Sunday, February 22, 2015

Book Club: The Human Experiment

My reading choices are occasionally pretty eclectic, and The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2 is definitely an example of that.
My grandma actually gave me this book for my birthday, and after skimming the jacket I was super excited to read it. Then, in January, my office book club chose "true adventure" as our theme for the month, providing the perfect opportunity for me to set aside the baby sleep books and read something for entertainment value instead.
Do you remember the 1995 Pauly Shore movie Bio-Dome? Likely not (it was pretty ridiculous) but I was a nerdy Pauly Shore fan at the time, so of course I saw it. That movie was based loosely on the same true-life experience detailed in The Human Experiment.
In 1991 four men and four women sealed themselves into a three-acre greenhouse in Arizona and emerged 730 days later... much wiser, thinner, and having done what many said was impossible. Their goal was two-fold: to demonstrate that humans could live under the necessary conditions for survival in bases on the Moon or Mars, and to conduct experiments to improve our understanding of ecosystems. Cut off from the outside world with only seven other people for company, the biospherians endured never-ending hunger, severely low levels of oxygen, and extremely difficult relationships. The crew members struggled to survive while keeping their promise that nothing would go in or out – no food, no water, not even air – all in the name of science.
In this first-hand account author and biospherian Jane Poynter shares what really happened inside the controversial project with a riveting, fast-paced trip through shattered lives, scientific discovery, cults, love, fears of insanity, and inspiring human endurance.
I thought this book was really interesting, but I often found myself skimming through the more detailed scientific stuff so that I could get to the dramatic/personal aspects of the story. Poynter does explain in fascinating detail how the biosphere got built, and what the eight people isolated inside for two years experienced. It definitely gave me a claustrophobic feeling as I was reading! I'd love to visit the actual site in Arizona someday. 
post signature

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Calling All Mommy Bloggers

Being a parent isn't as glamorous as I once thought it would be.

It's scary, disgusting, and overwhelming. And some days I wonder why the hell I ever went and got myself knocked up in the first place.

Being a mom might be the hardest job in the world. It's thankless and exhausting, and every day presents new challenges and opportunities to learn how to be a better parent.

So some days (in lieu of showering) I sit down in my spit up-covered yoga pants and reflect on this incredible journey.
And I know I'm not alone.
Mommies, I invite you to share your wisdom!
Some of my creepier followers loyal readers may have already noticed that I added a Parenting section to my blog a while back. Here you can find links to my favorite posts about pregnancy, and subsequent life with a tiny human.
Would you be interested in contributing your stories as well?
Maintaining a blog is a huge time suck (don't I know it!) but writing, sharing, and discussing the trials and tribulations of parenthood can be incredibly therapeutic.
So here's your chance!
Pregnancy // Childbirth // Baby Issues // Being A New Mom // Relationships // Confessions
Tell me all about it.
If you're interested in writing a Parenting guest post for Life As Always, please feel free to contact me and I'd be happy to feature you.
I'm really looking forward to everything we can learn from each other. 
post signature

Sunday, February 15, 2015

What Would You Do With An Extra $100?

I've become extremely frugal in my old age. At least when it comes to buying things for myself. Don't get me wrong -- I can drop several hundred dollars on trendy baby clothes at Carter's, and I've become a pro at ordering furniture and other household goods online. But that stuff is for us, not me.
When I choose to buy something special, like a pair of boots or new slacks for work, I obsess about it for weeks. I search the internet for sales and coupons, and continually come up with excuses as to why I don't really need said item. Because who cares if my bra has holes in it? It goes under my clothes. Eventually, I get up the nerve to ask Stew if I can purchase the item that I'm obsessing over, because you know -- it's our money. And of course he responds that he doesn't care, and to buy whatever I want. But the guilt, the guilt, of selfishly buying something for only myself makes it so that I can't even enjoy the shiny new item.
This past weekend I went to Target to stockpile some essentials (we try to buy in bulk), like shampoo, toothpaste, mouth wash, lotion, deodorant, and razors. And I realized that we are spending an obscene amount of money on these expensive, but necessary, hygiene items.
By switching over to a company like Dollar Shave Club, not only can I save myself that trip to Target (with a tiny, screaming human in tow), I can also save us a bundle of money. And maybe next time I won't feel so guilty about buying those boots... Dollar Shave Club has amazing razors that are shipped right to your doorstep for as low as $1 a month.
By making this simple change, I can save us about $100.
I am already brainstorming what I might buy with my savings...
Conair Infiniti Pro Curl Secret. Have you guys seen this thing? It's basically magic. I have always wanted to wear my hair curly sometimes, but I am a disaster with a curling iron so years ago I basically gave up. This would be my dream come true!
Some bareMinerals makeup. I've been dying to try this stuff for years, but I just can't bring myself to splurge when the drugstore stuff tends to do the job.
A leisurely mani/pedi. I can't remember the last time I had one. Maybe back toward the beginning of my maternity leave. Before we got married I used to go every month, but these days it just seems like a selfish indulgence.
A new pair of running shoes. Even though I'm only running on the treadmill in our garage right now, I just feel like a cute pair of shoes would inspire me to exercise more. And there are so many new cute styles and colors out these days!
How would you guys spend an extra hundred bucks?
post signature

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dear Ryder... Nine Months

Dear Ryder,

Once again it seems like just yesterday I was writing your last monthly update, but here we are again. 

You continue to grow and change on a daily basis, and this month you conquered quite a few physical challenges.

Shortly after New Years, Daddy and I both came down with a horrible case of the stomach flu. Thankfully, you were spared this misery, but I quickly learned that two sick parents attempting to recover and take care of a small child at the same time is not an optimal situation.

Unfortunately, almost as soon as we recovered from the flu we were stricken by a horrible cold and cough. You picked this one up as well -- first a dry cough that didn't seem to bother you, and then a horrible wracking one that woke you in the night. Luckily you remained in fairly high spirits, although you were a little fussy and refused to eat almost anything but breast milk.

But with Daddy and I sick as well, and you spending almost every night in our bed (which is where I let you sleep when you don't feel good), all three of us were keeping each other up with the coughing fits, and after a few increasingly sleep deprived weeks, I sent you to the doctor with Daddy. Although you weren't diagnosed with bronchitis like Daddy, the doctor did prescribe you some antibiotics, which I administered with slight trepidation. Thankfully, your condition rapidly improved, and we are finally all feeling healthy again.

During the weeks that we were ill, my sleep deprivation got so intense that I became slightly worried for my own sanity. Nana to the rescue! As soon as she learned how much we were struggling, she came and whisked you away to her house overnight so Daddy and I could get some rest. She is an angel and someday I'll have to thank her for saving our marriage.

You sit up well by yourself now, and can finally get into a sitting position on your own from both your back and stomach. It shocked me the first time I found you sitting like that in your crib waiting for me. You began pushing yourself in kind of a backward crawl toward the beginning of the month, and within a few weeks (on 1/26/15 to be exact) you had figured out how to legitimately crawl. I squealed with delight the first time I saw it. This meant it was time to start childproofing, and out came the gate for the top of the stairs. You also use just about anything to pull yourself up into a standing position whenever you get the chance.

Door stops are pretty much your favorite thing in the entire house. You love to bat at them, yank on them, and pull the plastic caps off the ends -- which happen to be the exact same size and shape of your wind pipe. As a result of this discovery, all door stops were subsequently removed.

As soon as you were on the move, you honed in on everything dangerous within your reach. We had some baby proofing to do...

You are ridiculously strong and fast, grabbing anything and everything that's within your reach. Even beer. Go figure.

You have discovered your genitals, and enjoy yanking on them as hard as you can whenever you find yourself in your birthday suit. I'm a little worried that your pain receptors aren't working properly. 

You absolutely hate being put on your back for a diaper change. This is a fairly new development, and we have no idea why -- you used to love getting your diaper changed! I think perhaps you associate it with getting ready for bed, because you seem to hate sleep with a passion. Crazy kid.

We have a nightly bedtime routine that consists of changing into jammies, reading a book, having a bottle or nursing, and rocking to a background mix of songs that Daddy made for you. Typically you're asleep in my arms by around 7:00 p.m. and although I place you on your back to sleep, you prefer to roll over and sleep on your belly. You still sleep with a pacifier.

Before we all got sick you were really getting into a rhythm with your sleep patterns, but now all our hard work has gone out the window, and it seems we'll need to start from scratch. I just keep reminding myself to cherish these moments when you call for me to cuddle you in the middle of the night, because each day that passes, you need me a little less. That breaks my heart a bit, and I hold you a little closer in the dark.

Although I am still pumping and we nurse when I am home, breastfeeding has become challenging because you are just so dang distracted by the world. It's no longer possible to nurse you anywhere but a dim, quiet room. As for food, you definitely have your preferences. You basically flat out refuse any green vegetables in their pureed, jarred format (not that I blame you). We've come to realize that you seem to enjoy feeding yourself better than us spooning goo into your mouth, so we give you chunks of things like avocado, pear, broccoli, whole wheat bread, Cheerios, sweet potatoes or bananas on the tray of your high chair. It makes a mess, but you're slowly learning how to get more pieces into your mouth than down your front.

You also love eating socks.

You have entered a period of severe separation anxiety, bursting into tears when Daddy or I leave the room or you can't see us. You've also developed apprehension of strangers. These behaviors are simultaneously flattering and annoying.

At your checkup this month you weighed 20 pounds 1 ounce, and you are 27.76 inches tall.

Even though we weren't feeling great, we still took you on your first ski trip to White Pass. We love snowboarding, and Daddy was excited to take you on your first run in the front pack (even though it was just down the bunny hill). We also went on a snowshoe hike around a frozen lake.

Not feeling great, but still enjoying your first time snowshoeing.

Tragically, the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl in one of the most heartbreaking game enders in the history of football. But you have been a 12 since before you were born, and we're excited to hit the ground running again next year.

Go Hawks!

Nana, Papa, and Auntie Nancy came up to watch you so Daddy and I could attend the Seahawks payoff games. You seemed to be good luck, my little Seahawk! At least until the end...

Our favorite Friday afternoon visitors, Cailin and Charlie, came to hang out again. The two of you continue to get along famously.

We got you a couple of new toys -- a basketball hoop game that you absolutely love, and an activity table that encourages you to pull up and "cruise." It's so much fun to watch you play!

I love to squish your chubby little hands, feet, and cheeks. I love to blow on your belly and make you squeal. I love to brush your hair off your forehead and plant a kiss between your clear blue eyes.

Your laughter is the most amazing sound I have ever heard.

Lately I find myself desperate to scoop you up, cuddle you, and kiss you at every opportunity. Maybe because as you become more and more mobile you also become less and less dependent on me, and it makes me crave your attention.

Don't grow up too fast, little boy! 

post signature

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Am I going to become a "Mommy Blogger"?

Blogging has changed a lot for me throughout the years.

My original blog, started in 2006, covered the drama of my mid-20s: mostly immature, emotionally irresponsible dating and theatrical, melodramatic, passive-aggressive friendship stuff. Plus a lot of drinking. They weren't my finest moments, and that blog certainly doesn't reflect my best writing.
In addition (as some of you may know/remember) my friend Jeanna and I also had a joint blog for a while: Two Girls -- Too Many Guys. I kid you not...
It was a dating experiment, in which we both joined an online dating site and then documented the dating disasters for the world to giggle about. I'd show it to you, but then I'd have to kill you...
Then I got engaged, and I wanted my little corner of the interwebs to become a reflection of my life with Stewart. I spent a fair amount of time rambling about our wedding, and then moved on to the purchase and construction of our new home. In between, there was a lot of stuff about family, friends, Seattle, sports, the great outdoors, and photos of us drinking Coors Light out of Solo cups. Keepin' it classy...
Somewhere along the way, I got knocked up.
I thought it would be the opposite, but during the months of my pregnancy my readership actually increased a lot. I was blogging like crazy, and somehow found the time to interact with other bloggers like I never had before. I participated in link ups and sponsorships, and developed friendships that sometimes even rivaled my "real life" ones.
I struggled to post with any sort of regularity, and I could tell my writing was getting increasingly boring and cliché (which my decreasing stats verified). But I was drowning in the depths of new parenthood and couldn't do anything about it. And during the past couple months I've been clutching desperately to a life preserver, and have been left wondering...
What is the future of Life As Always?
I found myself reading a lot more "Mommy Blogs" after Ryder was born. But of course I wasn't going to become a "Mommy Blogger."
Was I??
The short answer is no.
But the long answer is that this is a lifestyle blog. It's all about my life. And now that I'm a mom, that aspect of my life is going to transfer over into everything I do. The majority of my life is now centered on raising my son, and that will be reflected in my writing. But I'm still going to blog about camping, snowboarding, books, cooking, fashion, family, friends, and football... and you'll probably never stop seeing photos of those Solo cups -- I'll just have a kid's grubby little mitt in my other hand.
The things you loved about this blog (or at least the things you were used to) should hopefully remain the same.
But being a mom has already taught me so much, and I'd love to share some of the stuff I've learned with you here. Parenting is heartbreaking and hilarious, and it causes me to re-examine my life in ways I never thought possible. So even if you're not a parent yourself, please stick around. You may see some changes, but this is still my space and my voice. The reasons you've enjoyed Life As Always are still here.
I'm still me, tiny human in tow.
post signature

Monday, February 2, 2015

Deflated. But Always and Forever a 12.

We lost the Super Bowl.
We lost at the one yard line with just seconds left on the clock. We had it in our hands, and we let it slip through our fingers. Death to Bevell.
I'm not ready to talk about it.
I'm hardly even ready to think about it.
But after talking so much game here this season, I feel like I should at least acknowledge it.
We lost the Super Bowl.
And my heart is broken.
Watching Ryder's first big game -- Super Bowl XLIX.
But it was a great season, 12s. And we should be proud of ourselves.
See you next year.
post signature