Monday, December 30, 2013


A few photos from our botched trip to see the Nutcracker. You'd never know it was going to go south so quickly from the photos:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double beatloaf

We hosted some of our neighbors for a holiday dinner last weekend. Jeff recently spotted a recipe in a fancy home design magazine, dubbed "Billionaire's Meatloaf" and even though in principal, I think meatloaf is pretty gross, I couldn't get this recipe out of my head. It was wrapped in bacon! Thus our 1950's dinner party was born. One couple brought cheeses for us to snack on and an apple pie for dessert, and the other couple brought mashed potatoes and peas with pearl onions. We provided the meatloaf and a bartender (Jeff) to make old fashioneds. There were 4 children present under 4.5yrs old and at one point Jeff asked aloud whether the house would have been quieter if there had been 4 monkeys loose in the house instead. We all agreed it would be.

Behold! A giant loaf of meat:
And a rather unappetizing plate due to red lighting coming from the red flowers and votives nearby, but I  assure you it was amazing:

I had (naively) planned a dessert craft project for the kids that involved directly copying my friend Lindsey's Facebook post from earlier in the month. Each child was to receive 2 ice cream cones to frost with green frosting and decorate with sprinkles and candy. It was also their dessert. It was closely controlled chaos but at least no one cried (at least that I can recall).

Grown ups trying to eat and pretend that chaos isn't reigning in the room immediately to our left.
Jeff took this panorama but poor David moved his head and looks like someone squished it. It's the rare occasion when I'm so glad we have a giant round table in our dining room.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Usual

Just the usual afternoon walk in our tutu and snow boots.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Better things to do

Jeff was just pretending to rock Edie in his arms like a giant baby while she tried to have a snack. Out of the blue she yelled, "Now you're just wasting my time!"

Monday, December 9, 2013

Nutcracker fail and a gym triumph

I had tickets to take Edie with my Mom to the Nutcracker yesterday. Tickets were expensive and it was a gamble that didn't pay off unfortunately. I loved getting Edie all dressed up and she looked adorable in her formal navy coat. But she had a nasty cold coming on that I was trying to pretend wasn't happening and it literally choose the moment the curtain went up to arrive in full force. I took her to the cry room to watch so she could cough without judgement from those around us, but the view was terrible and if I'm being totally honest, the ballet was a bit more… boring than I remembered. The music is live, but it seemed like the volume was on 1 out of 10, and coupled with my daughter's relentless dry cough, it was a lethal combo. I felt stressed out. We watched from the cry room until intermission and then surrendered.

We watched the Robin Hood cartoon from the 80's at home in our comfies instead. Wah - waaaah. Best laid plans…

I was up multiple times with a miserable kid last night, but she woke this morning pumped and wanted to go to school. So I dropped her off and went to the gym for my latest training appt as scheduled. I was tired and thinking it was going to suck. And it kind of did. HOWEVER! There was one golden moment out of the hour of physical suffering. Mike asked me to try something I had previously been terrified of. I'd even told him a month ago I was scared that one day he'd ask me to do this and he just laughed. Well, today was the day. Admittedly, a shitty choice on his part, given my fatigue. But I rallied and I'm really, nerdily proud.

This may seem a small thing, but he asked me to jump (with both feet at the same time) onto a bench about 2 feet off the ground and land with both feet at the same time.  Before you think this sounds like not a big deal,  go walk up to something (a tall coffee table maybe) and think about doing this. Hopefully I'm not a giant wuss and this will seem intimidating to you as well. Please also remember that I am barely 5'3" so this bench hit me about an inch above my knees. It was TERRIFYING. I felt like that kid that climbs up the ladder to the diving board and then just stands there counting to 3 over and over, but not jumping. I tried to bargain my way out of it a few times but Mike assured me I could do it. I faked out a few times and then... I just did it. It felt like a trust fall with no one to catch me but myself. And I totally caught myself! The high was remarkable, but it only lasted a second because then he made me do it like 10 more times and every single jump was only slightly less scary than the one before. But seriously - the endorphins from that are still with me, hours later.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tree lights

The idiot squad came in to assist with detangling the lights:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Physical Fitness Update #2

I bet some of you may have been thinking that my lack of updates on my latest adventures in physical fitness meant that I had quit. But believe it or not, I will hit the one month mark this Friday of sticking to a rigorous gym routine! 

With only one exception, I've been seeing my trainer 3 times per week to lift weights AND hitting the gym twice on my own to do my assigned cardio. I even followed my trainer's instructions while out of town 2 weeks ago - which is not the first time I've packed my gym clothes for a vacation, but it IS the first time I've brought them home stinky. I also worked out TWICE over the Thanksgiving weekend in Bellingham; doing weird cardio in my parents' basement that mostly entailed me flailing around in an attempt to do burpees (which by the way, are the worst thing ever invented) because that was the only thing Trainer Mike (which is how he's listed in my cell phone BTDubs) could think of that required no equipment and didn't include running (which I hate and am terrible at). Before suggesting burps, he asked (very seriously) if I owned a jump rope. My reply, "Do I look like the kind of person who owns a jump rope?" 

Another time, I paid a drop-in fee at the Bellingham YMCA to lift free weights with sweaty hippies. Even more impressive is that when I went to pay this drop in fee, they told me they didn't take credit cards, and instead of using this as my excuse to not workout, I actually walked the block to the free ATM. This may not seem like much, but I am a natural quitter when it comes to working out, so in the words of corporate douchery, I'm "celebrating my successes".  And yes, I realize this all a little braggy, but you guys! This is nothing short of remarkable for me. I FEEL braggy.

Probably the most important thing I've done in this process is get over a minor set-back this Monday. My trainer wanted to weigh and re-measure me at the start of the month and the results were sort of a mixed bag. I started to look at every measurement and got hung up on the numbers and what they all meant. Afterwards, I had sort of a sloppy workout with quaky arms and a quitter's attitude. It was the first time I'd left a training session feeling worse then I'd come in. During the drive home I had to really remind myself of why I'm doing this and LET GO of all the "results". Before I stepped on that scale and had a tape measure wrapped around my thigh, I'd been feeling good. And STRONG. I have more energy, I'm sleeping better and I feel like I'm challenging myself physically in a way that I haven't since maybe high school ballet rehearsals. 

Some people aren't 'gym people' and I totally respect that. Personally, I've always fallen somewhere in the middle - not really at home doing outdoor activities like biking and hiking, but also not super confident in the gym. I could fake it on the cardio machines and do some stretches on a mat, but that's about where it ended. This last month has helped me to feel like I belong at the gym. I take care not to workout in front of the mirror, so as not to get hung up on how I look while exercising and when I'm not thinking about how red and sweaty my face is, I have time to think about how badass I am for understanding how the machines work, or for being able to walk up to the wall of weights and grab the 17 pounders and be all, "Ho hum, I think I'll use these for my 'Renegade Rows' today" like it's no biggy. Because, I'm totally doing exercises called 'goblet squats' and 'renegade rows' and I'm using Kettlebells and Bosu Balls like a BOSS. 


I have been out of town for what feels like weeks, with a business trip and a short weekend with Jeff in California, then immediately up to Bellingham for the holidays. This week is already almost over and it still feels like Monday!

I have a paltry number of photos to share with you, but here are a few from our incredibly relaxing weekend in Cali:

Largely, we spent our time sleeping, eating and drinking. It was lovely. Edie spent the weekend with my parents and I joined them up north upon our return to celebrate my Dad's birthday and then Jeff joined us all for 2 Thanksgivings. I took literally ZERO photos during Thanksgiving but will try to share a few of Jeff's photos here later. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I love my kid

Because I'm getting on a plane tomorrow, I need to replace the rude post I wrote last week with something more maternal and caring.

The day after I told you Edie was a jerk, we strung fairy lights around our dining room. Edie helped set the table and we turned off all the overheard lights to dine with just the string lights and votives. It was very fancy eating just the three of us at our 60" round table, but I loved it. Edie has requested we eat there every night since and we are all too happy to oblige.

I have mtgs in California tomorrow and then Jeff is meeting me there to enjoy the weekend before flying home Sunday night. I have more mtgs Monday and then fly home that night. I'm SO looking forward to some R&R, but also looking forward to seeing Edie's face on Tuesday and hearing all about Disney On Ice, which my parents are taking her to see this weekend. I'm actually a little jealous.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Jerk We Live With

Lately, my kid has been a jerk more than she has been charming. I thought 4 was going to be a party but so far, Edie's been splitting her time between being bossy and being whiny, with only the occasionally charming 15 minute break. What can you do but roll your eyes and write a blog post about it?

But Jeff says we are entering an age where posting gratuitously about Edie and her shenanigans will become inappropriate. Her privacy is to be respected. She can't enter high school with a record of her every move out in the public for her friends and their parents' to read. I'm rebelling against this idea while also knowing that he's right. Over the next month or two, I will make an attempt at cutting back on personal stories involving Edie.

I'd make my blog private, but I know for a fact that there are many lurkers out there reading my blog who never comment and I fear they wouldn't admit to their lurker status and ask for blog access once I made it private. And I kind of like my blog-lurkers. Occasionally I check my blog stats and despite my average of 1 comment per post, I can see that there are usually 60-80 people checking the site every day. Jeff is quick to point out that 5 of those are probably my Mom refreshing the page to see if anything new has been posted, but still!

So instead of going into detail about Edie's unbecoming behavior, I'll discuss how I feel about it. Because that's about me, and we all know I don't care who knows MY business. In a nutshell - I feel badly about it. Picking my battles is getting more and more difficult because my whole LIFE feels like a battle when I'm parenting. At least lately. I catch myself giving in and saying yes as often as I can, just to avoid a knock-down-drag-out fight. But even as I'm saying, yes she can have a piece of Halloween candy after dinner, I'm thinking - "No way in HELL has this kid's behavior earned her any kind of reward and what are you doing reinforcing this?!" At the end of the day, I often feel defeated and like I probably should have waded through a fight to make my point.

The other night we went out to eat and the experience was narrated by Edie with such gems as: "MOM! The waiter is taking TOO LONG. (dramatic, exasperated sigh)" and then 2 minutes after the food comes: "Can we GO now?!" We came home and Jeff commented, "It's sort of like we just have to invite a jerk with us every time we go anywhere now."  Which I found hilariously funny. Because that IS what it's like sometimes!

Recently, we put Edie to bed after much struggle over tooth brushing, quantity of bedtime stories, and a false claim that she was hungry right as I was about to turn the lights out. We came downstairs and I said, "I really thought 4 was going to be more fun than this. I thought 4 was the 'little buddy' age." Jeff rolled his eyes in agreement. I offered, "I've heard 5 is super awesome." Jeff laughed and said something like, "Yeah, I think maybe every age is just going to be like this - really hard with moments of greatness. I think maybe this is just what it's going to be like. Forever." (Jeff is going to read this and claim he is totally misquoted and he is right - but I think I captured the sentiment)

So here we are. In the thick of parenting - as Edie would say, "Four and quarter years" in.  And I think it's true - this is just what it's like being a parent. I was totally a jerk growing up. Karma is a BITCH.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Physical Fitness Update: 1 week in

I'm one week into my training sessions at the gym and feeling FANTASTIC. I met with Mike on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday of this last week. It was a rushed schedule to get 3 meetings in during the week with a busy work schedule, but moving forward I will typically be meeting with him every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. The only exceptions being when I travel for work and/or holidays when I'm in Bellingham. 

After my first session on Wednesday I pretty much felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I was nervous going into the second session the very next day because I was so incredibly sore. But we spent that day taking measurements and finding out super fun facts like my body fat percentage (hint: that was sarcasm because actually this is only medium-low fun). Then he showed me some fancy stretches for all the parts of me that hurt, talked about his observations from the day before, and then made me do a few circuits of funny and awkward exercises focused on balance and abs, which was the one part of my body not killing me from the previous workout. 

I spent pretty much all of Thursday walking like a one hundred year old woman who just finished riding a horse all day. But Friday was a "rest day" and I woke up feeling less sore. And Saturday I was only a little sore, but not all over - just in the areas the most out of shape - you know, like my glutes (i.e.; my butt). 

On Saturday I tried bringing Edie with me to the gym and she used the Kid's Club for the first time. When she was a baby I used a different gym and would bring her there but that was before she was walking and talking. Thankfully, Edie LOVED the play area at the gym, which includes a huge, multi-level play structure with tubes, nets and slides. She told me she went down the slide "eleventy million times" while I exercised. I felt good about the staff working the Kid's Club and it wasn't too crowded, so I think this will be a nice way to get weekend workouts in, especially given the shift in weather - it's a great way for Edie to burn off energy indoors.

Saturday was all about making my arms and back super strong. I am going to be a walking gun show soon! I lifted weights (which has always been really intimidating to me so I never try) and some of it was really hard, but in a good way. I feel the backs of my upper arms in a way that implies that I've never worked those muscles before.

And I will say this - when I said I wasn't going to use the scale in my earlier post, I wasn't sure if that was going to be true or not. I wanted it to be true - but the real truth is that I have a very ingrained habit of stepping on the scale every morning and it's hard to break. BUT, it's been really liberating to avoid the scale and just focus on how I feel. In the past, I've weighed myself during brief stints of exercise and expected immediate results on the scale - only to be disappointed when they don't happen. Or even worse - when I gain weight while exercising more. But this time I'm going to try something different and so far, it feels great. 

I return to the gym tomorrow for the start of week 2 and so far am not losing enthusiasm for the process. The only catch so far is that my gym wardrobe is not extensive enough for this type of plan... a  little shopping may be in order.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


A week or two ago we took Edie and her second cousin Sophie to see Pippi Longstocking at the Seattle Children's Theatre. Edie's loved the book forever, so when we saw it on the schedule and noticed that it was almost over, we bought tickets for the final show. Before the show, we met up for lunch with Jeff's cousin, his wife and daughter and then we took Sophie and Edie to see the show. Her Dad picked her up right afterwards. Photos on the way to the play from lunch and in our seats before the show:

Aside from the weird mannequin in the back store front, I love this photo:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

And for my next project... ME!

I signed up for an expensive package of personal training sessions at my gym this week (you know, the one I almost never go to).

It was scary to type that. And truthfully, since I had my first training session this morning, it also hurt a little to type that because I can literally feel the typing all the way to my shoulders, which are so sore that I could barely lift my arms to wash my hair in the shower, post-work out.

I've been feeling shitty about my level of fitness for ages, but something possessed me earlier this week and I drove to the gym (repleet in gym clothes and Nikes) and instead of walking over to the elliptical machine like I had planned, I felt myself being pulled toward the personal trainer desk. I've eyed this desk for over a year, trying to gather the courage and motivation to talk to a trainer, but I'm always too worried that I'll quit after a few sessions and I convince myself it's not worth starting if I know I'm not up for finishing. But on Monday, I spoke with a trainer, talked about my goals, and paid for 8 weeks of sessions, three per week with my new trainer, Mike. And full disclosure, I then felt like I'd done enough for the day and drove home in my pristine gym clothes without working out. It was only 2 days until my first session, I needed to save my energy, right?!

Recent conversations with friends (and myself) have helped me lately to focus more on being happy with myself where I'm at, and not basing my self-esteem on the number on the scale or the size of my pants. It's actually working. I'm hearing more of the nice things that Jeff says to me/about me and I'm actually starting to believe that some of them are true. I see myself differently in the mirror even though physically, nothing has changed. I've hung on too long to this idea that there is an ideal weight for me and that I have to lose every pound I gained with my pregnancy in order to be happy with how I look. I don't hold anyone else in my life to this standard I keep for myself. It's unfair and I'm letting it go.

All that said, it doesn't feel good to spend every single night after Edie goes to bed laying on my couch, working on the laptop or watching TV, knowing that the most physical activity I got that day was walking the 2 blocks from my office to Trader Joe's to buy lunch. I was watching an old episode of Glee recently and as I laid on my couch while all these actors danced their hearts out on the television, I had the same feeling I get every time I watch a dance performance - a physical memory of what it felt like to have that kind of energy and throw myself around on a stage dancing. And every time I experience that, I crave it. I'd like to be flexible again, strong enough to leap across a dance floor and learn a routine.

Full disclosure (again, as always), I've also spent a fair amount of time lately, obsessing about taking a tropical vacation with Jeff for our 10 year wedding anniversary this coming June. I'm having imaginary debates with myself about the pros and cons of  traveling to the Bahamas vs Bora Bora. Or maybe Tulum, Mexico! The options are limitless (until I start looking at prices, then limits creep back in). I want to go somewhere with turquoise water I can swim in and lots of places to stroll and read a book. And I'd like to wear a swimsuit and feel good prancing around in it. I could wear a swimsuit now and tell myself to feel good about it, and it might actually work. But when I picture myself there, I know that I'd like to do some work before I'm the me that I envision on this trip. I need to spend more time working on loving myself wherever I'm at, but for me, I think part of loving myself includes taking better care of myself physically. I deserve to be in better shape, to be stronger and more capable of doing more shit. You know, like touching my toes and other important things like that.

I told my trainer that weight loss is not my goal. The number on the scale is not as important as feeling stronger, more flexible, possibly sleeping better and getting less sore from simple physical activities. I want to turn 35 in March feeling like hot shit.  And I think if my mental pep-talks and physical fitness level can meet in the middle, I can totally be hot shit. Right?

But all that positive thinking aside you guys: That workout was HARD. I almost fell down the stairs walking to my car in the garage after my work out. I had to hold onto the railing with BOTH HANDS to side step down the stairs like a drunk person and when someone passed me on their way up, I paused and acted like my phone was ringing in my purse and I HAD to dig it out. And! That's not all, because I have to return tomorrow for my next session! Right now, I'm still in the early stages of feeling motivated and excited about having a new project - ME! So I'll keep you posted as that excitement fades and I grow to hate Mike and his interval-training-ways. What I will not do, is keep you posted about weight loss stats as a result of this project - because I'm going to try and avoid the scale during this process.

Wish me luck?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fall walk

There's a house a few blocks away that we often walk to because it has a huge collection of tiny plastic critters on their retaining wall for kids to play with. These photos are from this weekend.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween 2013

Literally none of my photos are capturing Edie accurately lately and Halloween is no exception. She will be busy looking adorable and then as soon as my camera comes out she either hides, becomes a sullen teenager, or does her weird smile that renders all photos terrible. Halloween night was seriously fun and here are the photos that don't really prove it, but are cute nonetheless. Pre Trick or Treating:

Super pumped:

And sassy:

Doing ballet:

First house/next door neighbors):
Our neighborhood goes all out for Halloween and it's pretty fabulous. For whatever reason, people actually drive from fancier neighborhoods to trick or treat in ours. You run into all your neighbors and there are groups of young kids with clusters of parents crossing your path at every stop. It's just like I remember from my childhood and I'm so grateful not to have to do mall trick or treating because barf. I was literally running to keep up with Edie all night, but paused for one second while Edie and her crew were walking down this lit path to get to the side door of this house. They had strung ghosts and posed a spooky princess outside so as not to be overlooked:

At the end of the night when all the other families were heading home, we back-tracked to the decked out house Edie had spotted earlier in the week. It was lit green with a smoke machine and scary noises. Edie ventured up by herself and after getting a packet of Cheez-its from the super friendly tech nerd that lived there, she informed him that, "you have the spookiest house." He seemed pretty pleased with the praise. Here she is contemplating going up alone:
Another house, just across the street (that's Edie up there at the door):
For our final house, we stopped by Edie's babysitter, who lives directly across the street from us. She was giving out candy in costume and it was a perfect end to the night:

Then she was ridiculously thirsty and literally drank 2 of these full glasses before going to bed. We just won't mention the giant meltdown she had at midnight when she woke to pee. It's better for everyone that way. We also don't need to go into detail about the screaming fit she had immediately after waking the next morning when I told her she couldn't have candy for breakfast. 
Candy hangovers are the worst, man.