Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Day in the Life: Spring 2017

This DitL will be abbreviated {relative to my normal novellas}... Fabulous note-taking just didn't happen, and I've also reached a point with my kiddos where I feel less and less comfortable writing about their lives in great detail. It's a fine line -- I try to navigate it as best I can, but I'm sure I fuck it up royally from time to time {ETA: oh hey, I actually did in the first iteration of this post!}. 

ANYHOODLE...

DitL Spring 2017: Tuesday, April 11

Everyone's had a birthday!
I am 34.
E is 35.
L is 5.
B is 3.
The Boom is nearing 11.


5:40 am - My alarm rings and I am out of bed at a relatively quick pace since I need to hustle for OrangeTheory.  I haven't been to the 6:15 3G class in forrrrrrr-evvvvvvv-verrrrr {opting instead for the 5 am Orange 360}, plus I was up super early on non-exercise days for work the past two weeks, so a post-5am alarm actually feels quite decadent. I brush my teeth and change into my workout clothes, strap on my heart rate monitor, and head downstairs. I let Boom out to pee, feed, and water her while I fill up my water bottle and grab my keys. I am in the car listening to S-Town at 5:58 am and pull into the OTF parking lot with about 7 minutes until class begins.  My friend K is already waiting and we chat until it's time to head to our stations.  We start on the treadmills {3G rotates between treads, rowers, and weight room... if I ever am forced to start anywhere other than treads, I am cranky as all get out}.  Tons of speed today -- lots of "all outs," but in short bursts with walking recoveries in between so it's not too horrific.  I manage to ask K a few questions about tomorrow's Kindergarten Roundup without completely passing out or puking whilst "running" {JOGGING} which is always a plus.  We move on to row 2500+ meters and do about a zillion pop jacks in the weight room. I hate pop jacks, but not as much as I hate burpees, so my FWPs could be worse. At 7:10, I skip the 5 minute cool down stretch as I need to speed home to hug the kiddos and get ready for work.


After more S-Town, I pull into the drive around 7:25.  Only 35 minutes to turn my sweatfest into something mildly presentable. I hear the kiddos stirring as I walk in the door, and E is up with them so I sneak into the shower.  It's a 5 Minute Rinser + 1 Metric Ton of Dry Shampoo sort of day. I have a meeting today, and I probably should have exercised at 5 am so I could perform a legitimate grooming routine, but I think I've caught B's little virus {no fever or tummy troubles... just a general feeling of malaise} and the extra sleep was more important than freshly blown out hair. My face is still sweating after I dress and I need to get organized downstairs, so I toss my makeup into my work bag; I35 is always reliable for a 5 minute face-painting sesh. I give the kidlets big ol' hugs and start on their gourmet breakfast of toaster waffles, toast, and vitamins while E hops in the shower.  I pack up the lunches I made last night {sunbutter and honey sammies, blackberries, yogurt, cheese} and put them in the Big Ass School Tote {an essential member of our newly minted dual earner household}.  Also in the BAST are... extra clothes for B; 14 Easter eggs stuffed with non-edibles for L's class egg hunt later this week: and B's shorts {which he refuses to put on until it's time to walk out the door} and his shoes and socks.  I make some coffee, ensure I have tuition checks / new dental insurance card / new car insurance card / planner / newly replenished water bottle / lunch {Trader Joe's chicken soup dumplings} stuffed in my work bag.  L wants a smoothie so I just add double the water to my Daily Harvest cup and blend us up a couple of carrot-cinnamon-ginger-sweet potato {+ a bunch of other good stuff} smoothies. This is my very favorite flavor {tastes like carrot cake} and I've now fully justified the cost with convenience + stretching each cup out into an Adult + Kid version. {If you'd like to give DH a go, my referral link will get you 2 free cups!} B doesn't eat any breakfast aside from vitamins but seems to still be on the up-and-up.  I only break up a few fights over the train table and only have to fix 2 broken tracks.


8:10 am - I am out the door and back in the car after saying my goodbyes {B now says "mama! a kiss and a snuggle!" and it makes me want to explode from the sweetness}. Traffic is not horrible {but just slow enough on the overpass that I manage to slap on some makeup en route}, and I make it into the office by 8:30. I make some more coffee, chit-chat for a bit with some coworkers, and get down to business. Today's work hours are packed with talking -- so much talking; checking in with clients new and existing {several with big updates they need to unpack with me}, an extended brainstorming session with another agency regarding outreach to incarcerated parents {really excited about this potential development!}; debriefing with my boss after that meeting, etc.  Lots and lots of hurried note-taking whilst scarfing those dumplings so I can actually make some movement on my file pile in the coming days. My mind is mushy and I am not feeling too hot by the time I high-tail it out of the office to pick the kiddos up from Extended Care at 3 pm.


3 pm - Traffic is horrendous due to a dead stop light at a major intersection, but I make it right on time to hug these nuggets' faces off. It's been raining off and on {with some storms} all day, so they are in the gym instead of on the playground. As he does every pickup, B asks "are we gonna take-a nap today?"  The answer is "yes" every day but Tuesdays; ergo, Tuesdays are B's very favorite day. Popsicle snack! I think B is wise to the fact that the "super cool green" popsicles are actually packed with spinach, and he quickly abandons his in favor of dried blueberries and cherries. I eat a few bites and, yeeeeeah, they don't taste all that great.




3:30 pm - The wee folk get one hour of TV on Extended Care days since B doesn't take his nap. It is his turn to pick and he goes for a Christmas Thomas & Friends special {"they're two, they're four, they're six, they're eight!"}. I change clothes, straighten up a tiny bit, fold and put away a shitton {technical term} of laundry, and stare at our dining room for a bit. Everything I had to take out of our drawers and off the walls for the painters is still strewn all over this space and is spilling into our entry way {along with a massive box that contains B's big boy bed}.  When our crew painted, they also patched and filled every single nail hole... which looks great but makes the task of rehanging everything really, really obnoxious, and it is just not a project I've felt like tackling in the last week. I decide I could at least get the paint cans out from underfoot, so into the storage cabinets they go.  I end up cleaning out the rest of the old owners' paint cans as there isn't a wall in this house we haven't now repainted. The rest of the mess stays. I triple check all of the documents we'll need for kindergarten round up tomorrow {which involves both registration and a visit to the school / a kinder classroom / a trip through the cafeteria line for a snack / and a bus ride}.  I get started on supper, and then sit down with the kids for the tail end of Thomas. I definitely don't feel great at all -- the last few weeks + B's little virus have gotten the best of me. I am supposed to attend our neighborhood moms' group's April meeting tonight, and I change my RSVP to "no" so I can get some rest after the kids are in bed.  I am pretty bummed since this meeting involves creating safety cards for Colin's Hope, a local nonprofit that provides water safety resources for drowning prevention -- definitely an organization and mission that is near and dear to our community.  The wine and chit-chat is always a fun time, too. 


Thomas ends and the kids play. I finish prepping dinner {jalapeno baked grits with roasted tomatoes and asparagus} and get started on something for the small fries to eat.  B helps me change the batteries in his Percy train, and L is involved in a very elaborate "mini van game" {she is personally offended by our lack of vehicles with sliding doors} and has no time for photos.


6:00 pm - The kids and I sit down for their supper {spinach tortellini and strawberries + leftover squash and chickpeas for L}.  They are very into the new Parisian placemats my parents brought them from France, and L tells me all about which carousel horse she will ride and which pastries she will eat when she goes to Paris. We head upstairs to bath after putting our dishes away.  We usually wait until about 7 when E comes home for bath, but B is pretty wiped from his skipped nap. There is loads of water chunking and Moana soundtrack karaoke. E is home just as they get out of the bath around 6:45.


 7:00 pm -- Jammies are on, teeth are brushed, and E reads both kids a Fly Guy book in L's room.  Then I take B into his room, and we read The Goodnight Train and Blue Train, Green Train together. He climbs into his crib, requests his blue blanket and his shark blanket, and we sing You Are My Sunshine. Then he wants "a hug, a kiss, and a snuggle."  Then "a kiss from L and a snuggle from Daddy."  Then, finally "one more kiss, a hug, and two snuggles" from me.  The "snuggle" thing is new and I couldn't love it more.  I give him a final kiss and bid him night-night.  L and E have read another book and laid out her clothes for tomorrow. She has one outfit for Roundup and then it is P Day in her class at school and she gets to wear PJs.  She's decided on red snowmen jammies for the occasion. We also select her Pink Piggie from Prague for P Show & Tell. The BAST will be jammed tomorrow! We read the rest of a Beezus & Ramona chapter and talk again about what will happen at Roundup.  I'm a little nervous that she'll be nervous about going with a teacher she's never met before in a school she's never seen while we stay back with the other parents {spoiler alert: she acted like it was NBD}.  We sing our 4 songs {Mary Had a Little Lamb, Twinkle Twinkle, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Miss Mary Mack}, line up all the beanie boos, and give kisses and hugs good night.



7:40 pm - E and I go downstairs and I put the grits and veggies into the oven.  While they cook, I pull out the Easter stuff I've been squirreling away for the past few weeks and lay it all out. I'm pleased I kept things pretty small this year, but realize I've forgotten to add books.  I find a well-rated one about kindergarten for L and The Little Red Caboose for B and order those suckers on Prime. L also has purple Natives coming along with some Thomas undies for B. Easter Bunny: DONE.




8:15 pm - E is working but we switch on the 8th episode of 13 Reasons Why {which I enjoyed soooooooooooo much more than the YA book} while dinner cools.  A big heaping bowl of grits and veggies halfway through tape eight is just what the doctor ordered.



9:15 pm: I have officially lost all steam {on photo snapping, too, it seems} and head up to bed. I quickly roll through the vanity routine, chug 2 Emergen-C Nighttime packets, and crawl into bed. I set my alarm for 6:15 am, read a few pages of The Hate U Give, and pass right out.

Ta-da.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Five on Friday

five.  I failed to give a favor shout out in this week's birthday recap post... I found these cute train whistles whilst perusing Amazon for cupcake toppers and thought they'd be pretty cute for B's party... not really thinking what 20 preschoolers with whistles might sound like.

Image result for Loud Noises gif

I was relaying this faux pas to a friend at book club this week and lamenting the inevitable hatred B's buddies' parental units must carry for me in their hearts, and she replied "eh, anything is better than bubbles!"


Oops.

four.  Speaking of book club, this month's hostess included these incredible wine charms in her beverage display, and they tickled me to no end {apologies to my fellow extroverted literary nerds for my multiple "hanging Chad" jokes... nothing says TIMELY HILARITY like a political punchline from seventeen years ago!}.  


I have officially procured multiple sets for birthday gifts, stocking stuffers, and holiday "favorite things" parties. Bring it, December.


plus one-two-three movie recs!


Arrival -- This was an Oscar contender we really wanted to see in the theaters after the mostly-rave reviews from NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour squad, but we didn't quite make it. I love Amy Adams, and I can totally get on board with a space movie that's not actually set in space {THANK SWEET BABY CHEESUS}. This has an Interstellar-vibe {another fabulous space movie that *is* set mostly in space making it concurrently terrible-awful-horrible} but doesn't quite hurt your brain in the same fashion. Language as a theoretical concept is super fascinating to me, and I much enjoyed the reminder that the ways we choose to communicate a message are often more impactful than the message itself.  {Perhaps the White House should set up a private viewing...}

Nocturnal Animals -- More Amy Adams! Disturbing and intense {MAJOR "violence against women" trigger}, but GORGEOUS. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.  Tom Ford would be a fucking nightmare parent in a playgroup, but I do hope he makes more movies.

Blue Jay -- I love everything that Mark Duplass creates and everything that Sarah Paulson is in, so this was a homerun from the start for me. Mark Duplass just seems to go for it {I'm sure the fact he's beholden to nary a major film studio has a ton to do with this} - he has an idea and he just executes it without seeming to think too hard about it and it's never quite perfect but it's always so GOOD. I am still mourning the cancelation of Togetherness. Those who've connected with me on any form of social media for the last decade might recall I have a passionately conflicted relationship with Dan Fogelberg's "Another Old Lang Syne" {I can feel you rolling your eyes at me; stop it}. Bluejay feels a little like a more tender, thoughtful extension of that melancholy tune -- right down to the shared six-pack. There is a reverence and gravity given to early romantic relationships that I think is rare in plots where two adults who didn't wind up together are looking backwards from a two-decades-long distance. This one is most definitely worth 80 minutes of your Netflix time.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

3 Healthy, Springy Recipes

It's been a tick since we had some really bad food photography... Thankfully, these 3 easy recipes should make up for my perpetually mediocre cuisine styling! 


The first hails from an issue of last year's Real Simple {finally got to plow through some of those on our CA trip with 2 kids who are now both fully occupied by iPads on planes - yahoo!} -- Summer Vegetable Minestrone comes together in a snap and can be adapted with whatever happens to be languishing in your veggie crisper or freezer drawer. I added a bit more pasta {mini bow ties} and 2 more cups of broth  to make sure the kids had enough they'd actually eat in their bowls and then loaded E and myself up with mounds of tender veggies.  I also tossed in some roasted sweet peppers that I had leftover from fish tacos; broccoli or zucchini or cauliflower or even some wilted spinach would be fabulous! L tried every vegetable in her bowl, and I think B maybe ate some leeks and squash on accident... I'll count that as a victory.

(Serves 4-6)



I thought I'd snapped a shot of my latest sheet pan masterpiece but apparently only Instastories felt the #wfd love that night. I do enjoy a good sheet-pan supper, and this was another easily-modified meal the entire family gobbled up.

Sheet Pan Balsamic-Herb Chicken & Vegetables
modified from Skinnytaste

Ingredients

Chicken + Marinade
- 1.5 lbs chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 2 T EVOO
- 1 T honey
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 T chopped basil {I had fresh}
- 2 t parsley {I used dried}
- 2 t veggie pepper {regular pepper + some other spices - oregano, thyme, etc - would work great, too, but I looooooove this stuff!}

Whisk herbs, spices, and wet ingredients together.  Pour over chicken chunks in a Ziploc bag.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight {I did about 4 hours}.

Veggies + Marinade
** shitton {technical term} of veggies of your choosing... I did:
-  1 head of broccoli, chopped
- 1 small red onion, quartered and separated
- 2 big zucchini, chopped
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 T EVOO
- 1 T kosher salt
- 1 T veggie pepper
- 1 T chopped basil
- 2 t parsley

Whisk herbs, spices, and wet ingredients together.  Pour over veggies in a bowl.  Refrigerate for 30+ minutes {I did the same 4 hours as the chicken; I don't think I'd do it much longer to ensure the veggies don't get mushy}.

Preheat your oven to 400 {if you're using full, thick, non-chunked chicken breasts, maybe go up to 450 or adjust the cooking time}.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Spread the veggies evenly over the pan, and then nestle the chicken chunks throughout, discarding any extra chicken marinade left in the bag. Bake for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

(Serves 4)


And finally, this bean salad was a hit with 3 out of the 4 members of our family {B was skeptical from the get-go and suffered through a few bites before demanding more sweet potatoes}. I took a lot of liberties with this one as we were staying at my parents' home for a week while our cabinetry was being painted, and I didn't want to run back over to my pantry to grab certain components.  What follows is the Tim-Gunned version {served with roasted paprika sweet potatoes and my favorite Taylor Gardens kale & brussels bagged salad}...

Marinated Bean Salad
modified from How Sweet It Is

Ingredients
- 1 15oz can of cannellini beans, rinsed
- 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans, rinsed
- 3 T EVOO
- 2 T red wine vinegar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 T fresh basil, chopped
- 1 T parsley {I used dried}
- 2 t honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 t dried oregano
- 1/2 t thyme
- 1 t veggie pepper
- 1 t kosher salt
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

Whisk together the spices, herbs, wet ingredients, and cheese.  Pour over beans.  Stir in the tomatoes and toss. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.  Great with a spoon or as a dip on a tortilla chip!

(Serves 4)