Monday, March 22, 2021

Food and Football and Other Updates

We're settled back in at home in Fort Worth, returning to work (at home) and school and swim lessons (also still at home), and the snowy mountains seem very far away.
Which is too bad because I really feel like I have all my very best minimal effort hair days there. My skin may hate the dry Colorado air (though I'm absolutely loving this serum to layer on top of my CE Ferulic and this Laneige moisturizer at night, and feel like my skin was pretty happy on this trip), but my normally half-curly unruly hair LOVES it.
Speaking of love, we picked up Maggie on Friday morning from Doggie Camp where she had a fabulous time, but had to spend her first 28 hours at home recharging in her crate. She snored loudly, skipped dinner, could not be roused to go outside before bed, and finally blinked her eyes open mid-morning on Saturday and decided to rejoin the family.
We missed her!
Moose was EXTREMELY cuddly and also highly annoyed when we returned home- scampering away when we walked towards him and then jumping on our laps to nuzzle our faces anytime we sat down. After two days of constant cuddles he's now returned to his usual schedule of supervising the house from a near distance and sleeping by Landon's feet at night.
On the human side, James went another best time in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke before we left, breaking the US Master's National Records in both events, and generally surpassing all expectations for a 39-year-old swimmer with 3 kids and 2 companies and not a lot of free time. He wrote an article about his training that you can read on Swim Swam!
Landon, after much doubt and back and forth, decided to try out for 7th grade football, so now we're all learning the rules of this sport I somehow grew up in Texas without learning a thing about.
As research-focused as his mother when approaching anything new, Landon watched a bunch of YouTube videos over the weekend and James stayed up with him the night before try-outs began watching an old Super Bowl game to teach him the positions and basic rules.
And despite some extreme nerves and discomfort in a sport he's never tried, he did great and came home each night of try-outs bursting with football news, rules, and terminology.
We have purchased cleats, a mouthguard, knee pads, gloves, and a football girdle- something I did not know was a thing and which provided some interesting Amazon results before I searched for it properly. My algorithm is so confused. He's a 2nd string running back (yes? this is a thing? I still have some studying to do myself) and his first game is Tuesday night.
Claire was named Wrangler of the Month at school and she was very excited. My parents treated her to Crumbl cookies to celebrate and she got to pick one of her very own that she didn't even have to share.
Claire continues to love long family car rides, the 3 Pitch Perfect movies, and playing all the music always.
Cora continues to read, color, build legos, ride her bike and scooter and roller blades, and generally do everything the big kids do but louder.
She loves to draw and hand drew this Mona Lisa picture after watching a video about Leonardo DaVinci.
While in Colorado Cora spent a lot of time looking out my parents' binoculars they keep hanging by their patio windows. One afternoon, after she'd been gazing for a long time, she pulled the binoculars down in a huff and hotly declared, I have not even seen one SINGLE moose!, and marched back downstairs.
Luckily we found her one at the playground.

And I am back in my corner in the bedroom, working away. James finished painting our walls teal and I love them. I added new curtains and the whole space makes me as happy as an office in my bedroom could possibly make me. I do love our new windows that can open (last year's big home improvement update) and these can slide from the top down or bottom up and I love all the fresh air coming from the top half while I work in my usual uniform of Vuori joggers, fuzzy socks, and comfortable but camera-acceptable top (and hair that isn't nearly as happy in Texas as it is in Colorado).
I do hope to one day return to the office; my brain does better when I can separate work from home (and when I LEAVE THE HOUSE), but I've made it a year and only had to double my Prozac to mostly remain myself to those who matter the most to me.

And finally, food:

Fri: Feel Good Fall Salad, with added grilled chicken and apple.
Sat: Surprise Night Out! We rediscovered a gift card to a local Mexican restaurant and decided a beautiful day full of chores and closet cleaning deserved a night out on a patio with queso.
Sun: Garlic Herb Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs, salad. A family favorite!
Mon: Summer Chipotle Chicken Cobb Salad (note: I use the cilantro dressing from TJ's because it's close enough to the recipe and way easier)
Tues: Grandma Jo's Navy Bean Soup (recipe below), bread.
Wed: Ground beef tacos, mexican rice, refried black beans, toppings.
Thurs: Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs with Pineapple, frozen steamed brown rice, broccoli.
Fri: Homemade Pizza, whatever veggies or fruits are left in the fridge on the side.
Sat: Cheeseburger Sliders, oven fries, raw veg or fruit.
Sun: Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, naan.
Mon: Oven Jambalaya, sauted green beans, cheddar biscuits.
Tues: Tamales (from frozen), Mexican rice, refried black beans, toppings.
Wed: Chicken Meatballs with Peppers and Orzo (using leftover from the double batch I made on Sunday), side salad.
Thurs: Frozen Panko Crusted Cod (from Costco), parmesan orzo, frozen mixed vegetables.
Fri: Houston for Easter, so whatever delicious thing Gigi serves.

Grandma Jo's Navy Bean Soup
Bag dry navy beans
6 cups chicken stock
1 onion, chopped
2-4 celery stalks, chopped
2-4 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Bouquet Garni
1 small can evaporated milk
1-2 smoked turkey drumsticks

1. Soak beans using overnight or quick soak method.
2. Drain water. Place beans in crock pot or dutch oven.
3. Add all remaining ingredients except evaporated milk.
4. Simmer 3+ hours.
5. About an hour before serving: (a) remove turkey drumsticks, strip meat and return to pot; (b) add evaporated milk to pot.


  1. Those photos next to your WFH desk! All the heart eyes... and against that teal wall. So pretty! So fun to keep updated on your family. (Also, what on earth with James just shattering the records and L being such a brave new-sport champ! Huge congrats!)

    1. Misha! How are you?! I also love my teal wall and those are watercolor versions of favorite vacation pictures (with spray painted frames) and they make me so happy each time I look at them. Hope you and yours are wel!

  2. I’d love to try your Orzo soup sometime. Mama potluck?

    1. Yes!! You know I'm always up for a Mamas event- the cheaper and easier the better. Maybe in your backyard annex? (And it's SUCH a good soup; tempermental, but delicious).

  3. What an artist you have, and of course all 3 so amazing in their way. Huge introvert but feeling the exact same (well prob not as intense) re WFH, will be trying to go in twice a week once fully vaccinated- no one is making me (and I’m an obliger) except mental health and boundaries and also, despite many new and carefully placed mirrors, not quite as much natural light. And the large monitor makes such a difference (perhaps mine even larger). In February before Covid I splurged on a 24” for home, LOL! Upgraded quickly to the much larger one that my firm was providing to associates pre-Covid (who knew) and then moved to room with door, needed dropped keyboard, all the things, all worth it to make WFH as bearable as possible. I used to do it frequently but ALWAYS only when the kids were at school- ha ha.... we will make it!

    1. Yes the large monitor is KEY and it will be nice to have such a good setup on my old Friday WFH days!

  4. I made those cheeseburger sliders earlier this month! They were really tasty, but I'd recommend halving the amount of ketchup and mustard mixed into the ground beef. As written, it was A LOT of sauce! Otherwise, they were delicious and will be in our regular rotation.

    I served them with these fries, which were insanely easy and addictive. Like, Five Guys good!

    1. Thank you!! I will definitely take your notes into account on Saturday and I'm very excited about the french fries!

  5. All the things! <3 I'm in awe of your family's athleticism and boundless energy (2-legged and 4-legged family members). I agree Colorado is great for hair and not for skin. And heads up once airline travel is less daunting, I may be crashing (ahem, joining) a Mamas event. I'll bring dessert.