Friday, November 8, 2019

27 Weeks

27 Weeks

Baby Size: Lettuce 

Current Weight: 167.0 lbs
Weight Baby #2: 150.5 lbs
Weight Baby #1: 158.0 lbs


Suprisingly good.
It's cold out now and
If I can see my breath in the morning,
then the house is the perfect temperature.

DST was good to us
and it's helped me wake up earlier,
which I always prefer.

All that damn Halloween candy

Symptoms of the Week:
So uncomfortable and not going away. 
I am eating apples and pears and PRUNES 
and guzzling water 
and taking stool softeners 
and there is no end in sight. 
I am rapidly approaching the forced laxative area, 
which pregnant women are not supposed to do 
but DESPERATE TIMES, people. 

On Wednesday morning, 
Oliver cuddled with me in bed 
and Baby started kicking up a storm. 
Oliver had both hands on my belly 
and every time baby kicked or rolled or punched, 
Oliver broke out into hilarious fits of laughter. 
It was adorable. 
I want to bottle that up forever. 

Exercise Status:
I've been keeping up my walk/run with podcasts. 
On Tuesday I got up to 0.68 mile jog 
before lapsing into my walk (2.25 miles). 
I'm just loving the Jonathan Van Ness "Curious" podcasts. 
It keeps me so entertained. 

Excited For
My first Bar/Bat Mitzvah this weekend!
Adam's cousin's boy/girl twins are being called to the Torah tomorrow.
In my college days I catered Bar or Bat Mitzvahs celebrations,
but I've never attended one as a guest.
Adam, of course, being both Jewish
and growing up in a highly Jewish area,
has attended dozens
and does not share my same enthusiasm.
Apparently the ceremony (correct word? no)
is about 1.5-2 hours long.
And here I thought Catholics were the ones with long services!

General Mood
I'm rapidly approaching the 
"I'm sick of being pregnant" stage. 
Pants are difficult. 
Tying my running shoes is difficult. 
The constipation is a KILLER. 

That said, my mood overall is good, 
as I love the holiday season. 
I love gift buying 
and holiday parties 
and all that stuff. 
Plus this cooler weather is HEAVEN. 
We are supposed to see freezing temps next week 

27 Weeks with Oliver here 

27 Weeks with Aaron here

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Mamas Mornings Off: October

I didn't like how cluttered my previous post was. 
So being the nerd that I am, 
I made a spreadsheet and graphs 
to illustrate how I spend my Mama's Mornings Off. 


House Projects
My goal is to spend most of my time on house projects.
Big house projects are difficult to do with kids around, 
plus require a fair amount of time and concentration, 
but once done, they make our daily lives (mine in particular) soooo much easier. 
Previously as a Working Mom, 
I would take off the occasional Friday to tackle all of these. 

While errands can be done with kids 
I enjoy them so much more without kids. 
I do believe it's important for children
 to learn store etiquette 
as well as the valuable life lesson 
of coping with store boredom without a meltdown, 
but I'm good with leaving that teaching time to summer only. 

PTO (Parent-Teacher-Organization)
I'm co-Treasurer on the Board. 
Aside from the actual finances (easy to do on my laptop), 
being on the board requires odd jobs at the school 
to prep for upcoming parties or events. 

House Chores
These are things I would have to do anyway, 
even with kids hanging underfoot. 
I try to minimize my time spent here, 
because it feels wasteful of my alone time. 
Examples: laundry, dishes, small cleanup, etc. 

Because prepping, eating, and cleanup 
still takes time without children. 

Wasted Time
Obviously the category I want to avoid the most! 

These Last Two Weeks: 

Errands and PTO duties consumed a lot of my time! 

Mon, Oct 21st
1 hour errands (Target) 
15 minute house project (book rotation) 
15 minutes eating 
15 minutes house chores 
1.5 hours wasted time 

My cleaning lady was here that morning 
(she prefers the term "Domestic Goddess"). 
She's known Adam's family since he was in middle school 
and she's hilarious. 
If I'm home when she's here, 
I inevitably spend most of my time chatting with her. 

Wed, Oct 23rd
3 hours errands 
(Wine & Spirits, Wegmans, Trader Joe's) 

Fri, Oct 25th
2.5 hours PTO (Halloween party prep) 
15 minutes eating 
15 minutes house chores 

Mon, Oct 28th
2 hours house projects (see below) 
30 minutes errands (Target) 
15 minute eating 
15 minutes house chores 

Wed, Oct 30th
3 hours errands 
(Wegmans, H&M drop off old clothes, Nordstrom returns) 

Fri, Nov 1st
 2 hours 15 minutes house projects (see below) 
30 minutes house chores 
15 minutes eating 

House Project

Coming up in a few weeks, 
we will move Oliver into Aaron's room, 
replacing Aaron's single bed with bunk beds. 
I wanted to get a jump start on the clothes, 
specifically to see how much extra storage we would need. 
This also meant backfilling Oliver's space with new baby clothes (yay!). 

Step 1: Move Oliver's Clothes into Aaron's room 

Aaron's existing dresser has 5 drawers, 
The 3 on the bottom will be his 
and the two 2 will be Oliver's. 
The 2nd from the top I had already emptied. 
The top was holding "too big" clothes 
that I still haven't decided where to put 
(currently residing on the guest bed - UGH!)

Now filled with Oliver's clothes. 
Organizers by IKEA. 

Aaron's room has a tiny closet which may be interesting as the boys grow. 
I bought a 3-drawer organizer from Target 
to hold Oliver's nap & nighttime pull-ups, 
as well as swim clothes come summer. 

Step 2: Backfill Oliver's Dresser & Closet with Baby Clothes 

Look all those tiny baby socks!!!

And I very clearly do not need any more swaddle or regular blankets, huh?

Ohhh, tiny baby sleepers! 

Step 3: Sort Oliver's outgrown and incoming clothes 

And then Adam carries said sorted bins 
down two flights of stairs, 
to the unfinished portion of our basement
Everything labeled like the OCD freak I am!

That feels so good to have accomplished. 
For the next few weeks, 
Oliver will be dressing in Aaron's room 
but sleeping in his room. 
Given the size of our house, this is not a big trek. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

26 Weeks

26 Weeks

Baby Size: kale

Current Weight: 165.2 lbs
Weight Baby #2: 151.5 lbs
Weight Baby #1: 156.0 lbs

Overall better. 
Exercise has really helped. 
However I wake up a lot with aching ankles 
and feeling too hot 
even though the windows are open 
and its 55 degrees outside. 


Symptoms of the Week:
Achy ankles.
I went to yoga to try to remedy this 
but it didn't help. 
I'm buying compression socks to see if they help. 

Also a lot of lower belly pressure. 
I'm carrying sooooooo low 
and sometimes it feels like my belly is just going to fall out. 

That said, my hernia hasn't acted up in a while
so I'm very very pleased about that. 

Lots of active kicks in my upper belly 
so I think baby flipped to head down? 
Again, doesn't matter with scheduled c-section.  

Exercise Status:
Much better!
I mean not as good as where I was with Oliver,
but way better than the prior weeks.
Using the tips I learned from the habits book,
I paired a podcast with my morning exercise
and Tuesday I accidentally tacked on 0.5 mile
because I was so absorbed in my podcast!

Excited For
All the extra candy in the house. 
Watch that pregnancy weight gain skyrocket. 

General Mood
Overall good. 
Generally I've had more energy 
but at the end of the day I still feel like collapsing. 

26 Weeks with Oliver here 
26 Weeks with Aaron here

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Books I Read (October)

Total Books Read for October: 7

Black Girls Must Die Exhausted 
By Jayne Allen

This book was recommended by my OB (a black woman). 
I was particularly intrigued when she said 
that the closest relationship of the main character 
(a modern, mid-30s professional black woman) 
was with her white grandmother. 
It was a very interesting and beautiful aspect of the book. 

As you know, I've been trying to read more black fiction 
and this is up there with my favorites. 
The beginning was a little slow, 
but halfway through it really picked up, 
and then I ugly-sobbed the last two chapters. 

Also, the cover is beautiful!

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler 
By Kelly Harms 

Witty banter dialogue that sucked me in. 
Fantastic, lovable characters. 
Tons of hilarious moments that made me laugh out loud. 

I laughed and cried my way through this book. 
Everything about it was fantastic 
and I'd recommend it to any mom out there. 

Evie Drake Starts Over 
By Linda Holmes 

Overall an easy read. 
Found the lead character a little annoying at times 
and the interwoven baseball storyline wasn't really my thing,
but it wasn't too romantic mushy 
and had the right kind of redemptive ending 
that made me feel good. 

The New Jim Crow 
By Michelle Alexander 

I've been working on this book for I-don't-know-how-long. 
It was one of my Original 10 book goals, 
and then I specifically called it out as a 2019 Resolution.

The book is EXCELLENT. 
So why did it take me so long to read? 

1. It's a mind-exploding book. 
This book challenged every assumption 
about race & incarceration that I was raised with. 
I still can hear my dad making his declarations on 
"why things are the way they are." 
Instead, this book blasts through these assumptions 
and knocks down some pretty strong walls of bias. 
Frequently, my exploding brain just maxed out 
and I needed to take a break. 

2. It reads like a textbook. 
Natasha pointed this out to me. 
The book is very well researched 
and saturated with stats, studies, and all sorts of things. 
This elevates the book in terms of credibility, 
but also makes it difficult to read. 

Our librarian mentioned it also took him so long to read it, 
then he finally just bought the book to read a little every day. 
I found about 5 pages a day was my max. 
(The book is 261 pages, so yeah...) 

All that said, I would HIGHLY recommend this book 
to any person in America (white or black!). 
It is relevant and 
it is important. 
It just may take a very long time to read! 

Better Than Before 
By Gretchen Rubin 

Gretchen Rubin is my favorite self-help authors. 
I simply love the way she writes and researches. 

I profiled her book "The Happiness Project" here 
and then just wrote up about this book here

On another note, I discovered
"The New Jim Crow" 
"Better Than Before" 
to be perfect co-reading books. 
It's hard for me to balance an educational book with fiction, 
because I tend to get caught up in fiction 
and neglect the educational book. 
However, balancing an educational book with a self-help book 
allows me to move back and forth between the two. 
I'd read 5-6 pages of "The New Jim Crow" 
then a chapter of "Better Than Before" 
and then back to the "New Jim Crow." 
It worked really well. 

Essentialism : The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
By Greg McKeown

Sometimes book order matters. 
In this case, I read this book very shortly 
after finishing "The New Jim Crow" 
and all I could think was: 
This is a book for white privileged wealthy workaholics

On the positive, 
it's a short, quick read 
and maybe it's possible to glean some helpful tips 
(particularly for those who struggle to say no) 
but overall I maintain it's a book for 
white privileged wealthy workaholics. 

If that's you, read it. 
If not, skip it. 

The Residence 
By Kate Andersen Brower

This is a very interesting look 
into the lives of White House staff 
(think chefs, housekeepers, ushers, etc). 
Lots of neat little stories and perspectives. 

That said, American history was my least favorite subject 
so I'm sorely lacking on my presidential history. 
The more recent stories (Obamas, Clintons, Bushes) 
were far more interesting to me than the Carters, Kennedys, and Johnsons 
(and Kennedy's assassination played a big role in the book). 
I wish it were written more recently 
because I'd LOVE to hear about the Trumps, ha! 

The most interesting to me, personally, 
was how two presidential families were clear favorites 
(1 democrat and 1 republican) 
and two clear presidential families were... very much not  
(again, 1 democrat and 1 republican). 


Books Not Finished

Magic's Pawn 
By Mercedes Lackey 

I mentioned this book in my Fall WIDN post
It was among Teen Emily's favorite books
and I decided to reread it as Adult Emily. 
Adult Emily does not share the same book interests as Teen Emily. 
It was... not great. 
I got to about halfway and then just gave up. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Better Than Before

Gretchen Rubin is my favorite self-help author. 
I love how she writes her books. 
Her writing is conversational with a touch of witty, 
and I find them incredibly easy to read. 

I read her first self-help book "The Happiness Project"
 (post about it here
and just picked up another of hers about habits. 

Just like The Happiness Project, 
I got more out of this book than I ever expected. 

I took a lot of detailed notes on my phone 
and rather than letting them live out eternity in my notes section, 
I am transferring them to a post here. 

This is not a whole book summary. 
But rather a collection of excerpts I found really helpful. 


The Four Tendencies (on how we act)

1. Upholders: meets both external expectations & internal expectations 
(Amanda - I think this is you; you are so disciplined!

2. Questioners : resists external expectations, but meets internal expectations 
(This is Adam.)  

3. Obligers : meets external expectations, but resists internal expectations 

4. Rebels: resists both external and internal expectations 
(These people just plain baffle me.)

I am an Obliger. 
It's difficult for me to uphold my own internal expectations 
but if I have a set of external expectations 
(aka: some form of accountability) 
I am very likely to meet those expectations. 

This is why I'm a stickler for deadlines, 
incredibly punctual, 
and never ever cancel a meet-up.

It's why I'm in my best shape when I have an upcoming race 
and a running buddy to train with. 

It's why I set goals and resolutions on my blog, 
because I have to "answer" to all four of you readers by year end. 

It's also a reason why I struggle with healthy food habits, 
because being on my own most of the day, 
I don't have anyone to hold me accountable except myself. 


Other Distinctions 
or why it's easier for us to develop some habits versus others

Morning Lark vs Night Own
I'm a Morning Lark. 
My most successful exercise routines 
are all in the morning
(from 5:45am yoga to 7am running) 

Marathon, Sprinter, or Procrastinator: 
I'm a Sprinter. 
My best work is done righhhhtttt before it's due. 
I have a tendency to apply this to dieting. 
("Oh I have plenty of time to lose the weight before [x]")

Under-buyer vs Over-buyer
I am a chronic over-buyer. 
Fortunately, my debt-aversion/money-saving obsession
keeps this in check. 

Simplicity vs Abundance
I hate clutter. 
(This conflicts with my over-buyer status above)

Finisher vs Opener
Definite finisher. 
I get anxious if something is left unfinished. 
Think Sheldon Cooper and the three knocks. 

Familiar vs Novelty
Generally familiarity, 
but I still need novelty in my life to keep it interesting. 


When we are anxious or tired, 
we fall back on our habits, 
whether good or bad. 
E.g.: Students who regularly eat a healthy breakfast 
are more likely to eat healthy during exams. 


People eat 14% less if they take one big plate 
rather than two smaller portions. 

This little stat blew my mind. 
I have ALWAYS been a
 "take a small first plate, then get seconds" person. 
Not only does this make calories more difficult to track 
but apparently it also leads to excess. 
Since reading this stat, I've changed my dinner plate 
to one full plate and then no seconds.  
And I can already feel the difference (in a good way!). 


Foundation habits affect all others. 
(Diet, exercise, sleep) 

When I'm at my best running (peak race training), 
I sleep my best, 
eat my best, 
and have the most energy. 


Monitoring improves results. 
E.g.: Food logs

My productivity on my Mama's Mornings Off skyrocketed 
when I started writing down when I was spending my time on. 


The first step is the hardest. 
Happiness is in tackling that which you are dreading. 
(A reoccurring theme from her first Happiness book.) 


Don't break the chain. 
By never making an exception, 
the chain becomes the motivation itself. 

E.g. Closing the Apple Watch rings for a month straight 


Clean Slate. 
Starting immediately on the first day 
with a new habit will set the tone forward. 

E.g.: Leaving early the first week of a new job. 
Starting a new workout routine with a new job. 


When we deprive ourselves, 
we feel entitled to compensate ourselves, 
often in ways that undermine our good habits. 

E.g.: "I didn't eat breakfast so I can eat this cupcake." 


Convenience and Inconvenience each play a big role in our habits. 

E.g.: People take less food using tongs than spoons to serve themselves. 
and eating with chopsticks ensures eating less. 

For me, keeping chocolate in the freezer is an inconvenience check 
as I will wait for it to come to room temperature before eating
(this does not work for Adam who LOVES cold chocolate)


Solutions for protecting habits: 
Planning: "If __, then ___" 

E.g. "If I'm hungry, I will eat an apple, then wait 20 minutes."


Stumbles often lead to falls. 

E.g.: "I had one mini cupcakes so I'll eat 5" 
"I blew this morning's calories so I'll start again tomorrow." 

Instead, divide the day into quadrants 
(morning, midday, afternoon, evening) 
and try to only blow one quadrant at a time. 


Planned exceptions prevent failures. 

E.g.: Planning in advance "I won't work out at all this week of vacation" 
sets a strict timeperiod of exception, 
without guilt of failure, 
and allows oneself to easily move back into the routine after. 


Distraction can prevent a habit downfall. 
Wait 15 minutes and try to do something physical to distract you. 


Loopholes derail habits. 
Loopholes are the worst for Obligers like ME! 
Since we don't adhere to our inner expectations, 
we use these excuses to avoid them.

Moral Licensing Loophole
"I've lost weight so I can indulge" 
"I went running so I earned more beers." 

Tomorrow Loophole
"I can skip running today because I'm going for a big run tomorrow." 
"Bingeing today because my diet starts tomorrow." 

Lack of Control Loophole
where we claim to have no control over an area that we do. 
"I have kids thus I cannot ___."

This Doesn't Count Loophole
(versus a planned exception noted above) 
"I'm on vacation" 
"It's holiday season."  
"It's the weekend." 

Questionable Assumption Loophole
"I already showered so I can't work out today." 
"We might need this someday." 
"I need to get my money's worth of this buffet" 
"I can't let these leftovers go to waste."

Concern for Others Loophole
"It would be rude to not eat the cake at the party." 
"She gifted me this to me so I should eat it." 
(literally my life motto loophole)

Fake Self Actualization Loophole
"Limited Time Opportunity."


Why Rewards are Dangerous for Habits: 

1. If we wouldn't do the activity without the reward, 
then we associate the activity as an imposition or deprivation. 

2. Rewards imply a decision, versus a habit 
(e.g. buckling a seat-belt is an automatic habit) 

3. Reward = a finish line, which disrupts the flow of the habit

Instead of separate rewards, the habit itself should be rewarding. 
Running = strength, energy, and good sleep
Healthy eating = energy, skin complexion, and weight loss 
Reading = knowledge & relaxation


Treats, unlike rewards, can be mood boosters. 
E.g.: Taking a walk to go visit a friend
But food, shopping, and screentime are dangerous treats. 


Pairing something you should do 
with something you want to do 
makes it more enjoyable. 
E.g.: "I listen to audiobooks as I walk." 

For many, watching TV at the gym is the perfect example. 
Except I hate TV. 
But this gave me an idea: Podcasts! 
I started pairing podcasts with my morning 3 mile walks, 
which makes the walk fly by as I'm absorbed in this podcast.


Our self-imposed identity often dictates our habits. 
E.g.: "I'm not a fussy eater" = not sticking to diets at parties. 


I will wrap this up with one word of caution. 

As much as I love Gretchen Rubin, 
her notions on nutrition are highly skeptical. 
She acknowledges that her obsession with the low-carb diet 
is greatly challenged by both research and field experts, 
but she maintains her stance because it works for her 
("data point of one"). 
Thus, as much as I like Gretchen Rubin, 
I wouldn't be consulting her on anything nutrition-related. 

Other than that, though, I really loved this book!