WKND 9.15.15

4 snaps


 1. The most beautiful butterfly you've ever seen || 2. Good meat from the Lone Grazer || 3. Playing around with watercolors || 4. FLYING into the new year at Rosh Hashana services? Ha...ha?


4 moments


1 | Recently, I went to the mall and left a little sad. You see, for some reason, nineties fashion is back and the stores are filled with overalls, chunky clogs, scrunchies, and daisies. This stuff was popular when I was in 6th and 7th grade, and I don't know about you, but middle school was NOT fun for me. As I walked to the parking lot, I was an eleven year old again: with a pocket full of yin yang stickers and no one to share them with, headed home to watch SNICK alone on my couch. This trend is AWFUL.


This weekend, Y said, "Can we talk about how the lady on the cover of the Madewell catalog looks like a mom from the 90s?" Y has spoken -- this needs to end.


2 | On Saturday, our neighborhood hosted the Monarch Festival, which celebrates the monarch butterfly migration from Minnesota to Mexico with butterfly releases, butterfly crafts, Aztec dancers, salsa dancing, tacos, people dressed like butterflies on stilts... you know, what you would expect. The best part was that we kept running into people we know, so Y had MULTIPLE opportunities to tell this really amazing joke about how he thought the Monarch Festival was going to be a tribute to the history of the British royal family.
3 | On the way home from dinner at a friend's house, waaaay past Dalia's bedtime, she fell asleep in her fancy pink dress in the carseat. In what historians are calling THE BIGGEST PARENTING WIN EVER, Y and I got her out of her carseat, out of her dress, and into pajamas with lots of snaps WITHOUT WAKING HER UP. I've never been more proud.


 4 | Y and one of his friends went on an impromptu dad-date the other day and took the babies for a walk. Suddenly, I had an hour and a half to myself, which was far more stressful than it should have been. I think I spent the first hour and 29 minutes alternating between trying to decide what I should do with all of my free time and hyperventilating that my free time was quickly expiring. Finally I decided to go for a bike ride and it was GLORIOUS.


4 tastes


1 | For some reason, despite hating every taco I try, I keep ordering them in various places around the Twin Cities. I mean, when you live in , and I keep being horribly disappointed. At the Monarch Festival we tried Taco Taxi and YES. Just yes. (One other exception has been Sonora.)


2 | Victor's 1959 Cuban Cafe. On the patio. Mango pancakes and a side of avocado for the baby.


3 | Our neighborhood had a block party in the parking lot of our corner grocery store. There was all kinds of stuff going on -- Y accidentally walked in the middle of a cake walk (he didn't win) and someone from the neighborhood church slipped a gift bag into Dalia's stroller with a Bible coloring book and a cross necklace -- but the main purpose seemed to be for local vendors that are sold in the grocery store to sample their products. Bloody Marys. Salsa. Homemade granola bars. Cheese curds. Salami. Chocolate. Honey. Granola. Coffee. I LOVE MY NEIGHBORHOOD.


 

4 | At Terzo wine bar, there's this brilliant situation where, after you order your food, your waiter asks if you want to try the taste of the day for a dollar. Presented beautifully on a little spoon is one delicious bite of some combination the chef has dreamed up. Ours was delicious, but I was too busy marveling about the concept to remember what exactly we ate. Whatever it was, it had a balsamic drizzle.


reading /listening


I've started four books this weekend and haven't been into any of them, including, sadly, Gumption by Nick Offerman. It pains me to type that. / My background noise of choice this weekend is all of the college football.


WKND | 9.7.2015

The saddest book currently for sale at your friendly neighborhood bookstore is called 940 Saturdays.

 
Fine, that may have been an exaggeration (have you READ Sarah's Key??), but the premise of this book, a journal, is that when you have a kid, you have 940 Saturdays before that kid turns 18, and YOU NEED TO WRITE ABOUT THEM BEFORE THEY GO AWAY. Eighteen years is a huge chunk of time, but putting a number on it -- a number that silently ticks away while you're busy living life -- is enough to give me hives. We're already down to like 914 Saturdays over here, and what do we have to show for it? A giggly baby with rolls for days and 2,000 pictures on my phone? IT'S NOT ENOUGH. How will I remember?

 
I'm half joking, but the book's point is well taken. I've been trying to write more often -- it's been a goal of mine every new year, every Jewish new year, every fiscal new year (I like to use any opportunity I can find for a fresh start) every birthday, every month, every week -- and jotting down what happened each weekend seems like a good place to start.

 
4 snaps

 9_6_20151. LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU || 2. "You can sleep when you're dead, dad." || 3. Sometimes you need a late night snack, sometimes that late night snack is 1/4th of a loaf of challah || 4. I don't want to tell you how many selfies I took of Dalia and myself this weekend, but this is one of them.


4 moments


1 | We brought Dalia to Shabbat services Saturday morning. As a kid, I hated going to services. As a young adult, the day I realized I didn't have to go to services if I didn't want to felt very important -- if that moment in my life had been in a movie, I would have been standing on top of a building with the city swirling around me with possibility. As an adult, some of my best memories of childhood are falling asleep on the way home from Friday night services and getting carried inside in my fancy dress and shoes. And as a parent, bringing my baby to the once a month "tot Shabbat services" is kind of the highlight of my month. IT'S THE CIRCLE OF LIFE.


2 | Y and I went out for a drink Sunday night and accidentally stumbled upon an EDM festival (translation: electronic dance music), which we were way overdressed for (i.e. I was wearing bottoms, which were clearly optional). Don't be jealous, but we saw Datsik.


Yeah, I don't know who that is either. But I did have a gin, lemon, and lavender cocktail. I don't know why lavender in drinks is so popular these days but I hope it never goes away.


3 | Saturday night, Y and his mom were making dinner and I ran to Ikea to buy the tray to Dalia's high chair (sometimes high chairs and their trays are sold separately and you don't realize until you put the high chair together -- thanks, Ikea.)  Can I just give you one piece of advice? NEVER GO TO IKEA ON A SATURDAY NIGHT. The lines snake back into the warehouse and you might find yourself behind a family of eleven who are buying the entire Hemnes collection and all you need is a $5 high chair tray.


4 | I get obnoxiously giddy about this time of year, when fall is almost close enough to touch, winter is far enough away that it seems romantic and cozy, and your football team could still make it to the national championship.


4 tastes
1 | Scones and Gravy. That's a thing. It might sound like a downgrade from biscuits and gravy, but it absolutely isn't.  Get it at Harriet Brasserie. Sit on the patio and laugh at the people waiting in line next door to get into Tilia.


2 | Schnitzel made by Y's mom, who was in town visiting. I have this vivid memory of eating these, defrosted, in Y's rat and roach infested apartment when we were in college. He really knew how to woo a girl.


3 | Matzah ball soup from Cecil's deli. It was so necessary on a gloomy Sunday.


4 | Impromptu challah French toast for some French toast connoisseurs: toddlers. It was my first time making French toast, and I think they approved.


reading /listening
Reading Sick in the Head, Judd Apatow. I'm borrowing it from the library right now, but I'm planning to buy this one and highlight the crap out of it. / Listening to a lot of Beach House this weekend.

mama loves you 5: the freedom to love and code (or not)

pride Dear Dalia,

Have I ever told you about the time I got locked in my tenth grade computer science classroom?

It was a nightmare for many reasons, the first of which being OMG I HATED COMPUTER SCIENCE. Apart from the subject matter, at which I was utterly hopeless, our teacher was a religious fanatic who wrote a pamphlet about abstinence that he regularly passed around to his students. AND, the internet was, like, a toddler, and still really novel and the guys in my class had just discovered a website with pictures of dead bodies.

My issues with coding and creationists and dead bodies aside, the real problem of my being locked in my computer science classroom was the reason: hundreds of angry students marching down the halls, slamming lockers and screaming.

"NO GAY CLUBS!" they yelled, according to the Newsweek article written about that day. "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!" I remember people chanting. It was the first time I had heard that chant.

The reason for these protests -- riots? -- was the recent formation of a club called the Gay Straight Alliance. The Newsweek article (yep, my high school was on the cover**) mentions that it took 6 months for this club to get permission to form on campus.

I hope when you're in high school, everyone shakes their heads in horror that anyone would have rioted over such a thing. "Our parents' generation was so weird," you'll say to your friend via some communication device that hasn't been invented yet, "my mom couldn't code and gay people couldn't have clubs."

Today, your dad and I are celebrating our six year anniversary two days after same-sex marriage became legal in this country and the same day as Minneapolis's Pride celebration. It feels really special to me to share this celebration, and although we didn't make it to Pride this year, my goal is to bring you as often as I can. I hope you grow up in a world where everyone is allowed to do their thing. I hope it's not even a question.

Mama loves you (no matter who you love),

D

** P.S. -- "Newsweek" was a magazine. A "magazine" was a bound collection of articles and pictures that was delivered to your house every week or month. A "cover" refers to the very front page. KIDS THESE DAYS.

weekend thoughts / 5.30.15

IMG_0003 It's funny what sticks with you from childhood, isn't it? I've been thinking about that a lot lately: what songs Dalia will remember us singing to her, what books she'll remember reading, what smells will remind her of home. Part of me wants to [brace yourself for the most hated word of 2015] curate that for her, but my practical side realizes that despite my best efforts, that one time I got Carly Rae Jepsen stuck in my head might be, in her mind, the soundtrack to her childhood. And that's okay.

My mom clearly wanted me to feel a connection to certain things, namely books --  scribbled inside my old copies of A.A Milne's When We Were Very Young and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein are heartfelt notes  about how her mother used to read those books and how special they were to her -- and hopefully me.

But... sorry, Mom, I have no recollection of ever reading those books.

The books I remember most vividly from childhood are some that I'm sure my parents bought as afterthoughts and definitely weren't meant to be family heirlooms. The breakfast page from Richard Scarry's Busytown is still the gold standard to which I hold all breakfasts (nothing has lived up), and there's a Sesame Street book about flowers that has, for some reason, stuck with me. In a brilliant plot line clearly meant to span decades and cross continents, Big Bird buys a bouquet of flowers and distributes them to his friends. There's an iris, a tiger lily, a daffodil, and a rose (he couldn't afford a peony, I guess). To this day, all of those flowers make me really happy -- especially irises -- and I know for a fact it's thanks to that book.

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Last weekend, a big bouquet of irises bloomed in our kitchen while I threw together an impromptu surprise party for Y's last day of residency (okay, I made tacos and brownies for six people. STILL.)

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Our house was just the way I like it -- filled with people (again, six of them... we have a small house) and early 2000s rap music.

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Dalia and I visited the farmers market where I drooled over handmade pottery and dribbled breakfast tacos on D's head (motherhood is hard, man).

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On Sunday night, Y and I took our leftover tacos and my 75 cent garage sale picnic basket, filled the water jug from my hospital stay with champagne, and walked to the lake for a picnic. (Full disclosure, we opened the bottle of champagne because we both needed a drink after one of us threw a wee temper tantrum. It wasn't the baby.)

In between there was baby yoga, footlong hot dogs on a corner patio, and a visit to the chicken bookstore, and I know Dalia will never remember it, but I hope these are the kinds of weekends she does remember.

two months

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Dalia at one month // Dalia at two months

Dalia Loves:

+ Neil Patrick Harris. I've been listening to his audiobook while feeding her, so I'm pretty sure she thinks he is her mother.

+ That weird eye pattern that's threatening to become stylish. I think I heard her say it was on fleek. Look at that smile... she's into it.

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+ The mating habits of penguins.

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+ Modern art

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+Dance parties. We even have the same favorite French rap song.

Dalia hates:

+ 6 pm - 10 pm.

+ The sound of Ike's tags when he shakes. She throws her tiny little hands up in surprise every time.

Quirks:

+ Opening and closing her fists while eating -- is this something all babies do or does she finally have her first very own Thing?

Lessons learned:

+ I can't fit myself and the carseat through my tiny old kitchen without breaking the knobs off the oven. I guess life in the 1920s was a little smaller.

+ My neighborhood library has a story time for ages 0-2. Great, I thought, That will be a nice walk and maybe I'll meet some people who live in my neighborhood. Side note: there's a weird phenomenon in Minnesota of NEVER seeing your neighbors for 4+ months. It's too cold to spend any more time outside than is absolutely necessary, you see, and outside is where you meet your neighbors. I think I started looking pregnant around November, right when we all went into hibernation mode, so when we walked out of our house in March with a stroller, all of our neighbors were shocked.

Hence the desire to meet some people in my neighborhood.

ANYWAY. Story time at the library. So we get there (late), and as I walk  in I immediately realize that no other child is under the age of 1, and here I am with this little baby who a) doesn't comprehend stories and b) has suddenly fallen asleep. What's the saying? "Watch other people's toddlers read stories while your baby sleeps?" Something like that.

Also, no one else there lived in my neighborhood.

Confession:

+ On more than one occasion, I've thought:  I REALLY can't leave her in the car for three minutes while I ______? 

Quotable:

+ "I like it when you talk about your milk production. It makes you sound like a country." -- Y

this week in adult things

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Less baby talk, more tug of war, capiche?

Weekly ramblings about things other than baby:

In books

So, I sniffed a book the other day.

It was after I realized that my days of reading actual paper books might be long gone, seeing as my main reading time right now is when my hands are busy but my brain is idle. Holding a lightweight tablet and swiping at a screen to turn a page is doable; holding up a thick book with one hand and turning a page with the other is downright impossible.

I'm struggling through a book called The Fifty Year Silence, about a woman trying to solve the mystery of why her grandparents haven't spoken for fifty years. It started out pretty promising, but never lived up to its potential. My next book is the light and fun Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America.

In eating and drinking

Have you ever had a Cara Cara orange? I've eaten at least one a day since January. Usually three a day, which a nurse informed me was "not moderation."  I don't know if the oranges were a pregnancy craving or what, but I am pretty confident I will not be developing scurvy anytime soon. I just ate the last orange from our latest bag, and I don't see them at the grocery store anymore, and I think I'm getting hives.

Unrelated: This weekend we tried a new restaurant called Revival specializing in your basic Southern cuisine: fried chicken, biscuits, grits, macaroni and cheese. This Southerner was into it. So into it.

In music

When you need to put a baby to sleep, you do what you gotta do, so there have been a lot of baby bouncing dance parties happening in our living room lately, to the tune of music from Stevie Wonder to the Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack to...most often... Carly Rae Jepsen. We just have so much in common these days -- "late night watching television / how did we get in this position?" are thoughts I have nightly while cuddling with my breast pump. 

Also, I've been listening to the new Alabama Shakes album (now that I know the lead singer is female) and I'm instantly a fan.

Etc

I met Y for lunch on the University of Minnesota campus and I was late because hoards of students crossing the street turned a 30 second right turn into a 15 minute situation. This would have been fine, but I got irrationally angry because these kids looked like they were taking part in a "Worst of the 90's" fashion show. THERE WERE YIN YANGS. Get off my lawn.

on breastfeeding in public

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With some clever timing, I was able to avoid breastfeeding in public for the first five weeks of Dalia’s life. I know, I know. it’s natural, it’s beautiful, we need to normalize it, etc. I’m with you. But can you grant me that it's a little intimidating the first time? Great. Moving on.


In an adorable neighborhood in South Minneapolis lives a bookstore called Wild Rumpus. Imagine the most magical independent children's bookstore you can think of — that's Wild Rumpus. A tiny child-sized door leads into the store. Animals roam the aisles, most notably a pair of fluffy chickens, and children’s book authors regularly drop by to sign books. The day we visited, the store was packed but quiet as an author read from her latest release.


So quaint. So magical. So WAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH WAHHHHHH WAHHHHHHHHH.


That’s what it looks like when your newborn fills a pleasant silence with screaming, FYI.


 My streak of good timing had ended. There happened to be an overstuffed arm chair ten feet away from me that looked like it had seen many nursing sessions, so we became its next customers. The sound of Dalia’s screaming was replaced by my inner monologue, which went something like this:


Oh god, this chair is next to the front window. Hello, passersby! It’s my first time! Enjoy the show! STOP SMILING AT ME. Pretend I’m not here. Wait, are they smiling because they can see everything? STOP FLAILING DALIA. This is so awkward. OW. I’m bored. I wish I could reach a book. Maybe if I lean a little bit to the left I can reach this exciting-looking chapter book? Okay, reaching… oh shit, I reached too far. WARDROBE MALFUNCTION. Wait, maybe not. We might be okay? Would it be so bad if everything was hanging out? Probably not. But yes? STOP LOOKING AT ME, CHICKENS.


Suddenly, a little girl ran toward me frantically.


“TITTY! TITTY! TITTY!” she screamed.


I froze. Oh god, I thought, Not only am I  exposed in a bookstore but a little girl is telling the world about it.


The little girl ran past me.


There was a cat sitting behind me.


A KITTY. 

peeing in a cup, spotify, and crop tops: some last thoughts before baby

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39 weeks // 2 weeks

A forgotten post from my 8 million months pregnant brain:

+ Everyone keeps telling me, "you must be ready to have that baby." Technically, yes... we have a crib and a white noise machine and a car seat and a onesie with a hippopotamus. But in reality... even though my back hurts and putting on boots requires a crane, being pregnant seems way easier than making sure a child leads a happy life in a world with ISIS and crop tops and Snapchat. I mean, there's no guarantee that my baby won't someday get the urge to join ISIS (or snapchat, for that matter). These [admittedly ridiculous] thoughts are far worse than a little back pain. IT'S SAFE IN HERE, BABY.

+ Speaking of boots, recently I had something stuck in my boot all day. It was driving me insane, but the thought of taking my boot off and putting it back on again was just way too hard. At the end of the day, I finally took off my shoe, and out came a quarter. CHA CHING.

+ Frequently seen  cliche on social media: comparison is the thief of joy. I've seen a lot of articles lately about how blogs and instagram and pinterest are making us all unhappy and I'm proud to say that I haven't been sucked into it. You have a beautiful home and adorable dog that never sheds? Good job. You do you. I like my perfectly imperfect house and pulling tiny Ike hairs off of my clothes all day.

Then the other day, I peed in my little plastic cup at the doctor's office, put it in the cabinet next to another cup of pee, and spent the next five minutes beating myself up because my pee was darker than the other person's. Why don't you drink more water? I asked myself. Then your pee wouldn't be such a gross color. That person probably has a way better life than you do.

+ I realized that I've been wearing a maternity uniform: a $7 Forever 21 dress, maternity leggings, boots, and a cardigan or blazer. Editor's note: Still wearing it. I might wear maternity leggings forever.

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I feel like those five photos of me need to start a girl group. Is that weird? Maybe don't answer that.

+ Modern love is sharing a Spotify Premium account. Editor's note: Fast forward 7 weeks; now our arguments concern which one of us interrupted Dalia's white noise playlist. 

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this is not a birth story

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photo by Katherine Louise Harris Photography

"As soon as you hold your baby in your arms," they tell you, "you'll forget the pain of childbirth."

Listen up, They.  Your advice is always iffy at best, but this time you've really missed the mark. Six weeks later, I still remember everything. For instance, contractions. They feel like a giant reaching down and twisting your torso like a wet dishrag. Tell me, They, would you forget that sensation?

I'm not really a "birth story" kind of person, but I am a "bulleted list" kind of person:

+ My water broke on my due date while I was lying in bed reading Girl on the Train (my quick review: overrated). A few weeks prior, I had asked my doctor, "What if my water breaks and I don't realize it?" HA. I realized it.

TWO HOURS earlier, I had been walking on a treadmill in the middle of a crowded gym. I'll spare you the details of my water breaking, but trust me when I say it is NOT an experience I would want to have a) in front of people, and b) ON A TREADMILL. Thank you, baby Dalia, for waiting until I was safely in my bed to begin your entrance.

+ Did I wait until the middle of this post to mention the baby that came out of all of this? She's pretty terrific. Welcome to the world and our little family, baby Dalia.

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photo by Katherine Louise Harris Photography

+ I wanted to know what a contraction felt like (I know how to have a good time), so I went into the hospital fully intending to get an epidural after I got the gist of the whole contraction situation. Sure enough, 4 hours into my (15-ish hour) labor, I decided I was getting to the point where I couldn't handle it anymore. For the next three hours (which is like 400 years in labor time), various medical professionals attempted to put an IV in my arm to start the epidural process, culminating in me on all fours wearing an oxygen mask as I had contraction after contraction with no break while an anesthesiologist put in the IV (which I'm told is basically the equivalent of the pilot passing out peanuts). On the plus side, I now know what "10" feels like on the pain scale and bow down to anyone who gives birth naturally.

+ If you're ever thinking about going into labor, here's a tip to distract yourself from the pain: pretend you're a professional tennis player. Instead of writhing in pain, you're serving an ace. What's your signature sound? Perfect it.

+ The next day, my arms were so sore. When I mentioned it to Y, he told me I had been bracing myself on the sides of the hospital bed during my contractions. Could this be the next workout craze?

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+ Things got a little scary and I delivered in the operating room -- thankfully no emergency C-section was needed. One of my friends saw the picture above and asked, "did you get a C-section or did Y just wear scrubs so everyone would know he was a doctor?" and the mental image of Y doing that still makes me laugh.

+ I think this little anecdote sums up my feelings on my epidural: 12 hours after I got the epidural and a few hours after I gave birth, Y and I were on the hospital elevator with a woman in a baseball cap and jeans. She and I nodded at each other in recognition. "Congratulations," she said, smiling, as we reached her floor.

"Did you know her?" asked Y.

"That was Sue!" I replied, "Our nurse anesthesist."

"Wow," said Y, "How did you even recognize her?" I stared at him.

"Are you crazy? I WILL NEVER FORGET HER SWEET SWEET FACE AS LONG AS I LIVE."

+ For the first few days, Dalia and I bonded by wearing matching mother daughter diapers.

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Beat that, Lorelai and Rory.

+ Dalia had some problems at birth that needed to be monitored, so for the first four days of her life, we sadly didn't get to see her or hold her all that much. When they gave us the all clear to go home, Y took her out of the crib and we sat and stared at her.

After a few minutes we realized that "Endless Love" had been playing on the radio the entire time we were sitting there holding our newborn daughter.

And so began our adventures in parenthood. Stay tuned for more ridculousness.

maternity pictures + our first major parenting fail

We all know Y's photography track record isn't exactly stellar, but because we were too lazy/cheap/ambivalent to have maternity photos done, I asked him to try harder than he's ever tried at anything ever and take some pictures of me. I think he did a pretty good job. mat1 IMG_3944 copy

In pretty much every photo ever taken of me, I'm looking down and smiling at something. Hint: It's Ike. It's always Ike. In the photo above, he was crouching on the ground, moving back and forth in a way I've never seen him move before.

"What is he doing?" I asked Y calmly. "IS THIS A SEIZURE?!" I thought to myself, less calmly.

Turns out Ike was physically preparing for this feat:

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I may be new at this, but It's totally safe for your dog to jump in your baby's crib, right?

(No, he won't be doing that again.)

Girl or Boy

wall Do you want a girl or a boy?

The "correct" answer here, I've learned, is "It doesn't matter as long as he or she is healthy!" (add #blessed for bonus points). I suppose that's true, but if we're being honest, I have some personal feelings on the matter... and there are some obvious pros and cons I think we can all agree on. (see: 4, 6, 8)

1. I've always thought it would be fun to grow up with an older brother, so if I were to create that ideal scenario we would need to have a boy first, and then a girl. POINT: BOY

2. We have a couple of girl names we really like and I'm worried they're all going to become popular before we get the chance to be the trendsetters. POINT: GIRL

3. If we have a boy, and he ends up being anything like that OTHER boy I live with, my house will forever be filled with the sounds of gunshots, explosions, and other loud noises. POINT: GIRL

4. SPARKLY HEADBANDS. POINT: GIRL

5. We have a boy name that we really like. POINT: BOY.

6. Teenage boys are gross. Teenage girls are beautiful princesses. Exhibit A:

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POINT: TIE.

7. I hear moms of girls complaining about their little girls giving them attitude as early as two years old. POINT: BOY

8. My daughter and I could totally have a Rory and Lorelai Gilmore relationship. POINT: GIRL

9. Everyone seems to think we'll be having a boy, and the rebellious part of me wants to prove them wrong. POINT: GIRL

10. I have saved all kinds of stuff -- journals, love notes, dresses -- "for my future children" and if I can make a sweeping generalization, girls tend to appreciate that kind of stuff more than boys. At least, none of the boys I know care about that stuff.  Plus, the odds are more likely that my girl baby would grow up to treasure my wedding dress than my boy baby. POINT: GIRL

11. If we had a boy, I could call him, Ike, and Y "my boys." That's just cute. POINT: BOY

WINNER (by a hair): GIRL.

#blessed

Mama loves you: Unflappable

DSC_0981 Dear Sir or Madam,

A few months ago at work someone called me "unflappable." I tend to think that's true as far as work matters go. I don't usually get stressed about deadlines; I have a lot of experience with procrastinating and no disasters have ever come of it, so now that I'm more of a planner I feel downright invincible. Also, thanks to some perspective from living with a resident, I can clearly see the bigger picture that an "emergency" in my office is never truly an emergency. Apparently, this colleague of mine used the word "unflappable" to describe me to a few people. I was starting to be slightly proud of this reputation until a few days later when a bird smacked into my office window. He fell to the ledge and sat there, motionless, unable to fly.

HE WAS LITERALLY UNFLAPPABLE.

And I lost it.

I started sobbing. I don't DO hurt animals, I managed to tell my friend/co-worker that happened to walk in at that moment. I was convinced I was going to have to watch the bird die on my window ledge.

You're probably wondering, sir or madam, what this has to do with you. Honestly, I just threw the thing about the bird in there for your first lesson on irony. The real lesson here is that at one point, your mother seemingly had it all together. People complimented her on it.

I fear that might not last long.

Other than animals getting hurt, the thing that sends me into hysterics is, well, silly, but it's something I'm truly worried about. I get flustered, anxious, angry, and sometimes even frustrated to the point of tears when... wait for the dramatic reveal... I have a lot to carry.

Stupid, right? But if I have more than a few things in my hand while I'm, say,  checking out in a store, I get flustered and start to sweat. I pay, and then put my credit card somewhere completely random with no recollection, and then panic later when I can't find it. Having a certain place for anything doesn't help... I temporarily lose my mind when I have a lot of stuff.

From what I understand, babies require JUST A FEW additional accessories and do things in public that may or may not make me flustered and on top of all that I hear I won't be getting a lot of sleep. And while pregnancy and giving birth comes with SO MANY FUN PERKS, I am here to tell you that no extra hands are grown during the process of gestation.

I've been carrying things around for close to 30 years and still haven't figured out how to leave my house with a purse, gym bag, and lunch without forgetting something, dropping something, sweating, and/or crying. I imagine I will be a flustered mess for your entire childhood what with all of the crap your existence is going to require. When it embarrasses you and you wonder why you couldn't have a more composed mother, I just want you to know IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT.

Mama loves you (almost as much as she loves injured birds), D

P.S. We named the bird Elmer and he slowly but surely got his groove back and flew away. I think he had a better day than I did.

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baby 1. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but you never really hear much about the second half of that maxim which is "and that village starts with someone to carry your pouf." So, many thanks to my friend/village member A for carrying the ottoman that now lives in our nursery through a shopping center to my car without any complaints. Later, Y carried it from our garage to the nursery and whined about how heavy it was. I'm voting him off of the village.

2. People love to offer pregnant women their seats. Super nice. Don't stop doing that. Here's the thing: I DON'T WANT YOUR SEAT. When I sit down, feet and elbows and other sharp things start to stab me in the ribs and a knife starts slicing down my back. I'll stand, thanks, or better yet, I'll get on all fours in the corner and do cat/cow stretches. What? That's not appropriate for a board meeting?

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3. We've moved past nesting and onto doomsday prepping. We have weeks worth of food (and horrifying DIY post-partum remedies that I don't even want to talk about) in our freezer. I also, as you can see in the above picture, stocked up on razors because in an adorably naive moment at Costco I decided that I would have the time/energy to shave my legs eight times in the next EVER.

4. I'm going to miss being pregnant if only because people make you feel like a HERO for doing every day things. Walking up a flight of stairs? GOLD STAR. Staying at a party until midnight? GOLD MEDAL. Going to the gym? JUST GOT KNIGHTED.

5. Over pancakes this weekend, Y and I started asking each other the questions from the "To fall in love with anyone, take this test" article. He got bored after answering 4 questions and didn't care about any of my answers. We are now madly in love. #nailedit

my favorite (and not so favorite) books of 2014

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My year in books: where literature and designer impostor perfumes collide. Remember designer impostor perfumes? If you like Clinique Happy, you'll love "Wanna Play?!" That's essentially how these book reviews work. Let's get started.

(Click here to read last year's post if you're confused.)

(* I get most of my books digitally through the library. An asterisk after a title means I loved a book enough to purchase it and add it to my physical collection.)

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I read more YA novels than usual this year, for one reason: I flew a lot. I don't know about you, but the thing that helps me forget about lost planes and birds flying into engines and emergency landings is a quick story where the worst thing that happens is The Boy ignores The Girl in the cafeteria.  If you're the same way -- or if you just want to re-experience that high school crush feeling for a few hours -- you'll love the Anna trilogy (Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Doorand Isla and the Happily Ever After), The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (this one was especially helpful because the main character takes a transatlantic flight and describes turbulence as a ship rocking gently. I use that imagery every time I'm in turbulence now), Fangirl (my review) and Looking for Alaska (although that one was darker than I thought it would be).

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One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories:* Not only will this book make you laugh, it will make you think when you least expect it. I can't wait to see what B.J. Novak comes up with next.

I Don't Know What you Know me FromGenerally when someone in the public eye writes a book, there's a clear reason for it -- just before or after some huge moment in that person's career. At first I didn't I fully understand WHY Judy Greer decided to write a book (and some of the stories didn't even seem to have a point), but by about halfway through I was like, WHO CARES?! TELL ME EVERYTHING SO WE CAN BE BEST FRIENDS!

veronicamarsI can't objectively review The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) because it was so fun being back in Veronica Mars' world that the book could have been terrible and I probably would have loved it. That being said, if you, like me, faithfully turned on the CW every week anticipating the opening notes of The Dandy Warhols  and maaaaaybe spent far too much time at your internship reading Veronica Mars message boards, I highly recommend this audiobook, read by Veronica herself (Kristen Bell). tmi

Every blogger and their blanket scarf has talked about Lena Dunham's Not that Kind of Girl*, but I thought I would add my two cents. The first third or so of the book had me alternating between rolling my eyes and cringing (it was basically a recap of Dunham's love life, and, like an episode of Girls, kind of made me feel like I needed to take a shower). The rest of the book, however, was full of one-liners and thoughtful paragraphs that I highlighted. I found it worth wading through the first part.  rich

I read We Were Liars after it was mentioned in pretty much every "best of 2014" list, finished it in about three hours, and it still makes me shiver to think about it too hard. Tons of drama, a beach house -- actually a beach island-- and New Englanders who call their mom "mummy."

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The Book of Unknown Americans* looks at the lives of a group of immigrants that all happen to live in the same apartment complex in Delaware. It's a heartbreaking and necessary reminder that everyone has a story. This passage stuck with me: “Professor Shields explained that in English there was no 'usted,' no 'tu.' There was only one word--you. It applied to all people. Everyone equal. No one higher or lower than anyone else. You. They. Me. I. Us. We.”

Also: The Good Luck of Right Nowwhich is written entirely in letters to Richard Gere from a developmentally challenged man who will steal your heart. If nothing else, google Cat Parliament, because you need to know it exists.

Also: The Geography of Blissin which a journalist travels to the happiest and unhappiest countries in the world. I was especially fascinated to read about Qatar, where everyone seems happy because they're so wealthy, but where the lack of any kind of culture is a problem.

Also: Five Days at Memorial, an account of the days after Katrina inside a hospital. A chilling, thought-provoking ethical case study-- and a great reminder that my problems at work are pretty minimal.

Also: Long Walk to Freedom,* by an unknown debut breakout literary wunderkind named Nelson Mandela.

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The Opposite of Loneliness* made me want to write. This reaction either means I loved the book ("I want to do that!") or I hated the book ("I could write something better than that!"). In this case, it was the former--this was my favorite book of the year. Marina Keegan, the author of these essays and short stories, was poised to become a successful writer. Then, she died in a car crash the day after graduating from Yale. The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of her best works. There was so much highlighting happening in my copy.

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Yes, Chef.* My review found here. About a year after reading it, I still think that traveling to Ethiopia would be amazing and I'm still looking forward to eating at Red Rooster in Harlem one day.

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Yes, Please.* Did anyone not like this book?Tip: Listen to this one. Having Amy Poehler talk to me for 8 hours was a pleasure. Plus, it seems like she/her publishers actually cared about audiobook listeners, inserting sound clips and ad libs and multiple readers (Seth Meyers! Her parents!)

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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry* was adorable, and the bookstore setting (on a quaint island!) definitely added to its appeal. Warning: sad.

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We Are All Completely Beside OurselvesHere's what I remember thinking about while reading this book, the 20th or so book I read in 2014: Why are there no "good" books about people who are happy? Every main character in every recommended book I've read this year has been miserable. That thought has been bothering me ever since. Nonetheless I still liked this book enough to recommend it to Y's mom, which is an honor I think is similar to the Pulitzer.

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Speaking of the Pulitzer, The Goldfinch* doesn't need my additional thoughts since it was pretty universally acclaimed. If you're looking for a read that will take you on a years-long ride with one character who you might never be able to forget, check out The Goldfinch.

A few other books I loved:

Tell the Wolves I'm HomeI'll always have fond memories of my first night in Israel, jet lagged in a fancy hotel in Haifa, staying up all night reading this story of a misfit who loses the only person that gets her. I immediately bought it for a friend after reading it.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryThis was cute and sad and quick and there's a forthcoming sequel!

A few books I wasn't quite sold on:

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl received so much hype. I enjoyed the plot, and of course the descriptions of food, but something about Reichl's fiction-writing style ruined it for me. Her dialogue seemed kind of... juvenile.

Landline: I've loved everything else by Rainbow Rowell, but this one didn't quite live up to the hype for me.

Glitter and Glue: This was a quick build-up to absolutely nothing. I was annoyed.. and glad it was short.

Orphan Train: This book flips back and forth between a modern day story and the story of Irish immigrants in the 1920s. I loved the historical fiction storyline; but the modern day story ruined it for me. The 2011 "heroine" is a misunderstood "goth girl" in foster care who has somehow snagged the cool soccer player as a boyfriend -- and her character doesn't really develop any more than that. REALLY? Could that be any more cliche?

& SonsEither this book was trying too hard or I just wasn't literary enough for it.

Waiting for Birdy: This book is recommended for new parents by so many sources, but I just couldn't relate to the author's "hilarious" and "relatable" anxiety and found myself rolling my eyes. A lot. To be fair, I also laughed out loud a few times.

The Husband's Secret: Something about this book felt formulaic, like it was the author's yearly attempt to sell millions of books at an airport -- and nothing more.

The Promise of a Pencil: I was excited to read this book about the non-profit Pencils of Promise, whose marketing materials I often seek out for inspiration at work. Here's what I learned: creating a successful start-up non-profit is way easier when your brother is Justin Bieber's manager. Okay, that was harsh... there were a lot of lessons about the non-traditional way this non-profit is run that stuck with me, but I didn't find it inspirational -- just a little braggy.

13 Little Blue Envelopes: This was a YA novel recommended to me by some algorithm because I checked out Anna and the French Kiss. I think it might have been one of the worst books I've ever read. This girl travels around Europe thanks to some ridiculous scavenger hunt put together by her aunt, and from what I remember it honestly reads like "Then we went to Rome. There was a statue. I looked at it. Then I ate pasta."

Mehs:

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures

Love & War

The Vacationers

SPOILER ALERT: DOES THE DOG DIE?

If you can't handle a gruesome -- or even a sweet! -- dog death, here are a few warnings. In all of the following books, people died and I don't think I cried.

& Sons: a non-essential dog character dies and it's written about in great detail. I cried for hours.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: a real-life dog dies IN THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. I cried.

We Were Liars: MORE THAN ONE dog dies. In the saddest way possible. We learn that their tails probably wagged while they were dying. I'm crying just typing this.

Five Days at Memorial: Many dogs were euthanized in the days following Katrina... but so were people (allegedly). I still cried about the dogs.

The Goldfinch: Although everyone else in this book is basically DOOMED, the tiny white dog survives!

notes from the gestation station

1mth8mth 1. Thank God Blake Lively had her baby so I can reclaim my title as most fashionable pregnant lady in all of the land.

2. Y has been working crazy hours lately, and the few moments we are awake and at home at the same time is when I'm either falling asleep or waking up, WHICH HAVE SUDDENLY BECOME OLYMPIC EVENTS. I pretty much spend our entire time together grunting as I try to lay down, sit up, or roll over. Then I need about 20 minutes to recover.

3. I'm happy to report that a few weeks ago, Y said the eight little words every pregnant girl wants to hear: You're starting to look like a freak show. 

4. In case you wanted an update about my emotional well-being, I cried when Beyonce and Jay Z met William and Kate. IT WAS SUCH A PIVOTAL MOMENT.

5. Recently, I felt a large mass protruding from my stomach. "There's a legit body part sticking out!" I told Y. "I think it's the butt." Y touched my stomach. Are you picturing such a romantic and tender moment? Don't. "Heh heh," said Y. "You have a butt inside of you."

6. After a concert recently, my friend and I were waiting in a valet line in the cold. My friend was shivering. I casually unzipped my bulky coat and four people immediately let us skip them in line. I'VE STILL GOT IT.

7. Speaking of, here's my advice for getting attention from the opposite sex: go to the gym pregnant. Sure, you've gotten double takes before, but have you ever gotten a QUADRUPLE take? How about a thumbs up? Applause? I've never had more attention in my life. One guy almost fell down the stairs when he looked at me.

8. My favorite part about being pregnant is coughing up blood. I feel like Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge. So glamorous.

(P.S. I don't think coughing up blood is necessarily common, but nosebleeds are... and I have an awesome case of chronic post nasal drip. Hence, coughing up blood. Told you it was glamorous)

our 2014

2014 began with sparkles, sweatshirts, and an unrequited New Year's Kiss. IMG_9547

We walked on frozen rivers and lakes

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and walked on the shore when they thawed.

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We learned the art of hibernation

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And never let a beautiful day go to waste.

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We saw amazing views,

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got caught in the rain,

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walked through the snow,

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and watched as the world turned purple and came back to life.

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We traveled to the East Coast

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to the West Coast

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down south

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and across the world.

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Bellies grew

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and so did our bookshelves.

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There were old friends

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and new ones

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and we finally got that kiss.

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2015

afterlight I can't even begin to imagine what 2015 will be like, but I'm assuming resolutions like "be more organized" and "read more books" just aren't in the cards this year. And you know what? IT'S A LITTLE TERRIFYING. In fact, the other day I thought to myself, what if I never read a book again? and proceeded to borrow 8 books from the library and read one of them in three hours.

Meanwhile, I have no idea how to change a diaper and we should probably buy a stroller. But I'm tackling the important things first.

Here's to 2015, which I can only assume is going to simultaneously be the scariest, messiest and most rewarding year yet.

mama loves you [volume 3]




Dear Sir or Madam,

Y and I had a troubling conversation a few months ago.

We were on a walk around our neighborhood with Ike. Somehow, the conversation turned to Y's parents' expectation that he got As in high school "or else." (note: they deny this allegation.)

"I hope you don't plan to do that with our kid," I said.

"Oh I definitely will," he said. He was kidding. 

OR SO I THOUGHT.

A few weeks later we flew to New York for a wedding. We took a cab from JFK to Grand Central Station to catch a train to the suburbs. Our short stop at Grand Central was our 15 minutes in New York City, and I needed something to commemorate the experience: PIZZA. Grand Central has the best pizza in New York, right? (that was a joke.)

I ordered my slice from a counter in the food court--I can't remember what type, only that it was dripping with grease--folded it in half and raised it to my mouth.

But before I could take a bite, I made a terrible mistake

I noticed the pizza place's health score. And I pointed it out to Y.

B.

Not even a B+. Just a B.

"You can't eat that!" said Y. "What if something happens to the baby?"

I mean, it was sweet. But COME ON.

I settled for an "A" cookie instead. Both of us ignored the fact that if we were truly concerned about your health, we could have opted for like, a salad, maybe?

I worry for you, Sir or Madam.

If "B" pizza isn't good enough for Y to feel confident about your future, well, all I can say is I sure as hell hope you do well in school.

Mama loves you,
D

I ate ALL the food at the wedding. Hope it got an A+.