Wednesday, May 31, 2017

2017: May Check-In

Here we are at the end of May! This month was a little strange for me. For the first couple weeks I felt really anxious and stressed all the time. I fell back into my old bad habit of repeating my to-do list in my head over and over all day long. Then I had a light-bulb moment and decided to calm down, to slow down, to take a few things off the to-do list, and to a take a more relaxed approach toward the remaining items. Since then I have been feeling much better.

Here are the goals I set at the start of 2017 and how things went in May - The short version is: Not perfect, but I'm channelling this Tea wisdom:


The Goal: My official goal for 2017 is to PR the half marathon, but aside from that I like to exercise most days to be healthy and feel like my best self. I try to run 3x/week and do strength, HIIT, or yoga 3x/week.

The Reality: The numbers look good. I ran 75 miles, did 8 21 Day Fix workouts, and even made it to a yoga class at the studio. The reality is that it was a struggle to keep plugging away when very few of the miles were fun or fast. Thankfully I have started to feel motivated and happy to be running again in the past two weeks, and I had a good race last weekend.


The Goal: My goal is to be more mindful, to be more present, to single-task, and to spend less time on my phone. The word of the year is REST.

The Reality: As I said before, the first half of the month was a complete failure in this category but the second half of the month has gone much better. In terms of phone usage, I spent $3.99 to upgrade the Moment app and I'm glad I did - There are a few nice tricks that have been really helpful to me in cutting back even further.


The Goal: I'm trying to read one non-fiction book per month this year.

The Reality: Yes! I finished my trilogy of Danish books this month with The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell.


The Goal: My goals here are a) Don't buy any clothes for myself until May, and b) Be more careful with random discretionary spending.

The Reality: I fully admit my spending has been a little excessive the past two months. [Hello Capsule Wardrobe!] But I do feel like I have most everything that I had planned to buy and that we needed for the summer, both for myself and for the kids, and for the house in general, so I am going to attempt another spending freeze until September.

This water table was a solid May purchase though!

Going into June I want to:

     - Start playing the piano again regularly - I did play a few times in May but would like to be more consistent.

     - Really focus on being present and mindful - Whenever I catch myself running through the to-do list ad nauseam in my head I have to STOP and repeat a mantra like "Right Here, Right now."

     - Be cognizant of the budget and reign in impulse purchases and retail therapy. I wrote this exact goal last month but I mean it this time!

     - Enjoy the sunshine!

I am also running my first half marathon of the year on June 10 and the following weekend we are heading to Denver for our first family vacation.

That's all! How did May go for you? Any fun plans for June? As usual I'm linking up with Gretchen and Kristen for What's New With You.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend 2017

Hey Friends! Super long weekend recap coming at you so I won't waste any time!

On Friday my friend Laura drove down from Denver to visit. We went on a short hike with the kids and had pizza for dinner.

On Saturday we made doughnuts (these ones, which were a little disappointing, I like this recipe better) and then went to the swimming pool. Swede and I had so much going down the biggest water slide together.

While the kids napped we chatted on the back deck. I bought this rug from Wayfair last week and I love the way it makes the deck feel more like another room in the house. I am so much more inclined to spend time out there now!

Afternoon activities included: playing with the water table, drawing with chalk on the driveway, picking up race packets at the Durango Running Company, pimiento cheese sandwiches and chips and watermelon lemonade for dinner, and watching Anastasia with Swede.

On Sunday I ran the Narrow Gauge 10-Mile. Laura did the 4 Mile race. It was a beautiful day and I had a great race! Jonathan brought the kids down to the finish line. This is only the second time the kids have come to the finish (and last year Swede was super shy of the crowd and would not leave my mom's arms) so it was really great to see them there. My father-in-law did the 10-Mile too so we chatted with him. And there was also ice cream which was greatly appreciated by the under-4 crowd.

After nap time / quiet time for the kids we went to the river. It was very fun albeit very muddy. Main activities included filling a bucket with water and then dumping it out, throwing rocks into the river, watching rafts and kayaks go by, and trying to take off Mom's hat.

We had Rainbow Peanut Noodles for dinner, and watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty after the kids went to bed.

Laura went back to Denver on Monday morning - My campaign to convince her to move to Durango is thus far unsuccessful. Jonathan and I took the kids to the playground, and then Swede and I baked my favorite Chai Snickerdoodles. In the afternoon we went on a short hike then had hot dogs and potato salad and root beer for dinner.

That's all! There were a few difficult melt-down moments as usual when dealing with small children but overall it was a really fun weekend.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Currently - May 2017

Hey Friends! It's time for another "Currently" post. Here's what I'm up to these days:

Listening to: The Runners World Show podcast. I've enjoyed following along with Editor-in-Chief David Willey's attempt to BQ, and remember how I said I wanted to have dinner with Shalane Flanagan? Well - The interview with her a couple weeks ago was the next best thing!

Watching: Most recently - Waitress, which makes me want to bake all the pies, and Bridget Jones' Baby, which was funny, but probably my least favorite of the three.

Reading: I'm working my way through my 2017 Summer Reading List. Right now it's The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova.

Wearing: I am loving my 2017 Summer Capsule Wardrobe!

Feeling: Really stressed and anxious about things that don't matter. I probably feel this way every year but I've been having a hard time transitioning back to normal life after busy season. I have replaced the work to-do list with the life to-do list without decreasing the stress level at all.

Praying: To feel more peace and contentment, and to be present in the moment rather than worrying about tomorrow.

Trying: To do 15 minutes of yoga every night before bed. This is one of those on-again-off-again habits that feels so good when I manage to do it consistently.

Loving: Happy days with my loved ones!

Not Loving: Less happy days with my loved ones. Both kids have had some difficult moments lately. Abel is entering the "the testing age" (which is apparently what the Danish call the "terrible twos," as it has a more positive connotation) and Swede is, hopefully, nearing the end, but it's resulted in some very long days.

Looking Forward To: My BFF Laura is coming to visit Memorial Weekend. Look how little Swede and Abel were the last time she was here!

Eating: Inspired by Waitress I am making a ham & Brie quiche aka "Bad Baby Pie" for dinner tonight.

Planning: Our family vacation to Denver in June. I am excited to take the kids to the zoo for the first time!

That's all! What are you up these days?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2017 Summer Capsule Wardrobe

I have been intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe for a long time and I thought this summer would be a good time to try it since I was planning to refresh my wardrobe anyway after four years of being in some stage of pregnant, postpartum, nursing, and/or getting back in shape. I feel like my summer clothes were an odd mishmash picked up over the years and it was time for an overhaul.

I think the official capsule wardrobe limit is 30 items (which does not include socks & underwear, pajamas, or work-out clothes) and I think I'm a little over that but it feels right to me so far. I have plenty of room in my closet but I went ahead and packed up my winter clothes and now I'm loving the clean and spacious look.

I'm obviously not very into fashion and you know I work from home and live in a very casual Colorado mountain town, so I'm sticking with the classic jeans and t-shirt look. Here's what you'll be seeing in photos for the rest of the summer:

T-shirts: For years I have searched for the perfect t-shirt and these ones from Boden are pretty darn close. I have the Short Sleeve Breton in the pink/pink and blue/blue stripes, and the Lightweight Crewneck Tee in black, red, blue, green, and the grey bird print.

Jeans/Shorts: I have the Cambridge Ankle Skimmer Jeans, the Karin Shorts, both new this year, and  the Rachel Chino Shorts, in khaki and red, that I bought in 2015.

[Side note: This is not an ad! I just really like Boden clothes. But one thing to know is never ever pay full price. They have great sales all the time. The most I'll ever pay for something is 20% off but I can't usually get it for less.]

Dresses: New this year is the Phoebe Jersey Dress in the green flowered print. I also have the Fit and Flare Dress from Lands End in a flowered print from last summer, and another skirt that I bought at a local store a couple years ago.

Because it's cold in the morning and evening I picked up the Studio Wrap from Athleta and I kept out a couple fleeces. 

Shoes: I picked up the Dorra sandals from Chaco and these watermelon print Toms this year. [Full disclosure: I also bought Swede a matching pair of Toms... I know, I know!] I also have a classic black pair of Chacos that are ten years old ands still good as new.

I'm not including work-out clothes here but I did get the Vibe Tank Top from Title Nine and the Kendra capris from Kuhl to be my "cute hiking outfit."

This also doesn't include any work clothes for the 2-3 days per month that I'm in the main office in Denver. For that I have a couple skirts, one pair of dress pants, one pair of heels, and a rainbow of cashmere sweaters. I could probably add a few more items - I wonder when (or maybe it's already happened!) my co-workers will notice I wear the same clothes over and over - But I think I've done enough shopping for now.

Have you ever tried a capsule wardrobe? I am curious if I'll get bored wearing the same few items all summer, but I feel like I do that anyway so I'm not sure it'll be much of a change!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Reading Roundup - April 2016

Book Day! As usual I'm linking up with Steph and Jana for Show us Your Books. Here's what I read in April:

1) The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. I really liked most of this book, but any time you see an "If you liked Gone Girl..." quote on the cover you know what's coming. In this case I don't think it was necessary. I loved the setting of this book in Prohibition-era New York. The main character is a typist at a local police station who becomes enthralled with a beautiful, dramatic, and mysterious new girl in the secretarial pool. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if she'd played it straight rather than adding the twist ending, which I didn't really get. Is it a Fight Club scenario and there's actually only one person? Of if both people are real then who is who and who did what? I don't even know. [PS: Thanks to Audrey for sending me this one!]

2) The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny. This is the fifth installment in the Chief Inspector Armande Gamache mystery series, set in the idyllic (except for all the murders) small town of Three Pines in Quebec. I have been working my way slowly through the series. They remind me somewhat of Agatha Christie mysteries. Gamache is so dignified, with a from-another-era feel, and the town of Three Pines is very untouched-by-time, that I often forget the novels are set in the present day. They are a little slow-paced but in a good way. My only complaint with this one is that the previous four books, while part of a series, also work as standalone books, but this one seemed a little more unfinished.

3) The Danish Way of Parenting by Jessica Joelle Alexandra and Iben Dissing Sandahl. I'm pretty sure this book will be my shortest read in 2017 when I look at my year-end statistics on GoodReads, but it is packed with good information. I underlined throughout and should go back to skim through it weekly! Perhaps more beneficial than the specific "parenting" techniques are the strategies and ideas about how to improve MY attitude which will then impact how I parent the kids, such as "reframing" (aka "looking on the bright side") and the emphasis on the togetherness side of hygge.

4) The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. This book is much more suited to wintertime but the library hold system has a mind of its own. It is a magical fairy tale style book set in medieval Russia, filled with myths and legends. This is the style of magic that I like best: The real world with magic around the edges. I was sad to leave it when I was done but very happy to find out this is going to be a trilogy! Thanks to Alexandra for recommending this one.

That's all!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Weekend [May 6-7, 2017]

Hey Friends! Did you have a nice weekend? Here's what we were up to:

On Saturday - I ran eight miles, and then baked banana-pumpkin muffins with Swede while Abel napped. We used this recipe, but I think without the frosting I can call them muffins, although we did add chocolate chips...

Swede is demonstrating here that she IS smiling because we can see her teeth:

In the afternoon we played in the yard and then visited with my parents. Abel is exceedingly attached to this blankie (called "Spouty") and often carries it around in his mouth to keep his hands free.

Jonathan and I went out to dinner at Fifth Street Eatery. I went for the shrimp and grits this time.

On Sunday - Church and then a family hike and then the kids both napped for two hours. I finished The Hearts of Men and started On Turpentine Lane.

In the afternoon we went to the playground and then to the grocery store. We had my favorite veggie sandwiches (cream cheese, avocado, cucumber, tomato) and chips for dinner and I did some yoga (which felt so nice!) and now it's time for bed!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Great Summer To-Do List [2017]

Welcome to the 2nd annual edition of The Great Summer To-Do List. This is where I get organized with projects and fun for the months ahead.

1) Redo the flower beds in the front yard and do something about the (lack of) grass in the back yard. I don't exactly have a green thumb so am not looking forward to this but it'll be nice once it's done.

I am including this photo as the yard looks currently in hopes that I have a gorgeous "after" photo to show you in September:

2) Buy a couple comfortable chairs and an end table for the back porch. I have dreams of sitting outside after the kids are in bed with a book and a cocktail.

3) Organize closets - Already done! I tackled this last week but I'm leaving it on the list anyway.

 I'm taking a week off at home each month in May, July, and August. I'm hoping to do some "staycation" activities with the kids such as going to the pool, to the river, maybe renting a boat on Vallecito Lake, going on bike rides, having picnics, and going hiking.

At the river last summer:

5) I'm doing the same summer races as last year minus the oh-so-intense Kennebec Mountain Run. They are the Narrow Gauge 10-mile on Memorial Day, the Steamworks Half Marathon in June, and the Thirsty 13 Half Marathon in August.

6) Last but not least - We are taking our first ever family vacation in June to Denver!

What's on your agenda for the summer?

[PS: I am linking up, a little belatedly, with Kristen and Gretchen for What's New With You!]

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

2017 Summer Reading List

Apparently I'm doing a mini "Books on Tuesday" blog series, with my Favorite Children's Books last week and the next monthly Show Us Your Books link-up next week.

I always have a list of TBR (to-be-read, for the uninitiated) books in my GoodReads, but this summer I decided to do something different and be a little more intentional about what I choose to read versus going with whatever happened to come in on library hold this week.

Usually I read 4(ish) books per month and this year I'm trying to read one non-fiction per month so that puts me at 12 fiction and 4 non-fiction for May through August.

How do I decide what books to read? 1) Recommendations from other bloggers, 2) the Amazon Editors' "Best Books of the Month" selections 3) Browsing at bookstores, and 4) GoodReads.

Here's what I have on the list right now:

Fiction -

The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church
The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis
The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion 
On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman 

The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler
Celine by Peter Heller
The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
The Midnight Cool by Lydia Peelle
As Good as Gone by Larry Watson
The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

Non-Fiction -

The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country by Helen Russell
Gracious: A Practical Primer on Charm, Tact, and Unsinkable Strength by Kelly Williams Brown
Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan
The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection by Michael Harris

Your turn! Any recommendations? I'm sure I can squeeze in a few more... Are there any books that you're most looking forward to reading this summer?