Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Stresssssssss

As moving day nears, the stress level gets higher 
and higher 
and higher 
and higher. 

Like, why the hell did we decide to move? 
Can't we just stay here... forever? 

We've got a lot done so far. 
The contractor is finished with renovations (for now, more to come in fall). 
The original hardwood is exposed and refinished (took FOREVER!). 
The family room carpet is professionally cleaned. 

The hardwood has been the most trying because the poly coat they put on top makes the house unlivable with fumes. 
I won't bring Aaron and Oliver in the house until we get it properly aired out. 
We aired it out last night so let's hope its better today. 


A short list of things we need to do: 

1. Paint 4 rooms: living room, family room, nursery, and upstairs hallway bath.  
While painting is often optional, 
because we did so many renovations in these rooms, 
we have a lot of exposed drywall that needs to be primed and painted. 
Our contractor had told me off the bat: "I do everything except paint."
  He meant it. 


2. Assemble the kitchen pantry. 
Our very-dated kitchen does not come with a pantry. 
In about 5 years (after we stock up some more $$$), we'll renovate the entire kitchen, 
but in the meantime I NEED a pantry. 


3. Finish fixes in new home. 
Little things that wasn't worth having the contractor do. 
And my dad's background in electrical means we'll get those fixes through him. 
I love Adam with all my heart, but he is no handy man. 
Thankfully my dad is. 


4. Get quotes for tree trimming. 
Lots of gorgeous trees on our property. 
All of which are in DIRE need of trimming. 
We've already had one branch fall on our neighbor's fence. 
Nothing like "hey, nice to meet you, sorry 'bout your fence." 


5. Label the new house for the movers. 
Probably not needed, but I'm a control freak like that. 


6. Label everything in current house NOT being packed. 
I have heard packers will pack every single item unless labeled. 
Even the butter dish. 
And trash. 
That's the rumor. 


7. Move the stuff we don't want packers touching. 
Like frozen breastmilk. 
And wine. 
And my Mommy Cheryl's china. 
That's about it. 
That's the most valuable stuff in our house: breastmilk, wine, china. 
So don't ever put our house on the "to rob" list because you'll be sorely disappointed. 


8. Unpack. 
(Please note that around this time, I'll be having an emotional breakdown.) 


9. Schedule painter for our current townhome. 
Because one day Adam tried to move the queen boxspring downstairs himself. 
And... um, well, we now need a painter. 


10. All the other fixes to get current townhome on the market. 
I can't even list everything here. 
But it's a lot of little shit. 
The kind of shit we SHOULD HAVE done over the past 5 years. 
But instead we're doing it now. 
Massive eye roll. 


And all with these adorable little men hanging around... 



And they each have their own "developments." 

The big man is starting a new daycare next Monday. 
I'm putting ALL my money on the fact that it's his cousin's daycare, 
and for 5 weeks, he and his cousin will overlap in the same daycare room. 
I'm hoping that smooths the transition. 
Nevermind that he also has to endure a housing transition. 

It's a lot to ask for a 3-year-old! 

And then little man here... 



Well, this little man is STILL ON A BOTTLE STRIKE!!!! 

On Monday I switched to sippy cup 
(still life factory bottles, just adding their sippy cap). 

He gets approx 1/2-1/4 of the liquid on his bib/clothing, 
BUT he seems to at least drink it without massive meltdown, 
which is a huge improvement over the bottles. 

So far the only person who has gotten him to take a sippy cup is... ME. 
Which TOTALLY DEFEATS THE PURPOSE. 
But as of today I'm going to see if the babysitter can have success. 
Pray for her success. Please. 


So anyway, that's our life right now. 

Some days I'm like: 
"STEP AWAY, I GOT THIS!" 

And some days I'm like: 
"I'M GOING TO LOSE MY MIND!" 


** Addendum ** 
I'd like to acknowledge that as stressful as this process is, 
it is 100 times LESS stressful because: 

1)  I am not working. 
Working full-time (or hell, even part time) would ensure total loss of sanity. 

2) Our current home is not listed for sale yet. 
If I had to move AND keep my house clean for showings... LOL LOL LOL. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Confessions

Some of my favorite people have been doing confessions lately
 (Amanda and Jessica
so since I'm a copycat with no original content, 
I am doing the same. 


1. I avoid bathing my children. 
The in-between-bath-times have been stretched realllly far. 
Days, sometimes a week. 
Yes I bathe Aaron when he's sweating or sticky or smelly, 
but generally I come up with a list of excuses not to 
(e.g.: "He's not seeing anyone important tomorrow.  
Just daycare.  Who cares if he smells?") 
Same for Oliver. 
I justify this because you aren't suppose to bathe babies a lot 
but really I am just lazy. 

Oliver's first bath at 12 days old. 


2. I get choked up reading "Stormy Night." 
It is in no way a sappy book 
(nor creepy, like the psycho creepy "Love You Forever" book) 
but the little diddy gets me all choked up every time. 


3. I thought I'd be ok with a baby attached to me at all times... but no. 
I'm all for Attachment Parenting but I didn't realize how much I enjoy my few hours away until Oliver started a bottle strike this week. 
Just in time, too, because this weekend he's supposed to be away from me for a full day so Adam and I can paint the new house. 


4. We are officially hiring packers to pack our house. 
Yes, I could do it. 
I absolutely could. 
But I don't want to. 
And because I don't want to, we are spending a pretty penny to have someone else do it.


5. The other day I ate 7 Oreos while making this trifle
I also licked the pudding batter off the whisk, the bowl... and the counter. 




Thursday, July 21, 2016

Choosing Battles

"Choose your battles" 
You could say this about friendships. 
About marriages. 
About almost anything. 
But I think it most accurately applies to children. 


Because I'm an amateur parent, 
(I.e. I'm in the midst of my first ever toddler experience)
 there's still a lot of battles I choose. 
I fight the battle of matching clothes. 
I fight the battle of screen time. 
I fight the battle on taking toys out of the house. 
Etc. 
I'm well aware that Future Emily may fight less battles. 


Probably my most passionate battle is the food battle. 
From the beginning, I stood my ground on pickiness. 

My motto: 
"If you don't like what's in front of you, that's fine. 
You don't have to eat it. But you aren't getting anything else.
This has meant tantrums, 
going to bed without supper, 
and all sorts of other pleasantries. 
Through all my battles, one of the lines that repeats over and over in my head: "Scientifically*, a child will not allow themselves to starve." 
*see disclaimer below* 
 It really truly comes down to how much of a battle you're willing to fight. 
And after all my fighting, I've been rewarded with a child who eats pretty much everything. 

Aaron abandoning his PBJ for salad. 


So what battles do I not fight? 
Here's one that people raise an eyebrow at: 
Picking up toys. 



Seriously. 
I very rarely make Aaron pick up his toys. 
Like almost never. 
Every now and then I'll throw out a 
"you can't get [x] until you pick up Legos" 
but that's pretty infrequent. 

One of the many reasons I don't fight this battle is because I actually LIKE picking up toys myself.  
I know WEIRD. 
I like sorting them and putting them all away properly. 
Additionally, thanks to our finished basement, where Aaron plays the most, 
if I don't feel in the mood, I simply don't see it and it doesn't bother me. 


But oh the social implications!!! 
He won't learn responsibility! 
He'll grow up to be a slob! 
Bad, parent, bad! 
Yeah maybe you're right. 

But I don't feel like it's any more detrimental than your child's malnourished brain from eating a diet of processed chicken nuggets.  
Let's agree to call it a wash, shall we? 


The reason I write this post was witnessing this sharp contrast the other day. 
We were out at a mutual friend's house. 
The other visiting child refused dinner, only accepting frozen chicken nuggets (his whole diet in life is oatmeal, chicken nuggets, and applesauce), 
while Aaron ate everything we ate (salad included!). 
Me mentally: "ah look at that parenting win!"  
Then the kids go play. 
When done, the mom instructs her son to pick up and he does so without question, 
neatly putting away every toy. 
Aaron takes a look at the mess and promptly walks away. 
Me mentally: "Well I guess now we're even."  


This has spawned a lot of conversations with my mom friends about which battles we pick and which we don't. 
It's fascinating really. 
Even more interesting when battles change from one child to another. 
Like fighting the food battle with one but not the other. 

What battles do you pick or not care about? 



*Just like every wide-sweeping statement, there are exceptions. 
There are most definitely children who may have mental disabilities or eating disorders. 
For these children, it is recommended to seek professional help. 
Not just a casual "oh my kid doesn't eat" to the pediatrician, 
but an actual meeting with a counselor who specializes in this. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Race and racism

Race and racism. 
Otherwise known as the MAIN TOPIC of today's news. 


As an upper-middle-class white person, 
this isn't really a topic I'd think to discuss. 
I mean, obviously, I believe every single person is created equal. 
A black person should be treated the same as white. 
No excuses. 
But it wouldn't be something I talk about. 

Then I read this fascinating article: 

Summary
We adults many times don't talk about race because it's a sensitive issue. 
However, a child's innocent mind can read that "hushing" as negative, 
therefore perceiving differences in race as negative. 


Interesting. 


I didn't grow up with much (any?) exposure to black or Latino or Muslim communities. 
Central NY is white, white, and more white. 
Protestant/Catholic white. 
Not even Jew white (Adam was the first Jewish friend I ever had). 

From there, I went to Messiah College which is also Super White. 
WASP white. 

Again, I had no doubt everyone was created equal, 
but we just didn't discuss it because it was never an issue (that we saw). 


Then I moved to Philadelphia, 
which the all-so-accurate Wikipedia (sarcasm) ranks as #3 or #4 in the nation for African-American population.  

Aaron sharing toys at the water fountains at City Hall.
And yes, I'm pretty sure this is the ONLY picture I have of my child with another mixed-race child. 
Sigh. 


Aaron's daycare is a melting pot of races. 
Off the top of my head, I can think of black families, Indian families, Latino families, Asian families, and one Muslim family. 


This actually brings me to a pretty funny story. 

At daycare, all the kids know the other kids' parents. 
I will walk into daycare and any kid will announce: "It's Aaron's mom!" 
We were in Wegmans and Aaron shouts/points: "It's Audrey's mommy and daddy!" 
Now, I know Audrey's mommy and daddy pretty well since they do drop-off/pick-up the same time as us. 
This was NOT Audrey's mommy and daddy. 
It was just another Asian family. 
I was a wee bit embarrassed and informed Aaron: "Nope, that is not Audrey's family." 
And moved on. 


A few weeks later, 
we were at Target and passed by a Muslim woman wearing a hijab 
(and yes, I had to google to get the right name, 
because unfortunately I'm not educated enough to distinguish between a burqa and hijab). 
Aaron announces: "That's Caleb's mommy!" 
Thinking that he has, once again, misidentified someone, 
I usher him along. 
The woman turns around and smiles: 
"Oh, I thought I heard Caleb's name!  He's at daycare.  You are Aaron, right?" 

Ha. 
Clearly shows that mommy doesn't always know right! 
(Just y'know, 95% of the time... ha)


The point of these stories is both times my instinct was to hush Aaron's mis-identification of race. 
When in actuality I should have discussed it more. 

Such as: 
"Well, no, that's another Asian family.  
Audrey is Asian but there a lot of Asian people." 


Baby steps.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

SAHM: 30 Day Review

30 days in* I want to do a review of my SAHM life, 
particularly addressing my SAHM Goals

I feel it's too soon to assess my SAHM Fears since many of them are extremely long-term, but hopefully I can start to incorporate my feelings into a 6-month or 1-year review. 

Anyway, onto the assessment.  
How am I doing staying home with these two munchkins? 





Things Doing Well


Staying busy
Of course, buying our upgrade house helps, 
but still I am incredibly amazed by the amount of activities available to SAHM & kids. 
So much so that we haven't even gotten to go to half of them. 
$1 movies. 
Giant outdoor playgrounds. 
Indoor playgrounds. 
Even things as simple as taking the train to the city to see daddy. 





Staying social
I have hung out with my other SAHM friend which has been a life-saver as she tells me about all these activities. 
Plus I have another friend on 6-month maternity leave 
(yes you read that right - 6 months maternity leave! Go work for Bristol-Meyers!)


Eating Well. 
Although I feared 24/7 access to my fridge, 
it's going wonderfully. 
I love taking the time to prepare fun meals, 
which would never have packed well in a lunch box (also don't miss packing my lunch!). 
I don't buy crap and there's no vending machine or cafeteria, 
so my hunger snacking has gotten much MUCH healthier. 
Instead of craving Doritos from vending machine or cookie from the cafeteria, 
I'm eating fresh plums or a bowl of Cheerios with strawberries. 

The only part that has been tricky is snacks-on-the-go. 
Especially with our new house purchase, 
I'm constantly commuting between our current townhome and new house, 
which means food needs to be portable. 
I need to do a thorough search of Wegmans of healthy to-go snacks 
(read: not a lot of sugar, which is near impossible for portability). 


Exercise. 
I've done a really good job of getting out for runs 
(either before Adam goes to work or when my sister comes to help), 
walks with the stroller (too hot for the wrap), 
and yoga. 
Yoga has been my favorite addition. 
I go 4:30 on Thursday (never possible with work!), 
and I leave feeling like a new person. 
Not only is my body getting the incredible stretch we all need, 
but my mental state soaks up that relaxation time like a sponge. 


(Side note: you'd think with my success in the eating and exercise department,
 the baby weight would be falling off. 
NOPE. 
I have one of those lovely bodies that clings to the weight to sustain breastfeeding. 
So... Maybe in a year? Ugh)


Keeping the house clean. 
This sounds silly, 
but I really enjoy the satisfaction of how clean my house is now that I can scour it multiple times a day. 
Rather than just doing one big sweep after bed 
(when I'm already exhausted), 
I can work on the house after breakfast, during nap, and one final push after bed. 


TV Time
I'm a little shocked by how easy it is for me NOT to resort to TV for Aaron. 
I think this stems from my personal life where I almost never have the tv on. 
The most I've used our TV by myself is to watch nature shows or documentaries on Netflix in the middle of the night during my pregnancy insomnia. 
Otherwise, unless Adam is home and we're watching a show together, the TV is never ever on. 
This total lack of tv must be spilling over to my parenting. 


Things I'm okay at:  

Reading 
My goal had been to read every day. 
That's not happening but I'm not failing either. 
I'd say about 2 days a week I'll sit down for a solid hour with a book during naptime. 
It's not as much as I wanted, but it's much better than I was doing before! 
Unfortunately, with our upcoming move, I see this happening less frequently. 
But I still want to try for it. 


Needs Improvement:

Drinking Water 
This wasn't one of my goals because I hadn't seen it as a problem. 
When I was working, I was constantly sipping at my desk, 
so 100 ounces in a day was easy. 
Now I barely finish my 40 oz Hydro Flask in a day. 
Especially with breastfeeding, I need to improve my water consumption. 


Teaching Aaron
Alphabet recognition? 
Scissor skills? 
Nope. 
Not for a hot second. 
It's so much easier to just let him play and I justify it with the notion that his brain is developing just fine with independent play. 
Let me live in my fantasy. 


Aaron post-"nap" explaining his construction to me.



*Not actually 30 days since I was a "practicing" SAHM when Adam went back to work May 16th. 
But since I officially gave notice on June 15th, that's my hypothetical start date.  
Whew. 
Glad we cleaned up that important detail

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Life Lately

It's hot out. 
It is in the 90s with 100% humidity. 
This is like peak miserableness for Pennsylvania, 
and I don't know how the hell you southeners deal with this for months on end. 
I would never leave the house. 

In fact, I'm treating today like a snow blizzard and just staying in. 
Well, until my babysitter comes at 4pm and then I'm off to yoga. 
(Ah yoga, one of the best of parts of becoming a SAHM.) 
Our new babysitter lives in the neighborhood 
and is replacing my sister (who went to Spain, then is off to college) as my in-home help. 
Funny thing is, they share the same name 
and are pretty similar in appearance. 
I'm trying to get Aaron to call the new girl "Miss Rebecca" 
to differentiate from "Aunt Rebecca." 
But instead what we end up with is "Miss Aunt Rebecca." 
Hmm. 


Back to today. 
While Oliver naps in his swing, 
and Aaron plays play-doh on the kitchen table, 
I'm going to babble on about the random thoughts in my head. 


First of all, I need to document one important reoccurring thought: 
Oliver is such an easy baby. 
Seriously, I love it. 
I refer to him every day as "my easy baby." 
He's just so chill. 
He waits his turn and doesn't put up a fuss. 
Granted, he's not as good of a sleeper as Aaron, 
waking up 4 times these last few days thanks to [what I hope is] a 3-month growth spurt. 
But otherwise... chill. 
So chill. 
We were at a lunch with friends and he just fell asleep sitting up in my lap. 
Aaron would NEVER have done that. 



Other thoughts:
Construction on our new house seems to be going very well, 
and if all continues to go well, 
we may just maybe be able to move the last weekend in July. 

However, this brings us to a very important topic I've been avoiding... 

I don't want to pack my house. 
Everyone says I can pack my house. 
I really can. 
It's a 1,600-sqft townhome. 
Totally do-able. 
But I DON'T WANT TO PACK MY HOUSE. 
Thinking of Amanda's favorite "would you rather" game, 
here's a list of things I'd rather do than pack my house: 
1. Give up high heels for a year. 
2. Give up wine for 9 months. 
3. Lie naked on a bed of nails. 

I've priced out packers and the result? It's pricey
Adding packers essentially doubles the moving costs. 
So... time will tell. 


In just general news, 
SAHM-hood is going well. 
Yes, some days are tougher than others. 
But days like today are heaven. 
Days where it's miserable out and we don't have to leave the house. 
I can scrap any and all plans for the day, and just chill
It's lovely. 
I've been working on a post for tomorrow, 
my one-month anniversary of giving notice
So stayed tuned for that recap. 
(I know you're on the edge of your seat.) 


Last random thought: kombucha
I learned about it from this Cupcakes & Cashmere post on healthy snacks, 
and when I walked by it in the organic section of Wegmans, 
I thought: "What the hell?" 
It's um...different. 
Its VERY fizzy, moreso than soda. 
But it packs this sort of sour punch, like a sweet and sour in a fizzy bottle. 
I let Aaron have some and he kind of giggled/squealed at the taste, 
then announced: "I don't like it." 
Yeah, it's different for sure. 
But I'm kind of intrigued.

Fair warning, of course, it says to consult a doctor before drinking if pregnant or breast-feeding. 
I figure one bottle should be ok. 
Or at least, one bottle shouldn't be any worse than the one mini can of Mountain Dew I had the other day. 


Fun Facts about Mountain Dew

1. It's illegal in most of Europe. 

2. The neon green raw material comes into the Pepsi plants marked with a Bio-Hazard sign. 

3. It is my absolute favorite drink of all time. 
However, thanks to its caffeine content, sugar content, and the two facts above, 
I only have a can (and a mini one at that) once every 6 months. 
But seriously, it is DELICIOUS. 


And that, my friends, is my random thoughts of today. 
Peace out. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

We Bought a House

We bought a house! 
As of Friday morning, we settled on our second home. 
Our "upgrade" home if you will. 




While we've loved our little 3-bedroom, 1600-sqft townhome, 
the arrival of Mr. Oliver meant it was time to move. 


We had started the house-hunting process back in the fall 
and in February we started moving forward on one house, only to withdrawal our offer. 
I detailed that rollercoaster here


Somewhere on or around my due date, 
our realtor (a mom with 4 kids herself) sent a message of:
 "I know you're about to pop, but here's a great house that just came on the market." 


Oliver was 8 days old when we toured the house. 
We loved it. 
The neighborhood was perfection. 
The yard was perfect. 
The layout was exactly what we wanted. 
And the price was JUST RIGHT. 

We put in an offer immediately, just under list price. 
They counted a day later and we accepted immediately. 


We met the owners while doing inspection. 
A lovely Jewish couple who was downsizing since their two kids had moved out. 
They had moved into the house in 1992 with a 6-week-old and 2-year-old, 
Not that dissimilar from us. 
And even more similar? 
They had previously lived in a townhome just a neighborhood away from our current townhome. 
It was absolutely meant to be. 


We celebrated our first night with pizza and champagne: 



Of course the house needs work. 
Lots of shag carpet, underneath which is gorgeous original hardwood floors. 
(Nicole Curtis would be beside herself.)
There is shelf liner EVERYWHERE. 
Sticky old ancient shelf-liner of the most hideous variety of designs. 
And some bathrooms with crazy wallpaper and, uh, interesting vanity. 

Exhibit A: 




And a kitchen with one of those old ovens so small you can't fit a full cookie sheet in it. 
(Good thing I don't bake cookies.) 
But really, all these things are fixable. 
Some things (like the wood floors) we are doing now. 
And some will be a remodel in 5-10 years (like the kitchen oven). 


Sure I've done my fair share of cussing as I manually pluck tiny pieces of shelf liner off every surface. 
But when I get fed up, I walk into our attached 2-car garage and think: 
"I never ever have to shovel out cars after a snowstorm." 
And THAT, that my friends, is f**king amazing. 


All in all, we love it. 
And just like so many people told us when our other house fell through, 
we love this one SO MUCH MORE than the previous. 
We are downright RELIEVED we didn't buy the other house. 


So over the next few months, 
 I'll be dealing with the logistics of renovations, 
moving, 
and eventually listing our current townhome. 
I expect a lot of frustration and exhaustion and probably a very hefty dose of swearing and drinking. 
But for now I'm so excited!!!!