Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Books I Read (July)

Total books read for July: 

It was a slow beginning for this month, 
but the last two weeks I really zipped through some books. 

Cork Dork 
By Bianca Bosker

This is a journey taken by a journalist
from wine amateur to sommelier. 
It's a mix of science and industry observation 
that painted a very complete picture 
of the wine world. 

It answered many of my questions 
(How is wine actually rated? 
Why are some so expensive?)
and gave me a new appreciation 
for the finer points of wine. 

It had some really fascinating parts 
and then some realllllllyyyy dry parts 
(pun intended), 
so definitely not a fast read. 

Lilac Girls 
By Martha Hall Kelly

Finally finished it. 
And I didn't like it. 
Maybe Natasha absorbed all my WWII lit passion, 
because I feel I've soured on WWII lit. 

I didn't like the characters in this book, 
finding the socialite girl dreadfully annoying 
which was unfortunate because 
she was a major part of the book. 

I forced myself to stumble through it while on vacation 
and then breathed a great sigh of relief once done. 

The Secret Life of Violet Grant 
By Beatriz Williams

After weeks of slogging through books, 
I rushed through this one in 24 hours. 
I immediately appreciated its witty banter 
and sarcastic dialogue. 
The book is a parallel story of two women, 
and I really liked one of the women, 
while didn't care for the other. 

It definitely slowed in the middle 
and there was a great number of far-fetched twists 
and turns (more than my liking even for fiction), 
but overall it was a satisfying read. 

Bad Feminist 
By Roxanne Gay 

A fantastic series of essays. 
Roxanne Gay is truly an amazing writer. 
She has this unmatched ability to take a topic
 - any topic at all: 
from YA books (The Hunger Games) 
to pop songs (Robin Thicke) 
to gruesome tragedies - 
and make me feel like I'm standing in a House of Mirrors. 
She so beautifully dissects topics 
from every single angle, 
acknowledging her own bias 
(very difficult to do). 
It. Is... Wow. 
I would love to read her opinions on anything. 
Anything at all. 

My favorite: 
Her 14 point list on how to be friends with women. 
I would like to frame it somewhere. 

This is not a fast read book. 
Like many essay books, 
this can be picked up 
and put down many times. 
Some parts are extra heavy, 
and my brain could only process so much at a time. 
But it's all amazing. 

Save me the Plums 
By Ruth Reichl

This was such a delightful read. 
While I didn't read it all in one sitting, 
I thoroughly looked forward to picking it up every time. 

This beautiful memoir is mostly of the author's 
time as editor-in-chief at the magazine Gourmet. 
I know little about magazines 
and know nothing about Gourmet, 
but I thoroughly loved this book 
and would recommend it to anyone. 

One the Come Up 
By Angie Thomas

Written by the author of "The Hate U Give" 
(reviewed here),
this book is about an up-and-coming young girl rapper, 
a premise that would normally hold zero interest 
but the book was recommended to me 
by my most Country-Club-WASP-y friends 
and thus I was curious. 

This book is fantastic
In some ways, better than The Hate U Give. 
It has that same catchy writing 
the kind that sucks me in 
and makes the book fly by. 
I really liked how the characters were setup 
and how the plot kept me guessing. 

I really loved it and would highly recommend it. 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

First Trimester (Weeks 7-12)

This is week 7-12 of my first trimester. 
As of tomorrow, I am officially in my second trimester! 
Historically, it's my favorite trimester. 

Week 1-6 of this trimester are here

Week 7


An unpredictable, productivity-killing exhaustion, 
akin to running into a brick wall. 

Some days it was in the morning, 
where I'd drag myself out of bed at normal time, 
then take an hour nap on the couch 
while the kids played quietly together (hallelujah). 

Some days it was in the afternoon at naptime, 
killing my most productive time of the day.

Other times the exhaustion hit in the evening, 
right around dinner prep time.  
I'd throw the kids in front of the TV
 and text Adam to pickup pizza on the way home.  
One week we had pizza two nights in a row, 
which may be normal for the average American family, 
but for us has never happened in the 8+ years Adam and I have been married. 

Other Symptoms: 
1. Giant N-rhymes-with-ripples that 
(to quote "The Kiss Quotient") 
"men and babies dream about.
2. Constipation 
3. Itchy boobs

Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup 
(ate it 3 times in one week)

Week 8

Burning morning headaches that Tylenol doesn't cure
Twice couldn't get out of bed until 9am 
Erratic insomnia 
Exhaustion continued 
Constipation continued

Week 9

"Sour" morning belly 
(consistent no matter what I'd eaten the night before)
Itchy boobs (again) 
Exhaustion continued 
Constipation continued

Week 10

Morning stomach soooo much better! 
Restless sleep (but on vacation so...) 
and lots of naps 
A few 4am headaches 
Several afternoon headaches 
Heartburn (1 bad day) 
Itchy boobs (continued)

Week 11

Abdomen & side cramps (1 day) 
Heartburn (1 bad day) 
Swollen belly (no bump but definitely bigger) 
Heavy/full boobs

This week I started to tackle my headaches with gusto. 
Apparently my water intake along was not sufficient, 
and I'm not crazy about energy drinks or coconut water. 
At the suggestion of my yoga instructor, 
I started drinking a homemade mix: 
2 cups ice cold water, 
the juice of one lemon, 
a squeeze of raw honey, 
and a few shakes of the salt shaker. 

That little concoction of a drink saved my life. 

Week 12

A few pop-up headaches, 
some cured by my drink concoction above 
and some cured with Tylenol. 
Belly swelling even more. 

No bump, just belly "heaviness." 

The big thing this week was the MATERNITY CLOTHES.
I (by myself!) hauled the giant box up from the basement. 
My SIL gave me all of her maternity clothes years ago 
(with 2 kids, she is done
so between the two of us, 
I have quite a wardrobe of options! 

Summer dresses. 
Winter dresses. 
Summer tanks. 
Short sleeves. 
Long sleeves. 



And if that wasn't enough information for you, 
you can look back to the second half 
of my first trimester with Oliver here 

(hint: they are very similar to this one) 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Summer of Playing Together

This is the summer of the boys playing together.

And I am documenting this, 
so when I start wondering when 
Baby #3 and Oliver will play together, 
I can refer back to here. 

At age 6 and 3, they really click together. 

I saw glimpses of this at the end of last summer. 
After I re-engineered my parenting approach to sibling fights 
(more about that here), 
I started to see progress in the playing together area. 

This past winter, 
I took away all screentime during the week (here)
and at first it was a struggle. 
Without having a morning show 
or a "mom's-making-dinner" show, 
they were forced to entertain themselves. 
Or rather, Aaron would entertain himself 
and Oliver would bother me (SIGH). 
But slowly Aaron and Oliver started to play together more and more. 
And by the time school let out for the summer, 
they were creating elaborate games and scenarios. 
(All created by Aaron, of course, 
and Oliver happily playing along.) 

(Excuse my blurry, poor-lighting photo)
Here they are playing "battle bots" with LEGOs. 

(FYI, BattleBots is a fantastic family-friendly show 
for very nerdy parents and little boys alike, 
who can all enjoy some excellent robot engineering 
coupled with robots destroying each other!)

This morning they played hide-and-seek for over an hour. 
Granted, it was a modified hide-and-seek. 
When it was Oliver's turn to hide, 
as soon as he heard Aaron shout "ready or not, here I come!" 
Oliver would run out of his hiding spot 
with a huge grin on his face 
shouting: "HERE I AM!" 

And likewise, when it was Aaron's turn to hide, 
Oliver looked for approximately 8 seconds before yelling: 
"Aaron where are youuuu?" 
And Aaron would shout until Oliver found him. 

But no matter how they played it, 
the fact that they happily entertained themselves all morning 
while I cleaned up the kitchen 
and shower and got ready... 

Now, of course, we still spend most of our days out of the house. 
We are at the pool (4 out of 5 days last week!)
or at a friend's house 
or wherever. 
But the time that we are home, 
usually the first few hours in the morning 
and last few hours in the evening 
are filled with brotherly playtime. 

This is a great time in my parenting life. 
I want to enjoy every second of it. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Pregnancy Improvement Plan

First of all, 
thank you (all 3 of you) 
for your kind comments on my blogpost Tuesday. 
I know I'm lucky when all 3 of my blog readers 
said exactly the right thing 
and no one said something like 
"Well at least you don't have to deal with..." 
because that drives me nuts. 
Now moving on... 


I feel like I've been a bit cranky
 for a very long time. 

I was cranky when I was trying to get pregnant, 
because I hated sitting in a world of limbo. 

I was cranky in the first trimester, too, 
as the constant hungover feeling loomed. 
But as I'm pulling out of the first trimester 
(week 11 as I type this) 
most of my misery symptoms have evaporated. 

Now I don't feel like I have a reason to be cranky. 
But I still am. 
I don't think it has anything to do with
 mourning the loss of a mother-daughter relationship. 
I think it's more like the State of Present Emily. 

The book "The Happiness Project" 
(reviewed here)
lists Physical Energy as the first step 
towards happiness. 
And I think that may be true for me. 
I need energy to be the 
Productive Individual 
that I love to be. 

I haven't liked this version of Emily for a while. 
I wrote about that a few weeks ago

To take steps to remedy this, 
here is my 
Pregnancy Improvement Plan:

1. Run 3x a week 

This is the biggest one right here. 
I need to run. 
Running gives me energy. 
Running gives me endorphins. 
Running gives me a healthier pregnancy. 
I felt 100x better pregnant with Oliver, 
when I was running 3x a week, 
than with Aaron when I stopped running immediately. 

Now that my mornings are no longer plagued 
with first trimester hangovers, 
I want to start running in the morning again. 

2. Yoga at least twice a month 

Less important than running, 
but still important to my overall mobility. 
I can still do regular yoga, 
which gives me much more scheduling flexibility. 
Nearby, my prenatal yoga options are 
7:30pm on Monday 
and 10:45am on Sundays. 

3. Sleep Improvement:
3a. Stop watching TV at night. 
3b. Stop falling asleep on the couch.

Pre-pregnancy Emily put the kids to bed, 
cleaned up the house, 
and then snuggled in bed with a book. 

First Trimester Emily was too exhausted to read 
yet wasn't sleeping well, 
so there was a lot of TV. 
Not even intentional TV with Adam, 
but mindless-whatever TV. 
Which then ended with me sleeping on the couch, 
which doesn't help for a good night's sleep. 

I'm putting a strict end to that. 
From now on, it's in bed with a book 
or in bed to sleep. 

4. Eat 2,000/day. 

This is a lofty goal, 
and I probably won't reach it, 
but it's an aim

I am starting this pregnancy 10 lbs heavier than before. 
This is thanks to the 20 lbs I gained trying to get pregnant 
(wrote about those 20 lbs here). 

I would like to finish the pregnancy 
the same weight as I finished with Oliver, 
but that will be tricky given that I'm starting 
10 lbs heavier. 
I know I can have a healthier pregnancy eating less. 
In fact, I tend to eat healthier on lower caloric goals, 
because fruits and vegetables contain so few calories. 


I kicked off this week by going for a run Monday morning 
(my first run in 5 weeks!) 
and then yoga Monday evening. 
Coupled with a day spent at the pool, 
it was a bit much 
and I ended up plagued by dehydration headaches, 
but besides that I felt GREAT. 
Nevermind that my run was only 1.75 miles (like what?) 
or that I half-assed yoga, 
but the fact that I DID IT 
gave me a burst of energy. 

To end this post, 
here's an unrelated photo of a gorgeous sunset from last week. 
We were treated to this beauty while roasting marshmallows 
late one night on vacation in the Adirondack mountains. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Gender Reveal

I wish there was a way you could open this blogpost 
and have confetti rain all over your phone/computer screen. 
Like when you send someone a "happy birthday" 
or "congratulations" text 
and suddenly it bursts confetti in the text box 
(just iPhone users?). 

As I can't do that, 
I have to spell it out: 

Baby #3 is a boy. 

Let's pause to let that sink in for a moment. 

For me, it needed about 24 hours to sink in. 

I cried 4 hours straight. 

I fell asleep watching Gilmore Girls
letting myself wallow in the realization 
that I'd never have that mother-daughter relationship. 


If I haven't mentioned it before, 
after this baby is born, 
we are done having kids
Or rather, Adam is done having kids. 
Something he made quite clear before 
we even started trying to for #3. 
When people ask if I would go for more, 
I laugh and reply: 
"I'd have 5 children 
but I'll need a new husband to get 4 & 5." 

If, for example, I knew we'd have a #4 and #5, 
I wouldn't have shed a tear over baby #3 not being a girl. 
I would LOVE 3 boys. 
Truly, I would love to have 4 boys! 
But I just wanted one girl too. 
At some point.  
And now it's facing the realization that I'm not. 
And I will be okay with that. 
For the sake of my marriage, 
I will be ok with that. 


Several months ago, 
I finally booked myself a therapist. 

I believe strongly in the power of good mental health check, 
and also believe those who claim to not need a therapist 
are the ones who need it the most. 
I finally took my own advice, 
and set myself up with a bi-weekly therapist appointment. 

When I found out I'd never have a daughter, 
one of my first thoughts was: 
"Thank goodness I have this amazing therapist 
to hold my hand through it all.

Kind of like anxiety medicine on an airplane. 
I may not need the anxiety medicine, 
but just knowing it's available to me 
makes me feel like I can handle flying. 


My biggest fear writing this post, 
is that someday this perfect Baby Boy #3 will find it. 
And think he was not wanted. 
Absolutely not. 

I want this third baby boy so badly. 
He will be so loved. 
He will be a perfect completion for our family. 

Photo credit: my sister

Wednesday, July 3, 2019


There are times where a subject matter is important enough, 
that I can't write my own words on it. 

In this case, I turn to esteemed writer Ashley Gadd. 
She wrote this post about longings with her Baby #3. 
And I echo every. single. word. 
Right down to the books, 
the tracking, 
the marital frustration, 
and all the thoughts and feelings. 

So rather than fumble through my own words, 
please go read hers. 

And then come back here to tell me what you think. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

July and Pregnancy Update

July is historically one of my lowest blogging months. 
And this year will be no exception. 

The kids and I have two week-long trips planned, 
both with grandparents. 
One will be a family camp (think Dirty Dancing)
 with my parents in the Adirondacks 
and the other will be the lake with Adam's parents in the Finger Lakes. 
These are both annual trips for us 
which we look forward to every year. 

Camp-of-the-Woods 2018: 5-yo Aaron paddle-boarding with my sister first thing in the morning

Adam will, sadly, not be joining either. 
He is saving up his PTO for the baby's arrival next year. 
One perk of Big Law Firm World was the one-month paid paternity leave 
(which in no way made up for the 90+ hour work weeks before and after). 
His new job as in-house counsel follows 
the more typical American paid-time-off with
 (dun dun dun
3 days. 
America is pathetic. 

Anyway, back on the schedule of July. 
I have a couple of posts planned (one tomorrow) 
but most likely it'll be a quiet month here. 

In the meantime, a little pregnancy update: 

In short, this first trimester has not been kind to me. 
Perhaps the most frustrating part is the inconsistency of how I feel. 
If I knew every day I'd feel [x], 
I could plan for it. 
But instead it's an unpredictable assortment of
 upset-stomach mornings, 
pounding headaches, 
hit-a-brick-wall exhaustion, 
and total lack of motivation to do anything. 

I'm not running. 
I'm hardly cooking. 
I'm barely keeping up with the house. 
I'm watching a lot of TV. 

This is not me. 
I've always been a runner. 
I've homecook every meal my family eats. 

I don't feel like myself. 
And I don't like this version of me. 
But to make the changes I need to make, 
I need more energy. 
And right now I have none left to give. 

Of course, let me reiterate again how happy I am 
that the doc found a heartbeat last Friday. 
I would rather be feeling like this
than existing in the limbo of trying to get pregnant

I'm just ready to be done this first trimester. 
I'm ready to feel like Emily again. 
The healthy, productive Emily that I normally am. 
Hopefully by the end of July, 
I'll be back to normal.