Saturday, January 23, 2021

Victories, Big and Small

I realized after posting that I forgot my favorite picture from the snow last week. Maggie the intrepid snow dog caught a snowflake on her tongue and it was perfect.
She also realized her paws were getting wet and she maybe did not like the snow and went back inside. And so for the last week of chilly rainy yucky weather, she has looked at me like this in the foyer every time I've tried to take her outside for a potty break. I usually end up carrying her.
Mostly she spends her time in the girls' old Pottery Barn Kids chairs. We do love hand-me-downs.
We've had some exciting news this week, so let's round up the family members.
First, Moose and Maggie.
Every morning for several hours, Moose hunts squirrels from behind this window in our bedroom, and every morning, Maggie comes to join him. I’m certain Maggie has no idea why they’re sitting in front of the glass, nor has she ever noticed a squirrel, but she understands this vigil is expected as part of Moose’s pack and she’s here for him 100%.
All the rain has made Maggie a bit rambuctious and she's been playing with and chasing Moose SO MUCH and then suddenly she will just freeze and deflate and switch to charging mode. It cracks me up and seems to really confuse Moose, who will bat at her face for a bit before giving up until the charge is complete.
In human news, James went a new lifetime best time in his 100 breaststroke earlier this year (and then dropped his time a little more after that) and his times were certified as U.S. Masters National Records!
He is the fastest (and 2nd fastest!) 35-39 year old man in the 100 breaststroke ever in the US (and the 50 breast, based on his split halfway through) and you guys, how lucky am I to have locked this guy down when he was 19?
Hotter (and faster!) every year I swear.

I, on the other hand, dropped teaching at TCU this semester because work was making it stressful and impossible and took a break teaching barre on the weekends to recharge and spend time with the kids because work has been so busy that my 60 minute barre break on Sunday was now more draining than fun, so I went like 5 weeks doing absolutely no workouts at all until I had enough of feeling slovenly and terrible and downloaded the Down Dog, Barre Dog, and HIIT Dog apps and I love them.

Particularly HIIT dog- so cutomstizable, great exercises, great music, and only $15/year to use all three.

I've worked out every work day for the last two weeks and if you could see what my call schedule has been like you'd see the committment combined with miracle dust that has required.

I wake up at 6:45 and put on leggings and a sports bra before I can think about it, throw a fluffy pullover on top to check in on James and the kids getting ready for school. I do the girls' hair while they pause their breakfasts and then hug them goodbye, kick the pets out of my room, and close the door. I log in to my work computer by 7 to check email and see if I missed anything that needs a response before I begin, then I roll out my yoga mat under the skylights and do 35-40 mins of HIIT followed by 15-20 mins of barre or yoga, depending on when my first call starts. Maybe I shower, maybe I don't (video calls don't care #WFHLife), and since I'm already logged in I can work out until the exact minute of my dial-in. This plan doesn't require me to get up earlier than I normally do and makes feel like I've done something on even my busiest days.

It's always annoying when I make excuses not to exercise for weeks and then when I finally do I'm like, dammit that does feel great, now I have to keep doing this, but it does.

Also, it's Day 93 and that feels fucking great too.

Also great- I got a new tinted moisturizer that gives me the littlest bit of coverage for video calls, but doesn't make me feel like I've got full makeup on for yet another day that I won't leave the house. The combo makes me feel really good and required me to finally learn how to use a beauty blender, and you guys, those makeup articles from like 12 years ago are right, the sponge is really the way to go.
Next up is Landon! After much stress and waffling, he decided to try out for the 7th grade basketball team and it was SO nerve-wracking to watch him put himself out there, risk failure in an activity that is defintely not his strongest, and know that no matter how blase he tried to sound, he was super nervous because he thought he maybe had a shot and making the team mattered to him an awful lot. (Then he banged his head playing in the front yard the night before and spent the morning before Day 1 tryouts icing his head with frozen mixed vegetables and eating bagels.) Watching your fledgling attempt to jump out of the nest in a new way is such a brutiful part of parenting.
And after two days of try-outs, he found out he made it! We are SO PROUD of him- for trying, for making it, for having this experience that scared him. And I'm just thankful he can having something a little normal for this second year of middle school. The players and coaches wear masks the whole time and games will be live-streamed without spectators and we can't wait to sit at home and watch. He got to pick dessert for the night and went with cookie cake and ice cream. Always a winning combination.
Claire doesn't have any big news, but I do have this story that is one of those regular, every day kind of laughter-filled interactions I always wish I could rush to the computer to try to capture because it's the every day that I will miss so much when they're grown.
[Open Scene] Kitchen, 7:25 a.m. Wednesday morning. The girls are eating breakfast at the table, James is standing in the kitchen with one arm around me and the other holding his pre-workout banana. I'm wondering whether I have time to brew a cup of tea before running the girls to school and Landon is packing his lunch so it'll be ready when he gets back from swim practice. When I'm in charge of the mornings, which is only once a week when James does a morning practice with Landon, I like to turn on music, so Warrior by Avril Lavigne is playing on the ceiling speakers. My anti-pop music husband is shaking his head.

James: Claire can't handle that playing in the morning.

Me: What?! We love music! It's motivating!

James, looks meaningfully in Claire's direction.

Claire, singing passionately into the tiny multivitamin I reminded her to eat 4 minutes ago.

Me: You might have a point.

Cora, cracking up into her milk.

Landon, deadpans while walking by to get his shoes: Way to get after it Claire.

Cora, laughs harder. Can't swallow.

Claire, emerges from her solo back to the reality of the kitchen table: Why am I holding my vitamin?

Cora, gives up. Spits out the milk back into the cup.

[End scene]

They crack me up.
Cora has begun communicating subtle messags to use through her school work. This is one example of 100, all with the same theme.
We've been playing card games every night after dinner, which we all love and which encourages a lot more evening bonding in that time we have together before bed.
And that's about it for the last week or so. Some high highlights and everything else much the same. One other new highlight for me is starting out every morning, post-workout and pre-first-call with a cup of this amazing tea in my new favorite mug. I think I finally understand how coffee drinkers feel about their first cup because this tea is all I can think about for the last 15 minutes of my workout. A Christmas present from James turned pricey daily habit for me, I only treat myself to one bag a day, but it is SO strong and robust and amazing that it makes my whole morning brighter. I'm currently enjoying a box of the English Breakfast, but when it runs out I'm doing the Black Currant next. They come to about $1/day, so it's not Starbucks level bad (#RIPChaiLattes on the drive in the work), but really does feel like a treat each a.m.
And now ending as always on food:

Sat: Creamy Spinach Artichoke Chicken with Pasta, serving over whole wheat penne.
Sat: BBQ Salmon with Mango Salsa, served with black beans over brown rice
Mon: Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie, using Costco's mashed potatoes and an extra bag of mixed frozen vegetables
Tues: Beef Tacos, Mexican Rice, Refried Black Beans, Toppings
Wed: Leftover Spaghetti, frozen from the week before, side salad
Thurs: Creamy Chicken Enchilada Chili, corn chips, toppings
Fri: Homemade Pizza, possibly last week's Stromboli


  1. Congratulations on all of the achievements. I’d love to hear how the Creamy Spinach Artichoke Chicken comes out. It looks delicious.

    Changing up your exercise sounds like a good idea.

  2. Congratulations! What an athletic bunch you are :)

  3. I love your mug! Where did you get it? Congrats on all the family news!

    1. Thanks! And it was a $3.00 clearance purchase at TJ Maxx two weeks ago. I adore it 💗.

  4. Hi! I’m a full time working attorney mom too (2 and 6 year olds) and just wanted to say I am in awe of you! The fact that you fit in exercise and meal plan (and actually make the meals) ....where do you find the energy?! :) You are an inspiration!

  5. SO PROUD of your dedicated morning workout routine. I speak from personal experience (and pride!) that fitting in a robust workout while already having "started" the workday is one of the biggest WFH perks. :)


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  7. Congratulations to your entire family on their fun accomplishments! My son is a 9th grader, playing basketball for his school and club team in Dallas. The players are not required to wear masks while playing, but he has been playing school and club ball since July and we have not had any serious Covid-related scares. It's surprising because basketball is such a contact sport, but for mental health reasons we are letting him play. The team even recently played in a game on a Friday night (all players were symptom free), a player fell sick and tested positive on Saturday, all the boys quarantined for 10 days, and no other members of the team tested positive. I hope that Landon has a positive experience playing this year!

  8. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother- she sounds like an amazing woman. Congrats to all on their achievements!

  9. Amazing news about James and your fitness journeys! Also congrats on freedom from alcohol for awhile. Have continued to use some of your recipes from weekly food updates - thank you for posting. <3

  10. If you're getting more into teas and want a fun treat, I really enjoy my sipsby box! You fill out a tea profile and each month, they send you a box with 4 new teas to try! It's $15/mo but I really look forward to trying the new teas for my afternoon teas. - Another BigLaw Mom