Friday, May 29, 2020

COVID19 Week 11

COVID19 Week 11 

Current Status
Pennsylvania has 70,042 cases and 5,373 deaths. 
Our county has 6,811 cases and 656 deaths. 

Last Friday, our governor announced 
that our county may go from it's current red lock-down status
to a more open yellow status on June 5th. 

What can we do under yellow? 
Well for one thing:
 OUR POOL CAN OPEN UNDER YELLOW. 
Our pool announced they are actively preparing to open, 
following all the CDC guidelines for pools.

On the grand scale of this global pandemic 
and everything else going on in America, 
celebrating the opening of our pool feels
very white privilege and lame, 
but I'm going to take my happiness where I can find it. 

Things that will NOT open under yellow? 
Personal care services, 
including, but not limited to, 
hairdressers, waxers, nail services, etc. 

So I need to figure out how to tame the bush 
without the aid of my waxer 
in time for my swimsuit appearance at the pool. 
If this is my biggest problem these coming weeks, 
then we are doing just fine. 


Other Celebrations

Again filed under small but exciting, 
I met my very ambitious Apple Watch May Challenge 
of walking/running 169.4 miles for the month. 
I met my goal yesterday (Thursday), 
only 3 days to spare. 

I loved this challenge because although it felt overwhelming, 
it was totally doable. 
169.4 miles is 5.5 miles a day.

On non-running days, I regularly moved about 3-4 miles a day.
On running days, I regularly moved about 6-7 miles a day. 

I didn't dramatically alter my running schedule. 
Instead, I started talking a lot more walks. 
We always did a family walk after dinner, 
but now I was doing walks throughout the day 
(on top of my morning running schedule). 
Our neighborhood is a perfect mile loop.  
Got 20 minutes to spare? 
Take a walk. 


4 Months

Carson officially turned 4 months old yesterday 
(4 month postpartum update here). 
He is delicious. 



Spark Joy Moments: 

Subscription plans continue to spark joy. 
Still loving my misfits market box 
This week's new fun item:
 acorn squash, 
planning to try this recipe

Also this week I got my first subscription from The Sill. 
I have always bought my house plants at IKEA 
(so cheap but so good!) 
but without the ability to go to IKEA, 
I am giving The Sill a try. 
I signed up for their low-light subscription plan, 
which hopefully means easy-to-care-for plants that I won't kill. 



Overall Mood

Given the above celebrations, 
you'd mistakenly think this was a wonderful week. 
Memorial Day was a great day, 
but Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday I was in a terrible mood. 
Like angry PMS-y mood. 
Even though my period is not due for several months. 

There was no one trigger, 
just a lot of little things really pissing me off. 

I include this simply to acknowledge, 
and perhaps remind myself in writing,  
that it's not all cupcakes and rainbows. 




Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Postpartum 4 Month Update

Carson is almost four months old! 
He has spent over half his life in quarantine, 
which is probably why these four months have dragged rather than flown. 
He's grown into such an adorable chunky baby 
and I spend much of my day taking pictures of him. 


3 months old

Carson sleeps like a dream at night. 
He still sleeps in the Pack N Play in our room 
and only gets up once a night around 3am to nurse. 

We stopped swaddling him last week, 
a move I thought for sure would disrupt his sleep, 
but it's been fine! 




Now... naps are a different story. 
Naps have been a hot mess
For a longgg time, he wouldn't nap over 50 minutes at a time, 
which is maddening. 
Just these past few days, it's gotten better.  
He has a short morning nap (I go running or do yoga), 
a long midday nap (I make lunch & read Harry Potter to Aaron), 
and then a short early evening nap (when I make dinner). 

I am cautiously optimistic that this will continue. 



As you may be able to tell from his pudgy rolls,  
he's a breastfeeding dream. 
He exclusively breastfeeds and is getting plenty of milk. 
At his 2 month visit, he was 14 lbs 8 oz 
and at 3 months old we weighed him at 16 lbs 12 oz. 
The pediatrician always reminds me: 
"You cannot overfeed a breastfed baby
so he gets a boob whenever he wants. 



As for me, physically, 
my postpartum hair loss has kicked into overdrive
I hadn't shed a single hair for months
and then suddenly, 
my hair has started falling out at a rate 
that would normally be quite alarming 
if it wasn't the postpartum normal. 

While most of the world is now air-drying their hair, 
 I have taken to blow-drying my hair every morning 
to weed out the stray hairs early 
rather than having them liter my shirts throughout the day. 

Another annoying postpartum bit:
While I never experienced cracked or bleeding nips
I have developed seriously chapped underboob
I slather on this cream at night 
and use these breast pads during the day, 
in hopes to pull moisture away from the area. 

It's not painful, just irritably itchy. 

Onto good news...

My c-section overhang/shelf is virtually gone 
which is surprisingly earlier than I expected. 
I still have a soft squishy belly 
but it no longer sags and hangs down. 
I credit my running & yoga routine. 


Terrible photo of me, but love that I'm holding their hands

As for my postpartum weight loss,
it is VERY SLOW but it is happening. 
Like 1 lbs every 2-3 weeks slowwww. 
(Quick recap of my weight here

My body has always clung to weight when breastfeeding. 
If a zombie apocalypse hits, 
my body wants to have enough in store to feed the baby. 
And starting a progesterone-only birth control hasn't helped either. 

I'm currently at 153 lbs. 
This is a very heavy weight for me, 
but I am eating healthy and exercising religiously, 
so I know it will come down eventually. 
Patience, grasshopper, patience. 




No postpartum anxiety... yet! 
I'm crossing my finger that it won't rear it's ugly head. 
My anxiety always presents itself in insomnia 
and I've been sleeping soundly since Carson's birth. 
Fingers crossed this continues!

Friday, May 22, 2020

COVID19 Week 10

COVID19 Week 10

Current Status

Pennsylvania has 65,392 cases and 4,869 deaths. 
Our county has 6,268 cases and 607 deaths. 

We are still in the red for PA's reopening plan. 
Our stay-at-home order is currently through June 4th. 


Coronavirus Through a Child's Eyes

Have you seen this survey making it's way around? 
I typed up the questions (then added one) 
and asked Aaron and Oliver. 
Responses pictured below. 

Peyton is a girl in Aaron's 1st grade class who he has been in love with for months. 


I was surprised that Oliver's "how did coronavirus start" 
was strangely realistic. 
True, this isn't how this virus started, 
but many of diseases have come from bad water! 


FRUITS and VEGETABLES

As part of my effort to revise our family diet
we now have a fruit & vegetable subscription. 
I signed up for both Misfits Market 
and Imperfect Produce last month 
but was waitlisted for both. 
I just got off the waitlist for Misfits Market 
and my first box arrived this week! 


The fruit, onions, scallions, and celery I regularly use in our daily lives. 
Brussel sprouts will be pan-seared 
and fingerling potatoes will roast in the oven. 

That left me: 

Butternut squash - I think I'll roast using this recipe 
(Ina Garten is truly a goddess of delicious recipes

Kale - have made these miso-soy kale chips 
and also going to try this salad 
(was told by my friend to dress the kale the night before 
to soften it and let the flavors blend

Zucchini - trying this recipe 


Silver Linings

I love looking for the silver linings of our lockdown order. 
In this case, reuniting old friendships. 

Our neighbors next door have two boys, 
one in college and one a recent college graduate. 
They are home with their parents for the lockdown 
and often play basketball in the driveway. 
Recently, they reconnected with similar-aged boys 
at the end of our street. 
These college kids had been friends in elementary school decades ago, 
but as it happens with time, 
they drifted apart until they hardly spoke. 
Now they play basketball daily together 
and I hear them reminiscing about the good old days as kids. 
It's really heart-warming. 


Friday, May 15, 2020

COVID19 Week 9

COVID19 Week 9 

Current Status

Pennsylvania has 58,698 cases and 3,943 deaths. 
Our county has 5,513 cases and 556 deaths. 

Allena and I were discussing the differences
 in cases & deaths from her county in Texas to ours. 
First of all, our county (Montgomery) is a very concentrated county. 
We have a population of 830K people 
living in 487 square miles. 
In other words, we have 1,716 people per square mile. 

Secondly, being just outside of Philadelphia county, 
Montgomery county has a huge number of nursing homes. 
Today, our county has 86 infected nursing homes 
(including where my mom works as a dietitian). 
Philadelphia only has 54 infected nursing homes. 

This is in no way meant to minimize the deaths. 
Every life is important. 
An 80-year-old death by COVID19 
is just as sad as a young person death. 
This is just meant to explain some of the numbers. 


Moving onto happier things...

A few of this weeks' favorite things

1. Harry Potter with Aaron

We finished "The Prisoner of Azkaban" last week 
and are already 1/4 through "Goblet of Fire." 
Contrary to many people, 
"Prisoner of Azkaban" is not my favorite book. 
I maintain my earlier review that nothing happens the whole book 
and then it all crashes down in 3 chapters at the end. 
 I don't love that plot. 
In contrast, 
my favorite Harry Potter book is "Goblet of Fire", 
while for most people it's the least-favorite. 
I told Aaron after "Goblet" we will be taking a break for a while. 
The next books get really dark 
and I want to wait until he's older to dive into them. 

Mother's Day: morning mimosas and cracking open the new book

2. Daily Intellectual Conversations 

I love having Adam home for many reasons. 
One of them is our intense discussions in the middle of the day. 
We are both progressive Democrats and agree 90%, 
but I LOVE playing Devil's Advocate. 
I was raised a far-right conservative Republican 
so it's easy for me to play the other side. 
We debate everything from politics 
to economics 
to future speculations. 
We love it. 
Sometimes we get so intense that it stresses Oliver out.  
"Calm down, guys!" 
"Don't fight!" 
And we have to explain that we are not fighting, 
which is very confusing for a 4 year old. 


3. Embracing an Off Day

In a world of zero outside expectations, 
I can embrace an off day with open arms. 
No school schedules or appointments or friends to see 
means all law & order goes out the window. 

Wednesday evening into Thursday morning was a hot mess. 
Miserable baby, annoying children, and I was fed up.

Wednesday night I put Carson to bed early 
and downed a bottle of wine while watching Netflix. 
Thursday morning I gave the boys unlimited screen access. 
("Pick whatever you want: 
TV, computer, iPad, or Tablet!"). 
I wore Carson in the Boba carrier 
and made chocolate buckwheat waffles 
which we ate by hand smothered in butter. 


Quarantine is bad for my bangs

Today will be better. 
Temperatures are supposed to be near 80 (!!!) 
and that means shorts and popsicles!

Unsure where we'll go. 
The boys are asking to go back to the fallen log "playground" 


Hard to tell in the picture, 
but it's an 8-12 foot drop under Oliver. 
I try my damnest to be an easy-going mom, 
but I was sweating watching them cross this "bridge." 

Monday, May 11, 2020

3 Things

My blog content is now nothing more than COVID19 Updates
and Surveys.

Sorry.

This one, again, stolen from Natasha
Surprisingly, I had a hard time answering some of these. 
And really had to think hard to come up with answers. 
Of course after I publish, 
I'll think of better answers. 
But here goes...


3 Places I never want to go:

1. On an airplane (but I still do it!)

2. Similarly... Hawaii. 
Too damn far. 
If I'm going to be on a plane that long, 
I'd rather see a new fun culture like in Japan or China, 
not to sit in a beach or climb a volcano.

3. Any southern states in the summer
#heatwimp


3 Places I always want to go:

1. Abroad. 
I LOVE new countries and new cultures. 

2. Out with Girlfriends 
Bar, restaurant, whatever, 
I love going out with just me and my girlfriends. 

3. Out in the fresh new snow 
I love a good fluffy blizzard 
and I absolutely love being the first footprint 
in a blanket of white fresh snow. 

Hong Kong 2007 (22 year old Emily)


3 Appetizers I will eat at any time:

Let's be clear here. 
I will eat ANY appetizers at ANY time. 
9/10 times, I'd rather eat the appetizers and forgo the meal. 
It was very hard to narrow down my top three, 
but I decided to go with...

1. Buffalo wings with chunky blue cheese

2. Loaded Fries 
(cheese, bacon.... mmmm)

3. Mozzarella Sticks



Wall colors in my house:
(House Tour here)

1. Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter 
(entire first floor, except the kitchen)

2. Benjamn Moore Stonington Gray
 (master bedroom)

3. Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue
 (guest room)



Things I'm Looking Forward to This Month:

LOL

1. Mother's Day 
(yesterday and yes it was great)

2. More answers about summer 
Are we starting to see new cases drop? 
When will our county advance to yellow? 

3. Warm Weather
This week is supposed to be high-50s/low 60s, 
but by Friday we should see a high of 78 
and those temperatures are expected to stick around. 
YAY!


Places I enjoyed in my youth:

1. Grandparents' houses. 
Many of my favorite memories were spent with my grandparents. 
I loved going to their houses
 and I love that my children feel the same.

I'm second from the right with the rosy red cheeks

2. Youth Group. 
I lived in a sad little town in Central NY 
where there was nothing to do
so the local Tuesday night youth group was a hoppin' place. 
Easily 100 kids on any given Tuesday night. 
Plus since it was church-sponsored, 
my parents never gave me any trouble about it!

3. Six Flags Darien Lake 
This little amusement park was the highlight of summer. 
I don't know how often we actually went, 
it may have only been a handful of times or less, 
but I loved it every single time. 



Things 10 Year Old Me Never Expected to Spend So Much Money On:

1. Personal care. 
Brazilian waxes, pedicures, haircuts... 
these things are expensive! 
(And very much so missed when closed!)

2. Cleaning Lady 
In my wildest dreams, I never expected I could afford 
the luxury of a cleaning lady. 
Now I cannot imagine my life without her. 

3. Clothes. 
As a kid, my mom only shopped at thrift stores. 
We weren't actually that poor 
(considering where we lived in Central NY, 
we were probably in the higher incomes) 
but my parents didn't value clothes as a high spending option. 
This is part of the reason now why I'm so adverse to hand-me-downs 
and second-hand clothes, 
even though I know it's the environmentally correct thing to do. 
The textile industry is one of the worst polluters 
(right behind the meat industry). 


Friday, May 8, 2020

COVID19 Week 8

COVID19 Week 8 


Current Status

Pennsylvania has 52,915 cases and 3,416 deaths. 
Our county has 4,915 cases and 506 deaths. 

Our governor has put together a red-yellow-green reopening plan
Red total shutdown, green total open. 
Yellow, some things open (like child care) 
and some things closed (schools, personal care services). 

Our county is still in the red and probably will be for a long time. 
I won't be visiting my Brazilian waxer anytime soon 
and given that I hadn't seen her for several months beforehand, 
due to the c-section recovery, 
things have gotten quite... bushy. 



"These are a few of My Favorite Things..."

I recently introduced the kids to the Sound of Music 
which means this catchy song is always in my head. 
A few of my quarantine favorites I want to share: 

1. Seeing how independent and smart Aaron is. 

The most valuable thing I learned 
during my own homeschooled childhood, 
was how to teach myself. 
Thus, I've maintained a very hands-off approach to Aaron's online learning. 
He gets on his computer right after breakfast, 
fires up his Google Classroom, 
and is usually done by the time I'm done running. 
This is a far cry from every other parent I talk to, 
who struggles and complains about how tough it is 
to get their kid to do (or understand) schoolwork. 

That said, I have caught a few glances at his work 
and I'm blown away by how smart he is. 
I mean, I always knew he was smart, 
but to see it, is really quite cool. 

I'm very proud of him. 


2. My Hikes with the Boys

While I desperately miss meeting up with friends, 
I'm also loving my alone time with all 3 boys in nature. 
It brings me back to my early stay-at-home-mom days. 
In the first year of SAHM-hood, 
I didn't know any other SAHMs. 
(A little laugh at my attempt of "dating" here). 
I used to take 3-yo Aaron and infant Oliver 
out to explore all sorts of new spots, 
in a desperate attempt
to keep us entertained during the waking hours. 

And now that we can't play with friends, 
it feels like that all over again. 
Back then it felt a little lonely. 
But this time I love that it's just us. 
My little tribe of boys and me. 
(Sorry Adam, someone has to work!) 

I hope when they think of COVID19, 
this is what they think of. 




This is my new favorite Healthy Eating Motivator
My smoothies have always been fruit only, 
and this is my guide to bulk them up with vegetables.  

Plus, Oliver will eat anything in smoothie form 
(I blame those food pouches I gave him as a toddler), 
so it's a nutritional win for two of us!

I did a lot of research before landing on this smoothie book 
and so far it's lived up to it's hype. 
About half of it is educational content (very interesting!)
and the other half is smoothie recipes, 
with helpful labels like 
"Beginner" 
or 
"Meal Replacement" 
or 
"Hidden Greens." 

Hidden Greens is my favorite. 
Smoothies packed with super healthy green ingredients, 
like spinach, kale, and avocado, 
yet it doesn't look green 
nor taste like a green smoothie. 
As someone who hates both kale and avocado, 
this is a big win. 
Plus the kids have ZERO idea that they are drinking green stuff! 



Lastly... 

I thought this was an outstanding article 
about the important lessons our kids 
need to learn during the pandemic.