Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cranky Pants

At the risk of sounding like a total cranky pants, I'm feeling slightly alienated from a lot of the shows and artists I loved only a year or two ago.  While I'm not some old woman who sits on her front porch lamenting the downfall of my generation, it does seem as though there's a glorification of irresponsibility and bad choices in both tv and radio (probably also movies, but with a 14-month-old and pregnancy bladder, we don't get to the theaters much these days).
A friend and I had a recent discussion about The New Girl premiere episode, in which a bunch of late 20-somethings are frustrated because their friends are getting married and they keep being invited to weddings.  Because...people shouldn't grow up and make lifelong choices?  Because celebrating love in any shape is a bad thing?  Because I'm supposed to appreciate that they're 'taking back their fridge' by throwing away the many wedding invitations covering it?  The vast, vast majority of my friends in their late 20s are married (a lot with kids, but I digress), or in longterm committed relationships.  In my, admittedly suburban, worldview, it's the norm to have a fridge full of first birthday invitations and birth announcements, along with the wedding mail.  This is what people do: they grow up and mark the milestones in their life because, without those things, how else do we make those moments stand out from the mundanities?  By the end of the episode, I was totally turned off by and flabbergasted that we're supposed to be cheering a group of grown-ups who were 'taking a stand' by ripping up wedding invites from people they are supposedly friends of.
I had to stop watching Modern Family a couple seasons ago because, seriously, do these people even like each other? And how am I, a married and pregnant mother-of-one with a mortgage, supposed to applaud Katy Perry's latest single, in which she respects kids using their rent money for bottle service?  I probably am not the target demographic for her song, but I can't help but wonder what attitude we're promoting here.
The bottom line is that I should probably back off and find other shows to watch and/or artists to listen to.  I've been watching The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the first of which showcases a successful woman of color who isn't afraid to speak her mind and have flaws, and the second of which highlights a team who is good at what they do and isn't constantly belittling each other. My current iTunes playlist includes more of The Okee Dokee Brothers (for August) and Jenny Lewis (for me), whom I don't hate myself for listening to.  Are there any other suggestions out there? And am I the only person who feels so disconnected to the current onslaught of entertainment?

Monday, September 29, 2014

What I'm Watching/Reading This Week

These girls are amazing!

Did you see John Oliver's report on the Miss America pageant?  Seriously, I was blown away by it.


Next birthday party, I'm totally stealing this theme.

These stories always make me weepy.  I'm so glad we're in a society where non-conformityisn't frowned up, and also understand how much it affects a family and parenting decisions.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Our Week in Photos

He is very cute, although not always especially photogenic.

 On Sunday afternoons, we like to indulge in some pantsless reading in the playroom.  It's a very fancy end to the weekend.

Due to someone's extreme fidgety nature during story time (ahem, August), we left a few minutes early and played in the children's department.  Two minutes later, story time let out and this area was packed!

 Grey sweater twinsies!

Trust me, I am enjoying these days when he voluntarily holds my hand, or finger, as it were.  I know it won't last forever, and his hands are small enough to just need my pointer right now!

 This is August's favorite area at our closest playground.  He likes it even more when I stand behind him and say, "Vroom, vroom!"

 Wearing the hottest accessory these days: a video monitor on my front pocket.
And yes, it has been chilly enough in the mornings to justify a sweatshirt!

Are these not the funkiest homemade bagels you've ever seen?  Hopefully they taste better than they look.

August found this large stick in the middle of one of our 'walks' (a few hundred yards around a field near Target).  Doesn't it look like he's practicing fencing or something?

Monday, September 22, 2014

What I've Been Reading/Listening To

We are currently on the lookout for some art for our living room mantle, so I loved browsing through these ideas on Mother.

Ira Glass can do little wrong in my book, but I found last week's installment of This American Life enthralling.

Even though this is titled '15 Career Tips from Smart Women,' I think it's more like '15 Empowering Quotes for Women.'

What awesome news!

This article left me feeling so conflicted.  Is this a good conversation to bring up?  And can there possibly be a 'right' answer?


Friday, September 19, 2014

Our Week in Photos or Gratuitous Photos of August

I'm sitting in a perfectly quiet house, with sunlight shining through moderately clean windows and a toddler sleeping soundly in his crib.  The only thing that could complete this is the biscotti and iced coffee I'm downing while typing this up.  I hope your weekend has some peaceful moments as well!

 JP surprised me with a family membership to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, which is such a cool space for young kids (and adults, too!).  Last Friday we wandered around the kids' garden, which has some Peter Rabbit themed paths, a splash pad, and a mini-maze.  It wears out the little man, too, which is ultimately the goal.

 Could he be any cuter?  When JP heads out to his soccer games on Sunday afternoons, August and I take the opportunity to explore parks.  Now that he's walking, we've enjoyed practicing his newest skill on the uphills at Leita Thompson Park.  It does require plenty of snack breaks, though.

 He's a climbing machine!  We love the playground at Morgan Falls, which is covered to help keep sunburns and overheating away.

 Yesterday morning, August woke up at 4:30 and decided to start his day.  Rather than fight it and get frustrated, JP and I embraced the early start, packed up the car to 'open' Starbucks, and watch the Mindy Project premiere.  When August went down for a nap at 7am, JP and I chatted about our expanding family, work-life balance, and why Hermione ended up with Ron in the Harry Potter series.  It was a perfect start to the day, and I'm so glad we could turn an early morning into a great memory.

My little yogi.
He wordlessly requests to have this chair moved under his favorite set of light switches in the house, and then just hangs out: flips the lights on and off, practices his stretching, giggles at Mia.  I absolutely love watching August entertain himself.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Last Week

August has taken it upon himself to 'mow' our living room carpet.  It takes it very seriously.

 Last Saturday, the three of us ventured to the High Museum for their exhibit of concept cars from the past century.  It was very, very cool, and very difficult to corral a 14-month old throughout.  JP was a patient man.

 We ended up taking him to the kids' area, where there is an entire magnetic wall for the alphabet.  August got really into getting letters out of the bin.  Look at his little feet!

 In case you weren't sure who that cute boy is.

I caught them during story time; my men are too cute.

 August's new trick is climbing onto this chair to turn the light switch on and off, which will keep him entertained for hours.  Probably.  I don't let him do it that long, but I can only assume.

 August making sure his big sister doesn't miss out on story time.

 One of our friends turned one on Wednesday!  We met up at a park for a small celebration.

 August decided that Miss Stephanie is his new best friend.  I tried not to be offended.

 We sent this picture to JP one afternoon; the Diegos are very photogenic.

 Yesterday, this 10% full milk jug was August's favorite toy.  He carried it around the house until I pried it out of his fingers to put back in the fridge.

16 week belly shot!  The 'pop' happened quickly with this one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Yesterday was my 28th birthday, which of course brings up all of the dinner conversation topics about time and plans and expectations.  JP took me to a beautiful, long, highly entertaining meal last night, which involved copious amounts of butter and no pauses for breath as we enjoyed adult time without a very cute, talkative 13-month-old at our feet.  I've been with JP for well over eight years, and so very much has changed for us since we met as late teenagers in college.  
There is no possible way I could have predicted where my life would be at 28: married to a wonderful man who challenges and loves me in all the right ways, mother to a little boy who makes me smile while giving me plenty of good parenting stories, well on my way to popping out another Diego pumpkinhead, homeowner of a space that allows our family to grow comfortably, and all with the luxury of being the master of my daily routine.  (Well, as much as August lets me control the routine.)  

None of this, though, is what I'd pictured at 18, or even 24.  JP and I don't have a written timeline of what we want to do at each year of our lives; in fact, we could probably do a much better job of managing our lives and calendars.  If anything, we feel a little ahead of ourselves in terms of what we want out of life: a welcoming home, a budding family, healthy bodies.  Is it too much good?  Should we be doing more with our time?  Why aren't we traveling more, spending our weekends DIY'ing our unfinished basement, entertaining at home, taking August to multiple classes each week?  
At one point last night, I was so wrapped up in telling JP the many things I thought, at 20, I would want at 28, and stopped myself.  How amazing to be ahead of schedule in our own life timeline.  How wonderful to be expecting a little sibling for August, and not be intimidated (much) that we're only the 2nd or 3rd of our friends to have a second child.  What a luxury to have time working on our side whether we realized it or not.  

28 somehow feels like a very settled, grown-up age, and I feel very rooted in my own life.  Lately there have been emotional upheavals (thanks, pregnancy hormones!), and I feel so grateful that my personal anchors are strongly set in my family and friends.  I'm not exactly sure where I'll be next year, in the existential sense, but I feel like every year gets me closer to who I want to be.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Career and Family: An Understanding

A good friend and I had one of those nearly age-old discussions that only women seem to have: the desire for a family vs. the desire for a career.  The two of us are on opposite sides of the lifestyle coin, with her firmly in the career corner and I in the family camp.
She has recently received a promotion at work, which entails extra hours, and is making a name for herself in the volunteer circle of her area (lots of work with women and children empowerment).  She likes being busy and having time to herself; in the past couple of years, she has been able to travel Europe, South America, and the US on her own agenda.  She spends her money, for the most part, on what she wants to spend it on.  Without a steady relationship, mortgage, and children, she is the master of her own fate, and can move, travel, or stay out as late as she wants.
I, in turn, have a gorgeous baby boy, another little on the way, a husband to share our mortgaged home with, and plenty of commitments at home.  JP and I have things to save up for, college accounts to add to, and sleeping in late means 8am.  My career is my family and home, which mean I don't have a dress code and operate on a timeline that works best for my peace of mind.
Our discussion centered around whether either of us is furthering the cause of women in the 21st century.  Neither of us can really buy into the 'women can have it all' mentality: she works because she has loans and rent each month for which she alone is responsible, and I can't afford to work unless it covers the cost of relatively high cost of daycare.  What's more, we don't really want the other's life and responsibilities that come with it.  After spending the weekend witnessing firsthand what it's like to care for a 13-month old on a minute-to-minute basis, she looked at me and said, "Is it always this hectic and exhausting?"  before confessing that she wasn't sure she ever wanted the white picket fence life.  The idea of networking and heading out to work in a suit 5 days a week, 10-12 hours a day couldn't sound worse to me.
The beauty is that none of that matters.  We chat, we visit, we appreciate the other's daily routine, and get to go home to our own reality at the end of the day.  I don't have to have a career outside of the home right now and that doesn't make me a terrible feminist or role model; trust me, I work and test the limits of my patience now more than I did with a paycheck.  She doesn't have to wear a wedding ring and pop out babies to show her self-worth or prove she's a woman.  The fact that we chose different paths doesn't mean we're at odds; our honest conversations about the struggles and triumphs of our day gives us insight and appreciation for how the other side lives.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

11 Months

In just one month, my baby boy is going to be one year old!  One year young?
The past 31 days have been the best yet- something I'm sure to say every month until...well, a long time.  We've finally got naps down to schedule (two a day, each about 1.5-2 hours long), he's eating great, and he sleeps at night without waking us up.  Someone pinch me.
August continues to be a pretty happy kid, and I just love getting to spend my days with him.  We have a wonderful group of mama and baby friends, some older and some younger, and we have play dates nearly every week day.  Although he's not really playing with other kids yet, he likes being in a group of babies and is pretty well-behaved with them.  Playgrounds have become a favorite, and he really enjoys climbing up and down the stairs, and pulling himself up on the bottom of slides.

There have been a few instances when August has stood up and stayed up for a minute or two, but he doesn't seem really steady yet and gets weirdly fussy after this show of independence.  I'm not sure if he's confused about his balance or thinks we should still be holding him 24/7, but it's very cool to see him discover a new vantage point.
We're still nursing a bit, but it's really declining.  I'll spend this month weaning him, and my goal is to have him on cow's or soy milk by his birthday.  You've got a dedicated post on breastfeeding coming up in the next month or two, where I'll wrap up my experience and lessons learned.  It's been great, but I'm really looking forward to having my body back!

On the food front, August gets puree food pouches when we're out and about (they're just so easy to throw in our diaper bag!), and regular foods when we're at home.  If JP and I are having sweet potatoes, rise, and chicken sausage for dinner, August is having a baby portion of it, too!  There isn't much he won't eat, and his appetite is pretty voracious.  Maybe that explains why he's sleeping 10-11 hours at night.
I can't believe that I've been August's mama for almost one year!  I'm soaking up this baby period while I still can.  Can you blame me?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Our Week in Photos

If the babies are happy, we're all happy.

Lately, when August is having a meltdown, just taking him into our backyard and letting him put his little toes in the dirt seems to calm him right down.  I think he's going to be our outdoorsman.

On Saturday, we took August up to DC to visit some friends and our old stomping grounds. While we waited for our flight, August tried to talk JP into giving up a bit of his cheese danish.

While at the National Zoo, he was more entertained by pie crust from Pie Sisters than by the beavers we sat next to.  Tough kid to impress.

Katrina trekked all in the way to the Zoo to meet us and August!  And she brought my favorite pie!  Friends are the best.

We stayed with our friends who had an 8-month old, and it was so surreal to watch the men pushing strollers.  There was a time when we spent our mornings at leisurely two-hour brunches, sipping mimosas and discussing the late-night movies we'd seen recently.  Now, we're talking about nap times and Netflix!

 August's latest thing is crawling up plastic slides, which results in a treadmill effect for him.  Whatever wears him out.

We got to catch up with Aunt SJ!  She is so patient with the little man, and he loved her tickles.

 On Monday morning, we walked into Georgetown for Baked and Wired and a picnic on the waterfront.
Don't worry- August's espresso cup is empty.

I call this one, "Papa y los patos."