Friday, February 27, 2015

Books I've Read (January-February)

I really enjoy a good book to read before I go to bed. 
I certainly don't read every night. 
But I find it helps me to decompress from media over-stimulation
(like an infant = over-stimulation). 
I never, ever read during the day unless I'm on vacation, 
and then I read almost religiously during the day. 

I am a very picky reader, 
but not picky as in a book snob, 
QUITE the opposite in fact. 

I'm an impatient, shallow reader. 
Anything too serious, too poetic, or too predictable just won't do.
Hence why internet articles are my favorite to read, 
although that contradicts my efforts to decompress from media. 
I generally prefer nonfiction, 
but there are always exceptions. 

I find it challenging to find books that fit my shallow requirements.
I don't particularly like Reading Lists,
because that doesn't tell me anything about the book. 
Did you like it? 
Did it suck? 
What should I beware of? 
I prefer reviews like: 
 "This is good except the middle is too heavy
or "I read this and laughed my ass off". 
I decided to keep track of all the books I'm reading 2015, 
and my thoughts on them. 

Consider the Fork: 
A History of How We Cook and Eat. 

It's like a history class in my favorite subject: FOOD. 
I was very enthusiastic about it in the beginning, 
and the Pots-and-Pans chapter was definitely my favorite as I learned SO MUCH. 
It got REALLY boring in the middle, 
and although it briefly revitalized itself during the Ice (refrigeration) chapter, 
I abandoned the book shortly thereafter. 
If you are a smarter person than me, 
you may like this.

Food: A Love Story 
by Jim Gaffigan. 

(See a pattern here? FOOD!!!) 
This book fits perfectly into my style of reading. 
Short, simple chapters that read like a conversation. 
The beginning of the book establishes his credentials
(he likes to eat food, that's basically is) 
but the real humor is dividing America into arbitrary food groups and tackling each one. 
(I live in the "Superbowl Sunday" food group and I love it!) 
Fair Warning: 
If you live in North East Coast and love your seafood, prepare to be offended. 
I laughed out loud (and woke Adam up) when he described oysters as "sea snot." 

After that, its a series of rants and praises over different general types of food. 
Everything from vegetable hatred to a love story on bacon. 
 It's not a classic, but I definitely laughed my ass of.

 Dad is Fat 
by Jim Gaffigan 

Based on the success of the previous book, 
I stuck with Jim Gaffigan again. 
This book is at its core a humorous take on parenting (he has 5 kids). 
This felt a little slow at first, 
but the mid/ending had many more laugh-out-loud moments. 
Overall I thought the first one about food was far funnier than this one.  

 Yes Please 
by Amy Poehler

I really wanted to love this book 
(especially after waiting two months on the library waitlist), 
but I have to be honest that it was one of my least favorite of the comedy books. 
Although easy to read,
the tone felt a little "debbie downer," 
whether it was the super sad chapter on Haitian orphans or what, 
but I didn't look forward to reading it. 
Ironically, the funniest chapter was on divorce, where I LOL'ed a lot.

 There's a TON of name-dropping that would be cooler if I knew who those famous people were, but I'm just not up on my comedic celebrities. 
Like Seth Meyers... I always picture Seth Rogen. 
Unlike Tina and Mindy's book, 
where I felt I could understand the book without watching shows, 
the fact that I've seen so little SNL and even less Parks & Rec, 
really killed my appreciation. 
I'm convinced a better "comedic connoisseur" would LOVE this book.

*Also, Aaron thinks that Amy Poehler looks just like Taylor Swift 
and always points to the cover saying: "Shake Off! Shake Off!" 
and expects music to start playing. 

by Janet Penley

 Totally switching gears from the comedic books, 
this book is a practical application of Myers-Briggs Personality Typing 
and tying it into motherhood. 
Of course, I loved it, 
but I have an entire separate post to go through my thought on the book. 

 And that's it for the last two months. 
Total tally: 4.75 books 
 (3/4 of Consider the Fork)
 Contrary to what the calculation would tell you, 
I am a very fast reader. 
I just don't read that often. 

So any books you would add to my future reading lists? 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ear Tubes

Yesterday, Aaron had ear tubes put in.
I've said many times how ear tubes are a routine procedure, 
but I was still nervous for the anesthesia. 
The night before I woke up at 1:30am, wrote a post
and never went back to sleep. 

The morning started out well. 
We successfully distracted Aaron from the lack of breakfast by watching the Lion King.
Then off to CHOP, in what felt like the longest drive off my life.  
My friend Erin picked up this stuffed Thomas as a special treat for him. 
Aaron couldn't stop giggling. 

Once at CHOP, it took about an hour for OR prep. 

Weight, height, vitals, health history, and "giggle juice" (baby Valium) 
were all part of the process. 
Aaron was dressed in his hospital gown and so happy. 
The hospital staff kept fawning over him and his talkativeness, 
and how good he was for vitals 
(which I attribute to the play doctors kit he received for Christmas). 

Then, he was carried away by a nurse as we went to the waiting room. 
 I totally teared up when they carried him away. 
He wasn't scared, just curious about what was next, but I was still upset. 

Adam and I waited maybe 15 minutes max 
before the doc came in to tell us everything went fine, 
shortly after followed by the anesthesiologist who confirmed it went well, 
and finally the nurse who would bring us back to recovery. 
All in all, we were separated for maybe 25 minutes. 

Recovery was another hour plus and a TOUGH ONE at that. 
 I was totally unprepared for it. 
In my mind, I expected my toddler to be like an adult coming out from anesthesia: 
groggy, tired, a little disoriented, and generally quiet. 

Not so.

 Aaron was very scared and confused coming out of anesthesia. 
He was already screaming when we got there, 
and the nurse who was holding him passed him over to me. 
Total hysteria. 
The nurses kept assuring us this was normal behavior for a toddler coming out of anesthesia, 
but oh my was it TOUGH. 
At one point, I started crying too. 
I felt so helpless as I held Aaron and he clutched me sobbing. 
Aaron is generally a quick-recovery kid; 
a bump on the head of a pinched finger will yield 30 seconds of crying MAX 
and then he's moved on. 
So to have him hysterical for close to an hour was just terrible. 

Finally, one long hour
 and 4 sesame street stickers later, 
we were in the car heading home. 
Aaron had a brief meltdown in the car but nothing too dramatic. 

At home, Aaron was excited to have his first food of the day (pretzels) 
and then polished off half of my turkey sandwich while watching 101 Dalmatians. 

 I was very skeptical about how he would nap. 
I was even prepared to sit in his room for however long it took to fall asleep. 
But oddly enough, 
he was pretty happy. 
I'd say it was almost relief to be back in his normal spot. 
I left the room and he played for a while before passing out. 

And then for dinner, we "celebrated" surviving the day 
with Beer Sausage Risotto

 All in all, 
I'd say it was an absolutely exhausting day. 
I can only hope that these ear tubes were worth it. 
As in, no more ear infections 
and improved hearing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Nervous energy

I write this from my phone at 3am, hence the departure from my usual formatting.

Aaron gets ear tubes tomorrow (technically today, as it is 3am). I fully acknowledge that this is one of the most routine surgeries in the history of medicine, but the anesthesia still scares me. 

I must be giving off MAJOR nervous energy vibes as Aaron has woken up TWICE in the middle of the night. We aren't telling him about it ("we go visit the doctor") until tomorrow morning but it's like he knows anyway. 

Bedtime was 7:15. He woke up again at 9 but I was able to get him back to sleep quickly. Then he woke up at 1:30am and insisted that "mama sit." Well, nearly 1.5 hours later, here I still am. Every time I try to sneak out, he wakes up and asks "mama?" in this super sweet voice.  I can't bear to let him cry. So here I sit at 3am, with my blanket and my pillow. Probably giving off even more nervous energy by simply being in the room. Whatever. If I want to be with my little [non] sleeping angel, I will. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Classroom of Names

For Valentine's Day, 
our daycare sent an email of all the children's first names in Aaron's class, 
in case we wanted to send in Valentines. 
(You can see my thoughts on sending in cards for one-year-olds here. Snicker)

I have mentioned before that I love Baby Names
and this gave me the perfect opportunity to have some fun, 
by sorting them into the categories my brain sees. 

Traditional, top 100 names: 
Ethan - I also love this name
Samuel - Aaron's BFF

"Old names" making a comeback: 

Traditional names with new spellings**: 

New Trendy Names: 
Riley (girl)

Ethnic Names: 
(I don't mean to be insensitive with this category, 
but I'm not up on name popularity in other cultures) 

Dhruv (Indian boy)
Paulo (Hispanic boy)

Names I wasn't sure where to put... 

For these, I had to consult Baby Voyager

Aubrey - To me, Aubrey sounds "old", but I think that's because I'm relating it to the name "Audrey" where I know several older people.  In reviewing Baby Voyager (here), I found that Aubrey is relatively new and making a huge leap in the recent years!  So I think this may fall into "new trendy names."

Grace - I also thought this was an "older" name, since I had a great-aunt Grace, but its a name I quite often hear on various generations, so I never know its true placement. Sure enough, consulting Baby Voyager (see here), it appears that Grace WAS an older name that is now making quite a comeback.  So interesting!

How would you rearrange this? 

* I just can't get over Nancy on a baby. 
It sounds like SUCH an old name, 
but to see it on a baby is just too cute. 

** I almost titled this "names spelled weird" 
but I realized that was a tad bit rude. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ear Tubes and Elmo

Wasn't it just last weekend that I said 
"I'm not big on weekend recaps..."?
Well, let me go ahead and EAT MY WORDS here. 
Because here it comes... a weekend recap.

I'm starting this off on Friday morning, 
because isn't Friday almost a weekend? 
We kicked off our Friday seeing the Ear Nose Throat Doctor (ENT), 
who agreed that we need ear tubes. 
The definite factors were: 
1) Family history - I had ear tubes very early and the surgeon told my dad that he'd never seen that much fluid in a child's ear in his life. 
2) Aaron's history of 7 ear infections in 13 months
3) Aaron's poor enunciation.  His vocabulary is great, but enunciation is terrible. How much of that is toddler-talk versus hearing under water? Hard to tell. 
They tried a child hearing test which includes two parts: 
a) blowing air in the ear to see how the ear drum vibrates 
(his left ear drum didn't vibrate at all) 
b) a behavior-based test in a small dark room that didn't work because the technician said he was too scared.  For the record, Aaron was sitting on my lap during this hearing test and I was scared in this dark closet-like test room. It felt like a horror movie. 

The ear tube surgery is scheduled for Wednesday. 
Even though this is the most routine surgery in medical history. 
I'm still VERY anxious. 
It's not the surgery itself (which is only 10 minutes), 
but the anesthesia freaks me out. 
I know it's routine. 
I know thousands of kids get it done every year. 
I have never heard of a single horror story. 
But I'm still terrified. 
So on Wednesday this week, say a few prayers for us. 

In happier news, 
Saturday morning we went to our first KIDS birthday party 
(as opposed to just family birthday party). 
My BFF Erin's son was turning 3, 
and she had a birthday party in a gymnasium, 
complete with live Elmo. 

Let me preface this with 
I am terrified of dressed-up characters. 
I may love Disney, but its despite the talking characters. 
When Elmo walked in, 
the birthday boy ran and hid, 
and all the other 3-year-olds eyed him suspiciously. 
MY SON runs right up with a BIG GRIN on his face : "Elmo!" 
He even handed him a ball and gave him multiple hugs. 

Aaron loved every aspect of this party. 
Having a hundred balls to play with. 
The parachute. 

And of course: "CAKE!" 
When we told Aaron we were going to a birthday party, 
he responded with : "Happy?  Cake?" 
"Yes, yes, we sing happy birthday and eat cake!" 

See how the other kids are holding FORKS? 
"Screw, Forks! 
It is way faster to just shove the whole piece in your mouth. 
Efficiency, people!

And now for a moment that made my mommy heart bubble over. 
Towards the end of the party, 
there was a little boy who got upset over something
 and went to sit in the corner and pout. 
My little guy sees him sitting in the corner, 
and takes his ball over and sits with him in solidarity. 
It brought tears to my eyes. 

After the party, 
we headed to my parents' nearby for Aaron to nap, 
while Adam and my brother-in-law had a ping pong tournament in the basement, 
and us three sisters + my dad played Parcheesi and Careers, 
which are two of my favorite board games. 
(I lost both, of course.) 
Once Aaron was up, 
we celebrated my mom's birthday with dinner and cake
So Aaron got cake TWICE in ONE DAY. 
I'm tellin' ya, this kid was in heaven. 

Oh and the best part of presents? 
Tissue paper. 

Sunday morning I woke up feeling like I had a hangover. 
Which is especially funny since I didn't have a single sip of alcohol all day yesterday. 
Adam had a glass of wine but I refused because I was running. 
Yet I still woke up with a pounding headache. 
I blame dehydration. 

We had a lazy Sunday morning. 
My sister and brother-in-law were in town for my mom's birthday 
and stayed with us for the weekend. 
Aaron is obsessed with his "Un-cahh Matt" 
and insisted on readings of Find Momo 
as well as reliving our youth with 
the Rescuers Down Under
I remember watching that movie as a kid and 
always wishing that I had a giant golden eagle to ride around on. 

Despite my hangover-like status, 
I finally rallied and went for a 5-mile run at Valley Forge with Tim, 
which was thankfully NOT an arctic tundra this time but instead quite warm! 
But don't worry, I resume my winter bitchin' tomorrow 
as tomorrow is a HIGH of 20 degrees. 
Bah humbug. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Puttin' it on and Takin' it off

No, this is not a post about stripping. 
Although wouldn't that be an awesome post? 

"Stripper turned Working Mom in Finance." 
It would also make a great movie. 
I'd totally want Olivia Wilde to play me, 
even if she isn't relevant anymore. 


Over the latter half of my life 
(math : 30 / 2 = the last 15 years or so), 
I have had many abrupt weight gains, 
eventually followed by the loooong sloooow [painful] processes of weight loss. 

Interestingly enough, my weight loss method changes every time. 
The only thing that's consistent is that it always sucks
Losing weight means being hungry (no matter the method)
and being hungry sucks

Because I like to show this visually: 

I start this in highschool because 
I don't remember being aware of sizes prior to highschool.

Moving to a new state (NY to PA). 
When: Senior Year of Highschool. 
Weight Gained: 10+ lbs
I was lonely and depressed. 
Probably the closest I've ever come to clinical depression. 
I remember lying awake all night watching TV and then falling asleep in school.

(I admit this is total brag picture.  I mean, c'mon, Eiffel Tower and all) 
Also, remember back when people had to wear watches?  HAHAHA

First Big Dip: Counting Calories
Method: Eating a strict 1,200 calories/day.
When: Senior Year of College
Weight Lost: 10 lbs

I could only find this photo as a crop made into a facebook profile pic. 
I think randomly cropped arms back then were like the duck face now. 
Every chick in college does it even though its so stupid. 

Second Big Dip: Training for 10-Mile Broad Street Run
Method: Running two 3-mile runs during weekday mornings
and building "training runs" up to 10 miles on weekend.
When: 2nd Year After College (~age 23)
Weight Lost: ~5 lbs, BUT...
Went from Size 6 to Size 4. 

Me at Versailles 
(aka: 2nd brag picture)

Third Big Dip: Training for the Marathon
Method: Running one 3-mile and one 6-mile during weekdays
and building "training runs" up to 16 miles on weekends* 
When: ~age 24
Weight Lost: 0 lbs. Fat replaced with muscle. 
Went from Size 4 to Size 2. 
I was RIPPED, man.

*Very sad, I only got to 16 miles before my knee gave out. 
I was devastated.

Me and Adam at his sister's wedding. 
Probably the thinnest my face will ever look in my lifetime. 

Toxic Job Environment. 
When: Age 26-27. 
Weight Gained: 15+ lbs 
It wasn't just the job itself, 
it was the ever-changing management. 
At one point, I had 6 bosses in 6 months. 
It was a bad environment, 
and probably the second time I came close to clinical depression. 
I had severe insomnia and didn't sleep more than 3-4 hours a night. 

Me at our friend's wedding. 
Not sure why I thought a BRIGHT PATTERN dress would hide all the weight I'd gained. 

Pregnancy / Nursing. 
When: Age 27-29. 
Initial Weight Gained: 40 lbs. 
Weight Lost After Birth: 25 lbs. 
Net weight gained: 15 lbs. 
I nursed for 14 months but I ate like I was nursing for 2. 
So the weight never truly fell off. 
Size: 10 

Fourth Dip: Fall 2014 through Winter 2015 (ongoing)
Method: Calorie Counting (1,500 calories/day)
and running 2-3 miles twice a week after work. 
Weight Lost (so far): 15 lbs

Fueled by a competition with my coworker, 
I lost 10 lbs in the Fall, finally seeing my fat 6s / skinny 8s!

We took a break over Nov-Dec, 
where we managed to maintain - NOT gain - weight! 
and have since resumed.  

As of Valentine's day, I have lost an additional 5 lbs, 
I was able to fit into one of my favorite dresses, 
which I haven't seen over OVER THREE YEARS, 
probably more like four years. 

Very Very Very VERY exciting. 

Of course, my goal is to continue to lose weight. 
Another 5 lbs would put me in the 120s, 
which I haven't seen since before my marathon-running days. 
So exciting!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Co-sleeping vs Crib

I got the idea from a friend to do a segment of controversial topics. 

I'm a somewhat opinionated person... 
** cough ** 
... horribly annoying opinionated person, 
and therefore it's always fun to weigh in on hot topics. 
Especially since having ONE CHILD makes me an Grade A Expert. 

First up: 
Crib-sleeping vs Co-sleeping 

Aaron was a crib sleeper from the very first night home. 
(Ok, second night, because he was up all night the first night.) 
He was just a GOOD sleeper. 
I was prepared for up-every-2-hours for a month... 
But instead he was sleeping 5 hours straight by the end of the first week. 

For the first few months 
(week? months? foggy mommy memory), 
he nursed to sleep. 
Then he graduated to a few quick belly pats in the crib. 
He never cried-it-out because he didn't need to. 

So that said, what are my thoughts on co-sleeping? 
Well, I think its both parent and baby-based. 

I think some babies need co-sleeping, 
and it would not surprise me at all if my next child is a co-sleeper. 
I also think some parents need it. 
Sometimes I'd have a terrible nightmare 
(like someone trying to take my baby) 
and even though Aaron didn't wake up, 
I'd go bring him into our bed just so I felt he was safe

There's a lot of talk around the psychologist benefits of co-sleeping, 
how it helps mother-child bonding, 
calms the baby's stress levels, 
and overall reduces SIDS by having the mother's constant heartbeat. 

While I do believe these benefits can be achieved, 
I also think there are other ways. 
Breastfeeding, for one, brings similar benefits - right down to SIDS reduction. 
And so does baby-wearing during the day. 
Babies are designed by God to be close to their mother. 

So I look at it as a pick-and-choose buffet. 
Some people will do all three: 
Breastfeeding, baby-wearing, and co-sleeping 
(all bundled into the neat little term "Attachment Parenting"
but I think it's ok to pick and choose, too. 

My wonderful OBGYN was never able to have children 
(can you imagine?! of all the professions!!
and eventually adopted two beautiful girls from China. 
They were too old to baby-wear or breastfeed, 
but she did co-sleep and she attributes so much of her mother-child bonding during those first few adoption years to co-sleeping. 

For me, I was able to breastfeed and baby-wear, 
and was OK not co-sleeping with Aaron. 

And in the end, 
as I'm learning more and more
we humans are resilient people. 
There is no greater evidence of this besides McDonald's.

Some moms won't breastfeed, baby-wear, or co-sleep, 
and guess what? 
As long as that mom loves with every ounce of her being, 
that baby is going to be just fine

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine's Day Weekend

While I'm not prone to general weekend recaps 
(I know you're sad; our riveting life is great insomnia reading material), 
I find I really like to recap "holiday" weekends, 
for no other reason than it's fun to remember what we do every year. 

We kicked off our Valentine's Day weekend with Adam getting a call 
at 5-freaking-30 on Friday afternoon saying a partner in NY 
needed a ton of contracts reviewed by Sunday afternoon. 
[insert MUCH swearing here] 
I totally get that Big Law Firm World requires weekend work, 
but I hate the last second call to action. 
Like geez, you couldn't have planned this out earlier? 
Not even like 2pm that day?  


Our daycare being the clever creative people they are, 
gave us a ton of Valentine's Day crafts. 
They also had sent out an email weeks in advance letting us know all the first names of the kids in each class in case parents wanted to send in Valentine's. 
Um, these kids are ONE. 
They don't give a crap about Valentine's Day. 
They aren't even handing out the cards, 
because duh, they'd rather eat them!

So I was one of two mothers in his class that didn't send in treats. 
Instead we received a giant bag of cards, candy, etc: 

I consider this a giant donation to our on-the-go snack bin. 
Except the Kit Kat bar... Adam ate that immediately. 

There were also two "temporary tattoo" stickers. 
Adam insisted on putting one on his side, 
and wants to put one on Aaron. 
I suggested a tramp stamp, 
but realistically, if we want Aaron to hold still, 
it'll have to go on his hand or something

Valentine's Day morning opened up with pancakes
and then I went for a run with our friend Tim while Adam took a break from work. 

I'm starting to amp up my training for the 10-mile Broad Street Run in May, 
and this week was 5 miles. 
Tim and I picked Valley Forge National Park
not considering that the park is VERY windy. 
(Or, as my iPhone would say. "DUCKING FREEZING") 
Wind chill had to be in single digits. 
I was dressed in my super thermal gear and still came back red-skinned. 

There was also an enormous regional Boy Scouts event, 
with hundreds of boys sitting around listening to Revolutionary War reenactments while we ran past. 
I asked Tim why all Boy Scouts dads were incredibly fat, 
which spawned a 2-mile debate over the health of parents. 
Anyone is welcome to weigh in with their opinions on this important topic. 

After was pretty standard: 
shower (Aaron insisted on joining), 
lunch (more popcorn crack), 
books and nap, 
haircut for Mommy 
(I was super proud of myself for scheduling this on V-day, 
so I didn't have to separately do my hair that night!)
emergency Target run because we're out of milk, 
and playing in the snow waiting for Aunt Rebecca to arrive for babysitting!

We've had a King of Prussia steakhouse theme for the last few Valentine's Days, 
first Sullivan's, and then Capital Grille.
This year was Morton's, 
and next year will be the highly controversial Ruth's Chris 
(with the passionate "buttered steak" debate). 

I have to say that I was QUITE pleased I fit into one of my favorite dresses, 
which I haven't been able to wear for over THREE years. 

I think I was more excited about the dress than dinner. 
Dinner was delicious, 
but the restaurant was setup poorly which took away from the ambiance. 

After eating WAY too much, 
we relieved my sister and fell asleep on the couch watching The Hangover on TV. 
Soooo romantic. 

Sunday morning, 
I woke up terribly sick from the amount of food we ate. 
I seriously considered going for a run, then I checked my phone. 

It was EIGHT DEGREES with a "real feel" of -5. 
Look, we do NOT live in Wisconsin or North Dakota or any other arctic states. 
This is Philadelphia. 
Our winter temperatures are supposed to hover around the 20s/30s. 
None of this single-digit crap. 

Moving on. 
I had a burst of insane energy that morning, 
and decided to tackle organizing the whole house. 
Which included - but not limited to
reorganizing all of our giftbags into categories 
(christmas, hanukkah, baby, wedding, etc), 
reorganizing Aaron's entire closet, 
reorganizing my entire closet, 
I was proud. 

Aaron started to go stir crazy, 
so we headed to the mall for the kiddie play area. 

Home, nap, and another playdate with our BFF William! 
William's mom Virginia and I met in prenatal yoga, 
live only a neighborhood apart, 
and the boys are 4 months apart. 

Then, for the big weekend finale, 

I attempted my FIRST EVER risotto. 

I tried this recipe (omitting the chicken), 
and I think it turned out very well! 
Perhaps a wee bit thick, but I loved it. 

Also, risotto is really hard work. 
Stir, baby, Stir!

Overall, a great weekend. 
I'd say "no complaints" 
but I complained about the weather TWICE. 
Because it's DUCKING COLD.