Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Stuff I bought in April

In March I tried not to do any non-essential shopping, and I mostly succeeded, except for some clothes for Abel, which were pretty much essential since he's growing so fast! In April... I more than made up for it!

Shopping for the kids is more fun these days than shopping for myself. I'm still about ten pounds heavier than my normal pre-pregnancy weight, and I don't think it's going anywhere until I stop nursing, so I don't want to buy too many clothes in larger sizes. Plus... Kids clothes are so cute!

I buy most clothing for Swede and Abel from Carters, but I can't resist picking up a few cute outfits from Boden when they're on sale.

In preparation for summer, I bought swimsuits for everyone!

I bought paddleboard shorts from Title Nine to match the tankini for myself... I'm so much more comfortable playing in the water with the kids when I don't feel like I'm wearing underwear in public. I also bought matching hats for both kids and a rashguard for Abel.

I also picked up some new toys for the kids. Mostly Swede. Abel is pretty content with a hand-me-down rattle and teething toy for now.

I have a hard time picking out toys for Swede. It takes me weeks to decide what to buy, and I think she'll really like something, like the toaster, only to have it languish in the toy box unloved! The puzzles and the activity cube (which I technically bought for Abel) have been Swede's favorites this month. Although the real winner is a Peppa sticker book that Jonathan brought home from the airport.

For myself, I did buy the Space Dye PR Tank 2 from Athleta, and a couple Perfect Pima Short Sleeve V-Neck Tees from J Jill. I think I'm a little younger than the target market for J Jill - Although maybe I'm kidding myself, I am turning 35 this summer! Oh well... The relaxed and not-clingy style is working for me in this post-pregnancy stage.

Last but not least, I bought Swede the Paley Sandals from See Kai Run. I like that they are machine-washable!

I think I'm on a spending freeze until June now! Honestly, it worked out pretty well for me to think, "OK, You can buy whatever you want, but you have to wait until next month." By the time it's next month, I've either changed my mind, or I'm really sure I want to buy it.

Wait, I do still need a new pair of running shoes. I've been wearing the Nike Pegasus since 2003! But this year the model changed significantly and they are not getting very good reviews, so I'm thinking about trying something new... Any suggestions?

Have you bought any new summer clothes yet? Do you think it's more fun to shop for yourself or your kids (if you have kids)? Any suggestions for fun toys for 2-year-olds?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekend [April 22-24]

Hey Friends! Did you have a good weekend? I did! I had a three-day weekend with no work to do, and my good friend Laura came to visit from Denver!

I confess that it wasn't a very exciting trip to Durango for Laura. We mostly just mooched around the house with the kiddos, but she claimed to enjoy herself.

I know most people, even with two small children, get out and about more than I do, but I think it's so difficult to coordinate around nap times and meal times. Abel doesn't nap very well on the go anymore unfortunately.

Both kids did take really long afternoon naps every day at home so Laura and I had some time to relax and chat. The rest of the time it was play, play play! "My Laura," as Swede calls her, brought a bubble wand that was a very big hit!

Abel watched the proceedings from his Bumbo and chewed on his Green Toys Twist Teether Toy. I'm glad we had decent weather although it was a little windy.

We caught up on New Girl after the kiddos went to bed. I was 4 episodes behind! I think this season has gotten better now that Zoey Deschanel is back.

For dinner on Saturday we had a classic Laura & Kelly meal - Mozzarella sticks and a glass of red wine... Very classy!

Laura left Sunday morning so I went to church with the kids then home for the usual lunch and naps. In the afternoon we visited with my parents. Look at these gorgeous daffodils in their back yard!

One last photo of Abel, who is 5 months old today!

That's all!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Great Summer To-Do List

Ever since Abel was born, I've been keeping a running list in my head of "things I'll deal with later." I think it's officially "later" now, so it's time to get started. My first instinct when I'm feeling overwhelmed is to make a list, so here we go! I know this isn't the most exciting post, but if you scroll to the end I do have some fun planned for the summer.

These are in no particular order. I'm hoping to tackle 2-4 items per month, starting with...

1) Reorganize the house. We need to move Jonathan's office from Abel's room. We were planning to do it the weekend after Thanksgiving but he was born the Tuesday before, so we didn't get a chance!

2) Transition Swede to a "big girl" bed. I know most kids have already transitioned from the crib by 2.5 years old, but she sleeps really well and has never tried to climb out, so there's been no rush. But Abel will need the full-size crib sooner than later.

3) Potty training! I think Swede is ready. She goes fairly often at school, but we haven't made much an effort at home yet.

4) Sleep training! Abel is still waking up once at night around 3 am. I'm not sure what my strategy is going to be, but I'm hoping to "help" him start sleeping through the night in the next few months.

5) Upgrade the blog!

6) Get family photos taken.

7) Clean up the yard... Planting flowers, etc.

8) Buy patio furniture - I want a really comfy chair to read and drink tea or a glass of wine on the patio in the summer evenings.

9) I think I'd like to try 21 Day Fix, or something similar. I want to incorporate strength training into my workout routine, in addition to just running and the occasional yoga class.

10) Random home repairs... This might be the worst one. Stuff like replacing the towel racks that are loose. Ugh, I hate DIY projects! I have no idea where to start.

And now for the fun!

1) Play at the river

2) Bike rides on the river trail

3) Go to the playground - They are putting up a huge new play structure at one of the local parks that looks very fun!

4) Picnics

5) I'm going to Breckenridge for a girls weekend in June!

7) And Jonathan and I are going to Denver for my birthday in August! It'll be our first getaway as a couple in two years.

8) I'm looking forward to all the races I have planned this summer... The first one is Memorial Weekend!

That's all! That's more than enough, I think. Do you have any big plans for the summer? Or the weekend?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Coffee Date #3

Hey Friends, I think it's time for another coffee date!

If we were meeting up for coffee, we'd go to the Durango Coffee Company. I'd get a Carmel Crème Latte and we'd browse around the kitchen section of the store for a while, then sit at one of the café tables in the window and I'd start rambling on and on about how I just can't seem to get it together. I always seem to be scrambling. To get the kids ready for the day. To get all my work done before it's time to pick them up. To get dinner on the table, and to get Swede to eat it. And so it goes. Day after day. I don't feel like I can ever get ahead. I've survived another deadline at work, but I'm already deep in the mire of the I'll-deal-with-that-post-4/15 list. One of the items on the list is to upgrade the blog and start posting more regularly again! I've also started the Great Closet Reorganization, which always makes me feel a little more in control of my life. As Gretchen says: Outer order leads to inner calm.

I know I'm not busier than any other part-time-working-mom-of-two-little-ones. Maybe it's a matter of perspective. Maybe I'm only busy if I think I'm busy. It's not like things will become less busy as the kids grow older, at least not until they are much older. I thought this blog post on Rejecting Busy was really good. I need to accept that life is going to be hectic for the foreseeable future and figure out how to manage it all with more grace. Sometimes I catch myself acting in a way that is not at all who I want to be - impatient or spiteful or pessimistic - but even in the moment of realizing that I can't turn it around. Several years ago, on vacation in La Jolla, I saw an article in the San Diego Reader that involved asking various people to describe themselves in five words. Ever since I've been a little obsessed with the idea. Which five words describe me? Which five words do I WANT to describe me? And how do I make them be the same?

Yikes... I did not intend to be so serious today! This is probably the point in our coffee date in which you think of some urgent other business you need to attend to. Let's lighten the mood a little with my latest favorite photo of Mister Abel.

I love his chubby little wrists! Abel is such a bright-eyed little fellow. He's so interested in everything! It's much easier to get good photos before they start crawling and walking and running and jumping! Or before this is the face they make when you say, "Say Cheese!" It cracks me up though. She is literally saying "Cheeeeese!"

My kids are the greatest blessing of my life, but they sure make things more complicated too! Sometimes I worry that I'm letting these precious days slip by unappreciated. I get caught up in the day to day details of everyday life and miss the gift of their presence. Also, lately I've been second guessing my parenting techniques... If I can even say that I have techniques! It's strange that our instinct to help our children can backfire if we help too much, and they never learn how to struggle and fail and persevere and finally, hopefully, experience the pride of having succeeded on their own.

Hmm, I didn't succeed in lightening the mood very much, Did I? 

I think I need: More sleep. More yoga. More prayer. More coffee. And more coffee dates.

Until next time!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Reading Roundup - March 2016

Book Day! I'm linking up with Stephanie and Jana for Show Us Your Books. This is one of my favorites link-ups. I love seeing what everyone else is reading and usually end up adding half-a-dozen books to my TBR list.

1) The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks. 3/5 stars. This is the story of King David from the Bible. We all know the story of David and Goliath, but I didn't realize how much more there is about him in the Bible than that. The author didn't really have to make up much of the plot. But she definitely fleshes out the characters and adds details and texture to make it seem so much more real. It's pretty grim though. So much death and destruction. So much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

2) The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. 4/5 stars. This novel is about Tom and Isabel, a married couple who keep a lighthouse off the coast of Australia in the 1920's. One day a rowboat washes ashore with a dead man and a living baby. Isabel, mourning a recent stillborn child and two miscarriages, convinces Tom to keep the baby as their own. The aftermath of that decision is devastating to all parties. This book was very good, and beautifully written, but VERY sad. I felt for the characters so much! I had to keep reminding myself that they were fictional.

3) The Lake House by Kate Morton. 4/5 stars. I enjoyed this book even though it's impossibly far-fetched and unrealistic. Despite dealing with similar issues to The Light Between Oceans (a lost child, the horrors of WWI) it didn't seem at all real and therefore wasn't nearly as sad. There is a fairy tale quality to all Kate Morton's books. This one is the typical Kate Morton plot, toggling back and forth between a mysterious and tragic secret in the 1930's, and the present day when it's finally unravelled. I do like the rose-colored glimpse into life on the grand English country estate in the first half of the twentieth century.

4) Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart. 3/5 stars. This book is based on the true story of "one of the nation's first female crime fighters!" Set in New Jersey in 1914, Constance Kopp becomes involved in a year-long battle with a ruthless factory owner (and leader of a "Black Hand" gang), and finds out that she's a surprisingly good partner for the town Sheriff. It sounds like a book I'd like, but I never really got into it. It was a little boring. Probably because it's based on real events which aren't often as truly sensational as fiction can get away with.

5) Vanessa and her Sister by Priya Parmar. 4/5 stars. The sister in the title is Virginia Woolf, but this book takes place before she is married, in 1905-1910, when the four Stephen siblings live together and host a weekly get-together of writers and artists later known as the Bloomsbury Group. The book is told through Vanessa's diary entries plus some letters and telegrams between other characters. It was an interesting glimpse into a more "bohemian" lifestyle in early 1900s England.

6) Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova. 4/5 stars. This is the story of an Irish-Catholic family in Boston whose patriarch, Joe O'Brien, is diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. It was an insightful glimpse into a terrible disease that I didn't know anything about before. Another of the main issues is that genetic testing is available for his four children if they want to find out if they'll get the disease. I read this book for the A Slice of Brie Book Club. Join in on April 20th for more discussion!

Swede's Book of the Month: Dinosaur Rescue by Penny Dale. What's better than dinosaurs AND rescue vehicles?! A winning combination for the two-year-old set, I tell you.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of these books if you've read them!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Gratitude and Goals - April 2016

Today I'm linking up with Julie and Suzanna for Gratitude and Goals!

Currently I'm grateful...

   - That there's only one more week(ish) of tax season.

   - For days when Swede takes a nap (unfortunately not every day lately) and is super fun to play with after work.

My new favorite photo

   - That I've gotten a little bit of energy and (relative) speed back on the run this week.

   - For the way Abel's face lights up when I pick him up after work.

   - THIS!

Goals for April:

   - Schedule Abel's 6 month checkup and Swede's 2.5 year checkup and Gumball's annual checkup

   - Start tracking our expenses in my budget spreadsheet again

   - Increase my long run to 10 miles

   - Start going to yoga again

   - Get a massage and a pedicure :-)

Happy Weekend!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Weekend [April 2-3, 2016]

Wee-Ooo! Wee-Ooo! Swede's favorite book right now features this sound effect for a fire truck and I've started randomly calling out "Wee-Ooo!" throughout the day.

Anyway... The weekend! It was a pretty good one. I wish I could have slept in past 6 a.m. either day, but you can't win 'em all. 

On Saturday I ran 8 miles in the real world! My first non-treadmill run in 2016. It was so nice to get some fresh air. 

After some mooching around and naptime for the kids, we all went downtown to have an early dinner at Grassburger

So good! Although someone tried (and mostly succeeded) to steal my chocolate milkshake...

Sunday was pretty uneventful. We went to church in the morning then the kids both took nice long naps so I was able to do the laundry and read. Book of the Week = The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonsson.

When the kids woke up Jonathan took them to visit his parents and I worked. Not my favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon but April 15th is almost here!

Later we practiced smiling...

(I just like smiling. Smiling's my favorite.)

...and coloring. 

And then it was time for dinner/bath time/bedtime. Wee-Ooo! Wee-Ooo!

Did you have a good weekend? It was really great to have some nice weather and made me excited to start making plans for the summer!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Fitness Friday - March 2016

So, I almost didn't write this post. March wasn't the best month in terms of running. Since I started working again on the 14th I've skipped two scheduled runs and the ones I've done have been hard and slow. And these are not the most exciting posts to read or write. However... I like having a record of my training, and I feel like writing it down here keeps me accountable, so here we go.

My plan is to run three days a week. Tempo run. Speed intervals. Long run.

Week 1: (The first run was actually on February 29)
Tempo: 1 mi warm up, 1 mi @ 9:40, 2 mi @ 9:30 = 4 mi in 42:53
Speed: 1 mi warm up, 4 x 1/2 mi @ 9:05 with .25 walk/jog recovery = 4 mi in 44:21
Long: 5 mi in 56:24
Also - 1 90 min hot vinyasa yoga class

Week 2:
Tempo: 1 mi warm up, 1 mi @ 9:40, 2 mi @ 9:30 = 4 mi in 42:39
Speed: 1 mi warm up, 4 x 1/2 mi @ 9:05 with .25 walk/job recovery = 4 mi in 43:52
Long: 7 mi in 1:17:30

Week 3: (This is when I went back to work)
Tempo: Didn't happen.
Speed: Didn't happen. 4 slow miles in 49:10
Long: 7 mi in 1:22:35

Week 4:
Tempo: Didn't happen. 4 slow miles in 45:22
Speed: Didn't happen. 4 slow mi in 46:37
Long: 8 mi in 1:30:55

Week 5: (Only through Thursday)
Tempo: Didn't happen.
Speed: Didn't happen. 4 slow mi in 45:36

Total = 55 miles

I'm just going to keep at it and hopefully in the next few weeks I'll get some energy and "oomph" back to start enjoying my runs again and being able to go a little faster again. The one thing I know about running after all these years is that there are highs and lows. You just have to keep slogging through the lows and it'll get better again.

In other news:

Abel is four months old! At his checkup on Tuesday he weighed 15 lbs 10 oz (63%).

We picked up a Papa Murphy's steak and roasted garlic pizza last night for dinner - So good!

That's all! Happy Friday, and Happy April! This month I'm looking forward to: 1) The end of tax season - Yay! 2) A visit from my friend Laura aka Bestie-Face. 3) Some nice weather... Hopefully!