Friday, September 28, 2018

5QT: Confessions, Dress codes, etc

Let's kick this off with a confession...

1. Sofia the First. 
Yes, the girliest of girly TV shows. 
Princess vomit shit everywhere. 
Not only do I voluntarily watch it with Aaron and Oliver, 
but they aren't allowed to watch it without me. 

Perhaps I've just accepted that if/when we have a 3rd, 
it won't be a girl, 
so might as well enjoy the princess shit now!

It's my favorite, ever. 

2. "Dress Appropriately"
Dress codes can be ridiculous.
When I left my last job, 
the dress code stated women had to wear pantyhose, 
even though no one had for years (decades?).

At my previous job before that, 
I got called into HR 
because my outfits were "distracting" to the guys on the factory floor.  
I wore a-line Ann Taylor skirts with tucked-in blouses
and 4-inch heels.  
It wasn't the outfit that was distracting, 
it was that I was a young, hot chick 
and my clothes fit perfectly.  
HR was laughing when they read me the complaint.

So yes, dress codes (and enforcement) can be over the top. 
Thanks, GM, for being smart. 

3. The best crayons: OOLY Color Appeel Crayons 
There's a lot of evidence that good quality art supplies 
will stimulate young budding artists better than a plain box of crayons. 
We've tried so many different things, 
from twistables
 (I thought cool, but Aaron didn't like them), 
OOLY paint sticks 
(Aaron loved, but they don't wash out!
and more. 
These color appeel crayons are vibrant, 
easy to "sharpen" (you literally unpeel them), 
and overall a huge hit. 
Aaron has been coloring up a storm 
and I LOVE it. 

"Grocery store", labeling dictated by Aaron 

(Note: I don't like the title of the article, 
but I can't come up with a better one.)
This was a fascinating read. 
It should be read by every white family in America. 
As someone who recently bought a house in white suburbia, 
where my kids' friends are 99% white, 
who also wants "the best" for my children, 
I am a perfect example of this. 
The interview was insightful and informative, 
and I would very much so like to read her book. 
I truthfully don't know what steps I will do differently going forward, 
but learning/accepting is the first step. 

[there is no appropriate meme for this]

5. Basically 10x10 

My new favorite IG account is basically
a sister site to bon appeitt, 
except instead of focusing on fancy pants recipes, 
they go into the down-and-dirty science of food prep. 

I "enrolled" in Basically' 10 week "cooking class," 
with a new in-depth recipe every week. 
I have learned SO MUCH in just 2 weeks. 
I learned at least 3 new awesome tips about cooking spaghetti 
(and lemme tell you, I am a veteran spaghetti cooker) 
and FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER made a perfect steak. 
Adam was thoroughly impressed. 

Steak salad.  It was TO DIE FOR, Adam agreed

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Because I can't resist these stupid things. 
And Allena knows that. 
So here we go again. 

1. Favorite smell

2. Last time I cried.
I cry at really really really random times.
I won't cry at big life moments
(total dry-eyes for Aaron's first day of kindergarten)
but I will sob at things like :
ambulance sirens,
Subaru & life insurance commercials,
that sort of thing.
So... probably reading Tim Madigan's book about Mr Rogers:
"I'm Proud of You

3. Favorite pizza
Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza.
I haven't had it in like 5 years,
because we normally order from local pizza shops,
but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this particular kind of crappy,
mass-produced pizza.

4. Favorite flower
Pink peonies

fresh peonies from our garden

5. Favorite dog breed
Miniature Yorkshire Terrier, 
because that's what I had when I was little. 

my puppy Muffin

6. Untie laces before shoes come off?
Who does this? 

7. Roller coasters? 
I used to, 
then I acknowledged that I'm a sad wimp 
and it's not worth my fear of heights 
to prove my coolness. 
I give up. 
I'm lame. 
I accept it. 

8. Favorite ice cream
Cookies n cream. 
Don't care who makes it. 

Fall 2015, with my favorite and his favorite ice cream at Penn State

9. Pet peeve
This is like road rage level pet peeve.
I've never seen this at Wegmans
(I'd like to believe that Wegmans customers have class and ethics)
but the Giant around the corner from my house
does it ALL THE TIME.

10. Shorts or jeans:
My thigh chub needs containment. 

11. What are you listening to
Kelsey's Podcast 
"But You Don't Look Sick" 
about her cancer. 
It's my first toe-dip into the podcast world. 

12. Color of your vehicle
"Urban Titanium" 
It's fucking brown, dammit. 
Hate it. 
We were winding down our SUV car search 
and I was tired and done 
and Adam liked the color 
and I said: "Sure" 

Honda CR-V "Urban Titanium" (aka: brown)

13. Color of your eyes 

14. Favorite food

15. Favorite holiday

Christmas 2017. Complete with gigantic rollercoaster for Oliver

16. Night owl or morning person
LOVING our early morning routine

17. Favorite day of the week

18. Do you have a nickname
People all my life try to call me "em." 
Generally I'm quick to correct them, 
but every now and then I let one slip through, 
and then it turns into a habit, 
and then 10 years later I think it's too late to correct them. 
(See also: my in-laws) 

19. Favorite music 
Classic rock

20. Tattoos
None yet,
but when I run a marathon (no walking!), 
I'm getting 26.2 tattooed along the base of my foot. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Preschool Here We Come

And just as we conquered our first week of kindergarten, 
we start out on a new adventure: 

If you remember last year, I wrote about my preschool indecision
While I still very much want to Oliver to a play-based preschool, 
they all don't start until age 3.  
So he is in a "regular" preschool for this year at least.  
Now granted, at age 2, any preschool is all about play.  

In Oliver's case, they do a "craft", 
sing songs, 
play in the gymnasium, 
have snack 
and get picked up. 
Mon, Tues, Wed. 

Compared to Aaron's 8-9 hour days in daycare, 5 days a week, 
back when I was a Working Mom
less than 3 hours a day feels like nothing. 
But to Oliver, who has been home with me these last 2.5 hours, 
it is a BIG DEAL. 

To prepare, we have watched Daniel's Tiger's "grown-ups come back" episode 
on repeat for the last month. 
(The song is stuck in my head as I type this.)

But really nothing can prepare you for the first day. 
And that was Monday. 

First day of preschool, wearing his 2nd birthday shirt


Zero tears.  
So much excitement over new toys. 
"Bye bye Mommy" with no issues. 

Tears, tears, tears. 
"Home!  Home! Home!" 
When I said "Bye, bye, school, see you tomorrow!" 
Oliver replied flatly: "No."

Tears all morning. 
Tears for shoes on. 
Tears to get in the car. 
Tears in the parking lot. 
But when we walked into the building... 
he pointed to his classroom and said : "Awa" (I want) 
and marched right in. 
(I was pleased, but dumbfounded). 

Tears, tears, tears. 
"Home!  Home!  Home!" 
And again: "Bye, bye, school, see you tomorrow!" 
And again, he replied: "No."

Drop-off was a little different, 
as Aaron was home from school for Yom Kippur, 
and we were hosting his BFF for the day. 
This meant Oliver had a big boy entourage taking him to preschool. 
He held it together until the doorway, 
then burst into sobbing tears
although he walked right into the room on his own.*

Later, I got a text from his teacher exclaiming: 
"Oliver only cried for 10 minutes today!" 
and sent this photo: 

And at pickup, he was HAPPY! 
He said goodbye and we went home 
(with our entourage). 

Week 1 of Preschool: DONE 
Now we'll see how many weeks it takes until 
he's happy for both pickup and dropoff!

Monday, September 17, 2018

1st Week Thoughts

We survived the first week of kindergarten. 
And since it was only a 4-day week (thank you, Rosh Hashanah*), 
we were cut some slack. 

*7 years a Jew wife and still can't spell this flippin' holiday

Walking to the bus

Some thoughts. 

1. Holy shit there's a lot to remember. 
I mean, whoa. 
Add lunchbox to bag with ice-pack and water bottle every morning. 
Send these school supplies this day. 
Pack separate snack. 
Dismissal book. 
Spare change of clothes. 
Wash that damn kindergarten shirt he had to wear every day. 
Check return folder every night. 
Forms signed. 
And more forms. 
And more forms. 
And wtf why aren't we a paperless society yet? 

I consider myself a highly organized, OCD individual. 
I run this house with routine and precision. 
And I'm barely holding on so how the hell 
are the disorganized moms even functioning

2. I am The Newbie. 
Along with half the kindergarten class, 
I'm a school-mom virgin. 
Those veteran school moms know what's up. 
They know that since the highschool 
and middle school dismiss early every other Wednesday, 
the elementary bus arrives home extra early every other Wednesday. 
Didn't know that. 
So cue up me late for bus pickup, 
running down our street like a mad psycho mom waving her arms shouting: 
"Aaron, I'm here!  Aaron, I'm here!" 
Might as well just attach a "kick me" sign to my back. 

3. By Friday, I am so fucking tired. 
I expected Aaron to be the one crashing and burning from exhaustion. 
Nope, it was me. 
Friday morning I woke up and felt like I'd be hit by a truck. 
No sign of sickness, just first-week-of-kindergarten exhaustion. 
A few other moms commented the same thing. 
We are just beat. 
And I'm sure it's 1000x worse for a Working Mom, 
trying to juggle her job on top of this. 
I mean, let's face it, my current "job" is to make sure this week goes well. 
And I'd give myself a solid B rating. 
Aside from being late to bus pickup 
and forgetting to wash his kindergarten shirt Thursday night, 
I did a pretty damn good job. 
I am hence rewarding myself (and Aaron), 
by renting a ton of movies from the library, 
and embracing prime couch potato status this weekend 
(minus damn soccer... I instantly regret sports)

And as for Aaron? 
Since, you know, school is actually about him
He's loving it. 

He is sick of wearing his kindergarten shirt, 
and is excited to wear his "real clothes" again next week. 

His favorites are still bus riding, recess, art, and library. 
He doesn't like music. 
One kid was mean to him in line and hurt his feelings. 
The kid said: "I don't want to be friends with you." 
I told him that little dickhead will grow up to work at McDonald's**

*Obviously jk; we talked to Aaron about being nice return and other adaptive strategies

Aaron LOVES LOVES LOVES his teacher. 
I had heard a lot of mixed reviews on his teacher so this is a relief. 
Unlike some lovely dovey "let's-all-sing-kumbaya" teachers, 
she runs the classroom in a firm, precise way. 
Aaron is very used to that style of leadership
 (aka: ME) 
so he is right at home. 

He made her a birthday card that was better than I got (hmm?). 
Also she's got a great bod and perfect makeup, 
while mom-ing 3 kids and teaching 20 more, 
so I also hate her a little bit. 

And that's a wrap on week 1. 
Thanks to the Jews, we are again spoiled with a 4-day week this week 
(yay, Yom Kippur!  Yayyyy lots of bagel and lox!!!!) 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The First Day of K

The first day of school.
Real school, not preschool or daycare school. 
Real school. 
Tuesday, September 11th. 
(Yes, a very unfortunate date to start) 

Aaron crawled into our bed at 6:30 
and asked, as he does every morning: 
"What are we doing today?"
 I replied: "Well... this big yellow bus is going to come..." 
And he shouts: 
"It's kindergarten!!!!" 

So needless to say, he was psyched
We followed the morning routine as planned, 
did pictures, 
then headed out to the bus stop 
a whoppin' 15 minutes early
all because Aaron couldn't wait any longer. 

Did I cry?  
No I did not. 

I'm not one to cry at life events. 
I cry at things like Subaru commercials, 
but not at the birth of my children. 

You know who DID cry though? 


When he realized he wasn't getting on that bus with Aaron, 
he burst into sobs, 
snot pouring from his nose, 
and cried a solid 10 minutes. 

I don't think it was as much Aaron leaving
as much as Oliver not going on the bus
I mean, that bus is so cool right? 
Oliver is going to be so pissed when he starts preschool next week, 
only to find out he doesn't get to ride a bus to preschool. 
Life sucks, kid. 

With Aaron off, 
we went about our normal day, 
Adam to work, 
Oliver and I to the Grocery Mecca
and home again to unpack groceries 
and eat lunch. 

At around 12noon, I started to get a little sad. 
Aaron would be done with his 1st recess and lunch, 
and I wondered how it all went. 
Was he liking school? 
Did he eat all of his lunch? 
(Instagram: his lunch
(I may not make cute back-to-school signs, but I can pack a good lunch)

All afternoon, I wondered how would he be when he got home. 

Would he be exhausted like everyone says he will be? 
Would he collapse into a meltdown? 
Or will he babble away about his day? 
Will he run to play with his LEGOs? 

Turns out, my extroverted kid was just as hyped at the end of the day, 
as the beginning. 
He got off the bus and shouted: 

We scootered in the driveway for about 45 minutes to expel some energy, 
and just as I was wondering if I should force some down time, 
Aaron marches towards the house and declares: 
"I'm going to play LEGOs in my room!" 
And off he went.

An hour later, I called up that he and Oliver could watch TV while I got dinner ready. 
He bounded downstairs and parked himself on the couch. 
Since it was his turn to pick TV, 
he opted for "Bill Nye the Science Guy" 
(yes, the same one we watched as kids, it's on Netflix). 
Dinner was his requested chicken cordon bleu, 
then shower, 
and off to bed. 

The next morning I went to 5:45am yoga, 
and arrived home at 6:45 to find Aaron awake! 
Like, what? 
I thought kindergartners were supposed to be exhausted? 
They are supposed to sleep in, right? 
Well maybe that'll catch up to Aaron but not yet! 

Aaron's Highlights from Day 1: 

Favorite parts
3 Recesses 
The Bus* 

Least favorite part
Music class 
("because I don't like to sing with other people") 

* I have been debating dropping off / picking up Aaron at school, 
rather than having him take the bus
since I am, 
after all, a stay-at-home-mom
However, he has been SO EXCITED to ride the bus with the neighbor kids, 
so I figured I would just do that. 
As noted above, it was his favorite part of the day (next to recess). 
Other parents have said their kid's favorite part was also the bus. 
So when does that novelty wear off? 
I'm not sure. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Ending the Summer on a High Note

As we crawl towards the end of summer 
(literally, Aaron's first day of Kindergarten is tomorrow), 
we are ending on a high note. 

Early in August, 
I was so done with summer. 
The kids were fighting. 
I had no energy left
 and no fucks to give. 

But since that verrrrry low point, 
we've crept up again. 

The biggest was the boys' behavior. 
In the past few weeks, they've started playing together, 
like I've never seen before. 
They will be down in the basement, 
laughing and having a grand ol' time together.

Aaron dressed up Oliver as a Superhero Golfer

What changed? 

1) I ignore the fights. 
I've always tried to let them figure it out on their own, 
but kind of lost my cool with all the fighting this summer. 
After watching the @simplyonpurpose IG feed about inconsequential behavior, 
I resolved to really step back and let it go. 
Stop intervening. 
Stop refereeing. 
Let them full on kill each other, 
and resolve it in the end
And well, it worked!

(Also of note, I have not watched a single IG story by her since that one)

2) Change of locations. 
One helpful piece to ignoring the fighting, 
was to change locations. 
Previously, the boys would be upstairs in our back room.
Oliver loves to play golf in the basement, 
but I HATE our basement this time of years because the spiders are huge, 
and I didn't trust Oliver alone down there 
(not because of the spiders, but because he's 2). 

After a particularly terrifying spider encounter 
(terrifying for me, the boys thought it was hilarious and fun), 
I have banned myself from the basement 
and instead let the boys play down there alone. 

And without any of my supervision or intervention, 
they play GREAT. 
I couldn't tell you what the hell they are doing, 
but they are having a grand ol' time. 

Clearly I've relinquished my "you can only have one toy out at a time" Rule 
because if I'm not down there with them, 
I'm sure as hell not enforcing it. 


The second piece kicked in last week, 
with the return of 
(dun dun dun) 
Exercise & Routine

As I wrote about in my school routine post
I started getting up early to exercise. 
I kicked it off with two days of 5:45am Hot Power yoga classes (groan!) 
and two days 6am running sessions. 
After a summer of sluggish exercise 
and sleeping in, 
my body is in shock. 

But it feels GREAT. 
That initial alarm sucks some big hairy balls, 
but having my exercise done by 7am, 
and showered, dressed, and house picked up by 8am,
 is such a great mental boost. 
Granted we are only on Week 1, 
but so far I'm loving it. 

So all in all, 
summer ended on a high note. 
We soaked up all that's left of the lake and the pool. 

Bring on fall! 
Temperatures below 80! 
Less leg shaving thanks to jeans!

... and maybe one time I'll have Starbucks throw some pumpkin spice on my chai latte. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Marriage Advice

For all of my topics on this blog, 
I don't talk about marriage much. 
Mostly because Adam is one of those "private people" 
(aka: not a gross over-sharer like I am), 
but in general, I feel like a marriage is a partnership
and if you aren't part of that partnership, 
you don't get much input. 
Y'know what I mean? 

Contrast that with parenthood, 
where I am always happy to talk about parenting, 
and listen to others talk about parenting. 

So why the difference? 

On one hand, parenting is managing irrational little monsters
(or, at least my parenting is, shut-up if yours isn't) 
While ideally a marriage should be between two rational people.
 (again, ideally)

Or is it the evidence? 
For example, if I talk to a mom about [x] in parenting, 
it's easier to see the result in the child. 
Oh you did [x] and the kid was potty trained? Awesome
It's a lot harder to see evidence of a truly good marriage. 
In the past few years, I've become aware that many long-time marriages 
who I thought were just great, 
were/are actually very unhappy. 
Not all the way to the d-word, 
but general unhappiness. 

For that reason, I always take people's marriage advice with a grain of salt. 
You know those articles like: "the 5 steps to a happy marriage." 
Mmm, okay, whatever. 

But there's one big exception. 
I think there is a lot to be learned from those who divorced. 
Someone who takes a good hard look at what failed their marriage, 
and is willing to talk honestly about it. 

When I was pregnant with Aaron, 
a coworker stopped by my office 
and, like many parents, 
offered some unsolicited advice 
...but not about parenting. 

"Even after kids, keep stuff in common with your husband. 
My wife and I, after we had the three kids, 
become so involved in our separate lives of work and parenting, 
that we eventually had nothing in common anymore. 
We had nothing to do together, 
only things to do with the kids 
or to do separately on our own. 
I wish we had kept something - anything - in common.

That conversation was a WOW. 
Not just from what he said, 
but from his willingness to speak to his own marriage failures. 

Now, of course, not all divorced people are so insightful, 
but when I saw this article called 
it was an immediate click. 
There's nothing particularly new in there, 
but it's always so interesting to me what becomes the permanent wedge. 

I could end this post by spewing all the great things about my marriage to Adam. 
But I'm not going to do that. 
I've never felt the need to gush. 
I did write a tribute to him years ago (here
and it still holds true today. 
We are happy together. 
'Nuff said.