Monthly Archives: January 2011

Thundersnow

Ew, snow. I’m sick of you.

We got somewhere around 16 inches this week, most of which was within 24 hours. These photos are of our sidewalk, fence and street. I actually made it out of the house and got to work most days this week, which felt like an accomplishment in itself.

Speaking of accomplishment, I’m nerdily excited about the new Foursquare badge, Handmade Hero, which you can get by checking in to any three craft-type stores (including yarn shops, of course.) Did I need a reason to go into these stores? No! But here is one anyway. Love.

Image from Amazon.com

Speaking of knitting and accomplishments, my friend Courtney published a book this week! I ordered it on Amazon and was instantly disappointed that it won’t ship until the end of February. I am dying to see it.

Image from Amazon

And speaking of publishing a book, another fellow I know, Kevin, published his book this week also, and it reached #3 overall on Amazon. I’m excited to read this too! Good stuff.

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My Personal Trainer is 3 Feet Tall

And she has a potbelly. But she’s the best personal trainer I’ve ever had.

I enlisted the munchkin to motivate me to exercise. She runs around like crazy, I figured I might as well join in.

It all stems from this great Newsweek article I read last week, “Can You Build a Better Brain.” Here are a few things that caught my interest while reading it – all of these are quotes pulled from the article:

“Farah found no difference between the performance of volunteers given Adderall and volunteers given a placebo on a battery of cognitive tasks, suggesting that you can get the same dopamine-boosting benefits of the drug by simply believing that you’ll do well, which itself releases dopamine.”

“The mechanism responsible for that is an increase in confidence and motivation—Adderall without the prescription. Along the same lines, a positive mood—even the kind that comes from watching “Sneezing Panda” on YouTube—can enhance creative problem-solving, finds a new paper in Psychological Science. In this case, reducing stress and the resulting cortisol, which attacks the myelin sheath that coats neurons and thus impairs signal transmission, allows underlying abilities to reach their full potential. Finally, being told that you belong to a group that does very well on a test tends to let you do better than if you’re told you belong to a group that does poorly; the latter floods you with cortisol, while the former gives you the wherewithal and dopamine surge to keep plugging away.”

The article also states that two ways that you can ‘exercise’ your brain is via physical exercise and meditation. So, I decided that for this and many reasons, I need to get back on an exercise regimen.

Sunday was the first day of this little experiment. We were playing on the carpet, and I laid down on my back and bounced her in the air using my arms and legs. She loved it and giggled like a little maniac. Even though I was panting and my limbs burned, I didn’t stop because she kept saying “more, Mommy, more!!” Whenever I gave up and put her down, she just climbed right back onto my legs. So it wasn’t until my husband pulled her off and distracted her that I was able to stop. I was SO SORE for days, but I know it was a good workout.

After this ‘weight training,’ we did a little yoga. I’ve never done kids’ yoga, but I’ve done yoga for years and I have a kid…so I just made it up. We’d ask her to name an animal and then we’d help her do a yoga pose to imitate that animal. It produced some really good stretches. I drew out some examples here.

I’m an awesome artist.

Then we danced, which is an excellent workout if you dance like a toddler. We put on a CD and jumped up and down for a while. Will I be able to keep this up? Dunno. Stay tuned.

Retail Therapy

I feel GROSS. I’m not sure why (stress maybe?) but a lot of my symptoms, which had been blissfully dormant for a few weeks, seem to have all come back. Last week I woke up with my nose hurting just like I’d blogged about a few months ago, and then got up all creaky with joint pain. Then I was fine for a while (my nose still hurts like crazy but my joints were fine), and then yesterday while I was trying to clean milk splatter off the furniture, the joints in my hand started aching too much for me to continue. I’m falling apart!

I’d love to just go shopping but we’re trying to save money until we sell the house. Sigh *love* shopping. Here are some things I’ve been coveting online (but won’t be buying.)

The munchkin already has a mobile, or else I’d totally buy this. It’s so cute!

Image from Diapers.com

I’d buy this if it were on sale, but alas it is a design student’s project. Please, oh please, put me on the waiting list – this is brilliant! (Thanks to swissmiss who found it first.)

Image from Nathalie Stampfli

The other thing I’d like to try to do to de-stress is exercise. I plan to blog more about this tomorrow. Those who know me are saying to themselves right now – wait, first she was cleaning and now she’s planning to exercise? What’s going on? I know. I can’t explain it.

Nursery

One of my pregnant friends asked for photos of the munchkin’s room, since she’s currently working on her own nursery. So then I thought, ooh, I can make that a blog post. (Flodder.)

My husband and I put a lot of work into it and we’re really proud of it. And we think the munchkin likes it too.

This is her crib, which has her special “color blanket” hanging on the side. (Although when she says it, it sounds like she’s saying “cuddle blanket,” which is very cute.) She loves that blanket. And so do I – I used to go every week to a knitting group, and when I was really pregnant I stopped going because I felt too huge to move, and then when I had the munchkin I just became overwhelmed and stopped having any free time to go. So, one day I get a call from the knit shop’s owner, a friend of mine, who says – I have something for you and I’m leaving it outside your door. A few hours later I checked, and there it was – a beautiful blanket, each square knit by a member of the knitting group. It was so meaningful – and you know what, it’s really soft and machine washable too. We’re so lucky. (By the way, she also made the munchkin the coveted Baby Surprise Jacket. Swoon.)

Above the crib hangs the mobile my husband and I made before she was born. We made animals that we thought she’d get to see in the neighborhood – a dog, cat, squirrel, bird and rabbit.

Then we have the rocking chair (actually my dad’s old LaZBoy with a slipcover on it) and draped over that is the absolutely incredible blanket my grandma knit. Above it hangs two paintings by Bren Bataclan, who I was lucky enough to meet many years ago when his art was a little more affordable than now (but I’d still buy his art now…I am a huge fan!)

I love this adorable and sweet needlepoint that my mother-in-law (or as my aunt liked to say, mother-in-love) made for us!

Then the closet and dresser. The doors in her room, by the way, are painted a lovely pale green and the walls are pale blue. We thought she was going to be a boy. But I still like it this way.

Above the dresser is another art project we did before the munchkin was born. We took photos of all our family members in profile (including our cat!) and used photoshop + paint + exacto knife to create silouhettes. We used the paint that we used on the walls and doors. I love how it came out.

The fourth wall of the room has her diaper table, and above it we hung a needlepoint my mom did for my room back in the day (“the day” being the 1970’s). Above that my husband hung geese he made out of food boxes headed for the recycling bin. For a while when the munchkin wouldn’t sit still for diaper changes, these kept her sort of occupied.

The bottom shelf of the diaper table holds many of her books. As you probably noticed, they’re also throughout the room. Actually, they’re throughout the house. Like her parents she loves books, which makes us very happy.

Flodder

I made up a new word, it’s flodder. It’s when you have something interesting that you instantly think, ooh that’s good fodder for my blog. It’s flodder.

I googled flodder and learned that it’s the name of the most successful Dutch film in history. So as you can see, I’m on to something.

I was in NY yesterday for work and between that and the days prior, I have a lot of flodder that I hope you’ll find interesting too.

One good source of flodder is a cab ride in New York City. You know how you’re never supposed to discuss religion or politics at dinner? I find they’re the perfect topics in a cab ride, because cab drivers (well, anyone really) always have opinions on both, strong ones, and aren’t afraid to share. I never verbally disagree or even really agree with them, I just keep asking questions to see what else they’ll say.

Almost always when I strike up a conversation with a cab driver he’ll ask me what nationality I am. I usually make them guess, and they never guess right. I get Italian usually first, then Hispanic, then some will guess Israeli while others will guess Middle Eastern. Sometimes I tell them the truth and sometimes I make it up. Yesterday, my cab driver asked me if I was Italian, and when I said no he asked if I was a Christian. Huh. I noticed his enormous bible in the front seat as soon as I sat down, so I said, I know that you are. For our 10+ minute cab ride, he told me all about what he loves about his faith, and he told me one thing I think you can get behind no matter what your personal views or beliefs: it is nice to be able to give up your stress and worries to someone else. Whether that’s God, your therapist, or your cat, I think that’s a beautiful way to reduce stress. Give it up. Don’t shoulder it alone.

Then my cab driver pulled over at my destination and said a prayer for me and my family. Then he gave me his card and asked me to come see him preach sometime. Then he gave me a candy cane with the history of candy canes printed on the package. At this point I reminded him I really needed my receipt. Then he gave me a pamphlet about his ministry. Then he told me all about how if I would call him, he’d give me insider information about a money-making venture that is going to make him a millionaire, and I seem nice so he’d like to get me in on it. Then he gave me another copy of his card. Then he asked me to say out loud, just once, “Jesus.” Then he gave me my receipt.

Is that flodder or what?

Vaccines and Autism

Newsweek just published this article, about the link between autism and vaccines, of which (according to the article and various experts cited) there is none…or at least the risks of not vaccinating your children far outweigh any risks of vaccinating them.

Personally I believe in vaccinating. Not just for kids, but for adults too.