't buys. 

Simplehuman 6L Step-to-open Trashcan 
Price: $24.99
Wouldn't this be just perfect for the bathroom? 
Really give it a touch of #class, right? 
It would replace that unsightly OPEN trashcan, 
which was probably a $2 purchase at IKEA. 

That said, do I really need to spend $24.99 on a trashcan
Also, wouldn't I make a great hand model? 
#nope

Moving on...



Purple Polka Dot Moleskin Notebook. 
Price: $18.95 

Moleskin notebooks are so soft and smooth, 
and look at how chic the purple polka dots are!

That said, when was the last time I wrote ANYTHING down in a notebook? 
If it's not on my phone, it may as well be written down on toilet paper. 


Character T-shirts for Aaron: 
Batman and Minions 
Price: ~$15.00
These were in my cart right up to the register. 
Kids always need new t-shirts, right? 
And the batman one has a CAPE (!!!). 
However, thanks to our wonderful friends, 
Aaron received more than enough summer shirts for his birthday. 
And really, I'm much more a classic GAP person than cartoon shirts. 
Do I really want to start down the obnoxious cartoon shirts yet? 
Nope. 


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Quest for Toy Rotation

Weekend highlights: 
* Adam actually being home and available
* an 8.3 mile run 
* a trip to IKEA/Home Depot sans child
* a play date with some friends and their 1-yr-old beautiful little girl 
* A Girl's Night Out in Philly with two of my BFFs 
* attempting (and failing) to make shrimp fried rice 

* FOUR HOURS ALL TO MYSELF ON SUNDAY 
* BASEMENT RENOVATIONS

Adam being home was def the star of the weekend, 
but the mass basement renovation is the star of this post,
and still gives me little butterflies of OCD happiness. 


A few refresher facts before I dive in:

1. We own a very small townhouse, with extremely limited space. 
2. I am always waging a battle between my Inner Packrat and my Inner OCD.
3. I am a FIRM believer in "less is more" when it comes to children's toys. 


On Sunday, Adam was playing golf 
while Aaron was at my parents for some quality grandparent time. 

I had FOUR UNINTERRUPTED HOURS to tackle the basement. 


:: Hallelujah chorus ::



Step 1: Buy new shelving. 
My original intention was to go with IKEA's IVAR, 
but after talking to the associates at the store, 
I realized the IVAR would be a lot more complicated than I was looking for. 

Instead, I meandered over to Home Depot and bought the perfect item at 1/2 the cost. 
Oh, and it took me a grand total of 5 minutes to put together.  No tools required! 

View from playroom into the laundry room:
 

Step 2: Remove all items from the storage areas. 

This is what it looked like before I took everything out. 
Trust me that it was much more impressive when it was all removed, 
but I was too "in the moment" to think about taking a picture then. 



 
Step 3

Sort. 
Trash. 
Consolidate. 
Organize. 
Put away. 

It's not really a "wow" transformation, since we STILL have a pile of baby stuff, 
but at least there is THOUGHT as to the organization of the pile 
and the shelves behind it. 
Wedding memories, paint cans, etc. 
Stuff we don't use on a daily (or yearly) basis. 



Step 4: Select toys for Toy Rotation
This essentially was taking almost every toy that Aaron owns and putting it away. 



That red hamper on the left holds a TON of "miscellaneous" little toys, 
like shape sorters, etc. 
And some of the toys are in the other storage area pictured above. 


 
The ONLY toys that were left out: 
1. Thomas train table (upstairs)
2. Kitchen set
3. Little People 
4. The ballpit (with all balls removed) 



Already, we've noticed a difference. 
He's spent more time playing with Little People the last few days than he has in the past few months.  He pulls each one out and tells us about each one.
It reinforces everything I've ever read about toy overload. 
And it makes me SOOOO happy.

Monday, April 20, 2015

What are shorts?

This is a little outdated, 
but I found it in my drafts and had to finish, 
so one day I could look back and laugh. 


After being in long-sleeve, long-pants for 6 months. 
all Aaron's little brain remembers is winter weather clothing


The first day it hit 50s (early March?), 
I wore shorts while running. 
After my 3.5 mile loop, 
I went to daycare to pick Aaron up. 
I walk in, 
and he immediately points to my bare legs and shouts loudly
"Mama naked!" 
 "No, no, these are shorts," I explained. 
"Mama naked!" he insisted. 



Then the next day, when it was supposed to hit a whoppin' high of 62 
I dressed Aaron in a short-sleeve shirt (perhaps overambitious?). 
As soon as he puts his arms through the sleeves, 
he says a very frantic: 
"Oh no!  Oh no!" 
And tries to pull down his sleeves to cover his arms. 
"No, no, Aaron, it's short sleeves!" 
"Oh no! Oh no!" He insists again and again, 
trying in vain to "fix" his broken sleeve. 


All in all, my little nudist may also have Quaker tendencies. Hehe. 




Thursday, April 16, 2015

Long week

I sit here on the couch, 
child asleep in bed, 
laundry in the wash, 
dinner cooked for tomorrow, 
lunches packed, 
and I am 
just 
so 
damn
tired. 

This week has felt eternally long. 
This MONTH has felt eternally long. 


For one, Adam's Big Law Firm World schedule has been horrendous. 
This is his second straight week arriving home at midnight or later. 
He's tired. 
I'm tired because I don't sleep well when he's gone
It sucks so much. 
And now there are rumblings that a big deal may come up this weekend, 
and I'm just plain in denial. 



On top of that, potty training has been its own rollercoaster.
Aside from Disastrous Day 1, 
I felt like we had "gotten it." 
Only 1-2 accidents a day. 
My pride was BURSTING.
"Well, that wasn't so bad," 
I said to myself, 
"I don't know what people make such a fuss about!" 
(We all know what's coming next)
... Then regression hit. 
Aaron has had multiple days of 4+ accidents at daycare. 
FOUR. 
I have to pack him an entire bag of clothes and underwear each day. 
Hell, I pack him more clothes for daycare than I do on overnight business trips!
The daycare providers assure me this is normal. 
"Regression is normal." 
Regression sucks, man.


But since I've already used my quota of "poop" for the week, 
I'll move on...


This particular week held one of our worst days in a long time. 
It haunts me.


Tuesday was a F**KING Bad Day with a capital "FU" 

Work had a lot of very bad moments. 
The kind of frustrating moments where I think: 
'I don't want to do this anymore.' 

I left early for my semi-annual MRI (due to my heightened risk of breast cancer), 
only to find out that I couldn't get my MRI because the woman before me was 45 minutes late and her lateness would push back my appointment and make me miss daycare pickup. 
I was pissssed. 


 I pickup Aaron from daycare, 
and the moment he realizes we can't go to the park 
(its raining and I'm still in work dress clothes)
the temper tantrums begin. 

Every. single. thing. set off a temper tantrum. 
Coming inside from the car set him off. 

I'm not one to hover around temper tantrums, 
so I left to go upstairs to get changed and let him calm down. 
I come downstairs to find him 
removing puzzle pieces one by one 
and chucking them across the room. 
Anger management, anyone? 


We have a timeout. 
A loonnnggg 2-minute time out. 
He sits on my lap and I rub his back, 
coo-ing in my finest guru-yoga voice, 
"Calllmmm down, Aaron, calllmmm down." 
He's calmed down. 
Victory? 
Just I wait...

I start to take off his shoes... 
Temper Tantrum Round 2. 

I take off his jacket. 
Temper Tantrum Round 3. 


At this point, screw the timeouts and the yoga-guru voice, 
I'm just trying to survive the f**king night.  
I strap him into his booster for dinner. 
Temper Tantrum Round 4.

Because we've had so many temper tantrums, there's no time life for Thomas before bed. 
Temper Tantrum Round 5. 

PJs and Sleepsack. 
Temper Tantrum Round 6. 

The temper tantrums wore him out, 
and he was asleep in seconds. 
Whew. 
The next two days after? 
HAPPIEST LITTLE MAN EVER. 
It's like he knew he needed to redeem himself. 
Wednedsay, we went to his BFF William's house after daycare, 
which was an awesome mommy-recharge moment for me as well. 

Today, we went to the park, 
where Aaron insisted on smelling every single flower
Have you ever smelled a dandelion? 
They don't smell like much, 
but that didn't stop Aaron! 



Both days, when we went home, 
he came inside with no fuss
He was happy and silly for dinner. 
Went into bath without protest. 
Was all giggles for bedtime. 

He redeemed himeslf. 

I guess we'll keep him. 
 Hehe.