Friday, July 30, 2021

Books I Read (July)

 Total books read for July: 5

A Mother's Reckoning 
By Sue Klebold 

Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, 
one of the Columbine shooters. 

I knew this book would be hard to read, 
but I didn't expect to be so captivated by it. 

Often with hard/educational books, 
I slog through like a turtle in molasses. 
They may be phenomenal books, 
but the heaviness of the subject matter bogs me down. 

This was not that book. 

Yes, it was a very heavy book 
but the psychological exploration and review
both of her son in retrospect 
and also herself through the grieving process, 
was deeply fascinating. 
It's weird to say that I looked forward to reading this book. 
It really did suck me in. 

It also terrified the shit out of me. 
Because Dylan was just so normal
Sue Klebold was such a good mom
and I don't think I would have noticed the red flags any more than she did!

The Vanishing Half 
By Brit Bennett

This was a really good book 
but very long. 
Reading the book felt like waves on an ocean, 
some parts were really exciting 
and some parts were just wide open nothingness. 
It was never bad, 
my interest in reading it peaked and fizzled throughout. 

I didn't like the ending, 
so maybe an alternate ending 
would make me more enthusiastic. 

By Samira Ahmed 

I loved this not-so-distant dystopian novel. 
If I had read it during the 2016 Election 
or probably anytime in Trump's presidency, 
I might have shit my pants. 
But reading it in 2021, 
I could appreciate it without being terrified. 

I thought it played out fairly realistically, 
I liked the narrator, 
I loved the supporting characters, 
and really loved the ending. 

In my head, I gave it 4.5 stars and rounded up to 5, 
just because I didn't love the writing. 
But the rest of it I really enjoyed.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing 
What You Don't Know 
By Adam Grant

This was a Sharon McMahon book rec 
and I really really appreciated it. 
It was an interesting mix of stats, 
real life examples, 
and funny little graphics or comics thrown in. 

Sex and Sensibility: 
The Thinking Parents Guide to Talking Sense About Sex
By Deborah M Roffman

This book should be required reading for all parents. 
It. Is. Excellent. 

It's also long and heavy. 
The kind of book where I can't read much in one day 
without my head exploding. 

It is an older book, 
published 20 years ago,  
but the concepts have not changed at all 
and if anything, the material is even more relevant today. 

In fact, it helped me kick off the very overdue 
s*x talk with Aaron*, 
which, again, as I learned from the book, 
should NOT be an uncomfortable sit-down 
but rather an ongoing casual conversation, 
(which goes against every bone in my body 

This is one of the rare books that I will be buying 
to use as a reference as I move through my parenting years. 

*All this started because I read 
(and confirmed via our school psychologist) 
that by age 8, most kids have been exposed to p*rn 
(usually via friends, not via their own devices)
and thus the push for parents to 
"get there first" to present accurate 
and positive sexual facts prior to this exposure. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Summer Routine

This is my third summer documenting our pool life routine. 
2019 (pre-Carson) here and 2020 (baby Carson/COVID) here
These are among my favorite posts to reread, 
because it's an easy glimpse into our yearly life changes. 

Pool Life 2021: 

5am: Alarm goes off
5:00-6:34: Get Shit Done  

I already wrote the hows and why of my 5am routine here
In short, being productive gives me energy 
like a shot of caffeine without drinking a caffeinated beverage.  
I just love the accomplishment of knocking out my to do list first thing. 

6:35-7:00: Snuggles in bed with Oliver 
and nursing Carson*

Oliver continues to be the best snuggler in the world. 
Meanwhile, Carson only nurses from one boob now. 
Yes, I'm a bit lop-sided. 

7:00-8:00: Exercise 
Run, bike (peloton), yoga 
Or, if we have an appointment that morning, 
I'll use this time to shower and get ready. 

Shower, Makeup, Get Dressed, 
Pool Lunches, Quick Errands 

Our pool lunch IG account is @healthykidshappylife 
and this year, Carson has the cutest Lunch Bots snack tray 
which I call his "bento baby buffet." 
I the Lunchbots Cookbook to come up with new lunches for the kids. 
Aaron and Oliver have both scanned the book 
and tagged their requests. 

10:30-10:50: Sunscreen, Pack-up

Still loving this Thinkbaby (ThinkSport identical product) for faces/shoulders
and Babo Spray for their bare-chested bodies. 
Oliver chooses a rashguard about half the days, 
the other days he mimics his big brother's bare chest. 

11:00-1:45: Pool 

We sit with the same families as prior summers. 
5 moms and 15 kids, 
evenly distributed from Carson's age up to age 9. 
These families are what make our pool days so enjoyable. 

Just like last summer, 
the boys want to eat their lunches almost immediately upon arrival. 
I try to hold off Carson to at least noon 
but he is often too persistent. 

My best purchase this summer was this baby hat from Pottery Barn
It actually fits BIG HEAD babies with an enormous brim 
and a stiff front brim so the hat doesn't flop in their faces. 
I don't even have to sunscreen Carson's face! (Hallelujah)
Comes in pink and navy. 
Recommended to me by a pool mom 
and I have recommended it to every other pool mom. 

As of writing this, Oliver still doesn't have his red band 
so he is stuck in the baby pool with Carson and I, 
though sometimes I'll take him over to the medium pool 
and watch him swim while Carson wanders around 
and plays with the pool drains (barf). 

1:45: Pack up for home 

Packing up is the hardest ever. 
Carson is a hot mess of crankyness for his nap. 
Oliver never wants to leave. 
I can never find Aaron, 
since he has freedom to roam all 8 acres. 

2:00-4:30: NAP 

Carson takes fabulous post-pool naps. 

Oliver spends 2 hours in his room 
sometimes playing LEGOs 
but also still naps quite often!   

Aaron reads. 
Sometimes he reads downstairs by himself. 
Sometimes we read Harry Potter together. 
(Currently Chapter 19 of the Deathly Hollows.) 

Me? I READ. 
This is where the 5am wake-up pays off. 
I don't have to tackle any bit of my to do list 
because my to do list is done! 
I collapse in my bed and read. 
It's really glorious. 
(This is the reason I'm back up to 5 books a month!)

4:30-6:00: Screentime for Kids 

Aaron and Oliver get about 30 minutes of individual screentime 
and then about an hour of joint screentime, 
often a play-together video game like Mario Kart or Mario Party. 

Does this feel like a lot of screentime? 
Absolutely yes. 
Am I embracing it? 
Also yes. 

It's summer. 
It's a season of life that should be full of fun. 
Come fall and school, they will go back to screentime only on weekends. 

Meanwhile, during that screentime...

4:30-5:30: Pick Up House 

I learned from Kendra Adachi (The Lazy Genius) 
that as mothers we need to use screentime to fill our buckets, 
whatever that bucket may be. 
To me, that bucket is a clean house. 

I have learned that it's best for me to clean the house all at once. 
If I try to pick it up throughout the day, I just go insane. 
(The exception is the kitchen, which I do clean minute-by-minute.) 

Thus, I need to use their screentime to pick up our house 
and reorient it to it's preferred state of order.  

5:30-6:30: Cook Dinner

6:30-7:00: Adam home and eat dinner 

7:00-7:30: Family Walk
(when it's not a thousand degrees out)  

7:30-8:00 Start bedtime 

8:00: Kids in bed 

Sometimes Adam and I will watch a tv show. 
I only ever watch tv with Adam so this is my only tv time all day. 
We just finished "Mare of Easttown" which was WOW AMAZING. 
Next up is Ted Lasso (per Adam's request) 
and after that is The Morning Show (per my request). 

9:00: Me in bed. 

As I said in my 5am post
the hardest part of getting up at 5am 
is going to bed at 9pm. 
When I'm consistently in the 5am habit, 
I usually fall asleep right away. 

However, if I've been out of the 5am habit (e.g. beach trips), 
then I struggle here. 

And that's a day in our summer life!

*As I publish this, I'm in the process of weaning Carson off boobs. 
We've dropped the morning nurse, 
just dropped the nap nurse, 
and next week is dropping the final bedtime nurse. 
18 months of nursing and I'm just done.