Friday, August 30, 2019

17 Weeks

Week : 17

Baby Size: pomegranate

Current Weight: 155.5 lbs (woof)
Weight Baby #2: 143 lbs
Weight Baby #1: 143 lbs

Pretty good. 
Some crazy dreams 
but virtually no insomnia strikes. 

Philly Pretzel Factory Rivets 
(aka: soft pretzels)

Symptoms of the Week:
Constipation seems to have crept up again. 
Hello, stool softeners. 

It's here! 
Not consistently, but I can definitely feel little "blips" 
every now and then. 

Running Status:
Two 1.5 mile runs

Excited For
We have one last lake trip prior to school starting. 
The weather looks gorgeous up at there, 
a cool mid-50s to mid-70s. 
Perhaps not warm enough to swim, 
but it makes for wonderful sleeping at nights 
(on the porch in the open air... ahhhh). 

That said, the weather here at home has been delightful too. 
Mid-60s to high-70s. 
I'm sure we'll have another heat wave or two 
before we enter "official" fall season 
but as a self-proclaimed heat wimp, 
give me all the coolness you can! 

General Mood
Feelin' good. 
Sleep great. 
Energy great. 
To do lists getting tackled bit by bit. 
Running could be better but... 
as my therapist reminds me every session: 
"it's ok to be 'good enough', and not perfect

See how cool the weather is? 
I'm in JEANS! 

17 weeks with Oliver here
17 weeks with Aaron here

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Books I Read (August)

Total Books Read for August: 6

Text Me When You Get Home 
By Kayleen Schaefer

A beautiful book about female friendships. 
A little bit of history, 
a little bit of research, 
and a lot of beautiful stories. 
It made me remember how lucky I am 
to have girls who I can call "close friendships." 

Girls Burn Brighter 
By Shobha Rao

The only good thing about this book 
is that the cover is kind of cool. 
That's it! 

It starts as a book about a close female friendship 
amongst girls in a small village in India. 
Then they are seperated 
and spend the rest of the book enduring everything to find each other. 
Sounds hopeful and promising, right? 
It's chalk full of gruesome abuse 
mostly horrible sexual abuse 
(some against small children), 
much of it vivid enough to give you nightmares. 
And to finish it off, 
they didn't even find each other!!!!!! 
Oh sorry, is that a spoiler? 
I don't care, 
I regret the time I spent reading this book. 

The Immortalist 
By Chloe Benjamin

This was such a unique premise. 
4 young siblings learn in the first chapter
 the exact date of their future death. 
The remainder of the book follows the kids 
as they choose to live out their lives.

It was so interesting 
and also spanned some great stretches in history 
as you follow the siblings from 1960s childhood 
through the 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond. 

I loved the unique premise 
and overall really enjoyed reading this book. 

Five Days at Memorial 
By Sheri Fink

Five days at a New Orleans city hospital
 ravaged by flooding from Katrina. 
It is fascinating and horrifying. 

In that sense, it's like the Dopesick book (reviewed here
where it's so heavy 
but also so interesting 
that I would follow Adam around the house 
telling him about what I learned from the book. 
There are great acts of heroism 
(all the infants in the hospital were saved, 
some with amazing heroic staff efforts!) 
and horrible acts of poor judgment. 
Adam and I got into deep discussions over triage, 
and we definitely don't agree! 

When Life Gives You LuluLemons
By Lauren Weisberger 

A very fun read. 

About 10 years or so after The Devil Wears Prada 
(truly fantastic book!!!!
and Revenge Wears Prada (meh, skip
this is the story of now-late-30s Emily, 
the bitchy assistant played by Emily Blunt, 
who was "two stomach bugs from [her] goal weight." 
Emily was one of my favorite characters (both book & movie), 
and this book contains all of her wit, sass, and sarcasm. 
It's wonderful

This was one of my favorite Weisberger novels. 
I also LOVED her book "The Singles Game" (reviewed here
and, to a lesser degrees, liked "Everyone Worth Knowing" (reviewed here). 
(Both Devil Wear & Revenge Wears were reviewed here)
I did not like her book "Chasing Harry Winston" (reviewed here). 

Where the Crawdads Sing 
By Delia Owens 

This lived up to alllllll the hype. 
I started around 785 on the library waitlist 
and when it arrived I rushed through it in 48 hours. 
It is beautiful. 

It's a fantastic mix of past-to-present, 
alternating just when it needs to be. 
The storyline moves along at a steady pace, 
never getting bogged down in any plot point, 
and the writing is just gorgeous

Monday, August 26, 2019

Summer Pool Days

This summer was our first with a pool membership. 
We had been wait-listed since Spring 2018, 
and thanks to last-minute cancellations, 
got in a few weeks before Memorial Day opening. 

I've said before: I am a huge heat wimp. 
Whenever the temp is mid-80s and above, 
I won't leave my house unless we are going to water. 
Thus, the pool has been clutch. 

The other day I was marveling at 
how perfect our summer pool days are, 
so I decided to document it in a blogpost, 
bearing no interest to anyone but my future self probably. 

Summer Pool Day Routine:

6:30-7:00: Kids start to wake up 
and stumble into our bed. 

7:00-8:00: Run 
while Adam manages breakfast with boys 

8:00-10:30: Shower, Dressed, Makeup, 
Clean up House, and Pack Pool Lunches 

During this time, the boys play together. 
I've already written about their playing together this summer 
and how glorious it is. 
This is not to say that there aren't disagreements 
but generally speaking they are pretty happy the full time. 
(cue the hallelujah chorus) 

I've been documenting our pool lunches 
on my lunchbox IG account (@healthykidshappylife). 
Any picture with all 3 PlanetBox lunchboxes is a pool lunch.

10:30-10:55: Bathroom, Swim Suits,
 Sunscreen and Pack the Car

10:55-11:00 Drive to Pool 
We could walk there 
if the main road had sidewalks! 

11:00-11:15: Arrive & Eat Lunch 
The second we arrive at the pool, 
the kids want to eat their lunch. 
Why is this? 

While the pool has plenty of tables & chairs, 
there's a group of us who all bring picnic blankets 
and take up a huge space under a giant tree by the baby pool. 
Every family has their own picnic blanket, 
and it's great for corralling toys, food, goggles, etc. 

What's funniest to me: 
I am the only mom with 2 kids. 
All the other families are 3-kid families, 
with the oldest Aaron's age, 
the second around Oliver's age, 
and then a baby. 
So next year, I'll fit right in!

11:15-1:45: Swim 

Our swim club has 3 pools 
and a band system. 

1. Baby Pool. 
This is the only pool where swim diapers, 
life jackets, floats, and toys are allowed. 

2. Medium Pool - red band

3. Big [Diving] Pool - black band

The kids earn their bands by passing swim tests. 
Red band must swim the length of the big pool without a break. 
Black band must swim the length of the big pool and back again without a break. 

Aaron got his red band this summer. 

Poor kid is a bit behind as a 6-year-old. 
While I'm positive he'll have his black band next year, 
most of his friends earned black bands this summer. 
I entirely blame myself, 
as I didn't put Aaron in swim lessons until age 5. 
Oliver, on the other hand, has had swim lessons since his 2nd birthday 
and definitely will have his red band next summer (age 4). 

My favorite part of the pool experience is the friends, 
both kids and adults. 
The grounds are huge 
and Aaron has freedom to roam wherever with his friends. 
There's two playgrounds, 
multiple tennis courts, 
basketball courts, 
and a huge snack bar. 

Ohhhh the snack bar. 
100% of Aaron's allowance and lemonade stand earnings 
have gone to this snack bar. 
My rule is that he must have eaten all his lunch 
and wait until 12noon, 
then he can go to the snack bar with his money. 
I do not regulate his purchases. 

Aaron purchased a $2.75 "Philadelphia Eagles water ice". 

Side note: has anyone outside of Philly heard of water ice? 
Growing up in NY I never heard of it, 
but it's all the rage here. 
I don't like it 
for the same reason I don't like slushies or shaved ice. 

Oliver is anxiously awaiting the day he has an allowance 
so he too can go wild at the snack bar. 
Only 1.5 more years to go, kid!

1:45-2:00: Pack up and drive home 

2:00-4:00: Nap time! 
Oliver always naps on pool days. 
Sun & water are such energy zappers. 
Aaron self-entertains 
and I choose an activity 
(computer, reading, etc) 
that allows me to sit

4:00-5:30: Misc. 
This can be library time, 
Target run, etc. 
Yesterday we went to IKEA and walked around. 
It's still hot as balls so I'm not likely to go outside 
because again, heat wimp

5:30-6:30: Cook Dinner 

6:30-7:00: Adam home and eat dinner 

7:00-8:00: Baths, Books, and Bed

We seem to have pool days in spurts. 
Some weeks are cooler and/or rainy, 
and we choose other outdoor activities with friends. 
Some weeks the heat wave hits us hard 
and we spend every day at the pool. 
I truly don't know what we did before this!

Friday, August 23, 2019

16 Weeks

Week : 16

Baby Size: Avocado

Current Weight: 153 lbs (+5)
Weight Baby #2: 144 lbs (+6)
Weight Baby #1: 143 lbs (+5)


After the disaster of last weeks' sleep, 
I had a long talk with my OB. 
She recommended either medication or therapy, 
but mentioned that therapy done right 
has the same outcomes as medication. 
Since I already have a therapist 
and I hate taking medication, 
this was my first plan. 

Then, before even seeing my therapist, 
 my anxiety mellowed out 
and my sleep returned to normal. 
I spent a lot of time over-analyzing the prior week, 
and finally came to one conclusion: 

In the days leading up to my worst anxiety, 
I was drinking kombucha and bottled Teavana tea, 
to kick start my Mama's Week Off productivity. 
For someone like me who has no caffeine in her diet, 
the caffeine compounded to create an anxiety complex. 
It's similar to coming down off speed. 
(Alcohol can do the same.)

Ice Cream 
Ice cream is an extremely common pregnancy craving for me 
and it's unique because I never eat ice cream 
unless I am pregnant. 
Of course in the summers we go out for ice cream, 
as does every other American family, 
but I never have it stocked in my freezer. 
Pregnant Emily now has a Halo Top stock. 

Symptoms of the Week:
None really. 

When I lie super still for very long, 
I'm convinced I can feel something

Running Status:
One "Aaron-run" (2 miles run/walk) 
One 1.5 mile run 
Not my best week. 

Excited For
Today we find out Aaron's 1st grade teacher! 

I don't have any teacher preference, 
but we are excited to see what friends he'll know. 
We have six 1st grade classes in his K-3 elementary school 
(there are 3 other K-3 elementary schools in the district) 
so there's a chance he'll have up to 3-4 classmates 
from prior year kindergarten, 
plus local friends who weren't in his class last year. 

Aaron has laid out specific instructions on whose mom to text first
First, I text Evie's mom to see if Evie is in his class. 
Then Ben, Mac, Skylar, etc. 
There is a pecking order to my texting! 

General Mood

Really good this week! 
Lots of pool time, 
a day trip to the beach, 
and school is right around the corner!

16 weeks with Oliver here
16 weeks with Aaron here

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Where To Buy Clean Skincare and Makeup

It took me a lonnnnnnnngggg time to give an f* about clean skincare. 
It wasn't until one of my favorite bloggers got cancer 
that I realized just how unregulated 
and dangerous American skincare and makeup is. 
As in, products banned in Europe for being directly linked to cancer 
are 100% fine in American skincare.  

"Fragrance/parfum/flavor" = 
700+ chemicals a company can add without disclosing any more detail. 

Anyway, I'm not here to convince you to switch your products. 
You have to get to that point on your own. 
And if you aren't there yet, 
you can just skip right over this post. 

However, if you are interested in switching your products, 
here is where I buy mine: 


I buy most of my skincare here. 
I love the filters
and the price ranges. 
The selection is good but not overwhelming. 
Packages are eco-friendly (limited plastic) 
and shipping is pretty quick. 
They also have some trial sizes.
Follain focuses mostly on skin care, 
and has less in the makeup department. 
When I'm shopping for skincare, I always start here.

My favorite purchases
Indie Lee COQ-10 Toner ($34 full size) 
Pai Calming Day Cream ($60, lasts me 6 months) 
One Love Eye Balm ($49, lasts me a year)

Paris Laundry 

That blogger I mentioned who got cancer? 
That was Kelsey Bucci 
and she started her own website of products. 
I love finding things through her. 

My favorite purchases: 

The Detox Market 

This site is great for makeup. 
There's a LOT of products here 
and sometimes it's a bit overwhelming. 
But the mass quantity is good 
for when I'm looking for something very specific
 like an oily-skin primer. 
Also, this site does mini samples which are awesome. 

My favorite purchases: 
Sappho Primer Oily Skin ($36, great for summer)


The Goop lifestyle does not apply to me 
and most of the items in their shop are wayyyy too pricey. 
But every now and then I get stuff here 
when it's sold out on sites above. 

My favorite purchases: 
Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Primer ($36, great for winter) 

limited (requires research)

All the sites above guarantee clean, healthy beauty. 
Target does not. 
While being cheap and convenient, 
Target requires research on your own 
(which I do not like to do!). 

I did find one purchase that I love: 
SheaMoisture Mud Mask ($15) 
It's great for a twice-a-week summer cleanse. 

I can't vouch for 100% of the ingredients, 
but there's definitely no fragrance/parfum
which is a bigggggg no-no in clean skincare. 

limited (requires research)

Nordstrom does not specialize in clean beauty, 
but they do offer a handful of clean beauty products.
Since Nordstrom is 100% free shipping (no minimum), 
I sometimes buy products here if 
I would have to pay shipping on one of the above sites. 

Ursa Major Hoppin' Fresh Deodorant 
(which I reviewed in my non-aluminum deodorant post)


I didn't add Sephora. 
Sephora started a "clean at Sephora" mark
but I've heard skeptical things about 
how they qualify products as "clean" 
(remember, "clean" is a totally unregulated word in America, 
just like "natural" and "safe" and "non-toxic" - 
anyone can claim any of those by any parameters)
For me, personally, I don't trust Sephora just yet. 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Week 15

Week 15

Baby Size

Current Weight: 154.5 lbs (+6.5)
Weight Baby #2: 143 lbs (+5)
Weight Baby #1: 142 lbs (+4)



I've had the my most vivid nightmares, 
the layered kind where you keep thinking 
you've woken up only to find yourself 
still trapped in the nightmare. 
(Very "Inception"-esque, except scarier)

I've also been experience postpartum-level anxiety in the evenings. 
I lie awake convinced every noise is 
someone coming to break into our house 
(we have both an alarm system & 1st floor motion detectors, 
installed during my Oliver postpartum anxiety period). 
I'm wired awake even though it's often past midnight. 
Last night I didn't get to sleep until 1:45am. 

At Allena's suggestion, 
I started taking a magnesium supplement, 
but my worst nightmares happened several nights after I started taking it, 
so I don't think it's helping much. 

I see my OB today 
and will ask her about all this.  


Symptoms of the Week:
One 36-hour headache 
that no tylenol, gatorade, or lemon water could cure. 
It was horrible. 

I once felt something 
and thought:
 "Is that a kick or gas?
I'm going with gas. 

Running Status:
My running has suffered with my sleep. 
My nightmares and nighttime anxiety keep me up late, 
then I sleep through my morning run. 

Total distance:
1.5 miles (up the hardest hill in our area)
an "Aaron run" which 
is about 1.5 miles of run/walk 

Excited For

The routine of school. 
We are 2.5 weeks from the first day, 
and I'm just ready for it to be here already. 
This summer has been great and all, 
but I'm ready to dive back into the school routine. 

General Mood

This week has been a struggle. 
Physically, with the nighttime anxiety and nightmares. 
Emotionally, with the ICE Raids 
and continued deterioration of our country. 
On top of it, 
Adam and I are inching our way through the last season of 
Orange is the New Black, 
where they have created an ICE-subplot. 
I commend the show for tackling real-life issues 
but it's hard to watch 
and fueling my emotional rollercoaster. 

That said, we have had some really fun days this week, 
many fun outtings with friends despite the rainy weather. 

Basically, I'm good from like 9am to 7pm 
and then I'm a mess from 7pm to 9am again. 

15 Weeks with Oliver here 
15 Weeks with Aaron here

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Mamas Week Off

For the first time ever, I enrolled both kids in our local VBS.
In prior years we were away during the local VBS week,
so I couldn't take advantage of this free babysitting service.

I knew Aaron would love it
but was skeptical of my introvert Oliver. 
Shock and awe: Oliver LOVED it. 

"roaring" in their VBS lion mask craft

From 9:30am - 12noon,
for 5 days straight,
here is what I accomplished: 

Day 1: Maternity Closet Overhaul

A before-and-after won't do this any justice, 
since it's not any more "clean" 
as it is just different clothes. 

In my 12th week, 
I had inventoried and sorted 
all my maternity clothes, 
but wasn't able to fit them in my closet. 

This day I took out all my clothes 
and packed away then ones I knew wouldn't fit next year 
(i.e.: most of my XS and fitted shirts) 
to make room for maternity. 
Feels good to have that done! 

This is the "after" photo.  Rather unimpressive. 

Day 2: Garage & Side Porch 

The before-and-after looks the same. 
But trust me when I say I cleaned out a LOT of dirt! 
Plus our dryer vents to our garage (grr!) 
and there was a lot of lint accumulation. 


During: all scrubbed clean!

Wet streaks/spots from washing toys

I told you they look the same! 
I also scrubbed the bikes, scooters, and little blue car 
with dish detergent, 
so they are wayyyyy clearer than before. 
Of course, nothing visible in the photo. 

I also swept out the side patio. 
No before here, just an after. 

Day 3: The Basement
(Basement tour here)

It is not an exaggeration to say I don't go down here, 
especially not between summer and late fall. 
That's when our basement is FILLED with giant ass spiders. 
It's also a total mess. 
I have Adam and the boys pick it up once a week, 
right before our cleaning lady comes. 
But asking Adam to supervise pickup is 
like asking a toddler to stack cards in a deck. 
It may happen but it certainly won't be straight. 

Today, I decided to tackle it, 
not just to organize 
but to sort and donate some toys. 

I brought my trusty can of toxic RAID (for spiders) 
and wore shoes (again, for spiders) 
and miraculously, I only found one giant spider 
and he was already dead. Whew. 


You can see why I don't come down here. 


That was deeply satisfying. 

Day 4: Aaron's Bedroom Cubby 

& Art Center 

Because I used some of my free time to go for a 3 mile run, 
these were much smaller projects than the bigger ones above. 


Does anyone else's child hoard paper? 
It just swarms in Aaron's room. 
Plus we recently attended a Chuck E Cheese birthday party 
and came home with boatloads of landfill-destined cheap toys. 
They were all disposed of. 
God I hate any place (or parent!!!!) 
that gives out goody bags of cheap plastic landfill toys!


Another example of paper hoarding is in his art center. 
Thank goodness for my dad's hoarding of scrap paper 
as Aaron can go through several dozen pages a day! 



Small, but equally satisfying, projects. 

Day 5: A Day of Rest 
& PTA Duties

I went for a run at 6:30am, 
attempting the hardest hill in our area 
(my running buddy & I refer to it as "The Death Hill" 
for both it's incline and duration). 
After that I was WIPED. 
My neighbor drove my kids into VBS, 
and I plopped down on the couch 
and didn't move a muscle for about 1.5 hours. 

My therapist and I have been talking 
about how I'm such a perfectionist and achiever, 
and usually that translates well into excellent productivity. 
But sometimes it's also ok to say 
"that was good enough" (versus "perfect") 
especially in this pregnant time of life, 
where I don't have the energy I used to, 
even compared to prior pregnancies. 

Despite my guilt at all I had yet to do, 
I told myself that 4 days of productivity 
plus a hard morning run was "good enough" 
and this morning I relegated myself to the couch. 

While I was there, 
I moved my blog subscriptions from 
the Bloglovin app (soooooo slow) 
over to the $5 Reeder app (easy, quick, organized). 
And I have to say, it was worth every penny. 

I also took this time to weed out 
bloggers who I only really follow on IG 
and bloggers who don't blog anymore 
(except, Amanda, the exception).  

After 1.5 hours on the couch, 
I went to the bank 
to switch over the school PTA bank accounts 
from other moms with graduating kids 
to me (the new PTA Treasurer) 
and the rest of the incoming PTA board. 
This meant signing 500 forms 
and sitting around chatting 
while the bank lady clicked through 1,000 pages 
of authorization on the computer. 


All in all, it was a good week. 
My Mamas Time Off will resume again this fall, 
as Aaron starts school on Sept 3rd 
and Oliver starts his MWF Nature Preschool on Sept 4th. 
Productivity shall reign again!