Today: Last week’s workouts | 002

Last week, I treated myself to an in-the-house only yoga mat (my other mat has spent some time outdoors, on the beach, and being run over by toddlers wielding doll strollers).  It only took one unrolling for Grace to claim it as her own.  She told me she’d share it with me and then demanded I do squats and “exercise with my feet.”  Lord, help me.

last week's workouts 002

I do appreciate that I am able to workout with both children at my side, as challenging as that can be at times.  I want them to see exercise as an opportunity to care for themselves.  I want them to feel strong, capable and proud of themselves and their bodies.  

And hopefully, down the road, they’ll have a much better understanding of how those bodies work.  For instance: They will know that before they were born, our belly buttons were not connected to one another by an umbilical cord (a fact I came to grasp just weeks before Grace was born… so that was special).

Anatomy aside, here are last week’s workouts. (I’m including FitBit stats this week for the heck of it). 

Last week’s workouts | 002

Monday: Class with Mama Beasts // FitBit: 16,065 steps, 6.71 miles

Tuesday: At home workout (for our Mama Beasts challenge) // FitBit: 12,121 steps, 5.06 miles

Wednesday: Class with Mama Beasts // FitBit: 11,517 steps, 4.81 miles

Thursday: Yoga and a little time playing around with my Stretch Deck (a great, portable reference for people who know they need to stretch, but are too lazy/tired to put much thought into a routine).  I signed up for a free trial with OneOEight and have been loving their online yoga classes and guided meditations.   You can select classes based on length, vibe, etc. // FitBit: 10,048 steps, 4.2 miles

Friday: More yoga. // FitBit: 10,056 steps, 4.2 miles

Saturday: At home tabata workout (for our Mama Beasts challenge) // FitBit: 7,073 steps, 2.97 miles

Sunday: Rest // FitBit: 13,509 steps, 5.64 miles

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you moving this week?

Today: February goals (and a printable calendar).

Writing out goals for January proved to be very motivating and (mostly) productive.  So I figured, let’s keep on keepin’ on.  Also, I made you another calendar.  

And I want you to eat your vegetables.

february printable calendars

Materials used: Micron pen (black 01), Pigma brush pen (black, fine), Koi watercolors

Because I care.

You can download your February calendar here.

February goals

Family

  • Make the birth announcement I forgot to make last month (can’t win ’em all)… because nothing says second child quite like announcing his birth two or three months later
  • 2 trips to the children’s library (and maybe visit a different branch)
  • Date night out!

Wellness

  • Continue to workout at least twice in the real world, and twice at home (and share with you all, for accountability’s sake) each week
  • Meet my fitbit goal (10,000 steps) 5 days a week
  • Less coffee, more tea
  • Read something other than articles about babies and/or toddlers and/or sleeping and/or eating and/or crying

Home

  • Create a better, more sustainable daily maintenance routine (my current routine is “It’s time for bed.  Holy crap!  Where did all this… crap come from?!”)
  • Donate, recycle and throw out even more things (last month was a good one for purging)

Community

  • Keep looking for a new parish
  • Share at least one friend’s post or project a week (I failed miserably at this last month)
  • Plan a weekend play date with friends

Oh.  And eat more carrots.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is On Tap for your February?

 

Today: What I made | 001

This year, I thought I’d continue to share a weekly look at recent paintings, drawings and illustrations.  Rather than keep posts like this limited to my art journal, I plan to keep things a bit more open-ended, knowing that some weeks I might make time for something really sort of great… and other weeks, I might be lucky to doodle on a napkin.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been caught up in patterns and repetition and have stuck with a single paintbrush, a small palette of watercolors, a few bottles of drawing ink and two identical watercolor sketchbooks.  And 900 paper towels.

These days, my ego is a bit more fragile than usual.  I chock it up to the lack of sleep and constant second-guessing that comes with caring for a newborn and a toddler.  And while I’m so much more confident the second time around, I still catching myself repeating that new mom refrain (be gentle to yourself) over and over.

And so I’m not in the mood to try anything new.  Or risk making something totally ugly.  Or need to clean up a bunch of supplies.  I want to be pleased with what I make.

 There’s something really relaxing about doing the same thing over and over.  And being done when I run out of time or paper or brain power.  This is what gentle art-making looks like for me.

What I made | 001

what i made 001

what i made

what i made

what i made

what i made

what i made

Materials used: Strathmore 400 series 8.5 x 5.5 bound watercolor sketchbook (I alternate between two identical books to avoid having to wait for paint to dry), Winsor and Newton drawing inks, Winsor and Newton professional watercolor and gouache tubes (set up in a super cheap plastic palette), Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolor brush (size 3 round).

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you working on?

Today: Last week’s workouts | 001

In an effort to make good on my January goals (uh…three weeks into the month…), I’m sharing last week’s workouts.  This was my first full week back in the game, so to speak, having been cleared to exercise by my midwife the week prior.  

Also, to be clear, this “game” I speak of is basically dressing in lululemon, getting the babes packed up, searching for my phone/keys/sunglasses/wallets/extra change of clothes/keys again/extra package of wipes/and snacks (always snacks), attempting to leave the house, sometimes succeeding, always arriving with spit up in my hair, and occasionally participating in a workout.

I bought an 8 class pass with Mama Beasts and started back last Monday.  The timing could not be better, as the group’s winter team challenge kicked off mid-month.  We’ve been earning points for workouts, logging our meals, staying hydrated, making time for ourselves and occasional special challenges… like squat day.

I’ve also been making use of my home gym in a bin and “do anywhere” workouts found on YouTube and Pinterest.

last week's workouts

Last week’s workouts | 001

Monday: First day back at class with the Mama Beasts — this is also the day I realized how much coordination it takes to leave the house at a specific time with both Grace and Nick.

Tuesday: At home ladder workout… and 315 squats… because I mis-read the instructions for the aforementioned “squat day” and overshot by 100+.  Needless to say, I could barely walk after this.  All in the name of points.

Wednesday: Class with the Mama Beasts

Thursday: Random yoga flow (thank you, Pinterest*) and gymnastics class with Grace.  I fully participated in the warm-up and stretching… like, to the extent that it may have made the coach and other parents uncomfortable.  Regardless, it felt good.

Friday: Rest.

Saturday + Sunday: Plank weekend.  I totaled 17 minutes (in sum, not in a row) of planks of all sorts (high, low, side, modified) between the two days.  And um… that’s all I did workout-wise.  I can only hope my form was as good as Grace’s.

last week's workout planks

It would appear I haven’t cleaned under the sofa recently.  Or ever.

*Random aside regarding Pinterest: Am I the only one who finds Pinterest completely annoying lately?  I have to scroll through 800 sponsored or “picked for you” pins before I find anything that’s not junk.  Oh, and one of those “picked for you” pins the other day was “How to get a thigh gap.”  (It was recommend for my healthy living board….)

On one hand I was like, that’s not okay.  And on the other hand, I was like, Bahahahaha.  That ship has sailed.  And I’m waving it off in my maternity leggings, which I refuse to give up. Like, ever.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Taking the Jeopardy! online test.  I have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, but a girl can dream.
  • Painting (I made an appointment with myself and my art cart)
  • Sort of meal-planning and definitely food shopping

What are your favorite at home workouts?

Today: Grace’s 2nd birthday party.

Grace will be two at the end of this month.  I can’t remember a faster two years.

2nd birthday party

Nor can this guy.

Grace had a few special requests for her family party this weekend and we were glad to oblige.

  1. The guest list had to include Baby Nick, Clark and Uncle Zach.
  2. We would listen to “Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson!” music.
  3. There would be balloons.
  4. We would eat a Gaston happy cake (they’re like regular cakes, only happier).

She may have a future in event planning.

Grace’s 2nd birthday party

family birthday party

I think I need to ask for a less freaky hand for my birthday.

The weather cooperated (sorry, mid-Atlantic states), but unfortunately cold season kept a few family members home.  We missed them and made sure to save them some cake (but I might eat it…).

french bulldog birthday cake

We kept the menu simple, mostly because nothing could top the Gaston cake.  Gaston is one of Grace’s favorite books (it’s about a family of poodles and a family of Frenchies), and the folks at Sweet Tooth bakery in Southie did an incredible job recreating the cover.

appetizers

Snacks included:

  • Cheese and herb flatbread
  • Italian turkey meatballs (this was semi-traumatic for my vegetarian self, but I thought they’d be a crowd pleaser and I am trying to branch out a bit when cooking for everyone else… even if that means simply heating frozen ballz from Whole Foods in our crockpot… baby steps)
  • Feta and onion tartes
  • Spanakopita
  • Tortilla chips and salsa
  • Cheese plate with fruit
  • Carrots, hummus and artichoke dip

frenchie food cards

I photocopied a page from my sketchbook (all little drawings of Gaston characters) and used those images for food labels.  Grace helped me make a few decorations over the past month or so, including a giant two and some not-so-giant party hats.

2nd birthday party

2nd birthday party

2nd birthday party

We had our loved ones there to celebrate with, balloons to play with, Michael Jackson to listen to, and plenty of cake to enjoy.  So by Grace’s standards (and mine), this was the perfect 2nd birthday party.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is on your list of special birthday party requests?

Today: State of the Union.

My fellow Americans (and other people too, obvi),

I missed President Obama’s final State of the Union last night.  I was wide awake, and just feet from the television, but was preoccupied by one event (that sounds nicer than crisis) after the next, most of which involved diapers.

On one hand, I’m disappointed because I really wanted to watch it.  I wanted to see Dr. Hamo seated with the First Lady.  I wanted to pretend I was high-fiving Vice President Biden every time President Obama said something great.  I wanted to watch it so I had something normal to talk about today, in case I was lucky enough to encounter another human over the age of two.

State of the Union

This photo sums up my life at the moment rather perfectly.

But I didn’t watch the State of the Union, because I was taking stock of our own union and serving as Commander and Chief of  “No, I don’t think we’ll see Santa at exercise class.”  (Side note: I will be *fingers crossed* cleared to work out after my postpartum checkup on Thursday.  In the meantime, I need to come up with something cooler and less geriatric to call it than “exercise class.”)

I was folding enough onesies to clothe a small nation (small, because its citizens would need to fit into size 3-6 months), and cleaning up enough cereal (like… how on Earth did it travel from the kitchen and end up in the sofa) to feed an army.

If our condo were a country, it would be called something like The Land of Unfinished  Projects.  Or, Island of Perpetual Laundry.  Or,  What Is That Smell?

I would be in charge, not because I’m especially capable, but because I am always awake… And I was the only one who voted when I held an election at 3:45 this morning (while writing this post on the Notes app of my iPhone…)Being awake seems like a good qualification for being in charge.  Or a decent start, at least.

And in my State of the Union address, I’d say this:  Things are kind of wild right now, but they’re bound to level out.  In the meantime, we’re doing okay.  Some days are more okay than others.  I can only hope my children and husband go to bed every night knowing just how loved they are.

And I’m increasingly hopeful about tomorrow and a month from now and a year from now.  But I don’t want to look too far ahead, because I cry when Grace and Nick outgrow their tiny pajamas… so I can only imagine how I’ll feel when they can read or drive or go to college or whatever.  That’s just too much right now.  Then again, 18 years from now, I hope to be averaging more than 3 hours of sleep a night.

It may take us 2 hours to leave the condo for a 15 minute trip to the library, and I sometimes forget to shower, and I’m not sure when this bone-deep exhaustion will pass… but I feel lucky and grateful and happy…  all good (emotional) states to occupy.

Also On Tap for Today:

What would your State of the Union address sound like?

Today: Happy Weekend.

It finally feels like winter in Boston.  Time to trade the flip-flops for boots, and break out the pom-pom hats.

A few things to check out if you’re staying in this weekend:

Wishing you and yours a cozy, happy weekend.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Shopping for a new (non-maternity) winter jacket
  • Ignoring the laundry
  • Sharing the January love

What are you up to this weekend?

Today: January goals (and a printable calendar).

Hello from the other siiiiiide of New Year’s Eve.

(For the record: Now that we’re nearing a month of newborn-related sleep deprivation, everything I say and do is the funniest thing ever… to me, at least.  It would seem my siblings feel differently.  Either that or their phones are broken in such a way that they cannot reply to my hilarious bitmoji texts.)

January goals and a printable calendar

january goals and a printable calendar

Materials used: Micron pen (black 01), Sakura Koi Coloring Brush Pens, Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolors, random craft paint (acrylic), good old Microsoft Word (for the calendar table)

My questionable comedienne status aside, it is New Year’s Day and I’ve got January goals and a printable calendar to share with you.  Rather than setting year-long resolutions, I’m sticking to monthly goals and intentions.  Mostly because I can barely imagine what tomorrow will bring, let alone how many days I can deprive myself of Diet Coke come November.  

The calendar is a part of a larger goal I have to both make and share more art.  Please feel free to share, download and print as you like.  Consider it a gift to offset the un-funny Adele joke above.  And unless I completely space out, I’ll draw and paint a new calendar for you on the first of each month.

click here to download your free, printable January calendar

Here are the rest of my January goals, semi-organized for your reading pleasure.

Family

  • Celebrate Grace’s 2nd birthday in style (…whatever that means)
  • 2 trips to the children’s library
  • Photograph Grace and (baby) Nick and send out New Year’s cards/birth announcements (we sort of missed the boat on Christmas cards)
  • Listen to Serial with (adult) Nick each week (Nerdtown, USA: Population of 2)

Wellness

  • Schedule doctor’s and dentist’s and vet’s appointments for the beginning of the year
  • Get back in the workout groove (after being cleared to exercise at my six week postpartum check-up) and share weekly round-ups for accountability and motivation
  • Drink fewer than 600 Diet Cokes a week
  • Wear FitBit every day (this feels like a do-able precursor to setting a daily step or sleep goal)
  • Set aside 10 minutes each day to make something (and make peace with the fact that these “somethings” will likely take days or weeks to be finished products)

Home

  • Throw out, recycle or donate everything
  • Make a list of specific spaces in our condo to tackle and start chipping away at the decluttering
  • Hire a new housecleaner (we parted ways with ours in December, and I am not an especially talented duster… and let’s just say, both are evident)
  • Participate in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure

Community

  • Join a new parish (this is sort of major, and in the works — we love our current parish, but will be moving to one in our own neighborhood this year)
  • Participate in at least one of my fitness group’s social activities (the group has monthly birthday parties for kids, a mom’s night out, recipe swaps, etc.) rather than ducking out right after the workout, as I’ve done in the past #awkwardfaceemoji
  • Share at least one friend’s blog post or project per week

Here’s to a productive, happy, healthy, sort-of-hilarious month.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your January?

Today: Goodbye, 2015. Hello, 2016.

On one hand, I try not to buy into the New Year’s hype too much.  The “new year, new you” stuff sort of gets under my skin.  But on the other hand, I love a fresh start.  A clean slate.  A chance to set new goals and intentions.  And an opportunity to reflect on all that has transpired in the past year– the good, the not so good, the in between.

goodbye, 2015. hello, 2016.

Materials used: Cold pressed watercolor paper, watercolor paint (Winsor and Newton professional tubes, Ivory Black), small round brush.

Goodbye, 2015.  Hello, 2016.

2015 seemed to be marked by change (almost all good, but a bit unsettling nevertheless).  I left my career to be home with Grace and welcomed a second (equally adorable) baby to our family.  I found new ways to engage creatively, new ways to fit in exercise (while toting around a toddler), new concealer to hide the ever darkening circles under my eyes, and new ways to pass the time waiting for our little one to arrive (did I tell you about the time I hired a graphic designer in Pakistan to help me Photoshop Clark into a picture with the President and VP?).  I’m leaving 2015 feeling both grateful for all we’ve experienced, and relieve to be moving on to the next chapter.

And I’m greeting 2016 feeling hopeful.  I’ve got a few specific goals in mind for the year, and will share those soon.  In the meantime, I’m filling a Champagne glass with ginger ale and toasting to the year ahead.

I hope you have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve, and a lovely 2016.  Thanks for all of the love and support during 2015.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you feeling about 2015?  And 2016?