Monday, July 29, 2019

"Cleaning" and "Greening" Up Our Act

Since becoming a mom, I've thought way more "clean living" which, for me, means paying attention to ingredient lists and minimizing our exposure to chemicals. It's kind of sad that it took having a child to make better, cleaner decisions for myself but so it goes! Besides wanting to limit the chemicals that Paul is exposed to, I also feel like making these changes may, to some extent, reduce my chances of getting cancer. Sadly, I know so many women who have gotten aggressive forms of breast cancer in their 30s. It's hard to know why exactly younger women are getting cancer but I do think/wonder if the chemicals in the products we use are a contributing factor.

I thought I'd share the changes we've made in case anyone else is looking to go cleaner and greener. I'm not trying to scare anyone into changing up their products. Who knows if these changes will make a difference at all! But I figure if they can reduce the odds of us getting cancer and reduce the chemicals in Paul's environment, it's worth it! Besides reducing our exposure to chemicals, we are also trying to live more greenly and use less plastics!

1. Gladware/tupperware - My first step was replacing my plastic containers with glass pyrex containers. I recycled all my containers that weren't BPA-free. I probably had 30+ containers and out of all of them, only 2 were BPA-free. Eeks. We generate and eat a lot of leftovers in our house so it wasn't cheap to replace everything. This would have been a good Christmas present idea but I didn't want to hold off until December!

2. Sunscreen - There are two kinds of sunscreen - chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreen is absorbed into your skin, absorbs UV rays, converts the rays into heat, and releases them from your body. Physical sunscreen sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun's rays. I used to use chemical sunscreen but I have made the switch to physical. I've always used physical sunscreen on Paul as that is what is recommended for children. Paul uses Babyganics and I usually just use his sunscreen instead of buying something different for myself. I like this one because it's a bit thinner and easier to apply. The downside of physical sunscreen is that it's thicker, can be harder to apply and can give your skin a white appearance. Bottom line, any sunscreen - chemical or physical - is better than no sunscreen but I've opted to go the physical sunscreen route.

3. Plastic bags - I'm really trying to reduce our use of plastic, so I purchased reusable silicon bags. We still have some plastic baggies but as we run out of them, I'm not replacing them.

4. Skincare - After looking at the ratings of some of the make-up and skincare products I've been using on the Environmental Working Group's skin deep website, I wasn't happy with how some of my products were rated. So I am gradually making the switch over to Beautycounter. So far I am using their Counter Control cleansing line, which is for acne-prone skin. I'm really happy with it so far. I'm also using their tinted moisturizer as foundation and I've been really happy with it. As I run out of make-up products, I'm going to switch over to all Beautycounter products, but it's going to be a work in progress because it's expensive! But their products are so clean so I know it's best for my body and worth the investment.

5. Switch to natural deodorant After reading about the potential harms of using deodorant with aluminum as an ingredient I made the switch to natural deodorant. I use the Schmidt’s brand, which you can buy at places like Target and I have been happy with it. It kind of had a paste-like consistency but I got used to it quickly and it has worked in the recent heat and humidity!
We still have room for improvement, though. Here are a couple of things I need to figure out:

1. Eliminate our use of plastic wraps/press and seal wraps. I don't use these all that often but it would be nice to have a reusable option. I found this article about plastic wrap replacements so will go with something on that list.

2. Stop using the plastic bags in the produce section at the grocery store. Phil does our grocery shopping so I just need to get him on board with that change as it will require bringing bags to the grocery store. He's a "green" guy, though, so I think I can get him to make this change.

3. Bring our own bags to the grocery store. This is another thing that's going to fall on Phil's shoulders. I need to buy more reusable bags before we can do this. We mostly use paper bags at the grocery store as we then use those paper bags for our compost (Minneapolis has a 'organics recycling' program). But we do occasionally use plastic bags, especially when I go to Target during the week, and I'd like to stop doing that!

Have you made any cleaner or greener changes recently?

Thursday, July 25, 2019

My Reverse Bucket List

Stephany posted a "reverse bucket list" earlier this summer and I thought I'd play along. It was kind of fun to think about things I don't care to ever do! Here's what I have come up with so far!

- Get a tattoo - way too permanent and there's nothing I feel strongly enough to permanently ink onto my body!

- Go on a Caribbean cruise - I don't think cruising is for me but I would maybe consider an Alaskan or Mediterranean cruise, but that's a big maybe as I'd rather just visit one place!

- Read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace - this is a doorstop of a book and I just have no desire to say I've read it.

- Do a Polar Plunge - in the frigid Midwest, polar plunges - which means jumping into a lake (they cut a large hole in the ice) - are a popular fundraiser activity. HARD PASS for me. I get cold so easily so this is not an experience I need to have!

- Watch or read Game of Thrones - Nope. No interest.

- Go to Las Vegas - Another hard pass for me. I may need to go here for a work conference or client visit at some point but I will never spend my own money to visit this city. I know some people love Vegas but it is just not for me! Give me an outdoorsy, quiet location with hiking options (I know you can hike outside of Vegas - still not interested in visiting this city).

- Watch an entire professional soccer match - or even half of a match! - I know some people love soccer, but I did not grow up with this sport and find it incredibly boring. I would rather watch golf on tv than soccer. I think my attention span for a professional soccer match is maybe 10 minutes? Chances are Paul will play soccer at some point during his childhood so I am sure I'll watch an entire kids' soccer match but at least those are shorter?

- Get botox. Inject botulism into my face? Hard pass. I guess I just don't care enough about eliminating wrinkles to spend money on something like this! I just hope I age as well as my mom has. Would you believe she's turning 71 next month???

- Go to Disney World. Yep, I do not want to take Paul to Disney World. I know this is a very unpopular opinion. I did not go as a child and I don't really care that I didn't have that experience. I do not like huge crowds, lines, and over-hyped (IMO), expensive experiences. Does this make me a fun hater? So be it. I'd rather take Paul to a national park or go on a low-key beach vacation. This is a topic that Phil and I disagree on so we'll see who wins out. He went a couple of times when he was a child and said it was a fun experience. I'm surprised he wants to go because it's not exactly cheap to go to Disney World (he's the most frugal person I know). I imagine a lot of people reading this post have been to and LOVED Disney and probably think it's selfish for me to not want to take our child there. But it's just not something I feel like Paul HAS to experience.

- Own a luxury vehicle. So far we have been a Toyota or Honda type of family. Maybe we'll expand into Suburu when we need a roomier car. But we'll never drive a fancy luxury vehicle. I hate driving and we drive as little as possible (my car is 3 years old and has 17k miles on it; Phil's is almost 6 years old and has around 22k miles on it), so I don't need a lush, fancy car to get me from point to point.

Your turn! What would you put on your reverse bucket list?

Monday, July 22, 2019

Currently: July 2019

There are less than 10 days left in July. Where has this month gone? Time flies when you are having fun, I guess! Here's what's currently going on with us!

Reading: Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok. This is the 3rd novel I've read by this author this summer. I really like her writing style. Plus her background of being an immigrant to the US from China and living in poverty in NYC has given her a lot personal material to draw upon. This book has a bit of a mystery to it. The oldest daughter, Sylvie, goes to the Netherlands to visit the extended family that raised her for the first 7 years of her life (her family couldn't afford to care for her when they first immigrated to NYC). But then she goes missing so the younger sister travels to the Netherlands to find her sister.

Loving: the cooler evening temps we've had the last couple of nights. After many days of running the air conditioner, it was cool enough to sleep with the windows open the last several nights. I love summer but it's been super humid here lately. The picture below was taken after a short walk with Paul after work last week. I was DRIPPING with sweat!

Feeling: like I've found a good balance of making plans and leaving our schedule open. I was a serial over-committer before I had Paul but having a child has really forced me to think before saying yes and to not over-commit. I thought this would be a harder transition for me than it has been but I find that I am loving the quieter schedule and don't feel guilty saying no to things because a no to plans is a yes to family time which I am really prioritizing.

Anticipating: our 5-day trip to the lake in August. I can't wait for some low-key time away. This will be my longest trip to the lake in years and the longest time Phil has been at the lake ever. Our trips there are usually super short so I'm looking forward to having more time to relax and enjoy time in my happy place! I think we'll have lots of grilled meals and spend lots of time outside. I know my mom and dad are super excited to get extra time with Paul, too.

Grateful: that we have air conditioning! Sleeping would be pretty miserable if we didn't have air conditioning. As I've said before, we don't love a/c but when it's about 80 degrees during the day and doesn't cool off at night, a/c is necessary for us!

Working: on some organizational projects around the house. I went through our cupboards and gathered some things I wanted to sell on Facebook. If they don't sell, we'll donate them to good will. I also organized Paul's clothes over the weekend. Next up I want to go through the piles of baby stuff in the basement and figure out what we can get rid of/what we should hold onto if/when we have a 2nd child.

Listening: to allll the podcasts as usual. A couple of new-to-me ones I've listened to lately are How to MoneyWhat Fresh Hell (parenting podcast) and Didn't I Just Feed You (podcast about cooking/meal planning for a family).

Watching: new episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee on Netflix. Phil and I both love Jerry Seinfeld so we were excited when new episodes of his show dropped. As the title implies, he drives in some sort of fancy or unique car to pick up a comedian and then they go get coffee. It's fun to watch his interactions with other comedians.

Wishing: for a really long summer. Our winters are so long so I really hope the warm, sunny weather sticks around until September or even October!!!

Bonus Paul pics!

Riding on daddy's shoulders for the first time. He loved it!

Must you always take my picture?

First time at Target - he loved it!

What's new with you? What are you currently anticipating and loving?

Friday, July 19, 2019


For some reason, this felt like the longest week. Wednesday felt like Thursday, so it felt like we had a 6-day work week for some reason. Here's what's happening in my world!

The book I'm reading is Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin. This is a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice set in a Muslim community in Toronto, Canada. This is from the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide. I'm really enjoying it so far!

An article I read was this piece about late walkers by Emily Oster, author of Cribsheets and Expecting Better. She's an economist that analyzes data related to decisions parents make (what daycare to choose, whether to breast feed, whether to get an epidural, etc). I love her non-alarmist voice on things. The (short) article on late walkers was reassuring as she reminds readers that while the average baby walks at 12 months, the range of first steps is wide: 8 to 18 months! The fact that Paul was not walking was really bothering - and then he took his first steps last night! And not just a few - many! He was really holding out on us!

The high of my week so far was watching Paul take his first steps!!! See the video below! I was obviously VERY excited! I love how instead of just taking a couple of steps, he took almost 10. He was holding out on us! I also had some fun meals out with friends. On Tuesday I went out for lunch with 2 women that I used to work with in a previous job. I met these ladies in 2007 so our lives have changed so much since we met. We don't get together as often as I'd like so there's always so much to catch up on! On Wednesday night I had my book club at a local pizza place (the owner won a James Beard award this year!) that has awesome GF pizza. I love seeing these ladies once a month!

The low of my week was Paul getting sick. Again. This summer has been a bit brutal. It's been one thing after another. I thought this would be his healthiest time of year! We had to pick him up early from daycare on Monday as he was just not his usual happy self. He had a fever and has a bad cough/cold. He seems to have inherited my awful immune system. I was a sickly kid that caught things so easily and he seems to be following in my footsteps. 

A recipe I made was one-pan sausage and pepper pasta. We made this again, even though we just had it a couple of weeks ago. I love this dish as it comes together quickly, requires very little 'active' cooking time, so is perfect for our hectic week nights, and only dirties one pot. I chop the sausage and peppers up ahead of time so it comes together extra quickly. Score! 

The best money spent was on a new Kindle paper white on Amazon prime day. My 5 year old Kindle has been a bit slow lately and doesn't hold its charge for as long as it used to. Between the prime day sale, my trade in of my Kindle and extra savings from doing a trade in, I spent $50 on the new Kindle. Plus I had a $40 amazon gift card that I got through a wellness program at work so I only spent $10. Woo hoo! I also splurged and bought a 23andme DNA kit. I've mentioned wanting to take a DNA test for awhile so Phil pushed me to buy one when it was 1/2 off on Prime day. It'll be interesting to see what my results say!

My plans this weekend include staying in tonight, which is what we usually try to do on Fridays since we are both tired. Tomorrow afternoon we are going to a family reunion for Phil's dad's side of the family. Phil's dad passed away 5 years ago, but we are still very close to his extended family. I really enjoy spending time with this group. His cousins are all waaaay older than Phil and me, like they have kids in college or kids who have graduated from college! But the age difference doesn't matter and we like hanging out with their kids, too. Plus there are no new babies so Paul gets A LOT of attention! I'm bringing a taco salad for our contribution. My aunt brought that to our 4th of July celebration. I hadn't had it in many years (seems like a kind of retro salad!) and it was so yummy! On Sunday Paul and I might hit up a farmer's market in the morning with friends and then in the afternoon we might try to go to an outdoor "Pops Symphony Orchestra" performance at a lake nearby. I love pops orchestras as they usually play fun songs like Gershwin or songs from popular movies! Hopefully it won't be too hot/humid on Sunday so we can hit that up.

Bonus Paul Pic

My little reader!

Paul carried this hedgehog toy all the way up the stairs (which is quite a process for a toddler!) to bring it to me so I would open it up (the hedgehog spikes are stored in the body). He loves this toy so much!

What was the high of your week? Did you buy anything during Prime Days?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

19 in 2019 Mid-year Update

The year is (over) half over! Where did the time go? I thought I'd check in on my 19 in 2019 list because the key to accomplishing goals it checking in on them!

Family Fun:
Go on a date with Phil once a quarter
Murray's Steak house on 3/30/19
* 2nd anniversary date at Acqua on 5/25/19
* I'm hoping we can do our 3rd quarter date while we are at the lake in August as my mom can stay with Paul. We'll likely go out after he's in bed so she doesn't have to deal with bedtime. He goes down very easily but is such a mama's boy so I don't know how he'll handle us leaving while he's awake. :/

- Go on a family outing to a state park
* I'm thinking this will happen in the fall

- Hike Inspiration Peak
* I'm hoping to do this on our way to the lake in August as it's on the way to my parents lake home.

Take swimming lessons with Paul
* We took lessons March-June and I'm planning to enroll us in the fall session. I'm so glad we did this as he seems to love the water!

- Take Paul to Wild Rumpus (amazing local kids' bookstore)
* I'm hoping to go there when my SIL and niece are in town in August!

Host a puzzle party
I hosted a birthday puzzle party in February! Puzzles are the perfect winter activity!

Try a new restaurant once a quarter
I went to BLVD with college friends in January.
* Acqua was a new-to-us restaurant that we went to for our anniversary date.
* I went to Hai Hai with college friends earlier this month. It was fun to check out a new place but I much prefer the owner's other restaurant, Hola Arepa.

Take Paul sledding at a park
* We went sledding several times in our neighborhood.

Personal Development:
Figure out my enneagram type
* I determined that I am a 1w2 this spring. I've enjoyed following some enneagram IG accounts to get further insight into my enneagram type!

- Train for and run a 10k
* This is not in progress and might be something I don't complete as I have a hard time fitting in regular runs.

Read 52 books
* I completed this goal in June, which is the earliest that I've hit my reading goal. I might end up reading 100 books this year! This goes to show that you can still find time to read after having kids!

Read all the unread books on my shelf; donate/sell any books I don't read by the end of 2019
* I read Just Mercy (excellent) and Rabbit Cake (too quirky for me) during the first quarter.
* I read The Present over Perfect (thought-provoking) and The Principles of Uncertainty (took less than 30 minutes to read this quirky book that kind of left me scratching my head).
*I think I probably have about 5 unread books left. I'm confident I'll read or donate/sell them before year end!

Try a new recipe every month
* In January I made Mini Philly Cheesesteak Meatloaves
* In February I made Sheet Pan Garlic Ginger Chicken and Broccoli
* In March I made Gluten Free Party Potatoes Deluxe
* In April I made Turkey Meatloaf. We loved this and I've made it several times since.
* In May I made Chicken Tortilla Skillet. We felt meh about this recipe.
* I did not make any new recipes in June! Oops!
* In July I made Black Bean Burgers. They were really good and I will definitely make them again! I'm also planning to make an extra new recipe this month to make up for not making one in June.

Pesky tasks:
Get a will
* This was done in March! Woot woot.

Establish an organizational system for clothes Paul has outgrown
* I bought plastic storage bins and have been organizing Paul's clothes are he grows out of each size. I need to go through a pile of 12-month stuff soon. He went through a growth spurt recently and is mostly in 18-month clothes now, with the exception of pants!

Stay up-to-date with Paul's baby book
* I had photos developed for the monthly pages of the 1st year section and put them in the book. I've been keeping up with adding notable things from his development so far.

Make a 2018 photo book
* I did this early in the first quarter when Shutterfly had a 40% off sale.

Start/maintain a 2019 photo book
* The pages for January-April are done. I'm trying to work on the pages 2 months at a time so they are fresh in my memory. This month I plan to finish the May and June pages.

Lofty goal:
- Buy our forever home (please please, universe, let this happen! We've been looking for 1.5 years!!)
* Still working on this. After narrowing our search further and increasing our price range, I am hoping we are setting ourselves up for finding the right house for us!

I've crossed 8 items off the list and am on track to complete 6 other tasks. There is only one task (running a 10k) that I'm not sure I'll complete and if that is the case, that's ok.

If you made 2019 goals, how are they coming along? What's one thing you want to accomplish before the end of the year. Can you believe there's only 5.5 months left of the year?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Weekend Highs and Lows

Happy Monday friends. There were some highs and lows, but all in all, it was a pretty good weekend. Not one I'd really want to re-live, though. Ha. Here is a summary of the highs and lows! I'll start with the lower points and end with the highs!

- Assembling this God-forsaken water table. OMG. The company that designed this did NOT consult parents or have anyone attempt to put this thing together. It was horrible to put together. You had to screw a lot of things together but they did not pre-drill the parts so it was difficult to get things properly lined up and took a lot of elbow grease to assemble. About half way through, Phil got out his drill and pre-drilled the plastic to make these easier to screw together. I pity any single parent who tries to assemble this because it definitely a two-person job.

- House hunting angst. Oh man, I will save you the long, drawn-out story about our house search but suffice it to say that after looking for a house for 22 months, Phil changed his mind about the area we are targeting. We were looking at 2 different neighborhoods but after seeing a (beautiful) house in one of those neighborhoods on Friday, he decided to just doesn't want to live there. I was prepared to convince him to make an offer as this house had so much of what we want in a house and the owners have taken such good care of it.

- Paul has a cold and was especially clingy at various points of the weekend. His naps also were not great. Being sick plus not sleeping well is a nasty combination in a toddler.

- I didn't sleep well either due to a multitude of reasons. I went downstairs to read for 20 minutes around 2 or 3 am the last 3 nights after tossing and turning for 30+ minutes. Leaving the bedroom to read helped but that's the last thing I want to be doing at that time of night.


- On Saturday morning we went for a long family walk after having a big talk about our house hunt. Honestly, I did not want Phil to come on this walk with me and Paul because I was so frustrated with him. But the 90+ minute walk was very good for us. We walked through the neighborhood we have agreed to focus on and when we got back home, I felt much better about things. Phil felt so bad about the house hunting process and how difficult he's been. I knew he felt really bad when he said, "hey, you should take a picture of Paul and me." Phil HATES having his photo taken so he never suggests that I take a photo of him!

- Phil also agreed to increase our price range for our house search which will give us a better chance of finding what we are looking for. Our price range is still well below what we can afford so we are not stretching ourselves by increasing our price range.

- He also agreed that we can hire a house cleaner. This is something I've wanted to do since having Paul but he always felt our house was small enough that we could clean it ourselves. But this weekend he conceded on this. I could not text my previous house cleaner fast enough. Ha. They are coming on Tuesday. I am ridiculously excited about having our house cleaned by someone else. We are gone 50+ hours/week between working and commuting and the weekends feel so busy with chasing a toddler around. It's going to be a game-changer to have a house cleaner again.

- Paul played with the water table on Saturday morning and he loved it. Seeing that smile made the awful assembly worth it!

- Paul and I had a play date with 2 other moms and their kiddos on Sunday morning. We went to a park that also had a little wading pool. It was so hot and humid so we spent most of our time in the pool. We were too busy wrangling our kids to take any photos!

- I also had a fun girls dinner on Sunday evening with 3 college friends. Paul was very crabby and whiny so I was not sad to head out and miss the tail end of his day. ;) But I left at 5:30 and he goes to bed at 6:30 so Phil only solo-parented for an hour, and a good chunk of that time was spent feeding him dinner.

Writing this out was helpful as there were more highs than lows. It's hard to properly convey how frustrating our house-hunting process has been but I feel like Phil and I made some progress this weekend and I'm hopeful that narrowing our search and increasing our price range will result in us finding the right house for us. I will be so glad when we find a house and can be done looking. People will often say how fun it is to house hunt. I do not agree at all, but inventory is so low and we are looking for something very specific so that makes our house search more challenging! I'm trying to trust it will all work out! Luckily our current house is just fine but once we get pregnant with a 2nd child, we'll really need to find something as our house is too small for 2 kids.

What were some of the highs and lows of your weekend?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

My "Me" Day

Me time is hard to come by as a mom of a young toddler. Phil encourages me to take time for myself on the weekend but I have a hard time doing that since I'm away from Paul about 50 hours a week. :/ But I know that taking time for myself makes me a better mom so I have decided to try to take a day off each quarter for some me time.

Flipping through a Little Blue Truck Book before heading to the ENT
Yesterday was my "me day" for the 3rd quarter of the year. It started out with some non-me activities as I had to take Paul in for his 6-month ENT check-up. The hearing test and check-up went well. The NP we saw is hopeful that Paul's tubes last until March. They last about a year and he got them in late November. I really hope the NP is right as it would be better for them to fall out after cold and flu season! We will see what happens!

He of course screamed and cried when I did drop off. I am so glad Phil does it most of the time. He does not cry when daddy drops him off! I am sure he recovered quickly but it's tough to leave a screaming baby!

I needed a "reset" on my day after the crying drop off, so when I got home I headed out for a 3.5 mile run. I ran to the huge bronze bunny that is about 2 miles from our house. I have no idea why there is a huge, bronze bunny but it's a fun and unique landmark! I ran without my Garmin which is something I do now that I'm not training for a race. If I saw my pace, I think I'd feel bad about myself and compare my pace to my pre-baby pace. So it's better for me to just run for the sake of running!

After my run, I got cleaned up and headed out for lunch. I had a haircut at 12:45 so I had a leisurely lunch at a local French restaurant close to the hair salon. I sat outside and enjoyed a glass of crisp white wine with my salad. It was delightful to eat alone!

I did not take a picture of my haircut as I didn't wear make up yesterday (I don't wear make up on days when I don't work!). My haircut/color turned out great, though. My hair girl has been doing my hair for 10+ years so getting my hair cut is like catching up with a great friend!

When I got home, I laid on the couch for a bit and did some reading. Oscar immediately jumped up to keep me company!

Around 3, I went to pick up Paul and we stopped by a friend's house as she was off work and was home with her 2 boys. We stayed for about an hour. It was fun to catch up!

When we got home we played for a bit and then I made dinner. We are going to try to sit down and eat dinner as a family 3-4 nights a week. Eating together is supposed to help toddlers eat better. This picture was taken before Paul threw hand fulls of rice across the table.... :/ This toddler eating thing is HARD. He wouldn't eat any of the stir fry or the rice so he had bread with peanut butter and some banana. *Shrugs shoulders*

Aside from the frustrating dinner, it was a really lovely day! If you find it hard to take time for yourself, especially if you are a working mom, I highly encourage you to consider using your PTO to give yourself some me time! I am fortunate to get a lot of vacation time and now that we don't travel much anymore, there's plenty of vacation time available to use on myself!

When was the last time you set aside "me time"? 

Monday, July 8, 2019

4th of July at the Lake

Paul and I had a nice getaway to the lake for the 4th of July holiday. I'll let the pictures mostly do the talking!

We got to the lake around 11 am on Wednesday morning. The drive up to the lake was so so. Paul kind of cried on and off. He is not the best traveler and does not like to sleep in the car. :/ My brother and his boys were already at the lake so Paul got to see cousin Matthew. Paul gets lots of attention from his cousins but he is obsessed with Matthew!

After lunch and Paul's nap, we got our suits on and headed outside for some outdoor fun.

He had fun playing in the sand.
He didn't show much interest in playing in the water, so after lots of sand time, I gave him a bath and we headed outside for more outside time.

The 4th of July was on Thursday. We laid low at my parents for most of the day. Paul is still not walking but he loves to walk along furniture and climb on things. His newest obsession was climbing up and down by the fireplace.

He's still not a fan of grass, so he spent a lot of time on his cat blanket outdoors.

That evening, my dad's family gathered at my uncle's house for dinner. We drove over there but only stayed for about an hour and left around 6:15. I spent most of that hour wrangling Paul and didn't really get a chance to talk much with family. Such is life when you have a toddler!

On Friday, my dad's family came over to my parents in the afternoon. Unfortunately Friday was the crappiest weather day. It was overcast in the morning and then rained from 1-4pm. We had 42 people at my parents so it was a huge crowd. Most people hung out in the garage so it worked out ok. The weather cleared off later in the day so we were able to have our annual bean bag tournament! I did poorly this year which I was fine with! I once again didn't really feel like I talked much with family. I had a lot of brief conversations with people but that was about it. Paul was very overwhelmed by all the people/new faces so he was not his usual happy self!

While all the face overwhelmed Paul, he did really enjoy cousin time!

Evelyn and Paul
Reading with cousin Matthew
I didn't get any pictures of Paul with my parents but he was also obsessed with them - especially my dad. He would get excited and say "papa" whenever he saw my dad and he now calls my mom "nana."

Since Phil wasn't able to join us at the lake (he worked Wednesday and Friday) we drove back on Friday night around Paul's bedtime. I was able to pack and load up the car while Matthew entertained Paul!

After I had the car loaded up, I quickly ate so we could hit the road. I had a lot of food to choose from and it was all soooo good, especially the smoked brisket my brother made!

Paul typically does not like meat but he grabbed a hunk of brisket from my plate! Ha!
Mmmm! Give me all your brisket!
My plan to leave around Paul's bedtime - 7 pm - was an epic fail. He did not sleep on the drive home. He took a couple of 5 minute cat naps but cried on and off for much of the drive and he basically screamed for the last 30 minutes. I knew he was very overtired at this point. I was not in a good mood when I got home as it's tough to drive with a screaming toddler. :/ So I put Paul to bed and went straight to bed!

I woke up on Saturday morning to find that Phil had unloaded the car and unpacked everything. He could tell I had a rough drive so wanted to do something to offset the crappy drive home! Saturday was a warm, humid day. A college friend and her daughter came over in the morning for a walk in our neighborhood and we went on another walk in the late afternoon. We also spent time outside in our backyard. Even though Paul is a total mama's boy, he was very happy to be reunited with daddy!

Sunday was not a fun day... Paul threw up in the morning - right after we put him in the car seat to go to a lake for a walk. :/ He wouldn't eat anything that morning for breakfast but I thought he was just being a picky toddler. But I guess he was not feeling well. We were supposed to get together with a friend for a play date that morning and Phil's mom was going to come over for dinner but we canceled all those plans. Paul ended up taking 2 90-minute naps and was very tired in general, but he didn't throw up again thank goodness! By the end of the day he was back to his happy self. He is such a puker. I have lost track of the # of stomach bugs he's had! It's A LOT. I really hope we get a long healthy stretch this summer!

How was your Independence Day or Canada Day celebration?

Monday, July 1, 2019

What We Read in June

2019 is turning out to be a banner year of reading for me! I met my goal of reading 52 books in mid-June! I knew I'd easily hit this goal, but this is the earliest I've ever hit it. Maybe this will be the year that I read 100 books? We'll see! I read 10 books this months. The bolded titles were my favorite reads.

Light, Summer Reads

Hope and Other Punch Lines - This is a YA novel about 2 New Jersey teens whose lives were gravely impacted by the 9/11 attacks. 16 years later, the protagonists are still working through their grief and dealing with the aftermath of such a tragic attack. The subject-matter is sad but there's also a love story which makes this a lighter read.

The Hating Game - This is a fun romance novel about two coworkers who work closely together but hate each other. Except do they really hate each other? I rarely read romance novels but this one came highly recommended and did not disappoint!

Field Notes on Love - This is another YA novel. The main protagonist was supposed to go on a train trip across the US with his girlfriend before they start their freshman year of college. Except she breaks up with him weeks before the trip. The tickets are in her name so he needs to find another girl with the same name to come along with him. This was a sweet, delightful read.

Maybe in Another Life - This is the book equivalent of the movie, Sliding Doors. It looks at how different the protagonist's life would be if she made one decision differently.

Heavier Fiction Reads

List to the Marriage - The entire book takes place in the office of a marriage therapist over the course of 10 months as a couple decides whether to stay together or get divorced. You get to be a voyeur and witness the decisions and behaviors, some of which are maddening, of two flawed people. This is my book club's July read and I think the conversation about the book is going to be interesting.

Christadora - This has been on my to-read list for such a long time but I finally got around to reading it since the eBook was available at the library. It's about a group of people who live in the Christadora, a building in Manhattan's East Village. This book can be challenging to follow as the time frame jumps around from the 1980s to the 2010s and it does not move linearly. The point-of-view also changes. There were times when I struggled to keep the cast of characters and how they were related straight but in the end, it works and it's a novel that really stuck with me.

Goodbye, Paris - When I picked up this book, I thought it would fall under the light, summer read category. But since it deals with infidelity, heart ache, and rebuilding your life, it was a heavier read with moments/aspects of levity. Music and creating string instruments is another feature of the story, which I enjoyed!

Our Souls at Night - This was a quiet, beautiful novel about two windowed neighbors who love, solace and comfort in each other's company.

Non-fiction Reads

Shoe Dog - This will go down as one of my favorite reads of 2019. It's the co-founders memoir about the creation of the company/brand, Nike. I did not expect this to be such a page turner but I had the hardest time putting it down each night. It made me want to go out and buy a pair of Nikes!

What No One Tells You - This is a new release written by 2 reproductive psychologists about the emotional side of pregnancy and motherhood. I wish this book had been available when I was pregnant with Paul. I ended up skimming a lot of the book since I'd been through it already but it was still an interesting read. Pregnancy books tend to focus on the physical experience of pregnancy but the emotional side is equally important IMO as you have so many different hormones coursing through your body which cause a very strong emotional response. As a super logical fairly unemotional person, it was hard to feel that my emotions were not in my control!

Paul's Reads

I bought a bunch of Usbourne books last winter when a friend hosted a virtual Usbourne books party. I pulled them out recently as I needed some new books (it's easy to get sick of books when you read them over and over and over again)! Paul has been super into the interactive touch and feel, finger trail, and lift-the-flap books I got. He seems to especially like the book about dinosaurs. It has a bunch of pages with features that "slide" - like the eggs that hatch on the far left picture below.

We always have a huge pile of books on an end table next to our rocking chair. He loves to sort through these books and will either page through them on his own or will crawl over and lift a book up which is his way of saying "read this to me, mama!"

He still prefers that I read to him but will occasionally sit on dad's lap for a book. Phil's cousin sent him "Go, Dog, Go" after I posted on Facebook how excited he gets when he sees dogs when we are out for a walk. This book is not a board book, though, and it seems to have too many words on the pages for his attention span! But I'm sure he'll like it when he's a bit older.

His favorite new book is the "Wheels on the Bus" book that Grandma Joan got him for our road trip to the lake. I think he over-used the song button as only part of the song plays now!