Friday, July 23, 2021


Happy Friday from the land of heat and humidity!! It's been another HOT week and I'm feeling pretty over it to be quite honest... 

So here's another TGIF post. I have ideas for posts buzzing around in my head but haven't been great about actually writing them! Hopefully someday soon. But for now, here's what is going on in our world! 

The book I'm reading is The Paper Palace but I just started it as I just finished Great Circle, which took over a week for me read. Great Circle was so long - 627 pages. I liked it but am not sure it warranted the length. I've heard great things about The Paper Palace so hopefully I enjoy it!

The high of my week was bringing lunch and cut-up watermelon to a friend who had a baby in July! Cut up fruit was one of the best things people brought us when we had Paul. Ain't nobody got time to cut up fruit when you have a newborn. ;) It was great to see her and her husband and meet their sweet daughter.

The low of my week was sleep training Will. It's just not fun to hear your baby cry, but it was necessary as he got back into waking twice a night - after sleeping through the night a couple of times last week. It actually only took one bad night with one long stretch of crying. He will wake and cry for a few minutes randomly during the night and has been waking around 5 and crying for a bit but falls back asleep. So that is a HUGE improvement. It's good timing to get him to sleep through the night as we'll be sharing a bedroom with him in August when we are at my parents' lake home.

A recipe I made was a corn soup from Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Kitchen IP cookbook. Yep, second week in a row of making something from this cookbook. It's such a great cookbook! This recipe has you cut corn off the cob and then put the cobs in while the soup cook which gives even more corn flavor to the soup. It's so not soup season, but we eat soup year round.

A show we are watching is still Last Chance U on Netflix. But we will start watching the Olympics this weekend! I'm excited even though it will be a weird environment with no fans! I just hope the athletes stay healthy so things aren't interrupted. I'm most excited for gymnastics, track and field, swimming, and diving.

For workouts I went for 2 family walks on Sunday, ran on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and did a lower body strength training workout on Tuesday. Today I will go for a walk and tomorrow I'm planning to run 5 miles with my neighbor.

The best money spent was on several things! First, my registration for the Twin Cities 10 mile race in October! I'm super pumped for this - it's my favorite race! I'm trying not to stress about race-morning logistics (oh the challenges of breastfeeding and having your kid not take a bottle from daddy). Second, the lunch I brought to my friend and her husband. Lastly, our local PBS station was canvassing our neighborhood for donations, so I signed us up for a monthly donation. When they knocked on our door, Paul ran out and said "PBS Kids!!" because he recognized the words/logo on the canvassers' buttons. How could I NOT donate when there is brand recognition by the 3 year old? He loves so many PBS shows and it's money well-spent to support that organization.

A podcast I listened to was the Mom Hour's episode about being chronically annoyed. Sometimes it's fun to hear others vent about their frustrations, plus they talked about what helps get them through those annoyances! They touched on the enneagram framework and what makes the different types angry/how they express anger. I am such a 1 and this description of an angry 1 was so spot-on for me:  "When Ones are angry they get tense, critical, grit their teeth, clench their fists and try to repress their rising feelings of fury." That is totally me when Paul is acting up... Lots of teeth clenching happening!

My plans this weekend include next to nothing again, which I am fine with! I'm running with my neighbor tomorrow morning and will take Paul to swimming lessons on Sunday morning but that is it for plans. It's going to be HOT and HUMID so we will probably take the boys to the wading pool at our local park if it's not too hot for Will. We took them after nap last Sunday and they both loved it! It took a bit for Will to adjust to the cold water, but once he adjusted, he had so much fun splashing and kicking his legs! Sunday looks like the better day so hopefully that works out. I think Phil might take Paul to his mom's after nap on Saturday as she is feeling a bit better (recovery from her back surgery has been rough). 

Bonus Paul and Will photos!

Chef Pablo! He still plays with the kitchen toys my sister got him for his birthday!

Working on sitting independently! He's doing better, but will tip over when reaching for toys. Our boys sit up late thanks to their large heads. ;) 

swimming at the wading pool! 

I love the look on his face in this photo. Such a sweet baby!

Brothers! Paul wanted to hold him, but that is tough now that Will is bigger and wigglier!

How was your week? Are you looking forward to the Olympics? What is your favorite sport to watch?

Friday, July 16, 2021


Hey hey! Happy Friday! This week felt long, probably because I was coming off 2 short-weeks from the 4th of July holiday. 5-day work weeks just seem really long sometimes! Here's what is currently going on in our world!

The book I'm reading is Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead which I'm really enjoying. It has dual plot lines - a modern day actor playing the part of a female navigator born 100 years before her. The book moves back and forth between the two women. I'm also listening to "Their Eyes Were Watching God." I typically do not listen to audiobooks, but I was stumbling over the southern dialect in this book so decided to give the audiobook a try. It's my July book club book and I am the leader. Should make for an interesting discussion! 

The high of my week was when Will slept through the nigh 2 days in a row! Uninterrupted sleep for the win!

The low of my week was when he was up twice - at 12 and 3 - and then up for the day at 6 on Wednesday night. He was also up an hour after he went to bed. It must be teething? Sleep is a driving force in "good" and "bad" days for me. I wish I was the kind of person who could survive on less sleep, but I'm also an old mom at 40. Phil and I definitely talk about how parenting is a young man's game!

A recipe I made was picadillo in the instant pot with pinto beans (made from dry beans in the instant pot earlier in the week) and white rice. I don't have a recipe link to share because this came from Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Kitchen IP cookbook. We make this about once a month. Paul used to eat it, but like a typical toddler, he now refuses. *shrugs shoulders*

A show we are watching is Last Chance U on Netflix. It's about a community college's basketball team in East Los Angeles. Kids go there to try to get into a division 1 school. It's an interesting show and makes your heart hurt for kids who are overcoming so many challenges at home and in life in general. Interestingly even though I was not into playing sports, I LOVE sports documentaries!

For workouts I went for a walk on Sunday and Wednesday, ran on Tuesday and Thursday, and did a strength training workout on Monday. I will run tomorrow. I've established a pretty good routine of running 3 days/week, doing strength training 1-2 days/week and then walking on the other days. It feels sooo good to be back to being more active! I entered the lottery for the Twin Cities 10 Mile race on marathon weekend. My neighbor and I entered together as a team so hopefully we get in! If not, we'll do a different 10 mile race this fall.

The best money spent was on a blue tooth shower speaker for listening to podcasts while showering. Is this a necessary thing to have? Probably not! But I was trying to hear a podcast on my phone while showering which was really hard so I decided it was worth it to spend $15 on a speaker. 

A podcast I listened to was the Good Inside Podcast on kid's pretend play with guns. I actually got Phil to listen to this one as Paul talked about pretend play with a gun this week. I love this podcast - the host is a child psychologist. She's so knowledgeable about things and I love her approach. This particular episode was especially helpful because the couple she spoke to have a 3yo son and a new baby. And their 3yo's mention of guns first happened at the dinner table, which is exactly when it happened for us. In fact, Paul said the same thing their son did (a comment about shooting daddy). I know Paul picked up on pretend play with guns at daycare as I have heard kids talk about shooters on the playground when I've done pick up. I'm glad we'll know how to handle it going forward. 

My plans this weekend include very little. Phil might take Paul out to his mom's one afternoon after nap. She had a diskectomy 2 weeks ago to fix a herniated disc so he'll only go out there if she is feeling up to visitors. Other than that, we have swimming lessons on Sunday morning and that's it. We decided to stick with swimming lessons as I don't think we'd get our money back at this point and we figure the exposure to other kids swimming will help in the long run? After this session is over, I'll wait another year or so to get him back into swimming lessons and will try to get to splash pads and local pools as much as we can. Hopefully we'll make some progress on comfort in the water when we are up at the lake in August, too. He loved the Edina pool when we went a couple of weeks ago (they have an amazing kids section) so I know he can have fun in the water. He just needs to get used to me not being in the water with him/trusting another adult.

Bonus Paul and Will photos!

Working on his t-ball skills. He insists on wearing a baseball hat when playing t-ball!

Tired baby Will. He has not been napping well at school for the last week or so. Maybe because he's teething? I think his top 2 front teeth are coming in.

Loves yogurt! Hates carrots. He has gagged/choked when eating them the 2 times I've fed them to him. They are stage 1 purees so VERY smooth so it's not like he was actually choking on them. It reminded me of when my older brother would gag at the table when eating cooked carrots (he hated them so that was his power play to get out of eating them).

How was your week? What are you watching and reading?

Monday, July 12, 2021

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday! We had a really great weekend - mostly because it was not blazing hot for a change! Woo hoo! That long stretch of hot, humid weather was really wearing on me and making me dislike summer, but I'm back on team summer again now that the weather has normalized a bit (for now - I'm sure we are in for more of that heat this summer). 

On Friday I picked up the boys from school and it was nice enough outside for all of us to hang out outdoors (it's typically been way too hot/humid for Will). Will loves being outside so he enjoyed watching his brother play with his various outside toys.

Mama & Will. My freckles are out in full force.

Playing bean bags with daddy. We got a bean bag toss toy from Phil's cousin earlier this summer.

Will is getting more and more interested in solids. On Friday night he had yogurt and applesauce. He's still figuring out how to use his tongue when eating but overall seems to like what I've given him!

On Saturday morning, I went for a 4.5 mile run on my own in the morning. It was pretty humid but still an enjoyable run. Then Phil headed out to get groceries/run other errands so I hung with the boys. Will took a short nap. His naps are so unpredictable and rarely overlap with Paul's but oh well. Such is life with 2 young kids. Paul had fun working on this puzzle. He's like me and LOVES puzzles.

When Will woke up, we all ate lunch. This time, Will had yogurt and a pear/prune blend. 

After lunch, we went on a family walk to the creek so Paul could throw rocks with daddy. I totally spaced that I had made a hair appointment for Paul at noon! I did not realize this until around 3 when Phil said, hey didn't Paul have a hair appointment today? Mom brain for the win... 

Paul fought his nap that day, which rarely happens but Will napped for 2 hours! I had to wake him up because we had to get to my brother's house! We have barely seen my brother and his family over the last 1.5 years because of covid. They live about 30 minutes from us. My brother is an amazing cook so we were excited to head over there to catch up and have dinner. Will was kind of fussy (teething I think?) but he let my SIL Julie hold him for a little bit.

They pulled out a bin of train toys they kept from when their kids were little and set up an awesome track for Paul! My nephews are 13 and 16 but are so sweet with Paul. 

I guess all that cousin time wore both boys out because they slept until 7! We had to wake Paul up so who knows how long he would have slept otherwise. We had to wake him up so we could get to swimming lessons at 8. Unfortunately he participated even less in the lesson so things are not getting better on that front. They have really tried everything including having a floater teacher try to work w/ him individually/coax him into the pool. But he will not cooperate so I am debating cancelling the rest of our session and waiting another year or so. I think if he didn't have that year gap due to covid, he would have transitioned to being on his own in the pool just fine. We'll never know, though, so will just have to hope he is more willing to try in a year or so. Learning to swim is NOT optional in our house so it's something he needs to get on board with eventually, but I don't know if it's worth this battle at age 3... 

When we got home, Phil headed out to swim at the local lake. I look forward to next summer when we can go with him and play in the sand/water while he swims. But that won't work this summer since Will needs a morning nap. He slept for over 2 hours that morning and I thought I might need to wake him again but he finally woke up on his own around 12:15. Phil took Paul for a walk along the creek, sans stroller, and I stayed back and fed Will and then headed out on a stroller walk with him. He loves stroller walks so this is a good way to get some steps in and keep him happy and entertained!

That evening we had friends over for dinner. I took the easy approach and got a bagged salad from Aldi, take and bake pizza and ice cream. I used to put pressure on myself to make something nice when we have people over, but I've realized it really doesn't matter in this stage of life and people are just happy to get together. The kids all played in the backyard and we enjoyed using our new patio set for the first time! Getting a patio set was challenging - the first one we ordered from Home Depot took forever to arrive - then only the table arrived and they said the chairs were coming. 2 weeks later HD said the chairs were lost, so they came and picked up our (already assembled) patio table. So we lost about 2 months in that whole process. Luckily the table and chairs we ordered from Target came in about a week - faster than the estimated delivery on the website! 

I usually read until 9:30 most night, but last night I turned off my light and went to bed at 8:40 - that's how tired I was from all the outdoor time/activity from the weekend!

How was your weekend? 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Our Holiday Long Weekend

Is everyone else struggling to remember what day of the week it is? I have to keep reminding myself that is Tuesday! We had a nice holiday weekend here in Minneapolis. In the past, I would spend the 4th of July up at my parents' lake home, but it's hard to do that post-kids. We need 2 bedrooms so I would feel bad taking up so much space on a weekend when other siblings want to be at the lake. Plus Phil can't take time off around the 4th. The first 4 business days of the month are his busiest, especially following a quarter end. Plus I will say that I prefer quieter weekends up at my parents cabin. Yes I miss out on the big family gathering stuff but it's less fun in this stage of life when the baby isn't sleeping through the night, we have nap schedules to work around and our days start really early! So holiday weekends tend to get spent at home during this stage of life which I am totally ok with. 

Friday was "Red, White and Blue" day at school so both boys wore those colors. I didn't get a picture of them together in their RWB clothing but getting pics of them together is harder these days! Will is officially too big for Paul to comfortably hold on his lap - mostly because he is long and so wiggly!

On Saturday morning, a co-worker came over at 7:30 to go for a walk. It was nice to catch up and get some steps in together. I took Will with in the stroller for this walk. Afterwards, she snapped this imperfect family photo of us. This is 1 of 2 family photos we've taken since Will was born! Getting both boys to look at the camera is really hard and Paul will not smile for photos these days!

Paul is really struggling with swimming lessons (first time in the pool w/out mom plus over a year away from swimming lessons has been a tough combo) so I took him to a local aquatic center on Saturday morning. We met my friend and her 2 boys and ran into 2 other daycare families so it was clearly the place to be! Paul had a blast in the kids area but would not swim with me in the big pool. :( I was hoping to practice some of what his teacher has attempted to get him to do, but he only wanted to sit on the steps of the big pool. I didn't want to be the mom forcing her screaming kid to swim so I didn't push it. Hopefully he gets more comfortable with the pool soon. 

I knew Sunday was going to be HOT and HUMID so I took the boys for a walk while Phil went to the driving range. Paul is getting to the point where he does not enjoy stroller walks. :( But he did enjoy watching some geese by the lake we walked along. Both boys were pretty fascinated!

Phil really earned some points that morning when he asked if I'd like a treat from my favorite GF bakery this near the golf course where he was hitting balls. I didn't take a picture of it but thoroughly enjoyed a delicious cinnamon roll!

We started to introduce solids when Will hit 6 months and he has not been a fan so far. I did get him to eat some yogurt and applesauce on Sunday for lunch, though, and he really liked the peanut butter I put on his spoon!

It was too hot on Sunday afternoon to be outside with the boys so that was the extent of our activities on Sunday. Weekend afternoons feel reeeeaaaallllyyy long when you can't be outside. 

Monday was a repeat of Sunday - I took a walk at the beginning of the day but only brought Will this time. Paul whined a lot during the walk on Sunday so I couldn't handle another morning of whining and 'I want to go home' comments. I stopped by Starbucks for a coffee treat - but didn't drink it until we got home from the walk since it was way too hot out to drink coffee while walking. 

We tried yogurt and applesauce for lunch again on Monday and Will did pretty well with it. He looks so proud of himself in the photo below!

Monday afternoon was once again spent indoors due to the heat/humidity. Will was on the cranky side as he is getting his 3rd tooth! But as long as he could watch his brother's play and antics, he was pretty happy overall. 

Both boys are healthy right now and I am, too. Phil is finishing up antibiotics for a sinus and ear infection but is feeling better. I'm hoping for a much  healthier month of July. April through June were just awful! 

How was your holiday weekend? 

Friday, July 2, 2021

What We Read in June

June was another big reading month - I finished 11 books! 2 were fast graphic memoirs, though, so that helped. But that is still a big reading month for me. I've read 75 books so far this year! I do not expect to read that many in the 2nd half of the year but it looks like I will easily read 100+ books for the 3rd time in a row and might have a record reading year. I assumed I was reading since having kids because I was working out less, but I'm back to working out about 4-5 days/week but continue to read a lot. Here's what I read and liked this month!

Favorite Fiction Reads:

These 4 books were my favorite fiction reads. The Good Sister was a good suspenseful novel about 2 sisters. One is neurodiverse (probably on the autism spectrum but it's not explicitly diagnosed). She knows her older sister wants a baby and isn't able to have one, so she decides to get pregnant with the intent to give the child to her sister. The book unfolds from there. The Fortunate Ones is about a young boy who gets sponsored by a wealthy family and attends an exclusive private school. He then becomes enmeshed in this family. It's sort of a retelling of The Great Gatsby. Good Company was a character-driven novel about a women who discovers the wedding ring that he husband said he lost many years ago. Why did he lie about losing his ring and what does this mean about their marriage? Lastly, Olympus Texas is another character driven novel about a family in Texas with messy interfamily relationships. It's based on Roman Mythology but I have no knowledge of Mythology so it's not necessary to enjoy the book.

Non-Fiction Reads:

I loved all 4 of these books except The Positive Enneagram. The Positive Enneagram was very informative, but very dry and read like a textbook at times! The other 3 were excellent, though! Crying in H Mart is a memoir about the author's experience losing her mom to cancer at 25. How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen delved into how to get listen kids to listen and how to handle the strong emotions/temper tantrums that a common at this age. Good Talk is a graphic memoir about an Indian American mom's conversations with her son about race. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen was a delightful graphic memoir about the author's love of food and cooking which was fostered by her mom. 

These 3 books were my least favorite of the month. Competitive Grieving was "just ok." Murder in St. Germain was the 4th or 5th book in the series and I had only read the 1st book so I was confused for parts of the book that referenced past story lines - probably my fault for reading them out of order! And Last Exiles was promising as it was set in North Korea which is an area I haven't read much about. But the plot line felt far-fetched and it ended so abruptly that I wonder if the author plans to write a sequel?

The Boys' Reading:

Will likes this book about eating that we got at his 6m pediatrician appointment! He does not like solids so far but he sure likes looking at pics of other babies eating solids!

I mentioned to my neighbor that Paul was having a lot of "big emotions" lately and she recommended this box set of books that another friend recommended to her. Paul LOVES these books. We had to bring them to the lake so he could show my parents! They also provided a lot of entertainment on the drive. We've tried to use the concepts in the book but haven't been too successful, but he is probably just too young to really be able to manage those big emotions! 

He has also reached the age where he likes Mo Willem's books! We have some Elephant and Piggie ones but I need to request more from the library!

Did you read anything great this month?