Fortnight in Review – 2/19/18

Oops, things got away from me last week and I missed doing a Week in Review post, so I’ll just pretend that a Fortnight in Review is the next best thing and I’ll try to cover two weeks at once.

What I ate: It was the best of weeks, it was the worst of weeks. Not entirely, but it sounded good to say that. First, I was up 1.4 lbs at my WW meeting weigh-in. Next week, I was down…the same 1.4 lbs. Net zero. Trying not to let the stalemate get me down, and I’m focusing on really tracking everything…it’s too easy to take a few bites of the girls’ leftovers, a cracker here, a cookie there, but it all adds up, and I need to pay better attention. Successful new recipes this week including chicken broccoli noodle casserole and a chicken burrito bowl. I was especially proud of the (ridiculously easy) homemade pickled onions!

 

A few favorites in the dinner rotation came through again as well: fried “rice,” and sausage tortellini soup. Miriam announced that “this is the best rice in the wide world!” So of course I didn’t give away my secret…that it’s a mix of rice and riced cauliflower! Hide the veggies wherever you can.

 

The homestead: Last weekend we had a spot of glorious sunshine and a chance to build the other two garden beds. I love how they look so far and can’t wait to fill them with dirt and then veggies!

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Other goings-on: The girls had a successful dentist visit! They were so psyched, thanks to the Berenstain Bears, who have a book about everything. Daphne volunteered to go first, and was really into it until about halfway through the cleaning when she got a little bothered by the vibrating toothbrush. Miriam’s favorite part were the sunglasses and she did great for the whole thing, they even did x-rays on her. Always one to dress for an occasion, Miriam wore all white “like a tooth” in honor of the appointment. No cavities and no braces yet! All in all, a successful day.

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What I read: I finished three books over the past two weeks. Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, and True Grit by Charles Portis. I really enjoyed all of them but Exit West blew me away. Easily the best book I’ve read all year. I regret that I put it off for so long because I expected it to be magical realism, which is not my thing. Now I’m reading Ice Ghosts, In Farleigh Field, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. I’m also in a terrible pickle of having several of my library holds come available at once.

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Those Rivett sisters

The other evening, Matt and I were in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner. The girls had been quietly playing in their room for a while. Miriam ran out of her room, jumped into the kitchen doorway, arms outstretched, and declared, “Tah-dah!” She was wearing her sister’s size 2T pajamas and some pants on her arms. (Fairly par for the course when you live with a four-year-old mini fashionista). Hot on her heels, I heard Daphne’s little footsteps running from their room and she jumped into the kitchen doorway, arms outstretched, and declared, “Tah-DAH!” She was completed naked and grinning like a cheeky monkey, cracking herself up.

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My other favorite Daphne-ism these days is her confusion of “nothing” for “anything.” So any random time that I ask her, “Whatcha doing, Daphne?” she just shrugs and says, “Enny-fing.” I like that take on it much better. Instead of doing nothing, you could be doing anything.

Miriam has been hard at work making books and working on her art this week, which she’s been pretty into for the past few months. I have to wait until she’s out of the kitchen before tossing things into the recycle bin or she’ll grab it and proclaim that she needs that [tube/bottle/egg carton, etc] for MY ART.

She constantly surprises me with things she knows and remembers and picks up. We’ve been playing “20 Questions” on commutes and she’s stumped me with choices like naked mole rat or centipede. She has decided to be a doctor, a nurse, a dentist, a vet, a mountain climber, and a Starbucks barista when she grows up. She’s going to do each job one day a week, and on her day off go to the fire station to help Daphne in her job as a fire fighter.

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Though she can name all the planets and the moons of each planet, she doesn’t know some basic things that I have a feeling most of her classmates know. On Sunday Matt briefly had the Superb Owl on TV, and she was like, “What’s that? What are you watching? What are they doing? Is that a game?” She learned the word “devil” from a Roald Dahl story and thinks it’s just a funny little character who sits on shoulders. She has no idea what a church is or what people do there except that sometimes her friends go to preschool there sometimes. Am I failing my kids? Are there books for kids of parents who deliberately football-naive atheists that help explain these topics? There are books for everything these days. Maybe I’ll just let them figure it all out for themselves…at least that way they’d had half a chance of forming a snark-free opinion on either subject.

 

Week in review – 2/5/18

What we did this week:

One of us left the house in panties (and some other clothes too, don’t worry) every day this week. Even better, she came home in the SAME dry panties too!

One of us got to meet real live firefighters and check out their fire truck at school, and can tell you how and why to dial 9-1-1.

One of us toiled in her shoffice and ate lentil soup every day for lunch. Except tater tot day – thanks for a brilliant Thursday again, C 😉

One of us played hooky for a day and watched Blade Runner 2049.

Check in next week to find out which Rivett did what.

What I’m eating:

I’m perfecting my Friday Night Pizza party, with two-ingredient dough. The girls always love their pineapple pizza and Matt and I split a turkey pepperoni pizza. With green olives on my half, of course. You can’t take the midwest out of the girl… This week I also treated myself to a poke bowl for lunch on my day off. And and old breakfast standby, egg-in-a-hole. Despite my careful planning and cooking, my weight was still up this week. We went to the farmer’s market on Sunday, catching a rare weather window when it wasn’t raining.

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Yes, they are 2.5 and 4, and yes they can walk. But I strap them into the stroller, throw the occasional snack at them, and every is happy and safe. Miriam’s market must-haves: mini donuts, hot apple cider, a honey stick, and ranch-flavored hazelnuts. Daphne’s must-have: kettle corn. This week I got some veggies to roast for the week and we grabbed Indian food from Tandoozy for lunch.

We had a fun, active weekend. Daphne finally got to start ballet lessons! She has been asking to take ballet class for at least six months. Miriam was so proud to show her the ropes, how to line up before class, and introduced her to the teacher. I worried that Daphne would be nervous or reluctant, but after a brief glance back at Miriam, she threw herself whole-heartedly into class and had a great time!

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I guess that makes me a dance mom. Not that kind of dance mom though. I’m with the cool moms making fun of the bougie bakery next door.

 

Week in Review – 1/29/18

January, the Monday of months… – F. Scott Fitzgerald

It’s still January. It’s still raining. It’s Monday today. All things considered, I’m just keeping on keeping on.

What the girls are doing: Daphne is continuing to potty train herself. She wears Pull-Ups but 80% of the time she announces when she has to go pee, then takes herself off to the potty on goes. Just pee so far, but that’s fine. She even went in a public bathroom stall, which is a pretty huge victory when you’re literally small enough to fall in. I’m so grateful she has her big sister to copy, and who cheers her on, which takes some of the pressure off this Lazy Mom.

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Miriam is over her virus-of-the-month (cough and fever) and back to Irish dance and Ballet/tap classes. She is super excited about getting to perform in March for Irish dance, probably because it means even more costumes in her life.

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She has learned to take photos on my phone, so captured some lovely portraits of me while I was planning my garden.

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The first raised bed kit arrived and Matt put it together quite quickly during a brief break in the rain. Miriam helped of course. I’m getting really excited about the garden plan for this spring and summer, next is ordering seeds and soil!

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We all had terrible cabin fever from the past two (three, four?) weekends of being housebound due to potty training then illness, so we made an effort to get out this weekend. That effort was IKEA, which, even in the best of times, is epic. But, we did it. Got some needed bedding and a craft cart, ate some meatballs, and can now go back to avoiding it for the next two years.

What am I eating: My kale salads for work were kind of disappointing this week, as my kale shrunk! I learned this “trick” to massage the kale with a bit of kosher salt to soften it and make it less bitter, but apparently this shrinks the kale over time as well. This jar was filled to the brim when I packed it. Still tasty though. IMG_4195.jpg

Meal plan for this week, the WW Smart Points are in red:

IMG_4230.jpgHas anyone seen my Wednesday magnet? It’s driving me crazy and I can’t find the replacement anywhere. Also, I didn’t realize how dirty my white board is.

Week in Review – 1/8 to 1/14

This was our first full week back in the routine since Christmas hols…and as wonderful as having time off is, I was so relieved to be back in routine. Grocery shopping, meal planning, making lunches help me stay on track with eating. I made a couple of new recipes, pasta e ceci and Spanish chickpeas with spinach.

Must have been the week of chickpeas around here. I’m finding with the WW Freestyle plan that I’m eating a lot more beans and lentils, but feeling a lot more full and satisfied.

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It’s not the most photogenic of foods, but I made ful mesdames for breakfast, and to reheat for work breakfasts through the week. It’s a traditional Egyptian street food, and became one of my favorite savory breakfasts when I lived in Saudi Arabia. It’s basically just fava beans, garlic, cumin, and tahini. On WW Freestyle, this serving is only 2 SP because the egg and fat free Greek yogurt are zero!

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What are the girls eating? Sometimes, they devour a bowl of poke for lunch. Other days I think they are simply fueled by sunshine and butterfly tears. I try to focus on how much over a week versus per day.

Even though spring feels ages away in the midst of these dark wet January days, I’m starting to plan ahead for my vegetable garden. I’m enjoying perusing the colorful seed catalogs and making charts and spreadsheets of my garden layouts, and Matt has been clearing the back forty. And by back forty, I mean the front flower beds.

We have started potty training Daphne, so there’s that. It’s a bit more challenging than potty training Miriam simply because I’m a lazier and a more distracted mom this time around. Poor second kid. She does great at home with no pants on, but as soon as we put a Pull-up or panties on her, she kind of loses the motivation. Plus, she is the oldest in her daycare class, so only a couple of her little friends even try to sit on the potties at school. Miriam was one of the younger kids in her class at that age, so she was motivated by watching most of her little friends learn to use the potty at the same time. She’ll get there eventually I guess. She won’t wear diapers to college.

We did our first kindergarten tour this week, so that was weird. Miriam will go to our neighborhood public school, but I wanted to tour another closer school that happens to be closer to our just in case I wanted try to get into that one instead. I can already tell that dealing with SPS and *other parents* is not going to be a fun ride for this introvert misanthropist, so I’m working really hard on just putting on a calm happy face and i”m going to fake it ’til I make it. New mantra for 2018: Choose happy.

I’m six books in to my 50-book Goodreads challenge for the year! I always have an audiobook for the car and Kindle ebook going, and I have to admit I’m having more fun researching and making my reading lists based on the other challenges I’m considering. I love seeing what other people are reading. It seems to be much better for my overall state of mind and mental health to be spending my free time reading rather than scrolling through random annoying Facebook groups. Go figure.

Goals for 2018

We ended 2017 lounging in the hot pools of Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia, while snowflakes fell on our heads and the girls ate “shave ice” snowballs. It was surreal and the girls had so much fun, they would have stayed in the water all day until they were one big prune. We are also grateful that we made it home from BC in a small window between the snow storm and the ice storm.

I am not one for resolutions but I’ve been thinking about some goals for the next year, so since it coincides with the New Year, this seems an apropos time to write them down for posterity and accountability!

  1. Read more books.  I’ve had a really hard time selecting, reading, and completing books since the girls came along. Blame exhaustion, short attention span, keeping little humans alive, etc. But I used to read constantly and I really miss it, and I realized I can make a conscious effort to make time to read. In the past few weeks I’ve read and listened to a few audiobooks that I loved and I’m inspired to keep finding new books and authors to enjoy. I’m going to do this reading challenge with a friend and track my progress on Goodreads.
  2. Reduce grocery bills and food waste. Our pantry and freezers always seem to be overflowing but I am always doing huge weekly grocery shops. Sometimes I buy things I already have. It’s a problem. Right now, I’m trying to inventory the shelves and the freezer and use as much up as I can. I don’t have any concrete ideas as to how to reduce food waste (anyone know how to convince a couple of preschoolers to eat leftovers? Or anything at all, really?) but I’m hoping to just be more cognizant of this issue.
  3. Raise chickens! This might be the goal I’m most excited about. In my dreams, I’m going to move to the country, live on a few acres, and raise Shetland sheep for fiber and wool. There will also be a few Nigerian Dwarf goats for milk and some ponies for the girls. But, for now, I live in a city with a small yard. I’ll start my micro farming adventures with a few bantam hens and a chicken coop. The chicks are due to arrive in April, the girls are going to love them! Matt’s going to build the coop and he’s already planning how to rat-proof it as a personal challenge. I can’t wait to eat our own fresh eggs.
  4. Grow vegetables. Eat local. This is also part of my new micro farm. I’ve got a hankering to build some raised beds and grow veggies. We have an ideal location in front of our house, facing west, that gets direct sun all day. I’m a bit overwhelmed by the planning that will need to go into this, as I’ve never grown a thing in my life before.
  5. Become a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers. This entails getting to my goal weight and maintaining it for six weeks, then with monthly check-ins. I’ve been doing WW since last March and have lost about 30 pounds, I have about 15 more to go to my goal. I’m not setting a time limit on this goal because I’m trying to see this more as a lifestyle change, eating healthier and changing my habits for the long term.

I’m going to try to keep checking in here to update my goal progress, and hopefully those updates will include cute pictures of fluffy chicks and kids eating veggies they picked themselves.

2017 – Year in Review

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These are my monkeys, this is my circus. The year somehow flew by, the kids grew in leaps and bounds, yet there were some afternoons and middle-of-the-nights that stretched on endlessly. That’s what they say though, “The days are long, the years are short.”

Miriam is learned to write her alphabet, her name, and all of her friends’ names, is studying cursive, and is on the verge of reading. She is constantly drawing pictures, making art, and “writing” books. Daphne only had a handful of words this time last year, and now prattles on in complete sentences to tell us about her days. She cracks jokes and loves playing with her sister. She took an airplane trip for the first time and still talks about it. They both have so much more hair! House of Baldies no more.

We went to Seabrook, Bellingham, Hawaii, and will be in Canada before the year is out. Matt traveled to many more but less interesting places for work. I went to Silver Cloud for a night and it was the best sleep I’ve had in over four years. We said goodbye to Greta the Jetta and welcomed Wanda the Honda into our lives. We’re both still employed and we kept these monkeys plus a wiener dog alive for the whole year so I can’t think of any greater accomplishment.