Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Oh, you guys!

It is starting to get so, so awkward to get dressed in the morning.

The good news is that I have lost weight, and my old jeans from before Coop finally fit me.  Or they would.  If my stomach hadn't started to get all gross and pudgy.  Not cute and round or anything like that.  Just muffin top-y.

So, I am back in my super frumpy post-Cooper fat jeans that are baggy everywhere but the tummy.  The most depressing part is that I KNOW these same frumpy baggies are going to be tight as hell come next April.

I have an OB appointment this week and am excited because I haven't heard the baby's heart beat yet (2 ultrasounds and no doppler-- weird, huh?).  I am also dreading it, though, because I have stopped dieting and thus stopped weighing myself and am pretty sure I am going to put up a big number this week.

When I got pregnant, I immediately cut out all the liquor and shit food and lost 7 of the remaining 15 pounds I still had hanging onto my thighs and butt and upper arms.  So, I am down 7, but up 8, meaning I am trying to gain NO MORE than 20 pounds this time around and break even.  (Actually, I would come out 2 pounds ahead, since I gained 30 with each of the other boys).

Pregnancy this time around is not a food free-for-all like it has been in the past.  Case in point:  I am eating a bag of carrots right now instead of a carrot cake muffin.  I am also working out religiously 5 days a week and playing outside with the kids for an hour most afternoons-- I will NOT turn into a frumpy Wisconsin mom because I had another baby.  I will not!  As this blog is my witness!

So, yeah.  I don't want to get weighed, and I want to hold off on the maternity clothes for a few more weeks, but that may not be possible with my awkward not-beer gut.

Any tips?  How do I overcome the pregnancy blahs and resist the trap of the 9-month all-you-can-eat buffet?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Funny little guys

Harry cracked me up this weekend.  We were freezing our faces off at his soccer game (not Ben--Ben was at home looking like this while he installed an attic floor so we could store more of our multiplying shit somewhere besides the basement and garage:
And Cooper stayed home with Ben to nap), and Harry was the only kid on the team without a hat and gloves (because sweaty Ben told us it was not very cold out, so H wore shorts and fleece, and J and I each had on jeans and fleeces and were MISERABLE).  The coach's wife asked Harry if he would like a hat because she had an extra in her bag, and he said, "No thank you.  I don't want to gt head lice."  SO AWKWARD.   Then at the grocery store later, he came up to me brandishing a piece of cantaloupe on a toothpick.  "I want you to know I am eating this sample," he said.  "So if I get listeria you'll know what it's from." HAHAHAHAHAHA!  He also does this hilarious thing where he confuses his "f" and "th" sounds.  He speaks AND writes this way, and it kills me.  I love when he writes the word "baf," for example and when he says he is in "thirst grade."  The other day, I got some story starter cubes-- they are these huge foam dice that have writing prompts on them, and Harry likes to roll one and write a few sentences in his journal.  Last night, he had to start with the sentence, "I like math because," and he was writing all about how "maf" is "thun."  I know I should help him learn the correct sounds, but it slays me, so I can't.

(BTW, we are going to teacher supply stores for activities and writing at home evreyday because there is still no evidence that he is doing anything like that in class, even though his friends in other classes are having spelling tests and generating their own sentences with weekly vocab words.  So, we're doing all that at home, and he loves it so far.)

Let's see... we are probably the worst parents ever because it just occurred to us that we do NOTHING educational with Jack ever, so we decided to see how he is at writing his name. Um, well, he can write it, but let;s just say he needs to work on technique.  On Facebook, I got tons of great suggestions for increasing his fine motor skills, and at the teacher store, we snagged some cool dinosaur lacing cards, a therapy ball he can squeeze to strengthen his hands, some neat pencil grips that seem to help him hold it more firmly.  AND we got the most awesome modeling clay EVER.  I am buying this and only this for the next slew of birthday parties we attend-- it is so cool, and it does not make a mess.  IT DOES NOT MAKE A MESS.  People, that is HUGE for someone like me who hates moonsand with a bottomless passion.  It's called Bubber, and despite the dumb name is so, so, so cool.  I am going to have him pick pieces of rice out of it with tweezers tomorrow, and today, he is cutting it up with scissors.  I definitely played with it after the kids went to bed last night.

Cooper is in a big helper phase.  He loves to throw stuff in the garbage (that's where I find my shoes, typically).  He loves to help with laundry, and he climbed right in the fridge today to help me pack my lunch (I packed 2 lunches, actually-- a PB&J, an orange and some carrot chips that I just ate, and a tiny bagel, a yogurt, and an apple to eat later.  And an orange and a cookie JUST IN CASE).  Clearly he thought I needed to be eating a salad. 
All three kids had a blast playing with this old pop-up playhouse I found in the basement after Ben hauled a half-ton of stuff to the new attic storage  We bought this thing right before I had Jack, and it is still a crowd pleaser.  I was worried that Cooper would get roughed up, but Harry and Jack save their true savagery for when they are alone.  Like last night in the backyard where they were playing after dinner.  Ben was in our room folding laundry with the windows open to supervise.  I heard him say, "Oh, you're bleeding.  Maybe you better come in," and then in tromped Jack bleeding from the EYE after Harry hit him with the soccer net.  He wanted to look in the mirror before accepting ice.  I bet he would have been up for putting a steak on it instead of some organic frozen strawberries, and I think he's going to be our little hockey player.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Might as well look good

Remember a couple of years ago when my postpartum anxiety got the best of me, and I freaked out about chemicals in beauty products?  Well, I have relaxed my stance because my aging face needs more help than this natural bullshit can offer.  Seriously, I have been observing classes this week, and I feel-- with my SPF a million all over my craggy face and neck-- like the evil stepmother drowning in a sea of Snow Whites.

For the record, the kids and I still only use California Baby body wash and lotions (Ben, too, I think, but he pretends not to).  I still use a non toxic tinted moisturizer (Tarte Smooth Operator-- it's freaking awesome), but the rest of my products are trending toward hazardous.

 A couple months ago, I started using Ben's Degree deodorant because the Toms of Maine was just not cutting it.  The other day, I actually bought my own Degree stick.  But I am still keeping it in Ben's drawer because it makes me feel better that way.

I am not washing my hair as often (2 or maybe 3 times a week), so I don't feel as terrible about the toxicity of my Kerastase product regiment or my Aveda shampoos (that stuff pretends to be natural, but read the label-- chemical city, lovely hair-smoothing, shine-boosting chemical city).  I was using some Dr. Somebody's mascara from Whole Foods, but it was smeary and awful (because it lacked coal!  and heavy metal!  near my eyes!), so I switched to a --gasp-- drug store brand that was supposed to not kill me.  It, too, was dreadful.  I spent the summer in Sephora brand waterproof because I lived at the pool, but everyone knows that waterproof mascaras are hideous.  Long story short, I am back in Laura Mercier, and I look about 65 times more awake.  I also added back in my Benefit Eye Bright stick, Laura Mercier poison lipstick, and a bunch of other chemical goodies.  Because I am 34 and not fucking around anymore.

The whole point of this ramble is this:  Rice is killing us and plastics are disrupting our hormones and making us fat.  So, don't worry too much about your makeup because poison is all around us.  Duh.  I mean, OF COURSE obesity is not about bad choices.  OF COURSE horrible behavior disorders plaguing our kids are not caused by a one-shot vaccine.  OF COURSE of course of course plastics are bad for us; GMO foods are bad for us; conventional farming techniques are killing us.


And we should probably exercise.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apples and stuff

I have been meaning to blog like everyday.  But then I do something else.  Like bake something with apples in it because we picked 15 or 20 pounds of apples and then bought 10 more pounds of apples (honey crisp!!) in the adorable apple orchard barn.

You would think that since I have given up naps in the second trimester, I would have more time to do things like blog, but that really hasn't been the case at all, surprisingly.  I have also stopped watching HGTV almost completely.  WHERE HAS MY TIME GONE?

Work, I think, but not everyday, and this is the eleventy billionth time in a row that I have taught my criticism class, so I am not that busy yet.  I have decided to do this crazy thing where I grade all of my daily response papers and discussion question before I leave my office for the day-- it's terribly efficient.  I am also slated to work on a public speaking talk for museum docents, a scholarly talk that looks like a slightly bigger deal than I thought when I accepted (oops), a conference submission or 2 for next year that's due right before the baby, and of course the fiction book and the nonfiction book I have been theoretically working on for years, but I am still procrastinating the shit out of that list, so I can't blame any of that.  

Ben and I have been a little worried about how easy Harry's beginning of the year work is, so we have been working with him a lot at home. (The first few weeks of the year are spent doing assessments, which makes sense because the teacher has to know where everyone is starting in terms of math and reading level so she can plan accordingly, but the stuff they do in the meantime is all review).  His teacher sent home flash cards of 100 high frequency words, and we were delighted to find that he knew them all cold already.  So, we made flashcards with 150 harder high frequency words, and we have been having so much fun with them!  We mostly do one of two activities:  we set the timer for 5 minutes and he sees how many he can speed through in that time.  he has a chart where he keeps track of how many he gets each time, and he loves to try to beat his total.  He's a little hung up on "ight" words and "ough" words, but we're working on it.  If we're not doing a word race, we pick 3 or 4 cards at random from the deck, and Harry has to write a silly sentence that uses all of the words.  Then he draws a picture to accompany his sentence.  He loves this, and I think it is helping him add more details to his writing-- he is forced to add details in order to connect the disconnected words.  This game has also made him love reading the Sunday comics-- he reads them to Jack all week, and it cracks us up!

Saturday, we took advantage of lovely weather and unexpectedly early naps for Cooper (the 2 naps make it hard to plan activities on the weekend) and picked apples.  Only one of our 2 favorite orchards is open for picking this year because of the drought, but we found delicious apples that even Harry could reach.
He was so happy to finally reach a couple
Anti-fruit Jack amended his stance and will eat fruit he picks with his own hands.  I need to start a grape arbor or something.
Cooper hung out bemused and barefoot in the wagon eating bunny crackers.
You might think that bag of apples was full, but we kept going.  And got 2 pints of raspberries.
Harry is demanding we carve him a pumpkin this size.
Pretty sure Cooper ate that cup
I joined the kids for a shot just to prove that I was there too!

These are all honey crisps!
I love that the bag says uffda because, um, yeah

In addition to the apple he ate in the grove, Jack also chugged cider and a caramel apple-- the most fruit he has ever consumed not in leather form.
The other day at breakfast, Cooper insisted upon feeding himself yogurt.  Here's a progression:

He sure does make a huge mess.  But he is also happy to help clean up.  Just try to stop him, actually.
The three stooges.  We ran to the mall for mascara and ended up finding the most adorable kid clothes at H&M.  So many skinny jeans and cardigans.

I am entering the fat or pregnant stage which is especially awkward this time around because I am hanging onto at least 8 Cooper pounds. And 8 pounds on someone my height is a lot.
Cooper can walk, although he is still faster when he crawls.  But we can set him on his feet, and he is off!  He is even more dangerous upright, so we are getting the upstairs TV hung on the wall on Monday-- and not a moment too soon!

He has been going through a bit of a screamy phase, but I think we have turned a corner (thank God), and we stopped going to restaurants for the time being which has helped (except Chipotle.  he loves that white rice and cilantro so much that he will spend at least 15 minutes cramming it in his mouth with both hands).  He also has more words all of the sudden, which has eased his frustration.  Today, I got him out of bed (he sleeps through the night!  finally!) and took him to the kitchen to grab his milk, which he likes to drink first thing.  When I opened the fridge, he said "Eat.  Yeah.  Eat that." and grabbed the bagels.  Thanks to my recent baking binges, he says cookie.  He says nigh nigh a lot, but I have no idea what it means-- not night night (learned that the hard way).  He says hi, hair, get, this, that, kiss, dada, done, all done, and a few more that I am not thinking of right now because he is baby number 3 after all.  Tomorrow, he has his 12 month well-visit and lots of vaccines, including the flu shot.  I feel bad for him already.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cooper's party

I am ridiculously proud of myself right now because I just finished Cooper's baby book. 2 days after the first birthday of my third child, and the baby book is totally written in and completely glue sticked up with pictures and mementos of Cooper's first year.  I even remembered to take his picture with his cute little monthly onesie sticker 11 out of 12 months!  (We forgot the very last one, but we took a ton of pictures of his big day, as you can see).

So, I may be slacking on the blog front, but I finished Cooper's baby book and started a "Dear baby" journal for Baby #4-- go me!

We had Cooper's party on Saturday, and it was fantastic!

When all the guests arrived, we changed Cooper into this giant Big Brother t-shirt, and everyone just assumed that he was wearing a hand-me-down.  Ben and I had no plans other than trot the baby out in his shirt, so we just sort of stood there stupidly.  Oops.  But everyone was happy for us, and Cooper's thunder was stolen.  Oops again.  Also, get used it.
As a side note, I could only find a 2T big brother shirt at Carter's, and the saleslady was totally judgmental that my 12 month old is becoming a big brother.  Awesome,  Thanks for the family planning advice, lady.  Apparently not that many people are looking for a big brother onesie.  Whatev.

We got out the bonce house for the party, and it was a huge hit.
Obligatory family shot.  Harry is tormenting Jack, natch.
And the cake pictures.  Many of them.

Next-day breakfast.  Oh, Jack.
Cooper loved his birthday presents, and he can totally scale this little Step 2 sports station thing.
My favorite shot of the day-- he knew he was being funny with his little spoon over his face.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Girl Cookie

A little over 3 months ago, I discovered something about myself.

I have the exact same attitude toward babies as I do toward cookies.  Every time I have one, I say, "Oh my gosh, this is totally the last one, I swear."

And then I have another.

But this time?  I'd really love to try a girl cookie.

Baby number 4, coming in March:
Could 3D ultrasounds BE any creepier?  Also, it's smiling.

Sunday, September 02, 2012


On September 17, it will be a year since my grandpa Jack died.  This past weekend, the family converged in Des Moines for a graveside service to unveil his headstone as is Jewish custom.  What a lovely custom!  Comforting to mark a difficult anniversary with a formal ceremony and a public acknowledgement that we all still miss him everyday.

 The rabbi was a bit late, and the family got restless.  My dad, Ben, and my uncles played an inappropriate game of golf where the object was to hit the ball as close as possible to a lone grave in a roped-off corner-- a place for people with mixed marriages to be buried together.

When the rabbi showed up, Jack screamed, "This rabbi is not evil!"  He has rabbi mixed up with another word from Scooby Do, apparently, as he explained to us over dinner.  But he couldn't quite remember the word in question.

After the kaddish, the not evil rabbi asked if anyone wanted to say anything.  The group stood silently until one of my uncles' friends said, "A horse walked into a bar.  The bar tender said, 'Why the long face?'"  This prompted my uncle to say, "This bar has no bathrooms!  It's uncanny!"  You know, just some old favorites.

At lunch after, several people visited the bloody mary bar (SUCH a good idea-- so were the table-side omelet stations), figuring a younger Jack would have been there, too.

Cooper was high maintenance, so I only took 2 pictures.