Monday, February 29, 2016

Books I Read (Jan-Feb)

Time for another installment of "Books I've Read." 
I expect this series to dwindle to nothing 
as soon as Baby #2 makes his debut. 
Some women can breastfeed and read. 
I am not that talented. 

Who Do You Love? 
By Jennifer Weiner 

(btw, terribly unfortunate last name for the author. 
My breast-cancer doctor is Dr. Weiner 
and my OB always jokes that he should have gone into proctology...) 

A different style of book, 
written from the perspectives of two different people. 
Really interesting in how life events keep bringing them together. 
It's not a page-turner, 
but it has some really nice/fun parts, 
and then some pretty boring/depressing parts, 
so a good pick-up-and-put-down book. 
Oh, and some pretty detailed coitus scenes, too. 
Not like 50 Shades of Grey or anything, 
but it doesn't leave much to the imagination. 
Despite my overall "meh" review, 
I would actually recommend this book.

The Handmaid's Tale 
by Margaret Atwood 

This is one of those classic literary books, 
full of symbolism and all that; 
perfect for a highschool English class. 

I hate those books. 

It's heavy. 
It goes pages and pages without any dialogue. 
It's more into "setting the scene" than actually getting through the scene. 
Just not my kind of book. 
Also a prime example why English was my least favorite class ever. 

Brave Enough
by Cheryl Strayed

I'm not sure what I thought I was getting into, 
but it's just a bunch of long quotes. 
I guess it's meant as an "inspirational" book, 
but I get the same amount of inspiration by scrolling through Pinterest. 

The Nightingale 
By Kristin Hannah

This book. 
Oh my. 
The first 1/4-1/3 is pretty slow. 
Slow enough that I was like: 
"Geez, I dunno if I can get through this." 
Then all of a sudden, 
It picks up and doesn't stop. 
I was absolutely captivated by it, 
And read it all in ONE NIGHT. 
Can't tell you the last time I did that. 

Now I do fess up to some skimming. 
The author is very descriptive, 
And sometimes stopped to "paint the picture" while I was ready to dive into the action. 
But still, I couldn't put it down. 

Now, a forewarning, this may not be the best book for hormonal pregnant women or emotional mothers. 
It is heart-breaking. 
It's gut-wrenching. 
There were times I teared up picturing Aaron. 
It's not a read for the faint of heart. 

I didn't come here to make friends: 
Confessions of a Reality Show Villain 
by Courtney Robertson 

After the heavy book that was The Nightingale, 
I needed something mindless and shallow. 
This fit the bill! 

I don't watch the Bachelor.
I've tried several times and my record viewing time is around 2.5 minutes.
This had all the juicyness of the show without actually having to suffer through the show itself. If all Bachelor/Bachelorette shows were written in book form, 
I may be a fan! 

Also, let's address pretty quickly that every single girl in this book 
- author included - 
is a complete and total moron. 
Or at the very least, a complete and total moron about men
but I guess that makes sense considering it's Reality TV. 

In summary, it's never-ending stupid decisions made by idiotic girls searching for love.
 Kind of like watching a train wreck or car crash. 
 It amused me at least!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

33 Weeks

33 Weeks. 
I've morphed from the veteran pregnancy "what week am I?"
 to the first-time-pregnancy-counting of "I'm 33 weeks, 2.5 days.

Baby Size
No idea what this fruit is.

Total Weight Gain
21 lbs. 
1.5 lbs week-over-week gain.

(around 5-6 lbs less than with Aaron, 
not a precise week apparently)

Total shit. 
Waking every hour. 
Middle-of-the-night leg cramps. 
Tossing and turning. 
It's total shit. 

Several times this week I woke up at 3:30am and never went back to sleep. 
Around 4:30am, I'd give up and go watch Netflix documentaries. 
I'm becoming quite the expert on Antarctica. 

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries.

Symptoms of the Week
Massive morning congestion. 
Morning sore throats (from congestion drip...?).
Periodic headaches. 
 Middle-of-the-night leg cramps. 


Lots of random feet sticking out all over the place. 
You'd think this baby has like 5 feet or something.

Still Running?
Not really, but sort-of-yeah. 
I gave up on "run for 10 minutes" or "run for 5 minutes." 
Now I try to run for a song (so roughly 3.5 minutes), 
then walk for a song or two (or three), 
then run for another song. 
I think in total I ran about 0.75 miles this week. 

Excited for

General Mood
Cranky miserable pregnant lady. 
I am always tired from my shitty nights of sleep. 
I have zero patience. 
No desire to exercise, eat well, or be anything other than the preggo blob I am. 
Aren't you soooooo jealous of my coworkers right now?

33 weeks with Aaron here
Also featuring the world's ugliest maternity shirt. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

What Will Baby #2 Be Like?

Everyone says the second is totally different than the first, 
so we have been speculating like crazy about Baby #2.

For documentation purposes, 
let's check out some of our speculations.

Aaron: Great Sleeper 
Baby Brother: Horrible Sleeper? 
Aaron was hitting 5 hour stretches by the end of the first week home. 
 He started sleeping 12-hours straight at 6 months when we introduced solids. 
I hear stories of kids waking up middle of the night at A YEAR OLD
and I'm all... 
no, please, no. 

Aaron: Independent Sleeper 
Baby Brother: Co-sleeper? 
We never gave Aaron a chance to cosleep because he settled so well into his crib. 
But I wonder if this little one will insist on co-sleeping. 
If so, we have exactly zero setup ready for this. 

Aaron: Hated car seat and car rides 
Baby Brother: Falls asleep in the car? (please please please)
 Aaron despised car rides and his car seat. 
Yet I know many families who get their kids to sleep by driving around. 
It would be absolute bliss to make the 4-hour drive to the lake
without shrieks of terror and sobs of misery coming from the backseat. 

Aaron: Horrible teether 
Baby Brother: Easy teether? 
Aaron slept worse with teething than he did coming home from the hospital. 
Teething was miserable. 
Supposedly there are these magical babies whose teeth appear 
and baby doesn't give a single fuss. 
Maybe maybe maybe?!?!?

Aaron: Not a climber
Baby Brother: Mountain climber?
We bolted down all of our furniture and TVs
but Aaron never once tested them. 
I wonder if this little one will be the "scale-the-bookcase" kind. 
I babysat one of those kids. 
I'd walk into the room and she'd be sitting on the dresser. 

Aaron: Not Particularly Destructive 
Baby Brother: Destructo-monster? 
Aaron really wasn't the kid who got into things. We baby-proofed the cupboards that could kill him 
(you know, cleaning supplies and the like) 
but the vast majority of our bathrooms and kitchen were never baby-proofed, 
and he never gave us reason to do so.

 Aaron: Eats Everything 
Baby Brother: A little more picky*?
* I preface this with, I will NOT let my kid live off chicken nuggets and oatmeal. 

"Never say never" they say. 
But I said it.
Feel free to throw that back in my face if someday I have to eat my words. 

I DO accept picky-ness. 
I accept this kid will eat LESS than what Aaron eats. 
But I do NOT accept a diet comprised of "items found on a McDonald's menu."
Hellll to the F no.

Aaron: Extrovert 
Baby Brother: Introvert? 
 Aaron is such a crazy party extrovert kid. 
Would I love two of him? Of course! 
But if we have a little introvert, 
it'll be a struggle for me to adjust my expectations. 
"Oh you DON'T want to go to the party?  Oh ok..." 

Moms of multiple kids, what other areas can you think of 
(that apply to toddlers and below)?


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

32 Weeks

32 Weeks.
I'm rapidly approaching the "I give up" phase of pregnancy. 
Staying active is too much work. 
And eating healthy is too much work. 
Of course, I pay for it when I step on the scale. 
But my motivation to be good is just not there.  
I'd rather lie on the couch 
consuming vast amount of carby calories 
than go running and eat an apple. 

Baby Size
(specifically a squash between 2.5-3.8 lbs)

Total Weight Gain
19.5 lbs 
Up 2.5 lbs from last week. 
See my paragraph above about giving up. 

(-5.5 lbs than with Aaron)

Lots of waking up now. 
Sometimes I fall back asleep. 
Sometimes I'm awake for an hour. 
Every now and then, I'm up for the rest of the night. 
This was the part of pregnancy I hated the most. 


Symptoms of the Week
Lack of Motivation

This baby kicks WAY harder than Aaron ever did. 
Like full on "OUCH STOP THAT!"

Still Running?
Just once. 
1.3 miles. 
And it was a miserable, painful 1.3 miles.  

Excited for
Girl's Night Out this weekend!
We're going to see "How to be Single" which I have low expectations for. 
However, I also had low expectations for "Deadpool" this past weekend, 
and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. 
(Spoiler alert: Deadpool is super raunchy, super violent, and also hilarious. 
If you can take raunchy and violent with a hefty dose of humor, you'll love it.)

General Mood
I'm in "give up mode." 
It's too early to be in give up mode. 
Someone save me from myself. 

32 Weeks with Aaron here

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentine's Day

This really should be titled: 

I want to start making "little" holidays like Valentine's Day super fun. 
But sappy notes aren't going to resonate with an almost-3-year-old, 
so I opted for: 

"For Valentine's Day, we eat PINK FOOD"


White-chocolate covered pretzels

White chocolate chips. 
Valentine's Day sprinkles 

I dipped the pretzels and laid them on parchment paper. 
Aaron sprinkled on the sprinkles. 
Or rather, sprinkled the sprinkles all over the kitchen. 
I posted about this on instragram 
and my cleaning lady was all: "WHAT?!?!?!!?!" 
Yes, yes, you will be finding sprinkles for months. 


Cupid Floats

Forgot to take a picture but I can assure you that mine were not as pretty as the original. 
I know you're shocked, since I'm such a steller photographer. 

Original idea (and pictures) from here

This wasn't like outstanding or anything, 
but it was fun and bubbly and cute. 
 And it was Aaron's favorite. 


Pink Cookies

Recipe and prettier pictures here
These were my favorite. 
The dough tasted SUPER strawberry-y 
and I was very worried they would be overpowering. 
But I used 80% cacao dark chocolate chips, 
and that helped to cut the sweetness. 
The end product was delicious. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Go Home, Mother Nature, You're Drunk

Mother Nature is drunk. 
There's no other explanation. 
(Besides, you know, massive global warming...) 

December was record-setting highs. 
It was 70 degrees for Christmas in Upstate NY. 
That's just unheard of. 

Then January comes with 2+ feet of snow... 

...which melted 2 weeks later with highs in the 50s. 

Today, we are expected to reach a high of 18 degrees.

Then next week, 
we are supposed to be a high of 50 again. 


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

31 Weeks

As predicted, this third trimester is dragging. 
I'm counting the DAYS. 
I suspect my lack of patience plays a big part in this misery. 

Baby Size
Doesn't that seem big?

Total Weight Gain
17 lbs 
(-6.5 lbs less than with Aaron) 

It is an absolute SHOCK that I didn't gain 5 lbs this week. 
This past week was a diet killer, 
plus the superbowl was really the SALT-BOWL with all the crap I ate.

My sleep is so related to my diet that it's ridiculous. 
With my poor diet, 
my sleep was horrendous. 
But as soon as I was eating healthy again, 
slept like a dream. 

Broiled grapefruit with brown sugar

Symptoms of the Week
Ready for TMI? 
Officially have the pregnancy hemorrhoids. 
They are extrememly mild so it's not bad. 
When I mention it as a joke to people, 
I'm a little shocked at how many people respond with: 
"Oh yeah, I get those occassionally."
I have NEVER had hemmorhoids until now. 

What I miss
At this point, there's nothing I miss. 
I just want this baby to hurry up and get here. 

Still Running?
Yes, 2.1 and 1.3 
The discomfort is growing worse and worse.  I don't see this continuing much longer. 

Excited for
We have another Monthly Kid Swap this weekend! 
So excited for DATE NIGHT! 
We'll go out to our absolute favorite Philly-suburb restaurant Nectar
Aside from an overall outstanding menu, 
they boast one of the simplest, most decadent desserts: 
Mini Doughnuts with a trio of dipping sauces. 
Absolutely amazing. 

General Mood:
I'm not physically miserable [yet]. 
Overall I'm in MUCH better condition than I was with Aaron. 
I'm just impatient. 
Really freakin' impatient. 
I want to get to 37-38 weeks to see if I can attempt VBAC
I want to finally settle on a name 
(we had a name, then I brought up another name, now we're in limbo). 
I want to be a family of 4. 

31 Weeks with Aaron here.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Being responsible for our own happiness

referenced this outstanding video from Jada Pinkett-Smith. 
(Yes, yes, I hate videos, too, BUT regardless...) 
See video here

She talks a lot about the balance of wife-mother, 
but one thing she really emphasizes is that 

We, as mothers, tend to look to our husbands or our children for happiness, 
but the truth is that only WE can be responsible for our own happiness. 

WE have to take control. 
And that resonates with me. 
After Aaron was born, 
I never ran. 
I would rush to daycare after work, 
to "save" him from daycare. 
But slowly - very slowly- I learned to take 45 minutes to run. 
It made me a better mother to him, 
because I was a happier person. 

Jada Pinkett-Smith references this in the video, 
that it's especailly hard when the children are just born. 
Newborns are your world, 
and I think particularly as an exclusively-breastfeeding mother, 
there is no escape

But this time, I want to make an effort, 
even as small as it is, 
to take tiny bits of time for myself. 

I realize with a newborn that's virtually... never. 
But just 30 minutes a day. 
Go for a run. 
(Or, a walk/run.) 

Nurse the baby in my workout gear, 
and the second he's finished, 
leave him with daddy (or in-home help) for 30 minutes to just GO. 
After all, just look how miserable Aaron looks sleeping on his aunt here. 
If I went for a run, would he notice? 

Of course, it's easy to talk the talk now. 

I also said I would ABSOLUTELY wear makeup in the hospital with Aaron. 
And THAT never happened. 
feel free to call me out later. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Water Bottle Showdown

I drink a lot of water. 
Over 100 ounces a day. 
For years and years, I used the same water bottle like I was married to it. 
But just recently I started switching things up, 
and thought I'd introduce you to my finds. 

  Left to right: 
1. Nalgene (this is the travel size, the full size is at work) 
2. Life Factory 
3. Hydro Flash 
4. S'Well 


(aka: "the Sturdy Plastic bottle")

Once THE trendy water bottle, 
Nalgene has been superseded by the Camelbak
I've borrowed my sister's Camelbak, 
and they are essentially the same concept. 

Plastic Bottle Pros: 

1. Lightweight. Nothing wins lightweight like plastic. 

2. Durable / Leak-proof. Nalgene can be chucked out of the 3rd story window of a dorm room, and survive smashing into the concrete sidewalk below. No leaks. 
I'm positive Camelbak also boosts the same durability. 

3. Variety
Every color range possible. 
Spouts: caps, straws, and spouts. 
Sizes: everything from itty bitty travel to gigantic all-day. 
Both Nalgene and Camelbak offer a mass variety. 

4. Price.  They are cheap. Both varieties are under $20 for most options.

5. Availability. Target. WalMart. Sports stores. Even the grocery store. Everywhere. 

6. Medicore at insulation.  Both can be loaded up with ice to stay cool for a while.  Camelbak has an insulated option and you can get a sleeve for Nalgene.  I wouldn't recommend hot for either.

Plastic Bottle Cons


2. Insulation for long periods (can be somewhat fixed for cold, but not hot). 

3. Too big for cupholders.
Unless you get the mini version I picture above, 
but then it only holds 12 oz.

The pros to the plastic water bottle is why I've used a Nalgene for over a decade. 
But it was just this past year that I started to say to myself: 
"You store all your foods in glass, but the one thing you drink day after day is still plastic?" 
And that's when I started to evaluate other options. 


The "trendy" glass bottle. 
This was my first plastic-alternative. 

Glass Water Bottle Pros

1. Glass. Glass does not leach. It does not deteriorate. It does not contain chemicals that may or may not be found dangerous after 50 more years of scientific study. 
(Remember back when none of us even knew BPA existed?) 

I was shocked / impressed to find out that they have baby bottles. 
And is one of the ONLY things I am buying new for Baby Brother. 
In fact, not only do they have baby bottles, 
but those same bottles convert into sippy cups with caps

3. Fits in your car cup holder
 LifeFactory is pretty slim, 
so it fits every standard car cup holder. 
I could not say the same about my Nalgene, 
except for the itty bitty travel one shown above.

4. Variety. Less so than plastic, 
Lifefactory still comes in a variety of sleeve colors, 
a few different sizes, 
and a few different lids.

5. Availability
Less so than plastic, but I am starting to see these pop up more. 
I bought my Lifefactory at Wegmans. 
The baby bottles / caps I've never seen in store. 

6. Price (for adult, only) 
LifeFactory is around $20-$30 a bottle. 
More expensive than plastic for sure, 
but not as bad as the alternatives.

Glass Water Bottle Cons: 

1. Not necessarily leak proof
YES, this is part user error, I KNOW, 
but the threads of the glass/rubber lid are not as simple as plastic, 
and many a time I thought I had screwed it on only to have it leak out all over me. 
Granted, it's just water so no harm, no foul. 
But still, annoying. 

2. Heavy
Glass is heavy. 
In order to lighten the load, I had to go smaller, 
which gave me less water and MANY more refills. 
My LifeFactory is 22 oz, which is pretty small compared to my standard 32 oz Nalgene. 

3.  Insulation
There is no insulation. 
I loaded up my LifeFactory with ice and it melted faster than in my Nalgene. 

4. Price (for baby bottles)
Baby bottles are NOT CHEAP. 
A 6-pack of Medela is around $12,
while a 4-pack of LifeFactory is $50. 
Granted the sippy cup can extend the useful life, 
but it's still a huge investment. 


(aka: Stainless Steel) 

Many of these stainless steel bottles on the market, including Klean Kanteen
which I use for Aaron's travel sippy cup and LOVE. 
For adult-size, I did a lot of research between Kleen Kanteen and Hydro Flask, and eventually settled on Hydro Flask solely for the attached cap option, 
but I think my pros/cons below can speak for both. 

Hydro Flask Pros

1. Stainless steel
Tested far longer than plastic, 
stainless steel holds up to extreme cooking temperatures, 
and therefore can be trusted to carry my water without leaching. 

2.  Insulation
Stainless steel can insulate like no other. 
Most boost that they can keep hot or cold for up to 24 hours. 
We tested this on our trip to NY for Christmas and I can confirm it is CORRECT for cold.
For someone who loves ice water, this is CLUTCH. 

3. Big
My Hydro Flask is 40 oz. 
It's freaking huge. 
It minimizes trips to the fridge / water cooler, 
and thanks to insulation, it'll keep my water cool all day. 

4. Leak-Proof / Attached-Cap
No spilling here! The cap threads are akin to plastic in ease of threading. 
Specifically for HydroFlask Wide Mouth, the cap is attached
After over a decade with Nalgene, I LOVE an attached cap. 

5. Durable
It's stainless steel.  It will dent, but never crack. 
Aaron has dented his Klean Kanteen sippy cup several times, 
but it never once affects performance. 

Hydro Flask Cons

1. Heavy heavy heavy
These things are crazy heavy.
I jokingly call mine "the torpedo." 
It's not so heavy for the house / office, 
but would I take this backpacking or in my purse to the mall? 
Hell to the F no. 

2. Too Big for Cupholders
Not that dissimilar from plastic water bottles, 
but after a month or so with Lifefactory, 
I realized how nice it was to NOT have my water bottle rolling around the car floor. 

(Note that Aaron's Klean Kanteen sippy cup does not have either of these cons; 
it's small so thus it is lightweight, 
and fits the cupholder.)

3. Availability
I have yet to see a stainless steel water bottle / sippy cup in Target. 
They seem to be exclusively online.  

4. Price
My Hydro Flask is close to $40. 
That's triple the price of the largest Nalgene. 
Aaron's sippy is $12, which isn't bad, 
but it is more expensive than most plastic sippy cups. 

5. Variety
 While you can pick a few colors, 
the size and caps are extremely limited. 
No straw option if that's your thing (it isn't mine).

aka: The Trendy New Water Bottle 

Countless wishlists this past Christmas listed S'well. 
It was like the "Tickle Me Elmo" of adult Christmas lists. 

S'Well Pros

1. Stainless steel
Same as Hydro Flask, stainless steel has stood the test of time. 

2. Insulation
Again, same as Hydro Flask, claims to keep hot/cold for 12/24 hours. 
(Note I have not tested this.)

3. Fits in the cupholder
Like LifeFactory, S'Well is tall and thin, 
so fits perfectly in the car cupholder. 
Or your purse. 
Makes this awesome for travel. 

4. Leak-Proof.
Easy to screw on the cap, it's most definitely leak proof. 
Another benefit for travel. 

5. Lightweight (relatively)
Not as light as plastic, but because it's smaller, 
it is not weighing down my purse at the mall. 

6. Beautiful colors
 The colors of S'well are stunning. 
Around Christmas I saw some rose gold and sparkling champagne. 
Absolutely beautiful.
My teal is a gorgeous color that really pops. 

7. Carrying this makes you cool
(Please note the sarcasm.) 
As I said above, this is THE water bottle of the moment for super trendy moms. 
But I had a gift card so... I bought into the hype.

S'Well Cons

1. Price. These suckers are not cheap. 
A measly 17 oz is $35 and 25 oz run close to $50. 
Holy crap.

2. Size
Thanks to the smaller size, I have to constantly refill this when at home/office. 

3. Availability
So far I can only find S'well at Nordstrom. 
Good news is that Nordstrom ships for free and always accepts returns. 

4. Only one cap option
 Screw-on or... screw-on.
That's it. 

5. Small opening doesn't fit ice cubes
 Maybe we have fat ice cubes, 
but I was able to fit them in Nalgene, Lifefactory, and HydroFlask. 
I cannot fit them in S'Well. 
Our fridge produces cool water so that works, 
but it's not ice cold.


Now this said, what do I use? 

My favorite in-home is most definitely the Hydro Flask. 
I love that it requires minimal refills and keeps my drink cold. 
I love the easy-on cap. 
Hydro Flask also works for very long car trips, thanks to it's mega size and insulation. 

My favorite travel is S'Well. 
I use it for quick trips in the car or outings. 
It keeps my water cool, lightweight, and fits in the cupholder. 

In-office I still use my trusty 32 oz Nalgene. 
I would switch to Hydro Flask, 
but I absolutely do not want to carry "the torpedo" back-and-forth every day, 
and don't want to shell out $40 for another one. 
Maybe next Christmas. 

So what about my Lifefactory? 
It's my "spare" water bottle at this point. 
It's a great quality and gets occasionally uses when I've misplaced my others.
It would be great for my morning smoothies if I didn't already have my Blender Bottle.

And that's my (very long) round-up!