Friday, March 29, 2019

Books I Read (March)

Total Books Read for March: 
5



And Then All Hell Broke Loose 
By Richard Engel

Excellent book! 
A well-written, insightful book 
I know a little about Middle East politics, 
but generally was lacking in my education. 
Compared to the prior novels I'd been reading, 
this was a very quick read 
and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 




What I Know For Sure 
By Oprah Winfrey 

I'm pretty neutral on Oprah. 
I don't dislike her, 
but I am not enamored with her. 
I never watched her show,  
so I don't have any preconceived notions about her.  

This book was a delightful little booked 
packed with 1-2 page thoughts & stories. 
It was on my original 10 list 
and I'm glad I read it. 
There's nothing shockingly profound, 
just a lot of good sense about life. 




White Fragility : 
Why it's so hard for White People to Talk about Racism 
By Robin Diangelo

OUTSTANDING. 
Is it too early to call the best book of 2019? 
This is soooo good. 
I want to buy it for every white person I know. 

And taking what I learned from the book, 
I will openly admit that this book is easier to read, 
because the author Robin is white. 
She grew up in the same white society I did 
and can see the world from my white eyes. 

There were a lot of cringe-worthy moments of:
"Oh I've done that." 
"Oh I've done that too." 
Ugh.  
Then at the end there was a whole chapter
 that smacked me in the face 
("white women's tears"). 

It's good. 
It's not long
 and it's worth picking up. 
Read it. 
Every white person should read it. 




Wartime Sisters 
By Lynda Cohen Loigman 

A novel (on the shorter side) 
with great characters 
that sucked me in immediately. 
I read it all in one day. 
A solidly good book. 




99 Percent Mine 
By Sally Thorne 

TERRIBLE. 

I heard from multiple people
 that this book was "disappointing." 
I disagree. 
This book was farrrrr worse than disappointing, 
it was pure shit. 

The main chick is annoying AF. 
The main guy has no sex appeal. 
The premise is stupid. 
NOTHING HAPPENS. 

I very much wanted to give up reading it halfway, 
but I felt I owed it to the author after loving her first book so much. 
The end wasn't total shit, 
but it didn't compensate for the 20 chapters of shit beforehand. 



Books I Did Not Finish:



Start with Why 
By Simon Sinek

I got this book as "homework" 
for my monthly MBA colleagues get-together. 
Definitely a required read if you are starting a business. 
(I first heard of it from Kelsey at Pardon My French
which makes sense because she started a business

As for us regular commonfolk 
(non-entrepreneurs), 
the 1st 1/4 of this was interesting, 
but then the book just got repetitive 
and I sort of skimmed/skipped big chunks to get to the end.  
The kind of book that makes a good TED talk 
(it is a TED talk
or a long article, 
but as a book it felt too long. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

2019

I drafted this in January, 
and finally have the balls to post it now, 
3 months later. 
Nothing has changed from January. 

***

We need to talk about the elephant in the room. 
Or rather, the elephant in 2019. 
Or rather, the elephant that existed in 2018 
and now has lumbered into 2019 with me. 
It's a cling-on elephant. 

What's this elephant? 
The Trying to Get Pregnant Elephant

I used to refuse to admit we were trying to get pregnant. 
After all, once you told anyone you were trying, 
you would be jinxed, right?!?!?

So instead, we adopted a stance of: 
"Oh no, we don't want any [more] kids right now.  
We aren't trying or anything
And then like a week later: 
"Jk jk, we're pregnant!  Hooray!

Well, screw that. 
Here's me talking about it
 and jinxing it. 
Lots of TMI ahead. 
Get your popcorn ready. 


We always knew we wanted a third baby. 
Or rather, we always knew I wanted a third baby. 
Adam has accepted his fate. 
And 2018 was the year we were going to start trying. 

The tricky part was,
I had lost my period, 
which you kind of need if you want a baby. 
(Not always, but mostly yes)

At the end of June, I saw my OB for my annual exam 
and we had a chat about why. 
There was a few reasons she brought up. 
One was that I am, indeed, getting old. 
(33!  Old?!  What?! How dare you?!

But also that I had lost a lot of weight. 

In the spring of 2018, I finally got down to my lowest weight since pre-children. 
I talked about it in my Weight post in June. 

My OB pointed out that fat stores estrogen, 
and estrogen fuels your reproductive cycle. 
I knew about fat and estrogen 
from back when I was going through cancer gene testing. 
Fat cells increase estrogen levels
and high estrogen levels fuel breast cancer, 
so women at high risk for breast cancer should minimize their fat cells. 
While too much estrogen can increase your cancer risk, 
too little estrogen also cause your reproductive cycle to go into hibernation. 

So I left the OB appointment with instructions: 
Try gaining weight. 


Well. 
If there's one thing I can do with maximum efficiency
it's gain weight. 
In fact, usually it happens without me even trying!
Or worse, it happens even when I'm trying to do the opposite!

So gain weight? 
SIGN ME UP

I only needed to gain about 10 lbs 
(which would put me back at the weight I conceived both Aaron & Oliver)
but me being me
I went overboard 
and gained 20 lbs. 
Woof. 

My period came whooshing back with all the enthusiasm of a long lost friend. 

Well great, now I'm chubby again but at least I have my period! 
So my body is all ready to make a baby, right? 
Right? 

*crickets* 

Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar... nothing. 

In December 2017, I wrote in my One-A-Day Journal 
that I expected to be pregnant by December 2018. 
Ha.  
Nope. 

My OB had told me to come back by spring 2019 if we weren't successful. 
I'm really not worried yet; 
our timing has been off a few of the months
 (I'm not the most regular person) 
but I'm moreso annoyed
Annoyed that I'm chubby and not pregnant. 

*** 

And that's where we stand in 2019. 




Thursday, March 21, 2019

5 was great

On Saturday, Aaron turns 6. 

not Aaron's birthday, lol, but love this photo of us from a friend's birthday

And let me say, 5 has been a great year. 
It really has. 
Maybe my favorite year?

Having finally moved beyond the temper tantrum stage 
(which peaks at age 2/3, but also slides into age 4), 
Aaron's behavior is just awesome. 
This isn't to say that he doesn't have bad days
 (everyone does - hell I do!) 
but overall he is incredibly easy to have around. 
Traveling with Aaron to Florida was a piece of cake. 
He listens, he behaves, he's responsible. 
Even my father-in-law commented at his outstanding behavior for the week. 
He went with the flow, he listened to instructions, and he had a blast. 
It was a joy having him in Florida with us. 

Aaron and Pop Pop
Also at this age, I love the independence. 
So much independence! 
As a highly productive person, I struggle with the unproductive toddler years. 
In contrast, Aaron needs so little supervision, it's just a delight. 
Not to say, of course, that he doesn't need reminders
 or a little help here and there, 
but overall he can manage the day by himself. 
He is totally self sufficient in personal hygiene, 
from showers to teeth to getting ready. 
He can help himself to food, and knows which ones are appropriate when. 
He can self-entertain like no other kid I've met. 

Kindergarten has brought out a whole other part of his personality. 
His likes/dislikes. 
His observations of (and struggles with) fellow classmates. 
He's been in a daycare/preschool setting since 14 months old, 
but kindergarten is just different. 
And it's really cool to see how that's shaped him. 


"Mommy, when Evie and I get married, 
we are going to wait a few days 
and then tell Evie's tummy that we want 1 kid.


"I think it would be better to die in your sleep, 
so then you don't die 
when you are grocery shopping at Wegmans.


His favorite thing in the world is LEGOs. 
He is such a LEGO maniac. 
He pours over the catalogs, memorizing everything. 
He could spend hours in the Target LEGO section. 
Even as a young toddler he was a builder, 
so this is not surprising at all. 

discovering the LEGO store at the mall
He also loves to DRAW. 
Oh my does he draw. 
And draw and draw and draw. 
I'm thankful for my dad's hoarding habits, 
because we have acquired boxes and boxes of scrap paper for Aaron's use. 
Otherwise I'd be buying printer paper in bulk.  
His pictures are so detailed and interesting. 

explaining his drawings to Mom Mom & Pop Pop in Florida

I know this post is a bit eye-rolling. 
Of course Aaron has his struggles. 
And when he's home all summer, 
I will soon tire of the 10,000 questions a day. 
But right now he's pretty damn perfect. 

I really love this person he has become. 
He is my joy. 
He is my delight. 
And I am so damn happy that he is who he is. 

All in all, 5 has been a fantastic year. 
I have high expectations for 6. 



*** 

Update 4/16 with Doctor Stats: 

Weight: 57 lbs 
Height: 48" 
Wears: Sz 6/7

Just like last year, the doctor laughingly showed me his BMI index, 
which has him as grossly overweight. 
Of course, the error of the BMI index is muscle 
and Aaron is pure muscle. 
He looks lean like his peers, 
but he is heavy and strong as hell. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Self Care

Do you call it mental health? 
Or self care? 
Or something else?  


I believe that a mom should care for herself first. 
Only then can she truly thrive as a mother. 

It's the reason I used to work 7-4, 
then run 3.5 miles, 
then pickup Aaron at 5pm from daycare. 
Mama needed her time. 


But whether you call it self care or mental health, 
it looks drastically different for everyone 
and, for me, even varies day-to-day 
and week-by-week. 

Two weeks ago was a perfect example
of both failures and successes. 

Monday: the Failure

We flew home from Florida on Saturday, 
Sunday was a clusterf**k of reorienting home, 
and I was VERY MUCH looking forward to 
my 3 free hours Monday morning... 

:: dun dun dun ::

... and then there was an ice delay, 
which not only delayed Aaron for 2 hours 
but also closed Oliver's preschool for the full morning. 
And things just spiraled down from there. 

By 1pm, Aaron was in school, 
Oliver was at nap, 
and I was D.O.N.E. 
The house looked ransacked. 
My to-do list was 8 miles long. 
But I decided to take a "me moment", 
and settled into the couch with a handful of M&Ms, 
and watched "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" 

By the end of the movie, 
the house was still a clusterf**k, 
nothing was accomplished, 
and although I'd sat for 2 hours, 
I didn't feel any better

Self care grade: F


Wednesday: A Better Self Care

Another preschool day for Oliver 
so another 3 free hours for me. 

I went for a 3.5 mile run that morning, 
spent the rest of my free time working on a project. 

That afternoon, after naps and bus pickup, 
I did something very rare
and paid our next door babysitter 
$20 so I could go to yoga class. 

A regular yoga class costs $15, 
so I essentially paid $35 for one yoga class. 

But it was totally worth it. 
My yoga instructor always reminds us to thank ourselves, 
for making this time for ourselves, 
without distractions,
 focusing solely on what we need in that moment. 

I left feeling rejuvenated 
and tackled the evening routine 
with a lot more joy and positivity. 

Self care grade: A 


Thursday: The Best Self Care

Thursday night was my monthly dinner with my MBA colleague girls. 
We've been brainstorming a business project 
(or "side hustle" as one girl calls it) 
and once a month meet for dinner & wine. 
LOTS and LOTS of wine. 

This night, our host's husband owns a catering company. 
We ate like royalty. 
Drank like fish. 
And had an amazingly delightful time. 

Crispy salmon, horseradish mashed potatoes, cheese plate, and wine wine wine

I didn't leave until 11:30pm 
Partially to let my buzz wear off (wheee), 
but also because we were having so much fun. 
Who cares if it was a weeknight? 

As I drove home, I was grinning ear-to-ear.
I felt great.
I felt amazing. 
I felt I could tackle anything. 
The possibilities were endless. 
Like a drug high of happiness. 

Self Care Grade: A++++

***


What does your self care look like? 

At my most basic, I need to run. 
I need to go to yoga. 
And I need time to put my house/life together. 
But things like friends are such an added bonus, 
like a super-charged self care. 
Or it is for me at least. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Crunchy Update

I've gotten even more crunchy since my last post.
Ughhhhhh.
I mean, I got an oils diffuser two Christmas's ago
so I might as well just stop showering 
and start wearing those hideous sandals, right?


Let's recap on my increased crunchyness.  
Please keep your barf bag handy.


Beauty/Health:

I wrote a whole blog post about non-aluminum deodorant.

I have switched from tampons/pods 
to a menstrual cup
I use the Lena cup and LOVE it. 
First of all, it's a million times better for the environment. 
Second of all, it's a million times cheaper than buying tampons/pads. 
And lastly, it's so much healthier for me. 
I was so lazy about changing my tampons, 
often leaving them in there for dangerously long times. 
This has fixed all that! 
It took me a solid 2-3 cycles to get used to it, 
but now I LOVE it. 

I am moving bit-by-bit into "clean" makeup & skincare
Kelsey at Pardon My French has been both my motivator and my guide. 
Already 75% of my products from skin care regime 
(posted last spring here
are now replaced with safer alternatives 
that I love

A sampling of what I've acquired so far: 



Top favorites so far
Pai Calming Day Cream 
Indie Lee COQ-10 Toner 
One Love Eye Cream 
Juice Beauty Illuminating Primer

Still working my way through the others, 
to determine if they work 
or if I should try something else. 


Home / Kitchen:

We now own a composter
Because food waste is one of the biggest issues affecting climate change. 
Now my kids are now experts in what is compost-able or not. 
Fruits, vegetables, dry grains, coffee grounds, etc. 
COMPOST! 


far left side of our yard (view from our side patio)

I just switched us over to 100% recycled toilet paper 
and paper towels (both Seventh Generation). 
I haven't opened the packages yet, 
so I can't speak to quality, 
but I figure we will get used to it. 
Also, I recognize it would be best to eliminate paper towels entirely, 
but I'm not at that point yet. 

On the subject of eliminating however...
I have become OBSESSED with eliminating plastic bags.  
If I walk into Target without my reusable bag(s), 
I refuse to bag anything 
and instead just haul it all loose in the cart out to my car 
and then bag it at my trunk.  
And yes, I can see the cashiers rolling their eyes.  
I would roll my eyes at me too.

I replaced produce baggies with reusable mesh bags
And I have replaced Adam's sandwich bags with reusable Lunchkins
I've always used PlanetBox bento boxes for the kids, 
so no plastic there either. 

And beyond that, 
I now recycle ANY bag in our house. 
Wegmans and Target both have containers to recycle plastic bags. 
So I collect them in one bag and then drop them off anytime I am there. 
Bagel bag? 
Recycled. 
Bread bag? 
Recycled. 
Flimsy packed-air pockets used for shipping? 
Stabbed with scissors to deflate and then recycled. 



I have printed recycling guidelines 
and hung them all over our mudroom/garage entry door 
as a reminder to everyone in our house what recycling guidelines are.  

At this point, 
if we paid for our trash
 (we don't, our township does
we could go to once-a-month trash pickup. 

*** 

I write this as an  update, 
knowing there are many many many areas to still improve on. 
Any suggestions? 


One of the biggest air pollutants is cars. 
We haven't helped the cause buying our new Honda Pilot, 
but the hope is to someday get a Prius. 
And believe it or not, it's Adam who wants the Prius. 

When we eventually replace our CRV, 
Adam wants to get a Prius as his commuter car. 
He wants to do it for the gas mileage. 
I want him to do it to help save the earth!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Character Crushes

I am not a person who gets all hot and excited by celebrities. 
I assume most celebrities are assholes

When I think of a "celebrity crush," 
I think of a particular character that celebrity played. 
And how that celebrity in that character gets me all hot and excited. 

For amusement purpose's, 
here's a list of "character crushes" that I have held over time.
(In order, from longest crush to shortest)

Can you find any similarities?


Charlton Heston in Ben Hur


So. Damn. Sexy. 
Nevermind that the movie is from the 50s. 
Nevermind that Charlton Heston could be my grandfather. 

His role as Judah Ben Hur is my favorite celebrity character of all time. 
All my boyfriends were forced to sit through that 3.5 hour movie 
as an initiation to our relationship. 

Also, favorite boy's name: Judah 
Name Adam refuses to use for any child: Judah 



Brad Pitt in Fight Club 


The jacked up body stained in blood with a black eye? 
TAKE ME TO BED. 

I'm sure this has to do with some sort of 
subconscious raw masculinity fantasy. 
Or something like that. 
Hell if I know. 
Freud would know. 

Jesse in Burn Notice 


Burn Notice was a TV show that ran from 2007-2013. 
Jesse was a supporting character, 
played by Coby Bell. 
Thanks to Wikipedia, 
I learned that Coby Bell has been married 
to his wife for 18 years and has 4 kids, 
which makes him most likely to be a non-asshole "celebrity" in real life. 


Gerald Butler in 300 


This movie is the closest I'd come to the p-word 
(rhymes with corn). 
Probably the hottest s*x scene is him screwing his wife 
in the beginning of the movie. 
There's something raw and sexy about this movie, 
which parallels to my Fight Club fantasy. 



Zac Efron in High School Musical



Yes, yes, I just went from raw masculinity to highschool prep.
When Highschool Musical premiered, 
Zac Efron was 21 and I was 23. 
I saw it with my little sister (then age 11). 
Disregard the fact that Zac Efron plays a highschooler, 
I still found him amazingly attractive. 

Also, Zac Efron in 17 Again is pretty much the same character. 


Channing Tatum in Step Up 


Same concept as Zac Efron. 
A highschool chick flick movie, 
with some really good dancing. 
A lot less prep than Zac Efron 
and much more "bad boy" vibes.
Again, lining up with my previous movie crushes. 


The Fox from Disney's Robin Hood 



YES  MY FIRST CHARACTER CRUSH WAS A CARTOON FOX. 

I can't tell you how that worked out in my childhood mind. 
And I'm not sure which is more problematic, 
the fact that it's animated 
or that it was a fox
but yes, somehow this was my first character crush. 
And to be clear, it was my last animated or animal crush ever. 


*** 

So... similarities? 

Obviously Fight Club & 300 have that same raw masculinity. 
Ben Hur does, too, to a certain extent. 
Channing Tatum and Colby Bell both give off a little bad boy vibe. 
Zac Efron is a bit of an outlier.

And then there's the damn fox in Robin Hood. 
Freud would have a great time with this.