Tuesday, January 31, 2017

lately

It's no secret that I do not like Donald Trump. I went to a rally at Hopkins airport over the weekend to protest his new immigration ban.


Elden saw me making my sign and we talked a little about dissent and standing up for causes you believe in. He wanted to make some signs as well, so we asked him if he could change anything about our house what would it be? Well...
#miniactivist
In other family news, we got these awesome 4 generation pictures over the last few weeks and they mean a lot to me:

We also got the results back on Etta's hip ultrasound: she doesn't have developmental dysplasia! One thigh must just be chubbier than the other.

Monday, January 30, 2017

etta (11 weeks old)

We. are. not. sleeping. I don't have the slightest clue as to what's going on, but all weekend we resorted to bed-sharing. Etta sleeps much better this way and I can't really understand why, but we are in major survival mode right now. She is still eating well. We have been trying to tweak the schedule to find one that works best for her. We seem to have mornings figured out but by lunch time it all goes to heck. Etta drools like crazy so maybe teeth? Elden was a particularly early teether (4 by 4 months old) and he drooled as much as Etta does. I don't know and I've stopped trying to wrap my mind around all of it. But we are holding it together the best we can and hoping for better days (nights), whenever that may be.

Friday, January 27, 2017

five on friday

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{1} As part of my effort to live more minimally, I have gotten rid of basically every sweater I owned because they were all way too small (and I actually only bought 1 of them; the rest were either secondhand from friends or gifts). Except now I don't have any sweaters of the cardigan type variety. I LOVE this one (and also the fact that it is ethically produced) but I can't bring myself to spend that much on a sweater. Back to the drawing board.

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{2} It's tax season. I got my W-2's and now I'm just waiting on the other tax statements (student loans, 401(k), etc.) so I can file away. It's looking like we might get a decent return this year (thanks, Etta!) but we will likely be using it to pay off our van. This year and last year I used the free version of H&R Block.

{3} I've talked about them before, but these ten-minute pickles are EVERYTHING (and Shannan is hands down one of my favorite bloggers ever). Elden requested I make them again while we were grocery shopping the other day and I had everything except the cucumber on hand so I happily agreed. I threw them together last night and naturally he turned his nose up at them and insisted on the store-bought ones in our fridge instead. Edith, however, scarfed down approximately 2/3 of them right before her bath. Looks like I'll be picking up another cucumber this weekend!

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{4} Elden has this nightlight (he calls it his 'Christmas light' because my sister got it for him for Christmas a few years back). Edith is at the point now where she insists she is scared of the dark and has mentioned wanting a light like Elden's. Looking into getting her this version because $$.

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{5} We are planning on flying Southwest to Atlanta in the fall. There are no flights posted yet for that time so we aren't sure what we're going to be looking at from a financial commitment, but if the current fares are any indicator it will probably cost us somewhere between $600-$1000 for the five of us. I remembered a friend of mine telling me about how he had opened a Southwest credit card before he made a cross-country move because if you spend $2000 in the first 3 months you get 50,000 bonus points for your Southwest rewards account. Based on my investigation, I'm pretty confident we could pay for all five of us in points if we had that many. We are still responsible for taxes on the flights and there's a $69 annual fee on the credit card, but $50 in tax + $69 annual fee is still a whole lot less than $600-$1000 on airfare. If we switch all our necessary spending to the credit card over the next three months (water bill, groceries, gas, etc.) we should be able to hit that $2000 pretty easily without accruing interest at an ungodly rate. What are your money-saving travel tips?

Linking up with AmyKatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

what's up wednesday

Linking up with MelSheaffer, and Shay!


What we're eating this week:

skinny artichoke baked pasta:
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creamy asparagus soup:
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chicken parmesan

apple cranberry walnut salad:

What I'm reminiscing about:

Three years ago I was in Chicago surprising my former college roommate (and one of my current besties) for her birthday!



Happy (now belated) birthday, Angela! You are selfless, strong, intelligent, and beautiful and I am grateful I get to call you a friend.

What I'm loving:

These reusable nursing pads. I have to admit that I was skeptical of them at first (I have a very forceful letdown and was sure I would soak through) but I have not once leaked and they are SO SOFT. I highly recommend them. They also have heart shaped daytime ones that don't wrinkle so they are more discreet, but I'm not crazy about these because they seem to move around a lot for me. I mostly only use them if all my overnight ones are in the wash, so if I had a do-over I'd just buy the overnight ones.

What we've been up to:

Work, preschool, surviving, etc. We just celebrated my mom's and Jon's dad's birthdays this past weekend so that was a lot of fun.

What I'm dreading:

The next four years.

What I'm working on:

Honestly, nothing. I really enjoy making wooden signs but between work, trying to mom, and trying to keep our house inhabitable I just don't have the energy or time to devote to any sort of hobby. It would probably benefit all five of us if I made time, though...

What I'm excited about:

Our Atlanta trip for Sally's wedding! Yes, it is about nine months away, but I did book our Airbnb already (and it's less than a mile from the venue)! We are throwing around the idea of taking the kids to the aquarium and/or children's museum on that trip, but if anyone has any suggestions for places to see (or restaurants to eat at) I'm all ears!

What I'm watching/reading:

We finally finished Parks and Rec and I almost cried when it was over. Right now we are back to making our way through Drunk History and we recently started The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

And I'm still not reading anything.

What I'm listening to:



What I'm wearing:

I'm still in the weird limbo of not having clothes that fit me particularly well. I've been dieting and I am within 3 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight, but I also have another 5-10 I'd like to lose on top of that. I did recently purge a ton of my clothes that I didn't really wear pre-pregnancy and I am waiting until I am done dieting to get rid of any others to see what fits best. However, I have been hardcore window shopping at Rent the Runway for Sally's wedding (in October... #TypeA) and I'm loving these:
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What I'm doing:
A whole lot of arguing on the internet. Definitely not always remaining Christlike (and trying to be better about that). But I swear, if I hear one more person say Obama canceled the National Day of Prayer I am going to lose my marbles.

What I'm looking forward to next month:

i think this may have been one of our first photos together? taken on my trusty flip phone (aka no filter necessary)
On February 6th, Jon and I will be celebrating a decade of (officially) dating. We don't have any current plans to celebrate but we usually do something (a combo Valentine's Day / dating anniversary) in February. I think last year we may have made ourselves a nice meal in? I'm not sure, but we are way overdue for a date and now that Etta is on the bottle I am hoping we can truly get away for an hour or two just us.

What else is new: 

I've really been struggling with feeling isolated lately. Between the postpartum depression, election-linked opinions and being a working mom when most of my friends are SAHMs, there just seems to be a whole lot of loneliness. I've talked about this before and I'm sure the cabin fever that accompanies winter isn't helping. I definitely have picked up on a lot of "not that into you" vibes from people I've cared deeply about so that stings. I'm trying to let it roll off but when it becomes apparent that you are the only one putting much effort into your relationship it sucks.

Monday, January 23, 2017

mom life mondays

I'm currently in survival mode. Between the postpartum depression, the sleep deprivation and the current state of affairs of our government I am doing everything I can to keep my head above water. 

I couldn't participate in the women's march over the weekend, but I was cheering on the multiple women I knew who went to both the main march in D.C. as well as sister marches all over the country. I am gravely concerned about the future of this country and what it will mean for these three:

On a less political note, Etta has been looking more like Jon to me lately:

Edith is as obsessed as ever with her babies:

Elden is working to establish his autonomy which has been hairy at times (but he is still a total sweetheart through and through):

The PPD medications have been helping but I have still had some bad nights, plus some side effects that I'm not crazy about. Jon is still the best stay at home dad in the entire universe. He took Edith to dance class over the weekend (it was daddy/daughter day) and she had a blast with him. Elden is starting to prefer him over me in terms of playing, though Etta is unusually attached to me (unusual in the sense that neither of the older kids preferred me over Jon at her age) and I'm wondering if she trauma bonded to me during her bili light experience (the only time she was out from under the lights in those 24 hours was when I was nursing her). It's so tiring but I know this is a season and I will miss these days when they are older.

linking up with jeeyoung.

etta (10 weeks old)

At 10 weeks old, Etta is 12 pounds (59th percentile) and 2' tall (95th percentile). We had about 3 really good nights of sleep with her this past week but have since gone back to waking every 3 or so hours to nurse at night. Etta is happiest right after nursing and will give you a boatload of smiles regardless of how little she slept prior to that moment. She is cooing more each day and is definitely alert to the chaos of her surroundings. Etta is drinking around 4.5-5 ounces in her bottles now and her favorite past time is pooping in the bath.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

digit

I really want to take the kids to Disney one day - just not until they are older and we have the finances to do so. Since our trip would require airfare + hotel + meals + car rental + Disney tickets, odds are we are looking at a good $4000 trip when it comes down to it. Since I want to wait until Etta is at least 4 to go, that gives us four years to save without stressing too much about how we will come up with the money.
some of digit's text commands

I just recently starting using a tool called Digit in an attempt to set money aside. You link up your checking account and digit analyzes your income and spending to pull aside small amounts of money during the month into a separate account. It's free to use, you can withdraw from the account at any time, you can add extra money to the account, etc. It also has an overdraft guarantee and no fees or minimums. Thinking about spending $5 on coffee? Transfer that $5 instead. Since you don't see the account regularly, you won't be tempted to spend anything and it will all add up. The website interface is clean and easy to use, and the transactions are all completed via text message. I'm really excited about having a separate "fun" savings account outside of our regular savings, which I try to relegate to strictly emergency purchases.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

etta (9 weeks old)

I'm not exactly sure what's happened, but Etta's nights have been abysmal. Maybe it's a growth spurt or a mental leap, but we are suffering in a big way. In spite of the shockingly small amount of sleep Etta is getting, she still smiles at me when I nurse her in the morning, so at least there's that redeeming factor. She can now intentionally roll from belly to back. She has been taking about 4.5 ounces per bottle while I'm at work. Etta is also practicing talking and giving her vocal cords a workout. We haven't yet had her 2-month well check (it's this week) so I'm not exactly sure of her stats just yet, but once we finish out the current pack of size 1 diapers it seems to be time to move on to size 2. Etta also wears mostly 3M and 3-6M clothes now.

Monday, January 16, 2017

on emotional health

Some of my earliest memories were spent in art therapy. I was a complicated child - diagnosed with anxiety, mild OCD and some intense perfectionism at a very early age. In elementary school I would hit my head with a hairbrush until my scalp bled if I got a math problem wrong. The oddest part of all of it is that my parents never expected perfection. I was told time and time again that trying my hardest was all that mattered to them. It wasn't so for me, though. I expected myself to be the best at everything. If I wasn't, I needed to punish myself.

In middle school, with the onset of hormones and the realization that I actually had no friends at all, I spun into depression. It culminated in one night my eighth grade year when I was inadvertently committed until some misunderstandings were clarified the next day. Zoloft was a part of my story for quite some time.

I eventually weaned off the medications. I was okay - sometimes. 

The past few weeks have been exceptionally challenging for me. I've thought thoughts I haven't had in years. I want to shut down. Everything feels hopeless. Jon and I have been fighting and I don't want to see anyone or do anything. I want my bed and the dark and the solitude.

And then late last week I decided to research postpartum depression. I thought PPD was something that happened instantly. While this can be true for most, I found out that many women don't develop it until 2-3 months postpartum. Many of the symptoms were things I had been feeling or thinking since Etta was about 6 weeks old. At the urging of a few trusted friends, I made an appointment with my OBGYN.

After talking for a bit, I walked out with a new Zoloft prescription and a 4-week follow up. I was instructed to move it up to two weeks if things continue to get worse. To be honest, I'm not sure where I'd be if it hadn't been for Jon the past few weeks. He has kept me safe, as grounded as one can, and taken on the caretaker role (of me) as well. We have been far from perfect, but I've been humbled by the sacrifice and understanding he's had with me. 

It's hard to be positive right now, but putting on airs isn't me. My life is messy and I'm not always pleasant to be around, and that's okay. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

five on friday

Before I get into this post, I got a lot of positive feedback on my post about Trump from the perspective of a Christian female. I know not everyone agrees with my opinion but I was grateful that all discussions that occurred both here and on my personal Facebook page remained civil and mature. Thank you for your kind words and love towards each other - that is exactly what we need more of.

The cute. The relaxation. The being home with them while it's daylight. Need.
{1} The freaking weekend. Perhaps it's because Etta and Elden have collectively kept us up most of the night all week, or maybe it's the fact that this is my first full week back to work since early November, but this has felt like the week that never ends. Not only am I looking forward to this weekend, but I need this weekend.

{2} Affordable ballet wear for toddlers. Did you know Target has an entire line of toddler ballet shoes, leotards, tights, etc? I didn't want to spend a ton of money on ballet clothes for Edith since (1) she'll outgrow them quickly and (2) only time will tell if she actually likes dance and continues with it. When I found everything I wanted to get her for $20 or less (plus, at the time I purchased, BOGO half off) I was beyond thrilled. In the meantime, if anyone has suggestions of where I can find cheap toddler tap shoes...I would love you forever.
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{3} The Nest. We got a smart thermostat for Christmas from my parents and what ended up being a long ordeal involving a messed up breaker, no heat for most of the day, HVAC technician visit mess...we returned it because I had found a Nest on Amazon for cheaper through a third-party seller. Then that seller cancelled the order right away. No big deal--I found one that was still cheaper from a different third-party seller and that was the last I heard. No shipping notification, no contact when emailed, etc. I think that's all finally been resolved and we just decided to pay the Amazon price because of the ridiculous hassle this has all been and I CAN'T WAIT for this sucker to show up and be installed. I will reach a new level of lazy the day I get to program my thermostat on my iPhone from the comfort of my bed. #noregrets

{4} The BK Lounge. Hear me out here: fast food options for vegetarians really suck. Since it had been such a freaking hard week, we decided to forego small group last night because it is half an hour away and we have to rush home to do baths and bedtimes and stick with any semblance of our schedule when we do go. Neither Jon nor I felt much like cooking and we actually wanted to spend time together (Etta's evening nap falls right at dinner so most of the time one of us is downstairs with the big kids eating while the other is trying in vain to get her to nap in her room) so we racked our brains for a viable option. My preference would always be Chick-Fil-A, except the only food there for Jon is basically french fries or a bun with some cheese on it. McDonald's would mean Jon was eating oatmeal for dinner (even their french fries aren't vegetarian!). I realized our local Burger King had an "indoor playground" and cringed. BK is kind of like the house that your hoarder aunt lives in which is grimy, outdated, smells a little weird, and the food is questionable... but they have a veggie burger! Priorities! So we decided to give it a go and BK, I am so sorry I ever doubted you. Sure, your decor is as old as I am and I was only lukewarm on the food for myself, but you really outdid yourself otherwise. Jon said the veggie burger was good enough he'd get it again, there was nary a soul in the play area (and the one we were at was comparably clean to its rich older brother, CFA) and Jon and I got to have a meal together for the first time in about a week. This is a game changer and I love you for it. You may very well be our new ride or die.

{5} New iPhone. My 5S fell victim to Edith over a year ago. I got the screen replaced but the screen I got seemed faulty (letters would type multiple times, the letters I was actually trying to select would select a neighboring letter instead, etc.) and the process of replacing it got dust inside of it so the picture quality went wayyyyy down. I had been putting off getting a new one because money, but Jon's parents gave me some cash for Christmas so I decided to finally bite the bullet. I got the SE because I love the size of the 5S with the processor/camera of the 6. I've had it for about 5 days now and I can't believe I waited this long to replace it.

Linking up with Amy, KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

disenchanted

I've got to lay my heart out bare here: I have grown completely disenchanted with the Christian population as a whole. That's not to say I think every Christian is a horrible example of Jesus' call (although I'll readily admit that I am) or that they've lost sight of who exactly Jesus was. But the presidential election showed me a side to a whole lot of Christians whom I previously admired that broke me.

I can't tell you how many people told me they didn't like Trump but that his party was more "in line with my moral beliefs" and so they were voting for him. The two fundamental items they were referencing were the sanctity of marriage and life. Less important to their morality was apparently sexual assault, equal rights, religious liberties (for all religions, not just Christianity), and a general regard for all of humanity that isn't a rich, middle-aged white guy, but I digress.

I am an egalitarian. I think the biggest shock to me was how many women openly supported Trump. A man who has bragged about his affairs (where's the marital sanctity there?), been accused by a plethora of women for sexual assault or harassment--including bragging about grabbing women by the pussy, raised a son who thinks if women "can't handle" workplace sexual harassment they "don't belong in the workforce," etc. A bigger surprise to me was Christian women who voted for Trump. And then I realized: women in the church are historically taught that we are merely helpers. We do not have a voice. Our job is to support our husbands and be gentle and quiet. To be submissive since we are "the weaker vessel." It has been ingrained in us that we are less than. There's also the boys will be boys mentality that runs deep through the church lifeblood. Things like the True Love Waits movement that emphasizes the abstinence onus lies on girls--after all, teenage boys are driven by hormones and surely have no self control* whatsoever. Our Christian leaders have failed us as women. I refuse to raise my daughters--and especially my son--to this standard. This just touches on my opinions regarding respecting women and doesn't go anywhere near the multitude of examples of where Trump has lied, mocked, degraded and harassed anyone who isn't a wealthy, white, Christian man. To me, none of that sounds particularly loving.

And I know those last two paragraphs are going to render a whole lot of defensive counters about why none of that matters and it's all about picking the issues that mean the most to you and supporting those, the lesser of two evils, etc. But the reality is, it's not like Trump became the Republican nominee out of nowhere. He won the nomination, which means there were a whole lot of other candidates who actually stood more in line with Christians' pro-life and sanctity of marriage beliefs than Trump, yet they voted for him anyway.

In the words of my incredibly wise and talented friend, Ali, "Love is hard and it costs a lot and it can be downright dangerous. And the highest example we [as Christians] are given to follow is the one of a man who went so far as to be tortured to death for the sake of it." When I think of love, I do not think of Donald Trump. When I think of love, I do not think of the vile things I've heard people--Christians, especially--spew in their defense of voting for him.

I was wrong about Obama. I was sure he would be the demise of our country when he was elected eight years ago. Today I proudly admit just how wrong I was--I genuinely believe he did (or at least tried to do, if only our population was less misogynistic, racist, etc.) more for our country in terms of unity and reconciliation than any in recent memory. Barack Obama was a man who was actually qualified for his position in government and whose character didn't result in classic narcissist Twitter tirades when someone criticized him. I hope in four or eight years I will be able to say I was wrong about Trump, too.

*for the record, the word you are looking for is 'discipline,' and we are failing our boys if we don't teach them this critical life skill

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

ten on ten

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month!
{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!}
ten on ten button 

This month the 10th was on a Tuesday. I try to get out of the house as fast as I can in the morning so I pack myself a lunch the night before. That way all I have to do is make coffee (thank God for the Keurig):

I have been waking up at 6 am to get ready and then if Etta isn't awake yet I go into her room, wake her up and nurse her.

Do any of you remember the Microsoft Zune? I had a Zune in college instead of an iPod and let me tell you: that bad boy was a TANK. I probably dropped it at least once per week and it stayed strong. I recently rediscovered it in my basement but couldn't find the charge cable. On a limb, I ordered a replacement cable from Amazon to see if it would still work after sitting for 7+ years with nary a charge. Behold! It liiiiiives! (talk about reliving my college memories through this baby):

Since I am always in a rush to get out the door in the morning, I also eat breakfast at work. Being on Weight Watchers again poses its challenges in this department (when I am home I will make myself scrambled eggs and turkey bacon usually) so I have been finding portable egg breakfast recipes and making them on Sundays for the week. I made these spinach quiche cupcakes and YOU GUYS. They are SO good! And at 1 Point+ each you can't beat it.

I pump three times a day at work. My first time is at 9 am. I really do love my breast pump. Totally blows the Medela Pump in Style out of the water. Not only is it more efficient, but it has a closed system and it's less expensive. No competition whatsoever.

As soon as I get home from work it's family time.

After some initial cuddling we have dinner. On the menu was chicken teriyaki with rice, green beans and asparagus for me and a protein "chicken" patty for Jon. The kids had chicken nuggets and salad. Once dinner was done we had play time.

After play time was bath time.

Once the kids were all snug in their beds I made bottles and packed my lunch for tomorrow.

I finished the night with a mudslide, turkey bacon, and The Goldbergs* with my main squeeze.

*except within moments of writing this Etta woke up crying and we called it for the night

Monday, January 9, 2017

sale alert: alternative

I just found out that Alternative (free shipping, free returns, no tax and most importantly - ethical and sustainable clothing and accessories) is running an extra half off sale items with the code SAVE50 right now. I needed new leggings since the only ones I own that are long enough for my legs are maternity (and fall down at the waist now that I'm not pregnant) so I was able to get the following:
$7.50 with promo code

$12.50 with promo code
I am also in need of some plain tee's that don't hug my midsection too tight, so I picked this shirt up for $5:
If you haven't tried their clothes yet, with a sale like that and free shipping and returns, now is the time to give them a shot.

#WearAlternative

etta (8 weeks old)

Etta is 8 weeks old and has been doing MUCH better at night! She usually only wakes up once sometime between 1 and 3 am to nurse and as soon as she's done I lay her right back in her crib and she typically falls back asleep on her own. I think we figured out why she was such a horrible sleeper: reflux. We had started these baby probiotics a while back because her poop was super thick and we noticed she stopped spitting up and showing signs of silent reflux with them. Yesterday we didn't give her any probiotics and she had a horrible day and a horrible night but it wasn't due to poop (we had 3 blowouts). We noticed she was spitting up a LOT more during sleep without the probiotics and when I read some reviews it sounds like a lot of other moms noticed the same reflux relief. I highly recommend these drops if you are struggling with reflux (check with your pediatrician first). Etta is growing like a weed and wears 3M (and some 3-6M) clothes now. She smiles almost every time she eats and takes about 4-4.5 ounces in a bottle at a time while I'm at work. Etta has a witching hour starting around 5 pm that seems to last until bedtime which has been filled with cluster feeding so I think she's also going through a growth spurt right now. We're getting ready to transition over to her 2-month schedule which should move bedtime up from 9 pm to 7 pm and I'm really excited about the prospect of having more time in the evenings to do housework and relax!