Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Club: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Remember months ago (before Noah was born) when I decided to read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks?  That's probably because it was sooooo many months ago.  Oh well.  I did read it.  I read it like that next week.  I was just a little uninspired.  Don't get me wrong, it was a great book but I expected to be angry at the way a woman was taken advantage of and I expected some solutions as to how we could help but really I was just reminded that so many people in this country live a life that is like living in a developing country--they have no health care, they are uneducated and their lives seem hopeless.  I wasn't outraged, I was disheartened.  I am thankful for Henrietta Lacks and I wish that her family had a better life.

Since then I've been reading mystery novels and I just reread all of the Harry Potter books.  Reading books that entertain and require little brain power has helped corral the emotional nightmare of not being able to nurse a second baby (feeding takes up a lot of time during the day and if you have a book open that requires your attention but not your brain power you can push aside all other feelings of guilt).  With Claire I assuaged my guilt by telling myself that it would come easier the second time and that I would be able to nurse this baby with only occasional bottles. Wrong. This time around was even worse.  my doctor told me that it could have to do with some underlying medical conditions I have (when did I become old enough to have underlying medical conditions?) and then Noah's doctor told me not to worry about it, that he would be fine and that I was doing the best I could (easier said than done and even writing this I could break into tears.)  So we're weaning.  And I'm hoping that I can be cool with it and maybe tackling a really hard and hearty book will help.

This week on Fresh Air I heard Hilary mantel talking to Terry Gross about her new book Bring Up the Bodies which just won the Booker Prize (and I just have to say that Terry is not my favorite NPR personality.  Asking a guest if she would rather be beheaded with the ax or the guillotine is pretty much a recipe for air time awkward silence) and I was fascinated.  Historical fiction about Henry and Ann Boleyn--seems right up my alley.  I downloaded it last night and I can tell it's going to be a slow read.  Remember moby Dick?  Yeah, that kind of slow but I feel like we're going to love it.  So read on.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cleaning time

Have you seen this quote on pinterest?

Every time I say it to myself I add, "But if you feel like you're going to rip your eyes out if you have to calmly answer your toddler one more time as she follows you around asking what you're doing over and over again just turn on the vaccuum.  If you don't hear it in the first place you can hardly listen earnestly"

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Embrace it

Claire and I are sitting on the couch together.  I haven't been on the computer in days (unless you count watching some netflix with the hubbs a couple of days ago and watching The Mindy project while I folded laundry before bed last night.  Are you watching the Mindy project?  You should. Totally hilarious).  I haven't been on the computer because my kids can't seem to ever nap at the same time.  And yesterday they were tag-team crying.  Claire cried all morning and Noah cried all afternoon.  So now Claire is watching youtube videos while I sit and actually write something.

I've tried to not let her watch TV or videos very often.  I think that's going to have to change. It's cold and snowy here today and if either of us are going to keep our sanity we may just have to embrace youtube videos.  We've already taken to going to McDonalds about once a week to get an ice cream and play on the indoor playground.  99 cents (the price of a cone) for unlimited playtime and kids who all excitedly talk to us in other languages (including the darling-est, chubbiest, Hispanic girl who ran up to Claire, said hello and took a big bite of her ice cream.  Claire looked at me and said, "maybe we should come back when our friend goes home").  Worth every penny.

My Uncle Mike died yesterday.  He has been battling cancer for a couple of years.  He moved into my parent's house about 6 months ago and then two weeks ago he moved to a home because he needed more care than my parent's could provide.

In junior high and high school I used to describe Uncle Mike as my relative who was stuck in the 70's.  He wore terrible, polyester clothing and thick horn rimmed glasses (that would be highly coveted by any hipster today).  I am embarrassed to say that my descriptions weren't very kind.  I didn't realize that Uncle Mike wasn't making a decision to be the way he was.  I didn't realize that his complete awkwardness and the way he would spend whole family parties not making eye contact were most likely symptoms of undiagnosed developmental disorder like autism.  Because Uncle Mike lived with what we think was an untreated developmental disorder he didn't really have meaningful relationships and aside from his siblings, he didn't have anyone to be with him at the end.  He didn't have anyone to talk to and mourn with.  He never married, never had kids, to my knowledge never had any kind of meaningful relationship with any member of the opposite sex.  His family tried to take care of him.  One family had him to Sunday dinner for years, one family come stay every summer for a week but Uncle mike was hard to love.

One of the things I have been grateful for in this season of Thanksgiving is that I do have meaningful relationships with others because I have seen what the end is like when you do not.  I am grateful for friends, family, and parents who taught me to love.  Yesterday I went to the bathroom leaving the kids snuggled on my bed.  When I came back this is what I found.

It is one of the most touching and moving parts of parenting for me to see my children show love in the way my parents showed me.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Watch This Right Now

It feels like the only thing I ever do here is talk about things. You know that Elanor Roosevelt quote,

"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people."

Can we add that small minds also discuss things?  I'm a little small minded these days but I swear it's because I've found some awesome stuff lately.  Like this.

Which Claire will be receiving as soon as it is available.

And in other "thing" news I just found out what I'm giving my whole  family for Christmas.  The Sweater Boys Calendar of last year was not quite the hit I expected.  I'm still going to order this years because seriously.....

Really.  Seriously?  How could this not be the best present you have ever received?

Greatest. Calendar. Ever. And I will be keeping it for myself.

my family will all be getting the best child-entertainment system Pinterest has given me to date.  I'll post a tutorial as soon as I send out a load of them to our long distance friends because I'm pretty sure we are going to need testimonials and pictures to convince you all that you should give them to your whole family too.  I will just tell you that there are only 4 ingredients.

1. Popsicle sticks
2. Rubber Bands
3. The tops of milk jugs
4. Pom Poms

I myself was entertained for probably 45 minutes this afternoon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Carry on, Warrior

This week I spoke in my church.  The person who coordinates the meetings asked me to speak on a great talk by the Prophet of our church called "Finding Joy in the Journey." It's good.  In it he says, "If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will--to your surprise--miss them profoundly."

And then, per my record with trying to speak on what they ask me to speak on, I changed the topic entirely and instead of talking about finding joy in the journey I talked about this incredible article on parenting from the Huffington Post (which you should read).  It's an article written by a woman who is responding to all of the older women who come up to her when she is out and about with her 3 young children and tell her to carpe diem because this time goes so quickly and your children will be gone before you know it.

She says,

I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.
And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers -- "ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU'LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN'T!" TRUST US!! IT'LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!" -- those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.
She has a great way of measuring success (which you should read--it's the end of the article and it will make you cry) but the thing I've been thinking about it just a little humorous line where she decides what she is going to say when she is an older woman talking to young mothers.  Instead of telling women to enjoy every minute of it, she is going to say, ""It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out.""
And that, my friends, is what I want to say, whether it's parenting, a job, an athletic endeavor, a relationship, school or any other worth-while endeavor you are pursuing
It's helluva hard, isn't it? 
Carry On.

I wanted to love these

I really wanted to love the Little Green Pouch (and I still kind of do because they have made yogurt for breakfast a total dream) but as I've had them less than 2 weeks and half of them have already had the closure break I'm gonna say it's a no go--because they're not cheap.

If they clocked in at say $1 a piece I'd still be ordering them but at $4.50 a pouch they are just not worth it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I did it

This week I went back to the gym.  It's taken a while because there aren't any gyms in my new town where they watch kids.  Luckily I have a new friend who also likes to work out and she and I swap babysitting in the morning so we can both get a short workout.

The trouble with my new gym, Blink, (don't worry 24 Hour Fitness, I'll be back when Noah is 6 months old and he can come with me though the fact that your Bronx location {which is really close to my house} doesn't have a parking lot is going to throw a serious wrench in the works) is that it's completely no frills (which is why they only charge $15 a month).  You walk in and in half of the gym there are rows and rows and rows of cardio machines.  On the other side there are some free weights and strength machines.  That's it.  No mats, no yoga, no classes just machines and weights.

I've been running.  3 years ago I ran the Boulder Bolder 10 K and since then I haven't run more than a mile at a single time.

So....who has ideas about a training schedule or plan?  Maren? Kate?  Other ladies who have had babies and then started running and loved it?

(And just for the record I'm counting it as a major success that I did not wet my pants the first time I turned the treadmill up to a 10 min mile)

This is how ripped my legs are going to be someday

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A little late night inspiration

It's nearly 10 pm and the dishes aren't done and we have no clean bottles so I can't just leave them until tomorrow.  I walked into the office collecting bottles and looking for my phone so I could listen to a podcast while I cleaned.  Then I got distracted and then I read this which is brilliant.

And per my m.o.(because I'm not sure all of you will click over and read it) I am going to quote a large portion of it here.  This is an open letter to all of the people (especially the mormons) on facebook who are posting about how the world is going to end now that Romney lost and how they are going to start stockpiling food (as a friend pointed out this could actually be just the economic push we need to really get the economy going. Well played Obama. Well played)

 Any time you hear that our country is getting more wicked, let me just let pictures tell you how I feel.
In this country, our moral issues are a little lopsided. We’re voting on this:

Instead of this:
Yep. We’re heading into moral decay alright. What, with our huge priorities in order. There’s nothing like two adults holding hands to bring in utter and awful devastation of children and the family. Oh wait…
Listen, I know money is tight. Times are rougher than you’ve seen for a while (unless you lived through the plague, the world wars, the great depression.) I’m not saying you have to be happy about it. Is ringing the bell of death knell really the way you want to react? Really?
That “end” you’re afraid of? The utter devastation and fear and poverty? The neighbor-stealing-your-food-at-gun-point sort of nightmare? Um, yeah. That’s already happened. It’s been happening for thousands of years.
You don’t want to lose your home or job. You’re worried about groceries and gas? Yeah, welcome to the rest of the world:
What? You don’t want to be like them? Me either, but I think we’re a ways from that.
Speaking of pride cycles, we might want to check ourselves if we start thinking that the end for us, looks like what 90% of the world looks like. We might want to see if maybe we’re a little spoiled if we watched those scary election results on our big screened TV’s in our warm homes and lamented on how “it’s all going to end.”

And for the rest of you who supported my candidate 

*****virtual high five*****

I can not wait to see what this man (and this amazing woman who is along side him) is/are going to do next! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The newest pop sensation

This summer at the San Diego Zoo there were extra entertainers for the zoo when it was open later in the evenings.  Claire loved it.  He favorites were a trampoline melodrama (the people who jump) and a small acrobatic show (the people who swing). She talks about the people who jump and the people who swing constantly still.  I had to tell her that they went home (because after labor day they weren't at the zoo anymore).  At least once a day she'll turn to me and say, "who went home?"  To which I am supposed to reply "the people who jump."  The hubbs described her obsession by saying, "This is almost like a movie where dance changes the life of an inner-city youth {this happens to be one of my favorite movie genres}.  Do we need to put her in trampoline lessons?"

Both of the performances were set to catchy pop songs.  A couple of weeks ago she asked me to sing the people who jump song.  I told her I didn't know it and out of nowhere she said, it goes "Here's my number.  Call me maybe."

I was stunned.  Of course I knew the song.  We looked it up on youtube.  And because the video isn't kid friendly I downloaded the song.

Since then we have played it over and over.  This morning we have probably already heard it 10 times.

I could not be more proud.

And though my little brother thinks she's asking me not to take a picture I think she's wanting me to take a picture.  You be your own judge.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

After the Storm

Today is the first day we have internet back and it feels nice to be connected to the world again.  It's been a little surreal.  A friend who lives in Manhattan said that it feels a little like a tale of two storms.  There are people who live less than 15 miles from where I do whose lives have been ripped apart.  My world has been nothing more than inconvenienced--no internet, the hubbs having to camp out on the floor of Starbucks so he could get the train schedule.  I spent the afternoon looking at pictures of the storm and it's heart breaking.

And I guess....with is what I viewed of the storm.  There isn't any flooding or heart break--just wind and rain and extra days with the hubbs at home and no internet.

Sidewalk chalking with dad on cardboard boxes while looking out the storm door

Before the storm we stocked up on play-doh thanks to a gift card from the hubbs work mates in San Diego

Claire picked out Noah's outfit on Tuesday.  This picture sums up perfectly how each  of them felt about the situation

On our way to the park post storm

Noah on Halloween

Claire in her peacock costume

Trying to take a Halloween picture for posterity.  Claire had to pause to have a little candy snack

After trick or treating I caught her hiding in my room sharing her candy with our friend Syd