Thursday, December 1, 2016

Happenings at Home

So we're back! We're in school and work and the pool and we've got our groove on and we're whittling down the days until Christmas break. And they are going to be some crazy days: science fair (Landon), the spelling bee (Landon), the talent show (Claire), a ballet recital (Cora), battle of the books (Landon), and a bunch of parties (everyone!). Luckily my Christmas shopping is done, my cards are on their way, and I'm genuinely looking forward to all of the above.

Except maybe the science fair project. It was due on Monday. The Monday after Thanksgiving/Mexico and that was a terrible thing, but Landon worked hard and did great and we didn't help (though I did suggest some color pairings for the board; his taste runs to the clashing) and no one cried.

And, we found out today, he got a 2nd place ribbon! Very exciting. And not just because it's the highest place you can get without having to do more work to then go on to Regionals.

Also over the weekend, Cora graduated to a new big girl bed!

Well, newish. It's an altered version of her crib and the first time we've ever stopped at a toddler bed, but I love the open space in the middle of their room and you can't fit two twins along the walls. So toddler bed it is! For as long as Cora's body fits inside, which is going to be forever because I'm renewing my pagan sacrifices to get her to stop aging.

She has freedom! It's going really well. She has yet to get out at night, but does get out each morning to go pee pee "IN THE POTTY" and not her bed, as we have struggled with for the last month because while she was totally potty trained, she was not able to climb out of her crib, and her big sister was too exhausted from being the world's most excited 1st Grader to wake up to help her. So goodbye to cribs and setting alarms to help Cora pee, and hello to dry sheets and occasionally not knowing where Cora is.

And as happens at every milestone I feel like I should be excited about, I'm really just sad I don't have any babies left to put in a crib. But I'm glad Cora's so excited.

(used to be a baby in a crib)

She's also really excited about the new lunchbox she got to debut on Monday. It's been a big few days for her.

Claire got to go to the TCU tree lighting ceremony on Tuesday night with a friend and then met up with another friend.

Friend #1 took her from Science Night and then Landon went home with another friend so a tired Cora and I got to go home early. This small town city life thing is just the best.

Also this weekend, I decorated the house for Christmas!

And then went to At Home, Michaels, and Homegods and bought a bunch of new decorations to add to the festive look of the house for Christmas! I just love it.

I've promised myself that next year I won't need to buy a single thing.

And that might even be right because I FINALLY found something to put over the mantle. We don't have many shelves or surfaces to decorate, something I normally love, but I like a little oomph at the holidays and switching out our art makes an impact. Plus there's a hole in the wall over the mantle because the last owners had a TV mounted there, so I need something solid to cover it.

I accidentally found a few other things at Homegoods too, like the perfect print for the girls' bathroom wall and a small picture frame with a gold mirrored sunburst patttern just begging to sit on our mantle. This is why I only go every 6 months. There's always so many things that promise to make my home so beautiful.

While I was buying beautiful thing, James spent a million hours on a ladder hanging a million lights in our tree. He is justifiably proud of his work.

"Someday," he says... "Someday I'll cover the whole tree." We're only another million lights short.

Food!! After eating out every meal for 6 days, all I wanted was cozy, homey things. We had some great food on the trip- amazing ceviches, sushi, avocado on everything, and lots of french fries at the swim-up bar. So now I wanted soups and things you're never going to be able to order from roomservice. Like the best soups and our family friend's jambalaya. It's a cozy kind of week.

Saturday: Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup, crusty bread. Delicious.
Sunday: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. This was SO good and so much easier than the recipe I used to use.
Monday: Turkey tenderloins, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, sauteed green beans, rolls (with the help of Trader Joe's, we're recreating the Thanksgiving meal we missed and it was delicious, particularly the turkey. You should all go make that.)
Tuesday: Spaghetti with tomato basil sauce, wolfed down before/after Science Night at school
Wednesday: Creamy Chicken Enchilada Chili. This is SO good. Served with cilantro, lime, chips, and cheese on top. I also frequently add rice to the bottom of each bowl before ladeling the soup, mostly because James needs to consume 10,000 calories a day to avoid wasting away and there isn't enough chili for that.
Thursday: Pasta bake: homemade sauce with chicken sausage, ground beef, spinach, shredded carrot, lots of herbs and cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste, simmered forever and mixed with a pound of penne, a container of ricotta cheese, and baked for 30 mins with some mozzarella on top. Basically lasagna, but you don't have to layer it.
Friday: Debbie's Jambalaya. Best recipe ever.

Also food related, these little bites of dark chocolate covered magic are BACK! When I spied them in Trader Joe's and then engaged in a FIERCE inner battle over whether to buy them, knowing I would be the only one who eats them because James is broken inside and doesn't like the combination of mint and chocolate (or mint and peanut butter; I know), Landon saw me and exclaimed, "Mom! Remember when you ate all of those in 2 days last year?"

Oh I do. This year it took me 3. With age comes wisdom and great control.

And semi-related, I'm jumping back into the workout world this week! On our trip to Mexico, inspired by the advertising of their gym and yoga classes, I packed workout clothes. I never unpacked them, but still, that I even thought about it is a significant step for me. I taught barre the day after we got back and it was as painful and wonderful as I expected it would be. As was my OTF workout the next day. It continues to shock me how much I enjoy the running. I feel so much stronger every time I get on the treadmill, it's a powerful thing.

Monday: Orangetheory
Tuesday: C2 Yoga
Wednesday: Orangetheory
Thursday: Cyclebar spin class
Friday: Teaching barre; C2 Yoga
Saturday: attending Cora's ballet recital and possibly chasing her around the stage
Sunday: C2 Yoga

And now it's 5 minutes to midnight and I need to get in bed. Work is super busy. November me made promises December me finds unreasonable. But it's good. My house is sparkly. I've eaten a tube of dark chocolate covered peppermint Oreos. And I ran 3 miles today faster than I ever have. Bring on the new month!


  1. Hi there! I just wanted to comment that I love reading your blog. I'm just across the metroplex slightly north of Dallas. You provide such a readable narrative of balancing work and family life- I just love it! I know I'm an internet stranger, but wanted to let you know how much I enjoy following along. Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi Amanda! That was so nice to read, thank you!! And Merry Christmas to you too!

  2. First, thanks for the previous recommendations in Dallas! We just got back (and survived driving from Minneapolis to Dallas AND BACK with a 16 month old, 4 year old and 6 year old....) and Tacodeli WAS amazing, as was the Arboretum.

    Wanted to share this article/podcast in case you hadn't seen it to get your thoughts: So, I think this article is kind of BS (the facebook post sharing it had comments that agreed: BUT the actual podcast is super interesting, especially when they talk about the huge disparity of women/men at highly ranked law schools in the past 10 years and how that can impact the types of positions that women eventually can get. Check it out:

    The whole podcast miniseries is fascinating to me and episodes are pretty quick: (I'm a pre-law advisor and career counselor at at university, so I work directly with many women (and men) on if they should go to law school and where they should apply and do find a lot of what the podcast said to be true about women not reaching for as highly regarded schools and certainly being far more resistant to negotiating scholarships as well!). Anyway, just thought you might find it interesting :)

    1. Yay, so glad you enjoyed Tacodeli and the Arboretum! Two of the best reasons to drive to Dallas, in my opinion (besides my friends who haven't yet seen the light and moved to Fort Worth). And high-five on the road tripping, that is a LONG haul.

      That article was infuriating- like it actually increased my heart rate with rage because I found it so full of sexist bullshit and so much of what she stated as fact to be absolutely NOT fact in my own life and the life of the other women lawyers that I know. (Like this, "We pressure each other and ourselves to be the finest mother and wife, no matter the cost. We don’t ask the men in our families to make the same sacrifices we make by giving up or changing careers." No I don't, and yes I do, and both of those things are a big f-ing reason I'm pretty darn happy with my job and life.) Mostly I was annoyed at the perpetuation of the "women lawyers can't have it all" because it's crap and depends on your definition of "all" and if your definition is as broad as she pretends, well men can't have that either and it's not a gendered thing. But, before I get too far down this road, I will say I am intrigued by the podcast miniseries and will try to check it out. And thank you for passing it along!

    2. Oh yes the actual Above the Law post was so so bad. Why they paired that terrible article with the podcast (that actually really has nothing to do with the content of the article) is beyond me. Generally speaking, I hate all "have it all" posts. Anyway, HAPPY FRIDAY! :)

  3. So you not take rest days off from working out? Or is yoga restful enough for your muscles to recover? Is there a theory behind taking rest days to recover?

    1. Hey Simi! I usually work out 7 times a week, but often double yoga on another work out day, so I generally end up with one day off, which is nice because I don't have to take a shower that day, but I don't think it's probably necessary from a physical perspective. If you're lifting very intense weights, your body definitely needs a rest, but that "rest" could be yoga, running, swimming, etc. (Or it could be nothing; I'm by no means anti-nothing.) Similarly, if you're marathon training and have a really long run, you may need to take the next day off. But you probably don't. You'd just go on a shorter, less taxing run. Rest is good and you should take it whenever you need or want it, but I really don't think your average healthy, fit adult person needs a full day off after a 1-hour workout (as all of mine are) or even several days in a row with 1-hour workouts. But I'm no expert, and none of my workouts are intended to utterly exhaust me or tear me down.

      And I do think of yoga as being my recovery. Not because it isn't hard or intense- the class I go to is very athletic and acrobatic, but it involves such smooth movements and flows and just sweaty stretchy magic that I feel completely rejuvenated after I go. For me, if I wasn't doing yoga every other day, I would not be filling those days with OTF or spin. That would feel like too much. For some reason, yoga just doesn't, even though my heart rate/calorie burn monitor says otherwise at the end.

      So that's my non-scientific non-answer :).