Monday, February 26, 2024

Weekend Highs

This was a weird weekend since we stayed close to home while trying to potty train Taco. We had mixed success…we learned he is VERY good at holding his pee but he has not figured out how to release it into the potty. So the sequence was hold pee for HOURS followed by a big accident. This may be TMI but he did poop in the potty on Saturday and Sunday so at least we had some success. I knew that it would be very hard to potty train Taco since he is very strong willed. So we will keep working on it. 

But we did have some highlights despite the frustrating potty training experience!

- We had friends over on Saturday night (we put Taco in a pull-up while they were there as we didn’t want to deal with accidents while hosting friends - I know it’s probably not optimal to do that when focusing on potty training but we rarely see these friends and didn’t want to not have them over just because we were potty training). Their son turns 3 this month so he’s close in age to Taco. We hadn’t seen them since September so it was great to catch up! We don’t have guests over often so when we do the boys get SO EXCITED and SO WILD. But so it goes. We grilled ahi tuna steaks for the adults which I served with an asian-flavored rice and roasted asparagus + ice cream for dessert. The kids ate something different. The boys went to bed happy and exhausted. 

- I did a great Iron CG workout on Saturday (and realized over halfway through that I hadn’t started my Apple Watch fitness tracker… sigh. If my watch didn’t track the workout, did it even happen?). On Sunday I went for a nice 3 mile run in sunshine and mild temps (30s which is nice for us in February). 

- Paul had a great swimming lesson on Sunday! He has made so much progress during the winter session. This time the teacher got him to put his face in the water more and at the end of the lesson he was willingly dunking his head. 

- My heart about burst to see Paul reading this book on his own (Dogman, which he loves). It’s amazing how his reading abilities have taken off!

- I planned Paul’s bday party (he turns 6 on Friday). He’s going to have 5 friends from school over in mid-March. They will assemble a LEGO set and have birthday treats. I said no presents please - I hope people comply (he gets enough presents from family). And their favor will be the LEGO set they assemble. He’s very excited and so far 4/5 have said yes! 

Honestly the weekend felt like quite a bummer with the lack of potty training progress so it was a good exercise to look for the highlights! 

What were some of the highs of your weekend?

Friday, February 23, 2024

5 things Friday

Oh it’s Friday, you say? I am so messed up on days of the week what with having Monday off, flying out Tuesday morning and flying back late (for me) last night. What time zone is this even? So this is my scatter-brained 5 things Friday. 

1. SC/NC. I was in Greenville, SC and Charlotte, NC this week for client meetings. Greenville was such a cute city with a great running path along the river. I got in before it got dark so was able to go for a nice walk. 

2. Shadow self. Longtime readers will recall that I lived in Charlotte for a year 10 years ago. It’s always a little weird to come back to Charlotte. That was a really painful year for me (I had just met Phil 2 months before I found out I had to move to keep my job, he lost his dad that year, and I was diagnosed with RA, among other challenges). The city has changed so much so it feels very different as I walked around, but I can’t not think about my shadow self - the Lisa of 2013-2014 who was just so sad and kind of broken - mentally (Phil and I broke up since the relationship was too new to shift to long distance, I was lonely and did not want to live in Charlotte) and physically (I was in so much pain from RA - before my diagnosis I thought maybe I had bone cancer or something!). I wish I could give 2013-2014 Lisa a hug and tell her that it’s all going to work out - she’ll eventually end up back in Minneapolis, married to Phil with 2 beautiful children. 

3. Travels. Well I am NOT holding the boundary well on traveling about once/month seeing as I have 9 work trips scheduled over about 5 months in the first half of the year. And I have even said no to at least 3 additional requests to travel. I don’t know what to do about this. But it’s kind of part of my job and I’m compensated well for the inconvenience of lots of travel. But wow, the mom guilt I feel… and the general level of exhaustion!

4. Husband of the year. Speaking of which, Phil deserves a prize for a) researching activities for Paul and b) signing him up for said activities (tee ball and golf). I did nothing. I feel some guilt but then a good friend reminded me that she has researched and registered her kids for all of their activities for the last 15 years and she is fairly certain her husband has felt no guilt over this… so there’s that. But I am excited to expose Paul to a couple of new things! He will take a break from karate while trying these new sports this spring and will also take a break from swimming over the summer. So his schedule won’t be too packed.

5. Potty training. I mean we don’t have much going on these days so why not try a potty training boot camp this weekend (insert maniacal laugh). Paul potty trained 1 month after turning 3 (after a horrific failed attempt at 2 at the start of the pandemic - because potty training while isolating and freaking out about a pandemic seemed like a GREAT combo… reader, it wasn’t). So in my mind Taco is ready since he is 3 years and 3 months and seems like the kind of kid that needs a full on boot camp. I will report back on how it goes (please, God, let it be successful. We are so over diapers!!). 

How was your week? Is there a younger version of yourself that you wish you could travel back to so you can tell her everything will be ok?

Monday, February 19, 2024

Change of scenery!

We finally managed to visit my parents! It took 3 attempts but the 3rd time was the charm. We had an awesome visit. My mom is such a great cook and always feeds us so so well! Friday night we had salmon, asparagus and baked potatoes. Saturday morning she made a delicious egg bake, then for lunch we had a yummy soup with ground turkey and lots of veggies, then chips, homemade guac, and salsa for an afternoon snack, and then roasted chicken, smashed potatoes and green beans for dinner with homemade ice cream for dessert. She is totally in her prime when hosting people as she loves spoiling her family with delicious meals. And we are happy to be on the receiving end! 

My 100yo grandma lives about an hour from my parents so I went to see her on Saturday morning with my dad. She had a terrible stomach bug that landed her in the hospital in January but she has somehow bounced back. Every time I see her I know it might be the last so I am grateful for every visit. She is so very ready to pass away, though, especially since her macular degeneration makes it impossible to do any of her hobbies like read, play scrabble or crochet. There is such a thing as living too long. 

But back to the more uplifting part of the weekend! The adults played cards (cribbage during the day and rummy after the kids were in bed) and the kids enjoyed playing with toys and games during the day, and being read to. Phil and I took on my dad and Paul in Trivial Pursuit Junior and just barely won. Paul read all of the questions for his team and barely needed any help!

The lure of the lake home in the winter is all the pampering and family time but the boys went outside both days and walked on the frozen lake with daddy. 

We came back on Sunday afternoon so we’d have Monday to prepare for the week ahead (we almost always come back the day before we have to go back to work so we can get groceries, do laundry, etc). Phil and I have the day off today and Paul doesn’t have school, but Taco does. Then tomorrow I fly out for a trip to SC/NC. 

Is this a long weekend for you? 

Friday, February 16, 2024

5 Things Friday!

Whew, it was another jammed week! And - fingers crossed - we will be heading to my parents after work today. This is our 3rd attempt to visit them (prior 2 planned visits were foiled by dangerously cold temps and kid illness) so hopefully the 3rd time’s the charm! Here are 5 things on my mind today!

1. Snow! We finally got a decent amount of snow! We got about 7" the night of Valentine's Day. So Phil got to use our snow blower for the first time and we got to reap the benefits of our first 4WD vehicle. We have joked that it's our fault we've gotten so little snow because a) Phil took our snow blower in for a tune-up in the fall and b) we finally bought a 4WD vehicle (first in our lives for either of us - we've always been team sedan previously). The boys were very excited and it does make the world prettier! And it was pretty much business as usual on Thursday morning because Midwestern cities can easily handle 7" of snow without school cancellations and such. 

Winter wonderland vibes at our house

Pic from daycare. So much snow which he’s so happy about!

2. Valentine's Day! The boys both enjoyed the holiday. They both did fun activities in school and Taco in particular looked cute with the little headband he made in class. The valentines I had made at the library event were in the backpack that got left at my MIL's on Sunday, so I had to make them again w/ our extremely limited craft supplies. The boys still seemed to like them even though they were way less cool than the ones I made at the library!

Math major mom trying to be crafty with limited success. Paul did appreciate that I wrote 'we love you to pluto and back!' inside. Yes the kitchen island in the background is a bit of a disaster.

Cutie patootie in his V-day headband!

3. Laziness. A local friend that I used to run with posted on her blog about a remote control that turns the pages of her kindle and I could not get on the Amazon website fast enough to buy one for myself! I do a lot of kindle reading in my bed and don't love that the hand that I use to turn the pages gets so cold in the winter. Now I don't need to have my hands out of the covers. Yes this is peak laziness but oh well. I'm a naturally cold person as it is so I appreciate being able to keep my hands warm! So I prop my kindle up with the blankets/comforter on our bed and my hands stay toasty warm under the blankets. 

4. New show! Phil and I started a new show this week - Mr. and Mrs. Smith on Prime. Most of the episodes are 45 minutes long which is the perfect length for us. I was motivated to watch it after it was raved about on The Popcast recently. It’s nice to have a show that we both enjoy that isn’t a documentary for a change!

5. Good luck Jenny and SHU!  Jenny is running a 50 mile (!!) race this weekend!! I am sending her the very best wishes! And SHU is racing a half marathon! Her training cycle has been so strong so I can’t wait to see how the race goes. Best wishes to these 2 Florida runners! 

How was your week? Did you do anything special for Valentine’s Day? Phil picked up take out from a local place in our neighborhood. After working in a restaurant all through college, a restaurant is the last place I want to be on Valentine’s Day! 

Monday, February 12, 2024

A Fun February Weekend

I’ve been vocal about February not being my favorite month (because winter) but this was a pretty great/fun weekend. Here’s how we filled it. 

- I squeezed a workout in after work on Friday - the final Epic Heat Caroline Girvan workout. It was an ‘EMOM’ which means every minute on the minute. She had you do a combo of 3-4 moves x 10 and there were 3 sets. It was an effective workout but I was so glad when it was over! 

- On Friday night I made this Asian noodle bowl meal (for Phil and me). I added peppers to bulk it up a bit. Friday was otherwise very low key as usual. We tried watching a show about soccer captains from the World Cup but we don’t like soccer enough for this show to be a fit for us. 

- Once Phil was up on Saturday, I headed to the basement to workout. I looked at the CG workouts you all had recommended and decided to go with the Iron series because Epic Heat End Game has HIIT workouts and I just kind of hate them? And I get cardio from other workouts so would rather lean on CG for strength. Workout 1 was a great lower body workout! 

- We hit up the library and were thrilled to find out that they were hosting a valentine making event! And we ran into our friends! So the boys made valentines while I stealthily made ones for them. The library had so many cool crafty things like feathers and glitter pens and pipe cleaners and such.

- That afternoon, I took the boys to Disney on Ice which was a hit! They both loved it and did so well. There was something for everyone. I enjoyed the Aladdin set and the boys’ favorites were the Frozen and Cars sets.

Selfie with the boys - Taco was not into taking pictures

Aladdin and Jasmine. As a child of the 80s/90s I was here for the Aladdin set.

The boys were tickled to see Sven on the ice!

- On Sunday morning, I did a CG upper body workout once Phil was up and then did some meal prep. I was influenced by Birchie and Elisabeth to make this curry chickpea salad. This will be my lunches for the week. It is so good! I didn’t have chutney so left that out but otherwise followed the recipe. I’m on a long break from taking salads for lunch since I got too burned out on them.  I had been making sheet pan dinners but all the cutting and roasting was so much work! I’m thinking this will be my lunch plan for the next several weeks (I’m a creature of habit and don’t mind eating the same things repeatedly.)

Voila! I enjoyed it as an open-faced sandwich on toasted Aldi’s GF bread.

- Paul had a great swimming lesson on Sunday. He’s made a lot of progress this session. He especially likes the back float part of the lessons (since he doesn’t have to put his head in the water which is something he does not like… yet…). 

- Phil and Taco went to Phil’s moms while Paul had a play date with a friend. They played well on their own so I was able to finish an episode of Lessons in Chemistry (slowing working my way through this show - I have 3 episodes left) and read some of my book (The Whispers by Ashley Audrain - total page turner). 

- We watched the superbowl although I was mostly there for the halftime show. It was equally entertaining to watch Paul try to mimic the dancing!! 

What were the highlights of your weekend? 

Friday, February 9, 2024


Hey hey it's Friday! and the month of February is almost 1/3 over. I'm not trying to wish time away but I'm not sad when the winter months come to a close since it's not my favorite  season. We are getting off SUPER easy this year, but it's still pretty dreary out there and everything is grown and dead, so move along, February! 

The book I am reading this week is so many books. I do not generally read multiple books at a time but right now I'm reading My Brilliant Friend for the Cool Bloggers Book Club that NGS hosts! I did not love the first section but I'm keeping an open mind and even if I don't end up liking the book, reading with a group always adds to the experience. I'm also reading Lonesome Dove with a patreon group (every year The Bookshelf in Thomasville, GA hosts a conquer a classic and this year they selected a modern classic). This is a re-read for me and I did not LOVE it the first time around but again, reading something with a group changes the experience and the monthly podcast episodes recapping the section we read each month is always so enlightening and really adds to the experience. lastly, I'm reading a romance called Hello, Again which is a retelling of When Harry Met Sally which is one of my all-time favorite movies. I can't say I am loving the retelling?

The high of my week was celebrating my birthday! I turned 43 on Tuesday. Last weekend's date night was an early celebration but I had a nice day on Tuesday, too. My coworker took me to lunch and my retired colleague/mentor took me to lunch the next day, I received lots of birthday text and emails, and Phil grilled some delicious tuna steaks for my birthday dinner since it was a balmy 52 degrees outside (which is so not normal!). 

The low of my week was rough mornings. Week day mornings are so awful in our house. I think this is something can only be fixed by time. Taco is just NOT a morning person so having to leave the house by 7 is not ideal. My other low of the week was finding out at my dentist appointment that I have another cavity! I had one at my appointment in August. It has been 10+ years since I had a cavity. Nothing has really changed in my diet or lifestyle so I don't know what is going on. I asked if it could be related to age and the dentist said no. So I am stumped. I really hope my kids got Phil's dental genetics because he has ZERO cavities. 

A show we finished watching is the final season of Ted Lasso. I loved it, although it wasn't nearly as good as the first season. But Phil really slogged his way through it and was so happy when it was over. It's just a little too cutesy/campy for him. But I loved it and was sad when it was over. I guess we need to stick to true crime and sports documentaries. That's our very slim Venn diagram overlap!

For workouts I ran outside on Monday before starting my work day which felt so nice. Then on Thursday I did the 3/12/30 workout that lots of other cool bloggers have been doing. I have a client breakfast this morning so will miss my usual Friday morning workout. I'll probably run on day this weekend and will do the final Caroline Girvan Epic Heat workout on Sunday.

The best money spent was on absolutely nothing. This was a low spend week since I was treated to a couple of lunches and enjoyed my free Starbucks latte on my birthday. I debated spending money on Valentine's Day cards for the boys but the cards were each going to be $6 and I am sorry, but that is ridiculous for something that will end up in the trash. Taco's daycare is collecting Valentines for the kids so poor Taco is going to get a nice homemade card from his math major mother who has zero artistic ability (I will make one for Paul, too). 

My plans this weekend include laying low tonight. Tomorrow afternoon I am taking the boys to Disney on Ice and I might be more excited than they are!! I have always loved to watch talented skaters so this is the perfect event for me. The kids are excited, too, they just don't know what to expect. I'm hoping Mickey makes some appearances since that is Taco's favorite character! On Sunday, Paul has a playdate after swimming lessons so Phil is taking Taco out to his mom's so the big boys can play together without interruption from the toddler. So all in all it's a pretty light weekend!

Bonus photos:

Paul and I attended a reading event at his school so we stopped by his classroom hallway to check out his recent art projects. Every month the kids make a new self portrait. I imagine they will be compiled for us parents at the end of the year. He had also written a little "story." He's using his imagination because we do not play football, but we do watch it!

How was your week? Are you watching anything great?

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

What We Read in January

Why yes, I am just getting to my reading recap when we are nearly 1/4 of the way through February. January was a pretty uneven month for me in terms of reading. I DNF'd 3 books (The Undoing, Forty Rooms, and An Immense World) which is a lot considering I only DNF'd 6 in all of 2024. I guess I'm getting more cut throat? Here is how my reading shaped up.


Adelaide is a coming of age story about dating in your 20s. I probably wouldn't broadly recommend it but if you've ever been ghosted in a relationship, you will probably feel very seen by reading this book. This was my best book of January by a landslide. 

The Caretaker is a historical fiction novel. It also tackles issues of class as the son of a prominent family marries someone his family views as "beneath him." Then the husband gets drafted for the Vietnam war and asks his best friend to watch after his wife. 

A Year in the Wilderness is my February book club books. It's a non-fiction memoir about the year a couple spent in a wilderness area in Minnesota that is referred to as the "Boundary Waters Canoe Area." They document their year there to try to highlight the importance of the region as a mining firm is pushing to mine in this region which would have horrible ramifications for the area.

Pretty good:

Why yes, I did read a Christmas book in January. The Christmas Orphans Club is a sweet found family kind of story. 

Our Best Intentions tackles a lot of issues around race and class. At its core, its about a young Indian girl who witnesses an act of violence between 2 white teens and a young Black girl. 

Exit Interview: The Life and Death of my Ambitious Career is a memoir about the author's time working at Amazon. It was very reminiscent of the brief period of time that I spent working at a large Minneapolis-based retailer... 

Did not work:

My Murder is set in a future time when a person can be brought back to life. In this case, a recently murdered woman is brought back to life and she is trying to figure out if they actually caught her killer or if someone else did it. This was a bit too out there/sci-fi adjacent for my liking. 

Screaming on the Inside looks at the impossible standards that are set for women. I could appreciate some of her insights but it didn't completely resonate with me? But if you want to read some spicy takes on a book, check out the goodreads reviews where the author gets totally skewered, especially for her views on social media. 

Lastly, I have no idea how Hold Me Tight ended up on my libby holds list. It's about 7 essential conversations that are important for strengthening a marriage. I could not relate to the dramatic arguments that were used as examples of conflict. Phil and I are 2 very rational people of German descent so I just can't fathom having this kind of conflict? I guess by 7 essential conversations I was envisioning something else that wasn't based on a high level of conflict. 

What the boys read:

Hands down, the boys' favorite book of January was something I plucked off a winter display at the library: The Three Canadian Pigs. Both Paul and Taco loved this book and we read it many times! I love the page spread with all of the Canadian foods, although I was not familiar with some of them! 

Paul and I also finished The Tale of Despereaux which we both really enjoyed! I read this when it was a new release back in the early oughts when I had a part-time job at Barnes and Noble but I did not remember much about the book.

How was your month of reading?

Monday, February 5, 2024

Weekend Highlights

We had a really nice weekend with lots of high moments and fewer lows! 

- Workouts! I did the 48th and 49th Caroline Girvan Epic Heat workouts. I admittedly did not LOVE the 48th workout as it was a bunch of different kinds of push-ups. 49 was a full body workout with a HIIT component that I much preferred. But I was happy to fit the workouts in! I have one more workout in the program and plan to do another CG program - any suggestions from those of you have done her programs? I prefer 30ish minute workouts.

- Library. We went to the library on Saturday morning where we saw our good friends. I got to catch up with my friend while the boys played and picked out books.

- Outdoor time! It was another mild spring-like weekend so we went outside after quiet time both days! On Saturday, the boys played with stomp rockets and we kicked a ball around in a big open area about a block from our house. Yes I know this is a volleyball and not a soccer ball but I couldn’t find our soccer ball. On Sunday we went to a park and saw the same friends that we saw at the library on Saturday. 

- Date night! Wonder of wonders, we had our date night! I wore a red dress since it’s February and all. This is one of the dresses I got from Boden in the fall. I love that it has long sleeves AND pockets. All dresses should have pockets. I did mess up and somehow reserved a table at the bar instead of an actual table. But it didn’t really matter and we had a great time! The boys did great for the babysitter. Paul had some tears but Taco was excited to show her all his toys. 

Crappy bathroom selfie

- Target. The boys and I went to Target on Sunday am for cake pops (for them) and a latte (for me). Admittedly this was not a true ‘highlight’ as the boys were not well behaved. But we picked out valentines (which was the reason for the trip) and got out of the store asap. 

All in all, it was mostly a good weekend (we won’t talk about dinner through bathtime on Sunday night…) Getting outside each day really helped. It looks like these spring-like temps will hang around for awhile! 

How was your weekend? Has it been unseasonably warm lately?

Friday, February 2, 2024

5 Things Friday

Hey hey, it's Friday! This has been the longest shortest week with time zone adjustments and such so I'm feeling a bit out of sorts and very behind on life (hence my spotty comments on blogs this week). But here's 5 things on my mind. 

1. I flew to LA on Monday to attend my company's global sales conference. I talked to my mentor while I was waiting to board my flight and he told me that I needed to stay out as late as possible as this was the best opportunity to network. So that looked like staying out until 12PST on Monday (so 2 am CST which is the latest I have stayed up in, um, 10+ years??) and 10PST on Tuesday (12am CST). I got a bit teased for calling it a night at 10 on Tuesday but our days start at 7:30 and I was so completely talked out at this point and felt like I'd been extra fun on Monday night. I mean I am usually in bed with the lights out at 9:30 CST and by usually I mean like every night. I'm proud of myself for socializing as much as I did. I met a ton of people for the first time that I had only communicated with over the phone or zoom so it was a really effective use of my time. I was just so very tired by the end! 

2. The meetings were at this very nice resort just south of LA. It's kind of cruel to be in such a beautiful location and have virtually no time to enjoy the surroundings. But I did manage to squeeze a run in before flying out on Wednesday. I can't believe that people actually live here and wake up to this every single day! When we had breaks during the day, I tried to spend them on the patio so I could soak up some vitamin D and stare at the ocean.

The view from my run on Wednesday am.

3. I guess it's February now? Dang January flew by but I am not sad! I do not love winter in the Midwest so the faster the weeks go, the better. We have gotten off so incredibly easily, though. We had one cold spell in mid-January but it was 50 on Wednesday and will be in the upper 30s to 40s for the next couple of weeks which is just not normal. Hello, global warming. So I'm glad January is over and I'll be glad to have February behind me since it's another month I don't love (even though I have a February birthday). 

4. Paul and I started a new chapter book last week - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was so excited to read it to him as I loved this book as a child. But so far his interest is kind of tepid? I'm hoping that as we get into the story he'll enjoy it more. And I told him we can watch one of the movie adaptations after we finish it. Of course he wanted to skip right to the movie! I tried to explain that is a cardinal sin in my book but 5 year olds be 5 year olds...

5. I'm probably jinxing myself by typing this out, but Phil and I are going on our first date in ages tomorrow night. We haven't had a babysitter since Feb 2020 so please send us all of your good vibes that my kids do ok. I have no qualms about the babysitter as she works at a daycare so she's as qualified as they come - and she babysat for Paul several times pre-covid. But I fear Taco will refuse to go to bed for her. Hopefully it goes better than I think it might! I'm really excited for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants (112 Eatery). 

How was your week?