Thursday, April 28, 2022

Currently: April 2022

April is almost over! Hooray! One month closer to summer and the end of what has been one of the worst springs I can recall. Bring on May! Hopefully it will be warmer? I'm not asking for much - just temps in the 60s would be excellent. Here is what is happening in my world. 

Reading: Matrix by Lauren Groff for book club. If I wasn't reading this for book club, I probably would have abandoned it! I've tried to become more ruthless about abandoning books, but I try not to give up on book club books. It has gotten better as I've progressed but overall I feel pretty meh about it. 

Loving: the game 'Spelling Bee' through the NYT. It's a game where they give you 7 letters, 1 of which must be in every word, and you try to make as many words as possible. You need a subscription to NYT games to play (you can get to a certain point without a membership but then you need a membership to keep playing) so I ponied up for that since it brings me so much joy. I am also a huge fan of wordle but find that like I Spelling Bee even more. I know games like this are so good for the health of your brain. My paternal grandmother was a lifelong Scrabble player - and at almost 99 she can still kick my butt. I've only beat her once in my life! I think that playing scrabble for all those years really contributed to her brain health. 

I achieved "Queen Bee" status one day which means I found all the words!

Feeling: sad and a great sense of heaviness over a cancer diagnosis a coworker received. He's a bit younger than me, has a young child, and they are expecting another child. Life is so incredibly unfair. 

Anticipating: attending my Godson's graduation party in early June. But OMG how is it possible he is graduating and going to college? He is the nicest kid and has never had that "too cool for school" attitude that can come during the teen years. I'm excited to see where life takes him! This means I will be cashing out the savings account I started for him when he was a baby. I was the lame aunt who never gave toys as a gift - when he was younger I would give him books and deposit money in the savings account and as he got older I shifted to just depositing money in his savings account. So at his graduation party I'll give him a nice check to use as he'd like!

Struggling: to love or even like Minnesota right now! This spring has just been so awful. We better have a great summer and fall ahead of us! 

Grateful: for my health. My coworker's diagnosis is a reminder to never take your health for granted.

Working: on figuring out what my next Beach Body program will be. I am almost done with morning meltdown which had 100 workouts! I've been working on it since August. It's designed to be done on 100 consecutive days, but since I run 2-3 days/week and am not in a stage of life where I can workout every day of the week, it's taken a long time to get through the program! But I have really enjoyed it. I think I will look for something that is focused on strength training since I get enough cardio from running.

Thinking: I might need to drop down to the 10k distance instead of running the 10 mile distance at a race I'm registered for in late May. Between returning to the office 3 days/week, being sick several times this winter, and the weather, I have not logged as many miles as I would have liked.

Watching: the latest seasons of Top Chef, A Million Little Things, and This is Us. None of these are shows that Phil enjoys so I fit them in when I can, often in snippets over lunch on days I work from home. We've lost the time in the evening we used to spend watching a show together as Paul now insists that whoever does bedtime sits in a chair until he falls asleep... which can take quite a bit of time on week days when he naps at school. We have tried to get out of sitting in the chair while he falls asleep with no success. I am telling myself this is a stage and I won't always have to do this. I'm really hoping he doesn't nap in the room he moves to next month so we can get back to watching shows together again.

Wishing: for warmer weather soon. I'm so ready to pack away our winter outwear!

What are you anticipating, struggling with, and grateful for?

Monday, April 25, 2022

First Work Trip in Ages

I had my first work trip in ages this past weekend. I'm trying to remember when I last traveled for work for a client visit and I can't remember... I think it was before I had Paul! Before I had kids, I had asked my manager if I could limit/avoid travel for work when I became a parent and that manager was on board with that. I have a different manager now, but he also respects that I prefer to not travel for work. I know many moms do this either because they have to or they enjoy it! I just don't so I am glad I can usually avoid it. But in this case, I absolutely could not avoid this trip. We just took over the management of a pool of assets for a university foundation and were told up front that we needed to attend the board meeting twice a year and that they valued having a diverse team working on their account (i.e. not a bunch of guys). So I got put on the account and knew I'd need to travel for these board meetings. 

Overall, it went well. I wish I had gotten my Evusheld injections (prophylactic antibody injection that I qualified for since I'm immune-compromised) further ahead of the trip but hopefully they provided some level of extra protection? I was told I'd be fully protected in 14 days, and I got my shots on Tuesday of this past week. I wore a mask in the airport and on the flight and was definitely in the minority. Interestingly, when Phil went grocery shopping on Sunday, he said about 2/3 of people were wearing masks. Anecdotally, I've heard about more people getting covid lately so it feels like we may be in the build-up to another wave? Le sigh. 

The presentation itself went well, though. We took over the portfolio at the start of a tough market. But they seemed to understand that there is no magic investment that will perform well when everything is down (stocks and bonds have both had rough starts to the year). 

Both of my flights were delayed - it seems like on-time flights are an anomaly these days! But the delays weren't too terrible. I got home around 7pm on Saturday. Phil kept Will up so I could do bedtime, and I did Paul's bedtime as well. It was good to get some time with both boys after not seeing them for almost 2 days. On Sunday morning I was getting ready to take Will to swimming lessons. When I put my shoes on, Will started to cry and kind of flopped forward dramatically onto the floor - it seemed like he thought I was leaving again and was upset, so even though he's not quite 18 months, he seemed to notice I was not around! But I think having to travel over a weekend is harder on everyone since that is normally when I get the most quality time with the boys. Being gone on week nights is less of a big deal. I'm glad I'll only have to do this weekend meeting once a year - the other meeting is on a Friday - and there is talk of us taking turns attending these meetings. 

I got lots of time with the boys on Sunday, though. As I mentioned above, I took Will to swimming lessons on Sunday morning. His instructor said he can register for the next level for the summer session since he's done so well. Phil headed to his mom's around lunchtime to help with some things so I got my chance to do some solo parenting. Luckily Will took a nice long 2.5 hour nap. Paul played on his iPad in his room during quiet time and I napped, too! After naptime, we went on a little adventure. I had gotten a voucher to go to the Crayola Experience at the Mall of America to pick out 32 crayons. Crayons are pretty cheap so it wasn't worth a lot monetarily, but Paul is so into coloring and crayons so I knew he'd enjoy filling a box of crayons. 

It's a bit of a hassle to get to the mall but it was worth the effort. This was Paul's first time in a mall - he thought it was very cool. It's one of the biggest malls in the US and has a big Nickelodeon-themed amusement park in the middle so it's not your typical mall. He's on the young side for the amusement park but I told him we'd come back some day when he's older. 

Will was a great little side kick and was happy to hang in the stroller and take everything in!

As soon as we got home, Paul broke out the crayons and got to work coloring. I'm so glad he's interested in coloring! It's nice to have an activity that will entertain him for a solid block of time! 

Phil got home shortly after we did. I made soup in the instant pot with the bone from our Easter ham. It's another cold week here so it's sadly still soup season - we eat soup year-round but it tastes especially good on a cold day!

Will continued to be a little more cuddly than usual but I soaked up his snuggly mood. 

How was your weekend? Is it nice where you are or still unseasonably cold? I ran this morning - it was about 32F with a mist, but felt like 22F with the wind. Where are you spring?

Friday, April 22, 2022

Finance Friday: Meeting with a Financial Advisor

Happy Friday! I leave today for a work trip - I'll be presenting at a university foundation board meeting tomorrow morning. I haven't travel for work in so long so feel a bit rusty but I am sure it will go fine. I'm looking forward to having it behind me! I get back on Saturday evening. Work travel over a week is the pits!

I'm ending the week with a "Finance Friday" kind of post. I've never been able to make this a regular series as these posts require a lot of work and I'm not sure if they are of interest to anyone! But I've been meaning to talk about our experience of meeting with a financial advisor and finally got around to writing up our experience.

Why did you meet with a financial advisor (FA)?

We've mentioned meeting with a FA to a handful of people and nearly everyone says something to the tune of: 'you both have your CFA. Why would you meet with a FA? What could he help you with?'

There are different reasons to meet with a FA. In our case, it was NOT for investment advice. I work in fixed income and Phil works in equities. We really don't need asset allocation or investment recommendations. But given the fact that our industry continues to shrink and will continue to shrink, we wanted to see if we are saving enough to be ok if one or both of us loses our job in the next 10 years. We forecast that it's nearly 100% likely that one or both of us will lose our jobs. I know that sounds crazy, but our industry is majorly struggling. I've gone through several rounds of layoffs (not personally, but the positions of people I work with have been eliminated). Plus I had to move - to a city I NEVER wanted to live in - in order to keep my job back in 2013. I don't have that kind of flexibility anymore now that I have a family so I would want to be able to make another decision if something similar happened to one of us (i.e. there is no way we are leaving Minneapolis - this is home until we retire).

So the crux of our question to the FA was - at the pace we are saving, do we have enough money to be ok if one of us loses our job by age 50? If one/both of us lose our job by 50, we would get another job because we like to work and need good health insurance thanks to my RA, but we wouldn't want to HAVE to replace our income - i.e. if we had to take a pay cut, would that be ok?

We also wanted to talk about whether it made sense for Phil to get life insurance and we talked about our will/estate planning. In order to answer that 'do we have enough money' question, you need sophisticated software to run countless scenarios (called Monte Carlo analysis) to give us a % chance of us having enough money.

What all did the FA do to form a financial plan? 

The first step was filling out a profile that included questions about our risk tolerance, goals, spending expectations (how much do you want to spend on vacations? Do you want to pay for your children's college? Do you want to pay for their weddings? Etc etc) and a summary of our assets and debts. It took maybe 20 minutes. Then we met with the FA (via a video call) to talk more about our goals/concerns. About 2 weeks later, we had another video call to discuss the analysis and his recommendations. So in total we spent about 2 hours with him over the course of 2 calls.

What were his recommendations?

In general, he said we have done a good job saving and are low spenders. I looked at Phil when he said that and said, 'SEE!! I TOLD YOU WE DON'T SPEND MUCH MONEY!' Phil's response was - challenge! But he is super frugal and always thinks we can spend less. But in reality, he's fine with how much we spend. He just wishes we got fewer Amazon packages.

His most useful advice was around estate planning/how to structure our will, whether to get life insurance for Phil, and how to allocate between tax-exempt and taxable accounts. We have decided Phil will get a 10-year life insurance policy. He's been dragging his feet on this, though. He did try to get life insurance through State Farm but they put him into a higher cost bracket BECAUSE HE WEIGHED TOO LITTLE/HIS BMI WAS TOO LOW! Isn't that insane? He was so pissy about this so we will look at another provider. It would be very expensive for me to get life insurance because of my RA. For the investments, he said we are putting enough in 401ks/IRAs/work retirement accounts but we need to put more in our taxable brokerage account.

Did we feel it was worth our time?

100% it was worth going through this exercise. It was helpful to see the % chance that we have enough assets to last if we both live to 95 (statistically very unlikely) under different scenarios such as retire at 50/get lower paying jobs at 50, retire at 60, spending increases substantially from current trend (unlikely), etc. It gave me a sense of comfort to see that we are saving enough.

What did it cost?

This is the head scratcher for us - it cost us $0. We worked with a FA that works for my company's parent company. So maybe that meeting is considered an employee benefit? We were fully expecting the FA to pitch us on moving our assets over to him or to buy certain funds. At the end Phil even said - so are you going to make investment recommendations and all he did was talk about how our asset allocation compared to what it should be based on our risk tolerances. I do wonder if he took a different approach with us because he knows we are both CFA charterholders and work in asset management. I think in most cases, you'd pay a fixed rate for a financial plan or there'd be an expectation that you'd move your assets over to the FA.

Final thoughts

I want to emphasize here that we are incredibly lucky to be in this position and I feel a bit of a sense of shame in mentioning that we are in a good position financially because I know that is not the case for so many people. But it's important to remember that our income level is higher because of the volatility of our income. If we worked in a more stable industry, it probably wouldn't even be necessary to meet with an FA because there would be a high level of certainty that we could keep our jobs until we decided we wanted to retire. Also, we definitely live well below our means. We are just not big spenders, aren't big on possessions, don't derive joy from shopping or buying things, don't drive fancy cars (we have a Toyota Corolla and Camry), and take pretty modest vacations. So we are making spending decisions that ensure we are financially stable.

Have you ever met with a financial advisor or is it something you've considered doing? Any suggestions for future finance posts? Or do these bore you to tears? ;) 

Monday, April 18, 2022

A Wintery Easter

Mother Nature delivered a winter-like Easter. It was cold, windy and at times, snowy. Spring is unreliable here in the Midwest, but this April has been extra bad. Since it was so cold and I felt pretty crappy for much of the weekend, we were mostly indoors which means time crawled at a snail pace at times!

On Friday morning, we let the boys open the box of Easter goodies my parents sent. We figured it was best to spread the Easter surprises over 3 days. My mom crocheted some adorable chickens with an opening for an egg. 

We drove up to the library that morning since it was too cold and windy to walk! Since our visit last week, they had changed out the toys in the tree house from dinosaurs to sea creatures and the fruit/vegetable stand is now a post office station with a mailbox and keyboards. 

Phil made lunch while we were at the library - a Spanish Tortilla. The boys enjoyed some sugar cookies that my mom sent in the Easter package.

After nap/quiet time, Paul and I dyed Easter eggs. We only dyed 8 since I am the only person in the family who eats hard-boiled eggs! 

We did the egg hunt in the basement after quiet time on Saturday. Will got a few eggs but Paul got most of them. I'm sure next year will be a bit of a different story. My MIL took care of filling the eggs. She found some cute Thomas-themed trains and included a few treats, some for us (salted caramel-filled chocolates) and some for Paul (peanut butter cups). 

We had our Easter dinner on Saturday evening. My MIL wasn't feeling well enough to join us and she wanted to avoid the head colds we were fighting so it was just the 4 of us. Phil was able to find asparagus at Aldi so we had ham, mashed potatoes, gravy and asparagus. The boys at some ham but that's about it!

One highlight of the weekend was that both boys slept until 6 or later every day! Not having to get up at an hour that starts with 5 was a true gift, especially since I was not feeling well. 

Breakfast with blueberry obsessed Will

The boys got their Easter baskets on Sunday mroning. Will got a book, Paul got some puzzles, some dino eggs that include a dinosaur to assemble, and a space poster. Both boys got some bubble blowing toys. I envisioned them playing with the bubble stuff when I bought it but that was not possible on Sunday!

I took Paul to church that morning at 8:30. He did pretty well overall. We got comments at the end about how much energy he has from the person sitting next to us in the pew - he was an older gentleman and appreciated Paul's energy. 

The rest of the day was spent paying with Easter toys and running around in the basement. 
Paul and I assembled the rocket ship puzzle which is double-sided. He refused to smile for the photo!

It was a 3-day weekend but felt much longer since we were barely outside! Next weekend looks better which is good because I will be gone Friday and Saturday for a work trip. I have to present at a Saturday morning university foundation meeting. This is my first work trip in so so long. I'm glad Will was weaned well before this trip. I am looking forward to having this trip behind me - and Phil is, too! I have rarely traveled since having kids but this is an important relationship so I definitely need to be there. I know some parents are totally fine with work travel after having kids, but it's something I've asked to avoid when possible. But before I know it, it will be behind me. 

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 15, 2022

Four Things Friday

Happy Friday! Today is a start of a 3-day weekend for us as the financial markets are closed so Phil and I are both off today and the kids' school is closed, too. The weather is not looking great... highs in the upper 30s to low 40s. Could be worse, but come on! It's mid April! Throw me a bone, mother nature! I'm sure we'll bundle the kids up and get outside for some trips to the park but the Easter egg hunt will certainly be indoors this year. Womp womp. Here are 4 things on my mind today!

1. I watched a recording of Brandi Carlile's performance at the Grammy's with Paul and it filled my heart with joy that he could sing along to the song! He is a big Brandi Carlile fan and will request certain songs by her. I have been a huge Brandi fan since the early days. I think I've seen her in concert at least 6 times? Maybe more? I'm excited to see her in concert this summer although I'm bummed that she's become so popular that the concert is at a huge venue. I miss the days of seeing her in tiny venues with excellent acoustics, but I am glad her talent is being appreciated by others. I can see myself taking Paul to a concert when he is older!

2. Yesterday I found out I am eligible for Evusheld, which is a prophylactic treatment for Covid! I am thrilled about this! My rheumatologist let me know I qualified when I saw her this winter because of an immune suppressant injection I take to treat my rheumatoid arthritis. At that time she said I was far down the priority list but that I might be able to get it around summer time. I am battling yet another cold - the same cold that Will and Phil have and yet I am FAR sicker than they are. Rheumatoid arthritis is treated by suppressing your immune system so your body doesn't attack itself so I just don't have a fighting chance to battle any virus, as evidenced by how sick I've been this winter! So I am glad I will have extra protection against covid. I continue to be amazed that we haven't gotten it. Thank goodness it doesn't tend to spread among small children - having our kids in daycare has always been our biggest risk of getting covid, but something a risk we have had to take. 

3. We are going to have a quiet Easter and I am ok with that, especially since I am feeling under the weather. I'm planning to take Paul to church on Sunday - and will wear a mask (I feel comfortable going because I've done 2 covid tests this week and both were negative so it is just a cold). My MIL has been having some health problems so there's a good chance she won't feel well enough to join us for our Easter meal.  So it might just be the 4 of us. I'm planning to make ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, and asparagus if Phil can find some at the store - he hasn't seen any recently which is odd since this is usually when he starts to see it at Aldi! Our substitute will be brussel sprouts if he can't find asparagus. Chances are, Paul will barely eat any of what I make. We'll see what Will eats. Our German meat-and-potato grandparents must be rolling over in their graves over our children's eating habits. ;) I'm most excited about making a soup with the ham bone! 

4. Bedtime continues to be really challenging here. Paul has been napping at school so he is just not tired. I've lost the hour of time with Phil at the end of the day. Lately by the time Paul is asleep and we can leave his room, it's time for me to turn in. I keep telling myself it won't always be like this. He's currently requiring that we sit in the chair in his room or lay next to him until he falls asleep. I don't mind sitting in the chair because I can sneakily read a book on the kindle ap on my phone. But I can't do that if I am laying next to him. We are going to try a later bedtime to see if that helps, but he has to be up so early for school so it creates a bad cycle of being tired in the morning which probably leads his teachers to have him nap... He moves into the pre-K room next month and allegedly the nap is shorter and most don't nap so I am hoping things improve in a month or so? Please let that be the case!

Your turn - what is going on in your world right now? Do you have Easter or Passover plans?

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Back To The Office: The First 6 Weeks

First, the details: This is the 6th week since my company re-opened our offices and required employees to return. All in all, they have handled it as well as they could, I think. In November, they announced that vaccines would be required and they gave very few exemptions. I think something like 97% of the staff has been vaccinated. Originally we were supposed to return to the office in early January, but it got pushed back to the week of March 7th since infection levels were high thanks to omicron. We are encouraged to go into the office 3 days/week and my boss has asked that we come in Tuesday-Thursday. I think it makes sense to target being in on certain days. Otherwise what is the point of going into the office if you don't see other people that you work with! There is much flexibility, though, and no one is monitoring when you come in. My boss treats us like adults and trusts that we are coming in around 3 days/week.

In order to go into the office, you have to go into an ap and certify that you are healthy, don't have any of the listed symptoms and have had a negative covid test in the last 7 days. Everyone coming into the office tests themselves with an antigen test or with a test that is provided by the company that supposedly provides PCR-like accuracy at home. If you watched the Superbowl, you likely saw an ad for these kinds tests - you swab your nose, put it in some solution, and then the solution goes into a warming unit for an hour. I guess the warming part is what improves the accuracy? It takes about 75 minutes to do a tests so I do my test on Sunday mornings so I know I can go to the office that following week. 

So how is it going? Overall, it's gone pretty well. I think everyone I work with/interact with must be vaccinated because I have not seen people in masks (you are required to mask at all times if you receive a vaccination exemption). We were already pretty spread out before covid hit so were naturally socially distanced. Here are the pros and cons I've experienced so far!


- I have enjoyed seeing coworkers in person. I hadn't seen most in over 2 years. I've encountered people who didn't know we had another baby! We have gotten good at communicating over teams/email, but sometimes it is nice to just walk over to someone's desk to talk about something/ask a question.

- I have loved being able to print again! We were not allowed to print ANYTHING while working from home. Usually that was not a big deal, but there are times when I really need to print something - like I find it easier to proofread when it is printed out. Things just jump out at me more on paper than when I proofread on the screen. A couple of weeks ago I had to do some complex analysis of the performance of 2 different strategies and was so glad I could print out the attribution reports and compare them side by side!

- It's been great to eat lunch out again. At first I got lunch all 3 days I was in but I only did for a couple of weeks while I adjusted to being back in the office. Now I get lunch 1 day/week and a latte 1 day/week. It's a nice treat.


- It is so much harder to fit workouts in. When working from home, I would usually log in around 7, answer emails and address anything urgent and then I would do a quick workout. In the summer, I would run at 7 and then log on around 8 and work straight through for the rest of the day and consider my run my 'break' for the day. We have to be out the door by around 6:50 so we can be at work by around 7:30. I don't have it in me to get up at 4:45-5 to workout before going into the office, plus it seems like one or both kids is up around 5-5:15 so morning workouts just don't work right now. So instead I try to go to the gym in my building at 3 on Thursdays and I run on the treadmill. When it's nicer out, I'll do that run outdoors. That won't work during the hot months as running at 3 would be so awful so I will have to go back to the treadmill or do a strength workout or something. By doing 1 workout on the days I'm in the office, I can fit in 4 workouts/week which is probably enough. 

- It's more work to get the door with hair/make-up done. Yes it feels good to be more put together, but given the choice, I'd choose more sleep over looking put together in this stage of life. ;) 

- It's harder to get dinner on the table on days I go into the office. We usually get home around 5pm and ideally we eat dinner around 5:30pm. That doesn't give me much time to prepare dinner. I try to cut up things on the weekend so that dinner comes together faster but it's a more harried experience to have so little time to make dinner. 

When we found out about the return to work, I jokingly told my boss that I likely wouldn't be healthy enough to go to the office about 1/3 of the time. Well, that has turned out to be right! I made it through most of the first day back in early March and then got the stomach flu and was home for the rest of tha week. Now this week, I am fighting a nasty upper respiratory virus (not covid - 3 of us have colds, we've all done antigen tests and they were all negative) so I will be home this week, too! But I'm glad there is a policy in place to stay home with you are sick so you don't spread crud around to your coworker!

All in all, I'll use Phil's favorite adjective/most common response when I ask how his day was, and characterize the return to the office as "fine." I can see the benefit of having employees together and I'm glad I can still work from home 2 days/week, but given the option, I'd probably drop my number of days in the office down to 1-2! Maybe in the future that will be an option, but for now I'll hold up my end of the bargain and try to be in 3 days/week.

Will you or have you returned to the office? 

Friday, April 8, 2022


We've had a week of a rain/snow mix and very little sun. I don't think I've seen the sun since Saturday. There's more of the same in next week's forecast but this weekend should be better so hopefully we'll get some time outside! Here's how my week shaped up!

The book I'm reading is Where the Light Falls by Allison and Owen Pataki (brother-sister authors!). It's historical fiction set during the French Revolution. I did a French Revolution-themed walking tour when I was in Paris years ago, but my knowledge of that time period is pretty tenuous so I'm enjoying the book. I'm also listening to The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green and working my way through The Count of Monto Cristo on the serial reader ap. I'm about 1/2 done with The Count but I am feeling a little meh about it right now. I'm regretting not creating a list of characters. There are a lot of people to keep track of!

The high of my week was working on an Easter card for my grandma with Paul. I think she will get a kick out of how he wrote his name! I traced some spring animals - a duck and a lamb - but the duck looks more like a dinosaur! I'm sure she'll appreciate it, though. 


The low of my week was a rough bedtime with Paul that took 2 hours! We have asked his teacher to not have him nap at school but for some reason he napped for the full amount that day (some days he doesn't nap at all, some days they limit his nap to 30 minutes). So he was just not tired, but pushing back his bedtime is tough because he has to be up by 6:15 so we can be out the door around 6:50. He didn't fall asleep until 9:30 which is when I usually go to bed. The next morning was ROUGH. 

A recipe I made was this beef and vegetable enchilada skillet. Our kids love enchiladas so I thought this would be a fast, easy meal that would go over well. Will did pretty well with it but it took much coaxing to get Paul to eat it, even after we picked out all of the corn (which is one of many of the foods he won't eat). Le sigh. 

A show we are watching is the latest season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. We aren't loving it, but it's entertaining enough. I feel like that show peaked in the first 2 seasons. 

For workouts I did beach body workouts on Monday and Tuesday (workouts 91 and 92 of a 100 workout program I started in August - the end is in sight!). I ran on the dreadmill at the gym at work on Thursday, will do another beach body workout today and will run with my neighbor tomorrow morning!

The best money spent on a haircut/color! I hadn't had my hair cut in over 7 months and it was entirely TOO long and very gray. I chopped a good 5 inches off. I've been seeing the same hair stylist for over 10 years so going to a hair appointment is like catching up with a good friend.

My plans this weekend include taking the boys to a park birthday party for one of Paul's classmates on Saturday morning and then taking Paul to church on Saturday evening. It's Palm Sunday so I think he will get a kick out of getting a palm leaf/branch. Hopefully he doesn't use it as a sword or something! Will has swimming lessons on Sunday but we have no other plans besides that. Hopefully we'll spend lots of time outside.

Bonus Paul Pic:

Building a train station for his train with magnatiles. And yes, you can see in the background that we are using a chair to deter Will from going downstairs! Someone is always watching him closely. We didn’t have gates in our last house and are trying to avoid getting one since that space is a tricky place for a gate. 

How was your week? What is the best thing you spent money on? 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

What We Read in March

I had another solid reading month in March! I read 10 books but several books were on the shorter side so that is likely why I achieved a double-digit month of reading! I continue to read more non-fiction that usual. Over 1/3 of what I've read so far this year is non-fiction! Here is how my reading broke down!

Fiction Reads:

My favorite fiction reads were The Nothing Man (thriller) and Piranesi (cross between fantasy/mystery). I was the outlier in my group of friends and did not love A Psalm for the Wild Built. I also did not care for How High We Go in the Dark (so dark and the linked short story format didn't work well for me) or The Girl Who Reads on the Metro (story line was not at all believable). So overall, my fiction reading wasn't the best in March since I only really really liked 2 of the 6 books.

Non-Fiction Reads:

I enjoyed all 4 of these books! The Story of the GBBO made me nostalgic for the earlier seasons of the show. I miss Mary, Sue and Mel so much! The Day the World Came to Town was a very endearing book and it makes me want to seek out the play that was inspired by the book. Invisible Child was excellent and heart-breaking. It chronicles the experiences of a family living in poverty in NYC.

Paul's Reads:

These some of Paul's favorite books from the month. We read all 4 multiple times. Phil and I liked "See the Cat" best but were happy to re-read all 4 (that is not always the case - some of Paul's favorites are not books we enjoy, but it's not about us so we will re-read things even if we didn't love them). 

What was your best read from March? What books are your kids enjoying these days?

Monday, April 4, 2022

A Warmer Weekend

Happy Monday! I had a 3-day weekend since daycare was closed on Friday for conferences/teacher training. I always appreciate conferences as it gives us a chance to hear more about how the kids are doing. We don't necessarily see their teachers at pick-up and drop-off, especially since we drop off on the early side (around 7) and pick-up can be a little chaotic, especially in the preschool rooms, so it can be tough to have a conversation with the teacher when they are managing a room full of 3-4 year olds! So we appreciated having a 20 minute check in with both sets of teachers. The boys got great reports! It was the last day for one of Will's teachers so that is going to be a rough adjustment for him as he is VERY sensitive about his caregivers. Like he will not let the teachers that float from room to room feed him and he protests when they try to pick him up. Eeks. But he should transition to the toddler room in 2 months so his time in the infant room is waning!

Phil had to go into work after conferences as the beginning of the month is the busiest time for him. But it was actually not bad to have the boys on my own! Our first stop was getting haircuts for both boys. Will's had gotten so long. He SCREAMED through his last 2 haircuts but did much better this time and only cried on and off. And he actually smiled at the hair person at the end. Paul's a champ at haircuts, probably because they play Paw Patrol during haircuts! Will looks so grown up now!

We headed home for lunch and quiet/nap time. Will has adjusted to one nap/day and is sleeping later and napping for a solid 2-2.75 hours! Hurray! After quiet/nap time, we walked up to our local library. I had mentioned wanting to take Paul there in my post last Friday - I decided Friday was the perfect day to do it as I knew it would entertain both boys. Plus covid levels are very low right now, so I wanted to take advantage of the low risk environment. Paul managed to walk the full mile to the library without complaining too much. We walked by a house that always has costumed geese. I said I would take a pic of Paul by the geese and he decided to give one of them a kiss. Probably not a super hygienic thing to do, but oh well! 

Once we got to the library, the boys had a blast playing with toys. There was tree house play set with dinosaurs, legos and a fruit stand. We also read a couple of books at the end. We were there for over an hour. 

Paul wanted to ride in the stroller on the way home, but I had brought the lillebaby carrier so I popped Will into that and we headed home. By the time we got home, it was dinner time and then bedtime shortly after. This was probably the best day I've had on my own with both boys. Having plans outside of the house really helps! 

It was nice and sunny on Saturday morning, so we walked/scooted to a local church that has a little park area when Phil headed out to get groceries. When Phil got back from getting groceries, I went for a run while they had lunch.

After lunch and nap/quiet time, we walked/scooted to our neighborhood park. The wind had really picked up so it was pretty chilly, but still better than the weather we've had lately.

We headed back home and then Paul and I got ready to go to church. Again, now that covid rates are lower, it felt like the right time to take him to church, and he's been asking to go lately. We went to the Catholic Church where Phil and I got married. I did not check mass times because I've been going to this church for 10 years and Saturday mass was always at 5. So we traipsed in at 5 to find that - surprise - mass is now at 4:30 on Saturday. Whoops. Paul thought the church was beautiful and commented on the music so he seemed to enjoy his 20 express version of church. ;) We sat in the same pew as the couple that did our couple-to-couple counseling during marriage prep. They are the sweetest couple and were so excited to see Paul. We'll be back next week for Palm Sunday and will be sure to be on time this time! I felt pretty sheepish showing up so late but oh well. It happens. 

On Sunday morning I took Will to swimming lessons in the morning and then ran with my neighbor when I got back. This ended up feeling like the "longer" day of the weekend because it was rainy and cold so we weren't able to go anywhere after nap time. I baked some muffins with Paul and we made an Easter card for my grandma, but that was the extent of our activities. It was bath night, though, so that always takes up a good 40 minutes or so! But the day did drag quite a bit!

But overall, it was a much better weekend than the last several. Being able to get outside and going to the library made a huge difference! We woke up to a covering of snow this morning so it still feels a bit 'wintery' out there, but soon enough the weather will be reliably warmer and the weekends will be much more enjoyable! 

How was your weekend?