balance schmalance

At first I was disappointed when I grabbed yesterday’s photos from my camera.  I was looking forward to seeing some gorgeous images from our cloudy morning at the water’s edge. But my exposures were all messed up and I still don’t exactly know how it happened. So instead, the images are all blown out! Boo hiss. But when I spent more time looking at the photos, I started to see the beauty in the mistakes. In the rushed moments.

The other day I received a message from a friend who said that she admired how I seemed to have it all together. Ha ha ha! I replied that it might seem that way from a carefully-curated glimpse into our world via this blog, but that usually means that I haven’t taken a shower in two days. Or if I made a great meal, it means that there is likely a mildewy pile of laundry awaiting me in the basement. Or if I meet all my client’s deadlines, then the little birdie is probably having a meltdown right behind me as I e-mail the last ad off to the paper. Or if the house looks clean and organized it means that I’m procrastinating my client’s work. Or if I somehow (miraculously) am wearing a clean outfit and have some mascara on both sets of eyelashes, you’ve got to know that I probably had some help with the little birdie that day, which enabled me to find time and energy to think about what I was putting on… Balance, schmalance.

And you know what? Some days this juggling act drives me (a bit) crazy. But most days, I just accept it as my version of “normal” and do the best I can with the cards that are dealt that particular day, with the deadlines that are ever-looming, with the tantrums that maybe could have been prevented, with the raspberry jelly stains on my growing bump.

what she’s into

Wren is now 20 months old. That means she’s on the cusp of two. Yikes!  In fact someone asked me recently how old she is now and I even said “almost two.” I’m getting a little sick of declaring how many months she is. Other parents of young children understand, but still. Another thing parents of young children understand is that we’re tired of talking about being tired. I think discussing how much (or little!) your child sleeps is just about as interesting as sorting through a sock drawer. It passes the time, but how much does it really say about a person? It’s akin to sharing thoughts on the weather forecast. Everyone does it, but it doesn’t make it meaningful. I’d rather focus on how someone enjoys spending her wakeful hours. So what’s the little birdie really into these days? Thanks for asking.

  • eggs
  • stickers
  • painting, drawing, coloring, scribbling, occasionally eating a marker tip
  • reading books
  • watching Jungle Book and Dumbo
  • dipping Oreos (“Joe Joes!”) into milk and making a huge, yummy mess
  • talking, talking, talking – so many clear words now, I’ve lost count! Yesterday’s additions? Gosh, fun, honey, rats!
  • brushing and flossing her teeth and then spitting into the sink
  • playing with her babies and acting like a baby
  • having a dance party with Papa
  • running in circles around the house
  • cleaning (please, God, help me to find half as much enjoyment in cleaning)
  • playing in the snow and riding in her sled while yelling “weeeeeeee!”
  • being sweet one minute and CRAZY the next
  • laughing, goofing around and being the funny one in our nest
  • playing and singing ring around the rosie, trot ole Joe and row, row, row your boat, the wheels on the bus and the itsie bitsie spider
  • watching a slideshow of herself on the computer. Points to the computer and yells, “Wren Wren Wren!”

such a delightful, charming, feisty little girl, that little birdie. Clearly not a baby anymore.

resolve 2011

Hello lovelies. How’s 2011 treating you so far? Are you thigh-high in snow too? Feeling motivated by the possibilities that a whole new calendar year offers? Or stumbling through a post-holiday daze and feeling frumpy, dumpy and slightly grumpy like yours truly? Sigh. Raise your hands, let’s take a quick inventory…

I’ve been trying to get excited about a whole new year, but now that we’re a few weeks into it, it feels pretty much the same as before the big holiday rushrushrush and brings similar challenges. Are you experiencing the same kind of post-partum (new year) feelings? I didn’t think I wanted to make resolutions this year, but I’ve been living in an annoying paradox: ungrounded and yet stuck. I decided to revisit last year’s thoughts on resolutions and craft some for this year to give me some direction and a bit more kick to my glide. I’m not sure revisiting last year’s post was even such a great idea because I never made it into that bikini that only lives in dreams I still aspire to wear. Even with Wren still nursing, geesh. Funny boob tangent… Wren says “nurse!” now and it sounds a bit like “nuts!” and while she says it, she pats her chest with both hands like the cartoon gorillas. Funny little birdie!

Ahem. Where was I? Oh yeah.

Part of me wants to just focus on one big, very important idea: Mindfulness. While another piece of me (the squirrely part) wants to take concrete, specific, measurable action (Stop using those yucky Clorox wipes! Lose ten pounds! Do something creative every day! Wipe out all consumer debt! ). So I’m going to wed the two in a ceremony right here. Will you be my Maid of Honor, lovely readers? Will you help to remind me to be mindful of the Now, while I chip away at specific goals bit by bit? Thank you in advance. I heart you and thank you for clicking in on me today.

As for 2011, OK, I think I’m ready for you now. Challenges and all the fluffy stuff too. Go!

losing what’s left of my mind

You know you’ve lost your mind when…

  • you walk into the bathroom only to stand and wonder why you were there in the first place, sit back down at your desk and remember that you have to pee. Once is excusable, but twice in one morning?
  • you can’t find your to-do list that’s supposed to help keep your head on (mostly) straight because it somehow ended up inside the pink tutu that is balled up on top of the printer.
  • you think it’s a good idea to teach your toddler to unscrew caps in a desire to encourage fine motor skill development, only to find that she’s perfected her skills on a bottle of green paint that is now “all gone!”
  • you think the idea of a good time is shoveling snow at 9:45 p.m.
  • yesterday’s coffee is perfectly acceptable.
  • you trade in your old books on feminist art theory for a Winnie the Pooh lift-the-flap book.

purging, part 1

Purging our house of all the excess stuff and hosting “The North’s Best Tag Sale” seemed like a great idea about a month ago. But (you saw that coming, did you, smarty pants?) now I can’t wait until it’s over and the junk wonderful items that everyone in the neighborhood is going to be elbowing their way in for are going-going-gone from our nest. Forever. This month-long process has been a tremendous amount of work and I only have a fraction of items tagged and everything for the sale is still sitting in boxes in the basement. The next 36 hours? Oof.

Will it be worth it? Financially, probably not. Are tag (garage, yard, what do you call them?) sales ever really worth the time once you’ve figured out the finances? No, but I knew that going into it. I decided to do it for a few other reasons.

  • Get rid of stuff and help friends and family get rid of stuff too
  • Have a more clean and organized basement and not grumble and sigh every time I go down the stairs
  • Control clutter throughout the house
  • Feel lighter
  • Meet a few neighbors (we’ve lived here a little over a year and there are still people in our neighborhood we haven’t met yet)
  • Relish in organizing a mini retail store for a day (this could be a whole post by itself)
  • Host a live sociological study – the interactions with the people will be priceless, no? Part of the reason I go to garage sales in the first place… and yes, I realize I’m part of the study so come on over and observe!
  • Make a few bucks toward a DSLR camera (!)

I will post later this weekend with the results and insights. In the meantime, I’m off to make more signs and tag some more items. Aren’t you just on the edge of your seat? Ha!

Have a great weekend, lovelies. Any fun summer plans? Enjoy.

proof of a good day

Do you sometimes have doubts that your day was well spent? I (occasionally) do. But when you’re 14 months old, your clothes tell the story that your day indeed was full of life. You lovely little people always live to the fullest and this is endlessly inspiring. And exhausting.

Blueberries. Check! Strawberries. Check! Dirt from exploring the yard. Check! Grub from the slides at the playground. Check! I almost don’t want to wash her outfit. I want time to stand still.

a few things

Just wanted to check in with you and let you know I’m thinking about you, but I’m also thinking about a lot of other things so my blog is going to look a bit neglected. For a little bit. Here are a few snippets of life from our nest:

  • Chris broke his wrist and while it’s amazing to see what he can accomplish around our nest and at work with only one hand plus some fingers from another, it’s still a major bummer for the nest.
  • Ever had mastitis? It knocked me out cold for a few days. Ever been hit by a truck? That’s what I felt like. I’m so sorry if you really were hit by a truck because I’m sure it was a lot worse, but you get the point. Pain is really interesting because the pain of natural childbirth, or any kind of childbirth for that matter, is intense to be sure, but it comes with a purpose and that makes all the difference. When was your last paper cut? OUCH!
  • Wren will be going to “school” a couple mornings a week pretty soon so I can make some progress on my *work* and she can play with some other kiddos. As she’s becoming a busier little 20 pound tornado, my *work* has slowed to glacial speed. No big surprise there!
  • Wren likes to pull herself up on everything and walk along the furniture, but no real walking yet. Any bets on when that might be? She’ll probably skip over walking and go straight to running, the little high-energy lady that she is.
  • We’re in the process of refinancing our house. Finance, yuck.
  • The garden is doing great and I did some bittersweet thinning yesterday. We had a delicious salad with assorted microgreens: spinach, radish, beet, mesclun mix, ooh la la. We also enjoyed our very first red, ripe strawberry, which you can see if you look closely… Here are a couple pics of the gardens and flowers and I promise more on that process later. Enjoy!


These are my zinnias I grew from seed in the sunroom this spring. They make me smile. The best $1.99 I have spent in a while.

What’s been happening in your nest? How are your gardens growing? Have a lovely weekend if I don’t see you in Cyberspace. And a hip hip hooray for all the Dads out there. Although it’s obvious that we literally could not do this (life, that is) without you, we adore you and how much you absolutely adore our kiddos. XO

It’s all about me?

It sure is easy to get wrapped up in one’s own little corner of Cyberspace, but it’s even more fun to get lost in someone else’s for a while. Agree?

I get lost in Progressive Pioneer‘s world from time to time and usually enjoy what I find.

It’s always thought-provoking even though I don’t always live on the same plane of existence. For example, I was happy to experience natural childbirth in a hospital setting and had a great experience; I don’t need to be in a birthing tub in my house surrounded by people to feel fulfilled. But I love reading about it through some of the birth stories…

Every day I get lost in Design Mom‘s world, but lately I’ve been turned off by the ads. I keep seeing Dodge, McDonald’s and Red Lobster. Gag. But I go back anyway because she always has beautiful insights on things and experiences in the world. Plus she has six kids so I like to imagine what that’s like. I mean, really, what IS that like?! Her blog is a beautifully filtered, curated version of life. Wonderful place to get lost.

And lately, thanks in part to my green thumb obsession, I’ve been checking out Make Grow Gather more often. Speaking of which, my gardens have just started to take off and I have to thin the seedlings today. Looks like microgreens are back on the menu, lovelies! More on that later…

Because of my penchant for everything orange and love of learning how to do new things, I always enjoy a click on over to How About Orange.

I also so very (very) much look forward to reading my lovely sister-in-law’s blog where poetry and food intersect: Middlewest. Poetry and food. Is there much more to life, really?

Where do you like to get lost in Cyberspace? What blows your skirt up? I would love to know. Happy Monday, lovelies.

Becoming Pepper Potts

Are you an Ironman fan? I loved the first one so much I think I squealed and grinned. A lot. Needless to say, I’m pretty darn stoked that Ironman 2 is opening this weekend. You? So today I got my weekly GOOP newsletter, which is written by Gwyneth Paltrow. In it she details her fitness and food secrets that transformed her into Pepper Potts. I laughed out loud at the part where she says her 5-day (!) diet was enough to get rid of her “winter weight.” Wow, just one week, huh? Heck, I’ll try anything for a week. Especially if it would leave me looking like a buff and tough Pepper Potts. (Don’t you love that name?!)

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So here it is, straight from the newsletter. How Gwyneth became Pepper Potts in 5 days…

Ironman 2 Daily Prep:

7 am:

Wake up, have a green tea

Breakfast:

A Think Thin bar

or

Clean Shake:

1 cup Almond Milk

a handful of blueberries (optional)

A level scoop of Dr. Alejandro Junger’s “Move” powder

A scoop of Dr. Alejandro Junger’s “Nourish” powder

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Note: Breakfast is a good time to take your daily multivitamin.

8 am – 9:30 Workout

Here’s a teaser for one of my workouts for Ironman 2. In order to view the full workout, just click on this link and enter your email address.

Do this video plus 45 minutes of dance cardio. Tracy Anderson has several dance cardio DVD’s available for beginners and upwards.

Post-workout:

Kale Juice

This is an incredibly healthy, refreshing way to start your day. Kale is full of calcium and antioxidants and just about everything else—it’s one of the best things you can put into your system. When juiced with a bit of lemon and agave, kale turns into a sort-of grassy lemonade. No worries if you don’t have a juicer, a blender and a sieve do the trick.

1 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves washed

the juice of 2 smallish lemons

1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar

1/2 cup cold water

Combine everything in a blender and blitz until completely pureed. It might take a little bit of time and a shove to get it going. Strain the juice through a fine sieve into a bowl, pushing down on the solids with a kitchen spoon being sure to extract all the juice. Taste the juice and add a bit more lemon or agave if you think it needs it. Pour into a glass and drink up.

1 pm Lunch Tracy sent me a few suggestions for a few healthy wraps – vegan and non-vegetarian.

Vegan Option #1

1 Mountain Valley Wrap (super low carb, low calorie, tortilla wraps that you can find at your local health food store)

1.5 tablespoons of Almond Butter

Chopped Dates

Vegan Option #2

Mountain Valley Wrap

1 Avocado

Tomato slices

Cucumber slices

Jicama slivers

Non-Vegetarian Option

Mountain Valley Wrap

Oven roasted turkey plain (no salt)

Tomato slices

Cucumber slices

1tbsp honey mustard (Mix 1 tbsp mustard with 1 tsp honey)

Lemony Grilled Chicken I came up with this recipe as an alternative to the wraps in order to add a little variety to lunch time.

Boneless, skinless chicken breast

Lemon juice

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Marinate the chicken breast in lemon juice and a tiny (emphasis on tiny) bit of olive oil. Season well and grill. Serve with the steamed vegetable or vegetable salad of your choice.

Afternoon:

Here are a few snacks to hold you over until dinner:

A small handful of almonds

or

A GT’s Raw Organic Kombucha (note: Be sure to stick with the bottles labeled GT’s Raw Organic Kombucha over the Synergy Organic & Raw varieties, as these have fruit juice in them.)

or

Kale Juice

Dinner:

Turkey Kale Soup Tracy also shared this recipe with me. Another super-low calorie recipe, it does not lack in flavor.

1 Yellow onion quartered

10 Cloves garlic minced

2 leeks

asparagus tips

3 Stalks of celery

1 Parsnip

A handful of thyme

2 Sprig rosemary

2 Low sodium vegan bullion cubes

12 C Water

Bunch parsley minced

2 lbs. Boneless skinless turkey breast

1 T Soy sauce

1-2 lb. Kale

Rub the turkey with half the garlic, half the rosemary, half the thyme, soy sauce and half the parsley. In a soup pot add remaining ingredients except for the kale, sauté on medium heat about 10 minutes so the vegetables start to brown.  Cover with water and add bullion simmer about 3 hours so the vegetables are cooked. Strain broth, meanwhile place turkey with seasonings in a covered roasting pan into a 370 degree oven. Roast about 1 ½ hours or until cooked. Take out of the oven uncover and let cool about an hour. Shred the turkey and add it to the strained broth. Take the stems out of the kale chop and add to the broth cook another hour. Serve garnished with fresh parsley and a splash of soy sauce to taste.

Chopped Veggie Salad Chop the vegetables of your choice into small pieces and dress with a light vinaigrette. I recommend shallots which add an extra kick. Here’s a combination I particularly like:

The lettuce of your choice

Steamed beets

Tomatoes

Celery

Cucumber

Corn

Basil

Note: Be sure to rotate the recipes to keep the days interesting.

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In preparation for the viewing of Ironman 2, maybe I’ll try to become Pepper Potts too and see what happens. What say you, dear readers? Anyone else?