Wednesday, June 12, 2019

TGIW!

Today is my Friday as we are heading to the lake tomorrow morning! Hence the "TGIW" post today. I love short weeks!

The book I'm reading is Hope and Other Punch Lines by Julie Buxbaum. This is a YA novel that prominently features 9/11. The main character was in a daycare in the World Trade Center but she survived. She lives in a town that had a lot of 9/11 victim so this book is about the aftermath of the tragedy and how her generation processes what happened. I read another book by this author recently and it was really good so hopefully I like this one as much. 

The high of my week so far was picking up a bunch of holds from the library. I usually use the pause feature to make sure I don't get too many books at the same time, but I messed up and had 5 books become available at the same time. They all have wait lists so I am going to have to try to read 5 books in 3 weeks. I'm up to the challenge, though!

The low of my week was dealing with some RA pain. I have low-grade flares in both of my hands. They aren't debilitating, they are just annoying and make it difficult to do things like open jars or Paul's sippy cup.

A recipe I made was 3 bean chili in the Instant Pot. After warm, humid weather last week, our weather has been cooler the last couple of days so chili sounded good.


The best money spent was some reusable silicon bags. I've been thinking more and more about how to live more greenly and reduce our use of plastic. So I ordered these bags and we will transition to using them when we run out of plastic bags. 

For workouts I've just been going on walks with Paul. I would like to do a bit more running but I have a hard time fitting it into my schedule these days. The last couple of weekends have been busy so I haven't been able to squeeze in a run. I want to try to run before work but the idea of getting up at 5 am to do that is just not palatable! 

My plans this weekend include heading to the lake! Phil's mom is coming with us, too. We will head there tomorrow morning and come back on Saturday afternoon. I'm excited for some time with my parents and I know they'll really love seeing Paul. He's gotten so much bigger since they last saw him in April! 

Bonus Paul Pics

Working on those fine motor skills

Mmm, these quills are fun to chew on, too!

Never too young to learn about the time value of money and the power of compounding interest! ;)

Have you made any recipes this week? What was the best thing you spent money on lately?

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Making Work Work - Part 1

I'm approaching the one-year mark of being back at work after my ~19 week maternity leave so I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on how we've adjusted to being parents with full-time jobs outside of the home. I recently listened to a podcast episode, called Making Work Work, by two moms that also work outside the house. I listen to several parenting podcasts but the lifestyle of these 2 women is most similar to mine. They have corporate jobs that require them to go into an office and their kids go to daycare. In their episode, they answered some questions so I thought I'd play along.

I have a lot to say on this topic so decided to break it out into 2 posts with some Paul pics sprinkled in!



Who has more flexibility - you or your husband?

My answer is very similar to theirs. Phil and I both have quite a bit of flexibility as we are both able to work from home when it's necessary. However, I am more willing to be flexible. For example, if we get a call from daycare saying Paul is sick and needs to be picked up, I generally am the one that leaves work. I'm part of a 6-person team, 3 of which are in Minneapolis. There is almost always 2 of us in the office in Minneapolis so there's someone that can help out in my absence. Phil works for a very small, lean company that doesn't have duplication of roles like my team does. He sort of has a back-up but it's not optimal for him to leave on short notice. The couple of times we've had to go pick Paul up, I called Phil to figure out who would leave and while he was willing to leave to pick him up, it wouldn't be for another 1-1.5 hours. So I have ended up picking him up because I don't want to leave him there for long after we've been told to pick him up.

I will say that working from home works better for Phil than me. He hasn't done it much but there have been times when he has worked from home while watching Paul. I can't do that any longer because Paul wants my undivided attention when I'm home with him. I could log on and work during his naps, but if he's awake, there is no way I could focus enough to get work done.



What is your morning routine?

As I've mentioned before, mornings are very hectic in our house and we have no wiggle room in our schedule!

6:00 - I get up, shower, and get ready.

6:30 - Wake up Paul if he's not awake already. Change his diaper, dress him in clothes I set out the night before, and put him the high chair while I finish getting ready. He has a glass of milk and half a muffin or banana. Breakfast isn't until 8 at daycare so he needs a snack as he's super hungry in the morning. Phil is in the shower/getting ready at this time so that's why I do all the morning prep. If Paul has a poopy diaper when he wakes up, Phil sprays it (we use cloth diapers so we have to spray them off before washing them) so that's his morning contribution! ;)

6:35 - While Paul eats his breakfast, I eat mine (oatmeal with a cut up banana on top) and get my thermos of coffee ready. I'm very particular about coffee so won't drink the stuff at work.

He was not excited to have his breakfast documented

6:50 - Phil leaves with Paul. I wash his bib and highchair tray, put my coffee and lunch (which I pack the night before) in my work back pack, take my daily morning medications and vitamins and head out the door to catch the bus which comes around 6:57. I love taking the bus. It picks up across the street from our house and drops me off in front of the building I work in. It's very nice to be able to read, catch up on emails, or listen to podcasts while someone else deals with traffic! Phil drives Paul to daycare, drops him off, and parks our car about a mile away and catches a bus to work.

7:20 - I'm usually at my desk by 7:20 and hit the ground running.

Playing in the front of the house while we wait for daddy's bus


What's your evening routine?

My after-work routine varies a bit based on when I am able to leave work. Lately I've been trying to leave work around 3:40 when it's quiet so I can get a little extra time with Paul. This is our schedule when I'm not able to do that.

4:10 - Leave work, walk to the bus stop which is about a block away. The bus comes around 4:20.

4:40 - Get off on the bus in the area where we park our car, drive to day care and pick up Paul. As soon as he spots me he crawls over to me as fast as he can! He loves daycare but he gets so excited when I pick him up! I chat with one of his teachers about how his day went and we head out.

5:00 - Get home. Phil takes the bus home and gets there shortly before us. If it's nice outside, we head out for a 40 minute family walk along a creek in our neighborhood. Otherwise we play with Paul in our living room.

5:45 - Feed Paul dinner. As I have mentioned before, it is not possible for all of us to sit down together to eat dinner. It would be very difficult for me to fix something that all of us would eat. So until Paul can stay up later, he eats before us and we eat after he's in bed. Phil usually handles feeding Paul while I spend this time prepping our dinner. After dinner Paul usually gets a little time to play or I read books to him.

6:15 - He usually goes to bed around 6:30 so we head upstairs around 6:15. He gets a bath every other night. Then I put lotion on him and put him in his nighttime diaper and pajamas. Phil and I take turns reading to him (meaning, I handle one night, he handles the next night). We usually read him 3 books but will read as many as 5 if he doesn't seem super tired. Then we turn off the lights, turn on his white noise machine, and put him in his crib with his lovey (which is a little cat!).  He goes to bed very, very easily thanks to the sleep training we did when he was around 4 months.

After he's in bed, we eat dinner and will often watch an episode of a show. I get the coffee maker ready to go so I just have to push brew in the morning, pack my lunch, and take my daily evening medications. I usually head up to bed around 8-8:30 so I can read for awhile. I turn my lights off between 9-9:30. Phil comes to bed around 10 or later but I'm usually sleeping by then!

In part 2 of this post, I'll talk about changes we've made to "make working work" and what I wish I'd known when I returned to work.

What is your morning routine like? Do you feel rushed like we do? I could make our mornings less rushed by getting up earlier but I've been prioritizing sleep!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Baby Paul: 15 Months

"Baby" Paul turned 15 months last Saturday. The days can be long but the weeks and months sure fly by. Each month just gets better and better. There are definitely challenges in his current stage but overall I really love the stage he's in. He's definitely a toddler but I still call him baby Paul - maybe I always will?

Firsts:

- We went on our first family vacation in April, which included a plane ride. Overall he traveled pretty well but I think we'll really limit plane travel until he's a bit older, with the exception of going on a warm weather getaway at the end of each winter. It's just so much work to travel with a young child. The change of scenery was very nice, we enjoyed our time in Florida, and I could see us going back to that region. But besides that one trip/year, I think we'll stick to trips to my parents lake home until he's a bit older. Traveling with a young child is one of those 'you do you' things as I know many people who still travel a ton with their child (one of my mom group friends went on a European vacation during her maternity leave and to Australia this spring!). But for us I don't know that it's worth the money we would spend on plane tickets!


 - He had his first taste of ice cream and loved it. We don't intend to give him sweets very often but I think it's ok to let kids have sweets occasionally. This is another 'you do you' kind of thing!


- one first he hasn't achieved yet is walking. As I've mentioned before, he just doesn't want to work on this skill. He has stood on his own for 1-2 seconds but sits down once he realizes he is sitting. It kind of frustrates me that he isn't walking yet as it feels like something he "should" be doing but I try to remind myself that every baby does things at their own pace! I feel better after his 15-month appointment, though. His doctor said that kids with large heads (Paul's is 98th percentile!) tend to walk around 16-18 months because they have a lot more weight to balance. This makes total sense as he also sat up late (8.5 months).

Words: He says "nah nah nah" for no. At daycare, they don't use the word "no" to redirect behavior. Instead they say "ah ah ah." We've been told they only use no in response to a question - I don't know if that is a Latin thing? He also says "uh oh" (usually after intentionally dropping something - ha!), dada, hola, agua, bye, and cracker. He's started to say "ma ma ma" for more - I don't know if that's a combination of the English word, more, and mas, the Spanish word for more? He doesn't really say mama, though. He has just started to say dada so hopefully he figures out mama soon! He also does a lot of unintelligible babbling which is pretty cute!


Growth: Paul had a huge growth spurt between 12 to 15 months! He gained over 3 pounds and now weighs 21.25 pounds and is 26th percentile for weight! He had been around 4th percentile since his early infancy so that was a HUGE increase! This further supports my thesis that I made "skim milk." I thought that all along as pumping didn't do much in the weight loss department and Paul did not gain very much weight despite drinking more breast milk than the average baby. Who knows if my theory is correct but I am very happy to see that he's gaining weight more steadily and is a little bit chubbier!


Loves:
- playing with his scooter - he has one at our house and one at Grandma Joan's.


- stroller walks. We go on one daily, weather-permitting, and often 2 on weekend days.


- waiting for daddy at the front door on the days when we get home before Phil. He gets really excited when he sees him - it's so cute!



- cheersing! He loves doing this whenever he has his milk or water glass in hand.


- eating out! He does so well in restaurants. We are enjoying this stage while it lasts!



Eating: He eats almost everything at school except fruit. This kid does not like fruit, besides bananas, which I think is odd/not typical! He's still pickier at home than I would like him to be but hopefully he grows out of this eventually? We keep offering him things over and over in the hopes he'll eventually like them. Besides meatballs, he does not seem to like meat. We've tried giving him ham, pieces of a hamburger and shredded chicken and he spits them out. We found that he will eat "veggie tots" (pureed veggies coated with breading, kind of like a tater tot). He gobbles them up. I wish he would eat vegetables in an unprocessed form but we have to take what we can get at this point. His favorite foods are banana pancakes with peanut butter, club crackers and graham crackers.

Enjoying some banana bread
Can't I eat my veggie tots without you taking a picture?

Dislikes:

- Grass! It freaks him out so much. He dislikes it so much that he will stay on a blanket. It's like a little baby jail for him. Ha.

Playing in baby jail
What is this crap??
I'm excited to introduce him to lake like this summer! We were there quite a bit last summer but he was too young to enjoy the sand and water. I'm hoping he loves playing on the beach, going for boat rides, and playing in the water! We have our first lake trip next week and I'm so excited for the mini getaway and time with my parents!

I'm also looking forward to taking him to splash pads (once he's walking) and kiddie pools. We are also planning on getting a small kiddie pool for our backyard. I think it's going to be a great summer!

Monday, June 3, 2019

What We Read in May

May was a huge reading month for me. I read 13 books which is probably an all-time high for me! I gave up social media for Lent and I think giving it up changed up my habit of mindlessly scrolling Facebook or Instagram. Now when I have downtime or am bored, my instinct is to read a book - either a physical book or an eBook using my kindle ap. I also read a lot of really great books this month. One way to read more is to read great books that you don't want to put down!

I italicized the titles that were my favorite!

Non-fiction books

About half of the books I read were non-fiction, which is quite a bit for me. I've been really drawn to non-fiction lately, though.


A Mother's Reckoning is a memoir written by the mother of one of the Columbine shooters. This was difficult to read but I think it's an important book to read - especially now that I have a child. She looks back at the time leading up to the horrific Columbine shooting and tries to figure out what signs they missed and how they could have prevented the tragedy from happening.

Text Me When You Get Home was one of my favorite books that I read this month. I loved it so much that it inspired me to write 2 different blog posts!

I Miss You When I Blink is a collection of essays. I really enjoyed the author's style of writing and could relate to some of her life experiences.


The Best We Could Do is a graphic memoir about the author's parents' escape from Vietnam. It examined her complicated relationship with her dad, who had been through so much to bring his family to the US. I was impressed that the author taught herself to drawn comics shortly before writing this book.

Wedding Toast I'll Never Give was written by a woman whose NYT "Modern Love" column was a huge hit. I read it and loved it so was excited to see that she wrote a book. Overall, I would say the book is 'just ok.' There were some nuggets of wisdom but I couldn't relate to most of her marital struggles. It was a short read, though, so I didn't invest much time in it.

No Happy Endings is the 2nd memoir by Nora McInerny, host of the podcast "Terrible Thanks for Asking." After listening to her podcast for years, I could hear her voice in my head while I was reading it. Her first book was about the loss of her dad, husband, and a miscarriage all in the span of a couple of months. In this book, she talks about finding love again and reconciling with the fact that she can be both happy and sad at the same time.

Young Adult/Middle-Grade Reads


Tell Me Three Things was a very delightful young adult novel about a girl who loses her mom to cancer and moves from Chicago to California with her dad when he remarries. On her first day of school, she gets an anonymous email from someone who is going to be her 'spirit guide' as she adjusts to her new school. I was sad when the book ended because I wanted to stay with the characters. It's a very light, fast read so the perfect palette cleanser after some heavier reads.

The War I Finally Won is the 2nd book in a 2-book middle grade series set in England during WWII. This was another delightful read. I hope Paul will read these books some day!

Other Fiction




Calling Me Home was a great novel about a woman's forbidden relationship with the son of their African American housekeeper in the 1930s.

Where the Crawdads Sing received a lot of buzz since it was published last summer and I think it is worthy of the praise. The author is a wildlife scientist who published 3 non-fiction books before turning to fiction. Her understanding and love of nature leaps off the page. But the descriptions add to the story.

Read Bottom Up is a light, easy read made entirely of emails between 2 people who are dating, and their best friend. I've never missed my dating life and this book reminded me why I don't miss dating! So much uncertainty and guesswork can go into the beginning of a relationship.

Kingdom of the Blind is the latest book in the Inspector Gamache series. As I've said before, the books just keep getting better and better. I can't wait for the next installment in this series to come out in August! I'm already on the wait list at the library.

The Guineveres was a book that caught my eye when I was browsing the shelves last month. I know it was recommended either on a podcast or a literary website so I decided to check it out. I would say it was 'just ok.' It's about 4 women named Guinevere who are brought to a convent in their teens by their family. It's about their relationship and what happened in their past that caused their parents to hand over their care to a convent.

Paul's reads:

Paul has very strong opinions about what he wants us to read to him. If I start to read something he's not interested in, he will kick the book away and say 'nah nah nah.' (He says nah instead of no).

This little bookworm loves to pull books off an end table and page through them!
This 100 words book from the library is one of his favorites. He loves to page through it on his own and will also bring it over to us and reach up to let us know he wants us to read to him.


 He still loves "lift the flap" books!




This is his favorite Usbourne book - "That's Not My Owl." It's a great touch and feel book!



We've been reading the same 3-4 books before bed so I switched it up and put "Moo Baa La La La" and "Pajama Time" on the bed recently (we read his bedtime books on the guest bed in his room). He has since become obsessed with "Moo Baa La La La." I actually have to hide it and pull it out for our last book before bed. Otherwise he will push away other books and grab for that book over and over. One night we read it 3 times. It's sweet that he loves it so much, and it is very short, but I need a little variety!

Friday, May 31, 2019

TGIF!

Happy Friday! Sometimes 4-day work weeks crawl by but this one went by super fast. Here's how my week shaped up!

The book I'm reading is Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler. It's about an older woman (in her late 80s), living in Texas, who asks her hair dresser to drive her to Cincinnati for a funeral. On the drive, the woman tells the story of her forbidden relationship in the 1930s with the son of their African American housekeeper. It's a dual narrative that switches back and forth between the woman's story in the 1930s and her hair dresser's story in the present time. I am really loving this book!

The high of my week was nicer weather! After SOOOO much rain over the last several weeks, we finally have sunshine and warmer temps. Yay! I don't want to say that my mood is dependent on the weather (I live in the wrong area of the country for that since our weather is volatile and often, um, not great) but the weather definitely influences my mood.

Another high was a client meeting that went really well on Thursday! I don't put a ton of effort into my clothing right now and tend to wear the same things over and over, but I put effort into my outfit for the meeting and felt really good about how I looked!


The low of my week was dealing with some back  pain. I tweaked a muscle when I picked Paul up on Monday morning. I guess that's a sign that he is getting heavier! I've been icing it and taking it easy. Hopefully it heals soon.

A recipe I made was Balsamic Chicken with roasted vegetables. I hadn't made this in years but it was pretty easy to whip up. The sheet pans were kind of a pain to clean up but over all it was a good, easy meal as I had cut up all the veggies ahead of time.




The best money spent was on a bunch of pyrex glass containers to replace all of our plastic rubbermaid/gladware containers. I've been meaning to replace our plastic as it was all pretty old and not BPA free - eeks! I only had 2 rubbermaid containers that were BPA free; I kept those and recycled everything else. I am probably going to need to buy more containers as I like to portion out leftovers into individual containers, but I've got enough glassware to get us started.

For workouts I've stuck to walks since my back is bothering me. We try to go for a 40 minute family stroller walk after work each day if our schedule and the weather permits!

My plans this weekend include going to a newish Southeast Asia street food restaurant called Hai Hai with 2 of my college friends. I've been wanting to try this restaurant for a long time. It's owned by the same person that owns another favorite place, Hola Arepa. Phil felt kind of meh about trying it so I was glad that my college friends were up for it! On Saturday we have swimming lessons in the morning but no plans besides that. I'm looking forward to a night in after having social commits on Thursday night (going away party for a colleague) and Friday night. On Sunday, Paul and I are meeting a grad school friend and her kids for lunch. We have no other plans that day either. Having 1 thing/day is optimal for us at Paul's stage of life.

Bonus Paul Pics


I've (intentionally) been on my phone less this week so only have a couple Paul picture to share. 

First up, a picture of him in his new jammies. I bought some summer pajama sets for him which are so cute!! He seems to run warm so I think he's more comfortable in short sleeves and with his feet not covered (he also wears a lightweight sleep sack). 



I had an after-work commitment on Thursday so Phil did daycare pick-up and I took the bus home. Being greeted by this cute, excited face was the best!! 



What was the high of your week? What was the best thing you spent money on?

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Memorial Day Long Weekend

We had a long weekend this past weekend and it was excellent! The weather on Monday was awful - it rained all dang day. But Friday night, Saturday and Sunday were beautiful so we spent as much time outdoors as we could! Here are some highlights from the weekend!

- I was able to leave work around 3 on Friday so I got a little extra time with Paul.

He loves playing peekaboo but keeps one eye open. Ha!

Enjoying some water and crackers!
 - On Saturday, we headed out to my MIL's around lunchtime. It was her birthday on Friday so this was her birthday weekend celebration. After spending lots of quality time with her, Phil and I went out for a date on Saturday night to celebrate our 2nd anniversary after Paul went to bed. On Sunday we went out for pizza for lunch and got ice cream afterwards. It was Paul's first time having soft serve ice cream and he LOVED it! He kept reaching for it and saying 'ma ma ma' for more!
My back seat buddy

Playing at his little table with daddy

Drumming on the table 
Paul loves slides!

Reading with grandma
 - Paul's mom bought a few new toys for Paul, including this little scooter. It has pedals that fold out so it's a toy that will grow with him. He loved it!


- As you can see, he LOVES ice cream!




- We got home on Sunday afternoon and Paul took another long nap. After his nap, we set him down on the freshly mowed grass. He was not sure what to think of it. He wouldn't crawl on it!


- We headed out for a family stroller run. Phil is way faster than me so he pushed the stroller. Even with the weight of the stroller, he was WAY faster than me. But oh well - coming back from almost 2 years off from running is HARD!


- Monday was a cold, rainy day. The last thing we needed was more rain, but we made the most of it. In the evening we got together with friends for a BBQ. It was really nice to get out of the house after being cooped up all day!

My clingy little guy. When I'm around, he wants to be on my lap or close by!

How was your weekend? Has it been super rainy where you live? Before this weekend, it was the 8th rainiest May since the 1860s but with all the rain we got on Monday, I think we've moved up the record for rainiest Mays.