Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The End of May - Yay!!!

May has been the longest month ever. Did it really only have 31 days? It felt like 60 over here. I tested positive for covid on May 10th and felt pretty awful for a good 10-12 days. Paul got a stomach bug/fifths disease the weekend after I tested positive. Then Will tested positive on May 21st and today is his last day of isolation. Thank God. 10 days is just way too long IMO. He was sick for about 1/2 a day. We tested him on Friday and he was negative at that point - he may have been negative even sooner. We tested him so I could feel comfortable taking him to the park, etc. A negative test doesn't impact his isolation period, though. We'll be doing a happy dance when I drop him off at daycare tomorrow! He's bored at home, and we are out of ways to entertain him. Thankfully the weather was nice every day of his isolation except last Wednesday when it rained nearly all day. Can you tell how I've stayed sane during the last 10 days? I did a lot of podcast listening while taking him on multiple long walks each day. 

Luckily he loves walks. He says hola to people we see, gets excited when he sees dogs, and loves this culvert by the creek.

Here's how we filled the time on the long weekend.

- We went to 3 different parks, but I took no pictures! Will is fully walking now so he enjoyed going down the little slides over and over and over!

- We scooted/walked to Starbucks only to find it was closed - probably due to staffing? Luckily the grocery store next door took apple pay so I could buy a donut there (I had promised Paul a donut to motivate him to scoot about a mile). Both boys were a fan of the donut!

- Phil and Paul went to his mom's on Saturday afternoon. Will and I walked to the lake that afternoon after his nap and hung out there with a friend and her boys. I let Will test out the water and he was A FAN! I think he's going to love playing at the beach this summer. He was not happy when I took him out of the water! My friend snapped some pictures of us which was so nice as I am usually the one taking pictures so am barely in any pictures with the kids.

- We went to the Farmer's Market on Sunday morning where the boys shared another donut! We met the friend I saw at the lake and her 2 boys. The Farmer's Market is by one of the 3 parks we visited so it's a great market for people with kids. Paul did not want to leave when I needed to head home for lunch with Will so Paul stayed with them for another 2 hours! The mom is one of my best friends - I would not just leave my kid behind with anybody! They are like family to us (the dad was one of Phil's best men in our wedding). 

- Paul and I made cookies on Monday afternoon. I used an America's Test Kitchen recipe and for the 3rd time, my cookies did not turn out well. They taste good but are super thin. I don't know why the recipe isn't working for me. They used to turn out great (I've probably used this recipe 8+ times). Time to find a new GF recipe. Paul still approved even though they were fragile and very thin. 

- We played in the backyard and enjoyed popsicles on Sunday when it was sooo hot and humid out. Even Phil and I had popsicles. I also enjoyed a DQ blizzard after the kids went to bed. I had wanted one on Mother's Day but it was cold that day/not ice cream weather so we decided to hold off until a  hot day. 

- Keeping it real here - everyone had their meltdowns. I may not have laid on the floor and cried or pouted, but felt like doing so at times. Especially since one or both boys were up around 5-5:30 all weekend so the days were very long.

- We ended the weekend by teaching Paul how to play Uno. We have to play with our cards face up since he's still learning but he won 4 out of 5 games. 

Tomorrow is a fresh month and both kids will be in daycare. My sister flies in that night with her niece! They'll spend the night with us and then my parents will come get them on Thursday and bring them to the lake. Then we head there on Friday as my nephew's grad party is on Saturday! So June is getting off to a busy, but fun start. 

How was your weekend?

Friday, May 27, 2022

5 Things Friday

Happy Friday. We've got a weekend of mostly warm and sunny weather ahead of us which I am excited about since being outdoors is the only thing that is keeping us sane during toddler quarantine. He are 5 things on my mind this week.

1. Uvalde, on the heels of the tragedy in Buffalo. What can I say that hasn't already been said? I appreciated what Joanna of Cup of Jo said about this most recent tragedy. My heart breaks for those poor families who will mourn this for the rest of their lives. I'm planning to read "When Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Enough" which is written by a survivor of gun violence.

After dropping my dancey little boy off at school this morning, fear in my throat, I came back and looked around the house and thought of the parents returning home alone last night. They would fumble with their keys and open the door. They would step over small sneakers, sneakers that probably had Velcro because tying shoes was still hard. They would see crayon drawings taped on the wall. Honey yogurts in the fridge. A wobbly stack of board games. A colorful toothbrush still damp from the morning. The little bed with tousled sheets and the half-full water glass on the bedside table and the fifth book the child had asked to read but it was clearly too late and they were being silly and sneaky and they needed to get sleep for the school day so they could learn and grow and laugh and play. 

2. It feels ridiculous to even complain about our week considering the heartbreak of others. But it's been a struggle. I'm still not quite back to 100% but is it covid? Is it caring for sick and/or poor-sleeping children? Who knows. But gosh I'm tired. I took the day off when Phil had to go into the office because there is no way I can work and care for a toddler. Every other day we've traded off and taken care of Will for chunks of time. He's been waking around 5-5:30 every day so that makes the long days even longer!! I know that this, too, will pass but wow a 10 day quarantine at this age is hard. Long walks are saving our lives! One morning I had logged 10k steps before 9am. Covid barely seemed to bother Will. He was off for about a 1/2 day and that's it. 

3. It's Memorial Day Weekend which always felt like the kick-off to summer when I was little since we finished school the week before Memorial Day Weekend and we'd go to the lake every weekend starting that weekend. I don't really have summer vibes this year, though. Maybe it's being an adult? Maybe it's the delayed spring? I mean last weekend I put the boys in winter hats for our walks and it was downright cold on Wednesday. If our toddler wasn't around, I would have turned on our gas fireplace. So I'm not quite in summer mode but we've got summer-like temps in the forecast so maybe if the weather stays reliably warm, I'll get into summer mode? I think the park pools open here this weekend and it's hard to even imagine taking my kids to a pool when we wore winter hats in the last week!

4. We have no plans for the long weekend since we are still in toddler quarantine. If Will hadn't gotten covid, the 4 of us would have gone out to my MIL's to belatedly celebrate her birthday which was on Tuesday. But instead Phil and Paul will test before going out there for an afternoon and I'll stay back with the crazy, germy toddler. Phil and Paul remain healthy and covid-free so far. I hope that continues to be the case as we plan to go to my nephew's HS grad party the following weekend. Worst case scenario, Will and I will go since we will be out of quarantine by then. 

5. I'll end with something positive - my reading! The last 3 books I read were 5-star books! I used to be really stingy with 5-star ratings but now I am more generous because it's the best way to signal that I really loved the book. I rated Lessons in Chemistry, Notes on an Execution, and Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance 5 stars. The latter 2 are heavier, the first one deal with weightier topics but is delightful. I'm currently reading Love and Saffron and am pretty sure I will also give is 5 stars. Who am I? 4 5-star ratings in a row? But they are all excellent books that are worth checking out - but they are all 2022 publication so may have a long wait at the library.

How was your week? Are you in summer mode yet?

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Next Domino Falls

I had really hoped and prayed that Phil and the boys would miraculously not get covid. But if anyone was going to get it, I was hoping Will wouldn't since he is by far the harder kid to have home for a 10 day quarantine. So guess who tested positive on Saturday afternoon? Will. He was fine all morning but then had a low-grade fever at lunchtime and didn't eat well so we tested him and sure enough - he was positive. Phil and Paul remain healthy and negative. Maybe they had it before and were not symptomatic? Maybe it's coming for them? Who knows. This virus is so weird. 

I thought I was turning the corner earlier last week and then felt like I got hit with a 2nd wave and was back to peak congestion. I ended up logging off work early on Thursday and napped for almost 2 hours. We had planned to take Friday off to do something fun to celebrate our anniversary but I was clearly not feeling up for anything fun. So Phil and I worked on an organization project that morning, did a good will drop, and then got some (delicious) tacos to go. Nothing says romance like organizing your storage space, right?? It was something I had wanted to do since the new year and it made sense to do it while we were both off and the boys were at school. After lunch, Phil went golfing with his cousins and I napped for 2 hours. I hypothesize that I would have gotten over covid faster if I could have slept for like 10 hours a day for multiple days. But of course that is not possible when you have young children. Especially when one of them has a stomach virus! 

On a positive note, Paul moved into a new classroom this week - Pre-K! Last week was supposed to be his transitional week where he spends 1/2 of the day in the new room, but he missed 3 days of school thanks to the GI bug. But I think he'll do just fine. He was excited about his new room. Plus they have a field trip to a local garden tomorrow so that is extra exciting and really makes him feel like a "big kid." I fill out this first day of school board every time he changes preschool rooms. Last year he said he wanted to be a T Rex; now he wants to be a dinosaur! Quite the change!

I'm hoping they let him skip naps in his room so bedtime is better. I know his teachers want/need a break but I don't know many 4-5 year olds that need a nap! 

Now hopefully he stays healthy this week so we only have to manage one kid at home. Phil and I are taking turns taking care of Will. The best way to entertain him is to go for a stroller walk. I imagine he'll go on 2-3 hour or longer stroller walks every day during quarantine. Phil has to go into the office tomorrow so I will take the day off since there is NO WAY I can work while watching him. Luckily this is a quiet week at work as our sales force is at a sales conference, and our client base (financial advisors) kind of checks out as we approach Memorial Day weekend. And at least it's happening when it's nice outside so we can go for hour+ long walks. But gosh I wish my kids were vaccine-eligible so the quarantine was shorter! Allegedly it's around the corner as Moderna has submitted for approval, but I'm guessing they won't be fully vaxxed until the end of summer most likely. 

How was your weekend? Are you staying covid-free? I have heard of so many testing positive lately so it seems like it's really circulating right now.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

5 Years of Lisa and Phil

Phil and I celebrate 5 years of marriage today! The days can be long when you have little kids, but the years are short. We packed a lot into the last 5 years! For those who are newer to my blog, Phil and I met in October 2012, then I found out I was being relocated to Charlotte in January of 2013, moved in April 2013, and then moved back to Minneapolis in May 2014 and we picked up where we left off.

Phil and I got engaged in December of 2016, married in May of 2017, got pregnant the next month, and had Paul in March of 2018 - just shy of 10 months into marriage. We were 36 when we got married so knew we'd need to have kids right away but were delightfully surprised that we were able to have our first child so soon after getting married. 

I have the most wonderful memories of our book-themed wedding. I am the least talented person when it comes to decor and craftiness. But my family, especially my sister-in-law, helped us pull together wedding decor that was so perfect for a book-loving couple. 

The parents of Phil's college friend gifted this to us. It resides on our fireplace mantel now.

Phil and I had lots of travel adventures while we were dating, so we were ready to embark on parenthood right away. We didn't get any international trips besides Mexico and Jamaica in before having kids, but we had both traveled pretty extensively during our 20s/30s. I'm forever grateful that I took all the trips I did - several of which I did on my own. There are families that will travel internationally with young kids, but it's not for us... So we are on a grand pause from big trips and that is totally ok with us. 

Newborn pics when Paul was about 10 days old

Phil hates this picture because it's kind of cheesy but I think it's cute! Paul was a couple months shy of 2 in this photo.

We have done some travel with our kids, though. We took Paul to the gulf coast of Florida in April 2019 and February 2020 (right before the start of the pandemic!). And this past February we took both boys to Tucson, AZ. We traveled with my parents on all of those occasions which we love to do!

We've also spent quite a bit of time at the lake. Paul isn't a fan of the water yet but I am hoping this changes with time. But he loves going kayaking.

Family kayaking - I was pregnant with Will at this time so we are all in this photo!

We have so few pictures of us as a family, but when your husband HATES posed photography, that is what happens. You learn to pick your battles when you are in a long term relationship. Forcing him to take photos is not a hill I am going to die on. 

Will's baptism

That is why it's really important to me to get professional photos done once a year. Those are often the only good pics of us as a family. Yes it's a total pain to get everyone looking presentable, but it's worth the time and money!

At our wedding, Phil gave the most amazing speech. It was funny and sweet and sentimental. He had people laughing and crying. Phil writes for his job so it was no surprise that he put together an awesome speech. At the end of the speech, he said that there will be good times and hard times ahead, but that we'd face them together as Lisa and Phil. And that has been true. We've had our share of hard times. Losing family members, a miscarriage, health challenges, the pandemic, etc. But we've leaned on each other through thick and thin. 

I wish my younger self who yearned for a partner for years could have had a peak at what was to come. I spent so much time worrying that I'd never find "my person." I watched a lot of friends get married and start families. I was thrilled for them but wondered when it would be my turn. 

But this life I've built with this wonderful man was worth the wait. Here's to many more years of wedded bliss!

Monday, May 16, 2022

Monday Run Down

- This past weekend was not a good one. Did I jinx myself by posting last week about how essential plans are for the sanity of parents of littles? It feels that way! I knew we were going to have to lay low with me recovering from covid, but then Paul woke with a fever on Saturday. He had a rash on his face on Friday but we assumed it was an allergic reaction to sunscreen. But when the fever hit, I did some googling and I think he has something called Fifths Disease, which is also referred to as - I kid you not - "slapped cheek syndrome." He had no appetite on Saturday and ended up throwing up at the end of the day after eating some dry cherrios. Then there was more vomiting on Sunday and much laundry was done. 

- Before the illness hit Paul, we took the water table out on Friday. Both boys played with it for over 30 minutes, which is like 3 hours in toddler time. Will drank so much water, which was dirty. I texted my nurse sister and she said "that's good probiotics" and commented on all the wood chips her 1yo tried to eat at the park that day. 

- Will got the rash, but it was much more faint and he did not get a fever or GI stuff. He was his normal, energetic, food throwing, mischievous self and kept wanting to bug his brother who was laid up on the couch. So he got 2 long 1-hour walks on Saturday and 3 1-hour walks on Sunday. But the weekend felt like it was about 800 hours long. I gave him a bath on Saturday night, not because he needed it but because I needed to entertain him for 20 minutes. I'm very glad he's healthy and could go to school today.

Rashy baby, eating breakfast.

- I'm recovering well from covid but am still very, very congested, like can't breath through nostrils-most-of the-day congested. And I'm tired, but is it from covid or parenting 2 small children who both seem to want to start the day at an hour that starts with the number 5? I was supposed to do a 10 mile race next Saturday and had been planning to drop down to the 10k distance but now I think I should probably just skip it and give my body a rest. I haven't exercised since last Monday which isn't great for my mental health, but I got lots of steps in this weekend with all the stroller walks. So I guess I need to call walks 'good enough' and wait until I'm back to full health. 

How was your weekend? Surely/hopefully it was better than mine??

Friday, May 13, 2022

A Mostly Covid-Themed 5 Things Friday

Hey hey, it's Friday and the weather forecast is looking great for this weekend! It has not been a great week - more on that below - but I'm trying to focus on the positive in this intro. So yay sunshine!

1. I'll start with the bad. I tested positive for covid this week using an at-home rapid antigen test. I had some false positives last fall (the brand was QuickVue - another colleague had a false positive on that brand so I'd avoid that brand!!) but I tested positive on a brand I've used quite a bit (Binax) so I trust the results. I had last tested on Saturday - my routine is to test on Saturday so I can go into the office the following week (we are required to test weekly). I started to feel congested on Sunday evening and continued to feel worse so I tested on Tuesday afternoon and it was almost immediately positive. Le sigh. Phil and the boys tested that night and again last night and were all negative and are all still healthy. Our daycare adopted the revised DHS policy in late January that allows us to continue to send our kids to daycare despite being exposed to Covid as long as they are healthy and don't test positive for covid. So the boys have continued to go to school and Phil (who is fully vaccinated and boosted) has continued to go into work but just closes his office door/wears a mask around others. The daycare policy has been a Godsend and our case levels at daycare have been really low, even since this policy went into place. Getting covid has kind of felt inevitable since the recent variants are so contagious and we have kids in daycare. But I was still hoping to avoid it since I'm immune compromised. I am very glad that I received the Evusheld prophylactic antibody injections in mid-April. That should prevent my case from getting severe. So far I feel like I have a bad head cold/sinus infection and feel really tired and dizzy at times. But overall it's doesn't feel all that different from the many other colds/upper respiratory infections I've had recently. 

2. Do I know where I got it? No, I don't. I went out to dinner with 2 girlfriends on Friday night but the restaurant was not busy and our table was pretty far from other tables. Both of my friends have cold symptoms but have tested negative; it's allergy season here in Minnesota so it's really hard to know if it's covid or allergies or just a cold! The other place I could have gotten it is swimming lessons on Sunday morning. I've been really cautious for the last 2 years and don't feel like I've done anything especially risky. Up until February, we hadn't eaten in a restaurant, besides eating outdoors a couple of times, since March of 2020. But I can't live under such conditions forever so it was probably inevitable that I would get exposed to covid - but this is why I am vaccinated. So that I can do things, see people, take my kids to the library, have dinner with friends, etc. I'm not taking crazy risks, in my opinion. I didn't go into work on Tuesday since I was congested so I don't think I exposed anyone else besides my family. 

3. Of course the weekend plans I wrote about on Wednesday will not be happening. I'll just push everything forward a week and we will stay close to home this weekend/avoid others. I'm glad the weather is looking nice so we can be outside quite a bit. I think I will pull out the water table this weekend since it will be in the upper 70s. Will loves the water/splashing so I think he'll love the water table! 

4. If you've read this blog for the past winter/spring or longer, you've probably picked up on the fact that I ALWAYS seem to be sick with one thing or another. This is one of the major downsides of having an autoimmune disease. I have rheumatoid arthritis which, in simplistic terms, means that my immune system goes into overdrive and attacks itself - namely, my joints. So to prevent/lower the chances of that happening, I'm on a number of immune suppressant drugs. But in preventing my body from attacking itself, that means my immune system SUCKS. I doesn't fight much of anything - because it is intentionally suppressed. I seem to catch everything the kids catch/are exposed to. This past year has been worse than usual - I mean I got the stomach flu 3 times in 11 months! I'm glad there are effective drugs on the market now to treat RA, but gosh it sucks to be sick all the dang time. 

5. Let's end on a positive note, though! I'm grateful that my company has been understanding and has great policies in place around covid. Pre-covid, I would have gone to work on Tuesday morning because I didn't feel 'that bad' in the morning. But I went downhill fast and was so relieved I hadn't been in the office when I tested positive that afternoon. I'm grateful that Phil is healthy and has a strong immune system - he's taken the lead on parenting this week. I've been masking around Phil and the boys and have been sleeping in the basement in the hopes that they won't get covid, too. And I'm grateful that the weather is nice this weekend so we can be outside. That will certainly help my sanity. If this happened in the dead of winter when we were all cooped up indoors, it would be far more challenging. 

This was not exactly an uplifting post, but I'm just trying to keep it real around here. Getting covid sucks, but I'll recover and be just fine, thanks to vaccines and the antibody injection. So yay science! 

How is your week going? Hopefully it's been better than mine!

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Weekend Planning as a Parent

Late last month, the hosts of Best of Both Worlds discussed weekend plans on an episode. It made me think about how much my approach to weekends/what makes a good weekend has changed since becoming a parent. 

Pre-kids, I had a lot of social plans but I loved nothing more than a weekend with NO PLANS. But that is because I could then fill the weekend with anything I wanted to. Plus a plan-free weekend was such a rarity so it was extra enjoyable to have free reign on filling my weekend with what I wanted to do. I also had a tendency to say yes to way too much so that is another reason that a plan-free weekend was extra appealing. 

Now, as a mom of 2, my thoughts about a plan-free weekend have completely changed! A plan-free weekend can kind of fill me with a sense of, well, dread. It's sort of counterintuitive, but the less we have going on, the more exhausted we can feel by the end of the weekend. That is especially true when the weather was cold and we couldn't spend lots of time outdoor. The reason for the exhaustion is because it is very challenging to entertain 2 kids within the confines of our house - especially Will at 17 months. At this age, they get bored so quickly! 

The approach to weekend planning that has worked well for us is planning a few things that will take up some chunks of time and then filling in around those activities/outings. Now that weather has warmed up (finally!) it is easier to come up with ideas of things to do/places to go, and it's also easier to fill other gaps in time. So here are the big "place holders" in our schedule that I try to build around.

- On Saturday morning, I pretty much always start my day with a run with my neighbor as long as she isn't on call. We aim to start running around 7 so I can be back and showered so Phil can go grocery shopping when Aldi opens at 9. 

- On Sunday morning, I take Will to his 8:15 swimming lesson. We are usually home from this by 9:15. 

So that gives us 4 blocks to fill - Saturday from 9 until lunch, Saturday from post-nap until dinner, Sunday from 9:30 until lunch, and Sunday from post-nap until dinner. Having plans for all 4 blocks would probably be a lot - I think the sweet spot it one thing/day. 

This coming weekend is shaping up to be an ideal weekend. On Saturday morning, I am taking the boys to the Minnesota Zoo when I get back from my run. I got an annual membership to the zoo from my MIL for my birthday so am hoping to make the most of it by going about once a month. Then on Sunday after nap/quiet time, we are meeting up with another daycare family at a park at 3:30. Their oldest is in Paul's class and Will will join the toddler room that their youngest is in later this month. I've been pleasantly surprised to find that it's been pretty easy to make friends/parent connections with other families at daycare, especially as Paul has gotten older! I especially enjoy plans that involve another family as it gives me time to connect with another parent so "fills my cup," too.

I am most certainly the planner in my family so I do nearly all of the planning! During the activities I have planned this weekend, Phil will stay back and work on things around the house that are easier to do when the kids aren't around like yardwork. 

I imagine all of this will change when our kids are in activities! We'll be busy, but have less control over our weekend so I'm enjoying having control while I do. 

What does planning look like in your house? Do you like planned or unplanned weekends?

Friday, May 6, 2022


It's Friday! The sun is shining! Hurrah! Here's how my week shaped up.

The book I'm reading is Empire of Pain by Patrick Fadden Keefe which is about the Sackler Family, who own Purdue Pharma and played a very large part in the opioid epidemic. This book starts one generation back from the generation responsible for the opioid crisis. It shows that this family is full of truly awful people without a conscience or ability to discern right from wrong. Interestingly, going back a couple of generations, they were obsessed with passing along a good name - but they've clearly ruined their name by the unethical decisions that prioritized money over medical ethics. I highly recommend watching the show "Dopesick" on Hulu - I watched it with Phil this winter and it's so well-done. 

The high of my week was watching Will take his first steps the day he turned 17 months! He took some shaky steps in April, but now he is covering some distance so I think he'll be fully walking in the next couple of weeks. Our boys are such late walkers! They need to walk before moving into the toddler room at 18 months, so they have stressed me out as I really want them to move up to the next room. I'm glad I can stop worrying about Will walking by then! Here's a 5-second video of him taking some steps - he is clearly so proud of himself!

The low of my week was another week of back bedtimes for Paul. I am so ready for him to move up to the next classroom where the nap is shorter or more optional. We've pushed his bedtime back to 8-8:15 but will still end up sitting in a chair in his room for 45-60 minutes. That's how I get so much reading done - I am stranded in his room 3-4 nights a week for upwards of an hour, sometimes longer! Hopefully moving rooms will make a big difference. I really regret laying in the room with him until he fell asleep when we vacationed in AZ in February. Prior to that, he didn't realize having us sit there until he fell asleep was an option! 

A recipe I made was Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers with Asian Rice. Spring has finally arrived so we are back to using our grill again! 

A show I am watching is This is Us. I will be so sad when this show comes to an end. I cried at the end of this past week's episode. I can not tell you the last time I cried when watching a movie or tv show. It rarely happens so it's significant when a show makes me cry. I mostly blame the use of Billy Joel's somber song, "And So It Goes" which really contributed to the somberness of the episode's ending.

For workouts I did a martial arts style workout on Monday (workout 98 of 100 from the morning meltdown beach body program!!) and then walked with a neighbor/blog reader at lunchtime (Hi, Anne!), I ran on Wednesday and Thursday, and today I walked before logging into work. I'm planning to do my long run tomorrow with my neighbor and Sunday will be another rest day although I almost always hit 10k+ steps on weekend days since we are always out and about so it's more of an 'active rest' day!

The best money spent was on new running shoes! The ones I had were starting to fall apart so I was way overdue. When I put the new shoes on, I could not believe how cushy they felt! I bought them at a local running store close to our house. 

My plans this weekend include going out to dinner tonight with 2 college friends which means I will miss bedtime! Hooray!! I did an extra bedtime this week to make up for being gone so I've paid my dues! Tomorrow morning I will run with my neighbor and then we are meeting my second time mama group at a park at 9. I'm not sure what we will do on Sunday for Mother's Day - hopefully the weather will be nice so we can spend lots of time outdoors. My only real request is a blizzard from DQ! 

Bonus Kid Pics:

Laundry baskets are a great toy!

It's finally nice enough to play outside after work/dinner! Will is slowly figuring out how to use this little bike that Paul got at this age from my parents.

For Easter, my MIL got Paul a couple of dinosaur assembly kits that came in eggs. Paul had fun working on this and did really well with the screw driver. He is smiling with the cheesiest smile in the picture of the finished product! 

How was your week? Did you make any good recipes?

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

What We Read in April

April was a decent reading month for me. I read 8 books, evenly split between fiction and non-fiction. Year-to-date, non-fiction has accounted for about 40% of my reading and I think this has to be above average for me. I almost exclusively read ebooks from the library, so I read what is available, and much has been non-fiction so far this year. But I must be putting more non-fiction on my request list, too! 


My favorite non-fiction reads were The Anthropocene Reviewed (5 stars!) and The Gratitude Diaries. I listened to The Anthropocene Reviewed and it was really delightful. It's a collection of essays about a random assortment of topics and he concludes each essay by rating what he talked about. The reason for that is that he talks about how recent a phenomenon the 5-star rating scale is. If I remember correctly, it became popular when amazon came on the scene. I ended up telling Phil about a lot of the various essays since he shares a lot of really interesting nuggets of information in an engaging manner. I appreciated the perspective of The Gratitude Diaries, which is a memoir about the author's year spent focusing on gratitude. It inspired me to start a gratitude practice but I haven't quite decided what exactly I will do but it will probably be done in my Wonderland222 planner.


I'll start off by saying I HATED "Matrix" by Lauren Groff. I loved her previous novel, "Fates and Furies," so I thought I might like this. But I didn't. I slogged through it because it is a book club book and I try my best to finish book club books so I can be part of the discussion. I was glad this book was short (it was less than 300pgs). My best fiction read of the month was "One Two Three." It has Erin Brokovitch vibes because it's about a family living in a town where a corporation has polluted the water and it has resulted in many health problems for the town's residents. It's told by triplet sisters. I loved the author's previous book "This Is How It Always Is." It would be hard to replicate the magic of that book, but this book was also excellent so I will read more by this author (Laurie Frankel).

Paul's Reads:

These were the hits of the past month. "Delicious" and "A Pipkin of Pepper" are follow-ups to "Pumpkin Soup" which is a much-loved book in our house. Both of the follow-ups were excellent and were read multiple times! "The Rabbit Listened" and "Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend" were very sweet books written by a local author. The Rabbit Listened is about how to support someone who is having a bad day, and Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend! Is about endings and beginnings. Anatole was my personal favorite. It has Ratatouille vibes as it's about a mouse living in Paris. It was delightful!

What did you read this month? 

Monday, May 2, 2022

A Run Down Memory Lane

Last Thursday, I left work at 3pm so I could fit a workout in. It wasn't exactly a "nice" day but I knew I'd enjoy a run outside way more than a run on the gym "dreadmill." My plan is to try to workout at 3pm one day/week to help me hit my goal of 4 workouts/week. I haven't ran in this area of Minneapolis in a very long time. My last run down there might have even been the morning of my wedding almost 5 years ago when I ran a very similar loop with my sister - on a similarly cold day! 

When I met Phil back in the fall of 2012, I was living in on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, along the Mississippi River. It is one of my favorite areas of Minneapolis, but an area I did not really know much about until I rented a condo there. I had moved into a condo in the summer of 2011. Prior to that, I was living in a condo that I owned in the suburbs of Minneapolis. And I HATED it. When I bought in 2005, the only place I could afford was the suburbs. Then the market tanked in 2008-2009 and I was stuck out there. Then in February of 2011, I took a trip to Paris for my 40th birthday (which you could read about on my Paris blog that's been dormant since my last trip to Paris in 2013). I stayed in a charming apartment in the Marais area of Paris and came back wishing my life looked more like my vacation life did. So after much thought and some research, I decided to rent out my suburban condo and move into a condo rental in the Mill City area of Minneapolis. 

The condo building where I lived!

I ended up living there from summer 2011 until I was relocated to Charlotte in 2013 for a job (I met Phil in October and found out I had to move in January... it was a tough thing to go through). I spent 1 year in Charlotte and then moved back to Minneapolis in May 2014 and back into this building. In total, I lived in 3 condos in this building - my first faced downtown and my next 2 faced the river, which I much preferred. 

It was an amazing place to live for this period of my life, especially as a runner. I lived at the base of a pedestrian bridge and could run for miles along the river. 

This is the end of the pedestrian bridge - you can see my condo building (brown building) is right by this bridge)

I wonder how many times I crossed this bridge while living in that condo building. At one point, I had a friend that lived in a condo building that was at the base of the other side of the pedestrian bridge so I have memories of walking across to spend time with her. 

The Stone Arch Bridge
When you run across that pedestrian bridge, you see the beautiful St. Anthony Falls. Of course this picture doesn't do it justice! 

St. Anthony Falls

On the other side of the river from where I lived is the church where Phil and I got married. That's the church I've been taking Paul to this spring. It's a good 20 minutes from where we live so not very convenient, but I love the vibe of that parish so have remained a member there. 

I lived in this area of Minneapolis until May of 2016 when I moved into Phil's house in south Minneapolis. Funny story - I moved in on Friday and then had hip surgery to repair a labral tear the following Monday. Boy was that trial by fire to see if we could live together! We got engaged that December so getting a sneak peak of me being completely reliant on him didn't scare him off. ;) But I wouldn't recommend having a a painful surgery that requires using crutches for 3 weeks right after moving in with someone!

So do I miss living in this area of Minneapolis? Honestly, not really. It was great for that stage of my life, but it was really hard to host people at my condo since parking was so difficult. There were some guest parking spots in the parking garage but it was tough to get a spot. It's much easier to host friends living where we do now as there is ample street parking. Plus I still do most of my runs by the water since we live close to a creek and Lake Harriet. And overall, I much prefer living in a house versus sharing walls with someone in a condo building. But I am glad I had the opportunity to live there and will also fondly remember the years I spent living there in the early- to mid-2010s! And I'm happy that I'm back to running so I can run down memory lane on days I work out after work!

Is there an area of your city that brings back memories for you?