Friday, January 29, 2021

Books I Read (Jan)

 Total Books Read for January: 1

Really starting this year strong, aren't I? 
At least it was a great book!



Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? 
By Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD


This was a book club book 
and it was outstanding. 
It taught me a lot 
and I really want to buy it 
for every white parent and teacher I know. 
(Since I bought it for myself, I can readily loan it out, too!)

As a reference, it's much easier to read 
than "The New Jim Crow" (review here
but definitely longer/harder/deeper 
than White Fragility (review here). 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Motherhood Survey

 When would I EVER pass up chance to do a survey? 
NEVER. 

This is from Natasha's "Ten Questions About Motherhood" here
However, I did not like the disorganization of the questions, 
so I broke them up. 
Because of course I'm like this. 



1a) Did you have siblings as a child? 

Yes, I have two sisters, 7 and 12 years younger than me. 
I wrote a post about them 5 years ago here 
and I'm kind of amazed how much they have changed since then! 

Since that post, Melissa is now on her second husband 
and Rebecca has since graduated college. 

Randomly found this photo of the 3 of us from 2009.  



 1b) Do you have children at home now? 
If so, tell us more about them? 

I have three children. 

Aaron is 7. 
He looks identical to my husband 
and acts just like me. 
He is incredibly independent 
and chalk full of questions 
and loves to LEARN. 
He's a crazy bookworm and devours books. 

Oliver is 5. 
He looks like me 
but acts just like my husband. 
He is both the hardest and sweetest child.
He is still my Velcro Child. 
He doesn't cry when I leave him 
and will happily go off without me, 
but if we are in the same house, 
he will be up my butt every second of the day. 
He is also the best cuddler, the best snuggler, 
and will lavish me with kisses, hugs, 
and spontaneous "I love you Mommy." 

Carson is 9 months old. 
He loves mama more than anything in the world, 
with food being a very close second. 
He eats EVERYTHING we give him, 
from roasted salmon to curried vegetables, 
from spicy chili to water. 
Oh, but he still won't take breastmilk 
from a bottle or sippy cup. 
Grrr. 


2 a) What age were you when you first became a mommy? 

28. 

28 years old with newborn Aaron


 2 b) How many children and pets do you have? 

Children: 3 
Pets: 0

I am not a pet person 
and I hope/plan to never have pets. 


3) Are your children biological or adopted? 

Biological. 
I love the idea of adopting children
but Adam is not supportive of it. 
I would not have adopted children in lieu of biological, 
but perhaps birthed 2 and adopted 3, 
or birthed 3 and adopted 2.  
I think if I had pushed for it more before marriage, 
to set the expectation, 
he may have been more open to the idea. 
But I sort of made it an after-the-fact concept
and he nixed it. 

39.5 weeks pregnant with Carson


4) If you have biological children, 
did you deliver them naturally or with pain meds or by C-section?  
If adopted children, how old were they when you brought them home? 

All three were C-section. 

Aaron was a 10 lbs 4.7 oz baby who did not fit. 
After 30+ hours of labor, 
the doctors determined there was 
zero chance he was coming out naturally. 
Birth story here

Oliver was a failed VBAC. 
Birth story here

Carson was a planned C-section 
and was by far my worst delivery of them all. 
Birth story here



5) Did you breastfeed or bottle feed or pump with your children?  

I breastfed all three babies. 
Oliver and Carson were exclusively fed 
directly from the breast; 
they never once took a bottle of pumped milk. 
(Granted, Carson still has a chance but... it's not looking good.) 
I went back to work when Aaron was 8 weeks old 
and pumped for 10 months, 
so he took a bottle then sippy cup. 

Total, Aaron breastfed for 14 months. 
Oliver for 22 months. 
Carson... who knows?


6a) Have you potty trained? 

Aaron and Oliver were potty-trained using the 3-day method. 
Aaron was potty trained right after he turned 2 in the spring 
(Aaron's potty training story here)
and Oliver was potty-trained at 2.5 the day after Halloween 
(Oliver's potty training story here). 
Carson TBD. 

6b) Cloth diapers or disposables with your babies? 

Disposable. 
I would love to say that I use cloth, 
but I am just not that person. 
I used Pampers with Aaron and Oliver, 
then I discovered I actually prefer Target-brand diapers 
and that's what I use with Carson. 


7a) Did you take prenatal or parenting classes for your babies? 

We did for Aaron, yes. 
We took three classes through the hospital where he was delivered. 
1) General baby care class (bathing, etc) 
2) Car seat class 
3) Lactation class

I also did prenatal yoga with Aaron 
and met one of my lifelong best friends through that class. 
I tried prenatal yoga again with Oliver and then Carson, 
but it wasn't the same. 


7b) Homeschool or public school or private school? 

Public school. 
This is very important to both Adam and I. 
Before we ever had children, 
we both agreed that we wanted our kids raised in the public school system, 

I was homeschooled 
and was adamant that I did not want my kids homeschooled. 

Adam grew up in a wealthy area with a lot of private school kids 
and was adamant that our kids not attend private school. 

2018 Aaron kindergarten 


8a) What is the significance of your children's names? 

We choose first names that we like, 
then use middle names to honor someone. 

I loved the name Aaron, and Adam agreed to it 
when he realized the middle name "Barry" (his dad's name) 
would give Aaron the initials "ABC." 
Those are the quirks we love. 

Oliver was supposed to be Hunter until I was 8 months pregnant, 
then we switched to Oliver. 
His middle name is Harold, which is my dad's name. 

Carson was such a back-and-forth name. 
Adam and I argued right up to the hospital date. 
We settled on Carson because of the alliteration 
"Carson Cole." 
Middle name is Loomis, which is my maiden name. 

If we had girls: 
Aaron would have been Olivia. 
Oliver would have been Bailey. 
Carson would have been Charlotte. 


8b) If you could pick another name for yourself, would you?  
What would it be? 

Back in middle school when The Matrix came out, 
I desperately wanted to be named Trinity! 

Now? I like my name well enough. 
It's common but not too common. 
There are no spelling issues, which I appreciate a lot. 

I can't really think of a different name I'd want to be? 



9a) Did you travel with your children as babies? 

Not with Aaron, 
but with Oliver yes. 
A few years ago, 
we started taking annual flights to Florida to visit my in-laws. 
I flew solo with 3-year-old Aaron 
and 9-month-old Oliver 
and it went so smoothly. 
Ever since then, I'm not intimidated by traveling with kids. 
It's more of a money issue!




9b) Did you use daycare for your children? 

I did with Aaron because I worked full time 
and Adam was in law school. 
Our mothers took care of him until he was 14 months old 
then he started into daycare. 

Oliver started preschool at age 2, 
in a small local church preschool. 
When he was 3 he transitioned to his current Nature School
I'll do the same with Carson. 



9c) Playdates for your kids? 

Um yes? 
I don't know what this question is asking? 
I'm a naturally social person (98% extrovert here)
 and I encourage my kids to be social. 
I guess with Aaron we had more organized playdates, 
but by the time Oliver and Carson came along, 
they were/are just carted along to existing hangouts with friends. 


10) What is one lesson you have learned 
or one takeaway from parenting? 

Pick your battles and stick to them, 
but don't complain about the battles you don't fight. 

Battles we fight
Eat a variety of healthy foods. 
Dress nicely for parties and special events. 
2 hours of nap or quiet time daily. 
Stay in your damn bed at night. 

Battles we don't fight
Dressing for the weather. 
Picking up toys. 
Sharing. 
Privacy

Some people are aghast when they hear I don't enforce sharing. 
The same way I'm aghast when people let their kids eat nuggets every day. 
To each his own battle. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Superbowl of Parenting

 Christmas is done 
and our houses are [thankfully] de-Christmas-fied. 
But I need to bring up this topic yet again 
to see if anyone agrees. 


Christmas is the only holiday 
designed for families with small children. 
Every other major US holiday is designed for childless adults. 



This is not to say that you can't celebrate with small children, 
but the holiday in itself is stereotypically celebrated 
without small children. 


New Year's Eve: glamorous midnight parties. 
Superbowl (yes, it's a holiday): beer & junk food
Valentine's Day: romantic dinners 
Mardi Gras: topless parades
St Patrick's Day: bar crawls 
Memorial Day, 4th July, Labor Day: drunken all-day BBQs 
Halloween: costume parties
Thanksgiving: Friendsgiving and all-day feasting 


I concede that Halloween and Thanksgiving 
are well suited for small children. 
Halloween, in particular, seems like a child-centric holiday 
and I might even give it a tie, 
but I had a hell of a lot more fun in college
dressing up in some ridiculous skanky costume
and drunkenly parading myself around a party with a red solo cup 
than wrestling children into costumes 
and trudging door-to-door reminding them to say "thank you." 

Thanksgiving, also very family-friendly, is a close tie, 
but I would argue that a giant feast is best celebrated 
without small children underfoot. 


The other holidays, of course, can be well-celebrated 
with modifications for children (e.g. all-day BBQ) 
or, even better, a really good babysitter (hello, bar crawls!). 
In fact, I prefer our NYE tradition as a small family 
over the more typical formal celebrations. 


But Christmas... 
Christmas is designed exclusively for families of small children. 
It is a giant tree and the magic of Christmas morning presents. 
Sure you can celebrate Christmas as an adult 
or parents with teenage children, 
but nothing quite comes close to the joy 
of the Christmas morning magic for small children. 
(And, as reference, my children have never believed in Santa 
yet the magic is the same.) 

Aaron's face opening the present he's wanted for months


Christmas is the Superbowl of Parenting 
(borrowed that from "Bad Moms Christmas" - terrible movie) 
and it's not hard to pull off, 
assuming you haven't raised materialistic little monsters. 


What do you think? 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Currently: January 2021

 I saw this from Natasha and stole it. 


[beginning] 

Like Natasha, I'll talk about my goals/habits planner. 
I used this Clever Fox weekly planner last year 
and liked it so much, I bought it again (this time in pink!). 
It is not a planner for life logistics
 (that's all in my phone) 
but for setting and achieving goals. 
I detailed the planner in this post here


[feeling] 

Since the Election
the tension of American politics has hung over my head. 
I watched the events at the Capital with the kids, 
and we have spent so many family dinners discussing it. 

If you know me even a little bit, 
you know I am completely anti-Trump, 
his personality, his policies, 
and his far-right base. 

(A reminder that since 2012, 
more Americans have been killed by 
white domestic far-right extremists 
than any other group.)  

On a lighter note, at dinner last night, 
we were discussing the last time the Capital was breached 
(the War of 1812) 
when the White House was burned to the ground. 
Oliver, age 4, interjects with: 
"The White House burned down?! Did Trump die?!" 
And although we assured him that Trump did not die 
and this was long long ago, 
Oliver is still talking about the White House fire. 


[organizing] 

So. Much. Organizing. 

I am doing Naptime Kitchen's Home Reset 
and it is amazing. 
I love this sort of stuff 
and would rather pay $40 for a course like this 
than pay $40 to go see a movie. 
That's the kind of person I am. 

I was planning to do a whole post on my accomplishments, 
but lest I fail to do so, here's a few snapshots of 
just my two freezers. 



[resolving] 

I listed my 15 resolutions here

So far I'm drinking tea regularly, 
closing my apple watch rings, 
and making good progress on the Bible. 
A good start to 2021!


[wondering] 

Will the inauguration on January 20th be peaceful? (please yes)

Will Trump ever be banned from Twitter? (please yes

Can we have Stacey Abrams lead the vaccine roll-out? 
Because Pennsylvania could really use some help
(jk but also please yes?



Tuesday, January 5, 2021

2021 Resolutions

I start every year reviewing the previous year's resolutions. 
But, fortunately, I didn't make any last year. 
Originally it was because Carson was being born 28 days into 2020, 
but surprise surprise, 
it also turns out that there was a global pandemic 
sneaking up in on the horizon.


Now for my 2021 goals, 
a mix of health, values, and just fun. 


Lifestyle

1. Donate blood
Can you believe I haven't donated blood in over 5 years? 
I donated every year when I worked but haven't since. 
A thanks to Natasha for reminding me to do this. 


2.  Watch Top 12 Charlton Heston Movies here
My all-time favorite celebrity crush. 
I started this list in 2019 during my pregnancy insomnia, 
but I want to knock out the last few. 


3. Monthly Date Night with Adam. 
I'm not sure how to do this in a global pandemic, 
since Adam is much more COVID conservative than I am. 
He won't do outdoor dining at all 
(so we can forget about any indoor place!). 
Any ideas for a date that we can do 
out of the house that involves zero other people 
or going inside zero buildings? 
I imagine a hike or picnic on a hillside, 
both of which Adam would despise. 

Spending our anniversary at home in quarantine. 
3 months postpartum and lovin' that legging life


4. Monthly purchase from small business / ethical / sustainable shop. 
Allena inspired me on this one. 
I'm committing to one purchase a month. 


5. Clear off and consolidate remaining old laptop photos. 
A chore that's been hanging over my head for months. 
Just need to get it done. 


Health

6. Fast for major religious holidays
Ash Wednesday (Catholic - Feb 17th)
Good Friday (Catholic - April 2nd) 
Yom Kippur (Jewish - Sept 16th) 

I've heard great benefits of fasting, 
but mostly I'm just curious
Can I do it? 
And how do I feel doing it?  
Any fasting tips? 

It's probably blasphemous 
that I'm fasting on religious holidays 
without any religious intent whatsoever, 
but I find that specific dates and purposes are helpful to my goals.
Sorry to anyone who finds this offensive. 


7. Become a daily tea drinker. 
I love an afternoon chocolate 
but what if I turned that into an afternoon tea? 
Tea is sooo good for you 
and I'd love to be a regular tea drinker. 
Of course it has to be herbal 
thanks to my crazy high caffeine sensitivity. 

That said, I'm on the search for more tea variety 
and I'm willing to pay a pretty high price point for something good. 
So far, I only like Tazo herbal teas. 
Suggestions?


8. Close every Apple Watch Monthly Challenge. 
I did this in 2020 and it was deeply satisfying. 
It also pushed me into the most consistent exercise routine 
I've ever had in my life. 
I want to keep this up!




Books:

9. Make a Goodreads account. 
Allena and Natasha are cheering. 


10. Read through the Bible in a year. 
Yes, I said I would do this two years ago 
and I got nowhere
But I'm serious this time! 
Or... more serious, I guess. 


11. Clear out my original 10 books. 
I have 138 books on my To-Be-Read list (TBR), 
sorted by added date. 
I want to address the 10 oldest books. 
Either read them or delete them off my list. 
(I also had this goal in my 2019 resolutions
and I knocked off 8!) 

Hell Week: Seven Days to your Best Self 
A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy 
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in American City 
The Paris Architect: a novel 
Girl at War: a novel. 
Love Warrior: a memoir. 
The Blue Castle: a novel. 
Boy Erased: a memoir. 
Pastrix: the cranky, beautiful faith of a sinner & saint 
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish secrets to happy living. 
 

12. Read 4 books off my educational TBR. 
(That's just 1 per quarter - very doable!)
Current list of books: 

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City*
American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass 
Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?**
White Trash: the 400 year untold story history of class in America 
Trans Like Me: Conversations for all of us
The Color of Law: a forgotten history of how our government segregated America 
Me and White Supremacy: Combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor
How to be an Antiracist 
Ghettoside: a true story of murder in America 
Chokehold: policing black men 
The Third Option: hope for a radically divided nation 
Tightrope: Americans reaching for Hope


*Bonus, "Evicted" is on both lists, 
so I can kill two birds with one stone with that one!

**Already reading this one with book club!

KIDS:


13. Spend 15 minutes a day one-on-one with Carson. 
I know that sounds ridiculously low, but hear me out. 
For me, personally, it's hard to "play" with babies. 
It is sooooooooo boring. 
Instead, I incorporate my babies into my life, 
whether it is cooking, going hiking, running errands, or whatever
Of course I am talking and interacting with my babies 
while doing these things, 
but I'm not sitting on the floor playing with them. 
I don't think what I'm doing is detrimental 
(on the contrary, I think this is how God designed us to mother) 
but I want to be more intentional about spending time 
with each of my kids individually
For Carson, I want to work on 15 minutes a day dedicated to him. 
We can build towers out of his favorite cups
or read his favorite Sandra Boynton books, 
or whatever


14. Finish Harry Potter with Aaron. 
We just started the 6th book "The Half-Blood Prince" before the holidays, 
so we have about 2 books to go. 
 I'm not in a rush to finish HP, 
but I just love reading with Aaron
 and I don't want to lose momentum. 


15. Read through the "Here We Read 2020 Top 50" books with Oliver. 
Roughly 4-5 books per month. 
Oliver and I read together on Tues/Thurs mornings 
during Carson's nap. 
I want to use this time to plow through some of these amazing books. 


*** 

15 resolutions for 12 months. 
I am not planning a monthly update, 
but I do promise a yearly review in January 2022.