Friday, March 29, 2024


Today is an especially happy Friday because we are not working but the boys both have childcare! Woot woot! I am looking forward to a quiet day at home with Phil. Then later today I will read a book to Taco’s classroom which I am excited about - I’m going to read ‘The Circus Ship’ which is one of my favorite picture books! Here is how my week shaped up. 

The book I am reading this week is Family Family by Laurie Frankel. This is the 3rd book I have read by this author and I think it will be my 2nd favorite of the ones I’ve read. It had mixed reviews but I am enjoying it. The theme of the book is adoption. Here is a passage I highlighted (which is similar to the kind of passages I loved in ‘This Is How It Always Is.’

“This is what parenting is, India. Solving impossible-to-solve problems while also experiencing deep crises of faith while also being kind of annoyed while also never getting enough rest. These problems only ever go away by changing into different equally impossible problems. This is how it always is for all parents, no matter how you came by your children.”

The high of my week was book club on Wednesday. 9 of us were able to make it and we discussed ‘I Have Some Questions For You.’ The reviews were mixed but we had a great conversation about the book. I had a cauliflower crust GF pizza that was so good, I had to ask if the waitress was sure it was GF! 

The low of my week was really nothing in particular. I want to say the snow and cold was the low but the boys have been giddy with excitement over the snow so it’s hard to truly hate it when they love it so much!!

Taco is a huge fan of shoveling! I mean he’s not effective but it entertained him while I shoveled!

A show we finished watching is the second season of Full Swing on Netflix. I didn’t like it as much as the first season as it was so focused on the Ryder Cup which is something I don’t care about at all. 

For workouts I considered the shoveling I did on Monday and Tuesday ‘strength training’ since I was lifting deep, heavy snow! Yesterday I left work around 3 to fit in a treadmill workout. I did a combo of running with intervals of walking at 3mph at a 12 incline - so kind of a play on the popular 3/12/30 that many bloggers do. I get too bored with a full 30 minutes of walking at a steep incline so I like to mix in running (at no incline). Today I will do a CG workout and will probably do 2 more on Saturday and Sunday!

The best money spent was on things for the boys’ Easter baskets. They are getting stainless steel water bottles, water shoes for our FL trip, and some peanut butter eggs. I also ordered a game for Paul and Taco will get headphones for the flights to/from FL. 

My plans this weekend include enjoying a quiet day today! Phil and I will probably go out for lunch somewhere. On Saturday we will hit up the library in the morning and then we will go to my MIL’s after naptime to celebrate Easter. She has 30 eggs to hide for each boy! It’s nice to go out there on Saturday - then we don’t have to rush home to get back before Taco’s bedtime. Sunday will be a quieter day. Paul and I are going to church with another family on our block and then it will otherwise be a pretty quiet, low key day. 

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

Monday, March 25, 2024

5 things Monday + Snow

I did not get a chance to write a 5 things Friday post last week since I was bogged down with work travel. So here is a 5 things Monday post instead! 

1. First things first - After unseasonably warm weather recently, winter reared its head again. We got around 6” of wet, sloppy snow on Friday morning - most of which melted by the end of the day on Friday. Then another system moved in on Sunday. It won’t be around for long as it’ll be in the 40s by Easter. But we’ve had about as much snow in the last 3 days as we did all winter. Welcome to ‘spring’ in Minnesota. The kids were THRILLED. Paul went sledding with a friend and Taco summoned his inner dog and rolled around in/ate the snow. I went down the sledding hill a few times, too, which was super fun.

2. We knew the weather would turn on Sunday, so we made the most of Saturday and were out and about a lot. First, coffee and cake pops at Starbucks, then a stop at the library where we ran into friends and I ran into a client that we just won a huge mutual fund allocation from. After lunch, Paul had a birthday party gathering at a movie theater (Kung Fu Panda 4) - his first movie theater movie ever and my first since 2019! Phil had plans with his high school friends so he took Taco to his friend’s house (Paul and I would have gone if Paul wasn’t invited to a birthday party). After the movie we met up with friends at an indoor golf simulator place that a friend owns and then went to a brewery for dinner afterwards. So basically we did ALL THE THINGS!! 

Cake pops and a latte for mom to start the day!

3. My work trip last week was for an offsite. It was nice to meet so many people in person for the first time. But wow the days were long - I was out past 10 both nights so when you factor in my bedtime wind-down process, I was up until 11 which is so late for me. I envy people who can just come home, put on pjs and drop off to sleep. Even when I am exhausted I need a transitional period of reading to fall asleep. 

4. I usually take Paul to swimming lessons on Sunday afternoon but I felt so tired so asked Phil if he could go so I could lay down when Taco napped. He happily obliged. I napped and it felt so good but I feel like I am digging myself out of a massive pit of exhaustion, probably due to back-to-back weeks of travel and too many long days/late nights last week plus a really full day on Saturday.

5. This is a short week for us since Phil and I both have Friday off for Easter - but the boys have school! This rarely happens so we will enjoy the heck out of it and hopefully go somewhere fun for lunch. I’ll end the day by reading a book to Taco’s classroom which will be really fun. 

How was your weekend? Is it springlike where you live?

Monday, March 18, 2024

Weekend recap

Fake spring is moving on and we are back to more seasonal temperatures, which still aren’t bad (in the 30s). But us seasoned midwesterners knew better than to count on that weather sticking around for good.

First up: a dentist update. We made it through the cavity drilling process but it wasn’t pleasant. Paul wouldn’t take the laughing gas despite my strong recommendation that it would be helpful. But oh well. It was just on the outer surface of 2 of his molars so he didn’t need novocaine. Here’s hoping we don’t have to go through this again for a long time!

We enjoyed the mild weather on Friday as we knew colder weather was morning in and spent a good chunk of time outside after dinner. The boys scooted and played with stomp rockets and chalk. 

Paul and his cat drawing which I think is so cute! It has shrug emoji vibes which is one of my most used emojis.

On Saturday we hit up the library in the morning and then Paul’s school friend party was in the afternoon from 3-5. He had 3 boys and 2 girls over. I was so grateful that it wasn’t all boys - the girls offset some of the boy energy. It was LOUD at times but he had fun and everyone enjoyed putting their LEGO set together. But wow kids are honest. One little boy told me the juice boxes tasted disgusting and another little girl said ‘is this all there is for snacks?’ (I had cheesy popcorn, string cheese, and club crackers plus cupcakes for dessert.)

Store bought cupcakes for the win!

Phil took Taco to his mom’s because we knew he’d want to hang with the older kids and would get in the way. He got lots of 1:1 attention from nana so everyone wins. 

Sunday was a windy, blustery day. We did nothing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. They talked about it at school so Paul asked about setting a leprechaun trap and I feigned ignorance because I had zero interest in doing anything. I am just not that fun mom that gets into minor holidays. My parents didn’t either and I don’t feel like I missed out? It’s one of those ‘you do you’ kind of things. In the morning, I took the boys to an indoor playground after my CG workout since it wasn’t nice outside so Phil could have some quiet time in the house to himself. He’s got more solo parenting ahead this week so I wanted to give him a solid break. The boys had a blast!

Post nap and swimming lesson, we loaded our RAV4 with a load for goodwill. It felt SO GOOD to get this pile of accumulating goods out of our house. It was mostly clothes and surplus gifts from Christmas that we just don’t need/weren’t playing with. 

Then I did a bunch of meal prep while sipping a glass of white wine. Meal prep is one of my favorite chores. I love chopping veggies. I listened to a podcast while doing it. Part of what I prepped was pasta sauce with blitzed veggies hidden in the sauce which is a household favorite and a rare meal that everyone enjoys. The boys had theirs on pasta, I had mine on spaghetti squash. 

This week will be a repeat of last week with me traveling Tues-Thur but then I get a break from work travel until after our spring break trip. 

How was your weekend?

Friday, March 15, 2024

5 things Friday

I’m drafting this post from the airport on Thursday night as I wait at the gate for my now twice-delayed flight home. So instead of landing at 6:30 and making it home for bedtime, I landed at 8 and missed it all. Le sigh. Here’s how the week shaped up.

1. We enjoyed some really unseasonably gorgeous weather earlier in the week. One benefit of springing ahead is having more sunlight in the evening. The boys went scooting after dinner 3 nights this week. Everyone is happier when we can get outside! Yes their helmets match their scooters but no, this was not planned! Taco just moved into Paul’s helmet and Paul got a new one that coincidentally matches his scooter. And of course Taco is wearing a Mickey shirt! We have no short sleeved Mickey shirts so I probably need to get some for spring/summer.

2. I had a very busy but productive trip to Chicago. I did some lunch and learn sessions with our sales people, went to a celebratory HH for people who were promoted/passed their licensing exams, and had a lot of meetings with people I work with. I also met up for dinner with the daughters of Phil’s cousin. They are in their 20s but were up for hanging out with me! We talked for 2+ hours straight. These girls are part of the family that we spend Christmas Eve with every year. Their parents are Taco’s Godparents so even though they are technically extended family, I kind of think of them as close family. One of the girls teaches yoga sculpt at core power yoga so I am hoping to take a class next time I am in Chicago! That was one of my favorite classes when I had a CPY membership. 

3. Today starts with 7:30 dentist appointment for Paul. We found out he had 2 cavities when we saw the dentist in February. Le sigh. I guess he has my bad dental genes (we still brush his teeth so I don’t feel like we did anything wrong, just bad luck/genes I guess). We go to a pediatric dentist so am going to trust that they will figure out how to get my sensitive boy to sit for the drilling process… I will report back.

4. Paul’s little birthday party with 5 school friends is tomorrow afternoon. Since I’ve been gone much of this week, I feel pretty ill-prepared to host anything. But I am telling myself that 5-6 year olds don’t expect much. I’ll have snacks, we’ll put a cute Lego set together and we’ll have cupcakes for the birthday treat, per Paul’s request. Hopefully it all goes off without a hitch! 

5. We don’t have any other plans this weekend, thank goodness. I’m definitely feeling worn out from my busy week of travel. And I do it all over again next week with a 2 night trip to Charlotte. Here’s hoping I get some good nights of sleep and come out of the weekend feeling rested.

How was your week? Was the weather beautiful?

Monday, March 11, 2024

5 things on a Monday

Happy Monday! We had a nice weekend with some fun social gatherings, the highlight of which was meeting Kae! More on that below! I usually do 5 things posts on Friday but am switching things up and starting with 5 things on my mind on Monday! 

1. Good stuff first! I got to meet up with Kae on Sunday morning since she was in town for a soccer game! We met up for coffee and talked for about 90 minutes and just barely scratched the surface in terms of what we could have talked about! I love it when I can turn URL friendships into IRL ones! We also exchanged some bins of clothes - I took some kids clothes off her hands and I passed along some of my fave pre-kids clothes that I have accepted will never fit again. Womp womp. Hopefully our paths will cross again soon! If she lived local, she would totally be in my core group of friends since we are so similar/have a lot in common. But we are dreaming of planning a trip to Nova Scotia to see Elisabeth some day!

Excuse the fact that I look like a bit of a slob! Also wow, Kae has legs for days!

2. Whelp, I gave up on using the disqus comment form. Last week they stopped sending me comment notifications and I could not figure out how to fix it so I went back to the blogger comment form and I think I have a version employed that won’t result in a bunch of anonymous comments. It seems like I needed to select ‘full page’ for the comment form type. And if you are commenting on my blog from your phone, you need to click ‘view web version’ (highlighted below). Then you will get a better comment form than the stupid one that forces you to comment as anonymous (at least on the iPhone, it seems). Why does blogger suck so much? Probably because it’s free. The thought of moving my almost 16 year old blog to Wordpress sounds like a horrible headache so I will probably keep putting up with things like this annoying comment form issue!

3. Daylight savings time started yesterday. I despise this stupid practice of manipulating time that was put into place during a time of war to conserve fuel. But here we are in 2024, moving clocks back and forth. I’m envious of my sister in AZ because she does not have to put up with this. But post-kids, I prefer losing an hour to gaining an hour. I just wish we could stay on DST! 

4. Now a bit of a work rant/conundrum. Work continues to be kind of insane. I have 2 trips this month (Chicago and Charlotte - again (was there last month)), then 2 in April (NJ and Cleveland), which come on the tails of our FL trip and then I have 2 trips in May (Napa and Dallas area), but the May Napa trip is the week after the back-to-back April+spring break travel which means I am traveling 4 weeks in a row (one trip being a fun one which is different)… I try to limit my travel to twice a month (it has slipped from once a month because of the volume of requests) but I did not put 2 and 2 together and realize the May Napa trip was right after the April trips… but I don’t know what I could have said no to. I only have 1 trip in June (to Seattle) and then I am really hoping to not travel much during the summer. My heart is kind of racing typing this all out. On top of that, I am doing so many calls on days that I am not traveling so I am above capacity (and have other work to do when I am not on calls/traveling)… Gah. My new hire is fully licensed now so he can start to take on some calls which will help. But ay yi yi.

5. I’ll close with a more fun topic of what we’ve been watching lately. On Friday, we finished ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ which is a book Phil and I had both read. You guys, it took us 6 nights to watch it! Why must a movie be 3.5 hours long! Who has the time  - and the attention span - to watch something that long. All in all we thought the film was ok but felt they could have cut A LOT and still done justice to the story. Now we are watching the latest season of ‘Full Swing’ which is a golf docuseries about golf. Oddly, professional golf is one of my favorite sports to watch on tv. I find it so soothing and you don’t have to watch every shot - you can kind of dip in and out. Plus the whole LIV/PGA situation makes it extra, well, gossipy/juicy. I’m fully team McIlroy. He is such a nice, humble guy and the Irish accent makes him extra likeable. 

How was your weekend? Do you loathe the time change as much as I do? Do you watch/follow golf?

Thursday, March 7, 2024

What We Read In February

Here we are, a week into March, and I’m just getting around to recapping my February reading. Oof, February reading was a big, fat MEH. I read 6 books and only enjoyed 2 of them. 

My reading:

I did have 2 successful reads. The Whispers by Ashley Audrain is her sophomore novel. Similar to her debut, The Push, it focuses on the dark side of parenting/motherhood. At a bbq, the neighbors overhear a mother screaming at her child - months later, he falls from his 2nd story window. Is the mother involved/to blame? I didn't like this as much as The Push as it read a bit more like a gossipy Liane Moriarty book, but I still found it enjoyable/interesting. Traveling Mercies was another "faith exploration" book for me. I enjoyed Lamott's musings on faith. She doesn't exactly strike me as a stereotypical Christian if that makes any sense? Not that all Christians are cut from the same cloth. But she's liberal/progressive and she seems like someone that liberally swears, for example. So it was very different from the other "faith exploration" books I've read. 

And then there were the meh books. My Brilliant Friend was the Cool Blogger Book Club selection for February. NGS does a great job of hosting an online book club and her questions added to the reading experience - but I just plain did not like this book and won't continue in the series! But that's what makes books interesting - they can illicit such diverse responses/reactions! Shiner had promise but it was such an uneven reading experience. Parts of the book felt like a 2-star read, others felt like a 4-star read. I thought I might round it to a 3, but the ending didn't redeem the book. It's set in Appalachia and is about the family of a religious fanatic (he uses snakes in his services to give you an idea of what I mean by religious fanatic). You, Again was a modern day retelling of When Harry Met Sally. I shouldn't have read it because, like Nicole (Hi Nicole!!), I'm of the opinion that that work of art can't be approved upon. Lastly, Days at the Morisaki Bookshop was a weird little book set in Japan. It had promise as it's about a struggling 20-something that goes to live in a bookshop with her uncle (living in a bookshop sounds like a dream) but it was just a little too weird for my liking. 

The boys' reads:

Paul and I finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (he loved it and we enjoyed watching the 1960s Gene Wilder book adaptation) and we also read a Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot which is #16 in the series. It's kind of strange to start towards the end of the series but it didn't seem to impact the reading experience - we started there because he received this book for Christmas. I told Paul that this was basically a retelling of my childhood experience with sports as Greg, the protagonist, is NOT athletic but is required to try basketball. Like me, the only basket Greg makes is for the other team!! We have since started the first book in the series and I can already tell the series improves with each book because Greg is kind of a jerk in book 1. 

How was your month? Tell me it was less meh than mine!!!

Monday, March 4, 2024

Birthday Weekend Fun!

This past weekend was all about celebrating Paul! Our 1:1 day on Friday was so fun! We started at Starbucks where I got a latte and he got a cake pop. Then we headed over to the aquarium place. I would have walked through it slower than Paul did but we both had a great time seeing all the fish and sea life!

They had these cool walkways where you were surrounded by fish.

There were also spots where he could be in the middle of all the action.

Next up, we stopped at the LEGO store to buy the sets for his birthday party later this month and then headed to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch. Paul was totally charmed by all the animals and sound effects. 

When people asked about his day with me, he also noted how much fun he had riding the escalators at the mall! We rode some extra ones since he thought they were so fun. It’s the little things, I guess! I took advantage of the fact that we were at a mall (which rarely happens) and bought some skincare products at Sephora and a pair of jeans at Madewell. 

We were both tired after our full morning so cuddled up on the couch and watched the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie from the 1960s. I may have dozed off for a bit…

Then it was off to karate for his first belt test! He got his yellow striped belt. Since we only go to karate once/week it took him 4 months to get this belt. He was pretty excited about it! 

We capped off the day with dinner and presents. He was happy with the books and game. 

We played Sequence for kids several times over the weekend. 

Saturday was his family party. The boys helped with the cake in the morning. Our family birthday dessert for kids is a GF cookie cake!

The recipe has you mix the chocolate chips with the flour. Not sure why but I am a recipe follower so I did as I was told.

My parents came that afternoon and my mom decorated the cake with a little bit of assistance from me. Paul requested a cat on the cake and wow did we struggle to pull this off. 

When we showed Taco the cake after he woke from his nap he said, ‘oh, it’s a bunny!!’ But hey, it tasted good which is all that really matters!

We kept it easy and ordered pizza and I served my fave bagged salad from Aldi that has pepitas and toasted quinoa. 

The boys also got hair cuts that morning and I had Taco’s hair buzzed because it is so fine and never lays nicely. I love the way Taco is looking at Paul in this picture - and of course he’s wearing a Mickey shirt.

Blowing out his candle!

The boys were definitely overstimulated and SO WILD!! I am sure our guests were happy to get back into their quiet homes when they left our house.

We lucked out and had gorgeous weather both days, too. The boys played outside both days. We divided and conquered on Sunday - Phil took the boys to the park in the morning so I could do meal prep and I took them after naptime. Weekends are so much more enjoyable when we can comfortably be outdoors!

This was a Paul-centric post so I’ll close with this adorable photo of Taco in the bath last night. It shows his buzz cut which I think he wears well! 

But it was quite the drastic cut - felt like a locks for love kind of haircut. Lol. This was him a few days before the cut.

How was your weekend? Does your family have a traditional birthday dessert? When I was a kid, my mom would make a homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting usually or we’d get a DQ cake. 

Friday, March 1, 2024

Five Things Friday

Hey hey - happy Friday! Here are 5 things on my mind today!

1. Today is Paul’s birthday! He turns 6! I kind of think a child’s birthday is as much a celebration for the parents (especially the mom) as it is for the child! His birth is still very fresh in my mind. Will that always be the case? Older/more experienced moms, what do you think? Paul doesn’t have school today so I took the day off to spend with him. I know we are going to the aquarium at the Mall of America and the LEGO store there and I imagine we’ll get him a donut - we will see what else he picks! I’m excited for a day of 1:1 time with him!

Paul when he was just a few days old. He was known for making funny expressions as a baby!

Another funny expression photo from Paul’s early weeks of life! He often had his hand my his face in his early weeks of life - that must have been his favored position when he was in utero!

Wearing his birthday crown from school!

2. I also took yesterday off to spend as a ‘shouldless day’. A shouldless day is a day where you only do things you want to do and nothing you feel you ‘should’ do. Yesterday that looked like a workout in the morning and then getting a 90 minute massage and laying in my bed reading and napping in the afternoon. It was a lazy day but it’s what my body needed so I didn’t feel any guilt about it. Work has been so busy for really the past year and the harried pace of my week days definitely accumulates so I needed a low key day like that. 

3. Paul had his 100th day of kindergarten this week so it’s been quite the exciting week between that celebration, leap day and anticipating his birthday! His teacher made the 100th day so fun! He brought a collection of 100 things from home, they had a special snack and had just an all around fun day. I was relieved he didn’t have to dress up as an old person. Some of my nieces and nephews have had to do that for their 100th day celebration and while it’s cute, gathering clothes for that would have been a pain! 

4. Our weather has been nuts this week! On Monday we reached a high of 60, but on Wednesday we woke to a feels like temp of -11. We have had a mild winter so I shouldn’t complain. I just hated getting ping ponged around from really warm to super cold temps! But it will be back in the 50-60s this weekend.

5. This weekend will mostly be about celebrating Paul’s birthday. We are having a small family party on Saturday night - his 3 grandparent and his Godparents and their teen son will come over to our house for pizza and cookie cake. We struggled to come up with gifts for him as he didn’t seem to want anything specific. We ended up getting him a board game, 2 Wimpy Kid books, and I made a baseball-shaped card and Phil wrote inside that they will go to a Twins game together this summer. He’s a pretty easy to please kid so I think/hope he’ll be happy with what he gets!

How was your week? Have you/would you take a shouldless day? If you have kids, do you vividly remember their births?