Friday, September 29, 2023

TGIF + Elisabeth is Back!

First off - I know many of you read Elisabeth's blog and had noticed it disappeared. This was unintentional and due to a server being deleted!! But she's BACK - check her out at her new home, Optimistic Musings of a Pessimist

Happy Friday! It's the most cliche thing to say but can you believe September is almost over? August kind of felt like the longest month for a number of reasons but September has sped by between Paul starting school and me onboarding a new employee! Here's a TGIF-style recap of my week!

The book I am reading this week is Go As a River by Shelley Read. This book is SO GOOD. I think I heard about it on the "From the Front Porch" podcast. It's historical fiction set in Colorado; the novel starts in the 1940s and then we follow the main character, Victoria, over a number of years as she weathers hardships and heart breaks. It's beautifully written and oh so good. 

The high of my week was having a great week of training with my new hire. He is picking things up so quickly and he's such of a breath of fresh air since he's very positive and excited about his role. I'm so glad I will have someone to share my workload with. While he reports to me, I think of him more someone I want to develop into a partner that I can divide and conquer with. 

The low of my week was just kind of feeling off? I had low grade nausea/no appetite for several days and also have a kind of low grade respiratory virus. I don't feel awful but I don't feel great. And for anyone whose ears pricked up at the mention of nausea I'm DEFINITELY not pregnant. ;) My covid test was negative so it's probably just all the germs circulating with kids back in school. 

A show we are watching is still the latest season of Alone on Netflix. We will finish it this weekend. We only watch 30 minutes of a show each night before I go up to bed to read so it takes us a LONG time to work through shows. Next we plan on watching the latest season of Only Murders in the Building. 

For workouts I have done nothing since running on Sunday morning. I plan to do a Caroline Girvan strength training workout this morning and will hopefully run on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The best money spent was on flights for our spring trip to Destin, FL in April! Paul's spring break falls during Phil's busiest week of work so we absolutely cannot travel that week. So we are going the week after his spring break. I have some guilt about pulling my child out of school for travel but I figure it's not a big deal at his age (and I know Kae will tell me NOT to worry about it as they've had to do the same with their kids). The flights were shockingly cheap since we aren’t going a bit after most schools’ spring breaks - we paid only $300/ticket for a direct flight! I can't even fly to Chicago that cheaply most of the time. My parents are also coming with us - they love to travel with us and it's nice to have their company/help. Next we need to book accommodations so let me know if anyone has suggestions about what area to stay in the Destin area! We just want to be able to walk out our door to the beach. 

My plans this weekend include a decent amount. After school today, Paul has a playdate with one of his buddies from daycare. They haven't seen each other in 3 months so he's very excited to hang at a park with his friend! On Saturday we'll have our usual library and gymnastics combo and then Phil is taking Paul out to his friend who lives on a lake. Phil is helping them take their docks and lifts out and then they'll go to Phil's mom's house after to help her with a few things/have dinner. I'll stay back with Taco. Sunday morning is the Twin Cities Marathon! We can easily walk to a spot to spectate so I'm hoping to do that. I feel bad for the poor runners. The low that day is 68 and the high is 84. THAT IS NOT NORMAL FOR OCTOBER IN MINNESOTA. My first marathon which was the Twin Cities marathon in 2006 was a HOT marathon. It was around 80 when I finished and it was a slog at the end. You just never know what kind of wildcard you'll get at a marathon, but you can usually count on cooler temps than this in October! On Sunday afternoon we are getting together with my retired former coworker and his family at their home. 

Bonus pics of the boys:

Emo toddler photo of the week.

Sassy Paul with our neighborhood geese. We haven’t seen them for months because there is always a big tantrum when it’s time to leave (there are a bunch of toys for kids to play with). But last night I was solo parenting while Phil golfed so I was happy to let them play with the toys for 30+ minutes and they were cooperative about leaving. 

Happily playing with the geese house toys!

How was your week? Did September fly by for you?

Monday, September 25, 2023

Weather Privilege + Weekend Highlights

We have entered the season of the year where us Midwesterners have a lot of weather privilege! The temps are perfect and the fall colors are gorgeous! Here are some photos from my run on Saturday morning! 

Peaks of fall colors around Lake Harriet

But our period of weather privilege will be pretty short-lived and then I will be envious of those living further south. In the mean time, I am soaking up the fall weather and appreciating the gorgeous fall views! 

We had a nice weekend. It kicked off with a birthday party at a park for one of our best friends. Some of the adults played pickle balls and the kids played at a great park. There were lots of families from our former daycare so Paul in particular had lots of buddies to hang out with. 

Paul living his best life - and look, he’s wearing his glasses!

We hit up another park on Saturday before a rain storm moved in. 

Swimming lessons went well on Sunday. Paul is making progress and doing more and more in class. I feel like we will repeat this level several times but that’s ok. We celebrated a successful lesson with a macaron. You know mom is a Francophile when your 5.5 year old a) knows what a macaron is and b) pronounces it correctly! 

Later that day, Taco and I played My First Orchard Game, which we call ‘the raven game’. We’ve tried before and he wasn’t ready but this time it took and we played 5 games! It makes me wonder if Taco is color blind. We also wonder if Paul is color blind. My dad is color blind so boys have a 50/50 chance of color blindness. They tried testing Paul at his optometrist appointment but the results were inconclusive which is common at his age.

We also got lots of rain this weekend which we desperately needed! 

As the weekend came to an end, Phil started to feel nauseated and not well. Le sigh. I thought we were out of the danger zone of this stomach bug. Fingers crossed I stay healthy. 

How was your weekend? What is the weather like where you live?

Friday, September 22, 2023


Happy Friday! This week flew by since I was in New Jersey for work. I hadn't traveled for work in 2 months so this trip kind of wore me out! Here is how the week shaped up.

The books I am reading this week are Under The Skin by Linda Villarosa and Late Bloomers by Deepa Varadarajan. I usually do not read 2 books at the same time but I can only read one chapter a day of Under the Skin, which is about the difference in healthcare treatment/outcomes of Black Americans. It is so sad and heavy so a chapter/day is all I can handle. This is our September book club book which we'll discuss next week. Late Bloomers is pretty easy/breezy. It's about an Indian couple who have divorced and are both dating for the first time in their lives since they had an arranged marriage. It's a bit over-the-top at times in terms of drama but overall it's a nice break from the heaviness of my non-fiction read.

The high of my week was meeting Daria in person! I mentioned in a comment that I was coming to New Jersey and where I'd be staying and it happened to be pretty close to where she lives so we met up for some wine on Wednesday night. We failed to take a picture as we were too busy getting to know each other. It's always delightful to meet a blogger in person - they are exactly as you'd expect them to be from reading their blog. I had mentioned to the sales person I was traveling with that I was meeting a friend for wine on Wednesday and she of course asked how I knew someone in NJ so I had to explain about how I have a blog, etc etc. (Hi Gia, if you are reading this!). I really love how blogging has allowed me to meet so many cool people!

The low of my week was dealing with kid illnesses. Paul was COMPLETELY healthy on Sunday and then Monday morning, his GI bug resurfaced. Le sigh. The same thing happened to him around when he turned 4. He got 2 rounds of a GI bug with a day of health in between. It's so odd. I emailed his pediatrician just to make sure we shouldn't be concerned and it sounded like this is just what viruses do these days. 

A show we are watching is the latest season of Alone on Netflix. On my own, I am slowly working my way through the 3rd season of Sweet Magnolia on Netflix. When I say slowly working my way through it, I mean I watch for 10 minutes while Phil is doing Paul's bedtime and then promptly shut it off when he comes down because it is so not his thing. 

For workouts I did a Caroline Girvan (CG) strength training workout on Monday when Paul was home sick with me since he was happy to be on his iPad in his bedroom. I did a body weight lower body strength training workout in my hotel room on Wednesday and ran on the treadmill on Thursday (and then forgot to end the workout on my apple watch so my pace looks horrific but oh well). Today I will do another CG workout and then will run on Sat and Sun. I haven't ran outside in 2 weeks!

The best money spent was on registration for a 10k on Thanksgiving Day at the lake by our house. When my family decided to celebrate Thanksgiving at my brother's house in the Minneapolis suburbs, I nearly immediately signed up for this race! So I will get in a 10k race which was one of my goals for 2023. It won't be fast and that's FINE. 

My plans this weekend include not much. We are going to the birthday gathering for a good friend tonight. Saturday we will do the library and gymnastics. We have no plans on Sunday. If Taco continues to be healthy, Phil will take one of the boys out to his mom's for the afternoon one of the days.The weather is looking pretty great for the weekend - temps in the 70s! I'll take it! 

How was your week? 

Monday, September 18, 2023

School Sickies Already

9 days into the school year and we got hit with our first bug. Le sigh. Paul woke me from a deep sleep at midnight on Friday night saying he thought he was getting sick. In my disoriented, exhausted state I didn’t ask any details. I assumed he meant he was getting a cold so I just tucked him back into bed and told him his body needed sleep to fight the germs. I regretted not asking what he meant by ‘getting sick’ when he woke at 5 to tell us he had thrown up in his bed. Gah. We got him bathed, changed his bedding and got him back to bed and laid down for a bit. I didn’t really fall back to sleep after that and Taco was up at 6:30. 

The day wasn’t all bad, though.

- Phil still golfed with our friends and their team won the charity tournament so he came home with some bottles of wine that they won. We rescheduled the get together at their house for the end of the month.

- Paul stayed in his room all morning with his iPad so I just had to check in on him while watching Taco. I was able to get a Caroline Girvan workout in while Taco played with toys in the basement. I did the 9th workout in her Epic Heat series. I had done the 8th workout on Friday and both had lots of Bulgarian lunges and squats so I was sore afterwards but a good kind of sore. 

- I also cleaned our kitchen while Taco played with kitchen toys. There’s nothing like a stomach bug to bring out the ‘disinfect everything’ vibe!!! 

- Phil took Taco for a 2 hour walk/adventure in the neighborhood in the afternoon while I kept an eye on Paul and did some decluttering/boxing up of things the boys don’t play with anymore. Taco seems to smile better when Phil takes photos! 

Throwing rocks at Lake Harriet!

- Not so good: That night Phil and I watched an episode of the latest season of Alone and one of the contestant threw up on camera repeatedly and I about lost it. I can handle blood and gore. For example, I find the live photos from my c-sections that the nurse anesthetist took incredibly fascinating and they don’t phase me in the least. Seeing someone puke? HARD PASS. 

Sunday was much better. Paul felt bad to his normal self. Phew.

- I woke up on my own at 6 feeling fully rested! I got the boys breakfast and then we snuggled up on the couch to watch Ratatouille, my favorite Pixar film! 

Of course Taco would not smile. Ha.

- I went to outdoor yoga at a brewery (Utepils) at 10 and then my friend and I stayed for our free drink. She had a beer, I had a hard seltzer. The weather was sunny and gorgeous! I hadn’t done a yoga class since a prenatal class when I was pregnant with Paul so I was very overdue! The class felt so good since I was still very sore from the CG workouts! 

- Paul’s swimming lesson was at 1:15. He’s making progress but it’s painstakingly slow progress. Luckily the other kid in his class is similarly terrified of the water. 

Holding on for dear life with his sweet, patient teacher!

- We ended our full day at the birthday party of the daughter of Phil’s HS friend. The weather was absolutely perfect! 

Taco was very interested in the birthday girl’s gifts

Stomach flu aside, it was a good weekend. How was yours? If you have kids in school, are you all staying healthy?

Friday, September 15, 2023

5 Things Friday (mostly about work)

I made it through our first full week of work in quite some time! Here are 5 things on my mind.

1. Work has been BANANAS. I'm back to a very full calendar. Here's a screen shot of  my calendar this week. Red meetings are client meetings, so I have fewer of those than last spring when I could have 25+ client meetings in a week. But it's still a lot on top of other meetings plus I am trying to train my new hire at the same time. He's quickly seeing how busy I am and how desperate I have been for help! Some days I had to eat lunch at 10:15-10:30 because it was the only time I could squeeze it in before calls. Nearly all meetings are with camera on so I can't eat lunch during the meeting. I did discretely snack on some grapes during an afternoon call with colleagues as I really needed a snack. But eating grapes is a bit different than eating a salad!

2. Speaking of my new hire, he is AWESOME. He's super energetic, engaged and excited. I feel very very good about my hiring decision and hope and pray that he is as happy here as I have been and doesn't go anywhere! He's based in another city but was here Mon-Thur of this week and will be back the last week of the month. And then I will see him in late October and he'll probably come back in November. He's is happy to travel here if need be. Training someone in person versus over zoom is SO MUCH BETTER. 

3. I'm traveling next week for the first time since the 3rd week of July! I'll be in New Jersey Tuesday through Thursday of next week. The sales person I was going to travel with had something come up at the last minute so I'll be traveling with someone different on Tues/Thur and will do the Wednesday meetings on my own, but it should be fine. I don't have a crazy number of meetings and it looks like the meetings are fairly close together geographically. My company is coming down hard on the in-office requirement. The target has been 3 days/week for the past year but I didn't have to "make up” days if I had to stay home for a doctor's appointment. But if I'm in 2 days in a week, I need to come in for 4 to make up for that shorter week. I'll be curious how my travel gets factored in, though; it sounds like the company can use my corporate credit card usage to figure out when I am traveling and bake that into my average. My boss has told me I'm marked as a traveler so my average is kind of irrelevant and supposedly isn't included when the company calculates the overall average for the firm. I just don't want them to change the in-office requirement to 4 or 5 days. I selfishly really need those 2 days at home to get workouts in! And I am probably even more productive at home than in the office so everybody wins! 

4. Speaking of workouts, they've been pretty atrocious lately. I've been so busy with work and back-to-school so am just barely getting in 2-3 workouts each week. I'm reminding myself that this is a stage of life and eventually I'll get back to more consistent workouts. 

5. Shifting to something fun, we have a great weekend on deck and I am hopeful the kids are adjusting to their new schools and are a bit less volatile?? Phil is golfing with  my retired colleague and his wife tomorrow morning at a charity event and then the boys and I will meet them at the couple's house for lunch so they can see the boys. On Sunday morning I am going to yoga at a brewery with my friend and her husband where I imagine they will enjoy a post-yoga pint (I won’t because beer has gluten and I found it disgusting even before I found out about my gluten intolerance!!) Sunday afternoon, we are going to a birthday party for the daughter of one of Phil's college friends. The weekend weather forecast look awesome - lows in the 50s overnight, highs in the low 70s during the day. This is my kind of fall weather!!

Bonus Taco update/pics!

Taco is adjusting better to the new daycare. He doesn't cry at drop off anymore which is HUGE! He cried all summer at his old daycare once Paul moved to the public school program. I didn't think too much of it as change is hard but it's a good sign that he shifted to not crying in a matter of weeks at the new place! This daycare just opened in May and enrollment is slowly growing so it’s way quieter than our last place and he has fewer teachers to get to know. So overall it’s been a great change. He's still stoic when getting his picture taken, though.

He's very serious about going to the park.

He figured out the scooter on day 2. He might be our athlete. He pushes the scooter with his left foot - maybe he will be left handed?

How was your week? 

Monday, September 11, 2023

Weekend Highs and Lows

We had a fun, full weekend! Here are some highs and lows. The weekend was a bit of a mixed bag. Saturday was great, Sunday was not. 


- On Friday night, we got together with some of Phil’s college friends to celebrate a birthday. It was a beautiful fall night - in the low 70s so about 30 degrees cooler than the previous weekend!

- I ran 4 miles in nice, cool fall temps on sat and sun mornings!

- I was exhausted from a busy and intense week at work plus the rough night of sleep on Friday night so I napped for over an hour on Saturday. It was delightful. 

- We had our annual block party on Saturday afternoon/evening. It’s a great way to see a bunch of our neighbors and reconnect. Taco is continuing to get more comfortable around dogs (NGS, I thought of you as I know you’ve been happy that he’s overcoming his fear of dogs)! He got to give the dog some treats.


- Friday night was not a great night of sleep. Taco must have had a bad dream so required some comforting around 12:30 and then Paul was up for the day at 5:45. Isn’t he supposed to be super tired after his first few days of Kindergarten!? ;)

- I had to write the content for my firm’s fixed income weekly. I usually just pull the data but had to do the writing since our strategist is on vacation. It took me so long as I obsess over what to write, do a lot of research before I can start writing, and I don’t have any expertise in one of the sectors (emerging market debt). I’ll have to write it again in late October. Years ago, I used to write the commentary every Monday but got rid of that task when we merged with a subsidiary - and right around when we shifted to writing it over the weekend so it can go out early on Monday morning. I’m glad I don’t have to write it often! If you want to read it to get a sense of what I do, send me an email or include your email address in the comments (if one isn’t associated with your profile).

- The wheels really fell off on Sunday when we had one of our worst days of parenting in a long time. I am sure it’s the result of all the change in routine for the boys but oof that does not make it any easier. We couldn’t go to the farmer’s market/park since both boys were acting out and then taco refused to nap and was in a horrible, combative mood for the rest of the day. Funnily, on Sunday morning before both kids were up (Paul slept until 6:45, Taco until 7), I was thinking - maybe weekends are returning to being restorative. NOPE. 


- Paul had his first swimming lesson of the fall quarter. Long time readers may recall that he refused to get in the pool for lessons in the summer of 2021 after a prolonged break from lessons during Covid. So we took a long break and waited for him to show more interest in swimming before re-enrolling. The lesson went so so. He got in the pool but wouldn’t do a couple of things. Could have been worse, could have been better. His teacher said he did great considering his intense fear of the water when he’s not wearing a life jacket. I had talked to a manager when we did a trial lesson in August and she said we are at the point where we have to put up with some resistance (read: screaming and crying). He absolutely has to learn to swim so we will just have to power through the resistance. We got macarons at a bakery afterwards to celebrate the start of swimming lessons. 

Not really a thumbs up and a pretty stoic expression. That about sums up the first swimming lesson. 

What were the highs and lows of your weekend?

Friday, September 8, 2023

Virtual Coffee Date

It's been awhile since I've done a coffee date kind of post. So settle in, grab your favorite warm beverage, and let's catch up. 

If we were having coffee today...

- I'd of course have to start off by talking about Paul starting kindergarten this week! Yesterday was his first day and he was SO excited. I would also probably talk about the complicated feelings I have around him starting kindergarten which is mostly related to how others think I might feel. I can't tell you how many people have asked, with concerned looks/tones, how I feel about Paul starting kindergarten. I know they are well-meaning questions and I understand that kindergarten is a big milestone but we are so excited about it. I loved school, I know he will love school, and he is very ready for this next step. Admittedly, I am not a very emotional person... That might sound like a bad thing but it's just how I am built and probably why I fit in so well in the male-dominated industry of asset management. But I almost feel bad that I don't feel more sad. Am I missing some crucial gene that all moms should have? This is not to say that I will never feel sad or mourn the end of a stage of parenting, but I am not very sad to be one step closer to leaving the baby/toddler/young kid stage behind. Those stages have their perks, but overall they were very challenging stages for me. So give me the elementary school years! Interestingly, barely anyone has asked Phil how he feels about Paul starting kindergarten so there is certainly a gendered expectation that mom will feel sad/cry and dad will be fine. And I not casting shade at moms who ARE sad and emotional and cried when their child started K. Everyone has a right to feel the way they feel, but I wish I wasn't feeling such pressure to feel sad, if that makes sense. Parenting is complicated. 

I was surprised he said he wants to be an engineer!

- I'd tell you I have fall on the brain even though fall doesn't technically start for several weeks. I bought the boys' Halloween costumes a couple of weeks ago at Once Upon a Child. Paul was with me so he picked out a Spiderman costume for himself and Marshall the fire pup from Paw Patrol for Will. Will's costume is borderline too small but oh well! He's very excited about it. Besides buying their Halloween costumes, I also bought tickets for Paul and me for our zoo's "jack-o-lantern spectacular" event. We went last year and it was amazing so we decided to go again. Fall is such a fun season so I am VERY excited about it! And I'm also very ready for cool, crisp temps after a very hot summer! 

- I'd tell you Paul was with me that day because we decided to go to an optical store and order different glasses for him. We could not get him to wear the cheaper Zenni ones we had bought earlier in the summer. I told him he ABSOLUTELY has to wear these every day when school starts and I've told his teacher that he needs to wear his glasses. He didn't pick out the pair I wanted him to pick out but these do seem to fit him better. There is no way he will be able to see the white board in the classroom without glasses so hopefully that motivates him to keep them on. 

- I'd tell you that Taco seems to be adjusting pretty well to his new daycare. Drop off is rough but it was rough once Paul stopped going to daycare with him. Our new daycare has an ap where they post pictures throughout the day so it's nice to see that he's happy/thriving. He is always happy and having fun when pick him up so hopefully the crying/screaming drop offs will come to an end soon...

- I couldn't end the conversation without talking about what we are both reading! I'd tell you that I finished "All That is Mine I Carry With Me" last night, which is by the author of "Defending Jacob." I really enjoyed the book but wow, the title is way too long. The author is an attorney-turned-writer. The book is such a page turner! I've been staying up past my bedtime because I can't put it down and then I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I tried to fall asleep! When the book opens, a mother goes missing and her husband, a defense attorney, is the suspected killer. It's told from 4 different view points. 

If we were having coffee or tea today, what would you tell me? 

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Long weekend recap

We had a really nice long weekend up at my parents! It was a HOT weekend so the lake was the place to be! Taco and I hit the road around 7 on Friday and were at my parents by 9:45. It was probably the best drive I’ve had with Taco because he was entertained by watching little baby bum on my work phone for 70 minutes! Everyone is very enamored by my 3-month old niece, baby Amelia, who goes by Millie! She’s getting lots of attention from all of us. 

The excitement of the day was when my nephew and his friend caught a 42” Muskie! There is a Muskie that has hung out under my parents dock for years and they finally hooked him (and released him after taking some photos). 

That night we went to a pizza place that has lots of toys for kids in their gravel/sand pit. My kids came home filthy and covered with gravel dust but they were so entertained so it was worth it!

The boys slept until 7 the next day!! I ran 3 sweaty, humid miles and then we hit the beach/water. 

The main event on Saturday was Millie’s baptism. 

Taco was not into the cousin picture, surprise surprise.

He was happier later while eating a popsicle. This was a rare smile caught on camera! 

I enjoyed some baby cuddles that day, too. I’m happy to cuddle a baby - and then hand the baby back! 

That night, I took out a photo album to show Paul some pics of me when I was a little girl. It made me realize that Taco resembles me. 

I appeared to be team no smile for posed photography

What do you think? 

Sunday was a repeat of Saturday - the boys slept until 7 again and I fit in a hot, sweaty run. Then it was more family and beach time. I was able to lay down and read/snooze for a bit during Taco’s nap which was lovely. 

We hit the road just before 9 on Monday morning after saying goodbye to everyone! 

Hugging cousin Maddy.

Traffic was light which was a wonderful surprise! 

This is a big week as Paul starts Kindergarten on Thursday. Phil and I have busy days at work so my MIL is watching Paul for the next 2 days. My new hire starts today so it’s a big week, but a routine is in sight for us!

How was your weekend?