Better late than never? Holidays (Easter) followed by other holidays (Marathon Monday a.k.a. Patriots Day) make for a delightful disruption to our routine, but a disruption nevertheless.
We celebrated a really happy Easter at the Cape with our family and returned to the city Monday night with a little bit of chocolate… and a lot of delicious leftovers. I like when my meals both plan and (sort of) make themselves.
Thursday: MB self-assessment + lots of stretching/foam rolling
Friday: MB class + Run
This is the final week of the Mama Beasts spring challenge (hence all the MB business above). It’s been so fun to work with our team and to push myself a bit harder than usual. A new session of classes starts on Monday — you can find all the details here! I’m also so glad I re-started the Couch 2 5k program (using the app). I’ve been able to switch things up for most runs, completing some solo and some with the double stroller (i.e. 50 lbs. of children + 37 lbs. of stroller) and on varied terrain (track, Harborwalk in Southie, hills on the Cape). It’s really nice to be back in the running-ish groove.
For those who have asked, I have the Baby Jogger Summit X3 Double (the 2016 model, which is what I have, is currently on sale on Amazon) and really like it. I had a single BOB before Nick was born and liked that too, but find the Summit to be a bit more solid and comfortable for the kids.
The older I get, the more I notice the way life really does follow its own seasons. Some seasons are for celebrating. Some seasons are for learning. Some seasons are for waiting. Some seasons are for grieving. Some seasons are for growing. And some seasons are for sitting on the beach sipping fruity beverages.
Fruity beverages is sort of a ridiculous, but semi-on target way to transition to this: I stopped nursing baby (toddler) Nick 9 days ago. Oh, but this isn’t a post about boobs… so don’t panic (or sorry to disappoint). Considering I nursed Grace until a month before Nick was born, I’ve essentially been breastfeeding since the end of January 2014. This feels like the end of a huge part of our lives, mostly because it is. It has been wonderful, challenging, weird, exhausting, and amazing. I am grateful I was able to have this experience with both kids.
And now I am ready for the next season of our lives.
I took a long walk by myself along the beach this past weekend and found myself thinking about what I hope for this next season to bring. I bought a $1.99 notebook (the cover’s a really ug shade of yellow, but it’s all they had) on the way back to the house and started making a list.
THE NEXT SEASON
In this next season, I want to invest more fully in my own health and wellbeing. I want to sleep more (which isn’t saying much, since I am basically always awake). I want to take more walks on the beach. I want to relish in alone time, without feeling guilty (real talk: it’s a careful balance). I want to be better attuned to my own common sense and good judgement and rely less on scary headlines and unhelpful advice. I want to spend as much time playing outside as possible. I want to enjoy those little flashes of independence both kids share every now and then (it’s like watching them becoming themselves over and over). I want to revisit some of the things that used to bring me joy, but that I stopped making time to do. I want this next season to be for connecting and reconnecting and resting and recharging.
And I want to find the perfect pair of cool mom jeans.
I just went on an aggressive Pinterest spree in anticipation of hosting Easter at the Cape in two weeks. Nick and I are really excited to have our families down here for lots of good food, egg hunting and (hopefully) lovely spring weather.
Ya hear that, Mother Nature? Just kidding. Do you thing, girl. Sorry for the hole we burned in your atmosphere with our hairspray.
While I was at it, I started a new Pinterest board for some of my favorite meal prep + planning resources. If you’re interested, you can check those boards out here:
Food On Tap (favorite vegetarian recipes + a few more meal prep resources)
My main nutrition goal for the week is to increase my water intake. We are in the process of having a whole house water filter installed and in the meantime, we’ve been living the Brita pitcher life. And not surprisingly, I keep forgetting to refill it. Tonight I’m brewing a bunch of spearmint iced tea and filling a few water bottles for tomorrow. The glamour and interestingness of my life abounds.
…And probably a night of takeout or leftovers. Breakfasts will be some combination of English muffins, yogurt, fruit, smoothies, oats and/or the children’s table scraps (again… let’s be honest). Lunch is usually a big salad and/or leftovers.
Speaking of: Leftovers is such a sad word. We need a better word that is like, Hey... I am so incredibly in charge of my life that I didn’t just make one meal… I made two meals… AT THE SAME TIME! Or whatever.
I did some recon and there is a brand new track a mile or so from our place at the Cape. I dug up some of my track workouts from my marathon training years of olde (honestly, that feels like a lifetime ago) and am hoping I can survive fit in one this coming weekend.
True Life: Grocery shopping with a three-year-old and a one-year-old is (often) NUTS. It can also be really fun. Especially if no one manages to climb out of the cart, while still strapped in (that’s happened on three separate trips). Grace’s additions to the shopping list today: a pineapple, two avocados, string cheese, and blackberries.
Here’s this week’s meal and workout plan.
MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK of 3/20
Vegetarian burrito bowls (quinoa, black beans, corn, salsa, avocado)
…Coming to you live from snowy Cape Cod with this week’s meal plan + workouts. The babes are napping, so I figured I’d make an attempt to get my act together for the week before we head back to the city.
Note to the entire internet self: I need to figure out if Tuesday’s storm is the real deal or not and plan my grocery shopping accordingly. My favorite meteorologist (yes, I have one of those) seems to be on vacation, so I am essentially lost.
Breakfasts will likely be some combination of yogurt, fruit, cottage cheese, English muffins and/or a porridge made from my children’s table scraps… Lunch is usually a giant salad. I expect these dinners will make for really good leftovers to tag along with my greens. And my peasant parent porridge.
Time to Google the weather. Catch you on the other side… of the Sagamore.
Over the years, including the 8 I’ve spent blogging here (making me essentially an Internet senior citizen), my understanding of words like fitness and healthy and wellness have changed and evolved. From running marathons to training to being able to run a 5k again, from getting “wedding ready” (whatever that means) to becoming a mother, from learning to eat mindfully to managing stress, I’ve found that health and wellness is not a linear journey.
There is no one path to wellness. We all make our way.
One of my favorite things about being in this community is learning from the paths and experience of others. For that reason, I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Day of W.E.L.L.ness in Boston on 3/18. For those of you living in the New England area (or looking to make a weekend trip!), you might want to check it out, too!
Where: Wyndham Beacon Hill (a short walk from the Charles Street/MGH T stop on the Red Line)
Discount: Use code ELIZABETH to receive $20 off your ticket order
This Day of W.E.L.L.ness is sort of an off shoot of the annual W.E.L.L. Summit (hosted in New York City) and showcases wellness from a 360 degree viewpoint. Breakout session topics include Ayurveda, meditation, nutrition, fitness, financial health and building a wellness business. The day also includes a DIY breakfast oatmeal bar from Thirst Juice Co., a custom tea bar and healthy snacks, an incredible gift bag, an afternoon yoga class, access to New England based exhibitors and more.
I’d love to see you there!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary ticket for this event and this post contains referral links.
Because why start a week on Sunday or Monday… when you can start it on Tuesday? I’m including my workout plan along with this week’s meal plan to make up for my lateness. Or whatever.
Temps are supposed to reach 50 degrees in the city today and 70 this weekend. It’s February, mind you (but don’t worry, guys, global warming is totally a sham…). I’ve got the back door open, and a nice, big, summery salad on the table. Is it me, or is it easier to eat well (and like, be a better human in general) when the weather’s nice?
You can find more meal ideas (and basically see what I am craving at 3 AM while feeding baby Nick…) on this Pinterest board.
As for workouts, I decided to try something new last week (or maybe it was the week before?) after my plans had been derailed by a broken washing machine, a carsick toddler, two snowstorms and a visit from the washing machine repair person. I think I may have only made it to Mama Beasts class twice (pssst: new session starts on 2/27, Boston area moms…) in the span of two weeks. It was 2.5 times if you count making it half way there before the aforementioned bout of carsickness… A for effort, C- for basically everything else. The sidewalks were too icy for a run/stroll, and I was feeling both cooped up and cranky, so I knew I needed a backup plan for days and weeks like this.
I’d heard great things about Daily Burn(referral link) and decided to sign up for their free 30 day trial after seeing their Instagram ad for the 8 millionth time. I was completely hooked after my first workout. The programming is great (they recommend a program for you, but you can jump around and try various workouts with different trainers) and totally do-able in a small condo with small children crawling, running, and jumping across your mat. I’m following the Cardio Sculpt program which is a great mix of cardio, strength and flexibility/mobility.
I went full-on nerd and printed out a blank calendar to schedule in my workouts for the next month or so, and think Daily Burn will be a great compliment to both Mama Beast classes and my running plans (I registered for a few upcoming races and listed them on the Fitness On Tap tab). I’ve also pinned a bunch of free, at home workouts as further backup — feel free to check those out.
Though I’m not always the best practitioner, I’ll be the first to remind you to treat yourself. And not just to a manicure or an episode of Hunted (the UK version is really fun) while the kids nap. I really want you to treat yourself well.
For me, this feels more important than ever as I seem to have taken up several new part-time jobs (worrying, calling my senators’ offices, writing letters and trying to stay both informed and stable) in addition to keeping the rest of our lives afloat.
Treating yourself well may look differently from one person to the next, but it shouldn’t be complicated, time consuming or costly. Here are a few ways to treat yourself well… and fairly easily, at that (regardless of how many days we’ve been snowed in or the current state of the Union).
Hunted and the Super Bowl (oh, and bits of the Grammys last night) aside, I haven’t been watching much TV at all lately. While I’m left in the dark about plenty of things (namely the weather), the lack of television news seems to be keeping my blood pressure in check. It also gives me more time to paint, more time to read, and more time to learn (of particular interest at the moment: reading an illustrated atlas with Grace each day, catching up on Get Messy tutorials for watercolor and all kinds of other lovely things, reading about how to streamline meal prep + hoping to figure out how to explain the sun and moon to three-year-olds).
I’ve also been limiting my small screen time, tucking away my phone for hours at a time when the kids and I are home during the day. It’s admittedly much more challenging for me to drop the phone than the TV, but hey. Working on it.
SIMPLIFY YOUR MEALS + SAVE YOURSELF AN HOUR
When you eat well, you feel well. Simple as that… but not so simply accomplished, I realize. I’ve gotten back in the habit of prepping my meals and snacks ahead of time, and ensuring I have plenty of nutritious, whole options on hand (and fewer, you know, Cheez-Its options on hand).
I also take advantage of grocery delivery services like Instacart (they deliver to Southie from our local Whole Foods Market in the South End) every now and then. It saves me an hour (or however long it takes to wrangle two toddlers, get to the store, get home, find parking, and get the babes + groceries upstairs) and also keeps me on plan and on budget, eliminating the risk of impulse purchases.
RETHINK YOUR HEALTH PRODUCTS + CONNECT WITH OTHERS
These days (thankfully!) there are plenty of options when it comes to safe and clean beauty products. I’ve been making a conscious effort to make the best choices I can when it comes to make up and bath products (shoutout to my wonderful cousin who is a Beauty Counter consultant <3), but hadn’t really considered what was in my feminine care products until someone from LOLA recently reached out and shared a complimentary sample.
Yes, I’m talking tampons. Did you know there are no FDA requirements when it comes to disclosing what your tampons, pads and liners are made of? And there have been precisely zero studies conducted on the long-term effects of using artificial fibers in tampons. And yes, I get that buying different feminine care products might seem like a bizarre way to treat yourself well. But I hope you know I wouldn’t mention this if I didn’t think it was worth your consideration.
And that brings me to this: Caring for and connecting with others can be such a powerful way to treat ourselves well. Reaching out (especially when I’d prefer to draw inward) always leaves me feeling more hopeful, less isolated and more prepared to tackle what lies ahead.
Go on and treat yourself (well). And maybe buy yourself some flowers, too. Oh, and happy almost Valentine’s Day!
Disclosure: I received complimentary product from LOLA, but all opinions are my own. This post contains referral links. As always, I truly appreciate your support.
I don’t know about you, but putting away the holiday decorations nearly does me in every January. The gloomy weather and a cold I can’t seem to kick (kids and their germs, I tell ya) aren’t helping.
Winter Elizabeth is a lot less fun than Summer Elizabeth.
Semi-related: Winter Elizabeth somehow lost one of her children’s birth certificates. Not my finest work. Hence, baby Nick and I made our way to the registry office at City Hall today. As much as I would have rather stayed home, curled up on the sofa with a blanket and a book…
One-year-olds don’t do that. They just don’t.
An object in motion stays in motion… while staying put is a great way to lose momentum. And I’d already lost the birth certificate, so…
I couldn’t help but brighten up a bit as we approached City Hall, though. I love the juxtaposition of old and new less old buildings. I like seeing tourists milling about. I like the buzz of it all.
Once we finished the grown-up business part of our outing, I figured we may as well embrace a bit of adventure, too. We were bundled up and had plenty of snacks, why not?
We split a cup of Unicorn Blood (yes, really… it’s a delicious mix of beet, carrot, celery, watermelon + pineapple) from Mother Juice at the Boston Public Market, walked along the Greenway and did some people watching at Faneuil Hall. A little adventure was the perfect antidote to my winter mood.
For me, keeping busy (especially with good, fun, interesting things… not just boring, necessary things) goes a long way in keeping the winter blues at bay. In that vain, here are a few things to do in January.
Take an art class. (Creative Bug is my favorite source for online classes– I gravitate toward the painting and drawing classes, but you’ll find really accessible courses on knitting, sewing, collage, drawing, etc.)
This time between Christmas and the New Year has turned into the perfect little winter rest. Nick had a few days off from work, we let Grace play preschool hooky for the week, and welp… baby Nick, Clark and I live on a very flexible schedule that revolves around naps and snack time. And laundry. But mostly snack time.
We’ve been hiding out (but not really, because everyone knows we’re here) down the Cape, watching the birds. And eating soup. Hanging up some artwork and setting up a basement gym. Reading my favorite Wendell Berry poem and resting. Binge-watching Super Store once the kids are in bed. Coloring and playing trains. Trying to perfect my recycling system. Hunkering down and staying in.
The largest part of me is an optimist and is fed by hope. But there’s that tiny part of me that is cynical and practical and maybe even a little wary. So I’m grateful for this week, this winter rest, both because it seems like the perfect end to an imperfect year… and because I know that time like this will give me a deeper well to draw from in the future.