When you live in Texas, "summer" takes on a different meaning when you consider a) triple-digit temperatures for weeks on end and b) heat that lasts much longer than the standard three month break from school (for reference, Alice was born in October and it was about 95 degrees when we left the hospital to bring her home.) But since I a born-and-bred teacher and will always consider summer "June/July/August" no matter how melt-your-face-off hot it is outside, that's what I'll be using as my framework. =)
Fun fact: I took one look at this picture, changed my outfit, and promptly returned this shirt because I look about six months pregnant in it. Ah! You win some; you lose some.
1. I've still got it when it comes to bulletin boards. There are a lot of things I don't miss about teaching, but one thing I do miss is decorating my classroom. My friend Jessica is teaching kindergarten and switched districts this year... since she had a lot of other things to deal with (like organizing a new classroom!) I volunteered to help with her boards. I didn't get to do as much as I would have liked since having Alice around, while delightful, isn't always super productive. =) But I knocked out three boards in about two hours the other night and it made me feel so, so good to work with border and letters and all that good stuff. (Maybe I should get out more.)
2. What "they" say is true- once you cut something out for long enough, you stop craving it. This happened for me the other day- I'm doing Weight Watchers (again!) because I'm a total Obliger and need accountability- and since I only have so many points a day I don't use them on my typical beloved Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew. (My Mountain Dew addiction dates back to high school and was pretty legendary. I blame Amanda.) Anyway, on Sunday I was sick (the worst time to be dieting!) and asked Jonathan to please bring me a Mountain Dew (why yes, sugary soft drinks are the best medicine, didn't you know?) So he brings it to me and I kid you not, I took a sip and almost gagged. I took one more sip just to prove to myself I wasn't crazy... I didn't even want it! I have never turned a Mountain Dew down in my life. But after three weeks of cutting it out, it really has lost its appeal. I'm not saying I'll never drink it again (let's not get crazy!) but that moment in itself was somewhat of a miracle.
3. You only need one(ish) pair of shoes if it's the right pair of shoes. Now that I am a mom and my job's dress standard is "try to keep your pajamas clean," I not only struggle to get dressed in real clothes but also to avoid looking like a frump in the small section of my closet that is both comfortable for being up and down with a baby all day and casual enough not to mind a little drool (or, ahem... other fluids.) Since I usually reach for the same few things all the time, those few things need to be cute! I bought these red slides a while back and I think they just add a cute little "something" to my momiform of bermuda shorts or t-shirt dresses. (Also Jonathan calls them my Gigi sandals after my mom, which is totally fine because she has cute style. Ha!)
4. I need to write. My blogging has dropped off significantly in the past two years, and especially in the months since Alice has been born, but earlier this summer I resolved to get back to posting more regularly. Since I'm home all day, I usually feel like I don't have much to say and that I need to wait for some kind of profound thought to strike... but as Gretchen Rubin says, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." It turns out that writing, even if it's just about my current reading list or things I'm enjoying, is good for me. It makes me feel slightly productive, it keeps me (sort of) sharp, and I just enjoy sharing my thoughts now and then. It's not that they're super deep or inspiring, but I can't really call myself a writer if I never write, now can I? And every single time I hear from one of you about how you enjoy a post, it prompts me to keep going, so thanks for that.
5. We all spend way too much time on our phones (totally guilty myself!) and it's not doing society any favors. I read this book in June and it made me feel terrible (dare I say convicted?) about how often I'm checking my phone during a face-to-face conversation. Often I excuse myself because all my family and most of my friends live far away, so I'm keeping up with them throughout texting or pictures or whatever, but it's still a bad habit. Of course we all know that it's bad to ignore your kids in favor of looking at your phone, but there are actual physical and psychological reasons why we shouldn't. The author does paint a very convincing picture of the damage that our digital obsessions have done to our culture, and how important it is to have real conversations at home, work and everywhere else. I'm working (imperfectly, of course) at it but am definitely making an effort!
6. Eating bad and eating less are not the same. I'll lose weight either way (down ten pounds- whoop whoop!) but eating smaller portions of junk is still junk. I'm trying to to break my bad habits of reaching for processed snacks, chocolate (but I waaaant it) or carbs all the time. (Thank goodness for grape tomatoes- I'm downing like two cartons a week.) Anyway, I wouldn't say I'm doing a complete overhaul of our diets just yet but having a baby has really made me conscious of the food I eat and how I model eating for her. "You don't want that salad, Alice... we're bread people." I mean, we are, but everything in moderation. =)
7. Speaking of weight loss... it's easier for me to exercise every day. Ugh, what a sad lesson learn, right? But it's true. I do better working out seven days a week and knowing it's just going to be a part of my day than to try to skip days (because I know myself and how easily one day turns into two and before you know it Alice is off to kindergarten and I haven't worked out in four years. Oops!) So, every day it is. Skipping just makes it harder to come back, even if it's only once. This week I've been sick but I've still done a shorter version of my regular workout (Tae Bo- don't hate! haha) and even at that I know doing the longer one is going to be rough when I start it back, hopefully tomorrow. (Also, even the "long" one is only like 25 minutes, lest you're picturing me puffing through a two-hour Zumba class or something. No, ma'am.)
8. Target has a new baby/kids line and I want it all. Well, actually they have a new line called Cat & Jack and it's 100% adorable (I already bought this onesie because has there ever been anything more perfect for my child?)... I want half of it for myself. But there's also a collection in the Osh Kosh line that has a Little Red Riding Hood theme. I basically drool over it every time I'm there but I'll be waiting for clearance because a) it's me, duh, and b) it's all fall stuff so it's going to be too hot for Alice right now anyway. But you better believe when the time comes I'll be snatching up this sweater, possibly in multiple sizes. (Bonus thing I learned: the term "onesie" is trademarked by Gerber and that's why everywhere else has to call them "bodysuits," which sounds creepy and similar to a straitjacket- which is kind of appropriate for babies and toddlers. Ha!)
9. Our Houston Astros stadium will give you a "baby's first baseball game" certificate. Obviously it's never been on my radar before this year but I'm thinking other professional ball parks do this too? It's a cute idea. And there's a little "family center" with a nursing room that sounded kind of sketchy to me (and I wouldn't have eaten off the floor or anything) but it was a nice place to hang out and watch the game while Alice had a bottle. If you'd rather sit in front of a big screen on a couch with a squirming baby than sweat to death in the stands, it's pretty great. (Plus anything with AC is better than being outside, hello.) Plus the certificate was a cool little memento for Alice's (not yet created, oops) baby book.
10. Making my own baby food is a lot easier than I thought it would be. Actually, I didn't really plan on making baby food. I've planned on doing baby-led weaning- basically you delay giving solids for a while and then just feed the baby small pieces of regular food- and that's kind of what we're doing but I'm still making "baby food" in the blender with green beans, black beans, avocado, peaches, sweet potato, carrots, etc. I'll probably dedicate a post to this soon because seriously if I can do it, anyone can. It's kind of funny because I'm not at all a "crunchy" mom so it makes me laugh at myself a little that I've ended up doing this and even enjoying it. It's oddly fun/gratifying plus I do like knowing exactly what she's eating since I made it myself!
Bonus! 11. The line that I've never been able to figure out in "Iowa Stubborn" from "The Music Man" is "We can be cold as our falling thermometers in December when you ask about the weather in July." It's bugged me for years that I had no idea what they were saying (does anyone else just make up lyrics for parts like that?) but finally the other day I looked it up. It's great how two-second Google search can answer a question that's plagued me forever. (Yes, I sit up at night pondering the lyrics to old musicals. Don't you wish you were that cool?)
There you have it. Maybe it's stretching it a little to say I "learned" these things since they're not particularly earth-shattering but hey, they're new to me! And I'm ready to close out this summer chapter and head into the fall (in name only, silly Texas) armed with all this knowledge. Only 11 days until September, which means my pumpkin stuff comes out and my Christmas tunes come on. I am SO ready. Sorry, summer, I'm kicking you out. =)