Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Humpty Dumpty had a great...

Hello again. I've been swinging wildly between immense joy and delight in spending time with my family and friends and...utter despair and rage at my realization that more than half the inhabitants of this country are misogynistic racist insert word for horrible people here.

And then there is the usual stress of work and home and life in general. I'm still trying to lose weight, and get an R01 and publish papers and increase my clinical RVUs and exercise and spend time with my husband and kids and keep the house in semi-reasonable order.

Highlights: L's birthday weekend & sister visit. Kid-Free friend outings including Harry Potter quizzo brunch. Low key date night with yummy pasta and wine. A paper got accepted! (2 got rejected, but I'm revising them now).

I'm on a call week/weekend now, and its going OK so far. I'm using this week as a time to really focus on good habits and NOT treating myself with junk food & junk media. I used a bit of unexpected downtime yesterday to write my list of 100 dreams (inspired by the Best of Both Worlds podcast). I had actually started one last year and only made it to 30, so I changed a few (why did I want to make a cheesecake? Or meditate for 30 minutes? And I already went to see Hamilton) and added 70 more. I realized that there was some low-hanging fruit in there so I officially made a list within a list of the 7 things I want to do this fall:

1) Go camping with the dog (we are planning this for later this month!)
2) Try hot chicken (going to Nashville for a conference so I can make this happen)
3) Do a 5 minute plank (I actually was able to to this a couple of years ago, I just built up to it using a plank challenge program and I can do it again!)
4) Laser hair removal on my legs/bikini area. I started doing my armpits this summer and its awesome. I'm going back next week for another session and will schedule the leg/bikini session for November, when my tan will be fully faded (you can't do it if you have a tan)
5) Take the kids to a Broadway show. B wanted to go to New York around his birthday to see the big Christmas tree and stuff and I'm looking into getting tickets to Lion King or Matilda
6) Try crossfit. There is a gym nearby. I will go there one day.
7) Find the perfect cute/comfy/warm sweater/layer to wear in my office. I am browsing online and have some contenders of sweater/fleece hybrids WITH THUMBHOLES! It is FREEZING in my office and I throw on this ugly fleece with our work logo on it but I'd like something I can actually keep on when I run to a meeting

And that is it. I see a few more things that may actually get done this fall, but no big reaches for right now. "Go to South America" and "Write a book" will wait for another season in life.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Community, Books, Food, etc...

Happy Wednesday people! Its been a regular ol' week around here so far. We had such a fantastic and exciting weekend without even leaving our neighborhood! For the first time in a long long time (maybe since May?) we were all here and the weather was actually nice enough to be outside. We spent nearly the entire weekend at various parks and it was glorious. Saturday we went to the riverside park---B on his bike (he can finally ride, though starting and stopping is a challenge) and L on his two wheel scooter. G and I got some active time in, chasing them around, and then friends happened to show up and I got some socializing as well. We then headed to the boys' schoolyard for a back-to-school festival. EVERYONE was there! I volunteered at the activity table, caught up with and met so many parents, and ate delicious tacos. Dinner done. Sunday we had a brunch playdate with one of L's besties from daycare. They have a bunch of different food allergies so I was challenged in creating a gluten and dairy free feast. I think it was OK but the frittata just wasn't the same without cheese. Friend stayed over for more play and park and then another neighborhood friend came over and we had 4 boys fighting with lightsabers and for one amazing moment it was...perfect. My kids, their friends, on a sunny Sunday at our house in the city...that perfect happy kid chaos that is everything I ever dreamed of. And then someone poked someone near the eye and I had to break up the game and then someone was hungry and we had to head back outside and then they fought about what kind of tag to play and it all fell apart but...well...it was a moment. 

A quick list of recent reads:

1) Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton. This was well-written and really fascinating but also quite long and took forever. I almost gave up except that B, who is obsessed with the musical, kept asking me to tell him everything about each chapter, and G was also interested in the history, so I kept it up in service to my family. I do love learning about history. I'm really into politics and current events and it is impossible to fully understand today without the relevant background of yesterday.  I'm going to seek out more American history non-fiction. Recommendations welcome. 

2) An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. This was fast-paced and quick, but complex. I'm going to suggest it for my book club because it is right up our ally and will lead to a good discussion. I'm not sure who I was rooting for or what I wanted to happen in the end. 

3) The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Hinton. Highly recommended for fans of Just Mercy, this is the true account of a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate that Brian Stevenson helped free. I cried more than once, but was also unbelievably inspired. The positive attitude and atmosphere Hinton was able to cultivate really provides perspective for my day to day grumbling. 

4) I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Maria de los Santos. This was just what I needed after some really heavy stuff (and the wrongful accusation themes of the last 2 in particular) I love all her books, the way she writes about romance/love is like she took a peek into my head when I was in my 20s. Its so perfect its right on the edge of cheesy, but she usually doesn't fall over. She revisits the characters from Love Walks In and Belong To Me, and the familiarity was cozy.

5) Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertali. Speaking of cozy....I'm halfway through so far and this book is.... ADORABLE. I want to be in this family, this close-knit group of quirky friends, this theater club, all of it. Its so cute I almost can't stand it, I want to pinch their cheeks and hug them all. Obviously a YA novel but a must-read for anyone. I also love that its set in the south, but the progressive south, a setting that I would consider underrepresented in modern lit. 

Back to back playdates and being at the park late led to us ordering a pizza on Sunday night instead of grilling our own. And Monday was B's social skills and L's soccer at exactly the same time so we all got home at 7. G miraculously pulled together a meal of TJs freezer delights and I was shocked that both kids at the veggie and shrimp potstickers! We bulked up the meal with some naan and leftover fruit salad from brunch. 

So now we have several meals on our meal plan to get through! Last night I made Korean-style tacos with ground chicken seasoned with onion/garlic/ginger and a yummy gyoza dipping sauce and topped with Asian slaw (slaw mix marinated in rice wine vinegar and soy sauce) and kimchee (for the grown ups). Again, surprised that my kids ate most of this, though they did pull out most of the slaw. Tonight its fish and salad, with toast for the kids, tomorrow will be leftover tacos, and Friday we will grill the pizza I guess. 

We are going camping with our next door neighbors Saturday night. We honestly don't hang out with them much, we invite them over often but they are wishy washy and tend to back out at the last minute a lot and haven't invited us over once in all these years! They missed the other two camping trips to their son's dismay, so we settled on this weekend and no one else can come so its just the two families. I hope its not too awkward. They have a 5 year old in KG at the boys' school and he gets along great with L but that'll be good. The dad is super friendly and will talk your ear off but seems to have trouble organizing plans and the mom seems a bit standoffish though when I've talked to her she's really nice usually. I know they are going through IF, she's had several MCs and has retreated somewhat socially (according to the husband who really will tell anyone anything apparently). Maybe this will be a good chance to forge a stronger relationship? 

Anyways. Lots of updates all in one, if I have the chance to write again this week I have some topics in mind! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Acceptance and Expectations

I'm almost positive I've talked about this before, because it is something I've always found challenging. I just don't really understand the whole concept of self-acceptance or self-love or whatever you want to call it. I don't know how to push myself to be the best I can be without at least a tiny little bit of self-loathing.

How do you find motivation without that critical inner voice? I get to work and tell myself "ugh, don't be lazy" and "you will never succeed without working harder" and I get stuff done. I remind myself "you certainly do NOT need that" and poke at my belly to resist the urge to snack or get seconds.

If I start thinking "kindly" to myself, there is no incentive to change my habits.

I know the answer is to think of yourself as you would your kids or a good friend, you want them to be successful and healthy so you encourage the good habits without denigrating their character. I would never call or imply that anyone  else is "lazy" or "fat". I know that positive reinforcement  is way more effective than criticism.

That inner voice, she's a hard-core bitch. But she can be effective. Until I tell her to fuck off and there go the good habits again. Its an endless cycle and I need to get off that ride. How does one expect more for themselves  while still accepting that they are "enough"?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Thoughts on Health, Fitness, and Vanity

I was going to say "plans" or "goals" but really I'm still mulling things over and trying to figure out the best way to move forward.

Our girls trip this weekend was a lot of fun---loads of talking and laughing and bonding---but there were a couple of low points, mostly related to my own issues around my body. I mentioned that I gained weight recently---in fact I've gained almost 15 lbs which is a LOT on my petite self especially since 99% of it is in my belly area (maybe 1% in my chest, my bras aren't loose anymore). Not only can I not fit into my new clothes, I also can't button the pants from 2 sizes ago that I happened to keep around. I literally have one pair of black pants and 2 loose dresses that fit, that I wear on heavy rotation to work.

On that note, I had a difficult time packing for this trip, but I threw in a pair of baggy jeans from just after I had L. I could barely button them, and had to undo the button when I got in the car for the drive home because I couldn't breathe sitting down. I could not fit into my post-partum jeans!

I mentioned that the trip was planned around a one-mile race. Now, granted, I wasn't going 100%---it was rainy and slick and I did not want to eat the pavement! But. It was SO HARD to run fast for even a mile. I thought I was going to die, I felt heavy and jiggly, and my time ended up at 8:26. Which is...fine...but I really would've hoped that my pace for ONE MILE would be faster than my usual pace for 5Ks I do without training.

I have been doing loads of barre and weight training, but with my HIIT class on hiatus and it being way too hot to run all summer, I've done zero cardio. And it shows. All my friends, even those that also haven't run in months, had great times on their miles. I was incredibly motivated by my friend who has been training for the marathon and broke 7 minutes for a PR.

I was watching how the others were eating/drinking on this trip and they seemed to exert much more self-control. They said no to the second glass of wine, they stopped even with half the fries left on their plate (which I then proceeded to eat...), some didn't dig in to the shared dessert plate. I really need to make some changes to the way I approach food & alcohol if I want to maintain a healthy weight as I get even older.  Portion control, stopping when I'm full (or even before), drinking considerably less or not at all (because calories & subsequent poor choices). I have to get rid of the scarcity mentality I have around food where every meal is like the last meal ever, and I have to eat and drink all the most delicious things that minute. Can I go out to dinner and focus on the atmosphere and conversation and just order something boring and healthy? I don't know how to change my mindset, but I gotta figure it out because this is not sustainable.

Also I'm excited to run again---the cool drizzly days this week are actually perfect and I'm planning to start with 3 mile runs at least twice a week and build from there. Maybe I need a race or some other goal to work toward, to keep my focus on fitness and far far away from indulgence.

Friday, September 7, 2018

On The Upswing

I am most definitely in a better mood today, in fact yesterday evening was quite refreshing.

The walk home with the kids was pleasant because we were joined by L's new friend and his dad. The little boys ran ahead of us, I chatted with the dad, and B held my hand and quietly came along.
We got home and made the planned meal with unplanned margaritas and music and it felt like a weekend dinner. I got some nagging tasks crossed off the list: order glasses for B (he's needed them for SIX MONTHS) and create the e-vite and guest list for L's birthday party (still need to actually send them off this weekend).

This evening the boys have a play date/dinner with neighbor (though L may not go because "I want to be wif YOU") and tomorrow I will wake up early to go to a barre class and then pack for my 24-hour-moms-trip. I am joining a few friends (mostly mothers of L's pre-school friends who we still hang with frequently) for a trip ostensibly to run a one-mile-race but really to party in the big city! And I planned exactly 0% of it, I'm just coming along for the ride. I told G he should contact the other dads so they can get the kids together while the mothers are away, so hopefully he won't have too rough a time of it on his own.

Other good things: FULL DAY of school today, SEVEN books that I had on hold for ages all came in this week (which is also somewhat stressful #librarypeopleproblems), several fun things in store for the fall, and...my patient was late enough that I had time to finish this post! Off to clinic and to finish off the week on a high note.




Thursday, September 6, 2018

Meh

How many posts have I written with that title?

So much for the renewed September energy, the long weekend was meh and this week hasn't been much better. We honestly didn't do much this weekend---Saturday we had a few things planned, and the weather was nice, but Sunday & Monday were hot again and we didn't do anything. Honestly, I had planning fatigue and just gave up. I kinda hoped G would step in and announce we were going to do something Monday (he likes to be "spontaneous") but nope. I was feeling physically and mentally not great (I've been having daily migraine-type headaches with nausea and also wondering if I need to up my P@xil even more) and spent a lot of time on my phone, to the point that L even called me out for my "double device" session where I was scrolling social media while watching a movie with the kids. In my defense, Kung Fu Panda 2 didn't require my full attention, but still....

Basically the kids fought, whined that they were bored, than figured out what to do and did it for a short period and began the cycle again... I ended up playing LOTS of Go Fish and chess games. Lots and lots. Also found myself picking up my phone during the games which is terrible!

So not doing so great sticking to the social media break. But I'm doing fantastic with the healthy eating. After 10 days of meal planning and cooking healthy meals, no eating out or take-out, no snacks before or after dinner, bringing a salad and veggies for lunch every day, and drinking mostly water, I weighed myself this morning and...gained a pound. Argh.

Work is...not progressing anywhere near the speed I imagined. Everything is taking eight times as long for reasons both internal and external to myself. The combination of the two makes for exponential slowness!

Two more half days of school this week, and just really miserable weather. Its my turn to pick the boys up and bring them home today and...I have to psych myself up for that task so I don't get h-hangry (hot/hungry/angry) and yell.

On the plus side, B has MUCH less homework this year! He's been getting it done in after care, and L just has reading and sight words. B was convinced that the homework in 3rd grade would be intense so we are both relieved, but now pretty irritated with the 2nd grade teacher for being such a hard-ass.

Somewhat hungry but I've eaten all my food and I just need to drink water and get through to dinner.
Hopefully in a better mood tomorrow. Its supposed to rain so at least at won't be 100 degrees.





Friday, August 31, 2018

September Goals and Long Weekend Plans

Going to be a pretty low key 3 day weekend. We are still trying to settle into the new routines and I haven't had the time/energy to plan much, so we will take it easy and use the extra day to get ahead on prepping for the week.

Current family plans: one birthday party, trip to rock gym, park with friends
G also has an outing (rare!) and I have a couple workouts and a work event (not fun, but showing up and speaking at an "awareness day" for a condition I specialize in)

I want to set aside some time to meal plan and prep healthy dinners and lunches for all of us.

This all fits in line with what I'm hoping to achieve over the next couple of months, which is basically trying to reset after a summer of sweet indulgence.

SELF
  • Operation fit-in-pants: I can write a whole post on this (ooh, I will), but basically sticking to sane eating habits and anything I can do ahead of time to make this easier to achieve.
  • Social media break: I'm looking at YOU FB. I am not ready or willing to completely give this up, but I like taking month long breaks every now and then.
  • Wake up early to plan/work out/meditate etc... just to not feel like I'm already behind by the moment I get to work

FAMILY
  • Research/sign up and start sports for each kid. Pretty sure L is doing soccer but B has aged out of the local parks program. He may enjoy basketball. I also need to stop procrastinating on the private swim lessons. I am determined that they are water safe by next summer.
  • Stress free evenings. Figuring out a rotation for who picks up kids vs. gets home to walk dog and start dinner is key. This is going to involve a stern convo with G who is often "running late" by just enough that I basically have to do all 3 most days, since if I get home before him the dog needs to go out and the kids are hungry. RIGHT NOW  Its the time I am 100% more likely to yell and lose my shit and gets the whole evening off to a horrid start. Good luck getting kids to settle in for homework/reading after that (or for me to resist stress eating/drinking). 
  • Set up playdates for weekends this fall. 
WORK 
  • I made a list of what I need to accomplish and I will consult it. Not going into it here because its very specific and would sound overly vague and boring!


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

And...that's a wrap

Summer 2018 is officially over. The kids are back in school, such as it is, given that we have THREE half days this week (1 planned, 2 due to "excessive heat" in district in which some schools are not air conditioned or well ventilated). Why did they decide to open before Labor Day this year (and it'll be even a week earlier next year)?? Summers are getting hotter and hotter every year and I only see it getting worse over time (climate change, ya'll).

I am spending some time today reflecting/planning for the fall so I can get back on track in all areas of life.

Quick recap of the past 2 months.

Things I didn't really do
  • Blog (obvi)
  • Cook. We did lots of eating out/take out when the kids were away, and lots of grilling/sandwiches/simple meals when they were here. Back to meal planning and prepping.
  • Go into work on non-clinic days. It was too hot and the commute took too much time/energy, especially given that my day was shortened by the camp schedule. Plus my computer died and there were summer students working outside my office (and chatting/on the phone) and various other reasons that just made it better to work from home. Also I could wear leggings or shorts. 
  • Wake up at 5:30 AM to work out. I would wake up later and run or go to a 7:15 AM barre class. When the kids were gone I did some evening classes, and I also did some lunch time "express barre" classes on work from home days.

Highlights from July/August
  • HAMILTON! G and I went to see it on Broadway last week. Culmination of 2 years of waiting and it was even better than I imagined. Aaaagh, so glad we went. Our entire family is kinda obsessed right now and we still listen to the recording on the regular. In fact, after seeing the show, I am much more into the 2nd half of the songs, which previously somewhat confused me because I didn't know who was saying what in all the political battles.
  • Camping trip with friends and kids. This was in July and it was so much fun we are planning the next trip and can't wait. It was just nice to be away from home/the city for a couple days. 
  • Beach trip with my family. The cousins, my sister & BIL, my parents....lots of great family time and junk food and reading and splashing. 
  • My weekend to myself. Last weekend G went to go pick up the kids from MIL, and I was blissfully alone! I exercised, I did chores, but I also read books & watched Crazy Rich Asians on my own (LOVED IT!) and met friends for drinks and just decompressed. 
  • New hobby: rock climbing! We took the kids when we visited MIL and they loved, so G and I went our own and learned how to belay and climb and we had so much fun. It'll be a good healthy family activity for summer/winter/rainy days. 
Lowlights 
  • None of my clothes fit anymore. Obvious result of above. Working on fixing my eating habits so I don't have to buy new pants after ditching the larger size pants just a couple years ago. (and in a fit of uncharacteristic optimism, getting rid of them altogether last summer)
  • I had to increase my P@xil dose to combat the return of insomnia, anxiety, apathy and hopelessness that crept up slowly and reached a peak in July. Thankfully its working. I am crawling out of it. 
  • The heat. OMG it was painful. This was by far the hottest summer I remember since moving here 12 years ago. We usually spend lots of time at the park and have dinner outside in our backyard and we did those things ZERO times this year because it was truly unbearable. Just the walk home from work/camp nearly killed us and we slumped in puddles over the AC vents until we were revived.
  • Overall low productivity at work due to above fun and said apathy but ALSO so so many unexpected and annoying things that happened at work (within 3 weeks my computer & laptop crashed, I lost some data, my -80 freezer crashed while I was on vacation and I lost samples, just to name a few...)
  • I had a root canal revision that ended up being SO MUCH time/energy/pain/$$$ and DID NOT EVEN HELP the mild pain and discoloration that led me to have it done in the first place
I have pages of FALL PLANS and GOALS in my bullet journal that I am eager to bombard you with so I'll stop here. Happy New School Year! 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Slowing down for summer

We will all be at home together for about 4 weeks this summer, so part of me wanted to pack that time full of summer fun. But then I realized that what we all seem to really need is a break from the go-go-go of the rest of the year. So my goal for this summer is to work on a slower paced life---as much as this is possible when we still have full time jobs and full day camp.

Those 4 weeks actually only contain 3 weekends. One of those weekends we are going camping with some neighborhood families (the boys all loved the father-kid trip so much, the moms got a bit jealous and we planned round 2). The other 2 weekends...I am not planning much. The boys are always begging to play monopoly and we rarely have enough time to make the whole set up worthwhile. So we can do that. Or go on a rambling hike with the dog if the weather permits. Spend many hours at the splash park with friends. Or just watch movies and read books and play waterguns in the back yard.

G and I also discussed making meals SUPER simple this summer. Either stuff we can make ahead and eat all week (tacos!) or things that can be thrown on the grill. Again, kids are always asking to go to the park in the evening or to play board games with them, and I often have to decline since I need to get dinner on the table. And honestly, we could use a break from chopping and seasoning and...ugh...clean up.  If the kids don't need me during that time...I could relax. A cold can of Spindrift in the back yard after the long walk home....lovely.

I definitely have to fight against the FOMO feeling in the summer. There is SO MUCH "fun" stuff happening in our city and I know that many people take full advantage of these opportunities but its honestly kind of overwhelming to me. For the moms that are home with their kids all day, sure, get out there and explore  (and tire them out), but my kids are going to be exploring and tiring themselves out at camp and I'll be my usual level of tired from exercise and work and life. We each picked one thing we really want to do (I want to go back to the zip-line/treetop course with B, G wants to pick peaches and get BBQ at the farm, L wants a play date at the splash park with 3 friends) and we will focus on that.

I mean, its not like my kids are having a boring summer! They are spending 3 weeks with my parents & their cousins (including one week at the beach with us there too) and 3 weeks with MIL (including 1 week with us there, too, where we will definitely pack in a bunch of fun activities and outings). And 4 weeks at a super fun summer camp where they go on at least one field trip a week and swim everyday. Summer always seemed SO LONG for me. We would do a week of vacation and the rest of the time just hang out at home, with books and TV and video games and some friend time but...really not much else. My mother did not consider it her job to make sure our summer was full of anything, from what I recall.

But I do want them to be a little bit bored...or...not bored exactly but with the free space to just do what comes to mind. Like reading for 2 hours before dinner (B loves to do this when he doesn't have homework) or pulling out old toys and making up elaborate stories (L's jam) or putting on every dress-up item in the entire home and being wizards or super heroes or Jedis or whatever happens to be cool in the moment (they like doing this together). And for me to read more books and just...watch them be kids.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Do I miss them?

People keep asking me if I miss the kids and the truth is...not really. Is that terrible? I thought I would miss them, and I felt a bit sad coming home to such a quiet house, but in truth I got busy with work and life and really committed to enjoying this rare time to myself and with G.  And we have enjoyed it immensely. In addition to reading and TV, we've been going out for dinner, meeting friends, took our dog on a long hike on a cool cloudy day, and have had a reprieve from the constant planning/preparing/cleaning up of food because we can just fend for ourselves or eat a bunch of cheese and crackers for dinner if we want.

I think having time away is really helpful for me, given the challenges we have with our kids. They are not easy. It takes a LOT out of me to stay calm and non-reactive in the midst of their constant negativity and fighting and pushing buttons. Yes, they are older and the physical work is less but the mental work MY GOD. They are ALWAYS talking to me. ALWAYS. Asking questions rapid-fire every second. Not going to bed anymore until my own bedtime, so I get very little to any evening "me time" and forget about couple time.

Two more evenings alone and then we go join them on Friday night. And I will spend every waking minute with them for a full week at the beach where I am also dealing with the rest of our extended family (G will be there half the week but sincerely does not enjoy the beach so I let him off the hook). I'm grateful that I can enter this challenge with my patience and energy restored. We will all be together at home for about a month after that and then we do a week with MIL and....get 2 weeks to ourselves again. Hey, I have the misfortune of dealing with the worst MIL on earth (I'm in an awful MIL facebook group, but my god, mine wins the gold most of the time), but she loves to care for our kids and I am taking full advantage of this positive outcome. EVERYONE deserves some kind of summer break.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Half-full

The state of the world (or specifically our not-so-little part in it) has me overwhelmed these days. I'm doing what small part I can but it just doesn't seem like enough. And I've realized the hard way that dwelling on things beyond the circle of my control is not going to help anyone and actually precludes me from showing up at my best for the people and responsibilities I actually can influence. So I get the updates, make some calls and donations, and go back to my (admittedly privileged) life. 

Which is actually going well. I'm knocking out stuff at work. The kids are with my parents for the week. I miss them but I don't...I'm really busy at work and 9 days really isn't that long! I've been reading and watching TV and exercising and playing with the dog and spending time with G and just...trying to savor this rare time to myself.

Things I've been up to:

Books: I recently finished Educated, by Tara Westover, which was...astonishing. Such an intense memoir and incredibly well-written.  I also tore through Radium Girls, by Kate Moore, another too-bizarre-for-fiction story with a much less hopeful ending. The story was riveting and I finished this up in a couple of days, but the writing was a little unpolished. I think this was her debut, so I'll cut her a break. I listened to Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. I really really loved the first 1/2-2/3 but wasn't a fan of the ending. The narrater was West African and did the voices and dialect so perfectly that I think I would've enjoyed this less in text, since the action was very very slow to come and the characters did not turn out to be particularly likable. I'm currently reading The Underground Railroad by Colin Whitehead which is as depressing as I'd imagined, but also quite well-written and fast-paced so far (20% in). I need some fluffy fiction for the beach so I borrowed a Sophie Kinsella novel from the library and my sister is bringing me Crazy Rich Asians.

TV: G and I are trying to catchup on Westworld Season 2. I'm thoroughly confused. We can only watch one episode at a time because its brain overload.  I wouldn't mind giving up but G is into it, and we don't have anything else new that we are watching together. Also, Parks & Rec is back on Netflix whoo hoo! A good mindless one for unwinding and laughing. And of course, I am binging the Handmaid's Tale, which...I dunno, maybe I like season 2 even more than Season 1 (which was up there with the best TV I have ever ever seen)? I know Noemi's husband called it "misery porn" which isn't untrue but there is more to it. I am drawn to stories of strength and resistance amongst the most atrocious evils...and the hope that that one little spark can bring truth to power and bring down a fascist regime. The fact that the sentiment is so apt in our current political climate also helps. Not sure how this show would've done 5 years ago---I think I would've found it a relic of another time, and just take solace that we've grown beyond such possibilities. Now...sometimes it seems prescient.

Food: Still obsessed with Spindrift and found the elusive cucumber flavor at the 5th store we tried! Its absolutely my favorite. I tried grilling pizza for the first time and it was SO EASY and quick and the crust actually turned out crispy and not doughy!  This will be a weekly addition to our summer meal plan! We also discovered my new favorite restaurant. We went Saturday and are going again today it was THAT GOOD (and hey, no kids, so.....)

I had planned to write everyday the kids were away, but I could sidetracked by all of the above, but I have some thoughts about summer plans and 2nd quarter goals so I'll probably be back. (Just in case anyone happens to read here anymore...)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Some randomness on a Wednesday

Something is better than nothing, right? Lots of things going through my head, just not able to get them written into a full post for you, so you get bullets instead.
  •  I'm reading my first book by Brene Brown, The Gift of Imperfection. As I read it, it seems very frothy and repetitive and not a little cheesy (sorry, fangirls!) BUT as I let the thoughts percolate, I'm finding some really great nuggets in there. Like her story about being addicted to "taking the edge off" with alcohol, food, social media, shopping, etc... I've been thinking about this a lot this week. Is not just "normal human" to do that? Because I FOR SURE do that, always. If I try to cut back on one thing, the other pops up---its constant "take-the-edge-off" whack-a-mole around here. The thought of giving up every single vice is horrifying. Does the fact that it is so frightening to me indicate that it is bad for me? 
  • G and the boys are going to a father-kid camping trip on Friday. I will have a whole night and most of a day to myself. Everyone keeps asking me if I'm going to "go out" Friday night and I am like, what is this "go out" you speak of and can I do it in my PJs? All I can fantasize about is an evening to myself with Netflix and take out and wine. And waking up early-ish to go exercise and then read books all day. In honesty I do like going out usually, but I'm feeling the need for some introvert-time lately.
  • We went strawberry picking last weekend! I was so proud of myself for actually making this happen. It was one of those things I always mean to do but then somehow miss the window for (because "the berry season is short" of course) but we went! And it was fun! And I am so sick of strawberries right now. 
  • The farm also tricks you into picking sour cherries by stopping by those trees first on the hayride to the berries. And they have somehow genetically engineered the cherry trees to be exactly picking height for kids. They just called them "cherries" so I had no idea until we had paid (a LOT) for them and tasted one. Now I need to bake things with these beautiful mouth-puckering fruits. Ideas other than pies? I'm not really that advanced a baker that I am planning to attempt a pie. I can do a "crumble" or a "crisp" maybe?
Any thoughts on taking-the-edge-off behaviors and beginner level sour cherry recipes welcome! 


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sweet Sassy Molassy!

I am trying to encourage old school alternatives to the actual SWEARING my kids have been experimenting with lately. Where the F&*K did they learn that go$d@mn s?it anyways? (No seriously, I have the worst language when I'm not around my kids but I am pretty good about cleaning it up around them---L learned the whole list of them from an "older", i.e. 1st grade, kid who learned it from his 4th-grade cousin). B is my rule-follower who never dared utter even his version of the "S-word" (stupid) but now that L is letting the F-bombs fly (loudly, in public, "what does F&*K mean mommy? Do you know the word F&*K?) he's getting in on the action, too.

Anyways. I'm crawling out of the funk. We had a pretty nice weekend, and this week is somewhat less rainy (except today). Both boys were in uncharacteristically happy moods yesterday which really really warmed me from the inside out. B went to bed saying---completely unprompted---that he loved his day & it was all thanks to "Mommy, Daddy, my teacher for getting us the worms (they are making a worm compost bin, but first studying the little guys), my friends at school, and Daddy again for buying me a Wawa Hoagie". L couldn't stop jumping around squealing that "THE CHICKS HATCHED!"

We finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and haven't quite latched onto our next reading obsession, so just reading bits and pieces of Roald Dahl and old favorite picture books. I think I'll order "Wonder" to finish before the summer. I'm taking the summer off from Harry, we started this last one in January and the next one is even longer.

As the boys get older they eat way more, and we can't realistically cook enough to last an entire week anymore. So I've been meal planning and using inspiration from the Plated meals we've liked to try some new recipes. Chicken thighs have been surprisingly cheap and easy---rub on spice and throw in oven for 30 minutes & serve with salad with some toast for the kids on the side. Sunday I made chicken satay with peanut sauce, with simple broccoli and rice. Yesterday I made shrimp tacos with frozen peeled & de-veined shrimp & some kale/broccoli/cabbage slaw. The boys tried one little bite of shrimp and went back to their Wawa hoagies and vegetables. I want to try more vegetarian/vegan ("plant-based" if I'm being pretentious) meals because damn we finished the ENTIRE package of chicken breasts on Sunday that cost nearly $10, same with the shrimp.

My beloved GRIT class is cancelled for 2 weeks as our instructor is on vacation and they couldn't find a sub to come in at dark-o-clock and help us try to die, so I'm mixing it up. I've done a few different barre classes---I did one Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and my legs were in PAIN yesterday. I'll do Bodypump tomorrow and Friday, and then back to barre.

Oh, and thanks for the birthday wishes! My birthday is actually this weekend. I booked us to go on this "Treetop adventure" thing that opened in a nearby park, with zip lines and such, for my birthday activity. We also have a baseball game with friends, and are going to have neighbors over for a Memorial Day cookout (or cook-in, since it looks like rain). Also have a date night planned for Friday. Last couple of times we went out, we opted for spontaneity and started at a bar for a cocktail and decided what we felt like having for dinner and went somewhere we could just walk in and eat a bit, and then went somewhere else for dessert/nightcap. We are fast eaters and just going to one place ensured that we would be done way before our kids were even in bed, so this is a good way to stretch out the evening, not feel too full all of a sudden, and explore the city.

OK, there is a break in the rain, I may head home to walk the dog and work on my laptop until time to pick up the boys.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Nodding my head like yeah...

L has been really into this horrible Kidz Bop pop music lately (school! damn the "indoor recess dance party") so my head is overflowing with the cheesiest ear worm beats and lyrics.

I've been in quite a funk lately. I'm acknowledging it here as the first step to climbing my way out. Nothing actually has happened, its just that all the little things this time of year take on extra poignancy and weight. The end of the school year, another year of my life, my marriage, my motherhood. Its all getting shorter. Its a weird mix of wanting to take it all in and really LIVE IT and yet being too raw to really engage, so I distract and dissociate.

Another birthday coming up and why do I struggle with all the same things? I cope with eating and drinking and scrolling too much. And then I feel bad about myself for the time lost and the weight gained. The vicious cycle of my life.

ANYWAYS. As I tell my kids...time to turn it around. Positive thinking.

A short list of small things making me happy these days:
  • Spindrift sparking water. Cucumber is the best but harder to find in stores. The orange mango is my second fave. Not a huge fan of the berry flavor.
  • the NYT crossword. I do it every day for a break at lunch time. I can easily finish M-W, it gets trickier after that. I also do the weekend ones, which take at least 30 minutes. It sort of fulfills that "gaming" urge but is limited--you either finish or you give up--so isn't as much of a dangerous time suck.
  • Puzzles. The kids and I have taken over the coffee table for 1000 piece puzzles. We work on them little bits at a time and start a new one when we are done. Its a nice break.
  • The West Wing Weekly podcast. I still adore it and it just makes me happy to listen to those guys banter and riff off each other and try to out pun and dad-joke each other. I've been s loving the recent live events with special guests. 
I will try to incorporate all 4 of these into my day today. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Suddenly Summer

Which reminds me of that convenience food item "Suddenly Salad" which I used to love as a kid, or that show "Suddenly Susan" starring Brooke Shields and her eyebrows.

Anyways. It went from winter to 90 degrees this week. I hate to complain, but damn, what happened to spring? I had to change out our wardrobes in a hurry yesterday so we had something appropriate for today.

So many little annoyances today. Blah. I'm trying not to let it get to me. THREE separate patients calls from people who are VERY UPSET about something not involving me or their medical care but systemic issues in our division/hospital and yet I have to spend 20+ minutes talking them down from the ledge. I entrusted G to go to the boys' report card conferences, told him several times when to go, and watched him put the times into his calendar and HE MESSED UP AGAIN (I messed up last time and had the wrong dates and missed both). And more drama about this proposed construction 2 doors down and basically all our neighbors think our (4 immediate neighbors) position is wrong and anti-progress and if "you don't want xyz, go move to the suburbs" when really, I just want an honest developer with a solid (i.e. not changing every 2 minutes) plan for the development and no restaurant venting into our backyard.  Also all my clothes are tight again. FUCK it is impossible to maintain your weight after a certain age without being constantly hungry.  Plus I still have the tiniest hint of lingering pain over my left eye from the migraine I got last night after trying to go running in the evening with some neighbors. The run went GREAT, but I learned that the thing that used to happen to me 10 years ago where I would get a migraine if I ran in the evening and didn't eat immediately is still there.

OK. Vent over.

Minor annoyances notwithstanding, life is pretty good right now. Apparently the kids are both doing quite well in school right now (G finally got around to the right place and the teachers fit him in), including J's socialization. I love taking them to the park in the evening, and we even somewhat-inadvertently skipped homework once because dammit, kids should go play with other kids in the evening when its perfect and sunny outside. I can't believe there are only 6 weeks left of the school year.

Happy  May! 











Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sunny Days

Well, not today, its drizzly and gray outside. BUT! The weekend was amazing. Even being on call couldn't get me down. Its hard to believe the weather can make so much impact on my mood, but after many months of cold and weeks of rain, the brightness and warmth really lifted everyone's spirits. On Saturday we went to the park and I lay down in the grass for a moment and felt the sun on my face. Aaahhhh. Delightful. We then went "hiking" in the park and poor doggie and MIL were all tuckered out and didn't get up the rest of the evening. The kids, of course, never ever ever EVER run out of energy except exactly at 7:30 AM on a school day when we cannot rouse them out of bed (on weekends they are up before 7).

It was actually not bad for a call weekend, and I got home around lunchtime both days and was able to enjoy the afternoon and evening. I did miss the ability to relax with a beer or glass of wine and of course my morning workouts, but overall I can't complain.

MIL is here until Saturday. There have been some ups and downs in that whole situation, but overall OK. I'm glad I'll be out tonight (book club) to get a break from the tension. She's fine when everything is going her way but there are SO MANY ways to offend or hurt her feelings, its like walking on eggshells.

In frivolous news, I have been doing some online browsing. Boden has some really really cute summer dresses, and I think I will buy myself an early birthday present of a new everyday summer dress, as my two old favorites are both faded and worn. I also need new commuting sneakers (i.e. for walking around, not for running/gym) & a beach cover-up for the summer.

What else? We are in full-on sports season for the boys, with the end of basketball classes (both L and B) overlapping with the beginning of T-ball season (L, and G as the coach) with the 5-week running series on top of it. By the way, if you have kids 2 and up who may like to run, check out the Healthy Kids Running Series---they are all over the country and do fall and spring seasons, with age-appropriate races. The 2-year olds are adorable, and the 10 year olds are FAST. B has been doing his half-mile in under 4 minutes, and he is 4th overall.

I'm reading Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye for bookclub. We went to see the play last month and it was really good but so so sad. Probably because I know what's coming, I've had a hard time finding the motivation to read the book  and I'm just over half way done. I finished Kristin Hannah's Firefly Lane this weekend. It was terrible. Really the worst. Do not recommend. So so cliche and cheesy. OMG. I only finished it because I had it on my phone and it was absorbing enough to distract me from call anxiety (plus I had no other e-books at the moment).  I need a good book soon.

But what we do have is good TV! We've been watching this season of Silicon Valley. Trying to finish up Black Mirror but that show legitimately gave me nightmares so I had to take a break and I can go back for maybe one episode a week, followed by a silly comedic chaser (reruns of The Office work well). G is excited for the new season of Westworld, and I cannot wait to have time to watch season 2 of the Handmaid's Tale---it'll probably be this summer, when the kids are away again.

Speaking of summer, we booked all our many complicated flights to visit our families. It was quite an effort and feels good to have it done, but will probably feel less good when we get our credit card bills next month. We are going to have a LOT of kid-free time this summer and I want to make sure we plan it well so that we can get stuff done at work & home AND have some fun while we're at it. Because of that, I'm not really planning many date nights for the next couple of months, but I may want dinner out on my birthday weekend at least.

Lately at work I've been all or nothing. Either totally mired in inertia and wasting time reading the news and on-line shopping or TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION (TWD) mode where I laser-focus on the tasks at hand and burn through my todo list for today and tomorrow and the next day. The problem is, I don't know what mode I'll be in until I'm in it, so its hard to really plan. But stuff is getting done, so there is that. I'm thinking today will be a TWD day, I feel that pull to finish things, so I'll end here and get crackin'!




Thursday, April 19, 2018

Day 4 Day 6

I'm on day 4 of a week long call. Its going OK. More internet surfing than I like to allow myself during the day (in between rounds/consults) and at night, but I'm exercising, eating well, etc...

I'm also on day 6 of a two-week long MIL visit. see above.

I am dreading this weekend. Its like a double-hit of stress. Going straight from managing who-knows-how-many patients in the hospital to managing MIL's delicate feelings and my kids' behavior.

Since I'm complaining, I'm over over OVER the cold. I've come around to being able to actually embrace winter...when it is winter. Once April hits, I'm just done with it, though. I want to be able to be outside more, comfortably. The poor kids were nearly frostbitten after the T-ball game last Sunday! Also, my MIL's feelings definite include dislike of cold weather and she is taking it as a personal affront, which I get to hear about every day. Yippee!

Good things? My kids love being picked up by her after school (and having their bellies and brains filled with treats and screens). G and I can both go work out on the same morning, which means I can get my workouts in during the week, since I can't on the weekend. We won't really have time for a date night, but maybe we can squeeze in a post-dinner drink out next week.

But man, I'm mostly just physically and mentally tired right now. One day at a time.


Friday, April 6, 2018

"...To Change Her Mind"?

Its right there, in the subtitle of my blog...the reason I started writing here was to organize my thoughts in the hopes that this would spark some sort of evolution that would ultimately lead me to acceptance of my "real adult life".

My initial reaction when I remembered this, was "ha!" I'm exactly the same person, only more gray hair, wrinkles, and cynicism. But on further reflection, while my outside life is pretty much what it was 6 years ago, my inner life has changed dramatically.

I actually have focused a good portion of my energy on improving my state of mind, and through therapy, meditation, medication, exercise, socializing, and yes writing, I think I'm in a pretty good place. I'm still working on it, still searching for that ideal balance between striving and acceptance,  dialing down my reactivity so that I don't yell so damn much at my kids, and substituting healthy austere coping mechanisms for wine and carbs. But even being able to articulate what I am working on is a huge HUGE step forward from the constant chaos of anxiety and overwhelm I was dealing with back then.


Anyways, just some deep thoughts on a gray and rainy Friday morning when my first two patients have canceled. The snow (!!!) in the forecast for tomorrow has been replaced with rain, which still leaves our schedule a bit iffy with the first spring running club and T-ball game on the docket (and basketball in between, but that's indoors at least). I have to drive the kids in the car solo for the first time which I'm a bit nervous about. We also have to do our &^$*% taxes. Oh well. Maybe we'll have some pizza to make up for it.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

In like a lion...

Yes I'm back. Yes I did do the things I said I was going to do (finished 2 papers and submitted a pilot grant) plus some other stuff that came up. No, I don't think staying away from blogging had anything to do with that, but having one less distraction certainly didn't hurt!

What else? Lots of snow storms, social events, watching the boys play basketball, reading Harry Potter, getting into a social media war with a developer trying to build near us, and trying to find a dinner all 4 of us can eat.

And, oh yeah, we bought a car! A BIG ASS car. No clear reason, I just started feeling...limited...when it came to weekend adventures and errands. And we had money saved up for many years for "possible future car". So we discussed it, researched it, went to the dealership, and came home with a used Honda Pilot.

G and the boys are driving around in it as we speak, doing errands and getting lunch. They are on "spring break", which is truncated to three days this year, so they can push the school year to August instead of the lovely post-labor day opening I'd gotten used to over the past few years.

Tomorrow afternoon we'll go visit my sister for a couple of days, which the boys are VERY excited about, and Monday I took the day off to hang out with them, though I think probably just do chores and go to the park.

Anyways, it looks sunny outside and is supposedly 60 degrees so I'm going to finish up two more things I had on my list for today and head on outta here. More thoughtful posts in store for next week. Happy Passover-Easter-April Fool's Day!


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The shortest month

And made even shorter by a one week vacation. I am seriously thinking we should travel (somewhere warm) every February, it really breaks up the winter blahs.

I am struggling to even partially stay on top of things. We were hit, one after another, by a nasty cold. L still has it, but B and I are mostly recovered. That set me behind more than I already was after a week away and just generally having too much on my plate.

We had B's pediatrician appointment and IEP meeting in a 12 hour period, and I have a LOT to follow up on and work on. The house is a disaster and we need to do our taxes. I have to finalize summer plans and submit my vacation requests by next week which involves talking to grandparents, etc... I won't even get into work, way way way way too much to do and so so so so far behind.

On that note, I'm going to take a little break from blogging and reading/commenting. I will miss your words but I need to simplify for a bit. I will be back after I've submitted 2 papers and a pilot grant, and gotten a draft of a major grant written. Discipline. I need to cultivate it.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Misc.

Just did a workshop on negotiation and we did a role-play about selling a car. I got the most for my car of anyone in the group! Weirdly proud of this, because I wouldn't call myself a natural negotiator, though I sort of get into it once I get going. I've never bought or sold a car. I've only owned one car in my life, that my parents bought for me, used, when I was in college. It was stolen 11 years later. I predict we will end up buying a car by 2020 because we are occasionally starting to feel the constraints of not having one.

We are signing L up for basketball (he's been asking for months and his friend is doing it at the Y)and B for private swim lessons. We've had him in group lessons at the Y for years and just need something different. He gets distracted when the other kids are having their turn and never comes back down to earth. L is also doing Tball again, and G is coaching. This may be our last "free" weekend for a while.

Weekend plans: Friday night I'm meeting friends for Happy Hour for a couple of hours while G holds down the fort. Saturday: workout, then we are all going to the burbs to buy bikes for the kids & have lunch. Sitter coming in the evening for date night. Sunday: rainy day. I want to declutter (and give away their current outgrown bikes & trikes), make soup for lunches next week, probably a movie at some point either all of us or just the kids.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Magic Happened

We survived our first (only?) family trip to Disney World. We joined my parents, sister/BIL and their twins. We did 5 full days at the the parks plus one day at Universal for Harry Potter World. It was exhausting, and hot, and crowded, and I gained about 5 lbs from cheetos, trying every candy variety at Honeydukes, frozen margaritas and soft pretzels with "cheese-flavored dip" and I'm really glad to be home and back into my healthy routine.

It was also incredibly fun. There was nothing to do but jump right in and be present and enjoy the overstimulation and the family togetherness and indulgence. I feel like we packed SO MUCH into one week, more than an entire seasons worth of fun that we typically dole out to ourselves in small dribs and drabs and this time just opened up the water hose and went for it.

Highlights:
  • Rollercoasters! All of them! Especially how much the kids were into them---they weren't scared of anything and all the kids' favorite rides were the long coasters. thankfully there were only 3 rides the entire trip that had a 48" minimum that L couldn't ride.
  • Riding the Hogwarts Express. Aaagh. Dream come true! Also: Butterbeer and Honeydukes (not Ollivanders because they were hawking $50 wands and there were tantrums)
  • Seeing B (the same B who HATES smiling for pictures and barely tolerates hugs) LIGHT UP when hugged & took a pic with Mickey, Goofy, Keilo Ren.
  • Seeing the kids get super interested in all the countries at Epcot and ask about when we would visit Japan and France and Canada and Britain and how we need to learn the languages first so we can ask questions and order food. I mean Disney is fine, but YES we would love to travel more
  • Getting to take some fabulous pictures with all of us (we did pay for the Memory Maker, so you could have a photographer take it so you can all be in the shot)
  • Watching all 4 kids make up games and share treats, and have inside jokes and just love on each other
I'm not going to post details and tips, because there are plenty of bloggers who do that, but in case you are wondering: we stayed off site in a time share condo (frugal!) and mostly ate breakfast & dinner at home, with lunch in the park for the adults & packed sandwiches for the kids (plus loads of purchased snacks and treats). This did mean we had to drive about 30 minutes, park and ride to the entrance which added time onto either end of the day. Only one day did we stay until closing (9pm) to watch fireworks. That day we had dinner in Mexico. Because we were off site, we didn't get the prime fast passes so we had to wait quite a while for a few rides (space mountain) but we got lucky a few times and were able to get on certain rides with no wait by strategic planning/obsessive wait time checking. We did not do any character breakfasts or reserved dining so I have no idea about any of that. No one needed a stroller. WE did have park hopper but only used it once, on the last day, since we finished Hollywood Studios by 3pm and drove over to Epcot for a bit. All 4 kids said their favorite park was Animal Kingdom, but I think its just because that ended up being the coolest and smoothest overall day. G hated hated HATED Magic Kingdom. He was such a trooper the whole trip. He is not a fan of Harry Potter or Disney but really went along with everything and tolerated my family without a peep of complaint.

I'm happy to answer any questions about the trip, but really I'm ready to get back into the game of planning, productivity, parenting, etc...

Monday, February 5, 2018

Underdogs!

While I still maintain that our country's obsession with professional sports is kinda stupid, watching the game last night was seriously good fun. Our friends came over with their 3 boys and even B, who repeated all day that he didn't like football and was not going to watch the game, got really really into it, and admitted that he was wrong. I was worried that he would be grumpy and hang out alone in his room, but he piled on the couch with the other boys and there was only one incident that earned him a brief time out (and he actually apologized, sincerely, after!) It helped that it was a really really, heart-pounding, nail-biting close game. We let the boys stay up and watch the whole thing (they changed into PJs and did teeth at halftime). And when it ended? We all ran upstairs for our shoes and coats and joined the entire city making their way to Broad street! G and I decided it was a once in a lifetime event and did not want to miss it, so we walked over, saw the fun, and then came home and put the kids to bed (they fell asleep within minutes) and I put myself to bed while G cleaned up (he had already planned to work from home to take L to an appointment mid-day while I had 8 AM clinic patients, so it only seemed fair).

The winning started well before the game, though. G and I spent a lot of the day in the kitchen, and it was raining outside, and we are still limiting screen time, so the kids got BORED. They complained and whined and fought and came to announce every few minutes that there was NOTHING TO DO. So I gave them chores. And they did them. They fake complained "ugh, ANOTHER job, this is job number 862 today" but they did clean their rooms, and gathered up library books, and emptied the trashcans and everything else I asked of them. And then they suddenly achieved this rarely seen nirvana of creative joint play, all on their own! They were really secretive and then surprised us with the grand opening of "B and L's restaurant, everything your heart desires" and took our orders and made us food out of construction paper and tape and crayons and were so so into it, it was absolutely adorable. All it took was hours of whining and some boredom.

I realize writing this that most people may consider this all routine and unimpressive behavior for their kids, but my kids are usually just so so unwilling to play together and B is so literal and unimaginative and they usually fight every. single. thing...it just felt really nice to have kids acting like normal kids. Its also nice to be reminded that I actually do love children, in general, and specifically my own, and that there was a reason we wanted so badly to be parents and its all not a complete slog. The reward, its rare, but sweet.

We are all  exhausted today and no one will be winning anything tonight because I anticipate tired, whiny kids but we have leftover party food, and I'm planning early bedtimes for all of us.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Superb Owl

Its been a pretty good week. B has been pretty independent with his homework, which is good because L is suddenly OVER his reading practice. It took us nearly 20 minutes, with lots of redirection, for him to read his 75 word book yesterday. I had a mid-week friend date which is always a nice break. I've been doing really well with my healthy habits.

Weekend plans are not that set yet. I am going to a post-work barre class this evening because I have clinic tomorrow AM (we take turns doing this, so I only do it a few times/year). The boys will probably make waffles and play legos. The afternoon---I have to figure out what we can do. Its going to be cold. Baking? Science museum? We are going to watch a family movie in the evening.

Sunday we are having another family over to watch the game. G planned what seems to me to be a complicated menu. So he will cook it (he smartly shopped last night so we do have chicken wings and chili ingredients).  I'll go to the gym in the morning and then take the kids to the park for at least 30 minutes to blow off some steam. And take care of regular Sunday stuff which isn't fun but has to be done. And then the game! I don't care about football in the least, but its hard to not get swept up in the excitement. Plus, eating & drinking things and hanging with friends is something I DO care about.

Standard weekend reminder to myself: stay off your phone! 


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

See ya January...and thoughts from data mining my gratitude journal

Something about a blank new month page in my planner fills me with glee. A whole blank month to plan and fill with things...an hour in, of course, most days were filled in with already planned and scheduled events (clinic sessions, appointments) but I do have some blank days to work with so I texted the sitter for date nights, booked some barre classes, and sent various messages and emails to friends to schedule outings.

I've been fairly consistent with my "3 good things" journal lately. Every night I write down a minimum of 3 things that made me happy that day. Some days its a struggle. But I dig deep. Its actually one of those "line a day" 5 year journals, and I got it in 2013, so if I had done this consistently, I would have a really nice record of the past 5 years, but alas. I started and stopped many times over the past few years (I think I missed 2014-2015 altogether).

I was looking over my entries from January 2018 and 2016 (the last year I actually filled out January) and patterns started to emerge. Looking over what MADE me happy gave me insight into what will MAKE me happy! (duh). There were certain things that came up over and over which I assume are my "secret to a happy life"

Meaningful work: feeling like I really helped someone, or had an insight into a research question. Not necessarily being super-productive and getting things done, but those flashes you sometimes get that make you feel lucky to be doing this. This is a great reminder to "Find the Why" in what I do with most of my waking hours

Creating things: mostly food. But I had a short lived stint a couple years ago of learning to sew. Gardening. I need to do these things more often (but probably not with food, because...I want my clothes to fit).

Challenging exercise: Gives me  a high and ups my confidence. If I accomplish nothing else, the morning workout is still an achievement

Engrossing Stories: books, mostly, but also some really good shows we've watched. If I'm still thinking and feeling the story after I've closed the book or finished the episode, it often makes the list.

Noticing beauty: A beautiful sunrise, freshly fallen snow, L's dimples, really really good food

Connecting: with friends, my kids, husband

Calm: I'm always working on doing better with keeping my cool and my patience, and I specifically wrote down challenging episodes at home in which I managed my emotions and turned things around

As I fill up February, I'm making a point to block out time for all of this.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Hopeful

Things seem to going a bit better (crosses fingers, throws salt, knocks wood...). B really seems to be working hard at turning his mood around instead of getting stuck deeper and deeper into perpetual despair. L is still a wildcard, but he has his moments of being fun & curious & snuggly, and then there are the moments of demon-child that are so so ridiculously bad they are almost, sometimes, funny.

We actually had a good weekend. Another nice weather day on Saturday and I took B for errands and both kids to the park. Sunday rained but turned out...not terrible. We did watch a movie. I got my workouts in, cooked yummy stuff (African peanut stew from OhSheGlows, so so so good), had social time (playdate, talked to other mom), and overall felt like it was too short and not ready for Monday!

I finished one of my favorite books in a long time: Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng. I actually listened to this---my first audiobook---and it was still completely engrossing and I was sad for it to end. I will definitely consider autdiobooks more often.  I don't have another amazing book lined up. I gave up on "What Happened", and I'm sort of making my way through "One in a Million Boy" which I bought at some point for a dollar, but its not at all what I expected and I'm finding it hard to follow for some reason, and its impossible to go back and "remind yourself" on an ebook.


G is taking B to social skills, so I will get L and read with him and maybe play a bit before making our Plated meal (shrimp tacos..yum!). Its my turn to read stories and we are more than halfway through "A Wrinkle in Time". The kids are loving it, and we are all looking forward to the movie which seems badass (at least the casting). Weekday evenings are mostly a grind, I'm trying to convince myself this will all be fun! And not exhausting and involve me counting down every minute until I can go to sleep.



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Weekend Update

The weekend was great. The much warmer weather certainly helped. We basically did do most of the things I had planned with the addition of the Women's March on Saturday and a long park play date with friends on Sunday.

I ended up making this soup and it was amazing

The screen time stuff was nbd. I think because we were just going back to how things were before this recent free-for-all?

The kids on the other hand? Still jerks. Oh well.

I finished "Year of Yes". The beginning was so awful I was about to give up, but it got better and while I don't necessarily think it was worth reading (was for my book club, which is tomorrow, so I wanted to finish), and I'm sort of annoyed I spent $1.99 on it because I almost never buy books, she did make some good points. I've never watched even a single minute of any of her shows so a lot of the references were lost on me, but she seems like a smart, funny, and kind woman. Much  more relatable than, for example, Gretchen Rubin in "Better than Before" which I also read recently.

It was rainy and gross this morning but the sun just came out! I better get cracking so I can leave work before its dark again. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Winter Weekends

I mentioned this weekend would be challenging in terms of trying to keep the kids off screens, so I wanted to set at least a very loose plan to make sure we got done what we needed to and also had time to spend together.

Friday pm: pizza + wine. kids play on own or board games. Kids need baths. My turn for stories. G and I may watch one episode of Black Mirror.

Saturday AM: I go to gym, do back PT, and shower. G makes waffles with kids.
Saturday PM: I take boys to library while G starts cleaning/decluttering in basement (contractor coming back Monday to put in new floors and we have to move everything). Park after if weather OK otherwise home to read books. Facetime with  both sets grandparents. Indoor activity that I would be in charge of: either baking or "science kit". G goes to grocery store and makes dinner.

Sunday AM: I go to gym, shower. G may go to gym after me.
Sunday PM: I make soup (my turn to cook for our neighborhood "soup group") while G figures out what to do with the kids. Chores: lunches, laundry, more basement decluttering, etc... we will split up depending on who feels like chores and who wants to wrangle kids.  Late afternoon I need to go get my eyebrows done and return something to a store (and get out of the house!) Need to be home by 5 for soup pick up. Simple dinner. Showers and books for boys.

Reminders: put phone AWAY
get out of house even if I don't feel like it when I can
keep trying to set up a play date for Sat or Sun afternoon.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Scream Time

For the longest time, we did an excellent job minimizing our kids' screen time. Then the grandparents came and fucked it up.

Until this fall, our kids basically had the privilege of a movie on Sundays. If they really did not behave well during the weekend, we would take it away. It was a nice chance for us to get stuff done and/or get a break for about 90 minutes. We've been having these "Sunday afternoon movies" for years. We started with the 90 minute Disney/Pixar films we owned, and then transitioned to 3-4 episodes of shows they liked on Netflix. 

A couple of years ago we first got an iPad, and we then started occasionally letting them have 15-20 minutes of games on the weekend. More recently I had tied the iPad time to chores. When they put their laundry away, they could have the iPad. They had to take turns, and when the timer went off, the time was up, no negotiations. 

Sure they asked for more. They were always asking for our phones, tried to wheedle us into more iPad time or to have a movie on Saturday AND Sunday, or to watch one more show. But the rules were set. There was never TV or games on weekdays and they never even asked.

We don't have a television set, and movies/shows. are generally watched in the basement on our screen, or on a laptop or iPad upstairs. 

Then my parents bought the boys Kindle Fires. They bought them a couple years ago for my sister's kids but I told them we didn't want them. Then B & L realized that their cousins had them, and started their attack on grandma and grandpa. Finally I relented.  Now they got 1 hour of kindle time on each weekend day when/if they finished chores and nothing else was planned. They could play games, read books, or listen to music.

In preparation for our trip, I changed the settings to allow them to access videos to download for the flight. And I turned off the time restrictions. And for 3 weeks they basically had unlimited screen time every single day. Even when they went back to school, MIL gave them the kindles as soon as they came home & finished homework and they played until we got home and made them put it away. On the 2 snow days, they  probably were on those damn things for 13 hours straight. 

Additionally, since our basement is being fixed, we had the laptop set up hooked up to speakers in the living room and MIL would frequently watch her shows on it when the kids were awake so they would crowd around to watch, and then demand their own shows which she always gave in to. 

I took the Kindles away on Monday and told them they were not getting them back until January, and then only if they showed some improvement in behavior between now and then. I also made G put the speakers and laptop away.

I don't in any way think the screen time caused the bad behavior, because it started well before. But I do know that it is impossible to connect with them when they are absorbed in their screens, and I am coming around to the "Peaceful Parenting" mantra that connection is necessary for teaching and modeling good behavior and values. 

Of course, it goes both ways. I have my own obsession with my Kindle (or more accurately, the app on my phone) and I know that putting my phone and books away is also part of this solution. I know my kids behave better when I give them my full attention. Its just a vicious cycle---they act badly, I retreat to my phone, they act worse...Then I lose my shit and let them watch a show so that I can have a break. 

Screen time was our biggest bribing tactic...but it also didn't really work. I just kept giving them second and third chances to "earn" the time back because I needed them glued to their screens so I didn't have to deal with their behavior and wants and needs for a while. 

We may still do family movie night on Friday, because I think sitting together and watching the same thing is a whole different situation then each kid watching their own thing on their own device, and even the two kids watching together and G and I using the time to talk is somewhat better. 

The rest of the weekend will be challenging. We have no set plans and its winter. I know they will ask a million times, and I will have to say "no" each time. We will have to be engaged and creative in keeping them occupied. I am going to make G sit down to plan the weekend at least loosely tonight so that we don't lose our shit and cave. Library, indoor swimming, baking something, board games, books, legos. We will have to find a way to get through the days...and thankfully there is always wine.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Those Kids

You know the ones. The ones you see and wonder "where are the parents? Why can't they control their kids? Aren't they too old to be acting like that?"

You guys. My kids? They are assholes. I sort of suspected it for a few months but during our trip when we really spent all day every day with them, we saw it quite clearly. They are rude, disrespectful, don't follow directions or listen to us, are not appreciative, and whine constantly. I am embarrassed at their behavior when we are out in public, and mortified at the way they treat others.

For B, I am fairly certain that he just does not consider other's feelings. He is very rigid and black and white in his thinking and everything that isn't exactly what he wants at that particular moment is bad and awful and he will say so, loudly and inventively. He also cannot pick up on the fact that he has hurt someone's feelings or is being annoying. We have to be very concrete and explicit with him about cause and effect of his words and actions.

I don't know what L's problem is, though. He is very impulsive and loves to push boundaries and buttons. The more we tell him not to do something he will do it. This includes calling my MIL an idiot to her face, hitting us, screaming at the top of his lungs. He is extremely sensitive and KNOWS he is hurting our feelings or being annoying, and then feels shame about it, which drives him to act even worse. It is very  hard to break the cycle and requires more patience then any of us usually have, but eventually, he will break down in tears and let you hug him, and be cheerful again.

The worst part was having their awfulness confirmed by MIL who previously acted like they were perfect angels. She lost HER SHIT with them more than a few times, and I could feel the silent judging of our parenting choices. In a culture where respect to elders is taught and valued highly, I cannot get over my shame and mortification at the way they would sometimes talk to her. That she takes EVERYTHING so damn personally doesn't help, but honestly, as much as I have many many issues with that woman, I agree with her that "we have to train them better".

As usual, after a period of being depressed and despondent and needing to check out a bit, I am now being proactive and optimistic about how to change things. We are back to social skills therapy after a month off for holidays/snow and have made a plan to reinforce the weekly lessons at home. G and I have talked about how we need to "coach" B to behave in socially acceptable ways, rather than scolding and admonishing, we need to model and work through how to talk to others, how to respond to questions, how to effectively voice complaints and dissents.

To combat B's constant negativity, we are all listing "3 good things" before bed each day. I am looking into a meditation for kids that we can also do before bed. I payed for Headspace so I can explore all the options. I have taken away screen time indefinitely. We had a long talk about kindness and how much we value that in our family and that we are ALL going to work on that this year. That means no yelling and rough handling on our end, too.  My plan is to have check in "meetings" about how things are going every weekend.

I know that checking out and trying to ignore and pretend it isn't happening only makes me feel better in the moment. I need to put away my phone or my book or whatever is swirling through my mind and really be present for the boys. With no screen time and no end of winter in sight, we will have to fill our weekends creatively. I also want to plan for one on one time with each kid weekly.

Its a lot, but I know we need to do it. I am certain there are still two sweet and loving kids in there, we need to bring them back out.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Wind My Spring

I did finish Strange & Norrell (meh. skip it. boring meandering inconsistent plot and terrible characterization) and wound up starting and finishing Norwegian Wood (Murakami) on SHU's recommendation. It was so sad but beautiful. I loved it and keep thinking about parts of it. The protagonist is going through some inner turmoil but is trying to live his life and metaphorically talks about how most mornings he gets up and winds his spring so that he can get through everything he has to do until the day is done and he can sleep. On Sundays he gets a break and doesn't wind the spring.

I realized as I sat in the living room yesterday afternoon, sipping wine and reading those words that I didn't wind my spring. Read those words again: sat, afternoon, wine, reading. I wasn't doing chores, or being present with my family (they were all upstairs playing legos). I wasn't fitting in another workout or decluttering or any number of things that probably needed to get done. I just...sat. And read.

Most mornings, even especially weekends, I spend a few minutes psyching myself up for the day ahead. I think through the sequence of events I need to get through and the items on the list I have to check off. I also remind myself of all the things I shouldn't be doing: no wine, no snacks, no phone in the evenings... It takes many turns of the spring to make sure I'll keep moving all day.

Maybe because it was the third day of a loooonnnggg weekend spent in the house with whiny kids (more on that in another post) and I was limp with relief that MIL had just left. I dunno. I just needed to not be doing anything purposeful for an hour or two.

Then I got up and did laundry and made dinner and lunches and went to bed on time and woke up early this morning to go to the gym, then PT, then work and...yeah. Spring-winding time is back.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Snails pace

This week! My god! Why so slow?! Maybe because its the first 5 day week in a while AND I'm on call AND my MIL is here AND AND AND

Good things that have happened:
  • 3 workouts, including my first day back to my beloved dark-o-clock 30 minute HIIT class. I was so deliciously sore the next day! I'm planning my foray back into bodypump strength training tomorrow AM and trying some new classes our gym is offering this weekend
  • I'm at 80% of Strange & Norrell. Its gotten more interesting, but not sure its going to pay off in the end. I'm hoping to finish before the weekend.
  • Booked flights (literally 5 minutes ago) for our extended family (my parents, sister & her family) major-theme-park trip next month. I'm not sure if I'm excited or dreading this, TBH. Not sure when we will tell the kids. I want them to get used to school mode for a few weeks.
  • I have also been doing my back PT, and found a perfect incentive. One episode of a favorite podcast at 1.3 speed perfectly covers the time. I listed to BoBW and Happier so far this week.
  • Not really a "thing that happened" but I wanted to share the BEST JEANS EVER. I literally have worn them maybe 75% of all the days in the past 6 weeks since I got them. On the plane, all day through Legoland, work, around the house. They are the only stretchy jeans I have every tried that do not get baggy or need to be pulled up. Even the designer ones that cost twice as much (on major sale) are not as amazing as these. I need to get a pair in blue and maybe a back-up pair of black. I told G that "all my other pants are garbage" compared to these and I am not exaggerating.
OK, my break is over. Back to work.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Is it really only Tuesday?

Its a call week and I can't believe its only 2/5 over! Thankfully I am NOT on this weekend.

I feel bad complaining but I am kind of also over the disruptions in our schedules having MIL around. On the one hand, yes its AMAZING that we didn't have to blink at the snow days and early closures but on the other hand, its really hard to get the kids back into the groove of a regular schedule when she is still spoiling them constantly with treats & screens. We need to reinstate some consistency and discipline dammit!

I'm doing pretty well with my healthy habits. I went to a 6:15 AM gym class, meditated, drank 2 L of water, and ate vegetables, salad, and veggie soup (plus the "fun" part of my lunch, 1 oz of cheddar with 6 water crackers).

What else? I'm reading a very long book. "Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell". Its...weird. Not sure how I feel about it yet, though I'm 50% through. Its good enough to keep going at least. I have to read "The Year of Yes" for book club which seems like it'll be quick & fluffy, and I have the audiobook of "Little Fires Everywhere" to get through in the next couple of weeks, too.

Our dishwasher, which is just over a year old (and thus, just out of warranty) has started not draining consistently and making a smoking/burning smell.  Argh. We are in the middle of more basement waterproofing/fixing (the waterproofing is done but now we are getting the drywall and floors put back and painting, etc..) and we just don't have the time, energy, money for ANOTHER home repair fiasco at the moment.

It was warmer during the day today so hopefully I won't be ice skating home this evening. I saw SO MANY people totally wipe out yesterday and this morning (including my kids). Walk slowly with your feet directly under your body if its icy!!




Monday, January 8, 2018

Back to myself!

Whoa, I was in a funk last week! I guess the single digit temps & lack of sunlight on top of the letdown of something you've planned and looked forward to for 6 months finally being over really did a number on my mood. Add in some extra work stress and it was a recipe for a major bout of the blues.

On Saturday I was feeling happy and making plans again. Some extra sunshine and some talk about upcoming trips and spring activities for the kids, or just time, good sleep, good food, and some much-needed mindfulness and journaling may have helped.

I had a really good weekend. Friday we did pizza and family movie (Cars 3...not terrible). Saturday I was up bright and early to see patients in clinic (we have to do a few Saturday clinics per year). All my patients showed and I saw them, wrote my notes, and spent a couple hours revamping my grant ideas. I then crossed some tasks of my list: went to Indian store & put away Christmas decorations, laundry, and made a half batch of toffee chocolate chip cookies (G, the boys, and MIL were at the science museum all this time). When everyone got home we watched another movie together (its the thing to do when its freezing outside, I guess) and G and I braved the cold for a date night dinner & had yummy Korean food, including a truly sizzling hot pot that warmed us from the inside out (cocktails helped, too).

Sunday I went to barre and grocery shopping, and baked the chocolate chip banana bread my MIL loves (I don't eat bananas, but apparently its good). We prepped food & made lunches for the week and then G and I went on a day date! (taking good advantage of having MIL around!). We were going to watch Lady Bird but by the time we stood in the loooong (outside!) line, the movie had already started and the only seats were right up front and...no. So we stood in the long outside line AGAIN to get refunds and went to the bar across the street for cocktails and snacks before we headed back home to usual Sunday evening chores, dinner, and kids bedtime.

I'm really feeling encouraged about my back. Though the MRI did confirm herniation and some impingement (which explains my symptoms perfectly), I'm not having that much back pain and rarely do I have the radicular pain down my left leg. I have moved on from pain relief to strengthening the muscles around my back in PT FINALLY (I spent September-December in the same cycle of every single thing we tried making the pain worse and spending the entire session undoing that). I was also given the green light to try various exercise regimens again and see how I feel, with the plan to immediately stop and avoid anything that caused the leg pain. 

I have decided to focus more on habits and baby steps this quarter than on any big overarching goals. I plan to spend this cold cold winter in "Hygge" mode. I know its the trendy thing, but it struck a chord for a reason, its a really nice way to rethink winter. For me that means: movies/board games/books with the kids, baking and soups, cozy socks and sweaters, and keeping the Christmas lights up outside to brighten our homecoming until the evenings get lighter. I also want to make sure I get outside every single day in the sunshine. I get so blah when I stay home or stuck in my dim office so I'm making an effort to avoid that.

The habits I'm working are all related to physical and mental health. Specific habits I am tracking: meditation (I splurged on a Headspace subscription and I'm reworking through the intro), drinking enough water, doing my PT exercises every other day, working out 4 X a week, no after dinner snacking, and gratitude (writing "3 good things" in my journal at the end of each day).

I also deleted FB and IG from my phone, whoo hoo!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Another year, another word

I'm actually having trouble mustering up enthusiasm for goal-setting and planning for the new year. I listened to the Happier podcast about "18 for 2018" and sat down two separate times to try to come up with a list of 18 things I wanted to do this year and I just...couldn't. Everything I keep thinking of is boring and incremental, or I've already resolved to do it year after year and failed to keep it up.

I can't even think of any quarterly or seasonal goals right now. Nothing that is inspiring or new or fun. So I figured I'd at least think of my "one word" for the year. And I did! And then I changed it...about 4 times. I'll bring you along on my navel-gazing journey.

My initial word was "Presence" as a reminder to focus on mindfulness and being fully immersed in whatever I am doing at any given moment, and a reminder to recommit to mediation and limiting technology use. I know I am a better parent when I do this,  and obviously much more productive at work. But it seemed so cliche and almost too high-minded for how I am feeling these days.

The latter half of 2017 kind of, well, sucked. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and stagnating professionally and personally. For the first time in a LONG time I cannot find my usual levels of optimism. I really need to get unstuck in my career and we also need to break out of some negative habits and routines as a family and shake things up because ugh. I've made little/backwards progress on my fitness, spending, etc...

So I picked the word "Forward" because that's where I want to be by 2019---at least one step closer to...something better. But, you know, sometimes things aren't completely under your control and the belief that you can always attain what you want just by working hard and wanting it sounds naive to me right now and the constant push to do MORE and be BETTER is exhausting. .Maybe I need to just be OK with my life as it is.

"Acceptance" seems like a good intention for anytime, right? Change what you can and accept the rest? But am I changing all that I can? Things have been pretty much status quo for years now. Maybe the right move isn't just continuing to trudge down the same old worn path, through ever increasing obstacles when you don't even know if you want to go where that road is taking you.

These are big and scary thoughts for me to even consider. This is going to take some unpacking and sorting out. I'm terrified of change. I do everything in my power to avoid thinking about it.But its time. So I'm vowing to be "OPEN" in 2018. Open to what-ifs, and maybes, and entertaining options. To having conversations about possibilities. Maybe there will be decisions, maybe not. That's not really the point.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

...On such a winter's day

Happy New Year guys! You'll have to wait for my 2018 word and goals and plans while I recap December.

I had some kind of mystery illness that had me feeling queasy and incredibly exhausted for over 2 weeks---to the point that I panicked and brought a UPT since the only other time I've felt like this, I've been pregnant. So December kind of sucked and I spent a lot of time kind of zoned out and got way behind and work and home (though G picked up ALL the slack and kept us all going).

I did manage to decorate for the holidays---including solar-powered lights outside which I think I'll keep up through January, baked and decorated gingerbread cookies, made foam kit gingerbread houses, helped organize the PTA winter-fest for the school, and planned out the Christmas (and birthday) gifts. I had to ditch some outings I was looking forward to (because sooooooooo tired).

We did Christmas presents on the 23rd. The boys even wrote Santa to ask him to come early, so he sent an elf!

And then we headed to the airport on the 24th for our long-awaited southern California trip. MIL met us there an hour after we arrived, and all 5 of us had a fantastic and warm week. I'll be honest I was kind of dreading traveling with MIL (because...you know...she's nuts), but is was honestly so amazing to have some kid-free time, it was worth it. We had 2 hotel rooms for 4 of the 6 nights, and she had the kids with her which was quite a nice break!

We did touristy things, swam in heated hotel pools, ate lots of good food, and did 2 days/nights at Legoland (this was B's birthday surprise). We didn't have a cake but stuck a candle in a stack of pancakes for him and called it good enough. G and I managed 2 glorious runs along the bay during the week and my back did NOT hurt after 3 gentle miles, which is encouraging!

What was even more special was what we didn't do...i.e. any work or chores! I tried to remind myself daily to be grateful for the reprieve from cooking and cleaning and laundry and errands and, of course, the work-work of grant-writing and seeing patients and charting...

What we also didn't do was freeze our butts off, but the bitter cold was waiting for us when we got home Saturday night. Good lord it was a shock to the system to go from 70+ to "feels like 5". We spent Sunday getting everything in order---buying and cooking food, cleaning clothes, unpacking. Did nothing special to ring in the new year, though we were awake watching TV.

Yesterday we took the kids to watch The Last Jedi (it was good fun, I really enjoyed it. G and I had actually gone to see it a couple weeks ago but I fell asleep and missed at least 75% of it so it was all brand new to me!). MIL stayed home and cooked, and the house smelled amazing when we returned. Today I'm back at work, breaking in my new pens and planner in between phone calls and emails and making grant-writing spreadsheets.

Back soon with new-years-type stuff because you know I can't resist an occasion for self-improvement!