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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Mental Load...

The mental load...

To quote a Huff Post article, it's "the 'Knower of All The Things'", the person "who holds all the behind-the-scenes knowledge about the many things involved in raising a kid {and a household!}. The one who plans, who notices, who anticipates, who researches, who worries."

It's a real thing, people. And more often than not, it falls on one parent - usually the mother.

Don't get me wrong, Grant definitely carries his weight around here and pitches in more than I'm sure a lot of other dads do. And if you asked him, he'd tell you that I spend an unnecessary amount of time worrying about things - especially in the early morning hours of the day when I toss and turn in bed next to him.

Come see me at 9p and I'll be conked out on the couch. But at 4:45a, if I'm roused from my deep sleep for long enough for that one spark to enter my mind, it starts to race and I'll spend the next hour and a half until it's an appropriate time to wake up stressing about whether to order chocolate or vanilla kids toothpaste in my next Amazon subscribe and save order.
I know it's irrational, but I can't help it. I carry the mental load.

I read this article a few months ago and it hit the nail on the head.

Her description of clearing the table and getting so side tracked that next thing you know, it's two hours later and you're mind has gone to about 20 different places as you stumble upon things that need to be done, things that need to be added to your never-ending to do list... In her scenario, the table eventually gets cleared; in mine, it often doesn't (but I've fed the cat, folded the laundry, decanted the soap, organized the legos, made the kids' lunch...). 

Anyways, it isn't so much that my husband isn't willing to help. He is. But he's also gone a lot and has been juggling two jobs for as long as I can remember, so oftentimes it's easier for me to just do it. I'm also a control freak who likes things a certain way and to relinquish control of that... well it gives me anxiety just thinking about it!

The point of this post isn't to belittle my spouse. But I had a physical last week and I asked my doctor why she thought I was always so damn tired. I've always needed a lot of sleep, even before kids, and having three under six is definitely reason enough to look forward to crawling into bed at the end of the day. But I'm like super tired. Like, can't watch a half hour sitcom tired - which can be super annoying when you only get so much quality time to yourself and with your spouse. I love to sleep but I'd also like to be able to stay awake for a movie every once in awhile!

So my doctor told me she would check my thyroid and vitamin B levels (FYI for those who care, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D are essential for energy and overall wellness. I already take a Vitamin D supplement but might be adding the B into my repertoire), but she thought I had every reason to be tired and it was just my body's way of saying how important that shut eye was for me. 

Later that evening, my best friend sent me this article, which couldn't have been more timely. And this, my friends, is what I firmly believe is the correct diagnosis, the answer I was looking for from my doctor.

Now that I know this, will anything change? Probably not. Like I said, I kind of thrive on being the CEO of our household, the control freak who knows when we're about to run out of diaper cream or when we need to buy a gift for Teacher Appreciation Day. And I know it's a problem I could solve quite easily by just asking for help, but usually I think I can do things better than someone else. It's like training an assistant at work - you know once you teach them how to do it, your life will be easier, but who has time to teach them in the first place?!
The article just validated my tiredness and seemed to assign reason to it. The mental load is a real thing and I'm definitely struggling from it!

Friday, August 25, 2017

3 Highs & 3 Lows...


 Three Highs this Week...

Seeing a great movie, The Big Sick and checking out a new casual burger joint in Santa Monica with Grant.

Watching Hayes ride his bike sans training wheels to get after dinner ice cream with the fam. It brings me such satisfaction to see him able to do something that brought me so much joy as a kid and it's hard to believe he just learned how to do it a few weeks ago.

Squeezing in a good workout at the Culver City Stairs. They were hard, but it felt good to sweat a little bit and the views can't be beat!

Three Lows this Week...

A disappointing solar eclipse, mainly due to the fact that we didn't plan ahead and buy protective eyewear. Major FOMO about that one!

Discovering the spot we wanted to go to for ice cream after dinner was closed due to cockroaches... (As was the Thai place next door we get take-out from all the time!) Gross!

Having my blood drawn at my annual physical. Three kids later and I still hate having that done!

Best Thing I Ate This Week...

French fries at a BBQ joint Grant and I like to go to while getting our cars washed. They have the perfect amount of seasoning on them, a little salty with just a hint of sweetness - they may be my favorite in the city and were especially yummy after a week of eating relatively healthy boring food.

Weekend Plans...

Laying low tonight, a birthday party for a friend of Greyson's tomorrow afternoon and having some people over for grilled lobster for a little fight night party on Saturday night.

Hope you have a good one! I'll leave you with this:


Friday, August 18, 2017

3 Highs & 3 Lows...

3 Highs this Week:

1. Easy drop-offs at school for the boys. A happy goodbye sets the tone for the day and I'm so relieved they're liking school so far.

2. Getting my Nespresso back from being fixed. The milk frother had been on the fritz so while I sent it in to be repaired, Nespresso sent me a complimentary loaner machine to use in the interim. Talk about seriously amazing customer service!

3. A fun Saturday night out for a best friend's birthday. We went to EP/LP for a rooftop cocktail (and saw this Bachelor couple), followed by dinner at Rosaline, a new favorite.

3 Lows this Week:

1. Having to schlep down to IKEA in Carson to return a frame that arrived damaged, only to find out they didn't have any of said frame in stock.

2. A lonely work-week. Both my coworkers were traveling this week and the office seemed really dead.

3. Charlottesville and it's aftermath. I'm so horrified shit like this continues to happen in 2017 and even more horrified that our "leader" is the insensitive idiot he is. For the love of god, can we impeach him already??

Best Thing I Ate This Week:

The chaufa paella from Rosaline, peruvian fried rice with pancetta, sausage and prawns. I can't stop thinking about it!

Weekend Plans
Friday night movie night with the boys, watching Hayes' basketball game tomorrow and Saturday night date night at L'Assiette Steak Frites. Other than that, we have no plans, which I think is exactly what everyone needs after being thrown back into the routine of school this week.

Have a good one!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Back to reality...


It was back to reality this week as school started for both boys - Hayes had his first day of 1st Grade on Tuesday and Greyson started at a new pre-school called Little Dippers on Wednesday.
Although I had been dreading the end of summer (school starts so damn early in SoCal - it's still mid-August for Christ's sake!), it actually hasn't been that bad... And I've been doing it solo as Grant's been out of town all week at his company's Summer Summit, so that's really saying something!
It's definitely helped that neither boy has had any issues at drop-off. Hayes was so fortunate to be put with a seemingly sweet, nurturing (and so organized!) 1st grade teacher with his three best buddies from last year, so there was no hesitation on his part on his first day (and luckily not on his second either, since I've noticed second days, when the novelty and excitement wear off, seem to be harder on him). And Greyson was so excited to start "real pre-school" at the same place as his big brother; he sped into my bathroom fully naked first thing yesterday morning, ready to get dressed for the day, would hardly let me walk him into the classroom (okay, threenager!) and I heard him muttering to himself last night before he went to bed, "I love my new school." That sure made my heart swell 😉
I've made an effort to wake up a little earlier this week (going to bed at 9:30 every night since Grant's been out of town has helped!), so mornings haven't been as hectic and harried. And being more organized in general with school lunches, bedtime routines, etc... is something I'm kind of thriving on. We are all totally exhausted though with the back-to-school routine vs the lazy days of summer we had been enjoying and are counting down the days until the weekend.

I remember this time last year feeling so overwhelmed with everything. The school seemed huge, everyone was a stranger, homework sucked and lunch making seemed like the bane of our existence. Coming back as a 1st grader is definitely more enjoyable - we know the routine, there are familiar faces at drop-off and pick-up and we know what to expect. Still wish we had a few weeks left of summer, but c'est la vie!
The nice thing is, I've been able to sneak away to pick the boys up on their first days and take them on individual Starbucks dates, asking lots of questions about their likes and dislikes and trying to understand what it is they do all day while they're there for 6 hours. I don't get much, but Hayes likes recess and Greyson told me he took a nap and liked playing with the batman toys (neither of which I think is true...). I'm beyond lucky to be able to be there for these important moments and appreciate it more than I'll ever be able to express.

Here's a little trip down memory lane, looking at 1st day pics of the boys over the years. I know it annoys them to high hell that I make them pose in front of the house while I snap away, but I'm so grateful for the memories. 
From top left, Hayes: 1st day of Parent & Me, Polar Bears, Sea Lions and Pea Pods at GBCP; From bottom left, Hayes: 1st day of Kinder and 1st Grade
From left to right, Greyson: 1st day of Parent & Me and Polar Bears at GBCP, 1st day of Little Dippers


2 weeks until Miss Henny Bear's 1st day... seriously, where is the time going??

Friday, August 11, 2017

3 Highs & 3 Lows...

As I often do, I'm stealing this segment from a blog I follow (imitation is the greatest form of flattery, right?) because I think it's such a great way to cap off the week and head into the weekend...
 
I'll try to do this every week, but make no promises!
3 Highs this Week:

1. Dancing the night away at a GORGEOUS wedding we went to at Malibu Rocky Oaks last Friday night. Fun excuse to get all dolled up for a date night!
 
2. A girls' dinner at Gjelina in Venice - we spent hours catching up over yummy Rose and shared plates.
 
3. Finding out that Hayes has the same 1st Grade teacher as two of his best buddies from Kindergarten. That's definitely going to make drop-off next week a LOT easier!
 
3 Lows this Week:

1. Discovering my car had been stolen on Saturday night. Thanks to OnStar and the LAPD, we recovered it quickly and there was amazingly no damage and nothing stolen, but I feel super violated and had to replace my car keys, which the thieves still have in their possession.

2. Having to pay $500 to replace said keys.

3. When Rachel didn't pick Peter on The Bachelorette. I mean, what was she thinking?!

Best Thing I Ate This Week:

The squash blossom, cherry tomato, burrata and parmesan pizza from Gjelina.
Coming in a close second was the to-die-for cronut from DKs Grant picked up en route home from retrieving my stolen vehicle.

Weekend Plans
 
Another girls' dinner tonight at AOC (thanks Super Dad, Grant!), birthday dinner for a good friend at Rosaline tomorrow night, lots of time poolside for our last weekend of Summer and a back to school 1st grade picnic I'm co-hosting on Sunday.
Have a lovely weekend, friends!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Henley James, 18 months...

Angel Baby turns a year and a half in a couple days and while I can't quite believe she's a walking, talking toddler, I also can't remember what our lives were like without her.
I'm particularly loving this phase as she is a total mommy's girl right now. I frequently tell Grant that I'm pretty sure she loves me more in this moment than any of our other kids have ever loved me. And it's not in an annoying, clingy my-mom-is-the-only-one-who-can-do-anything-for-me way. Her eyes light up when she sees me; she's genuinely happy to be in my presence. Our nanny says she spends the day saying, "Where's Mommy?", which makes my heart both swell and break at the same time!
Here are some of the things Henny Bear is doing at a year and a half:

...she is obsessed with carrying random articles of clothing around with her everywhere she goes, particularly bathing suits ("suit!!"). She'll hook them on her arm like a purse and cart them around the house. She's been known to layer all of her suits (she has about 12 - kid has twin girl cousins, what can I say?!) on either arm and toddle them around with her everywhere she goes.
...her vocabulary has absolutely exploded in the last month. She repeats everything you ask her today and has quite a few words and phrases. She's remarkably easy to communicate with and understands everything.
...she's finally realized that Hayes and Greyson are two separate people with two separate names. She calls Hayes, "Hayzey" and Greyson, "Grey Grey".
...she's fascinated with hairstyles and although she won't tolerate any headbands or barrettes in her own hair, I can sometimes sneak in an elastic to get that mop of fine blonde locks out of her eyes. "Your hair" is the first thing she comments on when I go to get her in the morning. She sometimes gets quite distressed if I'm wearing it up or if I've just showered and it's wet.
...she loves shoes, insisting on putting them on as soon as she sees them. Last weekend, she insisted on putting her fat little feet into a pair of wool Mary Janes and wearing them all over the house, even though it was 90 degrees outside.
...she's still feeling the music and loves to dance. Yesterday, I caught her doing twirls in the family room all on her own. That girl's gonna love dance class in a couple years.
...she gives the best little sneering kisses and will nuzzle her head into the space between your neck and shoulder when she wants to cuddle.
...she's a total book worm and will sit quite patiently and interested when I read her books before bed. I've even been able to read her some of the longer books from the boys' library, which has been a refreshing change to the tired baby books we own. 
...she loves the pool and doesn't mind getting her hair wet, although we've yet to fully dunk her head under water at this point.
...although she's very even-tempered 95% of the time, she isn't used to hearing the word no so when she does... watch out! Her entire face will collapse into a full blown open mouth cry and she'll throw her body on the ground as if life cannot possibly go on. We're in trouble with that one!
It's so fun seeing her little personality emerge and we're thoroughly enjoying seeing our relationship with her and her relationship with the boys evolve. 

Next month, we start a once a week Mommy + Me class at our pre-school - super excited to finally do something with Hens since up until now, she hasn't had her own activities. I can't believe this will be the third Cohen kid who'll be doing that class. Where did the time go?!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Currently...

Here's what's keeping me busy, as of late...
 
Making: Anything from Chrissy Teigen's cookbook, Cravings. Every single thing I've made has been a home run and her commentary is hilarious. 
Cooking: Grant was gone this week and while I've graduated from scrambled eggs and toast for the nights that he's away, I typically stick to vegetarian meals that are quick and easy to prepare. This week, I made a delicious red lentil coconut curry from one of my fave cookbooks, Small Victories and it was just as good as I remembered it being the first time.
Drinking: New drink of choice at Sbux is an Iced Grande Starbucks Doubleshot on Ice. Amaze.
Reading: Just finished The Circle and am now getting into Jodie Picoult's Leaving Time, which is really good and I wish I had more time to read!
Wanting: These joggers, which look so soft and stylish and would be perfect for school runs... Also, totally loving the current pom pom/tassel thing that's trending in the world of fashion accessories - purses, earrings... I cannot get enough and it's motivating me to get my ears, which have sadly closed up, re-pierced stat.
Looking: At lots of pictures and videos of the boys when they were babies, their current go to request at bedtime while we do timer.
Playing: Tennis! The boys did tennis camp last week and so on Sunday, we went to the courts to hit the ball around. We learned a few things... 1) Tennis camp at that age is more sharks and minnows and less learning actual tennis. 2) If you don't use a racquet for 5+ years, the grip literally falls apart in your hands. and 3) I forgot how much I loved tennis and plan on trying to incorporate that into our lives again, especially now that I know of the handy courts right by our house.
Eating: Too many salads this week. We were feeling fat so got motivated to eat healthy but I feel like I've been living off of rabbit food and am ready for some more sustenance in my life.
Wishing: That school wasn't starting in less than 2 weeks... where did the summer go??!
Enjoying: Our pool, which has been amazing for the summer. I remember when I was a kid, I used to live in our pool in the summer and the boys are definitely following suit. Even Henley loves it, yelling, "pool! pool!" and carrying around a bathing suit with her everywhere she goes.
Loving: Beauty Counter Dew Skin, a new tinted moisturizer I recently started using. It has everything you're looking for in a light coverage everyday base - even SPF!
Needing: To start waking up earlier. I'm tired of being so rushed every damn morning and think I should just bite the bullet and get up an hour earlier, especially with those busy school mornings right around the corner. 
Smelling: An old favorite perfume that I recently started wearing again and that makes me nostalgic for my high school days.
Feeling: Like doing some spring cleaning in the summer. I'm three quarters of the way through my closet, most of which I intend to consign at a new shop I recently discovered in LA. I'm also finally donating the extra crib we've had sitting in our garage for the better part of a year and planning on going through the kids' toys this weekend to give to Baby2Baby.
Wearing: My new knotted slides, which my mother-in-law brought me from Tootsies Laguna Beach. Obsessed.
Following: The ridiculousness game show that our country's political scene has become. Every morning, I turn on the news to see who's the latest to be voted off the island. If only it really were just a big game...
Looking forward to: My trip to Chicago in October to meet my new niece. I just booked tickets for a special Greyson and Mama trip and I'm super excited to spend some one-on-one time with him and also meet the newest member of the Mailloux clan.