Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Books I Read (July-Aug)

Probably my least productive two months of reading ever. 
We moved and then messed me up in all sorts of ways. 
One of which, of course, was adjusting to a new library. 

(Because, to reiterate, I don't like reading on an electronic device. 
I like the paper feel. 
The weight of the book. 
And the library due date forces me to read it in time.) 





Not working 
By Lisa Owens

I was really excited for this book 
because it would be a fun way to kickoff my SAHM-hood. 
Since I am officially not working
But instead... 

Meh. 
It's an easy read. 
Parts of it are pretty funny. 
But overall, meh.
I think I expected more to happen 
And when I got to the end I felt like: 
"Soooo... That was it?" 





13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl 
By Mona Awad

This is the book where I FINALLY learned my lesson. 
(Finally) 
If a book review includes the word "raw", 
it means "depressing." 
Most common: "A raw look at [x]"
Raw = depressing. 
Got it? 

This is a depressing book. 
It's a sad, miserable depressing book. 
Ironically, I read it all in one night (it is pretty short), 
hoping it would somehow end on a high note. 

Also, another instance where the review includes the word "wit" 
and I mistakenly think wit = funny. 
The review on the top cover starts with: "This book sparkles with wit." 
Doesn't that sound funny and enjoyable? 
Sparkles. Wit. 
NOPE. 
Not funny, not enjoyable. 
Just plain depressing. 





Maybe in Another Life 

by Taylor Jenkins Reed

I really LOVED this book. 

Allena recommended it (here) and I thought it looked super cool. 
It did NOT disappoint. 

Sometimes I have trouble with time-jumping, 
but this book flows beautifully and I had no complaints. 

Also, another positive about this book: 
I have the gift (curse?) of usually predicting how a book goes 
(I've said it before, but I predicted "We Were Liars" from chapter 1 and hated it). 
I won't say this book has any crazy psycho twists, 
but it just went a different path than I predicted, 
and I really appreciated that about the book.
***

So in summary, 1 for 3. 
Not the greatest ratio these two months. 
I have a stack of books I'll be reading at the lake soon, 
so I'm hoping I'll find a few good ones in there!



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Materials Management

Let's start with some basic facts:

I am not an arts-and-crafts person. 

DIY is not my thing. 

And I hate mess. 


Got it? 
Ok good, 
now onto the back story. 


My saintly cousin Hannah came down to help unpack, 
and whenever I see her, 
I love to pick her brain on childhood development things. 
She works in toddler special education, 
so basically she's a goldmine of really smart toddler ideas. 


This particular visit, we were talking about toddler skills 
and other sort of things, 
and she mentioned "materials management." 
(I'm going to butcher this so, Hannah, please jump in here) 

Materials management allows Aaron to take ideas in his head, 
and put them down on paper. 
It helps him to learn to handle things like glue sticks and scissors. 
Allowing him to use his imagination but then put it into a visible form. 
It's basically the science behind an "art station." 
A place where Aaron can go create and do whatever he wants. 


I was like: 
"Oh I have coloring books and can bring them out when he wants it." 

And she was like: 
"No, he needs a place he can just go whenever to create. 
And let it be his place. 
Paper. 
Stickers. 
Crayons. 
Whatever, just lying around."


Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. 


This sounds MESSY. 


I hemmed and hawed and finally 
FINALLY 
made a deal with myself to give it a shot. 
I took an old IKEA side table 
and stuck it in the corner of the dining room 
along with his toddler camping chair. 

I then spread out some plain white paper, 
a few coloring books, 
printed coloring pages (online)
crayons, 
stickers, 
glue sticks, 
water paints, 
toddler scissors (those dull, blunt, barely-work plastic things) 
and just left it there. 


Wouldn't you know, 
Aaron LOVES IT. 
He'll periodically just sit down and creates whatever his little mind wants.
Our fridge is covered in his little artwork 
ranging from stickers collages, 
to painted pictures. 

The ONLY thing he has to ask me for is water for the water paints. 
Because we have real wood floors, I don't want to risk the water sitting out all the time. 
(And yes, this is a form of my control freak shining through.  Let it be.) 

I've also found him randomly cutting things with his little stickers. 
So excited that "Mommy look what I did!" 
as he butchers up a picture of Darth Vader with his scissors. 


I'm sure some people reading this think: 
"Duh Emily. Isn't a craft station just part of childhood?" 

NO. 
And you know why? 
Because this: 

(source

Hannah assured me that I did not need to include markers in this station. 
(They incorrectly teach kids not to press down) 
so I was relieved to hear that I could avoid such tragedies as the picture above. 


So far, the worst I have to deal with is this: 

Messy, but not total mayhem just yet. 


Anyway, the point of this is that, 
I didn't want to have an art station. 
And I still don't. 
So I call it Aaron's "materials management station." 
But he needs one. 
Because it is an essential part of development. 
And he freakin' loves it. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Moving Lessons

So we moved. 
From our small townhome to a 4-bdrm suburban home. 
And I love LOVE LOVE our new home. 
Love the 2-car garage. 
Love the space. 
Love our backyard. 
Etc. 

Didn't love the moving. 
In fact, it was quite traumatic for me. 
But I already elaborated on that here, so let's leave it at that. 


Instead, let's focus on some lesson learning. 
Good/bad things we did. 


Move Day Lessons


Packers are worth every penny 
(and not as pricey as you think!) 

When I mentioned the idea of packers, 
everyone told me it would be a fortune. 
In short: 4 men packed our 1,700-sqft house in 3.5 hours (!!!!!)
 and it was $750. 
BEST MONEY EVER SPENT. 

Now while I give them an A+ for speed, 
I'd give a C+ / B- for thoroughness. 
Lots of little items left that were kind of like wtf? 
A golf club in the closet. 
A pair of shoes in the bathroom. 
A stack of books in the living room. 
Like uh...? 
But they did a fantastic job of keeping like-things together 
(and nothing broke!) 
that when I'm looking for something, 
I can judge a whole box by the item on top. 


Overnight bags are a must. 

At least 2 nights. 
The packers came Friday. 
Moving truck Saturday. 
I knew we'd need overnight bags from Friday to Saturday 
but decided to pack to Sunday in case we couldn't find anything Saturday. 
And even though we knew where stuff was, 
we were too tired to get to it. 
If anything, I didn't pack enough in the overnight bag. 


I highly recommend staying in a hotel or with family/friends
...particularly if you're packing and moving are two separate days. 

We didn't and I regretted it. 
There was nowhere for us to move to or sit on. 
We sort of camped out on our bed since it was the only thing not packed. 
Aaron kept asking: "What can I do?" 
And the answer was: "Here's an ipad." 

Aaron zoning out to a movie while the world around him gets packed. 

Also staying elsewhere would have helped the food situation. 
Food was inconvenient at best. 
We had full access to the fridge 
but nothing to eat with. 
We had breakfast picnic-style among the boxes. 

Breakfast: panera sandwiches on the floor of the bedroom



Have someone take the toddlers 

This would be a no-brainer for some parents, 
but Aaron is so inquisitive that I thought it would be fun to watch. 
So good that logical people like my mom and SIL stepped in to take him. 
Aaron got a solid nap at my parent's house on moving day 
and then had a blast at with his cousin while we struggled through the move. 

Oliver on the other hand, stayed with me the whole time. 
His bottle strike made it impossible to hand him off, 
and he's pretty chill so for 2-days straight he hung out like this: 



Unpacking lessons:

Everything cannot be immediately perfect, 
so dedicate the most time to the area that affects you most. 

I really wanted to do my whole house perfectly 
but I found myself overwhelmed by boxes 
and just wanted them GONE so stuff got tossed in closets. 
However, I spent a lot of time in one area: my kitchen. 
My kitchen is the one area I wanted right immediately. 
Since I cook everything from scratch (omg, I've become my mother), 
I am constantly in the kitchen for hours (hello SAHM stereotype) 
so I knew it needed to be done right. 


Accept unpacking help from people who think like you. 

My amazing cousin Hannah drove down from NY to help unpack 
and it was a LIFESAVER. 
We spent 8 hours alone in the kitchen. 
It was so nice to have someone to discuss / challenge things like 
"how often do you use this?" 
And if the answer was : "almost never" 
the response was: "do you NEED this?" 

Further, she thought of things that make so much logical sense 
but never occurred to me. 
Like pot holders in a drawer under the stove. 
Or the strainer immediately above the sink. 
Simple logical ideas that every day when I pull something out, 
I think: "I'm so glad Hannah thought to put this here." 


Hide the rest of the boxes. 
I utilized a 
"if I can't see it, it won't bother me" approach 
and it truly works wonders. 
My basement may look like hell, but I don't see it! 



As always, there's more I've already forgotten. 
I'd chalk it up to #mombrain 
but at this point I may just have to accept that I'm getting old. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Life since moving

My first blog post after Oliver's birth was 6 days later.
My first blog post after moving is 12 days later.
That pretty much sums up how I feel about moving versus a new baby.


I know that newborns can be overwhelming.
Operating on low sleep.
24/7 feeding calls.
Incessant crying.
But, as I discussed before, that really doesn't phase me.


What does phase me?
MOVING.


I won't go into the gory details,
but the gist is that it was pretty ugly.
I was stressed and got freaked out
and got mad at everyone for no reason.


And yes, we hired professional packers
(WORTH EVERY PENNY)
so like what was there to freak out about?

This:

This is our living room filled to the brim with boxes.
And that was only 1/2 the boxes in the house.
Eeeeekkk.


Ok so moving on.
(har har)
We all lived.

My cousin Hannah came down to help unpack,
which was seriously the greatest thing ever.
I'll elaborate more in another post about our moving lessons.
But one lesson is definitely HAVE HELP,
specifically someone who thinks like you do.
Again, another post.


Other things in life...


Aaron adjusted to his new daycare marvelously.
He has his cousin in his class, which he loves.
It's like 5 minute drive from the house,
which I love.


Adam has been slammed in Big Law Firm World.
The second day after move-in,
he worked until 3am.
But the deal closed this week so hoping for a little breathing room now!


I went for my first run in our new area,
wasn't paying attention,
tripped,
and slid on the concrete sidewalk,
skinning both my knees.

(Because I know you wanted a visual.
And check out our sexy masterbath wallpaper.)

It's also surprising how much you do that requires being on your knees.
And yes, get your mind out of the gutter.
I'm talking like bathing small children and changing diapers on the floor.
I had also wanted to try out a new yoga studio right by our house,
but not until my knees are better!

While my first run was a fail,
my second was a stunning success as I found a really awesome route.
There's so many neighborhoods around us that I think I can put together some really great running paths.
Previously at our old house, I maxed out at 3.5 miles
and then had to drive elsewhere if I didn't want to run in circles.
Here I think I can work with a lot more.


Let's see... what else?
Oliver is still on bottle strike!
I don't want to talk about it.


And... I think that's it for now.
Just a little post to say
I'M ALIVE.
I SURVIVED MOVING.





Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Moving Stress, Bottle Strike, and Elitism

No surprise, 
the stress continues to mount as we inch closer and closer to Dooms Day Moving Day. 


Is it a mistake to hire packers? 
Will they break stuff? 
Will they lose stuff? 
Should I have just packed it all myself? 

(AnswerStop being a control freak. 
You would have stressed twice as much about packing yourself.) 


Are we moving too soon? 
Should we have waited to move later so we could do more projects in the house first?
(Answer: Maybe, but there will always be more projects


Stress does funny things to one's mindset. 
Sometimes it distracts you from other stressors. 
And sometimes it makes you focus on things you normally wouldn't. 


Example #1: Bottle Strike 

While Oliver's Bottle Strike is still going strong, 
I've basically given up. 
I waived my white flag. 
I've stopped trying to give him a bottle every day 
and just accept that he's attached to me at all times. 
I always did say I supported Attachment Parenting right? 
Haha. Joke's on me. 

Little bottle hater. He'll put anything in his mouth except a bottle. 


Once we are settled in our new house, 
I'll resume the Bottle Battle 
(assuming I can find the bottles in the mass of boxes). 


Example #2: Elitism 

Wait, wtf does this have to do with moving? 
Nothing. 
But it's something I've suddenly become very annoyed at this week. 
Elitism can manifest itself regarding wealth, 
body type, 
education, 
and really any single element that implies one is better than the other because of [x].

As does any form of negativity, elitism comments pop up every now and then, 
but I rarely give them a second thought. 
 I think the best defense is a good self esteem. 
And although I'm not as thin as I'd like or rich as I want, I'm very happy with my life. 

Suddenly a few elitist comments are getting on my nerves. 
Even things people have said in the past are suddenly popping back up in my mind. 
Is it perhaps a reflection of my new SAHM Posirion that's made me more self conscious?
 Or perhaps it's stress causing me to worry about things that really don't matter at all. 
I don't know the answer. 
But it's making me cranky. 

Can the stress of moving simulate PMS?