Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Penelope's starting to string 3+ words together pretty frequently. A sampling from the past few days:

Pointing up to the owl ornament hanging from the small Christmas tree on our mantel: "Oh-lul tee up der!" (Owl tree up there!)

Indicating her huge creepy plastic inherited baby doll that we keep on top of her bookcase: "Baby seepin up der!" (Baby sleeping up there!)

This afternoon as I finished up working at our computer with the door closed, from the hallway I heard: "Mommy workin now!"

Other favorite exclamations lately:

"Oopsy daisy oopsy daisy!" when anything is slightly different than she thinks it should be

"AbaDABa!" which she uses to refer to her wand, and also says while waving her wand, along with "poke pocus!"

"Happy BOOTday!" which she says repeatedly while holding an electric candle, and also says to refer to the candle.

"No touchin!" and "One fin-doo" (finger), which she often says when she knows not to grab something...often while she's grabbing it anyway.

"Yight on!" when she wants to play with a light switch

"House" is anything she bunches together, such as puzzle pieces; the same puzzle pieces (or, last night during dinner, green beans) in a line become "train!"

It's also so fun to get her to repeat stuff, like when we spun her around in the office chair Paul got her to say "inertia" and "angular momentum"!

This whole toddler thing is pretty entertaining.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Just back from a jog

I took up jogging this past January after LITERALLY over a decade of thinking, occasionally, "Maybe I could take up jogging. [Non-athletic Person I Know] took up jogging, so maybe I could too." And then I wouldn't. But then my 41-year-old work bff Denise took up jogging and ran a 5k, and I think that was the Non-athletic Person I Know who finally nudged me the last inch (I mean, centimeter, since we apparently use the metric system for jogging) over my mental line to deciding I could attempt to take up jogging.

Well, that plus the fact that I finally owned a smartphone and therefore had access to C25K apps. I used RunDouble to get myself from Couch Potato to Someone Who Can Sustain a Jog for 30 Minutes. Now I use RunKeeper just to track things, but man, I give a lot of credit to that C25K app. It gave me permission to take it slow to start, and take things in manageable, bite-sized chunks, with plenty of walking in the first few weeks.
I ran a 5k one week before my 30th birthday. I'm not really a person who tries for significant timing like that, but it worked out that way, and I was surprised at how affected I was: I cried as I ran across the finish line.

And then I peed myself. No, really. Whoops. (And that is why I will probably never attempt long-distance jogging.)

After I ran the 5k, I tapered off my jogging quite a bit, down to only once a week or even less, and until this past week I'd gone 2 weeks without jogging, and when I did go, I was doing less than 2 miles (for the uninitiated: a 5k = 3.1 miles). I didn't have time, it was too hot, I didn't feel like it, I wasn't feeling well, I'd go tomorrow, etc etc etc. Even my past two jogs since last Saturday have been under 2 miles.

But tonight, I decided to jog, and once I was out there, I decided to just keep going. And I jogged for 3.6 miles. Not that far, but still my longest jog yet, shortly after a 2 week break. So for the first time since May, I got to that point in the jog where the endorphins kick in and you feel, not less tired, but like you could keep doing this pretty much indefinitely, and furthermore everything is right with the world and you are totally satisfied and happy with your life and you are at one with the world and, hey, it's finally time to tackle that project you've had in the back of your mind for a few years, because you could definitely make time for it if you just tried.

Why can't I ever remember how great that feels on the days when I know I should jog but decide not to? Ah, the mysteries of the universe. Or life. Or the human brain. Or whatever.

Over the past couple of months of much less jogging, I was worried that I was letting it slip away, just like I'd let all past attempts to get in shape lapse after a while: joining the Y, swimming laps, "running" on the elliptical...nothing lasted more than a few months. And it all cost a lot of money. I will need new sneakers before too long, but thus far jogging has only cost me a couple bucks for that C25K app, and $15 for running shorts with pockets. Oh, and I guess $22 for cold-weather running tights. Did I mention I took up jogging in January? Who DOES that? (Uh, lots of people who make New Year's Resolutions, I hear you saying? Yeah shut up.)
Upshot of all this: now I know I can slack off for a few weeks and still come back to jogging without feeling like a beginner all over again. (Sounds like a bad thing, but is actually totally encouraging for me, because slacker-y patches are inevitable, but now I know I can easily get back on the wagon.) I suspected this was true after I hiked to Upper Temple at Camp Nawakwa with 23 lb. Penelope in a hiking backpack and felt less tired than I had making the same hike weekly when I was 21. Also, I reminded myself, I took up jogging just under a year after her birth, and I am now 10 lbs below my pre-baby weight, and have sustained that weight for over 3 months. I haven't weighed this little since, I think, 2005. So, proof of both cardiovascular and body mass index benefits. And it makes me feel happy and proud of myself and less stressed. And less guilty about eating that half a pint of ice cream for dessert last night.

So that's how I'm feeling tonight. And I am one of the least athletic people you know. But I finally found a physical activity that works for me, and I'm pretty happy about it, and maybe tomorrow I'll start that one project I've had in the back of my mind for the past few years.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Saturday moment

I have had an awesomely productive day thus far: fed PJ two square meals surrounding a trip to the Farmer's Market; finished Mother's Day gifts; many loads of laundry including folding & putting away, plus diaper stuffing & stacking, and more loads in the works; then took a break to sit on the carport enjoying the sudden sunshine and eat a snack while reading "French Kids Eat Everything" (this is a bit ironic since the French do NOT snack), and then swept the Maple schmutz off the carport and driveway...just in time for it to DOWNPOUR again (as I'm paying bills on the computer!  PRODUCTIVITY!!), which has undoubtedly caused the Japanese Maple to shed more crap all over the carport and driveway again.  So it was sunny and nice out for a grand total of about 45 minutes, I think.

Whatever, this is still a totally successful day!  I even WROTE A BLOG POST, for goodness sake.

New discovery at the juice & smoothie place at the market: Ginger Hopper juice typically has carrot, apple, and ginger, but today I added beet and spinach to that, and it was DEEEElicious.  PJ loved it too.  That plus the book I'm reading makes me want to get beets and spinach to add to her frequent breakfast smoothies!  Beet and carrot would probably be thick/rich enough to replace yogurt some mornings.  Will experiment and report back.

Current harebrained scheme:  eliminate snacking from our lives by focusing more on eating well at breakfast and lunch.  Especially want to stop training PJ to snack all day.  We'll see how my resolve holds out.

Time to get PJ up from her afternoon nap!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

31 for 31!

Yikes, it's almost May!  And that means I'm turning 30 in less than a month, but it also means Mission: Put Together 2013!  And this year it also means an attempt to seriously pare down my wardrobe as I attempt to also participate in the sub-challenge 31 for 31, wherein I will choose only 31 items to wear for the entire month of May.  

My 31 items include shirts, cardigans, pants, skirts, dresses, and shoes.  Notes below on why I am not limiting accessories (or you can probably guess once you've seen my 31 items!); also, I apologize for the poor photo quality, but husband at the library studying for finals means me home with the 15-month-old means I only had time to take these all with my cell phone by the lamp in the living room at 9pm after baby bedtime.  Let's get started, shall we?

8 Shirts:
+Coral from Old Navy
+Black from Mossimo for Target
+Purple from Liz Lange for Target
+Blue/tan multi from Liz Lange for Target
+Turquoise from Mossimo for Target
+Brown/tan skinny stripe from Motherhood (it's a maternity shirt. Don't judge.)
+Grey/white leafy pattern from Merona for Target (or is that Kohl's?)
+Salmon tank from ON

4 Cardigans:
+Grey shrug from Old Navy
+White cable 3/4 sleeve cardi from Merona for Target
+Tan/white 3/4 sleeve argyle cardi from J Crew
+Purple flowy ribbed cardi from Kohl's

7 Pants:
+Dark tan pencil cords from J Crew
+Skinny jeans from ON
+Turquoise skinny jeans from ON
+Purple skinny jeans from ON
+Grey pinstripe slacks from JCP
+Black capri slacks from JCP
+Khaki cotton capris


4 Skirts:
+Denim w button detail from Gap
+Khaki from ON
+Grey-brown from ON
+Blue medallion pattern cotton skirt from Mossimo for Target (actually this is meant to be a strapless dress, but I've always worn it as a skirt.  I don't do strapless, and it works great as a skirt!  It even has pockets!)

4 Dresses:
+Black w white polkadots
+Purple, both from Ross
+Turquoise knit dress from Mossimo for Target
+Coral/white stripe jersey dress from Merona for Target

4 Shoes:
+Turquoise thongs from Target
+Brown leather BOC sandals
+Purple ballet flat Privos
+Red ballet flat Crocs Metallic leather flower Clarks:  I almost forgot about my Clarks until I popped over to the Flickr group and saw a pic of mine from last year!  So cross out the red ballet flats, which didn't really make much sense anyway since not a single other thing is red in my entire 31:31 wardrobe, and replace those with the metallic Clarks.  Thank goodness for last-minute reminders!

Looking at my choices all together like this, and knowing that I chose ALL the colorful spring-weight clothing I own for this challenge, I see some major holes in my wardrobe already:  all my colors are purple or turquoise, with just 3 items in the coral/salmon family, and NOTHING else but neutrals!  That is nuts.  But I truly don't own anything else!  I really need some mustard, lime, green, etc. in there.  Hopefully I'll get some gift cards for my birthday (30! OMG!) on May 25th, and then I can take everything I've learned from Mission: Put Together 2013 and go forth and brighten up my wardrobe!  

I really do tend toward neutrals and denim and safe, boring clothing.  The bright skinny jeans were a gamble for me, and of course I ended up LOVING them.  I wish I could go buy more pairs in cranberry, mustard, and red!  But I don't have them, and so I can't use them in 31:31.  And my known lack of color is why I am not limiting my accessories at all, because I am really going to need my scarves, earrings, necklaces and bracelets to bring in some additional color, texture and shine and brighten up all those neutrals!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This Time

I really think it's going to happen this time.  Everything feels different--I've gone jogging 3 days this week, for goodness sake.  I've never gone jogging a day in my life, other than when forced to in gym class.  I could still eat less, but I've improved my eating and will continue to do so.  Every time I think about eating, I think about Biggest Blogging Loser and turning 30 and Penelope and the promises I've made to myself this time, and I finally feel like it IS going to happen, not like I'm just saying it and trying to convince myself.  And I feel SO HAPPY because I BELIEVE that I'm going to lose 20 pounds and it feels SO GOOD.

Today I did Week 1, Day 3 of training with my Couch to 5k app, and it was mid-morning and light outside and not freezing-ass cold for the first time, and it was lovely.  I came home and showered, and then as I was standing in front of the mirror my face was all rosy and I just felt like I looked better than I have in years.

I don't know if it's endorphins or what, but at the end of my first run on Tuesday and again today while jogging, I got this rush of emotion that I was REALLY DOING IT, and almost started crying.  Happy crying.  I'm even thinking of adding in an extra run tomorrow morning before church so there's not a 2-day gap before starting Week 2, and to take advantage of this crazy warm weather while it lasts--high of 58 degrees tomorrow!  And it was in the 40s already while I ran this morning!  What?  Sure beats the 25 degrees I got on Tuesday. (edit: I did go out on Sunday, but in the afternoon, and mostly walked.  But it was a good bridge from Week 1 to Week 2!)

When I signed up for BBL, I didn't even make the connection to turning 30 at the end of May, but it really is perfect timing in so many ways for my life.  So here are some of the things I'm thinking about doing if and when I achieve a weight in the 140s and maintain it through the end of May:

  • Get my nose pierced.  I've wanted to for years, and if my body is back down to pre-college weight, I think this is the only time to do it.  If I don't do it this year, I'm never going to do it.  I think I would just love a teensy, sparkly stud, especially if I'm feeling great about my body for the first time.
  • Get professional photos taken of our family again.  I've been very happy with some of the photos I've taken with our DSLR, including the one I used for our Christmas card this year and PJ's weekly photos, but you guys.  I browse Jen Balgalvis's site, and I want that again (she did our newborn photos too, one is even in this gallery).  Real family photos with our adorable toddler (assuming she'll be walking by 16 months).  But first I might try having my lovely sister, who has mad photo skillz too, do a photo shoot with us and see what we get from that.
  • Start biking to work again once it gets warmer, and get a seat for PJ to ride along--I like the Kangaroo Child Bike Seat because it's in front of the rider, so she can see everything and be a part of the ride.  I might even be able to transport her to my parents' house by bike on weekday mornings!  But I'm also interested in the trailer-style, which could carry groceries and other cargo in addition to PJ.  So we'll see.  Don't need to make that decision until the spring.
  • Get a jogging stroller so I can take PJ along for morning jogs once the weather warms up and on days like today. I hate to have duplicate items, so I'd love to have a convertable bike trailer/jogging stroller.  I am always struggling with the feeling that we own way too much STUFF and should be reducing all the unused items we already own before we get more, so you can imagine how baby gear in general feels overwhelming to me.   This one would be amazing, but I don't think I can justify spending that kind of money.  This one looks promising, but man, I know how great BabyJogger products are.  I will definitely be trolling Craigslist to see if a POD shows up used, although I bet it would still be upwards of $250.  Honestly, the most likely outcome is that I'll get a used jogging stroller on Craigslist and wait on the bike trailer in favor of the Kangaroo seat.  And then we will have All The Baby-Transporting Things, and then our basement will be full less than 2 years into parenthood and I will go crazy.
  • Actually run a 5k.  This item really isn't important to me...I don't care about my time, or how I compare to other people; I'm only using the C25K phone app as an easy way to properly and effectively ease into jogging, but if I stick with it for the 9 week program and beyond through May, and since my 30th birthday is Memorial Day weekend, it seems silly to not take that symbolic opportunity to run a 5k and start officially calling myself a jogger & believing it's true.  And who knows, maybe I'll love it and feel much more invested in jogging as a hobby at that point, it's too soon to tell!
Next jogging-related thing to explore: borrowing audiobooks from the Philadelphia Free Library.  I'm hopeful I'll be able to borrow & listen on my cell phone so they can work in conjunction with the C25K app.  Right now I'm listening to Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks, and it's quite interesting, but I'd love to try some fiction.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

2012 Review (I jumped on the bandwagon, but it was a good way to get back into blogging, so sue me.)

I added 2 more resolutions for an even 10 for the year. And a sub-resolution is to fix up the header so it's not dumb, but that needs to happen from my home computer.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
I had a baby & grew her into a happy, healthy 11-month-old.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any last year, but I did this year, because this year I have some big goals that I feel serious about.  Last year I figured was un-plan-able, what with becoming a parent for the first time so early in the year, and I was definitely right.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Me.  Also a couple of friends and my cousin.  More babies coming in 2013! (not mine!)

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?

Just this one. I doubt we'll make it out of the US in 2013 either, but maybe in 2014?

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A waist and a flat(ish) tummy.  See New Year's Resolution #1.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 26th when Penelope was born. (duh.)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
This is already getting old, but I gotta be honest, so: becoming a mom. I'll change it up a tiny bit by adding, becoming a *working* mom. It's not just my achievement because I had SO MUCH help from family, but it's working out even better than I hoped, and it feels like a pretty huge achievement.  (I hope hope hope that next year's answer to this question will be "losing 20 lbs"!

9. What was your biggest failure?
I'm going to say financial planning.  We let our credit card debt get way too high in 2012.  My top goal for 2013, along with losing weight, is to have NO credit card debt again.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I've had a lot more colds than before I was pregnant, but thankfully that's it!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Minivan.  We sold our 1998 Chevy Malibu on Craigslist (which went surprisingly well!) and paid the full amount from that to my parents for my Mom's 2005 Dodge Caravan after she got a brand-new Honda CRV.  Everyone wins!  I actually learned how to drive on a minivan, so driving it just feels like going back to normal.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Oh, so many people in my family.  Penelope's, Paul's, and my Dad's especially.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
A slew of politicians, but what else is new?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, medical bills, and, no doubt, gas for the minivan.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I got to witness Penelope's first-ever roll.  She's had tons of milestones, but that was the first big one, and it's the only one that truly happened all at once, AND I got to witness it.  Not to mention I got it on video.  It was pretty great.  (Oh, and I guess having a baby was pretty exciting too.  So.)

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?

I fell hard for Mumford & Sons' Roll Away Your Stone.  I don't know if I'll remember forever that it was from 2012, though.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
a) Happier
b) Thinner because I'm back to pre-pregnancy weight, but that's it, so it feels like the same.
c) Childbirth + raising a baby + paying for husband's classes = poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Anything more productive than watching TV.  But see #32, so hopefully all the TV wasn't a total waste.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Work.  But what are you gonna do?  See #17c.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Day was spent 100% at our house.  My family came over in the morning, and Paul's in the evening.  PJ and I both had colds, but still managed to have a lovely day, although I was sad to not be able to taste my dinner.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?

Cheesy, but oh yes.  With Penelope, but also with my husband in the role of father.  It really is like falling in love with a whole new person, and it might be my favorite part of becoming a parent, meeting Paul the Dad.  In that same vein, I also got to fall in love with MY dad again in the role of JayPop.  JayPop takes care of Penelope four mornings a week while Paul is at class, and they have a really special bond already.  It makes my heart melt just thinking about it.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

We watch everything after the fact on Netflix, so I could say something totally old, but I'll go, I've got it.  Sherlock.  The BBC show that airs on PBS's Masterpiece Classics.  Can't wait for the 3rd season this year!!  (If I had just said "A BBC Show that airs on Masterpiece Classics, you totally would have guessed Downton Abbey, and you wouldn't have been wrong there either!)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
This is going to make me sound like a kind of person you want to slap, but...I kind of don't believe in hating people.  I hate people for brief periods when I'm angry, but part of calming down always involves thinking about what made that person do or say whatever made me hate them, and then I can't continue to hate them after that.  So, no.

24. What was the best book you read?

I read 12 books in 2012 if my Goodreads is to be trusted, which is more than I realized!  I think I most enjoyed A Discovery of Witches and its sequel Shadow of Night, and on the more literary side I also really loved The Tiger's Wife.  I just finished The Night Circus, and it is my hands-down favorite, but I read most of it in 2013 so I don't know if it counts.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Not exactly a discovery since it's so super popular, but I'm so totally on the Mumford & Sons bandwagon.  I loved Roll Away Your Stone the first time I heard it, and more every time after that, like I haven't loved a song since I was a teenager.

26. What did you want and get?
A happy, healthy, amazing daughter.  Also, a minivan. Oh!  And!  A productive garden, particularly in the tomato department.  We had some delicious tomatoes this summer.

27. What did you want and not get?

A finished basement playroom.  Area rugs for the bedrooms.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I went to maybe 2 movies in theaters, and watched a few more on Netflix, but I don't even remember what.  So apparently nothing good enough to stick in my head...

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 29.  I think we had friends over for a picnic, but I don't remember for sure.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I don't think it would be possible to make it *immeasurably* more satisfying, but if I could pick one big thing to have accomplished that didn't get accomplished, I'd pick finishing the room in the basement.  I will be so happy when that finally happens.  I hope it happens this year, but I'm not positive it will.  Oh, hey, I just thought of something that might even qualify as immeasurable:  If we could afford to pay someone to clean our house every two weeks, that would make my life easier and improve my mental health in ways I can't adequately describe.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

Nursing-friendly tops, jeans, comfy shoes, and a little bit of flair up top with a pixie haircut and big, dangly earrings.

32. What kept you sane?
A lot of Ben & Jerry's and loafing on the couch watching Netflix.  Hence, New Year's Resolution #1.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
President Obama.  I still love him.  Also Hillary Clinton, I hope she runs for president again so I can vote for her.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The right (yes, I said it) to affordable healthcare.

35. Who did you miss?
My grandmother and great-aunt.  They were twin sisters.  My grandmother died a few years ago, and her sister died when I was still a kid, but I have thought about them a lot this year because of how much they would have loved meeting Penelope.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Um.  My daughter, obviously.  A truly new person!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
There will be another sale on baby items tomorrow, or next week, or next month, and it will be just as good as this one, and therefore I do not need to buy whatever it is just because it's on sale.  Now if only both of PJ's grandmothers would learn that one...

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I spent a lot of time in my actual home, but I can't help thinking of the song "Home" by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes:  "Home, let me come home; home is where ever I'm with you."

Thursday, January 03, 2013


I downloaded the blogger app, so let's see if I post occasionally now. I'm participating in Biggest Blogging Loser starting Monday, so it would be nice if I, you know, blogged sometimes. Ever. Here, have a picture of my baby: