Monday, July 31, 2017

Books I Read (June-July)


Annie on my mind 
By Nancy Garden

Meh.
It was fine.
I didn't hate it but it didn't enthrall me either.
It was just fine. 



Nine Women, One Dress
By Jane L Rosen 

This was a cute book. 
It's one of those many-interconnected-stories books
which is nice because it rarely gets dull,
but on the other hand sometimes I'd start a chapter
and have no idea if a character had already been introduced or not. 
Overall, good chicklit beach read. 



The Year of Living Danishly 
By Helena Russell 

Great book: very informative with a heavy dose of wit and sarcasm built in. 
I love statistics and cultural comparisons so it was right up my ally
and I would recommend it to anyone with the same interest. 
My only caution is that since it's so packed with knowledge, 
I had to read only a chapter (or less) a day
because otherwise I felt my brain overflowing. 

Additionally, I went through great lengths to get it since it wasn't in our library system
("great lengths" = talking to a library and filling out an inter-library loan request). 



A Man Called Ove 
By Fredrick Backman 

I can't say enough good things about this book. 

I didn't want to read it because the premise wasn't appealing
(a grumpy old man? yawn)
but this book won me over instantly.
It was truly a delight to read and I wanted it to never end.
It hit on every emotion from laughter to anger to tears.
It is a fantastic book and I recommend it to absolutely everyone. 
 It is, perhaps, in my top 10 favorite books. 



Hillbilly Elegy 
By J.D. Vance 

This book is both captivating and heart-breaking.
It's extremely well written and I'd recommend it to anyone. 

To back up, shortly after the election,
this book was advised to help those understand the Trump supporters,
specifically the working class of the major swing states like Ohio.  
I put it on hold at the library and was shocked to find the longest waitlist ever:
I was mid-300s!
I guess I wasn't the only stumped voter. 

When it was my turn, a little bit of me dreaded reading it.
But as soon as I read the intro, his conversational writing style
and story sucked me in completely.
Although as I said, it's hard to read as a parent.
Lots of sad stories about children that I just want to scoop up in my arms
and hold tight in a hug. 
And when it was finished, 
I absolutely understood why Middle America was caught up in Trump's 
"Make America Great Again" slogan.  
It makes perfect sense.  





Confessions of a Domestic Failure 
By Bunmi Laditan

I plan to write more about this book later, 
but as a general overview, 
it's an odd mix of depression, awkwardness, 
and downright pee-your-pants-laughting wit. 
I really liked the ending and how she wraps it all up, 
so if you find yourself slogging through the middle, 
just know it does perk up in the last few chapters. 


Down the Rabbit Hole 
By Holly Madison

My post-college roommate was obsessed with "Girls Next Door" 
so I saw a lot of it, 
probably the most I've ever watched of trashy reality TV. 
Therefore, I was excited to read this book, 
and actually really loved it. 
Her writing style was simple enough 
(it sounded like her) 
and I just love me some "behind the scenes" detail. 
That said, if I hadn't watched "Girls Next Door," 
I would have zero idea what was going on in this book, 
so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it unless someone watched the tv show. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

4 oz of mountain dew and 8 hours without children

4 oz of Mountain Dew 
8 hours without children 
Insane productivity 


On Sunday, Adam dropped the boys off at my parents' house 
then went to play a round of golf. 
This gave me 8 hours of total home alone quiet time. 

To make sure I maximized this time, 
I allowed myself 4 oz of the Nectar of the Gods Mountain Dew. 
Thanks to my caffeine over-sensitivity, 
that 4 oz had me running around like I was on speed. 


And since I like to fantasize about my productive-ness during these rare days, 
I'm documenting my boring-to-you-but-fascinating-to-me activities of said day. 


List of things I accomplished


1. My Closet Reorganization 
Everything was taken out,
sorted, organized, moved around, and put back. 
I also applied leather care to my entire purse collection 
because... speed caffeine. 


And yes, I do keep a batman cave toy in my closet. 
It started out there as a holding place until moving to the basement play room, 
but instead it's been great fun for the boys to pull out and play with while I get ready for the day. 


2. Refrigerator & Freezer Clean-Out 
Down to scrubbing the cracks with a toothbrush to get every last crumb. 
(You see?  Caffeine = speed.) 
I scrubbed and soaped every square inch of that appliance. 
And now I open it just to see the shelves glisten. 

Do you see that shine???


3. Swept the Garage 
I even swept the walls and the window to clear out lingering spider webs. 
I had the garage door open at the time (although not for the picture)
and I'm positive every dog-walker in our neighborhood that I was batshit crazy 
(or perhaps thought I was just on drugs... which I sort of was). 



4. Sorted and Organized Toys in Aaron's Room
It was more like: "hey this piece belongs to the set downstairs." 
His room is usually pretty clean because it's not littered with toys, 
but those canvas storage items can collect a multitude of little things. 



5. General House Tasks & Pickup
This entails everything from making Adam and Aaron's lunches for tomorrow, 
watering the plants, 
meal planning for the week, 
taking out the trash to the curb for Monday pickup, 
and various other miscellaneous easier-to-do-without-kids-underfoot tasks. 


It was a great day. 
By the time the kids were home, 
I felt totally refreshed to tackle motherhood with fun and zeal. 
I also ended up reading to all hours of the night 
thanks to my incredibly slow metabolism and the remnants of caffeine. 
So today I will definitely be dead. 


Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Preferred Child?

My last post was about being the preferred parent
but here I am flipping that around: 
Is there a preferred child? 

Before any panties get twisted, 
I know parents don't have favorites. 
BUT 
(and there's a big "but" there) 
BUT sometimes one kid is easier than the other, 
maybe by the stage of life 
or just because of personality. 


Jessica Garvin made a note that of her three girls, 
one of them she felt the closest to early on, 
simply because that girl was the most like her. 
(Of course can I find the post? 
Not at all, so just take my word for it. K, thanks)


The more Aaron has grown, 
the more I see ME written all over him. 

He is an Extrovert Extreme. 

He wants things to be organized and tidy. 
"Daddy, pick up your socks!  Daddy, put your dishes away!" 
(I love it) 

He likes a good plan. 
"Where are we going after nap? 
What's after bed? 
What's after tomorrow's bed?" 

Even his imagination dreams like I did. 
His crazy monkey stories astound my parents 
and they tell me it's like listening to me talk about my doll Susan all over again. 

(from my IG stories)

I've never worried about being a good mom to Aaron. 
I feel like I know how he thinks and I can work with it. 


Then there's Oliver. 


Early on, Oliver leaned towards Adam's tendencies. 
His Velcro Baby suction-hold on me reminded my MIL of her early days with Adam. 
(given the choice of almost any party, Adam will opt for a night in).
I told myself: 
"It'll be just like having a second Adam. No biggie!


Maybe it's his age, as I already said, I'm struggling with Oliver at this stage
No less than 10 times a day, 
I sigh and say: 
"What is your deal, child?!?!?!" 

Maybe it's because he's so different from me. 
I actively worry about how to parent this little man. 
I try to do the same things that worked for Aaron 
and they don't work
(This, of course, is not shocking for any parent of 2+ kids, so yes yes, I'm still learning!)

With Aaron, if I gave him a snack he didn't like, 
he'd fuss and whine but eventually 
he'd either give up and eat it 
or forgo eating and entertain himself. 

With Oliver, if I give him something he doesn't like, 
he throws it across the room and screams bloody murder. 
(A little old lady got pummeled with a blueberry at Chick-Fil-A the other day.) 


Sometimes I have flashforward nightmares to Oliver being a young adult 
and saying things like: 
"You never loved me mom because you never gave me what I need." 
and I'm sitting there exasperated like: 
"But I didn't know what you needed!" 

Anyone ever have flashforward fears like this? 
Anyone?

I don't have any conclusions here. 
Just the ramblings of a frustrated mom. 







Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Preferred Parent

The Preferred Parent 

It's hard to describe this phenomenon, 
but when it happens you know it. 
It usually manifests in some sort of sobbing: 

"NO I WANT MOMMY TO DO IT!" 


I am, absolutely, the preferred parent. 
For both kids. 
And always have been. 

If Aaron is upset, he runs to me. 
If Aaron needs something, he runs to me. 
If Aaron wants a book, he'll ask me to read it. 


If Oliver is crying, he wants Mommy. 
If Oliver is happy, he wants Mommy. 
If Oliver is even remotely AWAKE, he wants Mommy. 


A neighbor dad once told Adam: 
"When they are little it's mommy, mommy, mommy. 
But don't worry man, when they get older, 
then they want to spend time with dad. 
Then dad becomes cool and mom is embarrassing." 


Needless to say, we are still waiting for this day. 


Photo from a year ago but still a common event:
 when everyone has to sit on mom's lap together and chaos ensues


Now, this isn't to say that my kids don't like doing things with Adam. 
Aaron LOVES golfing with Daddy, 
going out to eat breakfast with Daddy, 
and all sorts of other Daddy-related fun events. 
But when shit hits the fan, Mommy had better be there to help clean it up. 


In contrast, over the 4th holiday, 
I observed a family where both kids adamantly prefer dad. 
The oldest boy was 4 and his dad was the be-all-end-all of life. 
The girl was barely 1 and while she had been a mama's girl during breastfeeding, 
you could tell she was rapidly moving to the dark side (jk). 
If daddy walked away, she cried. 
If mommy walked away, she was ok. 


Then there are families where the kids flip-flop. 
Or split down the middle. 
I remember long ago asking Amanda if it was easier being the preferential parent, 
since at the time the twins each preferred a separate parent. 
(I think her answer was something like
 "it's depends but generally easier to be the preferred.
Still feel that way, Amanda?)


I'm always interested in what causes this preferential split. 
Some will say "mama's boy" and "daddy's girl"
but I've seen many instances (like the example above) where this isn't the case. 
For me growing up, I preferred my dad. 
I always assumed this was 
1) the whole "daddy's girl" mentality 
but also 
2) because my mom married into the family when I was 4. 


I understand being preferential now that I'm home all the time, 
but it was the same back when I was working 
and when Adam was in law school 
(aka: part-time stay-at-home-dad). 

Some breastfeeding advocates claim it's the breastfeeding bond, 
but I'm sure you can point to a lot of examples where that also falls out. 


I decided to throw out a google search 
and the second link was a psychological article from 2010 
"Is there a favorite parent?
The article implies that the favorite parent is the more lenient one who lets the kid get away with more. 
This is funny because of Adam and I, 
I am definitely the harsher disciplinary which goes counter to this argument. 
On the other hand, I also employ a strong "let them get hurt and learn a lesson" 
(versus Adam's preference towards "bubbling"), 
and am therefore more likely to let Aaron climb a tree. 


Any thoughts?  

Thursday, July 13, 2017

SAHM Dating

Stay-at-home-Mom Dating 

It's real. 
And it's awful. 

I remember back in my single days "going out" to the bar with girlfriends, 
checking out cute guys and 
working up the nerve to go talk to them
 or willing them to talk to me. 
There was alcohol involved
 and a gaggle of girlfriends to back me up


Now replace "bar" with library or playground or playplace. 
Replace "cute guys" with other moms. 
Replace "gaggle of girlfriends" with a baby/toddler who has zero social skills. 
Oh and there's no alcohol. 
The last part is key. 


My First SAHM-Dating Experience:

There was a mom at the library with two boys, 
almost about the same age as Aaron and Oliver. 
Aaron and her oldest played great at the library. 
We chatted a bit and realized she lived one niehgborhood over from me. 
Then when we left the library, I saw she owned the EXACT same car only in a different color. 
It was a sign, right? 

I worked up the nerve
 (this is where alcohol would have helped, 
but sadly it's socially frowned upon to drink and drive - ha)
and went over to ask if we could do a park playdate sometime. 
We exchanged numbers. 
When I got home, she texted: 
"I saw your license plate is Penn State.  My husband and I went there too!" 


I mean, it was our destiny right? 
Boys the same ages. 
A neighborhood away. 
Exact same car. 
And went to the same college. 
DESTINY. 

I won't pretend I didn't dream up all these scenarios where we'd be BFF-SAHM. 
I totally did. 


Then came our first park playdate. 
I was so pumped.
I meticulously picked out my outfit, 
trying to make sure that I looked like a put-together SAHM, 
but also making sure I didn't try too hard. 
So basically, a Penn State fitted Tee, jeans, and Converse shoes. 
And then did the makeup check and deodorant triple-check. 

So we meet at the park and the boys start playing 
and I try to strike up a conversation. 

Me: "So you guys went to Penn State?" 
Her: "Yup." 

Me: "Have you been back recently?" 
Her: "Not really." 

Me: "We went up for a getaway weekend last year." 
Her: "Oh that's cool." 


Insert a few dozen more inquiries and nothing. 
Nothing. 
She absolutely could not hold a conversation. 
I began to wonder if there was something wrong with me
I mean, I am one of those people who can usually have a conversation with anyone. 
Including a wall. 
But like, I just kept throwing it out there 
and she absolutely could not hit it back. 
And it wasn't like we couldn't hold a conversation because we were pulled in separate directions. 
It was a small park and we were the only ones there. 
So distraction was not an issue. 


We had one or two more park play dates before it got too cold, 
and finally I just called a quit. 
It was too awkward and too painful. 


After that, I honestly gave up on SAHM-Dating. 
I know, I know, one failure and out makes me a loser. 


Second SAHM-Dating Experience:

A few months ago, I embarked on my NY Resolutions to take Aaron to church. 
We found a church and they had a family Mac'N'Cheese bakeoff night. 
Aaron and I went and we ran into this other family 
with kids the same age and lived a neighborhood away too. 
We chatted and had a good night. 
Then parted ways (no phone numbers exchanged). 
Funny thing is I kept running into the mom and her kids. 
I ran into her at the zoo. 
I ran into her at Target. 
And every time we would stop and chat for like 10 minutes, 
much to the chagrin of our antsy children. 
This last time, she was telling me about a splash pad mere 10 minutes from our house, 
and suggested exchanging numbers to go sometime. 
We did. 
I texted her yesterday that we were going 
and miracle of miracles, she was available! 

Even better...
We had a great time. 
Granted, we spent a lot of it running after our kids, 
and consoling cranky little toddlers and whatnot, 
but anytime we were in the vicinity of each other, 
we could actually hold a continuous conversation without awkward breaks! 



Now of course becomes the next step of dating... 
how long before you call? 
And whose turn is it?
Do I text her next week suggesting a playdate? 
Is it her turn to text? 
SOMEONE MAKE A MANUAL FOR THIS. 


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Random Collection of Things

A Random Collection of Things

***

Oliver loves reading.
He is starting to sit among his books like Aaron would and flip through them.
But now he does one thing more I find adorable.
He'll toddle into the room, holding a book.
It's always Sandra Boynton's "The Going to Bed Book." 
Always.
He'll say "Uhm! Uhm!" (more! more!) until we stop whatever we are doing,
sit on the floor,
and read it to him.
It's my favorite.



***

The pharmacy filled my prescription wrong.
I didn't notice it until I opened my new birth control pack and realized it was a different type.
I checked the prescription and the outside of the pack,
and they were both correct,
but the inside meds were wrong.
I took it back to the pharmacy and they were like:
"Oh, sorry about that.  Here's the correct pill pack."
And even though I recognize that they were very similar birth control,
the fact that the pharmacist was so flippant about it made me worried.
Shouldn't you be checking to see who filled the prescription?
Shouldn't you file some paperwork documenting this?
Like where are the Quality Controls around this?!?!?!?!?!

***

Last night at the dinner table,
Aaron casually announced:

"A long time ago,
I chopped off Monkey's hands when I was chopping peppers for dinner. 
They were blue hands. 
I took him to the hospital and the doctor sewed on brown hands."

Are we raising a serial killer?



***

We watched Girl on the Train last night.
I never read the book but I did read the spoiler so I knew what was coming.
It was a psychologically intense movie 
and I was doing ok and all until the whole baby-in-the-bathtub thing 
(did I spoil it for you?  GOOD) 
and then I just lost my mind. 
Pregnant Chicken should add it to her
"Movies Pregnant Woman and New Parents Should Never Watch" list. 
So clearly I have turned into a total wuss about movies / tv shows. 
If there's anywhere a baby or young child dies, 
I just can't handle it. 
Like haunts-me-for-days can't handle it. 

***

I'm really struggling with Oliver at 14 months old.
He's so so so so high maintenance.
He moves fast and is super curious.
He knows what he wants yet can't communicate it.
He is constantly wanting to be held on my hip,
but at ~27 lbs, doing so is just exhausting.
I can't get anything done around him,
which for my highly-productive-self is annoying.
I can gate him off in the playroom where he'll be out of trouble,
but then he stands at the gate screaming like I've abandoned him.
(Which yes, I can deal with for a little bit, but not long)

I took Aaron to the zoo with a friend on Saturday,
and left Oliver home with Adam.
It. Was. So. Nice.
I cannot even convey how nice it was.
It was like a mini vacation.
Just having Aaron was like a dream come true.
It was so easy, so relaxing, and so enjoyable.

I'm trying hard not to wish away this stage Oliver is in.
But truthfully I am. 

On one hand, I don't remember Aaron being this much trouble.
On the other hand, I remember around now thinking:
"No way am I ready for a second baby"
so perhaps he did display this kind of behavior,
and I just forgot.
That's what motherhood is, I guess.
Forgetting stuff.






Thursday, July 6, 2017

3 Things

A Post about Three Things 
(stolen from Allena)


Three Things I Would Never Give Up

-Running 
-Pasta 
-Make-up

Image result for running meme


Three Favorite Vegetables
- Grilled corn on the cob slathered in butter and showered in salt 
- Roasted Sweet Potato Fries with Remoulade 
- Zucchini


Image result for zucchini meme


Three Shows I've Watched Faithfully To The End
- Gilmore Girls 
- Breaking Bad
- How I  Met Your Mother 
(HIMYM: WORST ending in history of TV. 
Refuse to even watch reruns after show ended. 
Still am mad years later)


Image result for how i met your mother meme


Three Places I Want To Visit Inside The US
- Alaska 
- The Grand Canyon 
- San Francisco 


Image result for alaska meme


Three Places I Want To Visit Outside The US
- Japan 
- Egypt
- Southern Italy


Image result for japan meme


Three Things I Always Have With Me
- iPhone 
- Wallet
- S'Well water bottle 

Image result for phone meme



Three Things That Are Always In My Car
- Reusable Shopping Bags (including two insulated cooler bags) 
- Umbrella stroller 
- Boba Baby Carrier

Image result for reusable grocery bags meme



Three Most Recent Calls Were To/From
- Adam 
- Adam
- Adam 
(No joke)

[tried to find an Adam meme and spent 10 minutes laughing but found nothing appropriate]


Three Most Often Used Makeup Products

- SmashBox Color Correcting Primer 
- Clinique Foundation 
- Bobbi Brown Bronzer 


Image result for foundation meme

Three Things That Make Me Laugh
- funny shit kids say 
- sexiest jokes (on both sexes)
- The Money Pit

Image result for the money pit




Three Things That Make Me Cry
- Subaru commercials 
- Ambulance sirens 
- A Walk To Remember 

Image result for a walk to remember meme

And yes, I had waaayyyyy too much fun googling these memes