Sunday, September 25, 2016

Stepping Out Into the Sun

Except not, because it's pouring rain and sunlight will never touch my skin without sun coverings and sunscreen again. But it's metaphorical because I spent like 5 days living like a troll on the same couch cushion, wearing half a shirt, and wincing every time the skin on my chest moved or stretched making it crack and bleed and it was a dark time. I watched The Great British Baking Show one million times over and started and have now nearly finished the kids' 2014-2015 photobooks. I lost track of days and possibly wore the same pants for five of them. It was... not a good time for me.

I'm back!

As I mentioned last time, it turns out that I'm super allergic to bandaids. I had to use them because the cream was making my skin ooze so much, and while I thought it was weird each night that the skin always looked worse underneath, I just assumed the terrible anal wart cream was to blame. And it was, for most of it. But it was also a raging latex allergy and I had been peeling off layers of skin at each bandaid removal. By the time I figured it out my skin was so angry and raw-hamburgery absolutely nothing could touch it without pain, including air from the AC vents in the ceiling and invisible air molecules. I felt like a small brulee torch was being held up against my chest at all times. I had to drug myself to sleep each night and left an oozy slime trail everywhere I went. I alternated between feeling pitiful and then feeling so thankful I didn't have real cancer and chemotherapy wasn't going straight into my veins and thinking I was being ridiculous and then having my skin crack and ooze for the millionth time and re-deciding it was okay that I thought this was awful too.

a time-lapse view; just in case I ever think of forgetting my swim burka

At one point, maybe on Tuesday?, James and I were sitting on the couch and I noticed he kept side-eyeing my wound.

"It's looking at me..." he whispered, "... and it looks hungry."

And then he told me I had to leave the house. So I finally did. I wore the only t-shirt I owned that had a deep enough v to let the wound shine - it was from Target and I'd washed it 5 times in 6 days and I wore it to work. I figured my hamburger would distract anyone from wondering what had happened to my business casual and it did.

But things are way better now! My skin is no longer angry, I quit the chemo cream two days early (oops, except it was absolutely on purpose because I was having to take shots of alcohol just to get up the courage to put on more the day before), and after 9 days off I'm feeling very proud of my new pink skin. It's beautiful and I'm so glad it's there.

[high five emoji]

Just in time for my sister and Billy to arrive with baby Skyla on Thursday afternoon! They were here for Billy's sister's wedding and we got to spend Thursday night with them. First, Cora had to "hold it, the baby Skyla" a bunch of times. She was THRILLED with "it" and loves Skyla very much.

Claire too.

Cora would not relinquish the foot

and Landon.

We are very pro-baby in this house.

On Friday the big kids had friends over after school. Landon and his friend were outside running in circles the whole time and I basically never saw them. Claire dressed her and her friend in her snazziest accessories and directed that they "march around the house like this five- no TEN- times!"

And so they did. I think they regretted their grand aspirations by loop 7 or so, but they stuck it out.

We went to a party at another school friends' house that night. As an extrovert, every minute of socializing felt like I was recharging some sad dormant internal battery. It is not good for me to be indoors for so long. This was proven by my tear-filled breakdown at the finale of The Great British Baking Show on Sunday. I was sobbing-- full on ugly crying, and when James looked at me like the crazy person I was, I choked out, "I'm just so happy for her.... these people are my family and they worked so hard." I was a goddamn mess.

Last night my parents arrived in time to also attend the wedding and then they brought Sky back to our house with them. Don't they look fancy?

Today was a quick reunion before Val and Billy headed back to the airport to Denver. We ate breakfast tacos and got a grandkid picture and Cora got to "hold it, Skyla" one more time. She seriously adores that baby. Sky is tolerant, if also a little skeptical.

But she still loves me best.

It's rained for the last million hours, or maybe just since last night, so things got a little stir crazy around here by mid-afternoon. At a slight break in the rain, James took the kids out for a nice long run/bike ride. It was a little muddy.

Claire slid and somehow got her shoe stuck and then she had to put her muddy sock back in her muddy shoe, which she found very displeasing.

She was back to happy again by the time they got home though. Her back is completely covered in mud. She was so proud.

And then, just when the cabin fever was really setting in again, I remembered Tara was coming to babysit! So we left her in the care of our hyper little darlings and headed out for happy hour sushi. The kids got a fresh body to play with and we got a sushi boat! Everyone was winning.

Sky is always winning

And so, now that I'm out of my hamburger skin/photobooking cave, I will be back here more often- important things are happening around here, like Cora's school pictures and me catching on to the fact that Landon hasn't been brushing his teeth (BIG trouble). Also I bought really cute boots and fall might actually almost be here finally. But in the mean time, here are some dinners to keep you company:

Sat: Giada's Italian Chicken Stew (a favorite, super yummy broth-based soup; I add cannellini beans, sometimes pasta, always more tomato paste and chicken broth, and sometimes more veggies like shredded cabbage and chopped zucchini; it's a good base, then do whatever you want with it), giant loaf of warm ciabatta bread
Sun: date night! Kids ate spaghettios, but they're organic ones from TJ's so I've made my peace with it
Mon: Rachel Ray's Super Sloppy Joes, the best Trader Joe whole wheat buns (they're so good), frozen oven fries, fruit
Tues: Fiesta Quinoa Enchilada Bake, chips
Wed: Meatball Stroganoff (Landon's absolute favorite meal), wheat rolls, green beans
Thurs: Beef Taquitos (brown ground beef with taco seasoning, garlic, onion, etc., then add some cream cheese and spoon mixture into tortillas; roll up and bake 10-15 mins until a little crunchy), refried black beans, avocado
Fri: Baked Ziti

back to photobooking

Friday, September 16, 2016

Zombie Bites and What's For Dinner

First of all, thank you for your happy responses to the swim school post. Whether I've met you or not, you all are my family, and it was wonderful to share good news with you. We're so thrilled the school is back up and running and as I reflected from my couch this afternoon, half-listening to James talk to parents and potential clients on the phone all day, he is SO GOOD at this. So knowledgeable and enthusiastic, it was really fun to get a window into his customer interactions. Cora started back with her lessons last night and as a picky former swim parent, I was very pleased.

Cora was pleased too. If the big kids are doing it, she wants in. So in she went.

We ended our evening by driving to Gloria's because they have the best margaritas (after Yucatan Taco Stand, of course) and their happy hour is all day on Thursday and my skin was SO FULL OF FIRE I needed frozen tequila to make it bearable. Then I came home and had a mexican martini because no one has ever bought me a frozen margarita machine and sometimes you have to make do.

Before meeting the kids at the pool for their swim class and lesson I had been sent home from work by my staff accountant who found me with my head on my desk, silently and invisibly weeping. She'd checked on me throughout the day, noting that "usually there's such happy high energy coming out of your office. Today... it's just sad." Sadness and oozing. On her third or fourth check-in, she brought me flowers and told me to go home. So I did, clutching my beautiful rainbow flowers with one hand and holding my shirt away from my zombie bite with the other.

In questionably good news, I realized last night that I'm allergic to latex and that's at least 50% of the reason this treatment has been so hellish. My bandaids were trying to kill me. It was confusing because the doctor told me the medicine would make cancerous and precancerous skin "red and oozy," so I just thought my god, I have SO MUCH CANCER. But it turns out, I have a medium amount of cancer and a lot of latex allergy, and suddenly the fact I would pull off chunks of skin anytime I removed a bandaid AND my constant urge to itch my raw oozy skin makes a lot more sense.

Making sense does not actually make it better, but thanks to a trip to Walgreens, it will at least not get worse. And I only have one more dose of cream left -- tonight is dose 20 of 20 and THANK THE LITTLE BABY JEBUS we are done because my self-medicating techniques were getting calorically and financially very expensive. James even ran out for Stir Crazy Baked Goods for me on Wednesday night without me actually asking. It was like I was pregnant again, except this time, with cancer.

I took a sick day from work today. It finally occurred to me that "sick" can be "badly wounded and can't put on a shirt," so I've spent the entire day in a low cut tank, half a cardigan, and my favorite summer pj pants watching episode after episode of The Great British Baking Show. Why did you all not tell me about this? It is GLORIOUS. I love all of these people. I love their weird combinations of meats and fruits that they bake into pies and cover in nuts. I love their good old British can do attitude and cheeky cheer. I love that they always have tea. I love that the Baked Alaska challenge was the most tense and stressful thing I've watched on television and I've survived all existing seasons of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and The Fall. I love that they all seem so normal and friendly and they want each other to do well. It soothes my soul if not my skin. It actually hurts my feelings that I didn't know it existed until now.

Does this cookie make my cancer look smaller?

Moving on to other random news of the week. I decided Landon's bedding was too "big kid" and I needed to seize any remaining "little boy" moments that I still can. So I stored his teen bedding plastic, to be pulled out when he is actually a teen, and bought him this bright and adorable and perfect quilt from Pottery Barn Kids. I LOVE it. I love it so much. And it actually goes better with how colorful his room ended up being.

He likes it too.

Claire also got a new comforter, since she'd had hers since she was 3 and no amount of washing can disguise the fact the girl likes to nest and raise her body temperature 10 degrees just so she can sweat out her body weight every night.

And Cora got to pick out new sheets to go with her new purple comforter because now that she is potty trained we're taking off the side of her crib to make a little bed just like she's real people.

Ponies. PURPLE ponies, obvi.

And finally - dinners! I never posted this week's menu, so some of this is retroactive but everything was delicious.

Monday: Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce, garlic bread
Tuesday: Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup (I needed soothing and this was a great recipe! highly recommend)
Wednesday: Mexican rice (recipe below)
Thursday: Out (unplanned, but medically necessary)
Friday: Quartino night (all the meats and cheeses with crackers, french bread, oils and vinegars, olives, and fruits - I make a big fun spread in fancy serving dishes on the table and we all dish up; the kids love it)
Saturday: Crockpot Creamy Chicken Enchilada Chili (I've made this before and it's so good)
Sunday: Homemade Veggie Lasagna
Monday: Beef and bean burritos
Tuesday: leftover lasagna
Wednesday: Tamales, scrambled eggs, refried black beans, avocado
Thursday: Out because my sister, brother-in-law, and tiny baby NIECE are visiting! Somewhere with margaritas, I'm sure.
Friday: Homemade pizza

Mexican Rice
(my grandma got this recipe from a neighbor in Spain when they were stationed there; so simple, so yummy, it's always a crowd favorite)

1 lb. ground beef
diced onion
1 small can tomato paste
1 regular can tomato sauce (+ 1 can water)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup cooked rice
toppings: grated cheese, diced tomato, black olives, shredded lettuce, avocado, fritos

1. Brown beef in garlic and onion, drain fat.
2. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT rice
3. Simmer and stir (at least 10 mins? I often let it go quite a while, adding more water if necessary, this is an inexact science)
4. Add rice, heat through, serve with fritos and toppings

~ ~ ~

And now it's back to The Great British Baking Show and photo booking. I'm 5 books behind (ughhh; right now I'm doing a page on James's birthday when he turned 33. He will be 35 in 4 weeks.), but I think I just have to get going and let the addiction start up again. I do so love them when they are done, I just might need to take the next month off work to make it happen...

Monday, September 12, 2016

Like a Phoenix

You guys, the swim school has risen again from the splashes of its former self! James has a pool and reopened for business today and I am so happy and relieved that I can't even share his stress over the fact his registration numbers are down from this point last year. All numbers are higher than zero and he has a pool!! A beautiful, 8-lane, indoor, year-round pool that is exclusively his from 3:30-8 p.m. Monday through Friday. HE HAS A POOL! The swim school lives!!

It's been in the works for nearly a month, which is why I've probably sounded less stressed and sad lately, but it's also been sloooowly working its way through all those works for a month and after being burned twice on other pools that "had room" only to actually not, I just couldn't announce or celebrate until it was final and it's FINALLY final! There are some hurdles, some (several) additional expenses, his margins will go down, blah blah whatever HE HAS A BUSINESS! I've already had a few glasses of champagne to celebrate for him since he's too busy answering registration emails to do so on his own behalf.

Remember when I would sometimes complain about the swim school? about his evening schedule? his endless late nights working on registrations? the uncompromising nature of teaching private lessons and a lack of room to reschedule them for anything ever? Well, staring down the road to a dark swim school-less future has really shifted my perspective on that. All of sudden I realized how much I loved the swim school. Obviously, I love that James loves it and that he built it from nothing and poured his heart into something he's passionate about and incredibly good at. But I also love that it enables him to be home in the mornings. That he gets the kids off to school and can then be home for deliveries, doctor appointments, and other home-based to-do's. I love that he never ever travels and is home with us every night and weekend. I love that all his nighttime work can all be done on the couch while sitting right up next to me. I love that he was making good money and we were killing our grad school debt and growing our long-term savings and contributing everything I wanted to the kids' college accounts. I LOVED that he coached our own kids and that I could trust him implicitly to improve their technique and build their strength while still fostering their love of swimming. I loved that I didn't have to take the kids to swimming or pick them up. I loved that "Coach James" was known by so many in the community and we ran into clients everywhere we went. I loved seeing the fruits of his labor and love of swimming pay off, literally and figuratively, and I was truly devastated that he was losing it. After years of the occasional bit of complaining I now wanted to give the swim school a bit sloppy kiss and it was disappearing on me before I could do it.

And of course, watching James watch his dream circle the drain was terrible. The one good thing going for us this time around was that it wasn't financially stressful. Back in 2012 when he was a victim of the Dell layoffs, it was awful on so many levels, but particularly the financial. I had just taken a job with a substantial pay cut, we'd just paid to move here from Austin, and we'd just used our savings to renovate the new/old house we'd just bought in our new city. Nothing makes an already emotional and difficult situation worse than staring at your bank account and calculating the number of months left that you can pay your mortgage. It made it impossible to be the supportive spouse I wanted to be during his job hunt because I was as stressed as he was depressed and oh my god it was fucking awful.

SO! This time was better. The swim school situation sucked and it was sad, but it wasn't stressful (for me; James was totally stressed, but that's okay when only one of you is at a time). We're in a totally different place than we were in 2012 and I didn't have to worry about anything other than James himself; I could just be supportive- positive, calm, long-term looking... basically the partner I've always wanted to be and that James always is for me. So that was nice. And then he found something! Or rather, the wife of the law school best friend of a partner I used to work with in Austin who is on the board of a local community college found something. Huzzah! It was a long process with a lot of back and forth and then a lot of waiting, but lessons started up today and they can't kick him out now ! (At least not without 90 days notice...)

And because the swim school can continue on, so can Fike Swim Products! The swim school funds all the prototypes and large order minimums for the swim products business, so the death of one meant the likely death or at least a total lack of growth for the other which... sucked. But no more! Which is great because James's sales of The Brick continue to be brisk and his (amazing!) swim bag is getting great reviews. In celebration of the new swim season he made a new commercial. Given that it was made on an iPhone and Landon was the cameraman for much of it, I thought it was pretty awesome:

And in final James news, he's on the board of the non-profit Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition and they had their annual banquet last night. It's such a great organization doing such important work, I'm so proud that he is part of it.

Their programs have become a model for other organizations around the country and this past summer they reached over 1,000 kids and adults and got them life vests and time with instructors in the water. They've also started a pipeline for teens who show an interest in the program- learning to swim, gaining comfort, and ultimately earning an option to obtain their lifeguard certification from the Red Cross free of charge so they have a path to a summer job at one of the city pools or local YMCA's, continuing the cycle of saving lives through water safety and instruction. Pretty awesome.

So it's a happy day around here today! Our beloved nanny Tara is back in our lives, we're back on a regular after school schedule, the big kids are back in the water and Cora starts back up with her own lessons on Thursday! Yays for everyone! But especially James, I'm so incredibly proud of him and all his work in and out of the pool. Cheers!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Academicus Meritus Exceptus

So, week 3 of school is down! The kids are settling in- the emotional joys of schooling are no longer bottoming out into emotional pits of overwhelmed despair in the evenings when we say terrible things like "please put your shoes away" or "it's time for dinner."

Anniversary flowers! Hand-delivered by James and the kids

So that's good.

On the less good side, this week was maybe not our best showing academically. It started on Thursday morning when Claire presented us with her spelling test from the week before - a test with a 40 emblazoned at the top with a lie of a smiley face sticker right next to her grade. Claire, having no idea this number was not the goal, was confused when James turned to me and said, "wait, is this out of a hundred?!". I quickly realized this was really our bad. We never even looked at Claire's spelling list. As parents of a third grader, you'd think we knew what we were doing when it comes to elementary school homework and quizzes, but Landon is something of a unique case and so we're actually coming from behind here and our cheerful, school-loving, optimistically overconfident Clairebear who totally thought she nailed that spelling test, paid the price.

Back when Landon was in first grade we learned it was an exercise in futility and frustration for all of us to go over his spelling list. He claimed he already knew the words, we found that was pretty true, and then we were both annoyed when we felt obligated to quiz him anyway. So we made a deal - as long as you get a 100 on your tests we'll never talk about spelling. And so for the last two years, that's held true. He's always gotten 100's and we've always ignored the existence of spelling lists. And so that has led to Claire bringing home a 40 and James saying absurd things in our kitchen like, "Wait, what's a spelling list?!" and "What, they have one EVERY WEEK?!!"

So. We're going to do better. Also we noticed her words for the current week had been downgraded from "worked," "liked," and "planted" to the more remedial "dad," "rat," and "bat." Oops.

Then! After being told on Wednesday night to put his homework folder in his backpack and then many times Thursday morning to put your homework folder in your backpack, Landon skipped out the door for school on Thursday, leaving his homework folder sitting sad and alone on my beautiful kitchen counters. I had already left for work, so I learned this when James called about 8:10 complaining that "now I'm headed back to school with Landon's homework folder because he forgot it."


No. "No you are not!" I exclaimed. Then, softening my tone as my shock wore off, I said, "we reminded him several times, this is not our failure to fix." James, I think still reeling from our actual spelling failures, noted, "but he'll get a violation!" Yeah, that sounds like a Landon problem, I explained. Claire and her spelling words that she knew she could read but didn't understand she couldn't spell - that's mostly on us. Landon's million-times-reminded homework folder? That's on him.

And so Landon brought home his first ever conduct violations - and it was actually two of them, since he left behind (completed!) homework for two separate classes. What was interesting to me, besides the fact that James had actually planned to bring his folder up to school (this was quite shocking to me; James is generally even more into child independence and setting/demanding high expectations than even I am), was that it clearly never even occurred to Landon we'd bring him his homework. He showed us his violations, explained what they were and why we had to sign, and then noted pretty matter of factly that it wouldn't have happened if he'd put his homework in his backpack the night before like I suggested. Woot! At 9 years old, I still get to be right sometimes. The windows for these opportunities are narrowing. He also remembered that I suggested he pick a free homework pass when he won the good behavior drawing last week, but he picked a bouncy ball instead. I have wisdom!

Also on Thursday night, when I walked in the door from work, Claire ran up and exclaimed, "MOM! We practiced my spelling words TWENTY TIMES!!" Literally nothing could be better than more parent-involved school work after school for Claire, so lucky her, she's going to get all she needs from now on.

In the meantime, Cora continues to rock her puzzle station at school and is thrilled her parents fell for the emotionally manipulative sales tactics of the Stretch N Grow ballet class. All is well in her world, particularly since we're still giving her m&m's every time she uses the potty, something we're going to have to cut off soon because she hasn't had an accident in 8 days and I swear she's started to parcel out tiny bits of pee just to rack up more m&m's. I would in no way put that past her.

delighted at how well the old 12-24 month unicorn costume completed the outfit

I continue to get my flesh eaten by daily chemotherapy cream. I had to go shopping last weekend for more high-necked tops. This was Monday's ensemble. You can't even tell I might have a highly contagious skin disease.

And it's spreading. Apparently the cream spreads out to attack other previously invisible cancerous and precancerous cells. So far it's spread to about 10x the size of the original, visible basal cell. The doctor assured me it wouldn't affect "good" skin, but since every surface it touches turns bright red and bumpy, I'm wondering if (1) I don't actually have any "good" skin left; and/or (2) I should just rub it all over my body so it can light up like a giant cancer map. Except I don't have enough ice packs for that- I held one against my skin of fire last night while eating pad Thai with the other and wishing I had a third to hold my wine.

wear sunscreen

Also last night, before I found myself on the couch with my ice pack v. Thai food v. wine dilemma, we had our school picnic! So fun. James played 4-square for 2.5 hours. Even 4-square obsessed Landon had to tap out for a bit and go bounce in a bounce house just to mix things up. But James played, and played hard, the whole time we were there. He showed off all his 1980's schoolyard tricks, his UT swim team 6-square moves, and stood in line with a bunch of 4-foot tall elementary school kids waiting his turn to play again after he got out. It was adorable.

Adorable and very serious.

School Picnic 4-Square from Lag Liv on Vimeo.

The girls toured the bounce houses and then did a lot of dancing. Cora observed for a while and then jumped in, bopping around with the rest of them.

I stood under the spirit sales tent, smiling at people and keeping the other PTA ladies company while they did all the actual work.

I love our school.

And now I'm off to teach barre. You wouldn't find it off-putting if your instructor covered all of her exposed skin in band-aids right? They're going to go so beautifully with my rainbow pants.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Fort Worth Fun and Fancy

Thanks to the discount shopping gods, I found a dress in my closet that covered my wounds for our anniversary dinner Saturday night. Purchased at Ross for $12.99 about 4 years ago, the halter drape perfectly obscured any and all oozing. Which is good because nothing says "I bet you can't wait to get home and get this off me" better than what looks to be a highly contagious skin condition.

I could be hiding anything under here

And dinner was wonderful. So crazy delicious, we started with an appetizer I still don't understand but was called "House Made Stracciatella" with "local peaches, golden beets, local radishes and fennel pesto." My previous experiences with stracciatella has always been the vanilla with chocolate chip gelato flavor, so we were pretty confused when our waitress so highly recommended it to start, but we always try something new when we go and her description of "it's what goes inside burrata cheese" convinced me and OH MY GOD it was amazing. Best thing I had all night until the dessert, which is really saying something when it was followed by my favorite salad of all time and a perfectly cooked filet covered in crab, Bearnaise sauce, and asparagus. If you have a chance to add house made non-gelato stracciatella to you life, you should do it. And you should add more of the gelato kind too.

EST 9.3.2005

Dessert was Bruléed Goat Cheesecake with bing cherries, port wine, pistachio gelato and kumquats. Zomg. I had no room left, but I managed half. They made a cheesecake with goat cheese and they bruleed it. It's like a triple threat of my favorite things and it was extraordinary.

Besides the food, the company wasn't bad either. Fifteen years after we met and had our first date and then openly talked about getting married (all in about two weeks; I do wonder what our reaction would be if any of our kids did the same at 18), I am still crazy head over heels nauseatingly in love with this guy.

2001; baby faces

The morning after our hot date celebrating our eleven years of marriage, we slept in... waking up in stages as the soft morning light filtered in through our sky lights. Curled in each other's arms, looking forward to a round of leisurely morning sex... Except, lol, no. We have children, and they never sleep in when they're supposed to.

I woke with a start at Claire's insistent tapping on my arm at 7:04 a.m. while she repeated "Mom, Cora went pee pee in her bed. Mom. MOM!" over and over, heedless of the fact I'd had most of a bottle of champagne the night before. James, deaf to the repeated calls of "Mom," FLEW up out of bed at the phrase "pee in her bed." The best part was Cora actually had not peed in her crib; she was dry, she just told Claire she was wet because she wanted to get up. She's wily.

So, since we were all up, we went to the zoo nice and early. Feeling generous, we splurged on the $1 carousel tickets for the first time ever and it was probably the best $3 we've ever spent. Look at Cora's face.

I mean, my god. Pure glee; bliss; JOY. There aren't words for this look.

She patted her horsey, bounced up and down, and maintained that level of excitement for all 12 revolutions. It was hilarious and exhausting just to witness.

The zoo train was also deemed pretty great.

So fun. I love our zoo. The kids are experts thanks to their weeks of zoo camp, Landon's nature club meetings, and our one million visits and we get lots of inside scoop from them as we walk around. We stopped for our favorite pizza on the way home and despite the harsh wake-up call, it really was a lovely bookend to our anniversary celebration.

Then I spent about an hour in the bathroom with Cora reading her books and trying to convince her to go poop in the potty. 11 years and that's all I wanted for my anniversary.

Though I can't complain, she's doing really well - no accidents and no pull-ups except for overnight sleeping since Friday. We went to the Zoo in Zootopia panties, which Cora found delightful and we found mildly terrifying, and when we got to the restaurant after, she politely requested the bathroom, peed on demand, and returned to our table. She immediately told our waiter she went pee pee in the potty and was getting her "n&m's" when we got home. He accepted the news with all due gravity and congratulations.

Which seems like a nice transition to the discussion of this week's menu:

Sun: Turkey tettrazini (really good! I doubled everything except the milk and it was perfect), served with crescent rolls
Mon: BBQ quinoa salad (our fave: quinoa + bbq shredded chicken + black beans + corn + tomatoes + avocado + cilantro + queso fresco cheese, topped with a swirl of bbq sauce and Ranch or Italian dressing), chips, salsa
Tues: Pioneer Woman's beef with snow peas (my favorite stir fry recipe, by far, though I always add broccoli and carrot too); rice
Wed: Leftover tettrazini, more crescent rolls because they're delicious and one classic deserves another
Thurs: BBQ enchiladas (with the leftover chicken, rolled in tortillas, topped with sour cream and cheddar jack cheese); refried black beans; avocado
Fri: Pasta with tomato cream sauce (so simple, but SO good; one of those recipes I always have the ingredients for and can make without looking anything up which is handy on a Friday)

BBQ quinoa salad!

I taught barre 3x this holiday weekend and it felt SO good! This week I get back to my usual 2x Orangetheory, 5x yoga, and 1-2x barre routine, but it was fun to hit so heavy on the barre and embrace the shake for a few days. But after 4 days without yoga - my longest gap since February - I am deeply missing it and am excited to return tomorrow. Less excited to return to the office after- holidays off are just the best, but I have some new and fun cases right now, so I can't really complain about that either. May you all have a short and wonderful week ahead!