Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Ass Hat

Will and I are both sick today... coughing, runny nose, the works. It's hard enough to take care of a baby when you don't feel well, but when you both don't feel well, it's awful.

We've had lots of books, naps and snuggle time today, but we had to venture out of the house to run one errand: I had to cancel my gym membership.

I hate the gym. I'm just not a gym person, so while the gym should be a great motivator to get in shape, it's just something I resent. I decided about three weeks into our new membership that I'd much rather walk the dog, or take a yoga class, or go for a run. The gym just had to go. I was done with it.

But today is the last day of January, and if I didn't cancel today, I'd have the stupid gym membership for another whole month. So off we we went... me with my glasses and hacking cough, and Will with his snot faucet of a nose. We were quite a pair.

When I reached the customer service desk and told them I wanted to quit, the overly perky gym guy says, "Oh no! Why?"

To which I replied, "It's just not a good fit for me."

He sort of looks me over, in my sweat pants and mussed up hair with a sick toddler on my hip, and says "Well maybe if you kept your membership you would start feeling better."

Seriously, buddy? Just cancel my damn membership and stop being such an ass hat.

So Will and I went home and took a nap. Way better than some stupid gym anyway.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Two Is Not Better Than One

Matching set

Yes, that's right. My child has not one, but two back eyes. The first: Will vs. couch. The second: Will vs. Stella.

Needless to say, he lost both battles. Good thing he's otherwise adorable (and seemingly unfazed by it).

Please don't call child services on us. We're good parents, I swear.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Interim Break: Let's just call it a "half success"

Proof that I did accomplish something over interim break

Gah. I can't believe interim break is over in just a few short days. I had such a lovely six week break from reading scholarly articles and writing research papers. Alas, I have already started receiving assignments from my professors for next week.

So although I technically have a few days remaining, I'm going to throw in the towel and report on my interim break goals...

  1. Read three "fun" books (i.e. books that aren't assigned for grad school) — SUCCESS! I read five books actually... The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins), Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins), The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern) and Enrique's Journey (Sonia Nazario). All were fabulous (and read on my new Kindle!). I read the Hunger Games trilogy in literally five days. What can I say? I love young adult fiction. The Night Circus was both spooky and whimsical. I found it similar to work by Audrey Niffengger, who I love. And Enrique's Journey was an incredibly powerful portrayal of Central American boy's quest to find his mother, who came to the United States to try and provide a better life for him. It's also the Go Big Read book selection for 2012.
  2. Organize the hall closet, coat closet and laundry room closet — Half success. The hall closet is done (see photo above). And the coat closet is better. But the laundry room closet is still a disaster.
  3. Organize the basement and garage — FAIL. Ben did clean up the garage somewhat, but we need some shelves to really organize things. And we didn't even touch the basement. Oh well. Perhaps we'll try again over spring break.
  4. Paint Will's bed side table and book shelves — FAIL. But this isn't entirely my fault. The shelves are still on back order at IKEA. And I don't see the point of painting the bedside table now if I just have to get out all the supplies to paint the book shelves later.
  5. Plan out Will's activity schedule for the winter/spring — SUCCESS! Will and I go to story time on Tuesdays and music class on Thursdays. For bonus points, I also called about some two year old preschool options for the fall.
  6. Finish Will's 7-12 month baby book — Half success. I think I literally worked on one page. Sigh. But this is one thing I really, really want to finish before Monday. So hopefully I'll have this checked off by the end of the weekend.
  7. Start Will's 12-18 month baby book — FAIL. Didn't even start a new project in Shutterfly.
  8. Blog at least 3 times a week — SUCCESS! I did pretty darn good over break, don't you think?
  9. Start working out at least 3 times a week — FAIL. We did join a gym, but I've only been there twice in the last month. I have been going to yoga and pilates occasionally, but not nearly enough to make my weekly goal.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2011 In Review

I totally love blog memes. They are so damn fun (to read and to write). As a writer, they are particularly effective when you're trying to meet your thrice weekly blog posting goal.

So here's my 2011 in review, copied from Baby Mama Drama (who I don't know, but read all the time because we have a mutual friend). Is that creepy? Maybe. Anyway, enjoy!

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? I saw a psychiatrist! That was pretty major. I started taking graduate classes full-time. And I went back to work part-time (which is new because I've never "worked" while being a mom). 

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I think I kept my 2011 resolutions for the most part. I definitely worry less, and I'm a multi-tasking rock star. And yes, I made some new ones for this year. I'm also really excited to try these style resolutions from one of my fav blogs.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Many dear friends had babies this year! Welcome to the world Caleb John, Collyns Maureen, Winnie Grace and Annika Piper!

4. Did anyone close to you die? My grandfather passed away in November, just days after my mom had a serious car accident. November pretty much sucked.

5. What countries did you visit? No international travel for us this year. I dreamed of Costa Rica and Spain though.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? More hours in the day?

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Will's first birthday (8/8/11) certainly comes to mind. And although I probably won't remember the specific date (6/30/11), I will always remember 2011 as the year we bought our new house.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? My biggest achievement was juggling motherhood, work and school. It's not easy. I'm hyper-organized and over-tired, but I'm getting it all done. Multi-tasking at it's finest!

9. What was your biggest failure? I don't think I made enough time for the hubs this year. I'm going to work on that in 2012.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I finally sought treatment for my postpartum depression.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Our new house! It's just so nice and new and maintenance-free.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Ben's. He continues to be an enduring source of unconditional love and support. And he's a damn good dad.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? My own. The depths of my depression literally shocked me. Luckily it was an ill-timed outburst that finally motivated me to get the help I needed. But seeking help is also a source of celebration, so it has a happy ending.

14. Where did most of your money go? Our new house... although there's not much to fix up, we put a considerable chunk (20%) down.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Selling our old house was awesome. It happened so quickly (only a month on the market), we couldn't believe it! Buying our new house was pretty sweet too. We're so happy here.

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2011? Ha, probably the CD by Will's music teacher, Miss Patricia. We listen to it all the time in the car. She's like the toddler-whisperer.

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

a) happier or sadder? Definitely happier, thanks in large part to my medication.

b) thinner or fatter? Definitely fatter, but I needed to put on some pounds after I lost a ton of weight during my depression. 

c) richer or poorer? Definitely richer. I'm back at work, and we don't have nearly the maintenance or upkeep costs that we had at our old house.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? I wish I would have taken more one-on-one time with Ben (see number 9 above).

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? I wish I would have watched less TV. We're really good at keeping the TV off while Will's awake, but there's no reason to be up until 11:00 PM watching stuff on Netflix.

20. How did you spend Christmas? We spent our first Christmas in our new house! We made pancakes and hot chocolate on Christmas morning, and opened presents with Will. It was the perfect Christmas morning.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011? I swear, I fall more and more in love with Will every day. He's so amazing.

22. What was your favorite TV program? Sons of Anarchy. Hands down.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Hate is a waste of time. Plenty of people and things irritate me though.

24. What was the best book you read? I didn't have much time for "fun" reading outside of grad school, but I was able to read The Hunger Games trilogy over Christmas break. So. Good.

25. What did you want and get? My new job!

26. What did you want and not get? An iPhone. Ben says hell no.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? I saw exactly one movie this year: The Help. So I guess I'll go with that. It was good, but I liked the book better.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 28 in 2011. I can't for the life of me remember what we did. Probably went out to dinner somewhere. That's the standard Zinth family birthday celebration.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? More coffee. I can never get enough coffee.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Sadly, I don't think I had one (see resolutions for 2012). If anything, it was probably "mom chic" (lots of cotton tops, skinny jeans and slip-on shoes).

31. What kept you sane? My Zoloft! Sad, but true.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I have a serious obsession with Ed Westwick (Chuck on Gossip Girl) and Charlie Hunnam (Jax on Sons of Anarchy).

33. What political issue stirred you the most? The whole Scott Walker collective bargaining debacle. You probably need to be from Wisconsin to know what I'm talking about, but he sucks. Luckily we're on our way to a recall!

34. Who did you miss? I found myself missing all my stay-at-home mom friends when I returned to work in September. They're such an awesome group of women, and I adore their kiddos.

35. Who was the best new person you met? So many great new colleagues and classmates.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. Be flexible. Life with a child makes you loosen up and let go of your expectations.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. 

'Cause baby you're a firework,
Come on, show 'em what you're worth,
Make 'em go, ah ah ah,
As you shoot across the sky, sky, sky.

Baby, you're a firework,
Come on, let your colors burst,
Make 'em go, ah ah ah,
You're gonna leave 'em falling down.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

17 Months Old

So busy!

Dear Will,

I swear, these letters sneak up on me every month. Your life is moving so fast, but that's all the more reason to try and write it all down!

As evidenced by the photo above, you run everywhere. You have one speed: fast. You are just so excited to see and experience everything, it's as if you can't possibly waste your time with walking. I love when you come to show me something. You run in the room calling my name with a big smile on your face, holding your prize in your hand above your head. You stop at my feet and present the object, throwing your hands out in front of you with your fingers spread and your palms up. It's as if you're saying, "Look, Mama!!! Can you believe it?!?"

This last month we celebrated your second Christmas. It was so amazing to wake up at home with you and open presents under our tree. We had pancakes for breakfast, which you loved. Unsurprisingly, all your grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles spoiled you rotten. You got lots of wonderful toys and clothes, including a train table, a play kitchen, a hand-held car, a bath-time boat, and a pull-behind wooden train. They have since become your favorite toys, logging lots of play time each and every day.

Your favorite books this month are Go Dog, Go! and Runaway Bunny. You insist on reading them over and over (and over) again. You know them by heart, and will even say certain words if we pause to let you: The green dog is... "up!" The yellow dog is... "da" (down). You also love to point out objects on each page, showing us the bunnies, moon, tree, letter Z, etc.

You have a really big vocabulary for your age. Aside from countless animal sounds, words you use on a regular basis include: Mama, Dada, Nana, Stella, dog, kitten, sheep, horse, pig, snake, zoo, milk, book, sock, shoe, bib, spoon, sun, moon, night, hi, bye, truck, train, bus, airplane, boat, ball, bird, apple, oatmeal, iPad, help, baby, up, down, in, out, under, please, and all done. You will also parrot back virtually any word we say to you, but you don't necessarily use them to communicate yet.

You continue to be a picky eater, but we're learning to accept it. You're growing strong, and I figure you'll learn to like vegetables some day. Until then, we just keep giving you a taste of whatever we're having (which you promptly spit out), and try to make what you will eat as healthy as possible. As it turns out, one can survive on just dairy, carbs and fruit. Who knew?!?

I hope you know that you are, and always will be, the single greatest thing that I have ever done with my life. I literally feel like my heart is going to explode when I see you every morning. And even though I'm tired (you are a toddler, after all), I miss you terribly after we put you to bed each night. Baby, you are the light of my life. My whole world. I love you so much.



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Resolution: Style

From the fabulous ladies at Ain't No Mom Jeans, here are some real, honest-to-goodness style resolutions that I can actually make happen this year.

I'm already well on my way with my new Frye boots.


And wouldn't you know it, I just bought a darling white sweater dress that will look perfect with said boots and leggings for cold winter work days.

Not to mention my fav cropped pants from JCrew.

Perhaps I'm not a total lost cause after all. Now to get working on those remaining four resolutions... I'm feeling a new spring coat coming on!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Finally Fifteen

OK, internet peeps. I need some help here.

I was one of those blessed teenagers that never had breakouts. Like never. I think I had one pimple the entire time I was in high school.

Blessed, right? Well, wrong. Apparently you can't escape breakouts, only postpone them. Fast forward to present day, and holy crap, my face looks like I'm fifteen (or what it should have looked like at fifteen).

Pay back's a bitch.

I've tried everything... I stopped using makeup sponges, I got skin clearing foundation, I switched to powder, I got really legit concealer, I tried practically every face wash they carry at Target. And then Walgreen's. I even bought an acne treatment system from Clinique (face wash, toner, moisturizer), but NOTHING IS WORKING.

Gah. This is so lame.

I assume this is one of the lovely side affects to pregnancy and birth. Likely coupled by the fact that I am no longer on the pill (don't get excited here, I haven't been since Will was born and we're still using other methods of birth control). But I don't believe it's purely hormonal since I'm breaking out throughout the month. What gives?

So I'm looking for advice. Anything that worked for your breakouts as a teenager, or, if you're like me, as a postpartum, twenty-something woman. Products, tips, tricks, what have you. At this point I'll try anything.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Four Agreements

I recently got wind of some people saying catty things about me behind my back. Nothing major. They were basically just picking apart a decision I had made. But it was enough to make me think twice about who to trust, and who has my best interest at heart.

I was feeling kind of down about it, until I remembered to pick up one on of my favorite books: The Four Agreements.

My mom gave this book to me in high school. It presents four principles to help you live your best life:
  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don't take anything personally
  3. Don't make assumptions
  4. Always do your best
Just some food for thought. It was #2 that helped me rise above the situation last week. When people are catty and judgmental, it's not about you, it's about them.

Along those same lines, I also want to pass on this post from one of my favorite bloggers. It chronicles her past-life as an internet mean girl, and issues an apology to the people she may have hurt.

I have been called "weird and judgy" myself a time or two (Grey's Anatomy? Anyone? Anyone?). But it's good to remember to try and speak kindly and offer friendship whenever you can.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I'm never really big on New Year's resolutions. I love goal lists, like the one I set for interim break. But New Year's resolutions always seem so massive and unattainable to me. Like there's just too much time for you to veer off track.

However, in the spirit of starting fresh, I am going to set a few resolutions this year. Among them:

1) Get a real hair style. It needs to be low-maintenance (I mean, let's be realistic). But there has to be something more polished than what I have now. My hair has a slight wave to it, so I'm thinking something that embraces that.

2) Be more fashionable. I love clothes, but I really have no clue how to style myself. I need a couple of basic pieces and some fab accessories to start feeling a bit more hip. Pinterest has been helping with this, but I need to clean out my closet, take inventory of what I already have, and strategize some new purchases.

3) Unplug while Will's awake. I need to stop checking my email, Facebook, Pinterest, etc when I'm home with Will. Not that I'm neglecting him, but I certainly login more times than I need to while he's awake. Save online for nap time.

4) Find more time for Ben. It's not easy on the hubs having me in school. Virtually all of my free time goes to homework, leaving very little one-on-one time for us. We're making due and the end is in sight, but I need to do a better job of carving out time just for him.

5) Get our finances figured out. Now that I'm back to work, we actually have the capacity to save again. I need to update our budget and come up with a figure that we can reasonably set aside every month. I need to open a 529 college savings plan for Will (this in is long overdue). And we need to add Will as a beneficiary on our 401(k) plans.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

Back in September I returned to work 15 hours/week after being a stay-at-home mom for 13 months. In many ways I was ready (I missed the adult interaction, professional responsibilities, etc), but I mostly did it because we needed the money. We were making it month to month on one income, but we weren't saving enough to do the things we wanted to do for ourselves and Will. Vacations, a basement playroom and Montessori preschool cost money, people.

So back to work I went. And surprisingly, I loved it. Way more than I thought I would. I forgot how much I missed my professional self. And while I also missed Will, it was great to get a break.

Being a stay-at-home mom is hard work. Damn hard. So going to the office actually felt like a mini-vacation. Enough time to energize my brain and recharge my batteries. And while I found myself missing play dates and child development classes with all our friends, I also found that I was a much more present parent when I was with Will. It's as if being apart made me make the most of our time together, since it was no longer unlimited.

It seemed to be a nice balance, and I was a rock star at my job. So much so that they offered me a 30 hour/week contract position within the department. I wasn't sure that I wanted to work that much when Will is this young, but it's a great opportunity. It's a two-year project appointment, throughout which I will be planning a new master's degree program for the university. The best part is that they gave me a flexible schedule, which means I can work from home two afternoons a week. So I work three days a week on-campus, and two days a week at home during Will's naptime. Perfection.

However, on top of this new job and being a mom, I'm still trying to finish my master's degree. I have three semesters and 13 credits remaining before I graduate this December (woot!). Just 11 months to go... wish me luck!

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Little Picasso

Ben had the past 11 days off of work, which meant lots of fun outings with Will! Last Monday we took him to the local children's museum. Will had a blast playing with all the exhibits, and made this masterpiece in the art studio...

Picasso in the making

Although his artwork is already displayed in his bedroom, I'm going to try not to hang on to every last thing he ever makes. I am however, taking a picture of every last thing he ever makes and adding it to a Shutterfly scrapbook. So his artwork will be preserved for all time (in photos anyway).

I think it will be fun to look back and see how his creative talents evolve (or never develop, as was the case with me). But, as you can see, he's off to a strong start.