Thursday, March 30, 2017

Incoherent Ramblings

Recently, I've been wanting to just write
Not read. 
Write. 
But not about anything in particular. 
So this is an incoherent post about nothing. 
Move along. 

I've been loving the "Question A Day" journal that Amanda suggested, 
and I only wish there was more I could write on it. 

I have about 10 blogposts in some stage of being written. 
My time study post is ready to go, 
although so enormous it needs to be broken into 3 different parts. 
(Update: Posted here)
I have posts reflecting on SAHM-hood (almost a year in!) 
as well as posts about our new house (lots of before-and-after shots). 
As Oliver nears age 1, I want to touch on some reflections of the year: 
- Oliver vs Aaron: year 1 
- ME postpartum 1 year
- New products I bought for Baby #2 (Update: posted here)
- Just like I did with Aaron, a post on my experience breastfeeding Oliver
(experience still in progress with no sign of quitting except the damn biting). 


Since March started, life has just felt busy
We had two weeks of living under construction while our hall and bath were renovated. 
The renovations ended at 5pm the day before Aaron's 4th birthday party. 
(Talk about stress!) 



Aaron's "big" present this birthday was a Micro Maxi scooter, 
which he is slowly getting the hang of. 

Originally we were going to give him his first real bike, 
but decided against it. 
90% we go walking, it's just me and the boys (since Adam works so late). 
Meaning I have to push Oliver AND watch Aaron. 
We live on relatively quiet streets, 
but there's just enough cars that I don't want him riding in the street just yet. 
So whatever he has to be on, needs to be on the sidewalk in front of me pushing Oliver, 
and a scooter just made so much more sense.


He also got a Spider-man costume which he wears EVERYWHERE. 
(A great replacement for the Storm Trooper that was disintegrating.) 


Oh, and after my Chore post, we officially implemented the Chore Chart. 
We tried doing it with just X-ing with a marker, 
but he wasn't interested. 
I switched to putting on stickers and now he LOVES IT. 
He runs to it every morning to see what he has to do, 
and is very excited to put a sticker on the square. 

(I made his chore chart using excel and clipart. No graphic awards here.) 

We decided on the following:

1.  PJs in the hamper 

2. Pull-up in the trash 
(another blog post idea: night-time potty training! or the lack thereof

3. Make bed. 

4. Brush teeth before nap 
(mentioned before how we kept forgetting this

5. Day clothes in the hamper 

6. Brush teeth before bed 

If all 6 items have stickers at the end of the day, he can have 10 minutes iPad. 


What else? 


I run the Hot Chocolate 15K this weekend. 
It's not my favorite course (up-and-back the Schuylkill river) 
plus adding in the miserable weather (30s-50s), 
and I'm not looking forward to it. 

The good news is that with all this running, 
I'm about 3 lbs off my pre-baby weight, 
which is still about 7 lbs higher than my "comfort" weight (size 6). 
So a solid 10 lbs left to go. 
Would love to see a size 6 by the summer!!! 




Tuesday, March 28, 2017

4 people

Ever see something you want to participate in, 
but don't for one reason or another, 
yet you think about for long after? 

You would think I'm talking about something important 
like the Ice Bucket challenge, 
but no. 


Some time back - a year? 2 years? - everyone on Facebook was selecting 4 celebrities or characters who represented them. 
I was fascinated by this but also had NO IDEA who I would select. 


All this time later, and I have it! 
Let me introduce my cast: 


Mindy Kaling, the person



Both of her books are just ME ME ME. 
I read her second book in December 2015, 
but let me relive some of the quotes that just scream "me." 

"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...


Claire Dunphy from Modern Family. 



There are countless episodes where Adam gives  me the side-eye of: 
"That is soooooo you." 
Claire runs 3 miles every morning. 
Claire has a pinterest board called "Organization Porn." 
Claire is always go-go-go. 
Also, her marriage to Phil? 
It's basically me and Adam.  
This exact scenario and exchange would absolutely take place in our house 
because: 
1) I would seriously care if my containers & lids were not matching. 
2) Adam would absolutely make a joke out of my caring. 

Claire is an control freak, perfectionist who says exactly what she thinks. 
That's me!


Monica Geller from Friends. 



Monica is an OCD clean freak. 
I have said to Adam, on numerous occasions, 
"I need you to clean up the kitchen. TO MY STANDARDS.

Everything is perfect and in it's place. 
I don't know how the hell Monica lived with Rachel, 
because I sure as shit would never. 
And Monica loves to cook (and eat), 
which is basically me. 


Joanne from Rent. 


Excerpt from "Take me or leave me" : 

I look before I leap
I love margins and discipline
I make lists in my sleep,
 baby
What's my sin?
Never quit
I follow through
I hate mess but I love you
What do with my impromptu baby?
So be wise 'cause this girl satisfies
You got a prize but don't compromise
Your one lucky baby

This is not saying that Adam is Maureen. 
But like, he is messy. 
But I do love him. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Aaron is 4

Aaron turns 4 today
and in celebration of his new age, 
here are some random facts about Aaron: 

***

He is obsessed with wearing his storm trooper outfit from Halloween, 
usually with a superhero mask and cape. 
This poor outfit is falling apart 
(it was only $9 from Target) 
and I fear it will not last much longer. 

*** 

He spends 2 hours playing "quietly" in his room every day.  
(It's quiet only if he's reading books to himself. 
It's NOT quiet if he's playing pretend.)
He rarely ever naps, 
but once every few months I catch him snoozing, 
and must document with a picture every time. 


(Note the costume mentioned above). 

***

As you can see above, he still love to read. 
He'll sit in his Pottery Barn Anywhere Chair, just flipping through books. 

Now that Oliver goes to bed at 6:30pm, 
it gives Aaron and me a solid 30 minutes of reading time alone together. 
He brings a pile of books into our bed and we just lie there
 reading one after another after another. 

I already have visions of reading the new illustrated Harry Potter books to him. 
And am already squealing in delight. 

*** 

He will "adopt" himself into other families. 
At the library, he'll con another mom into reading a book while I chase after Oliver 
(and he'll inch up onto her lap and rest on her chest while she does!). 
At the trampoline park, he'll ask other parents to throw him into the foam. 
At the pool, he'll join in a family tossing around a ball. 
He has no concept that these parents have their own kids to watch, 
he just wants to be involved.

***




Truthfully, he just wants to be involved with anything 
(very common at this age.) 
If I'm cooking, he's right there with me, 
apron on, stepstool up, and ready to help. 
When the contractors are gutting our bathroom and hall, 
he's right there with them. 
Tool-belt, tools, and even fetching his snow mittens so he could wear "gloves" like the contractors were wearing gloves. 

*** 




He's a really, really, really good big brother. 
He has never ever once done anything malicious towards Oliver. 
Of course there are plenty of accidents 
and collateral damage that happens at playtime. 

For example, Aaron will play "golf" with any objects, 
and in this case was whacking a plastic egg with a broom, 
and accidentally whacked Oliver in the head. 
And when Oliver cries, Aaron immediately knows what he has done wrong. 

He's also surprisingly good at sharing even his most precious possession (FOOD), 
and I'm always waiting for this generosity to come to a screeching halt.

Sharing a lollipop at Wegmans

***

He does not like anyone to stay mad at him. 
(Further proving he is an "F" on the Myers-Briggs scale). 

After any tantrum 
or when he's done something bad
 (see above: whacking Oliver in the head), 
he comes to us with sad eyes and outstretched arms for a hug. 
He will sit in our laps as we wrap our arms around him, 
resting in the assurance that all is forgiven. 
And he'll stay there for quite some time until he is positive all the bad is gone. 

And even though he still can throw an epic temper tantrum, 
these moments after are just pure gold. 


*** 

His stories. 
OMG HIS STORIES. 
It's impossible to document these stories in writing; 
they must be heard. 
He loves to tell us stories about him and Monkey
And they are lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggg stories. 
Like a solid 15 minute narrative. 
He doesn't even stop to take a breath, 
just plows through breathing with a "GASP" as he continues on. 

*** 

Speaking of Monkey, Aaron lives vicariously through Monkey
Anything Aaron has done, Monkey has done. 
Anything Aaron wants to do, Monkey gets to do. 
Any lesson he learns, Monkey learns it too.

Example: 

After Aaron shared his granola bar with Oliver 
and I had to fish it out of Oliver's mouth...
Me: 
"Aaron, please don't share food with Oliver unless you ask Mommy first."

Aaron: 
"Last week, Monkey gave Footprint [stuffed dog] a piece of cashew and he didn't ask me first and Footprint was allergic to cashews and Monkey and I had to take Footprint to the hospital because he got sick and I told Monkey he always has to ask me before giving Footprint any food and then yesterday Monkey asked me if he could give Footprint strawberries and I said YES." 
(all said in one breath

*** 

His brain just has this way of figuring out the world, 
and this has always been my favorite of children in this age. 
I love watching their brain figure out what's going on. 

For example: 
We're driving in the car and he frantically shouts, 
"Mommy, look!  I see the world!  The Florida world!" 

He thinks that one of the stars in the sky is the "Florida world" 
because we flew on an airplane through the sky to Florida. 
Thus Florida is another world in the sky. 

I love it so much and I never ever ever want this innocence to end! 
[insert sobbing emoji]


I love my Aaron Barry Cole. 
Can he stay like this forever please?




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

20 Questions

Stolen from Natasha
20 Random questions. 


1. Do you like blue cheese? 
YES!  The stinkier the better! 
I eat stinky cheese daily on my salads, 
enough that when Aaron is cooking with pretend food, 
he will often reference "the stinky cheese." 


2. What flavor Kool-Aid? 
As a kid I was intrigued by blue, 
but I expect I would mostly gravitate to the fruit punch red. 
Although truthfully I haven't had Kool-aid in, perhaps, 2 decades? 


3. Do you get nervous before a doctor's appointment? 
No. 
I'm in good health and usually the doctor congratulates me on my great health. 


4. What do you think about hot dogs? 
Love 'em. 
Don't tell me what's in them. 
I know it's gross, 
but I don't want to know. 


5. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? 
About 3 mornings a week, I have a Kevita Probiotic. 
Otherwise, just water. 


6. Can you do a push-up? 
No, although I try every time in yoga class. 


7. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? 
Well, I only own one: my wedding ring. 
I do not own any necklaces, bracelets, 
earrings (my ears aren't pierced), or any other rings. 


8. Do you have a hobby? 
Reading and running. 


9. Do you wear glasses? 
Only when pregnant. 
My eyes get super sensitive and bright white lights KILL ME. 
Like throbbing horrible headaches. 
With my first pregnancy, my company was still in our old building 
and I had my office where I could just turn off the lights and work in the dark. 
By the second pregnancy, we had moved to our state-of-the-art open office building 
(which I bitched at length about here), 
and in that same post touched on some of the bright light issues. 
In the end, my boss got the company to agree to pay for $300 "tinted" Kate Spade glasses that would reduce the glare. 
To give you reference, sunglasses are 80% tint. 
These were 20% tint. 
So it was like real glasses, except darker. 
It was a fantastic solution and I give my boss a lot of of props for working on it. 


10. Who was your childhood idol? 
Probably my dad. 
My dad could do no wrong. 
I still love my dad to death, 
but now he's not quite the All-Perfect-Being that I thought he was when I was a child. 


11. Name 3 Drinks you Drink Regularly. 
Water. 
Kevita Probiotic. 
Water. 

12. Favorite Place to Be? 
The Super Extrovert in me would say "any party." 
The mom in me would say "Target alone." 
The traveler in me would say "Italy." 
The OCD clean freak in me would say "Hong Kong." 


13. How did you bring in the New Year? 
Every NYE, we go as a family to Teresa's Next Door
a Belgium cafe with out-of-this-world french fries and aioli. 
It's not designed as a family place (no kid menu), 
but the food is outstanding 
(as in, I can list everything we've gotten the past few years). 
There's no TVs there, so it's not crazy on NYE. 
We go for an early dinner, 
put the kids to bed, 
and stay up playing board games and drinking champagne.  
It is seriously one of my favorite traditions ever. 





14. Where would you like to go? 
Abroad. 
I miss international travel so much (wrote about my travels here). 
So so so much. 
I want to go to Europe with Adam again 
and take the kids to Africa to visit Amanda again
I just need someone to invent a 15-hour [safe] tranquilizer for the kids for that African flight. 


15. Do you own slippers? 
Yes
LL Bean Wicked Good Moccasins. 
I prefer going barefoot (inside and out), 
but we like to keep our house at Arctic temperatures in the winter, 
and we have cold hardwood floors, 
so getting out of bed in the morning absolutely requires slippers 
otherwise I would just plain never get out of a bed. 


16. Can you whistle? 
No, not a bit. 


17. Last thing that made you laugh? 
Aaron was up on his "snow mountain" and tried to get down. 
He wiped out and slid down on his butt. 
He was fine, 
but I'm not sure he appreciated how much I laughed. 



18. What's your favorite animal? 
A miniature Yorkshire Terrier. 
My only pet ever, "Muffin" was our little 7 lbs mini Yorkie 
and she loved me more than anyone in the entire world. 
She died when I was in highschool, 
and even though I never ever want pets, 
I always swoon over mini Yorkies. 


19. Worst pain? 
Labor contractions, 
followed shortly by the shooting pains of the stomach bugs. 


20. Do you like to dance? 
No. 
I'm not good at it so it's not fun for me. 
I just feel stupid. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Chores

Chores : 
When I think chores, I think of the "cleaning products" variety. 
Dusting. 
Vacuuming. 
Scrubbing the toilets. 
Etc. 

Oliver and the "cleaning supplies" 


Before I dive into my current ideas on chores, 
I need to give a background on my experience with chores as a kid. 

Background:

My mother had a philosophy that her job as a mother was to make us kids ready for the real world via self-sufficiency and knowledge. 
One of her ways to implement this responsibility was through a weekly chore chart, 
where the chores had to be done every day, no negotiations. 
And it wasn't just "take out the trash." 

A week of chores
- Sinks, counters, mirrors (3 bathrooms)
- Toilets 
- Shower & tub (2 bathrooms)
- Mop kitchen floor 
- Mop bathroom floors
- Vacuum upstairs (4 rooms + hall)
- Vacuum downstairs (3 rooms)
- Dust upstairs 
- Dust downstairs 
- Empty all trashcans (bedrooms, bathrooms, etc) 

(There were more I can't remember. 
Usually there was 2-3 items per day.)

Oh, and on top of the above, 
I was also responsible for the laundry for the entire family. 
(Laundry was - and still is - the only chore I liked.)


Since I am 7 and 12 years older than my sisters, 
there wasn't any chore-splitting. 
It was all me. 

Year later, by the time my youngest sister came around, 
my mom eased up the chore chart 
and started either helping out, 
or eliminating chores based on busy schedules. 
I never had that luxury. 
Sometimes it sucks to be the oldest. 

***

My current thoughts on ME doing chores

I have put in enough time doing these as a child and I'm DONE. 
DONE. 
DONE. 


I don't sterilize my bathrooms. 
I don't mop. 
I don't vacuum. 
I don't dust. 
NADA

Long ago, Adam and I hired a cleaning lady* 
and it was, hands down,
the best decision of our marriage

Originally she came once a month, 
but when Adam graduated law school and started at Big Law Firm World, 
she moved to every other week, 
which is perfect. 

To let you know how serious I am about never doing these chores again, 
I will discontinue all TV services (cable, Netflix, etc) before I get rid of our cleaning lady. 

Now, to be clear, I love an organized clean house. 
I love to tidy up my house
and will often use the term "cleaning" my house 
but trust me, there are ZERO cleaning products involved. 


*My cleaning lady prefers I refer to her as "The Domestic Goddess" 
and I sure as hell will refer to her by ANY NAME she wants because she is THE BEST EVER. 
She has cleaned for Adam's mother since he was in junior high, she's hilarious, and I LOVE HER SO MUCH. 


*** 

Generally Thoughts on Kids Doing Chores

ABSOLUTELY. 
Chores teach children responsibility. 
The difference between my mother and I is the quantity of chores. 
Right now, I'm thinking about 20 minutes a day max. 

I do want my boys to know how to clean a bathroom, 
and vacuum the floor. 
I do not want those idiot children in college who are all: 
"Nah, dude, I've never turned on a vacuum before." 
(forehead slap)

But I haven't figured out how that will work. 
Maybe I'll make the boys clean the bathroom on odd weeks when the cleaning lady isn't here 
(I'm sure they'll get it plenty gross in between; they are boys afterall). 
Who knows. 
Future Mom problem. 

*** 

Does Aaron Do Chores?

Well, uh, no. 
But he should! 
And I really need to get on that! 

I touched on this briefly in my "Kids and Money" post 
and referenced this Montessori chart here.
Kids should start doing chores EARLY. 

And according to this chart here
we are already 2 years behind. 
Whoops. 

I want to set up a little chore chart 
(oh no, oh no, I am already sounding like my mother...
where he gets a sticker for everything he does every day. 
And if he does all the things, 
he can have 10 minutes of iPad time at the end of the day 
(a specialty since iPads are only reserved for doctor's offices and airplanes)


Example daily chore chart: 
- Make bed 
- Throw dirty clothes in hamper 
- Take food dishes to the counter 
- pick up toys
- ???????????

What else? 


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Halo Top Rankings

After the seriousness of Tuesday's post, 
I thought I'd dive into the most shallow topic ever. 
ICE CREAM. 


I've never been an ice cream person. 
I like it and all, 
but I rarely craved it (except pregnant), 
hardly ever ate it, 
and never ever stocked it in my freezer. 

For one thing, most ice cream is too caloric. 
For another, the taste is "ok" but never blew me away. 
Even my favorite cookies n' cream is a hit or miss. 
So why waste calories on something I found to be "ok"? 


Then someone posted on snapchat about Halo Top 
(not sponsored; Halo Top people have no idea I exist). 
And I thought: "Eh, I'll give it a shot." 
I was skeptical but... 


WOW. 

MMmm GOOD. 


Now I buy a pint a week, 
eat 1/2 cup during the week at naptimes, 
and it's my daily fun treat. 


For shits and giggles, I put together a ranking of Halo Top categories. 


Better Than It's "Regular Counterpart" Top 3 Flavors

1. Sea Salt Caramel 

Pure perfection. 
Better than any ice cream I've ever had ANYWHERE. 
Perfect flavor. 
Smooth consistency. 
And softens easier than all other flavors 

(I prefer my ice cream near mush; 
I usually stick my bowl in the microwave for 5-10 seconds)



2. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 

Normally the only good part of cookie dough ice cream is the actual dough, 
while the rest is sort of a "blah" flavor. 
This is totally different because the ice cream is loaded with flavor, 
and then the cookie dough just becomes a delightful bonus on top. 
Also, I don't like chocolate chips in ice cream, and this has none. 
I truly don't know how they call it "chocolate chip cookie dough" 
because I've never discovered a chocolate chip!


3. Strawberry. 

I love a strawberry milkshake, 
and this reminds me of all the perfection of a milkshake just in ice cream form. 


It's Good But I've Had Better

Peanut Butter Cup. 

It's good and all, but "regular" peanut butter cup ice cream is better. 
The flavor is decent, but I miss the giant chunks of peanut butter. 



Birthday Cake. 

A bit too sweet, although it grew on me over time. 
And I wasn't crazy about the confetti in it. 



Oatmeal Cookie. 

The actual flavor of the ice cream was outstanding, 
but I hated the chewy oatmeal cookie "pieces" 
that tasted like stale bread crumbs. 


BAD: DO NOT BUY 


Cookies N Cream 

This is not true cookies n cream ice cream. 
At all. 
It has no cookie chunks, 
and instead is just a speckled BROWN mess of tasteless blah. 
I threw out the rest. 



Haven't Tried

Vanilla - although I would have high hopes for this. 

Chocolate - same high hopes. 

Lemon - I don't like lemon. 

Mint Chip - I hate mint. 

Chocolate Mocha Chip - I hate coffee. 

S'mores - I hate marshmallow. 

Pistachio - I like the actual nut, but not the flavor. 

Chocolate Almond Crunch - I don't like almonds. 

Black Cherry and Red Velvet - both of these sound good, 
but I was warned the "pieces" are chewy like the oatmeal one 
so I decided to forgo the $5.99 to find out.