Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chunky Baby Alert!

As some of you might know, Ansley had a little trouble eating when she was born. She lost almost a pound (which is a lot for a 7 lb, 10 oz newborn), and the doctors were having us weigh her every three days because her weight was in the 10th percentile. Here is a picture of Ansley’s leg at the time, and yes, it is still an adorable leg, but it is too too skinny.

Then we discovered that Ansley had a “tongue tie,” which means she had a bit of extra frenulum (that thing that connects your tongue to the bottom of your mouth). We had it clipped, and Ansley started eating more. A lot more. In fact, at her 6-month check up, she weighed a whopping 17 lbs, 3 oz (that’s the 75th percentile!). Here is a picture of her leg now:

Check out those hammy hamhocks! I couldn’t be happier about my juicy, chubby baby…even if it does mean she can’t fit into her Bumbo seat anymore.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What to do when you forget to wear deodorant

You’re probably thinking, how often do you actually forget to wear deodorant? Well, pre-baby, I forgot maybe once or twice a year (I can be a little spacey), but post-baby it happens almost once a month.

I’ll have my hand on the deodorant, just about to remove the cap, when Ansley cries, and, being the stellar mommy I am, I go pick her up. Then I finish getting ready, completely forgetting the deodorant. It’s awful. You have to spend the whole rest of the day worrying if you smell and doing surreptitious underarm monitoring.

On one such day, I confessed my lack of deodorant to a friend at work:

Me: I totally think I forgot to put on deodorant today.
Her: Ohmygosh. Now that you mention it, I think I forgot too. That’s so funny.
Me: We are both going to smell.
Her: Do you have any antibacterial hand sanitizer? Because you can use that in a pinch.

Shut the front door. You can use what?! But it turns out, she’s right. You can use antibacterial hand sanitizer in emergency situations.

Here’s the science behind deodorant:

Source: http://www.instructables.com/id/Deodorant/

- Sweat doesn’t stink. Not really.
- The bacteria that live in your armpits ferment the sweat (gross), and that’s what makes body odor. Kind of like what yeast does when you make wine only the end product isn’t nearly as pleasant.
- Deodorant usually contains a few things:
1) Alcohol and other chemicals that kill/slow the bateria
2) A sweat-reducing chemical or antiperspirant
3) Some kind of essential oils to make you smell like cucumber or jasmine or whatever

So, the antibacterial hand sanitizer can act as ingredient number 1 if you forget deodorant. And it works too (mostly). There are a couple of drawbacks:
1) It stings like a mo-fo. Especially if, like me, you shave your underarms.
2) It doesn’t work 100%. Don’t plan on using this in lieu of actual deodorant on a regular basis or you will become the smelly kid in class.

Armed with this information, my friend and I ran downstairs to find a hand sanitizing station. (We didn’t have any sanitizer, but we work in the same building as a clinic, and there’s one of those hand sanitizer stands at the entrance.) Then, we waved our hands under the sensor so the machine would squirt out some antibacterial foam. That’s when it occurred to us that we were about to publicly embarrass ourselves. Using our powers of stealth, we sneaked over to a nearby bathroom with our handfuls of foam concealed at our sides. Thank goodness no one walked in while we were rubbing our underarms with hand sanitizer and giggling.

Source: http://www.unoclean.com/deb-SBS-Hand-Sanitizing-Dispenser-Stations-Restroom-Hand-Sanitizer-Stations.aspx

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Review: Invincible Summer by Hannah Moscowitz

Invincible SummerInvincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pre-cap: A heartbreaking and beautiful book about a dysfunctional family and sign language and summer and more. I loved it to pieces.

Full disclosure. I went into this book thinking I wouldn’t like it. From the adjectives I’d seen used to describe it (raw, edgy, gritty, etc.), I was expecting one of those books that shows you one scene after another of pain and loss and misery with no joy or beauty to balance it out. One of those books that leaves me queasy and sad for the next few days. I hate those books.

But I love books that take you on an emotional journal, and that’s exactly what Invincible Summer does. Sure, there’s grief and sadness and loss - enough that you’ll probably cry. I did. But there’s also a family that so obviously loves each other and gorgeous descriptions of summer. And hope. You feel so much hope for the future of Chase and his family at the end of the book without having an ending that is overly sweet and happy.

Invincible Summer follows Chase and his family for four summers. You think it’s going to be a book about two brothers (Noah and Chase) that fall in love with the same girl (Melinda) but it so so isn’t. Chase is desperate to hold his family together. His parents don’t love each other but can’t seem to stop having babies. His little brother Gideon is deaf. His little sister Claudia is trying to be a woman too early. His older brother Noah won’t stop running away. Oh, and also he and Noah both end up tangled in Melinda’s web of seduction and manipulation (yeah, I didn’t like her most of the time).

I loved the characters, particularly Chase and Gideon. And how Moskowitz uses sign language dialogue and I got to see inside that world. There’s a part where Chase comforts Gideon in the middle of the night that I loved. And another part where Gideon signs something to Noah in regards to his college major that just broke my heart.

One of my favorite parts about Invincible Summer is that it is full of lines that are just these beautiful truths about the world. I can’t believe the author is a teenager! I feel like you need a lifetime of wisdom to dole out observations like that.

And she isn’t afraid to tackle difficult subject matter. A couple of scenes with Claudia made me uncomfortable because she acts so old/sexy for a girl who is 11-13 (the book spans multiple summers). At the same time, I feel like this is a problem with girls today – they’re trying to grow up way too fast. And I feel like Moskowitz called attention to it without being all look-at-me-I’m-an-issue-book.

I wasn’t a Noah fan. I’m more like Chase. I can’t help but want to stay and try to fix problems, and I tend to dislike characters who run from them. I wouldn’t call this a flaw in the book, though, because I was feeling a strong reaction to Noah even if it wasn’t a good one.

So, now you’re asking yourself, was there anything I didn’t like about the book? Well, not much, but here goes:

There was a hotel room scene with Melinda, Noah, and Chase, and what Melinda said about Chase didn’t move me the way I think it was supposed to. It kind of just weird-ed me out. Also, there was a bit too much Camus. Sometimes I wanted to know what the characters were actually thinking and I got a Camus quote instead.

And that’s it. Because I loved this book SO MUCH. It’s the first time since I had my baby 6 months ago that I’ve been hooked enough to finish a book within 48 hours.

Content Warning: There’s at least one pretty graphic love scene, so if you’re squeamish about stuff like that, you might want to skip that page. There’s also a good bit of swearing.

Other Reviews: Loved it/Hated it.

Note: Don’t judge this book by its cover because the cover doesn't fit. The author agrees and she's holding a look-for-the-new-cover contest.

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Get Your Ansley Fix!

Hey! As promised, here are some pictures of Ansley. I went to great lengths to get them. I had to brave Zack's computer and everything :-)

Ansley at her first doctor's appointment.

Ansley plotting to take over the world.

Ansley watching the Kentucky Derby. Please note she is wearing seersucker and a "hat".

Ansley passed out.

Ansley rocking a ponytail in her Bumbo seat.

Ansley with her Nana.

And Ansley at her Grammy's.

Hope you enjoy the pictures! I'll post more soon!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ready. Set. Blog!

Hi. I’m blogging!

And if you’re reading this, it means you might be interested in how the Allen family is doing (great, thank you), or you might want to hear about the science I’m learning or the books I’m reading (either way, you’re a nerd, but it’s cool because so am I), or you might just want to see pictures of Ansley. Let’s face it - that is totally why you are here :-)

No matter the reason, thanks for stopping by! Ansley pictures to follow.