Sunday, February 28, 2016


If all things go according to plan, we will be moving in a few weeks! That means we are packing, little bit by little bit whenever we get the chance. That also means, I have major house stuff on the brain. Whatever spare brain space I can spare after the girls, Ken, work, and chores, I've been using it think about moving and so it's jam packed up there. There is going to be quite a bit of work to do in the new place but since we can't get into it until we are out of our current house, I'm trying to plan as much as I can, in hopes that the transition will be smoother than not. Wish us luck! 20 days and counting.

We're not planning on doing any wallpaper in the new house, but if we did, this mural would be first on my wish list.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


As I walked through the house tidying up the other night, I spotted Sloane's papers lying on the dining table. At first glance, it was a mess. But I stopped to examine it: a piece of paper on which she had written all our names, Sloane, Logan, Mama, Papa. Next to that, a drawing of colorful dresses, and a worksheet of the letter "p". On the floor, Marie the stuffed cat was laying sideways, and Logan's rattle was keeping her company. Little items, considered treasures by little hands, overflowed out of a box.

In the quiet and stillness of the evening, I thought ahead to another evening years into the future, where I might find myself doing something similar, but realized that I would probably feel the absence of these 'messes' around the house: evidence of a small life relished, joy displayed on pieces of paper and in the worn fabric of a stuffed animal. Take it all in now when you can, my future self whispered back to my present self. I stood there, paused, appreciating the mess of it all before finishing up. 

After I was done, I took out leftovers of this dish that I had made the previous weekend. It was good cold straight out of the fridge, and I ate while making a mental list in my head of all the things I had to do for the next morning.  

Sloane has been requesting a lot of carrots lately. She wants to eat them like her friend Jack at school (Jack is four, older, wiser, "he can run really fast!").  She wants to eat them "like a bunny!".  That night, I packed her lunch the way she requested earlier that day: a peanut butter jelly sandwich, carrot sticks, and Craisins in her lunchbox.  Then a clemintine for her first snack, and "long, long, carrots" for her second snack. 

I've been eating carrots alongside her too, and when I noticed we had a bunch of carrots leftover from last week, I decided to roast them. I don't roast carrots often because I feel inconvenienced by having to peel each one, but every time I taste a roasted carrot, I'm rapturous, and I'm always resolving to eat more of it.  On this occasion, I resolved to have roasted carrots as my dinner, and added feta cheese and walnuts. It was delicious and very filling:

Preheat oven to 425 degree. Peel and cut carrots and throw them on a greased baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, celery, dill, paprika and oregano. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Add toasted walnuts (I toast them in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes) and crumbled up feta cheese.

Monday, February 22, 2016


I woke up on Saturday morning exhausted. Specifically, I woke up at 3:30 AM and then again at 5:30 and then at 6:30 AM and by then both girls were awake so that's when my day started. Sometimes when that happens it's fine and I get the surge of energy necessary to function, other times, I don't. Saturday was the latter kind of day and I kept staring down into my coffee wondering why it wasn't working. The week before catching up to me and I wanted to wave my white flag and go back to bed. I had things to do and places to go on my list for that morning, but I made the call to take it slow and spent it instead on the couch with Sloane reading through her books and drinking an extra cup of coffee.  When Ken came back from working out, we forgoed our usual errands and decided to have a lunch out together as a family to regroup. This kind of thing does wonders; it's a little bit of 'ohhh being together like this makes it all worthwhile'. Especially now that we are a family four, there is something so satisfying about eating around a table together, appreciating food, appreciating each other's presence. 

We went to a newish place called Boulevard Burgers and Brewery, which had delicious sweet potato fries, but I wasn't totally sold on their burgers (my burger came out missing two of the ingredients). Next time, I'm going to go for a beer and the loaded tator tots - apparently they are covered with pimento cheese! 

Logan got Sloane's leftover apple to gnaw on, which she heartily enjoyed.

Ken got the Parker field: split chorizo links, VA ham, fried egg, cilantro, lettuce, tomato, chipotle mayo & pickled jalapeno

That face!! Those fingers!

I just can't handle Logan's face when she looks at Ken.

I got the Cali, which is kale, avocado, tomato, julienne Granny Smith apples and apple preserves. 

Friday, February 19, 2016


I'm thrilled that it's Friday! Every night this week I've been zapped as soon as the girls are down. But we did get a little bit of that sunshine earlier this week (anything but that frigid cold of last weekend), it's been staying light longer in the day (have you noticed??) and I got to work out (my super sore arms are the proof), so I'm happy both for the week's good things and for it coming to an end.

And! An update on operation Two Girls Share a Room: it's going well!! There were several times where I thought about rebooting, but it's been day three now of both girls doing a great job of falling asleep on their own, and Sloane apparently can sleep through Logan's crying, so I'm feeling pretty good about it all right now.

The photo above is Sloane when she was about a year (I think?) and I've had it on my desktop for a while, and then the other day I realized that Logan is closer to the age that Sloane is in this picture than Sloane is right now and that just put me in a tailspin.

In house news, we have started packing so there are boxes everywhere and there is a pocket of my mind preoccupied by how things are going to be boxed up and in what order. My way of not becoming stressed about it is by making lists (so many lists!) and trying to do a little each day. I'll update more on house things as time passes and we get more information and assurances. But for now it looks like March is going to be a very busy month.

Also, I'm thick in the middle of Donna Tartt's Goldfinch and it is so good, I'm enjoying it so much. Plus, I'm going through it via audiobook and the guy who is reading it is great, which can really make or break a book experience I've found. 

Lastly, it's my mom's birthday today; happy birthday mom!! The older I get, I realize that I'm just trying to become more like you everyday.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Yes this post is going to be about CrossFit and since CrossFit seems to be a loaded topic to some, I feel the need to put up some disclaimers here right up front:

  • I do not think CrossFit is a cure all, nor do I think it is for everyone. It just happens to be what works for us.
  • CrossFit has a reputation for being intense to the point of turning people off, and I think there definitely is a strain of CrossFit out there like that, but that is not what it's like where we work out. It is the most balanced gym I have ever been to or seen. More about this later.

That being said, here are some of the reasons why I'm glad we started doing CrossFit:

1. It has changed Ken. Ken has always been athletic and had his heyday back in high school for volleyball and tennis, but since then, besides the weekly adult league volleyball games, he wasn't doing much else. Add to that his questionable eating habits and there seemed to be little I could do to convince him that there was a correlation to how he ate and how he felt. Then we heard that one of the coaches we knew from RVC, named Chris Shaffer, was offering workouts at a local park one evening a week. We started going to them and loved it, so when Chris decided to offer CrossFit sessions in his garage in preparation to open his own gym, we were interested. We didn't know anything about CrossFit, but we liked the body-weight based workouts in the park and most importantly, we trusted Chris and his coaching abilities. We decided we probably couldn't afford both of us to take his classes, so Ken started on his own in August of 2013.

Soon after, Ken agreed that we should try Whole30, which served as a reset button and also a time to reflect on how and why we eat what we do. This month is also noteworthy because it was when Ken became much more involved in our day to day cooking and meal prep. We don't eat strict Paleo all the time, but we are mindful of what we eat and have been meal prepping together ever since. 

Not only did this time period change his approach to what he ate and how we ate, it changed his priorities.  He became more active overall; he had more energy to go out on the weekends, hang out with people, and play with our daughter. And as he got more into the weightlifting part of it, he spent his time in the gym and with the people there, rather than on the couch or in front of the computer. He set up a gym in our garage and invited people over to work out and hang out. I saw him fall in love with not just the exercise component, but the community component as well. CrossFit just happened to be thing that allowed him to prioritize, set goals, and develop his interests in building both strength and community. It's been cool to watch.

2.  When I started at CrossFit Bezel, Chris' gym, the thing that I noticed immediately was the community there.  By community, I mean a group of people who were working towards similar goals, who took the time to acknowledge each other, listen to one another, and be supportive during the hour we were working out together. People I barely knew were encouraging me to finish a tough workout, giving me high fives and offering solidarity. There was an energy in the gym that I didn't expect - I had usually liked working out alone and was surprised to find that I enjoyed this aspect of togetherness. Everyone who was there was so nice and seemed to have the attitude that we could become better by encouraging one another. 

That's what I appreciate about our gym. Everyone is at different stages and everyone has varying strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has great days and everyone has terrible days when doing the most simple thing seems hard. This diversity and realness is what makes community awesome anywhere, and it applies here too. Add to that coaches who meet each person where they are each day, who believe that the purpose of spending time in the gym is to be better out there in the real world, and you have opportunities to make real relationships.  

Even when I was pregnant, the coaches, Chris and Taylor, met me where I was each day and encouraged me. Not just by telling me what I could do, but by telling me what I should not do, in order to be safe. They even arranged for a sympathy workout towards the end of my pregnancy, which consisted of everyone strapping on a medicine ball to for their workout so that they could be 'pregnant' with me.

(My belly is the real one...that's Logan in there!) 

3. After a few months, I realized that this thing was something that Ken and I were both really into and an amazing thing that we could do together. I loved working out together, talking about it, and encouraging each other towards our goals. Often times we would end up at the gym to do a class together for a date night, since we usually weren't able to work out together, and (before Logan) we would frequently spend a couple of hours in our garage gym on a weekend afternoon, with Sloane watching us or even sometimes joining in.

4. I started appreciating my body for what it could do instead of what it looked like. I always liked working out because of how I felt afterwards - yay endorphins! - but I have to admit the primary goal of getting myself to the gym consistently was to keep weight off or just to avoid being too sedentary.  When I started doing CrossFit, I started becoming much more interested in finding out what my body was able to do. Can it be upside down? Can it do pull-ups? Can it lift that? Can it jump higher? It was exciting to employ my body for movement and strength, instead of trying to whip it into submission to look good in an outfit. 

Some days are better than others. It's been especially hard the past few months. I get discouraged about how much ground I've lost since having a second baby, lack of sleep makes everything feel harder and the cold is always a paralyzer for me. This past month I've been prioritizing sleep training the babies and I've been wanting to go to bed as soon as possible each night. And that's fine, that's my season right now. But I do miss consistently going to class; I know my body misses it.  Even if I can't go as much as I want to right now, I still try to go when I am able. Even on the hard days, my mindset is just to keep moving. I'm going in there because my body has been sitting in a chair all day, and my body is saying, I want to move I want to play! Even when I'm too mentally zapped to set goals, I'm obliging my body because I want to keep it happy and working for me for a long time. 

5. I think the thing that changed most about me after starting to do CrossFit is my perspective on a woman's body. I know I just finished saying that doing CrossFit made me appreciate my body for what it can do over what it looks like, but I'm also saying that we don't need to ignore appearances. In fact, we should celebrate them...for the right reasons. Once I determined that strength and ability was important to me, I started noticing that the way I viewed female bodies was changing too. 

One day, I realized that I wasn't idealizing stick legs anymore. When I saw a tiny girl with a big gap between her thighs, my first thought wasn't
, "She looks so good in those skinny jeans!" It was, "I wonder if she wishes they were a little thicker so that she can clean more weight." And when I saw a girl with big thighs and big butt, my first thought was, "Wow, I bet she can squat a ton of weight...lucky her!" 

I'm not saying that I think all women should be muscular, I'm saying that I started noticing other bodies for what they might be capable of, instead of how they looked in a dress.

I naturally have muscular thighs and calves and when I work at it, I can build some good muscle on top too, but that was never something I was super psyched about...until now. It is awesome to me that when I put my body to work, I can make it be stronger, and I can make it look like how it is designed to be. I'm probably never going to have sheet rock abs but I am going to have what my version of strong abs are, and I love that.

It makes sense that we would think being stick thin is ideal, that's all media has to show! But once I saw what the world of CrossFit female athletes had to offer, I started realizing that everyone's body is different when it is strong. The goal can't be to look like a stick shaped you; if that's not in your gene pool that's going to be impossible no matter how hard you try. But you can look like the strong and capable version of you, and it's going to be totally hot because you will FEEL strong and capable.

This last thing is especially important because I have two little girls. I don't know what their bodies will grow to be like but I do know they will likely be unique and maybe even different from one another's. As girls living in this society I know that it will be easy for them to give in to the lie that their bodies must look a certain way, that their worth is based on how they look instead of what they are capable of. But I also know from my own experience that it IS possible to love your body exactly for what it is and work to make it stronger, and ultimately be able to enjoy your body in the amazing life you get to live.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Excuse me if this any of this sounds strained - I'm trying to hold it together in this cold weather ("arctic chill" they said! I'm not making it up!) and keep it moving, even though my body, like usual, is trying to put me into hibernation mode. The cold is just the icing on the cake - the rest of the cake being an overwhelming amount of work, house, and kid stuff that is going on. My mind has been overwhelmed and it is taking it out on the body - I've been having strange body things that I may attribute to stress, if I'm stressed. Am I stressed? I don't know. But it would really help if it wasn't so dang cold all the time.

Let me try to get most of the whining out here at the beginning:

It's cold! The wind hurts my face! It takes forever to get everyone bundled and out of the house! Winter clothes are bulky! Everyone is on the brink of getting sick! Runny noses! It's drying out my skin! My body aches!

Ok, that should do it.  Moving on.

Even when it is busy, ESPECIALLY when it is busy, I try to capture little bits and pieces from our daily life. I am of the belief that all these small things are worth exclaiming over:


I haven't been able to capture the facial expressions that Sloane does when she is "performing" a song and dance number, but you guys, it's so good. There's this one that is a eye-widening, look at you out of the corner of her eye, with a knowing smile, just short of a big ol' wink face, and that one is a winner.

Slow mornings are the best because that's when I usually put both girls on our bed and let them roll around and play together for longer than usual.

Our weekend mornings look like this.

A weekday morning might look like this.

And our recent grocery trips look like this. These little shopping carts are brilliant, until they're not because you end up pushing your big cart and also awkwardly trying to help your toddler push her little cart, and then they become brilliant again because she's old and strong enough to expertly push and navigate on her own, and you realize you can actually fit all your groceries in there, so it actually is a huge help.

She's been really proud of all the work Logan brings home. She wants to carry it around and shows anyone that cares, "Logan did it!"

We had a little visitor the other weekend, except little Faye isn't so little anymore, and each time we see her she is doing and saying more. It's a miracle no matter how many times I see it happen.

Sloane's art is taking over her walls! She's been putting her favorite pieces herself, and I'm into it because it gives me more chances to behold the awesome that is her art these days. 

We went to go watch a performance of Annie (by Character Works theatre) and it is so much fun experiencing plays with this little girl! The cherry on top was watching Sloane approach the girl who played Annie afterwards, say "hi" and get a picture with her. Sloane has asked if she could see this picture over and over again, since.

On the left is me and my little girl during intermission. I loved having her whisper her observations and questions to me during the performance. On the right are all the little girls we went with! 

It has been a long time since Ken and I were able to sneak out for a date, but thanks to my mother-in-law who came up for the weekend, we got to eat dinner at Metzger, which was so amazingly delicious. We snapped this photo of each other and then scarfed down our food.

It was also my MIL's birthday a week ago, so we celebrated with her and my sister-in-law who came up for the day. Travinia for lunch was really good and we had Frosting's cupcakes afterwards!

Hi! Happy Valentine's Day! 

I saw this on Busy Toddler's instagram and tried it out; it really is brilliant. Mix 6 tablespoons of bath soap, 6 tablespoons of cornstarch and 3 teaspoons of water, and then divide it up before adding food coloring. I posted another photo here to show Sloane's work; she loved it and it occupied her for 30 minutes. I poured some bubble bath into it afterwards along with her ducks, and that kept her busy for another half an hour. One hour bath! Win for the both of us.

Lastly, did everyone have a good Valentine's Day? The best Valentine's Day present ever from my mother-in-law: all of our laundry folded.