Saturday, December 29, 2018

2019 Resolutions

I LOVE formulating resolutions. As always, execution remains problematic... before I get to want I want to do in 2019, here's a look back at my 2018 resolutions...

🏡 House projects: This year we converted the bar into a pantry and the butler's pantry into a mini-mudroom (tremendous improvements in functionality!); gave the front of the house a makeover (new lights, door color, hardware, and seating); and completed some landscaping of the front yard. 

🎫 Re-boot of monthly cultural event with Amanda. Boo - didn't do this!

📷 The Shoot Along course. I still have all the instructional e-mails! Bah!

💻 Blog more frequently. Blogged far less frequently, in fact.

 📚 Read 25 books. This year I read 12 books but started many more. I used to keep reading past the point of education or fun but I've become much more selective about my time.

💍 Wear the jewelry that I have. I did switch out my earrings once in a while ... in the course of a year.

🍴Lose weight. I lost ten pounds with Weight Watchers. 

Feeling strong again: I joined CycleBar and went to 115 classes from March to December, usually at 5:30 in the morning. Success!


💥 BODY 💥

1) In 2016 through 2018 I worked with a personal trainer on and off with the goal of lifting heavy like I did in San Antonio with the plan to get my cardio / HIIT through the many classes available at the gym. That was sort of successful until scheduling became too difficult and it was no more than once per week under the best of circumstances. This year I joined CycleBar and went a BUNCH! A win! In the fall I joined a CrossFit gym but haven't gone as much as I'd like. When a recent newsletter said a 12 week, 5 day a week Olympic lifting cycle was starting Dec 31 I thought about it for a few days - could I get there and be ready to lift at 5:30 am? I concluded this was exactly the jumpstart I needed to finally realize my goal of intense lifting with a coach and work this gym (that I'm paying for!) into my schedule. This will carry me through March. I am a little nervous because this level of intensity is beyond my comfort zone - where all worthwhile things dwell, no? It will also be the crummiest time of the year - dark, cold, very early.

2) I read this NPR article about exercise and habit formation -  thought about the shows I want to watch (The Final Table, The Crown, the new season of Top Chef, Alias Grace) We recently moved our tv upstairs - meaning I can row and watch tv, aka "temptation bundling".

3) Stretching. My very poor mobility is getting worse. I am still looking for a circuit that I like (so I'll actually do it) but in the meantime I'll use the Yoga Studio app's flows for flexibility, another stretching app, and a series from Shape magazine.

4) I'll take a little break from CycleBar (once or twice per week during the 12 week lifting program, which will replace my usual 5:30 am spin time - and then some 😳)

5) Tracking / accountability: Elise Blaha's newsletter contained the 2019 tracker (an example here) I'm going to fill in two - one for weights/spin/etc and one for stretching. I have insight into how motivated I am by getting gold stars and will harness that renewal energy (turning satisfaction into enthusiasm and willpower) - and probably post on Instagram to boost a little peer pressure / narcissism power.

6) Other: row six times a month; go to four classes per month at the gym (yoga, pilates, HIIT); stretch 5 times a week.

I will be checking in at the end of March! This is a lot - it's hard to get to bed early enough to wake up at 4:45, so hard to wake up at 4:45, so hard to put a long day of work afterward, so hard to have anything left in the tank for my family at the end of the day. I am eager to see where I can get in 12 weeks* by putting my nose to the grindstone, pushing myself, eating enough protein, being on task enough to get enough sleep.

*I already know I will miss some days due to Luke or my being out of town.

✏ MIND ✏

1) At least two years I've failed at my goal of reading 25 books - failed by a long shot. I'm still shooting for it this year! (Full disclosure: I'm going to count the book I'm reading now, Tommy Orange's There There, in the 2019 tally!) Next up: Shane Bauer's American Prison and a TBD book about personal finance.

2) That's it. My brain is too full!


1) Amanda and I have re-commited to attending one cultural event a season together! Four! We can do this! And have you checked out Amanda's tours yet?!!

2) Dress with joy, starting with this pink jumpsuit:

image via

3) I love seeing obscure dramas at Frontenac so if you're going - call me! (As long as I can be in bed by 10!)


1) Finish front yard landscaping (looking forward to seeing what survived the winter!) Replant the raised beds in the spring - no cucurbits! They were decimated by squash bugs. I'm going to buy plants instead of starting seeds inside.

2) Paint Hire a painter to paint the main rooms white.

3) I am excited to buy some new workout clothes but MUST sort and cull what I have. I plan to pick out my clothes - work and workout - each Sunday. Discipline is freedom! Pick out your outfits well in advance! Fill out your food log the night before! Wear a uniform a la Steve Jobs (and the millions of people who wear actual uniforms) - and free up your brainspace and mitigate decision fatigue! I know what to do ... but can I do it?

Happy new year, friends! What are you up to?

Resolutions past:

 2011 // Word of 2012 // 2013 // 2014 // 2015 //  Summer 2015 and Summer 2015 eval // 2016 // 2017 // 2017 summer // 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Memory Is a Game With Cards

A little bit of life lately...

🏀  "Daddy playing basketball while I ride my bike" - by Clementine (she helpfully indicated the ball's trajectory with arrows. And everyone is drawn with a crown right now).

🐽  When Josie was coloring Pua she said, "I have to go get him to see what he looks like!" And referenced her nude model while she colored.

👾  As we took the Grand exit to go to the Fox to see the Nutcracker, Clem gazed upon Midtown - the brightly lit metro station, the darkened industrial buildings, the hospital in the distance- and said: Is this the future? Are we in the future?!

🎹  Piano with Daddy ....
⌚  Here she explained an art project she made at home, her "wach". I really like this video because it captures not just the artwork but her perfectionism when she finds a flaw ... and then she crumples.


🐻  At the Nutcracker at the Fox, inhaling the gummy bears I'd promised as an incentive during the intermission->

Me: What's your favorite part of the show so far?!
Clementine: Right now, eating deez gummy bears.

💌  Josie was the star of the week in her classroom and we had to make a poster with photos and a brief questionnaire. One of the prompts was "what is your favorite memory?" and I knew she wouldn't know that word/concept and if I explained it with an example, it would be coaching her. So I simply asked: "Josie, what is your favorite memory?"

"Memory," she answered thoughtfully, "is a game with cards."

👑 After meeting a new babysitter who told the girls she lived in St. Charles, Clem swanned upstairs and introduced herself as The Queen of St. Charles.

Little baby chanteuse.

💛  And tonight I came home to a little girl in the Love Mask she made in Free Choice. "Did everyone make a mask?" I asked. "No," she said. "I found this paper wif a heart cut out in the art area and the back too ... I think Dylan cut out the heart because he knows how to cut out hearts."

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Favorite Beauty Products

A few beauty products I've liked recently...

SkinCeuticals Vitamin C / ferulic acid / phloretin serum // I bought this serum as a set with a "free" sunscreen at my salon and used it alone or blended with another antioxidant serum. I think it made my skin brighter and more even. The steep price tag keeps me from the re-purchase ... as I was running low Paula's Choice had a big sale on their ferulic acid / vitamin C serum in the old packaging after a rebrand and I snatched that up.

Even a tiny bit of winter exposure gives me crone hands - dry and red. I bought cotton gloves on Amazon and slather my hands with Kiehl's ultimate strength hand salve before I go to sleep. Yes, this practice makes me feel like a creepy cross between Miss Havisham and Curley from Of Mice and Men BUT my hands are very soft in the morning. So.

Speaking of hand cream, I am LOVING Supergoop's hand cream SPF 40. It absorbs so nicely, isn't shiny, and the pump mechanism works well ( someone who has squirted sunscreen on to nice clothes). I keep this in the car for my hands (when I'm not wearing gloves. Oh! Glove recommendation: The cuff that keeps out the cold is so nice. Looking for a reason to buy these ruched, longer ones too.)

Boscia Baby Soft Foot Peel // I didn't read any reviews prior to buying, just included this on a whim in a Sephora order (Sephora app - love; Sephora store - hate) because it seemed intriguing and I CANNOT BEAR to have my feet exfoliated during pedicures - way too ticklish. I applied to my feet for the prescribed amount of time. Days passed. 


THERE. Now you won't be surprised like I was. SO MUCH skin peeled off (Luke looking at my feet, horrified: is that supposed to happen?!!) Now my feet are so soft! Get yourself a baby foot peel - but be prepared.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving was preceded by a week of vacation, starting with a snow day! School was cancelled. I finished up a work and C and I had an afternoon of making pudding cups and reading.

Josie's new song from school:

On Friday Luke and I attended a fundraiser for C's school and on Saturday headed to Chicago.  Luke's old band the Flavor Savers had a gig. Our trip went smoothly - I brought Usborne sticker books and the girls stickered away for hours ... although they kept dropping their books and stickers sheets and (CRISIS!) tearing stickers as they peeled them off the page. I spent a lot of time twisted to the left, attending to these backseat needs. We dropped off Luke in Chicago and the girls and I drove to Elgin.

My sister, bro in law, and niece came to Mike and Eric's too and we had a great visit! For dinner, Mike made sous vide scallops (seared and served with brown butter), shrimp, tenderloin with horseradish on a crostini, mushroom wontons served with tomato bisque, and split pea soup. It was divine!

Josie visits with her favorite person, Uncle Brett.

Isla. I don't know why I have hardly any photos - too busy chatting I guess.

In the morning (biscuits and gravy for breakfast! I don't even like gravy but I love Mike's) we headed back to Chicago to pick up Luke...

(we joked that Josie was dressed as a Commander's Wife from Handmaid's Tale). In Chicago we got in a quick visit with other Flavor Saver babies - so fun.

Daily nebulizer. Just a photo to show how Josie's coloring has leapt forward.

Costco on Monday! We hosted Thanksgiving for the first time and it was a potluck. I volunteered to make mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, and cranberry sauce.

Meanwhile, Clem made a rocketship.

With Clem on  a school break and all the shopping done, she and I had a fun day having breakfast out:

and at the carousel.

We picked up a gift card for Pop Pop's birthday at Bricktops and went next store for a cookie. She broke it in half and offered me the (smaller half) without my asking.

Birthday card for Pop Pop.

She created this drawing because she missed Grandma Pat, "everyone's crying".

A very brief kite interlude.


"Josie, be serious."

Finishing the sticker book.

Starting the sweet potatoes.

Began Thanksgiving Day with a 75 minute spin class!

While Luke and I were getting the house ready Thursday morning, I asked Clem to draw some placemat artwork... which turned out to be heavily influenced by our car trip audiobook, Charlotte's Web.

"I don't want to be eaten. Eat someone else."

Josie's artwork - it says I LOVE YOU. Because she tries to emulate Clem in all things, she's writing much early than C was.


The leftovers.

The sad baby.

Because Luke and I were both working on Friday, the girls went to WashMO for some more cousin time.

Meanwhile, Luke and I saw Bohemian Rhapsody on Thanksgiving night and these favorite out-of-town gents on Friday!

Celebrating my dad's birthday at my parents' house.

William looks uncannily like his grandpa!

Then we found out that Clementine can hula hoop and play catch at the same time!

The only photo I snapped of my sisters and me the whole time!