This Week / 10-13

Happy Easter! It’s been awhile, so let’s play catch-up.

The Boys

Perhaps most importantly, the boys did a bluebonnet mini session this past week. This is a time-honored tradition… of course, my bluebonnet photos from childhood were all taken randomly on the side of the highway and didn’t involve a professional photographer or my mother waking up before the sun, but whatever. I can’t wait to see them!

E had a very busy spring break. We went to the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco with my parents on Monday (E fed a giraffe!), Tuesday he went to small aquarium here in Austin with my mom (and dinner at Chik-fil-A), Wednesday we hit up Thinkery and had lunch with his cousins, aunts and Gigi, and Thursday we headed to the coast (more on that later).

We also visited the Texas Memorial Museum this past Friday (since E was off of school), which is on the University of Texas campus and has a whole bunch of dinosaur fossils. The museum was hosting a Paleontology for Preschoolers program and E got to wash a fossil, make a footprint in clay, and draw a picture with a dinosaur stencil. It was very cute and after taking a spin through the museum, we had a picnic lunch outside. (My mom was with us for all of this and I was very glad because the museum turned out to not be super stroller-friendly, as very old buildings often aren’t).

L has been excelling at being a baby. We had a stretch of rough sleep (I’m talking waking up every 2 hours– total newborn nonsense), but that’s evened out. He still wakes up a bunch, but they tend to be on the front end of the evening, so on a good night, I’ll only have to wake up once to feed him, which is perfectly acceptable.

He did great on our trip to the coast. The fact that he has no real schedule yet is sometimes a good thing, since it means we don’t have to pay too much attention to timing activities with E. If L gets tired, I can usually figure out a way to get him to sleep for 30 minutes or so (which is about all he sleeps for at home in his crib). He even took a nap in the tent when we went to the beach.

L turned 5 months on the 23rd and promptly rolled from back to front, a new skill that is causing a lot of distress. I’m not sure if he’s rolling over without meaning to, or feeling stuck once he’s on his stomach (even though he mastered rolling from front to back months ago), but at the beginning, it was often accompanied by tears. He’s sitting up pretty well in the high chair and today I felt the very top of a tooth poking through his gum.

L and I started a parent-infant Montessori class last week and it was lovely. It’s quite a long drive since it’s on the other end of town, but we both enjoyed it so much I’m willing to make the trek. I’m looking forward to having some time each week to 100% focus on him without being distracted by housework, his brother, or anything else.

Exercise

I made it to Stroller Strides twice. I think the weather finally warming up will help me make it more often. And last week’s workout was the first where L was pretty content in the stroller and I felt like I actually did most of the workout versus constantly having to stop and tend to him because he was fussing. Incidentally, I didn’t start Stroller Strides until E was five months old. He always did great but I wonder if 5 months is the magic number and I just happened to start at a good time with him.

The Artist’s Way

I have basically given up on this. Will try again some other time.

Reading/ Watching/ Listening

Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful by Donna Bryant Goertz Written by the founder of Austin Montessori School, this is an interesting look at how a “problem” child can thrive in the right environment. Although her case studies are all early elementary students, I think there are a lot of interesting insights for parents of spirited preschoolers. It’s also just a great look at the inner-workings of an elementary Montessori classroom.

Theft by Finding by David Sedaris I finished off the first volume of Sedaris’ diaries. The first part dragged a bit, but once I got to the 1990s, I was much more interested.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory I wanted to love this as much as I loved Roomies, but I didn’t. Career-driven Alexa meets pediatric surgeon Drew in a stuck elevator and agrees to be his date to a wedding. Sparks fly, miscommunication happens, and they still end up together (as with any true romance). I enjoyed the book while I was reading it, but was annoyed that Alexa kept commenting on her weight (i.e., telling Drew not to pick her up because she’s “too heavy”) while also eating a lot of donuts. It just didn’t add up. Also, Drew was so ragey. I don’t know. It was okay, but it didn’t live up to all the hype.

Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Preschool Years by Elizabeth G. Hainstock This is a great resource for DIY-ing Montessori materials.

Other Stuff

Coffee + Crumbs launched their new membership site, Exhale. Highly recommend if you are a mom with a creative side. I’m really enjoying the content and inspiration.

I’m starting Body Back this week and I’m super pumped. I’m looking forward to having a few hours scheduled in every week to focus on myself and trying to get back to a place where my body feels strong and healthy.

So we went to the coast for part of spring break and it was our first trip to Port Aransas since Hurricane Harvey. I wasn’t sure what to expect since we’d had a hard time booking a room (a few of the places we’d stayed previously won’t be open until summer). But really, it wasn’t bad. You can still see a lot of damage, and there’s plenty of construction going on, but it was basically business as usual. We took a short trip since we weren’t sure how well the baby would travel, so we drove down Thursday afternoon, spent a few hours on Friday at the beach, and went to Corpus on Saturday for the aquarium before heading home on Sunday. As with any vacation, mistakes were made (E got sunburned), and it was so much work on my part to get us out of town for just a few days. But we already have a trip booked for June, we’ll be staying a couple of extra nights, and I’m looking forward to it.

Food

I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel on things to eat for breakfast that fit my dietary restrictions, but I tried a sweet potato breakfast bowl and it was good!

I also made these cinnamon vanilla protein bites (but forgot to add the cinnamon…). I love having these on hand for a snack. Plus it’s easy to pop a few into a mason jar and take with me for a snack on the go.

The Week Ahead

Getting back into the groove.

This Week / 9

Here’s what we were up to this week:

The Boys

E got a much-needed haircut (I wish he would let them use clippers so we could just buzz his head and go longer between cuts, but they still terrify him, so scissors it is) and a new LEGO set.

L slept decently most nights and is so close to rolling over from his back to his front.

Exercise

I made it to Stroller Strides once!

The Artist’s Way

I’m more or less back on track with The Artist’s Way, which means I did as much as I’ve managed to do all year with this project. I read the chapter and did 1 day of Morning Pages.

Reading/ Watching/ Listening

I didn’t finish anything this week, though I’m making good progress on Theft by Finding, the first volume of David Sedaris’ diaries. I also made progress on my backlog of magazines.

Other Stuff

I was anxious and preoccupied this week, so everything around the house really went off the rails. I spent the bulk of the weekend getting things back together: all the laundry put away, kitchen counters clear, groceries ordered, etc. It feels good and hopefully, I’ll be able to stay on track better this week.

In happier news, I also started a daily embroidery project. I’m following along with the Stitch-a-Day class with Rebecca Ringquist on Creativebug. It’s really fun and I can’t wait to see what my sampler looks like when it’s done. It’s been fun to browse the class hashtag on Instagram and see how creative people are getting.

Food

Nothing notable for dinner, but I did make these peanut butter and jelly breakfast cookies for myself and these energy bites for E. Two thumbs up for both, although I did find myself adding extra peanut butter to get the energy bites to stick together.

The Week Ahead

More sunshine, I hope.

This Week / 8

Is winter over yet? Seriously.

The Boys

E didn’t get up to anything new this week. He enjoyed some extra daddy time on Monday since my husband was off of work (though E’s school was not closed like I thought it was…), had his weekly playdate with his bestie, and did a few puzzle books. He’s having some issues with the actual work part of Montessori, so we’re going to be working on that at home. I had always intended to follow Montessori principles with him, and then didn’t because I was overwhelmed with learning how to be a mother, let alone figuring out a philosophy and pedagogy that most people don’t practice and I had no previous exposure to. And now he’s 4 and I really regret not doing what I had intended all along, but, hopefully, it’s not too late.

L turned 4 months old and continues to be adorable. We finally made it to the pediatrician, who gave him an A+ and was impressed by how alert and strong he is. We finally had a great night of sleep, with him going to bed around 6:40, waking around 2:30, and then sleeping until 7:30. I wish I hadn’t had insomnia and could have slept better the first part of the night, but I did sleep well the second half.

Exercise

Not a good week for exercising.

Reading/Watching/Listening

I read Austin Kleon’s posts on the why and how of his diaries and went down a rabbit hole of diaries and note taking and commonplace books, which led me to reread Sarah Manguso’s fantastic Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, which is both about motherhood and diary-keeping, and thus completely in my wheelhouse. It’s a super quick read that is unexpectedly dense.

I don’t think I watched anything this week, although I did turn the TV on once and attempt to find something of interest.

I listened to Vance Joy’s new album but I don’t think I like it as much as Dream Your Life Away. Maybe it will grow on me.

Other Stuff

My husband was out of town again, which wasn’t super fun, though this time he was only gone for two nights and just down the road in San Antonio, so on the whole less stressful than him being in California for a week.

I still didn’t sleep, though.

I returned overdue library books, my new notebook arrived (and I’m obsessed), and I went to my PCP for a yearly physical. I still need to go back for a blood draw, which was my primary reason for making the appointment, since I don’t feel healthy at all and want to reevaluate my vitamins and supplements.

Food

I honestly don’t remember what we ate last week, but I do remember making these sweet potato and black bean burrito bowls (I didn’t care for the dressing so probably wouldn’t make again) and these cold sesame noodle bowls (I didn’t worry about the spaghetti, used cashew butter because that’s what I had in the pantry, and did chicken instead of chickpeas).

The Week Ahead

Channeling Maria Montessori.

This Week / 6 + 7

Let’s play catch up!

The Boys

My husband was out of town for most of the first full week of February. E is a total daddy’s boy and historically has not done super well when he’s had to go out of town on business, but he actually handled the week very well. I was pleasantly surprised. This was the first trip my husband has taken since the baby was born (more on that in a minute).

In other surprising E news, his eating habits are improving quite a bit. He used to be an extremely picky eater, to the point of me basically making him a different meal every night and him not eating any vegetables except one flavor of a Happy Baby puree pouch. We did feeding therapy with an occupational therapist for close to a year and got basically nowhere.  It was extremely frustrating and I wondered if I was raising a kid who would one day only eat food that was white or something. But, since his tonsillectomy in August, he’s become much more willing to try foods he previously refused, or might only take a bite of. He might not ever be an adventurous eater, but I’m glad he’ll at least eat some raw veggies now!

We’ve started working through Art Workshop for Children, a really terrific book of process art activities. So far, we’ve done Workshop 1 (photographic evidence above).

L has started teething (my best guess based on the copious amounts of drool) and is still all over the place with naps. He’ll usually take 3 naps a day, but their timing and duration are fairly inconsistent. I do always try to get him down for an afternoon nap somewhere between 2:30 and 3:30 after we pick E up from school. He’s back to waking up more frequently at night (usually every 3 hours), but since he’s pretty good about getting himself to sleep for naps and bedtime, I’ve decided not to worry about it. Nighttime feeding sessions will be over soon enough, anyway.

Exercise

I managed to get to Stroller Strides exactly once in the two weeks, which is better than none. If I’m being honest, my anxiety has been getting the better of me lately and that makes it difficult to do exactly the things I should be doing to feel better, i.e, getting out of the house and exercising specifically. Baby steps. The weather has been getting a tiny bit better, which always ups my chances of actually making it to a work out, and bribing myself with a coffee afterwards has proven to be very effective.

Reading/Watching/Listening

Solo parenting calls for something light and fun to read. I had Wild Ride by Julie Ann Walker in my TBR pile. I haven’t read any of the other books in the series and I’m not sure if I’ve read anything else by her. It was… okay. I’d give it maybe 3 out of 5 stars. (If you’re a romance reader and you haven’t read this BuzzFeed article about romance novels and the current political climate in our country, you need to.)

After that, I read Roomies by Christina Lauren which is nothing short of amazing. I didn’t want to put it down (or for the book to end), and it’s been awhile since I’ve read something that I’ve enjoyed that much. It’s an utterly delightful love story with wonderfully drawn characters and a few unexpected twists. Honestly, I’ll probably re-read it, which is a very rare thing for me to do, but I enjoyed it that much.

This is Us continues to be amazing and sad and wonderful.

I’ve been binge-listening to Forever35. This is the first podcast that hooked me immediately. I want to be besties with the hosts and just talk about self-care and our nightly skin care routine all the time. Highly recommend if you appreciate a good sheet mask.

Other Stuff

I survived my first week of solo parenting with two. It wasn’t the best.

My doula came that Monday and cooked a bunch of food, so I had lunch and dinner already made for the 4 days my husband was gone. We got the laundry folded and put away. I felt so on top of things.

And then nighttime came, and my anxiety got the better of me, and I could not sleep. I think I finally fell asleep around 2 am, probably got woken up once by the baby, and then E was up around 6:30. So that was fun. I tried to take a nap after dropping E off at school, but no luck. By Wednesday morning I’d basically hit a wall… it’s hard to come back from so little sleep. I begged my mom to come by on Wednesday afternoon, which she did. I slept decently that night, so Thursday went okay, and then my husband was on his way home. Once I got the kids in bed, I congratulated myself for keeping them alive (almost) single-handedly and ordered myself some presents.

Once my husband was back in town, we celebrated our 10 year dating anniversary with a nice dinner downtown and a Lana Del Rey concert. It was fun, even though it was a late night for a Sunday. He also surprised me with a new MacBook because he’s the best and my 5-year-old MacBook Air was basically non-functional.

I finally got going on another knitting project and am making some shorts for L.

Food

Sriracha meatballs – not tired of these yet; my doula made these when she was here and accidentally doubled the amount of sriracha in the sauce. They were so spicy but exactly what I needed since I was battling a cold that week.

Roasted chicken, butternut squash, and guacamole bowl

Vietnamese chicken salad with rice noodles– LOVED this, but I don’t think my husband was quite as impressed

Sheet pan teriyaki salmon– Love the idea of a sheet pan dinner, but this was mediocre at best. However, E did eat a whole salmon filet (not super surprising, I gave him canned salmon frequently as a baby, but he hadn’t had it in awhile; my husband sold it as “grizzly bear food”).

I cooked a few more meals but nothing terribly exciting. A friend also brought us dinner one night which so sweet and super yummy. Tonight we’re headed over to our friends’ house for pizza (and most likely drinks) while the kids run wild and I’m looking forward to not cooking.

Related: I’ve been thinking about this meal planning method (hat tip to Katrina for linking to it). I really need to simplify our meals and meal planning, especially now that E is eating more of what we eat. Plus cooking is basically just a means to an end for me; it’s not something I enjoy (unlike my older brother, who’s a professional chef) and I’d rather use that time/energy for something that brings me joy.

The Week Ahead

Getting out of my own head.

 

Week in Review/ 5

The Boys

E made it back to school, finally. There was a lot of painting with watercolors this week, plus a playdate with his buddy around the corner. On Saturday he woke up with a cold, so I think he was healthy for like 5 days? Why are kids such little petri dishes?

Meanwhile, L has entered the fourth developmental leap (if you’ve ever tracked a baby on the Wonder Weeks app, you know what I’m talking about). Basically, all the leaps are awful but this one is particularly awful because it’s long (something like 35 days!). He did, however, fully commit to sucking his thumb this week, which is pretty darn cute if I don’t think about the possibility that he won’t give it up in two or three years. The upside is that he now puts himself to sleep even for naps (previously I was rocking him a long time and hoping for the best when I put him in his crib, he was already doing well after middle of the night feedings). He still likes his pacifier while we’re snuggling in the rocking chair, but he’ll usually find his thumb as I’m putting him in bed. So, I feel like we’re kind of on the road to some good sleep, but really I’m just waiting for the day he goes down to one afternoon nap and sleeps for 12 or so hours at night without waking me up. He’s also really angry that he can’t roll from his back to his stomach and is trying incredibly hard to get there. Slow down, kid!

Exercise

I made it to Stroller Strides once, which is better than zero but still far less than I had hoped. However, I’ve also noticed that my milk supply seems to tank on days that I workout. I’m not sure if it’s a caloric issue or a hydration issue or both, but until I figure out how to mitigate that I’m not going to stress as much about how many workouts I’m doing or not doing. I’d love to feel strong again, but exclusively breastfeeding for at least a year is by far more important.

The Artist’s Way

I managed some version of Morning Pages 3 out of the 7 days, plus an actual productive writing session on a fourth day. I did not do any of the additional tasks (surprise?), nor did I go on an Artist’s Date, though I did spend loads of time brushing up (heh) on my watercolor brush lettering skills after my workshop last weekend. I think I’ve finally got the hang of it and can usually produce something I like. Anytime I needed a 5-minute respite from parenting this week (which was… often), I’d letter whatever quote or song lyric that popped into my head (lots of Joan Didion and Sylvia Plath). I have a large sketchbook with watercolor paper that I bought last summer and used precisely one page in, so it’s been perfect for practicing my new hobby (along with my aquash pen and Prima watercolors).

Reading/ Watching/ Listening

I finished Slouching Towards Bethlehem, which I started over the summer (the wonderful thing about essay collections: being able to come back to them 8 months later without being completely lost). Favorite essay (by far): “Goodbye to All That.” I did so much underlining.

I also listened to this week’s episode of Call Your Girlfriend featuring Morgan Jerkins. I was interested in hearing about Morgan’s recently published memoir, This Will Be My Undoing, which I’m mentally adding to my TBR pile. Bonus: Morgan has a fabulous laugh.

Other Stuff

My order of The Ordinary products came in. I’ve heard good things about their skincare stuff but hadn’t done much research. A couple of weeks ago, frustrated with how gross and dry my skin was,  I ordered a few products based on their example regimen for dehydration. After just a couple of uses, my skin looks and feels so much better. I’m particularly loving the moisturizer. I also bought a few things at Target because it was just that kind of week: Smooth Sailing Gentle Resurfacing mask, Burt’s Bees conditioning lip scrub and overnight intensive lip treatment. oh, and I have an amazing new Billie razor. Billie is a subscription like Dollar Shave Club for men and really I signed up because the more stuff I can have automatically delivered to my house without me thinking about it, the better, but it’s actually a really great razor. I hadn’t realized how not great of a shave I was getting with my previous razor.

Something else that arrived in my mailbox like magic: my new caftan from the Dwell + Slumber restock. These were great during the end of my pregnancy and immediately post-partum although right now I’m loving them for sleeping in (with one of my Cake nursing bras).

Food

I don’t remember when we ate what, but I made:

  • redemption salad (yummy, and E surprised me by loving the chicken, which I really didn’t think he would like; he had seconds, which is shocking for a kid who generally refuses most of the meals I make)
  • chicken chili
  • salmon salad (good, though a little prep intensive for this point in my life; I had the leftovers the next day with some canned tuna and an avocado)
  • black bean, quinoa, and sweet potato stew

The Week Ahead

Holding on for dear life.

Week in Review/ 4

Another long week.

The Boys

E was home sick from school most of the week with a tummy bug that started Monday afternoon. I also found out the hard way that letting him have unlimited amounts of cherry Pedialyte was not the best idea, as he is not immune to the effects of Red Dye 40.

L slept through the night Saturday night. He usually goes down for the night around 7 pm; I fed him again around 11 pm when I noticed him stirring on the monitor, and I didn’t see him again until 7:30 Sunday morning. It was the best night of sleep I’ve had in months!

Peaceful Preschool

Nothing again, although E and I did make some 3-part cards together. I may just drop the idea of working through the curriculum with him since I’d rather do an art project with him in the afternoons. I do love the curriculum, I can see myself coming back to it in a few years with L if I decide to homeschool both boys.

Exercise

Sad trombone. I didn’t work out at all. I can’t remember why I wasn’t able to go on Monday, and the rest of the week was lost to staying home with a sick kid.

The Artist’s Way

Big surprise, I did not manage any Morning Pages or any of the Tasks, though I did read the chapter. And I did go on an Artist’s Date! I took a watercolor brush lettering class Saturday afternoon and it was super fun. I wanted to practice some this evening but decided to be an adult and make sure the kitchen was super clean and I was prepped and ready for the week.

Reading/Watching/Listening

Still reading The White Album (favorite essay so far: “Many Mansions”). I watched this week’s episode of This is Us, which gutted me. I’ve been listening to The Lumineers in the car (and Elizabeth Mitchell in the kitchen when I’m at home with my babies).

Food

Most of what I ate this week was not cooked by me, and not really by choice. I think I had UberEATS 3 times, which is mildly horrifying, as well as take-out sushi and a burrito bowl. I’d picked up groceries early in the week, but did my shopping with the intention of buying meat at Costco on Tuesday, which didn’t happen with a sick kid. I did make this sweet potato black bean and quinoa stew, which was excellent and I’m planning on making again (I halved the recipe and it was still a ton of food). I also made turkey bolognese Sunday night but used diced tomatoes instead of tomato puree and I vastly prefer it with tomato puree.

And we finally went to Costco on Saturday. I’m coming to terms with the fact that we are now Costco shoppers. We were pretty casual about shopping there before, but I think becoming a family of 4 pushed us over the edge.

The Week Ahead

Hopefully, a whole lot closer to routine.

 

Week in Review/ 3

This week was long and weird. A holiday on Monday + “snow” day on Tuesday + bad weather delay on Wednesday. By the time we got to Thursday it felt like a Tuesday but I also wanted it to be Friday because I just couldn’t anymore.

The Boys

E is definitely going a bit nuts with all the cold weather we’ve been having (he actually told me he pulled a girl’s hair at school because “we didn’t get to go outside,” which was a little too self-aware for my taste), but still making progress in settling into his new school (hair pulling aside).

I made L laugh for the first time Saturday night and then he rolled over on Sunday morning. Love these sweet milestones! Unfortunately neither have been duplicated but I’m going to keep trying (especially the laughing one, because who doesn’t love baby giggles).

L has also apparently progressed to the “stranger danger” phase. We had a family playdate with our friends/neighbors (their middle child is E’s BFF) on Saturday evening and L had no interest in being held by anyone other than his own mama and daddy (even though he totally fell asleep in the dad’s arms the last time we were over there). He’s still okay with our doula, (thank goodness, because #velcrobaby) though that may have something to do seeing her more often or still being at home when she’s holding him.

Peaceful Preschool

We did nothing. Maybe this week? The key is having everything prepped ahead of time and ready to go.

Exercise

I had planned on making it to Stroller Strides 3 times but I felt it was too cold for the baby on Monday and Friday ended up being an indoor class due to the weather (I’d have a really hard time making it to the indoor location in time for class). I did make it to class on Saturday morning, as planned, even if it wasn’t quite as nice as I was hoping it would be. I had to cut out a few minutes early because L wanted to eat, but it was still a good workout. My abs are still on vacation (somewhere warm and sunny, maybe?), but I’m gradually feeling a tiny bit more in shape. Honestly, it’s more about the endorphins right now than anything else. Not working out, as I’ve discovered this week, makes me feel a bit bananas. I’m feeling discouraged that I won’t make my 218 workouts in 2018, which is kinda silly because the end of the year is still a very long way away.

The Artist’s Way

I did Morning Pages 5/7 days, which is way more than I thought I did. Still not 7, but better than nothing. I read the chapter and found it very eye-opening, but again, did not manage to complete any of the tasks or go on an Artist’s Date.

Reading/Watching/Listening

I finished Simplicity Parenting and am now going to recommend it to everyone I know. Honestly, it was a huge eye-opener for me and I am fully committed to simplifying our home life (mostly in terms of clutter, and specifically kid-clutter, though we could make improvements in meal times and general routine). E has far too many toys and books and the unconscious feeling of overwhelm might be the root of some of his less desirable behavior (I mean, he’s 4, but there’s always room for improvement). The idea of going through all of this stuff is overwhelming to me, which should have probably been an indication to me sooner. I’m not sure when it’s going to get done, but I’m committing to just doing what I can, when I can, even if it’s for 5 minutes at a time.

I started The White Album by Joan Didion. (Related: if you haven’t watched the Joan Didion documentary on Netflix, you need to.)

I also got caught up on This is Us one night when the baby was super cranky and just wanted to be held. I started watching the show because of Milo Ventimiglia (Rory and Jess forever), but now I’m in it for Sterling K. Brown. If This is Us ever ends (which it probably won’t), I want a spin-off of just Randall and Beth’s family.

Other Stuff

I finally finished my Beyond Puerperium for L. I finished knitting it the night before my water broke, and then it took me ages to weave in the ends, buy buttons, and sew them on. I needed to finish it before he outgrew it!

I got rid of 4 storage containers of maternity and baby clothes at my birth center’s swap on Saturday. I didn’t find anything other than a box of Legos I scored for E, which was almost better because I got rid of a ton of stuff without bringing in anything new.

Food

Not a bad week meal-wise considering everything else that was going on.

Monday- honey sriracha meatballs (I accidentally made these with meat that was a few days past the use by date and then spent several hours paranoid I’d given us food poisoning, but everything turned out fine)

Tuesday- taco salad (a throwback from my childhood: black beans, lettuce, tomato, and cheese over Fritos and topped with Catalina dressing– for sure not the healthiest dinner but it’s pretty tasty)

Wednesday- vegetarian chili

Thursday- gluten-free fish sticks (one of the few convenience meals I can eat right now!) with green beans (and macaroni and cheese for E)

Friday- take out

Saturday- take out fajitas

Sunday- probably chicken, rice, and veggies with honey mustard sauce

The Week Ahead

Finding the bottom of the laundry basket, I hope.

Week in Review/ 2

This week was our new normal and we all survived. I think.

The Boys

E is doing well at his new school, and learning a lot! One afternoon he started talking to me about India, South America, islands, and oceans. I’ve also noticed he’s become more orderly, pushing his chair in when he gets up from the table and much more likely to put something away when he’s done using it. I regret not switching him to a Montessori sooner!

After too many rough mornings getting out the door, I nixed screen time during the week. Typically, he’s played games on daddy’s phone in the morning and then watched a few episodes of something after school. That’s more screen time than I’m comfortable with as it is, and it was obvious to me that it was really impacting his behavior. So we went cold-turkey and it’s been fine. He still asks (sometimes multiple times) to watch TV after school, but doesn’t argue when I say no. Instead, we read a lot of books (usually the same one over and over, which drives me a bit bananas since we have easily 300 picture books) and he helps with L (E loves to spray water on the cloth wipes for diaper changes, and also likes to wipe the “poo poo” off of the baby). We also do something one-on-one once L goes down for a nap (whenever he decides that is).

When we have some time just the two of us, we’ve been doing craft projects like I mentioned last week, or sticker activity books. E is OBSESSED with sticker activity books, and they are actually a little bit hard to find. My godmother gave him one over the Christmas break that was right up his alley (I’ve already forgotten the theme of it, but I think it was farm animals?). Turns out it was from the Target dollar spot, and I was happy to find 3 more besides the one he already did. He whips through them really fast, so I’m glad they were just $1. We did two this week, plus a Kumon Science sticker activity book. The science book is similar to the Kumon Step-by-Step sticker books (Trains, Planes and More / At the Zoo) I found about a year ago that he loved. He had no interest in the pages that were matching games or mazes, but fortunately, the book is mostly sticker pages (with a few coloring pages that he did want to complete). I wish there were more of these because I’d probably buy them, even though they are a little expensive considering how fast he goes through them.

E also had his four-year-old well check this week and it was kind of hilarious how uncooperative he was. The nurse only managed to get his weight, not his height, and he had no interest in participating in the hearing or vision tests. Despite the obstinance, he was given a clean bill of health.

L is still obsessed with his shark toy and gnawing on his hands. He seems to have fallen into a routine for nighttime sleep, at least. He will go down between 7 and 8, depending on when he woke up from his last nap. If I dream feed him before I go to bed between 10 and 11, he will typically sleep til 4 or 5, and then until 7 or so. Still working on daytime sleep, but I think getting a consistent nap routine down will help.

The Peaceful Preschool

I gave E the “A” page to watercolor one day after school and he promptly flipped it over and did a wonderful watercolor on the back. ha! I still want to continue doing activities based on this curriculum but am working on figuring out exactly what that looks like. I had other stuff planned for this week that didn’t happen for various reasons (mostly time).

Exercise

Finally! I made it to Stroller Strides Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. My muscles were screaming but it felt good. The baby usually fell asleep within the first 10 minutes of class if he wasn’t already asleep, which was awesome because he hates the car seat and I was worried he would scream the whole time I was trying to work out. I had planned to go to yoga on Saturday but didn’t make it; I think I just have to give up on any group exercise that isn’t first thing in the morning. It’s too hard to get out of the house at a specific time after that.

The Artist’s Way

I read the chapter. I did Morning Pages 4 out of 7 days. I did zero of the tasks, even though a few of them sounded fun. I did not go on an Artist Date. I’m tempted to call it quits because if I’m not doing the tasks and I really doing The Artist’s Way? But I think I’m going to keep going.

Reading/Watching/Listening

I finished Dan Rather’s What Unites Us. It was nice to read something that acknowledged the dumpster fire that is the current political climate in our country while still striking an uplifting tone.

I started Simplicity Parenting, which I’ve been meaning to read for literally years. We definitely need to do some simplifying around here and I’m hoping I’ll come away with some inspiration for making this a more child-centered home.

We watched the first episode of David Letterman’s new show on Netflix, and it was good. If you’re missing Obama, it’s a must-watch.

Other Stuff

My postpartum doula came Friday morning which is always so helpful. L is a bit of a Velcro baby (thankfully he doesn’t seem to mind if I’m not the one holding him), but between the two of us we were able to get so much done. Of course, by this evening (Sunday), I was feeling completely disorganized again.

I’ve been slowly cleaning out the closet in the nursery, which still had a bunch of E’s stuff (mostly outgrown clothes). I also organized and bagged up all of my maternity clothes and everything L has outgrown (how is that possible?). Most of it is going to my birth center’s swap in a couple of weeks. I’m thrilled to be getting this stuff out of my house.

We went to Ikea on Sunday (I hate that store) and bought two Kallax units and a bunch of baskets for the play room. I can’t wait to get that assembled and begin the great toy purge of 2018.

Food

I did a small Sunday meal prep with mixed results. I made two batches of muffins, one for E and one for me. I didn’t care for mine and he didn’t seem crazy about his, either. I also made roasted sweet potato, chickpea and kale salad bowls with more success.

Monday- Husband had a work thing and I ate leftovers

Tuesday- taco bowls (ground turkey, lettuce, Spanish rice, avocado, corn; normally I add pico, too, but I forgot it at the store)

Wednesday- Thai slaw with shredded chicken

Thursday- Husband had a work thing, I had take out

Friday- chicken tortilla soup, sort of I started with this recipe from Dinner: A Love Story, but didn’t want to bother frying up tortillas, I didn’t have a jalapeno, and I can’t have any of the fun toppings like sour cream and cheese. I cooked the garlic and onion and added the tomato paste, then added 4 cups of chicken broth (5 seemed like more than we would need), some frozen corn (because it was looking like very sad soup), and about 2.5 cups of shredded chicken that was already in the fridge. We had avocado on top and it was not bad and probably the easiest dinner I made all week.

Saturday- sushi

Sunday- chicken and veggie stir fry with ginger maple sauce

The Week Ahead

Honestly, I don’t even know.

Week in Review/ 1

This week was cabin fever and settling into new routines.

The Boys

E started at his new preschool this week. He’s doing well there, but I’m trying to be sensitive to how big of an adjustment this is for him.

At home, we tried to combat cabin fever by doing art projects. As a kid, I was obsessed with Klutz Jr. books. I haven’t seen those around in several years, but I recently spied some Klutz Jr. kits at Target. E loves a good project (and I love that he loves them), so I snapped one up. This week he made a blue goat from the egg carton animal kit, plus a cat and dog from the pom-pom animal kit. He also painted and decorated three wooden race cars from a kit we got at the craft store.

L also had a big week. He reached a very important milestone: grasping toys! So far he only seems interested in that one toy. He tries to mouth it, which can’t taste that great because it’s knit. I’ve tried to get him interested in Sophie or Gertie, but no luck yet.

He’s sleeping decently at night. Usually, I get a 5-6 hour stretch, and he’ll eat quickly and go right back to sleep. Which is awesome, of course, but I desperately need him to get on some sort of schedule during the day, for my own sanity.

The Peaceful Preschool

I started The Peaceful Preschool curriculum with E this week, really just as a way to make sure he’s getting one-on-one time with me. We started with the Letter A unit. We read How to Make an Apple Pie and See The World (which was new to us and we both really enjoyed!) and E did the A letter identification worksheet from Over the Big Moon. My plan is to do two weeks per letter, so we’ll do some more ‘A’ related stuff this week.

Exercise

I exercised zero times, so obviously off to a great start towards my goal of 218 workouts. In my defense, I did make it out to a yoga class on Wednesday only to find out it had been canceled (more than a little annoying). Planning to be better this week!

The Artist’s Way

I managed all 7 days of Morning Pages, although some days were a little short. I had a hard time doing the exercises at the end of the chapter, both for lack of time and most didn’t feel relevant to me. I also fell short on my Artist’s Date, although I did spend about 20 minutes with The Big Book of Drawing. 20 minutes while the baby naps is about all I’ve got right now.

Reading/Watching/Listening

I finished David Lebovitz’s L’Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home. It was just okay. The story felt a little dragged out (lots of hinting of what was the come for like 75% of the book, so the ending fell a little flat for me), but it was still interesting (I had no idea the French loved paperwork that much!).

I started Dan Rather’s What Unites Us and I’m enjoying it so far. Predictably, he’s making excellent points about the importance of a free press in regards to protecting our democracy.

I also finished off season 2 of The Crown. That show. So good. The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1 is on my TBR list and I’ll probably do a rewatch after I read it.

My husband and I went to see I, Tonya for our first post-baby date night. Great movie, but not one that’s going to make you feel good.

Food

Anytime I’m really struggling to keep my life together, it’s pretty obvious when you look at what we had for dinner.

Monday- Thai Peanut Vegetable Rice Bowl. This was good but not enough protein for either of us so next time I’d add chicken. The sauce makes A TON (planning on using the leftovers this week), but is the best peanut sauce I’ve made so far.

Tuesday- Sweet Potato Chickpea Bowl. I’ve made this a couple of times now, I’ve been doubling the chickpeas and it’s just fine without the sauce.

Wednesday- take out

Thursday- take out

Friday- spaghetti with meatballs and marinara, green beans. E is a picky eater but I can usually get him to eat these meatballs. This time he ate one bite, spit out the second, and refused the rest. Next time I’ll leave out the basil in the meatballs and the red pepper flakes in the sauce to see if it makes a difference.

Saturday- date night at Alamo Drafthouse

Sunday- possibly chicken patties, possibly leftovers

The Week Ahead

Hopefully it’s smoother and more productive!

2018 Goals + One Little Word

My One Little World for 2018 is gentle.

I need to be gentle with myself as I recover from pregnancy. I need to be a gentle mama to my boys. I need to set gentle goals because however much I want to accomplish, I’m in a season of life that doesn’t allow for much accomplishing.

And so, my gentle goals:

1. Complete The Artist’s Way. I’m in a Facebook group that’s starting the book on January 1. I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll be able to keep up. I like doing Morning Pages but it is a time commitment and that’s hard with a newborn who’s not yet on a predictable schedule.

2. Workout 218 times. I shamelessly stole this from Rebecca. I worked out like, 5 times total in 2017 (thanks, pregnancy).  I felt really strong before I got pregnant and I really want to get back to that place. So, I’m hoping to fit in as many Stroller Strides and yoga classes as possible. I’m most motivated to work out in group fitness settings, but if I need to squeeze in some at home workouts, I might learn to use the water rower.

3. Read 52 books. I have no idea how many books I read last year. It’s been awhile since I tracked them effectively. I have a giant TBR pile in my head.

4. Write in the margins. I want to declare some awesome writing goal, like write 52 essays! write a book! But let’s be realistic. I read this blog post a few days ago and it really hit home. There’s still time, and for now, I can write in the in-between.

5. Go to the beach as many times as possible. Always.

6. Figure out what’s next. Do I want to go back to freelance writing? Use my library degree? Something else entirely? I want to have some sort of career for myself beyond raising my boys, I’m just not sure what it is. I hope to figure it out this year.

7. Complete The Peaceful Preschool curriculum with E. He’s in a Montessori preschool 5 days a week, so I’m not using this as a curriculum, per se, but more as a way to be intentional about one-on-one time with him and reinforcing what he’s learning at school. Plus, we may homeschool in the future, so this is a way for me to test the waters in a very low-key way.