Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Weekend

Now... This is how you start a weekend! Scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese. Applewood maple chicken sausage. Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. The perfect fuel for an 8 mile run!

After my run I mooched around the house with these little monsters.

Naptime for the kids = Quiet time for me. A cup of tea and I started Inside the O'Briens for Brie's book club.

In the afternoon we went to the library to pick up new bedtime stories for Swede and stopped by the grocery store, then it was time for bathtime/bedtime for the kids, and I didn't manage to stay up much later.

Sunday morning started way too early for me with a fussy Abel and neither of us managed to recover our good spirits for most of the day. We went to an earlier-than-normal church service which meant a hectic morning getting ready, and then I feel like from 10-2 I spent all my time putting someone down for a nap (Abel, Abel, Swede, Abel).

We did have a really fun afternoon doing an Easter Egg Hunt at my parents' house later. Swede really liked finding the eggs and then opening them to discover all the fun surprises (stickers, candy, etc) inside.

We also made chocolate chip cookies and I'm off to enjoy one with the new season of Grantcheseter. I hope you had a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Five Favorites - March 2016

Well, Friends... I don't feel like I have that many new favorites to share with you today. I've been pretty much on auto-pilot lately. March is a traditionally difficult month for me. As a CPA it's the longest, busiest month leading up to the April 15th deadline. And the weather in Colorado can be a little frustrating when we're all so ready for spring. Anyway... Enough complaining! Here are a few things I AM loving lately.

1) This sweatshirt from Fitspiration Couture is my new favorite. And it's so true. Almost. My daily schedule goes 1st) pump, and 2nd) make blueberry oatmeal for Swede and a vanilla latte for me. It doesn't look like it's available anymore though. I'm curious to see what the story is with these "GLAM subscription boxes." I haven't had much luck with subscription boxes in the past, so we'll see...

2) I've been listening to music more often since I started working again and my new favorite is Lauren Daigle. She sounds SO much like Adele, who I also love.

3) I think I'll do a separate post on the pros and cons of working from home, but I've been very glad to be working from home these past two weeks. It's hard enough trying to figure out a new normal as a (once again) working mom, but I'm glad I don't have to worry about wearing business clothes (especially because none of my business clothes fit me yet) and packing up my pump & bottles every day, not to mention the commute is pretty nice.

4) One of Swede's current favorites (and therefore mine) is her Melissa & Doug Water Wow Coloring Book. We bought this a while ago but she wasn't into it until recently. It's genius! Perfect for being out and about or for travel.

5) The other day Heather mentioned her favorite Bible verse as one of her Friday Favorites, so I thought I'd share mine. It's definitely one I've been trying to keep in mind lately!

That's all! What are some of your favorites this month? I really want to try these Brownie Batter Energy Bites. And I'm looking forward to buying some new clothes in April - I want this Space Dye PR Tank 2... I really think it'll help me PR a race this summer!

Return to Weekends

Hey Friends! So, I ended up taking a little break from the blog world last week as I adjusted to going back to work after maternity leave. It was a tough week! Trying to get organized at work at the absolute busiest time of the year. Trying to figure out new schedules at home. Plus Swede was sick again... I'm feeling more optimistic and confident for the week ahead though. And my boss did send me these pretty flowers, which brightened my spirits on Monday.

I think I'll start doing "Weekend Recap" posts again now that I'm back to work and therefore have traditional weekends again.

On Saturday we had a slow start to the morning but eventually I got organized and went into town to run 7 miles. It was hard though! My legs felt really heavy. I'm a little behind the schedule for my half marathon in June but thankfully I gave myself plenty of time to get ready. 

I had good luck with the kids' naps this weekend and they coincided for over an hour each day! On Saturday I was able to do some chores and then read with a cup of tea.

When Swede woke up we made Snickerdoodle Cookie Cupcakes. She is very into baking these days. I decided not to put frosting on them though. No one needs the extra sugar and they are still delicious... Just like really really good muffins.

On Sunday we went to church in the morning, then I napped while the kids napped, and then we just mooched around all afternoon. I sure do miss these sweet faces while I'm working but I have to admit I think my job is easier than being a SAHM of two little ones!

We ended the day with lasagna, salad, and garlic bread for dinner. Swede helped make the salad and then surprised us by gobbling it up! I guess that trick does work!

And... That's all! How was your weekend?


Here we are in March already!

This month I've been inspired by Sarah at The SHU Box to do an "Unplugged30" challenge to drastically cut back on the amount of time I spend idly browsing online. I wrote a little bit in this post last fall about how frustrated I've become at my default habit of picking up my phone to check email, FB, and IG whenever there is a two minute pause in life. Not to mention how often I spend much more than two minutes scrolling randomly through the internets while feeding Abel. HERE are Sarah's rules for her Unplugged30 challenge, which just finished up today. And here are the rules I'm going to follow for the month of March.

     1) No Facebook or Instagram

     2) No internet shopping. [Gasp!] This coincides with another resolution I've made to not buy any new clothes until April 15th.

     3) My phone is to be used for phone calls and texting only. OK, I'm on the fence about whether I should take photos with my phone or not. I love having lots of photos of the kids, and I know I will cherish my Shutterfly albums more and more with each passing year. But, I hate the fact that my first response whenever the kids are doing anything remotely cute is the grab my phone to take a photo. And I wonder sometimes what effect it has on the children of today to be perpetually center stage. If I want to take a photo, I should pull out the real camera. Using the phone camera to me is a gateway drug to checking my email, FB, IG, etc.

     4) I do enjoy reading blogs, so I'll continue that, but in one designated session per day (on my real computer) rather than randomly throughout the day.

Why am I doing this? In an attempt to be more present in my daily life. And because I feel that we are losing the ability to tolerate, let alone appreciate, moment of stillness in this increasingly fast-paced world. Lately, when I've been feeding Abel, I have put the phone aside, or turned off the TV, and found an unexpectedly peaceful, rather than the boredom I was so desperate to alleviate.

What do you think? Does anyone want to join me? Maybe just for a day?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Currently - March 2016

Happy Friday! Actually... I am not so happy that it's Friday, because today marks the official end of my maternity leave. Not only will I miss spending time with the kids, but I keeping thinking how I'll probably never take 3+ months off work again until I retire. That's a long time! You never know what's going to happen, of course. I could get fired. Or win in the lottery! [Let's hope for the latter.]

Here's what I've been up to lately...

Watching: Not much. I decided to quit watching TV while feeding Abel, and I don't really have any other opportunity. In the evenings I'd rather just read my book and go to bed early. I did watch the final episode of Downton Abbey this week, and am looking forward to Season Two of Grantchester starting at the end of March.

Listening to: Podcasts! I am the most technologically incompetent person ever, but I finally figured out (OK, Brie told me) how to listen to podcasts. I feel a little silly because it's so easy but I didn't realize that they are all there already on my phone! I thought I'd have to go download them elsewhere, etc. Anyway, I've been enjoying Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Loving: Good days with the kids. They can be so much fun. I love talking to Swede. I love her energy and her sweet and funny personality. She's creative and clever and cheerful. And Abel... Let me never forget how delicious he smells. I love his smile and his little babbling voice and his manic full-body wiggles and his sweet sleeping baby face.

Not Loving: Bad days with the kids. Some days are just... bad! Maybe everyone gets up too early, and it goes downhill from there. Swede is grumpy and Abel is fussy and I don't have enough patience. Some days it feels like someone (or everyone, including me!) is crying at any given moment from 5 am until 7 pm.

Wearing: The same old boring clothes that I've been wearing all winter. I'm looking forward to getting my spring/summer clothes out from storage and buying some new things. But that's not going to happen until April.

Praying for: My grandma, who is having some health problems.

Reading: The Lake House by Kate Morton. I've read all Kate Morton's books, and despite not loving any of them, I keep coming back for more! I do love the the rose-colored world she conjures up of life in England in the 1920s and 30s. But it irritates me how the big mysterious tragic secret is hinted at and alluded to and revealed oh-so-slowly in dribs and drabs. It's not like in a traditional mystery how you figure out the mystery along with the detective. In these books the reader is the one left out of the secret. No one likes to be left out from a secret! I've been enjoying this one more than usual though. Somehow I'm more content this time to just meander along rather than racing impatiently to the conclusion.

Eating: Everything! I am so hungry all. the. time. That's nursing for you. I know this is a ridiculous complaint but sometimes it's hard to eat enough. I'll rephrase that... It's hard to eat enough healthy food. Sure, I could eat donuts all day, but it's probably not the best idea.

Thinking about: Going back to work on Monday. How am I going to find time for everything??? Specifically, these things that I currently do during "work hours" - Going running, Taking a shower, Walking GB. It seems like I will either have to sacrifice time with the kids, or sleep.

Craving: A coffee date or happy hour with my BFFs.

Looking forward to: Easter! Last year we had a really fun time doing an Easter Egg Hunt with Swede and this year I think she'll be even more into it. I am getting her (surprise, surprise) Peppa's Easter Egg Hunt... The obsession continues.

Easter 2015 - She was still such a baby then!

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Reading Roundup - February 2016

Let's talk books! Here's my February book reviews. What have you been reading lately?

1) My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, a Daughter, and a Ridiculous Plan by Tom Foreman. 4/5 stars. This is a memoir by CNN journalist Tom Foreman about a year in which he runs four half marathons, three full marathons, and one 50+ mile ultra marathon. It's light and funny and contains one of the better explanations I've heard for why we [or, at least, I] are drawn to these events: "As people get older, life becomes all about playing it safe. We protect our jobs and our money. We guard our houses, and we try to make the world as risk-free as we can for our kids, because that is important. But along the way, you can lose yourself. You start thinking that the great adventures are all gone and that you've reached the limits." A marathon, or an ultra marathon, can be a way to test and surpass your former limits.

2) The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown. 4/5 stars. I thought this book was very well written, and very, very detailed. Not only does it tell the story of the crew team, which managed to be interesting to someone profoundly uninterested in crew, but it brought to life the world in the early 1930s both in the U.S. as well as in Germany during the lead-up to WWII. It's a classic "triumph of the human spirit" story - One of my favorite literary themes. 

3) Man at the Helm by Nina Stibbe. 4/5 stars. This book was charming and funny and sad. It's narrated by 10-year-old Lizzie Vogel in the year after her parents' divorce, when she and her older sister attempt to find a new husband (aka "man at the helm") for their their mother. Lizzie is delightful. But the strange thing about this book is that lots of really sad things happen - The mother is unfortunately a complete flake - But are narrated in Lizzie's matter-of-fact and slightly humorous way such that you don't know if you should laugh or cry. 

4) Persuasion by Jane Austen. 5/5 stars. This is my second favorite Jane Austen after P&P. Typically billed as "a story of second chances," it's the story of Anne Elliot's reunion with Captain Wentworth eight years after she's persuaded to break their engagement due to his lack of fortune (which he has subsequently acquired in the war). I think of it as a story of redemption, another of my favorite literary themes.

What are some of your favorite themes in literature? The "triumph against all odds" underdog story? The "unrequited love" story? I also greatly appreciate the "non-hero who saves the day" story (a la Sam Gamgee and Neville Longbottom).

I'm linking up with Life According to Steph and Jana Says for Show Us Your Books!

Life According to Steph

Happy Reading!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Gratitude and Goals - March 2016

Hello Friends! I'm linking up with Julie at Fab Working Mom Life and Suzanna at One Hoolie Mama for Gratitude and Goals again.

This month, I am grateful...

     - That Abel [maybe, hopefully, fingers crossed that I'm not jinxing myself] appears to be moving towards one wake-up per night around 3 am. He's done that three times this week and for me to sleep for 6 whole hours in a row has been wonderful.

     - That I was able to take sixteen weeks of maternity leave. I know this is nothing compared to most first-world countries [I'm looking at you, Canadians!] but unfortunately in the U.S. it's pretty generous.

     - That on the third attempt I found a church in Durango that I really like.

     - That I gave up on the uninspiring yoga classes at the gym and started attending a 90-minute hot Vinyasa class on Saturday mornings at a real studio.

     - That the weather has been nice enough lately to play outside with Swede. 

Speaking of Swede and gratitude, when I'm putting her to bed, after we read stories, I've started to ask her what she's grateful for. Some recent answers are: Grandma, Uncle Rob, Daddy, going swinging at the park, cheese, and boogers.

My goals for March are...

     - To stick with my Unplugged30 challenge to limit phone/internet use.

     - To not panic and to not let everything else (running, yoga, eating healthy, spending quality time with the kids, reading, sleeping) go by the wayside when I return to work on March 14th.

That's all!

What are your goals this month? What are you grateful for? What are you up to this weekend?