Friday, March 30, 2018

Sunshine & Miscellany

I've been meaning to blog all week, but between a late night PTA Nomination Committee meeting at my house Monday night (I'm the head of the Board Nominating Committee; would you like to be our President next year? Because we don't have one, despite our late night meeting and all the dark chocolate m&m's we ate), going to all the yoga classes, teaching Thursday night and drinking 1.5 margaritas which was 0.5 too many, I have lacked the time and/or brain-finger coordination.

But things happened all week! Funny conversations! Deliveries made to my house from online shopping done in long ago last week! I cooked many things and did all the yoga! Even though it was a super busy week it always feels happy to be back in the swing of things. Even if today's swing involved using up 8 vacation hours for constant cooking, cleaning, laundry, and errands. Sometimes you just need to do all the things and it feels REALLY good to get them done. Especially when you can end the day in a cookout at someone else's house drinking their delicious rose in a sweatshirt while your kids throw water at each other in the backyard. It's what spring nights are made of.

I think my favorite moment of this week was a conversation I overheard on Monday night. I was sitting at my desk in the sunroom while the kids were in the living room when Cora, as she does at least three times a day, randomly reminded everyone she would be 7:
Cora: Someday I will be 7.

Claire: Yes, and then I'll be 10.

Cora, knowingly: So then you will be crabby?

Claire, offended: What? No!

Landon, with the hard-earned knowledge of a man who's been taken to the brink and stared into the void, and then read some books and had some Talks with Dad: Yeah, when those hormones hit you... whoah. There's not really a lot you can do about it Claire.

My body was shaking I was trying so hard not to laugh out loud. And the best part is Landon wasn't even in the room for the start of the conversation. He was just strolling through, caught Cora's bracing reminder of what she knows happens at 10 and was like yeah Claire, it's happening, I've been there. I like that they know they're all in this together and Cora's just trying to keep everyone prepared.

Because I really do feel like we've been through the wringer together and come out the other side. Hormones have calmed, conversations have been had, true genuine joy and enjoyment of ALL the members of the house have returned. It's so nice. At least twice in the last week I've randomly leaned over and hugged a nearby Landon and held it to the point of awkwardness. He seems to understand.

On Thursday we FINALLY made it to Cora's preschool egg hunt. I missed it when she was 2 for reasons I can't remember. I missed it when she was 3 because I wrote down the wrong time and we arrived exactly when it was ending. So this year, at 4, and possibly her last year (I started the public pre-K registration process on Monday!!), I was DETERMINED to be in attendance. And I was and I learned that preschoolers run very fast when eggs are across the room and Cora runs with her tongue out for extra EXTRA speed.

It was adorable and I'm glad we finally made it there. Especially because I got this picture of her and James that I simply adore. It is so very them.

Today the kids had off school and used my aforementioned vacation hours to do all the things. We were up and out on our first long walk by 8:30 a.m. I felt bad for our neighbors - we're like a whole parade taking up the streets, but it's important to exercise the puppies early and often.

I did get to go to a yoga class I normally miss and it was excellent. I still have seven Orangetheory credits burning a hole in my credit card, but as much as I enjoyed that type of workout for nearly two years, ALL I want to do right now is go to yoga. This may be the incredibly rare occasion I just let something go to waste. I had to get charged this month in order to cancel my membership, so I'm trying to think of it more as a cancellation fee than me actually wasting money. And my yoga membership is unlimited, so I think of it as cheaper with every class I attend. So really I'm saving money. Somehow.

Speaking of saving money by spending it, I used my REI 20% off discount to get a new Hydroflask water bottle. I won my old one in a raffle at a now defunct yoga studio 3 years ago, so I felt it was time. And you don't get to apply coupons to those suckers too often. I immediately added my two favorite stickers and the bright mint color brings me joy every time I look at it. (And hydration every time I take a sip from the straw lid I also had to buy because I'm apparently too lazy to drink out of a normal mouth water bottle, bringing up the bottle ALL the way to my mouth is just too much and I never ever drink from it. Some things about yourself you just have to accept and try to work around.)


This was Cora at school one day this week. Her bow was clearly too frivolous for her "hard work."

She was wearing her bow again later in the pictures we got from recess. No preschooler takes her work more seriously than Cora; no "practical life" centers, no baby dolls or sorting or playing in sand- all things she loves doing at home. It's all handwriting and letters and numbers all the time. She has a job to do and she is 100% focused on doing it. I love that her preschool sends us snapshots into their day.

Speaking of Cora, Facebook did one of those heart-tugging timehop things on Thursday that let me know this delightful little ball of pure JOY looked like this 4 years ago. 4 years! And now she's tall and lean and strong and wearing a Girl's Size 6!

I no longer shop in the Toddler section and I never will again for one of my own babies. All those years of slightly cheaper usually even more adorable options? Gone. It's all big kid all the way. My wallet and my heart are sad. I miss baby Cora. I would like almost-big-kid-Cora to remain as well, but I would ALSO like a baby Cora again at the same time. I feel like science should be able to make that happen for me.

But since it can't, let's talk about shopping. I've decided I need a new date night dress. The few I have have been worn multiple times and I'm done with them. I want something new and in the fancy restaurant flavor of sexy. I have two contenders I just ordered from Nordstrom rack. They're nearly identical, which is making it very hard to choose.

Option A: bebe Mock Neck Strappy

Option B: Taylor Twist Neck Halter

This will probably get sorted when they arrive and I try them on, but why not agonize just a little bit beforehand? That's the fun part of shopping. I also snuck out for 20 minutes today to try to find a new Easter dress at TJ Maxx, the closest discount store to my house. I found this one and then rejected it because I thought it was too bright and unflattering, but now I'm looking at the picture and wondering why on earth I didn't buy it. We're leaving for Houston for Easter straight from Claire's soccer game tomorrow morning, so I have no time to rectify my mistake, but I now wish I had been able to pack this new little guy instead of a 3-year-old navy/white striped dress I've worn a million times. Sometimes restraint is not a virtue.

the one that got away

Moving on to food, but still also a little bit of shopping. I bought this new little new kitchen tool after using one at my aunt's house in Atlanta and I LOVE it. It breaks up ground beef/chicken/turkey/whatever and it is my new favorite toy. I made beef, bean, and cheese burritos on Monday night and I loved not trying to use the side of my big plastic spoon to break up the ground beef into teeny tiny pieces that soaked up all the seasoning so much better than big chunks. If you like kitchen tools and cook with the occasional ground meat or sausage, you should get one. It makes me happy to have something perform a specific function so very well.

On to the past week's menu!

Sunday: Vegetable Lasagna (inspired by that recipe, but it's pretty flexible; I dropped the turkey and added spinach, broccoli, and carrot). I made two because a friend hurt her leg Friday night playing softball and couldn't get out of bed. I feel like there's little more comforting than a carb-filled dinner you didn't make yourself.

Monday: Bean, Beef, & Cheese burritos (Cook and season up your beef. Take out a tortilla and layer refried black beans, ground beef, and a sprinkle of cheese and make a little burrito. Do that 12 more times until you fill a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with a little more cheese and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Serve topped with your usual taco toppings like diced tomato, avocado, and sliced olives. Your kids will love you.)

Tuesday: Sunshine Lentil Bowls. Family forever favorite. I don't make the dressing anymore because Trader Joe's has a refrigerated fresh Green Goddess dressing that is perfection. Make sure you add goat cheese. (Unless you're Landon, then don't, but everyone else thinks you're crazy.)

Wednesday: Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas. I used that recipe as a base but switched prosciutto for ham; it was good, but honestly not the best version of this recipe I've made. I need to google my way back to the last time I made it because it was better.

Thursday: Out. It was a gorgeous night and we needed tacos and margaritas, so tacos and margaritas were had.

Friday: Sausage and White Bean Soup. I think if you used fresh spinach this would be very good. I had some shredded up frozen spinach and it sort of disintegrated into the soup at the last stage. I still brought it to our friends' house and they said it was good, but I felt betrayed by the greenness of it and ate a brat and half a cheeseburger for dinner instead.

Also on Friday the kids helped me make two desserts for Easter weekend. I've secretly taste tested them both and they are DELICIOUS.

Lemon Bars. The little bakery in Kingwood that sold ones my parents loved is still closed from Harvey and the floods, so I thought I'd bring them some from my own kitchen. These are super lemony and while not as good as they bakery, my little sliver I cut out from the side to taste was very very good.

Oreo Truffles. I usually think of these as a December holiday treat, but why not Easter too? Mostly I just wanted something chocolate-y and didn't want to bake a cake while also attempting lemon bars. The kids loved being decorators and who doesn't love oreos?

I hope you all have a lovely holiday weekend!

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