Friday, May 29, 2015

My One Thing

I've read countless articles about "we can't have it all," 
but I really like how Kelsey at Pardon my French sums it up:

"[...] when we see someone who appears to have it "all together" they chose to put energy into that portrayal that day. For some moms it is working out, making that time to clear their head and feel good about themselves, but I can guarantee that finding that time isn't easy. That they are sacrificing something else to attain it. It's a circus act that no one is able to perform flawlessly."

In the blogsphere, I see so many moms who focus on things like 
creative meals, 

As you can see from my grainy iPhone pictures, 
NONE of these things rank high on my list. 

So what is it that I love?  

I love a clean house. 

So cliche. 
So barefoot-in-the-kitchen-esque. 
So NOT trendy mom. 

But it's true. 
My inner self NEEDS to organize, to sort, and to cleanse. 
And every night, 
when Aaron goes to bed, 
I can throw myself completely into the one task that gives me immense satisfaction. 

My favorite household cleaning (in order): 

1. Putting away clothes / organizing clothes 
I did this to his dresser (with his permission): 

2. Going room-by-room and picking up the "little stuff" that Aaron carries around and dumps wherever he sees fit (bath toys, my hair clips, Little People) 

3. Laundry. 
Weird, I know. 


100. Dishes

Dishes are my least favorite, 
but the kitchen is an equally important place for me so I can't let it go. 

Sometimes I wonder if this will change. 
Moms of 3+ kids often say the first thing they let go is a clean house. 
Will that happen to me someday? 
I don't know. 
I guess you'll just have to stick around another 10 years or so to find out. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Lake: Expectations vs Reality

Memorial Day weekend was spent at the Lake house. 

Adam's family owns a cottage in the Finger Lakes of NY 
(otherwise known as NY's wine country). 
The cottage was build by hand by his grandfather. 
Adam spent summers there as a kid, 
and has incredibly fond memories of the place. 

When we were dating, he was so excited to show me the lake. 
He talked it up and down with the enthusiasm of a toddler and a piece of candy. 

We're talking 12-15 people in a 3-bedroom, 1-bath cottage. 
It was just not for me. 
I may be a grade A Extrovert but even that was a bit much. 

But we kept going, 
and gradually it grew on me. 
Bit by bit. 
The wine helped... a little. Hehe. 

Enter Aaron. 
Suddenly, the lake became something I looked forward to
Not only was it new surroundings for my curious baby to stare at, 
but it was a whole army of constant babysitters to hold him. 

This weekend I was particularly excited because it was the first time Aaron would be up there with his cousin Ryan.  
It was also the first time we were going with an extremely active, independent toddler.  

I set the bar too high. 

Expectation #1: This:  

I expected to kick back, relax, and let the kids run around and play. 
I love to soak up the sun, glass of chilled white wine in hand, and a cheese plate nearby. 
It's basically bliss.  

Reality: Relax?  BAHAHAHA!

While it was possible to sit and kick back in the yard
while the boys dug in the dirt: 

That was NOT possible down at the dock (my favorite place), 
because just over that railing-less-side are a dozen super-sharp large rocks just waiting for some toddler to bash their head against it. 

My question: why not put up a railing??? 
Apparently that's not what you do on docks. Humph. 

Expectation #2: Late nights by the campfire or inside playing games 

Another part of the lake I always enjoyed
 (even in my early disgruntled days) 
were the late evenings. 
When everyone was mellow from day-drinking and sun, 
sitting around the campfire. 
Or, alternatively, playing games to all hours 
(this family taught me to love dominos)

Reality: Kids wake up at 6am NO MATTER WHAT 

This one needs no explaining. 
It just happens. 
The first night we stayed up till midnight. 
The second night till 10pm. 
The last night we crashed at 9pm. 

Expectation #3: Miserable Car Ride 

The 4.5-hour car ride is no picnic. 
I was dreading it. 
There isn't a parent alive who goes: 
"Oh I can't WAIT to sit in the car with my toddler!!!!"

Reality: Surprisingly Not Bad 

Two very important aids to our sanity: 

1. Benadryl
  Aaron is still rear-facing and starting to get car sick from extensive backwards motion. 
Rather than turning him around and taking a gamble on his neck snapping with an 80 mph highway crash, I opted instead to give him a 1/2 tsp benadryl.  It didn't have the sleepy effects I was hoping for (damn!), but it cured the car sickness just fine. 

2. This free fake iPad I got from Pampers Rewards

I thought it was like a cheap piece of crap, 
but this fake iPad was the highlight of the trip.  
It's annoying as hell but I would happily take 30 renditions of the musical "twinkle twinkle little star" over the blood-curdling screams of a miserable child. 

In summary, I guess what I have now is a more realistic vision of the lake, 
so hopefully I'll go up for July 4th and Labor Day with much better expectations. 

In the meantime, a few other picture dumps: 

On the dock with Pop Pop: 

Picture while we are restocking at the winery: 

Mom Mom, Daddy, Aaron, and Uncle Jason chilling on the dock. 

Pop Pop and Daddy fixing the sandbox 
(a classic from Adam's childhood days) 
and Aaron "helping" by banging a croquet stick against the wood. 

And our sense of humor knows no bounds...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

One Less Upside

Don't worry, 
I'll pump out a cliche Memorial Day recap post sometime this week. 
In the meantime, I'm issuing a State of the Art Whining Post. 

Being a Big Law Firm Corporate Lawyer has a lot of downsides. 
Getting home at 1am. 
Last-second ruined weekends. 
Being on call every second. 
Yada yada. 

But there are a few upsides: 
Good money 
No travel 

Not to be confused, 
Big Law Firm Litigation Lawyers have to travel every second. 
As do a few other niche groups. 
But Corporate generally can negotiate mergers, acquisitions, and whatnot
from the comfort of their offices.

Well, as of this week, we lost one upside: 
Good money 
No travel

When Adam received the last-second-before-vacation call that he had to be on site this week, 
I was all: 
 "Um?  What?  You TRAVEL?   
I'M the parent who travels!

This is a twofold curse: 

1) I do not sleeping at night
2) I am also in charge of morning routine

Adam is the morning routine parent. 
He gets Aaron settled with breakfast, 
 cleaned up, 
socks and shoes on, 
nebulizer during Thomas, 
out the door, 
daycare dropoff. 
Yada yada yada. 

I've whined about this before, I'm sure. 
And this won't be the last. 

Whining over.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Potty Training Update

It's been over a month,
 so I figured I'd document our progress (or lack thereof in certain areas). 

I wrote about our 3-day potty training method weekend here

Since then... 
- he still wears diapers for nap/bedtime 
- he still gets a single M&M every successful pee
- he still hasn't popped in the potty 

At this point, we have very few "uh oh" accidents. 
The much more common problem is aiming. 
At home, our potty seats have a splash guard. 
At daycare, their mini potties don't 
so almost daily we have a change of shorts or underwear 
because of "missing" on the potty. 
People have suggested teaching him to stand, 
but I admit I'm even more intimidated by that. 

Aaron doesn't very often tell us that he has to go, 
but he usually holds it till I ask (or daycare asks). 
As for pooping... No idea. 
Everyone I ask (daycare, coworkers, parents) all sigh and say "it takes time." 
At the point, his poops are primarily at night in the diaper 
or afternoon at daycare. 
I've wondered if putting underwear on him at night would help, 
but he's still in a crib so he can't get up to pee by himself. 

We've also been able to use pull-ups for special situations, 
without regression issues. 
When Adam's law firm rented out the zoo
I wasn't going to risk it sitting in an hour of traffic then navigate zoo bathrooms. 
I put pull-ups on him after daycare through bedtime 
and then the next day we were back in underwear no issue. 

Aaron really hates peeing in public bathrooms, 
so we've given up taking him on errands.
Instead, we go right before we leave the house 
and immediately when we return. 
We've had zero accidents. 
We still keep a piddle pad in each car seat, just for peace of mind.

For our monthly kid swap or grandparent overnight, 
we bring our bjorn potty seat and he does pretty well. 
Every now and then an accident with new surroundings, 
but not bad. 
However, the trickiest are when we go to a party at friends' houses. 
We bring the travel potty seat which Aaron does not like because it's not nearly as sturdy. 
At the Derby party, it took THREE trips to the bathroom before he finally went. 
Persistence won!

At this point, I'm soooooooooooo glad we did it. 
Yes, the lack of potty pooping is frustrating, but it really hasn't been much of an issue. 
I don't miss diapers. 
I love him in underwear. 
I feel really good that we got this big obstacle out of the way so we can focus on other things like...
... Using forks? 
(At 2+ years old, we are still a finger-foods child... even when its not finger foods!)

Also, can we talk about how underwear makes a great substitute for swim diapers? 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Highlights of Another Low Key Weekend

This weekend was so low key that it's not even worth assembling a blog post about it. 
... Except that won't stop me. 

This was our first weekend since Potty Training (April 3-5th), 
where we actually had ZERO PLANS for a full 24 hours. 
I love me some plans, 
but I also love me some free time to do whatever the hell we want. 


5 mile run at Valley Forge. 
A bit on the slow side, but overall felt good. 

Stopped by my sister's fundraising car wash 
to support her "gap year" in the Dominican Republic 

Saw Pitch Perfect 2 with some girlfriends. 
I agreed to see #2 before ever having seen #1. 
We DVR'ed it last weekend
and even Adam admitted it was pretty funny. 

(That rare moment we remember to take a group photo)

Played mini golf
And Aaron did awesome [again]. 
PGA Tour here we come!

Fell asleep at 7:30pm
After Aaron went to bed, 
Adam went back out to the driving range, 
and I crashed on the couch with NyQuil and a glass of wine, 
hoping that the combination would be 
(a) non-lethal and 
(b) cure the pounding congestion headache I had.
Good news, it did both!


Aaron woke up asking to go to Target
And who are we to refuse him?

After, we broke out the water table
and grilled steaks with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce

During naptime, closet cleanse!
I tried on every article in my closet 
and put away those that were too big/wrong season. 
(Cleansing my closet is, by far, one of my favorite activities ever. 
Because I'm an enormous organizing nerd.)

 Post-nap, we headed to KOP Mall for Adam to buy new golf clubs. 
Then went to Golf Galaxy for them to adjust the golf clubs, 
and ended up spending an hour + in the store as there was a long wait.
I had flashbacks to my dad dragging me to Sears Hardware as a child, 
and being bored for what seemed like hours (and was probably 10 minutes). 
On the contrary, my child thought Golf Galaxy was the greatest store ever, 
and I-the-parent was bored out of my mind. 

Adam "rewarded" my patience with promising any dinner of my choice, 
and I picked frozen yogurt
So our dinner was frozen yogurt with M&Ms (Aaron's choice)
 and Peanut Butter cups (my choice). 
It was delicious and I have zero regrets. 

And now I'm back to work, 
with that same congestion-pounding headache. 
I've never had allergies and I don't think I'm developing them, 
but what the hell is this????

Friday, May 15, 2015

Uno Dos Tres Taco

Aaron has counted to 10 in English for a while. 
:: mumble mumble :: 
:: mumble mumble :: 
Thanks to daycare, we can now add Spanish to that list.  

I particularly love that he says 6 and 7 in Spanish, 
but not English. 
I also love that Cuatro is CLEARLY "taco."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Kid swap and Mother's Day

Our weekend started off with a bang at the Philadelphoa Zoo, 
which I wrote about here
The next day we did errands like Aaron getting a haircut, 
running to the mall, 
and grocery shopping before William came over for our monthly kid swap

Of course, the boys had a blast and played played played PLAYED. 
Ring-around-the-Rosie was a favorite. 

As well as pointing out EVERY overhead airplane 
(benefits to being in the flight path to Philadelphia airport). 

a little Homeward Bound, 
and then bed... 
Which included the boys laughing and giggling for 25 minutes before passing out. 
We went in about 45 minutes later 
and found EVERYTHING tossed out of the crib / pack-n-play: 
blankets, stuffed animals, even William's pacifiers! 
So fair warning to us as parents, we're going to have to watch these two as teenagers because they are going to throw some crazzzzy parties. 

The next morning was nice and chill as they entertained each other very nicely. 

That afternoon, I did one of my favorite things: 
sit on the deck, 
enjoy sunshine, 
read a book, 
and drink an icy cold beverage. 
Oh, and FINALLY finish the Michelle Obama book. 
Man, that's a long book! 

Post nap, my parents hosted us and Adam's parents for Mother's Day. 
And guess what? 

So now I can stop sending in the same photo from Easter 2014 every time daycare asked for a family photo for projects. 

Also... can we talk about how OLD Aaron looks?  
Look at those LONG, LEAN legs.  
I mean, where did my chubby baby with hamhocks go?!?!?! 
It just kills me. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Philadelphia Zoo

Last Friday, Adam's Law Firm rented out the Philadelphia Zoo for a night out for the law firm's employees and families. 

Adam and I have spent 8 years working in Corporate America, 
but this by far was the BEST corporate event we had ever been to. 

The Philadelphia zoo is awesome. 
It's an incredibly cool experience for BOTH little kids and adults 
(I was definitely psyched to go again)  
Because of its attraction, 
the zoo is generally MOBBED, 
so to have it ALL TO OURSELVES was incredible. 
Sometimes we were the only people looking at an exhibit. 
At most there was a single other family. 

All of the concession stands were open for free, 
and we had our choice of popcorn, 
Philadelphia pretzels, burgers, chicken tenders, 
French fries, pizza, cheesesteaks, paninis, ice cream, 
fresh-squeezed lemonade, and more! 

Oh, and did I mention free beer and wine? 
It wasn't top shelf wine by any means, 
but the super-sweet white still tasted great in the "summer heat" 
(even though it's only spring, the humidity is full summer). 

Aaron loved it 
(and expressed his love by having ZERO meltdowns... YAYYYY). 
All of Aaron's coworkers fawned over him 
and he loved running around like a crazy man, 
always asking for "mo' animals?" 
And of course he stuffed his face full of food. 
We all did. 

We didn't leave the zoo till 8 and Aaron wasn't in bed till 9. 
He passed right out and slept till 8am the next morning. 

Again, Adam and I have both been to a slew of corporate-sponsored Christmas parties, happy hours, weekends, amusement park days, etc., but this by far was the best. 
Can't wait till next year! 

Fun fact: The lion couple had 4 cubs. 
The zoo can keep all 4 cubs for now, 
BUT they have to keep the babies from mating with their dad  (?!)
so the zoo keepers are giving them birth control shots. 
Summary: Birth control for lions to prevent incest babies. 

(Peacocks roam free at the zoo.)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Tribute to My Mother

Today is Mother's Day 
and while it's now "my day" as a mother, 
I want to pay a tiny tribute to my mother. 

My biological mother Mommy Cheryl died when I was 6 mo old 
(I wrote more about that here). 
My mom met my dad when I was 2, 
and they got married shortly after I turned 4. 

My mom dove head-first into the role of being my mother. 
She built a phenomenal relationship with my biological mother's family.
I have two little sisters who are technically half sisters, 
but I never once felt as though they were anything but full blood. 

My mom taught me a lot. 
We butted heads tremendously, 
of course, 
but I learned a lot
She wasn't afraid to share life lessons with me, 
and I think many of my better decisions in life were guided by those life lessons. 

There's so much more I could say, 
But for now,
I just want to say thank you to my mom,

because she didn't have to do it,
she could have been a "step mom"

...but she chose to be my mom.
And that means everything.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Prioritizing of Jobs

It's pretty well documented that couples model their marriage on their parent's marriages.
 Whether that be good or bad. 
For Adam and I, that's pretty good. 
While our parents are pretty different 
(super conservative republican vs very liberal democrat- I'll let you guess who is who), 
they both were very happy marriages. 
Even more similar, 
both our dads worked in the corporate world (in similar industries even!)
while our moms stayed home most of the time. 

Now, while the happy-marriage model is quite beneficial, 
neither of us has a good model for figuring out how to balance two working parents.

Adam and I started our careers completely equal. 
And I mean COMPLETELY equal. 
Same company. 
Same start date. 
Same pay. 

I left audit to go into corporate finance, 
and Adam left to go to law school. 
Certain aspects of law school were prioritized over my job, 
like exams and certain classes 
(although by his third year, Adam became pretty relaxed about his classes 
... did I ever mention he STILL graduated #1?), 
but in general, 
Adam was very similar to a "stay-at-home-spouse" while I was the "bread winner."

It wasn't until Adam started in Big Law Firm World 
that our job priorities completely flipped. 
Adam's job is the investment job. 
It's the career. 
It's what he's going to be doing until he retires. 
(Or well, along those lines, maybe not that exact company

Me on the other hand? 
Maybe someday I will try my hand at being a SAHM. 
Right now, I'm content at my position in my career 
and don't have any motivation to continue advancing up the corporate ladder. 

Inevitably, this leaves my job as the less prioritized job

When it comes to doctor visits, 
sick days home, 
and other obligations that come up, 
it's ME taking time off or working from home. 

Throwback to Aaron's first real sickness at 9 months old

Occasionally, Adam can catch a later train in the morning, 
but he's completely useless during the day, 
and we cannot count on him being home at any specific time at night. 
(As one new-mom lawyer told him, "You can only control when you show up")

Being the less prioritized job is difficult, to say the least. 
First of all, one needs an understanding boss. 
The ideal understanding boss is another dual-income family... or a single parent. 
Someone who understands both child and the enormous pressure of balancing both children and work. 
While Working Fathers do have sympathy regarding children's needs, 
I've found that Working-Fathers-with-Stay-at-home-wives can be as bad 
- and in some cases worse
than childless coworkers. 
Of course, I cannot stereotype any coworker. 
I've had working moms (I call these the "Power Moms") 
who couldn't care less about parental obligations.  
I've also met childless coworkers who will bend over backwards to help out. 
(And my many thanks to those that have!

I've also yet to meet ANYONE who can EQUALLY prioritize their job with their spouse. 
Some people can prioritize different times
Yes, finance/accounting is usually the worst in the first week of the month. 
Some jobs may have required 24-hour-shifts. 
etc. etc. 

But there comes a time where a decision has to be made. 
And there will always be one who has to make just a few more sacrifices than the other. 
Do you agree?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Things that do not suck about business travel

I title this "things that don't suck about business travel." 

A normal person would use words like 
or "positives" 
or even "silver linings" of business travel, 
But to me that implies there is actually something to look forward to with business travel. 
I never look forward to business travel.  
Being away from my chubby little man
is just soul crushing. 
He knows mommy is gone on "airplane" 
and whenever an airplane flies by, 
he points up at the sky and says: "Mommy airplane!" 
(I die a little inside when I read these texts.)

And while I hate 99% of business travel, 
there is a very slim amount that doesn't TOTALLY suck: 

1. Going to bed early. 
No dishes to wash or laundry to fold. 
Just snuggle in bed and I'm out. 

2. All the pillows I want. 
I love being surrounded by big pillows. 
When I'm at a hotel, 
I ALWAYD request more pillows. 
And end up with an average of 6-8 pillows around me all night. Ahhh

3. Trying Food and / or Expensive Food
 Although sometimes I get sucked into the void of unhealthy fast food, 
I try to take advantage of my expense account and do things like 
A) order sides/entrees I never would just to try something new 
(and who care if I hate it and have to order again because it's not my money) 
B)  stop at the grocery store and buy a $10 box of organic raspberries and call it breakfast. Mmmhmm. 

4. Trying new cars. 
I've lived in a Honda world (Honda Accord, Honda CRV, Acura TSX, etc)
Business travel has given me the best test drives. 
So far, I hate Hyundai (sorry). 
I'm so-so about Chevy (sorry). 
And I LOVVVEE the Nissan Rogue that I drove this past trip. 

Do these things makeup for business travel? 
But at least they don't suck.