Friday, October 25, 2019

What happened to my wanderlust?

Hey there! Today is the day we close on our new house! It will be a hectic morning as we have Paul's teacher conferences at 8, the walk through at the new house at 9, and the closing at 10. Luckily everything is fairly close together! I'm looking forward to Paul's conference as it will be nice to have a longer conversation with his teachers about how his transition to the toddler room has gone. He seems really happy in his new room but I'll be curious to hear what his teachers say about the adjustment/how he's doing overall.

But today I'm sharing a reflection that was prompted by a lunch date this past week. Earlier this week, I had lunch with two former co-workers from a previous job. It was so fun to catch up with them. We got on the topic of travel as one of them (a recent empty nester!) is going to Spain in January so I was sharing insights from my Spain trip in 2016 (which feels like a lifetime ago!). The other co-worker told us about a high school friend of hers who is a "social media influencer" which basically means she earns a living by promoting brands on instagram/twitter, etc. This friend had planned to move around the world with her husband/children every 3 years. She started in Costa Rica and then moved to Spain but they are so happy there that they plan to stay there until their youngest daughter graduates from high school. My friend had gone to Mexico with this influencer last winter and the friend's entire trip was comped by the resort since she would be promoting the resort on social media.

My former co-worker said - "can you imagine that lifestyle and being able to travel for free?"

You know what I said? I said: "Honestly, that sounds awful!"

Who am I and what happened to my wanderlust? I used to plan my next trip before I was finished with the trip I was on. I took so many flights/year between work and personal travel that I always made at least silver status with Delta. This year, I've taken 2 flights total and only expect to take 2 more next week. And I'm not exactly looking forward to the flights I'll be taking next week for an off-site meeting as they will take me away from Paul and Phil.

I love looking at pictures of others trips on Instagram. In the past I probably felt a bit of envy or jealousy when I saw the awesome trips others were taking. Now when I see pictures, I think - that's really cool/beautiful, but I have no desire to be there right now.

I'm new to this whole mom thing so maybe I'll rediscover my wanderlust when Paul is older and an easier traveler. I know not all moms feel this way as I know plenty of moms who have traveled after having kids - both with and without their kids. I just have zero desire for that right now. And that's ok - just as it's ok to still have wanderlust as a mom! I tell myself that I lived the heck out of the years before I had Paul - I took lots of trips both domestically and internationally. That was a travel-heavy season of life, and this season is light on the travel. We take about 1 plane trip/year with Paul and so far both trips have been/will be to Florida where we won't do much sight seeing and will instead soak up the sun and surf during our bitterly cold winter. Life is just so different than it was several years ago!

I guess all this is to say that you never know how your life and your desires will change, and what will prompt that change. My wanderlust might come back when we are in a different season of life. But for now, I'm happy to live vicariously through others experiences and to ooh and ahh over their photos from the comfort of my couch! But you told the Lisa from 5 years ago that travel would be so, well, unappealing to her, I think she would have been really surprised!

Have you ever experienced a huge shift in your mindset about something like travel? 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Checking In

After dropping our bad news bomb last week, I thought I'd check in. Overall, we are doing ok. Turns out buying a house and preparing to sell a house is a really good distraction. My physical recovery has not been bad at all. The emotional recovery will take time. We're giving ourselves grace during this time and I'm allowing myself to feel all the feeling. We've been so surrounded by love. Our table has several flower arrangements and we've received lots of cards, emails, and text messages. We are so lucky to have such supportive and caring family and friends.

On Saturday we went out to Grandma Joan's for the afternoon. We brought Oscar out to stay with her until after the move. She's stayed out there plenty of times before but this will be her longest stay as she'll be there for about a month. She cried a lot while Phil mowed/collected leaves outside. :( I hope she adjusts quickly. Grandma Joan adores Oscar so I know she's in good hands and will get sooooo many treats! She won't let Joan touch her (really, only Phil can touch her - she will initiate contact with me by jumping into my lap but doesn't really let me touch her otherwise!) but she gets lots of play time with Joan and more human company than she gets at home since Joan is home all day. Oscar isn't a fan of being alone so I know she'll enjoy her time out there.

Paul spent some time in grandma's lap looking at books...

Joan pulled out Phil's matchbox cars and Paul had fun lining them up. This little boy loves anything with wheels!

On Sunday, we woke up to a beautiful fall day - finally! Saturday was nice, too, but Sunday was just absolutely perfect. We had a slow morning indoors with lots of book reading.

Then we headed outdoors to get some pictures of Paul for our Christmas card. Here are a few out-takes. He was a very, very good sport and we got a really great picture for our card!

We continued on our walk and then Phil encouraged me to take a picture with Paul. I have tons of pictures of Paul but very few WITH Paul. I need to be better about taking photos together. I almost didn't take a picture with him as I wasn't wearing make-up and was wearing super casual clothes. But I sure am glad we took this picture as it turned out perfectly! I'm so thankful for this little boy - he's been the best source of light and love while we are grieving.

In the afternoon, we headed out for a Halloween event with my mom's group. I had to wake Paul up from his nap. He had napped for 2 hours and 20 minutes which is a super long nap but I think he was still tired as he was a very quiet, serious duck!

It was fun to see Paul's little buddies. 6 of the 8 moms/toddlers in our group were able to come to the event. We got the toddlers to all sit on a bench - getting them to smile just wasn't possible but you take what you get when it comes to toddlers.

All in all, it was a good weekend. We close on our new house this Friday, list ours on November 7th, and will move on November 22nd so I think the coming month is going to be quite the whirlwind. I'm grateful for the distraction and excitement that our big move is providing.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

A Week of Loss

I debated whether to write anything about the week we've had, but ultimately decided that it wasn't something I could pretend didn't happen or gloss over. I believe in vulnerability and sharing our real life in all its sorrow and joy, so here goes.

We had found out we were pregnant in mid-September - on Friday the 13th of all days. That following Monday, the house we are buying came on the market. In the span of 4 days we had found out we were expecting and found a house. It felt like everything was falling perfectly into place.

I've been feeling pretty awful for the last several weeks. Some days I slept for 11-12 hours total between night time sleep and naps. On the weekends, I napped when Paul napped and would still go to bed between 8-9pm. Phil was totally carrying the load around here - especially with the list of things our realtor wanted to do before listing our house. I was nauseated and so many foods turned me off (coffee, bananas, yogurt, anything sweet - so many things). I had no energy to do much outside of working and caring for Paul.

Our ultrasound was this past Monday. Phil and I went into the ultrasound room with such hubris. Phil had the front desk person and ultrasound tech cracking up with his dry wit. I was feeling awful and statistically, bad pregnancy symptoms are a really good sign for pregnancy so we had no reason to expect anything but good news. The ultrasound tech started the ultrasound and we said "oh phew, there is only one baby" as I had wondered if my intense nausea/exhaustion meant we were having twins. There was a long pause and the tech said she was just pausing on the baby to try to find the heartbeat but it was quickly apparent that there wasn't a heartbeat. I was 8 weeks 4 days on Monday and the baby measured 8 weeks so the miscarriage had recently happened and my body hadn't caught on yet. I don't know that I've ever experience such a 180 of emotions. We went from laughing/joking/feeling excited to Phil grabbing my hand and putting his head down next to me.

Phil and I are both extremely logical people so when the nurse practitioner and ultrasound tech assured us that the loss was not in our control and was most likely due to a chromosomal issue that wasn't compatible with life, we accepted that. I don't blame myself, although I do wonder if my age is a factor as the older you are, the greater your risk of miscarriage. But we can't control the fact that we are trying to grow a family in our late 30s and there are plenty of women who have had healthy pregnancies in their late 30s and early 40s. Wwe are trying to trust that it will all work out for us.

I had a D and C on Tuesday morning. My OB was able to do the procedure which was comforting as she has been through so much with us and is such a kind, caring physician. They will do genetic testing on the baby to see if there is a reason for the miscarriage. I think having that info will be helpful for Phil and I as we process this loss and move forward.

I share all of this because I will probably be quiet in the weeks to come. I only knew about our tiny, growing baby for about a month but the love for an unborn baby is so instant - at least for us. It's crazy how fast something tiny turns your life upside down - so much of my day to day life from September 13 to October 15 was impacted by the life growing inside of me. I'd already started to envision our life as a family of 4 next summer as the baby would have been born in mid-May.

As we've shared this news with family and friends, so many couples have told us about their own pregnancy losses and shared in our sorrow. We know we are not in the minority to be experiencing this loss. Time will heal this wound but this is something I'll always carry with me.

Paul is definitely such a huge blessing during this time of sadness. I have given him so many hugs and kisses and have said I love you with more fervor than I ever have before. My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced a loss like this without a beautiful child at home to hug. His light, love and laughter has eased our sadness.

And our dear kitty has stayed close by my side and has been very generous with her snuggles.

I know Phil and I are very lucky to have been able to conceive this child. It was harder this time around than with Paul but we know we are lucky to be able to conceive without medical intervention. This loss is real and sad but I'm trying to hold onto hope for a future that includes another baby.

Monday, October 14, 2019

A Cold Fall Weekend

We've been totally cheated out of fall here in Minnesota. I typically love fall as I love the changing colors but this year we have not gotten a beautiful fall. It's rainy, windy, and/or cold - often all 3. Bleh. Cold weather bothered me pre-Paul but now that I have a child I REALLY hate cold weather because being cooped up inside with a toddler is not very fun!

It could have been worse, of course. North Dakota and some parts of western Minnesota got snow on Friday/Saturday! This is what we woke up to on Saturday morning, but luckily it melted right away since our ground is still fairly warm.

We had a quiet start to the day - lots of reading time and play time plus a little FaceTime with my parents.

Then I took Paul to his haircut at a Kid's Hair place. He immediately started to cry when he got in the chair but the tears subsided fairly quickly. He did a fairly good job sitting still - the container of trucks helped plus I showed him videos of him on my phone. Videos of himself are definitely his favorite form of entertainment!

It's hard to get a good picture of a toddler who is always in motion, but his hair looked much better afterwards. He had a Larry David look going on with lots of longish hair in the back before the haircut.

When we got home, we had lunch and then Paul went down for a nap. After his nap, I got him bundled up and we walked to the library which is just over 2 blocks away. It's kind of a lot of work to get him into a fleece snow suit for the walk but it was so windy and cold, I wanted to make sure he stayed warm.

He played at the library for about an hour. Even though he LOVES books, he had no interest in reading any! Instead he wanted to play with the toy dinosaurs.

That night for dinner, I made Chicken and Dumplings in the Instant Pot. We needed a warm, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal. Next time we make this we'll double everything except the dumplings and chicken - we wanted more of the carrot/pea/soup mixture.

Paul would only eat the dumplings, go figure. At least he ate something! He just does not seem to like meat - except meatballs.

Sunday was more of the same. It wasn't raining/snowing but it was still kind of cold and I just wasn't feeling a walk. Phil ended up going out to his mom's for part of the day to do some yard work for her, so I was on my own. So we read a lot of books and played with his puzzles, blocks and other toys. I feel like Paul is kind of bored with some of his toys so it might be time to pack some away. I figure I can bring them out again and they'll seem like new toys to him. I'm guessing he'll get some new toys for Christmas, too, which is just around the corner!

Playing with his favorite toy - his soft Melissa and Doug cars

We had stuffed peppers from Costco for dinner and Paul had meatballs and a torn up corn tortilla.

It looks like the weather is going to warm up a bit this week. I just really need some warmer, milder, sunny weather! Winters are so long and brutal here so I just need a bit more warm weather before that crud sets in!

Has it been a nice fall where you live? 

Friday, October 11, 2019


Burr. It was 37F when I walked out the door this morning and the high is only 41. *whimpers* I am so not cut out for the weather in this state! But it could be worse - we could be getting snow like those in Canada and some states west of us. Here's a TGIF recap of my week!

The book I'm reading is The Library Book by Susan Orleans. It's about the Los Angeles Library fire of 1986. Arson was suspected but they never figured out for certain who did it. Besides talking about the fire, Orleans talks about how libraries and the services they provide have changed over the years. It's an interesting book but not something I'd recommend broadly unless you are a library fanatic like I am! ;) 

The high of my week was a productive and relaxing day off on Tuesday! I took the day off as I had a mid-day haircut. Paul still went to daycare so I had the day to myself. When I planned this day off I thought it would be all about relaxing, but given our upcoming move, I needed to get some things done. I went through a bunch of things in our bedroom and Paul's bedroom, listed some items on Facebook, dropped off 3 bags of books/DVDs at Half Priced Books, packed up some non-essential stuff in the kitchen, like most of our serving platters, and put some old lawn chairs on the curb with a free sign - they were gone in a couple of hours! I went out lunch on my own after my haircut, though, so between that and the haircut, I got a little bit of pampering/relaxing in. I also ended up taking a nap in the afternoon which felt luxurious! It was really, really nice to go through things without keeping an eye on Paul!

The low of my week was feeling a bit under the weather. I had to miss out on a couple of afternoon walks as I was not feeling well - hopefully I'm not catching a bug from the toddler. 

A recipe I made was 3-bean Turkey Chili in the instant pot. We seem to eat this about every other week these days. It's a super simply recipes that doesn't require much prep work besides chopping an onion. It yields quite a few servings - probably 6-8+.

The best money spent was on our plane tickets to Florida for our February trip which cost us a grand total of... $23! Phil and I were both able to use airline miles so we just had to pay the taxes on the tickets. Paul will be just shy of 2 so won't need his own seat. We saved ourselves a good $900-1,000 dollars by being able to use miles. I barely have any miles left now, though, and won't be wracking them up anytime soon since I don't travel for work much anymore. But that's ok. We bought 3 of the 4 tickets for our Florida trip this past April with miles, too, so we've saved a lot of money in the last year on airfare.

My plans this weekend include very little once again! Paul doesn't have swimming lessons again as the pool is still closed for a thorough cleaning. So I made an appointment for his first professional haircut on Saturday morning. We tried cutting it ourselves in the summer and it was really, really hard and looked pretty bad, honestly. Trying to cut the hair of a wiggly toddler is tough. I'm taking him to a kids hair place so I am sure they have it down to a science. Hopefully he handles it well. As you can tell from the photos below from crazy hair day at school, he actually has quite a bit of hair - especially in the back! I just want the back trimmed, especially around his ears. He still doesn't have much hair up top/in the front. Other than Paul's haircut, I'm sure we'll continue with 'operation purge'. We are trying really hard to get rid of as much stuff as possible before the move. Phil will go out to his mom's on Sunday to help with a couple of things and he might bring Paul with him so I can do a bit more packing.

How was your week? Is it cold where you live? 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

19 in 2019 Update

And just like that, it's the final quarter of the year! I'm a little sad that 2019 is coming to an end so soon as it has been a great year, but at the same time, I'm anxious for it to be late November so we can move and get settled in our new house! Here's how I'm doing on my 19 in 2019 list. There are 2 items on the list that I'm unlikely to accomplish, but that's ok. I'll consider crossing 16-17 of these items off a success!

Family Fun:
Go on a date with Phil once a quarter
Murray's Steak house on 3/30/19
* 2nd anniversary date at Acqua on 5/25/19
* In the 3rd quarter we went kayaking at the lake while my mom watched Paul. I usually think of a date as eating out but doing something outdoors together counts, too, I guess!

- Go on a family outing to a state park
* I don't know if this is going to happen. Buying/selling a house is making it hard to fit much fun into our fall weekends... 

- Hike Inspiration Peak
* If the weather cooperates, I'd like to do this in November when we head up to the lake while our house goes on the market. It's not really peak time to do the hike but I'm sure we'd still enjoy it.

Take swimming lessons with Paul
* We took lessons March-June and I'm planning to enroll us in the fall session. I'm so glad we did this as he seems to love the water!

- Take Paul to Wild Rumpus (amazing local kids' bookstore)
* We did this in August when I had family in town and we've been back 2 other times!

Host a puzzle party
I hosted a birthday puzzle party in February! Puzzles are the perfect winter activity!

Try a new restaurant once a quarter
I went to BLVD with college friends in January.
Acqua was a new-to-us restaurant that we went to for our anniversary date.
* I went to Hai Hai with college friends earlier this month. It was fun to check out a new place but I much prefer the owner's other restaurant, Hola Arepa.

Take Paul sledding at a park
* We went sledding several times in our neighborhood.

Personal Development:
Figure out my enneagram type
* I determined that I am a 1w2 this spring. I've enjoyed following some enneagram IG accounts to get further insight into my enneagram type!

- Train for and run a 10k
* This just isn't going to happen and I am ok with that.

Read 52 books
* I completed this goal in June, which is the earliest that I've hit my reading goal. I might end up reading 100 books this year! This goes to show that you can still find time to read after having kids!

Read all the unread books on my shelf; donate/sell any books I don't read by the end of 2019
I read Just Mercy (excellent) and Rabbit Cake (too quirky for me) during the first quarter.
I read The Present over Perfect (thought-provoking) and The Principles of Uncertainty (took less than 30 minutes to read this quirky book that kind of left me scratching my head).
* I'm going to sell/donate the rest of my unread books before we move. If I haven't wanted to read them over the last 9 months, I'm never going to feel like reading them!

Try a new recipe every month
* In January I made Mini Philly Cheesesteak Meatloaves
* In February I made Sheet Pan Garlic Ginger Chicken and Broccoli
* In March I made Gluten Free Party Potatoes Deluxe
* In April I made Turkey Meatloaf. We loved this and I've made it several times since.
* In May I made Chicken Tortilla Skillet. We felt meh about this recipe.
* I did not make any new recipes in June! Oops!
* In July I made Black Bean Burgers. They were really good and I will definitely make them again!
* Since I didn't make a new recipe in June, I made up for that by making an extra recipe in July - Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Taco. We didn't like this recipe as much as the other one I use but it was fun to try something new.
* In August I made Lighter Eggplant Parmesan. It didn't 'set up' well so was on the runny side. It tasted good but isn't a recipe I'll make again.
* In September I made sausage and tomato risotto. This was a little putzy as you have to gradually add liquid when making the risotto but it still came together pretty quickly. We'll be adding this to our dinner rotation as it was really yummy!

Pesky tasks:
Get a will
* This was done in March! Woot woot.

Establish an organizational system for clothes Paul has outgrown
* I bought plastic storage bins and have been organizing Paul's clothes are he grows out of each size. I've been good about moving things into the storage bins when he outgrows them!

Stay up-to-date with Paul's baby book
* I've been keeping up with adding notable things from his development so far. It's a lot less work to keep up now that he's 1. There were monthly pages for the first 12 months but going forward there are 3-4 pages for each year from age 1-5.

Make a 2018 photo book
* I did this early in the first quarter when Shutterfly had a 40% off sale.

Start/maintain a 2019 photo book
* The pages for January-June are done. I'm hoping to finish the July and August ones soon (I work on 2 months at a time).

Lofty goal:
- Buy our forever home
* I did not think this was ever going to happen, but we will close on it later this month! I think we'll be here for the long haul because moving with a child is way more work than moving without one so I think we'll make this a long long long-term home!

How are you doing on your 2019 goals? Is there anything you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year?

Friday, October 4, 2019


Oh, Friday. I'm so happy to see you. I'm so ready for the weekend and am *hoping* Paul sleeps past 6 for us so we can 'sleep in' a bit. 6:45 feels like sleeping in when you are a toddler parent so hopefully he delivers on that one day this weekend! Here's what's happening in my world!

The book I'm reading is Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald. It's another book from Modern Mrs. Darcy's summer reading guide. It's kind of a magical realism type of book as it's about a woman that dies in Grand Central Station during a train crash in 1925, but she comes to Grand Central on the anniversary of her death, but only some years. She meets a man who works at Grand Central so there is a love story component. It's taking me awhile to get through this book, though, as I have so much on my mind with the move, etc. I think October is going to be my slowest reading month of the year, which I'm ok with as I've already read 81 books this year!

The high of my week was finding out our  house appraised pretty significantly ($30k+) over what we are paying for it! I used to work as an underwriter for a mortgage company so I know that it's fairly rare for an appraisal to come in high, especially significantly higher. Phil's been nervous about this purchase so the high appraisal definitely helped. The sellers were very motivated to sell it fast as they have 2 very young kids. So we got very lucky that they priced it on the lower end and accepted our offer the day it went on the market!

The low of my week was dealing with some bureaucracy at work. I've pretty much only worked for large corporations. For the most part I like it but there are times when it makes me want to pound my head into a wall... this was one of those weeks!

A recipe I made was Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup. This is one of our favorite soup recipes! We skip the mushrooms (sob!) since Phil doesn't like them, add 2 chicken breasts and double the chicken broth (you need to if you add chicken breasts). The chicken breasts fall apart so are super easy to shred. This isn't a "light" recipe as the roux you make to thicken the soup calls for 6 T of butter. But hey, some meals needs to be a little more indulgent! This yields a ton - probably a solid 6+ generous servings. It's even better the next day. I'm hosting my family on the Friday after Thanksgiving and will serve a selection of soups. This is 1of the 3 I'll be making!

The best money spent was on tickets to a Halloween Trolley + book event for Paul and me. Some of the moms in my mom's group are coming with their kiddos, too. It should be a fun event. You take a short trolley ride (which I think Paul will love), wear costumes (um, Paul only - I'm so not a Halloween person so won't be donning a costume), an author reads a kids book, and you get some treats. 

My plans this weekend include nothing besides playing cards with another couple on Saturday night. We don't even have our usual swimming lessons as the pool where we take lessons is closed for 2 weeks as a precaution since one of the teachers had a stomach bug that can be very contagious, especially considering the water is warmed to 91F! Having no plans is fine because we have a lot to do around the house. I'm starting to box up some non-essentials and Phil is working on sealing/painting our basement walls with the help of his cousin. Hopefully the weather will cooperate so we can go for some walks and go to the park. Paul is super into slides these days so he really loves going to the park. 

Bonus Paul Pic:

I only took one picture this week. Whoops! Too busy to think about pulling out my phone!

He's saying "cheese" in this photo! 
Phil snapped this photo on their walk last night. I opted to stay in because I was so cold (it's in the 40-50s here now). Yes, I am a wimp when it comes to weather.

What recipe did you make this week? Do you have any plans for the weekend?