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)
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.
I’m pretending all the days leading up to Labor Day are still August. Mostly because September feels like the time when all kinds of things change. And I’m only 82% ready for those changes.
Grace starts preschool next week, which means we’ll have a new routine to follow (and lunches to pack), along with a bit more structure to our days. Structure sort of thrills me… so there’s that. Meanwhile, she’s really excited to see her friends, “do letters” and be a good listener. While she’s doing her thing three days a week, baby Nick and I will have some one-on-one time (and I’m hoping I’ll, like… maybe get the laundry done).
Before I left my career to be home with the babes, my work life revolved around the academic calendar (minus the cool stuff like summer and holiday and February and April vacations), so it feels sort of natural to be back on that track.
At the same time, I’m holding onto summer for dear life and hoping we get at least a few beach days in before September is over and I skip straight to Christmas time (you know how I feel about Halloween and fall colors and wool sweaters and hay and stuff like that… no thanks).
So this month’s calendar is an attempt to savor these warm days and ocean views before we need to do things like wear pants. And roll our eyes at anything pumpkin spiced. Please note that I finally wised up to the fact that I can’t paint numbers in a straight line, fired myself from that part of the job, and replaced myself with a robot computer. The end is near.
Materials used: Cold pressed watercolor paper, Winsor and Newton professional watercolors (tubes), round brushes (sizes 2, 6, 10), liquid gold gilding (so fancy)
Health + wellness
Keep up with a regular self care routine: This sounds super woo-woo, but whatever. I’ve been making an effort to do little things for myself here and there, and I think these little things are making a big difference. For example, two Fridays in a row, I took a nice salt soak after the babes went to sleep. I’ve decided adults should have bath time too. Why let the kids have all the fun? I have more ideas for easy ways to incorporate self-care, but that’s a different can of worms (gross expression, sorry) post altogether.
Meal plan and prep on the weekends
Register for 2+ fall races
Incorporate more yoga… ’tis National Yoga Month, after all!
Spend as much time as possible with our new + perfect nephew
Super fun date night
Make a list of fall-ish family adventures
Playdates! We haven’t seen some of our favorite friends in far too long.
Finalize plans for baby Nick’s baptism in October
Keep better track of the amazing things Grace says on any given day (I recently overheard her asking Clark if he wanted a kitten… and if he did, she would ask me, since he can’t talk… and that I might say no, but then I’d say yes… whaaaaat?)
Re-start The Artist’s Way
Get my hair cut, colored + straightened (I accidentally haven’t had a hair appointment since May… so I am basically more poodle than human)… priorities, people
Donate/share all the clothes both babes seem to have outgrown over night
Do some important research about when the new emojis will show up on my phone
80% of all my meals and snacks – This is not some sort of fad diet. My children and dog (and occasionally, my husband) eat all their food… and then they eat my food. I am basically the peasant of the family.
A bunch of books with pretty covers (and really good insides, too)
Adele on repeat… in anticipation of seeing her perform live next month (insert 100 of the red-dress-dancing-lady emojis, and then a crying emoji, and then the two-hands-in-the-air emoji and then 47 exclamation marks)
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood “Big Feelings” album on Spotify during every, single car trip… while cursing the day I revealed to Grace that this was a thing.
Grace and Nick laugh hysterically on the swings. And in the car. And in their highchairs. And in the bath. It is the best sound ever.
A new workout playlist, which I’ll share here in the next few days. I’ve been enjoying a few Pinterest-inspired home workouts and running at Castle Island during the break between Mama Beasts sessions.
Bittersweet about Grace beginning preschool next month. She is super excited and I know she will love it. And I’m looking forward to some one-on-one time with baby Nick, and a bit more structure to our weekdays. But I also sort of want both kids to stay tiny and young forever. Which would be very weird and hinder their prospects for becoming healthy, successful adults… I am aware. Meanwhile, we’ve been painting and making some pretty cool stuff together. The girl loves her googly eyes.
Way less itchy and way less dependent on Benadryl spray than I was two weeks ago… when I somehow got poison ivy all over both feet and like, in between all my toes. We live in the city. The only greenery on our property burned down a month ago (True story: someone threw a lit cigarette into one of our hydrangea bushes and it burned to the ground… but not before sending flames six feet into the sky. We weren’t home at the time, and fortunately everyone in our building was okay.) I still have no clue how or where or when I got it, but I’m telling you. Poison ivy is no joke.
Excited to sneak in one more quick trip to the Cape this month
The Night Of on HBO – We have a couple episodes to catch up on, and I still run out of the room at least twice a show for fear of what’s going to happen next… but I’m hooked.
Bad Moms – Watched this hilarious (and surprisingly heartfelt) movie the best way possible, with 34 other moms in one of those fancy movie theaters with the reclining seats and hard cider and french fries and no children… such an awesome Mom’s Night Out with the Mama Beasts.
For the record, these are not ads, just things I’m obsessed with and feel like everyone should know about them. Some of these links, however, are referral links.
Wearing baby Nick! He quickly outgrew our Baby Bjorn and was starting to feel not-so-secure in our linen ring sling… so we upgraded to the silk Sakura Bloom ring sling and I am completely obsessed. I also really like the midnight black color way. The silk grips really well and feels a bit more structured than the linen. Let me know if you have questions about baby wearing — I could talk about it forever (or at least an hour).
Ebates for “back-to-school” shopping, or more accurately “both kids outgrew all their clothes on the same day” shopping – I hit the BabyGap sale hard (and will get magical cash back from Ebates) earlier this week, saving baby Nick from a lifetime of wearing togas fashioned from swaddling blankets. It nearly came to that. But it didn’t. I also use Ebates for regular purchases like Diapers.com. It really adds up.
Dollar Shave Club – I decided I was done spending a million dollars on razors and joined Dollar Shave Club on a whim (Nick uses Harry’s, a similar service). For $6 a month, I get 4 razors delivered to my door. The handle thing came in my first order, and yes, it’s super plain… but let’s be serious. We don’t need lady razors. Just like we don’t need lazy forks. Or lady pencils. Or lady steering wheels. I’m super happy with the blades and for the first time ever, I’m remembering to use a new one every week. So adult.
Instagram stories. I love seeing everyone’s candid videos and fun photos! You can find me on IG at @elizabethev and @elizabethevart (for the painting, doodling, making a mess-type stuff).
Also On Tap for Today:
Making 9,000 appointments for the fall (check-ups, dentists, dermatologist, GI, vet, hair, and so on…)
Looking forward to a little brainstorming session with my fellow HLB ambassadors
If you count soothing a teething infant and successfully potty training a toddler to be exercise… I hit it out of the park last week. And if you don’t (because you’re a reasonable person), I barely hit it out of the living room. Which is where I spent 90% of my time. Sitting on a floor covered with beach towels (see: potty training).
If we’re counting actual workouts, this was sort of an all or nothing kind of week. Better than a plain old nothing week. I guess.
ALL OR NOTHING | LAST WEEK’S WORKOUTS
TUESDAY:TIU daily workout, and nap time yoga in our bathroom. Because it’s quiet in there. And bizarrely spacious.
Prepare yourself for a tangent.
I think I was, like, 2-3 months pregnant with Grace when we had our home inspection. It was blazing hot and I had round-the-clock morning sickness. We hadn’t told anyone we were expecting, so I think maybe our realtor and home inspector thought I was very emotional about the condo. Or that I smelled something. Or that I am a rude person. Regardless, at one point I stopped paying attention to the air vents and window seals and circuit board things and was trying to figure out how un-okay it would be to lay down in the current homeowners’ bed… and then I thought about bed bugs… and then I almost threw up.
When I finally got my act together, I found three grown-ups (my husband, the realtor, and the home inspector) just chilling in the master bathroom, moving freely and not, like, bumping into each other. Or any of the fixtures. And, having felt like I alone was the size of three grown-ups at the time, I took that as a sign that this was the right place for our family.
And now I do yoga in there. And occasionally take showers.
WEDNESDAY: Class with the Mama Beasts. I hadn’t been to class in a week and definitely felt like I was sucking wind. Is that an expression? I think so. We did a lot of hill running, and I found myself swearing a lot questioning whether or not I was ready for Sunday’s road race. Regardless, it was a very good workout and one I was happy to be able to fit in, knowing I’d likely be held hostage for the next day or two by the “big girl undies” we picked up on the way home.
I sort of condensed the two day potty training method into a day and a half, so Thursday was literally spent doing nothing but that (and taking care of the baby, obvi). It was exhausting. But kind of awesome. Grace is so cool.
FRIDAY: Class with the Mama Beasts… this counts as more of a nothing than a something, mostly because I spent the better part of the hour opening and closing Grace’s travel potty seat, opening and closing various bottles of anti-bacterial gel, and talking about pee. I tried to give it my all when I was actually participating, and I know it was good to get out of the house, but it was a bit of a wash. Such is life at the moment.
I really look up to Colleen… even though I am taller. Apparently.
SUNDAY: Corrib Classic 5k in West Roxbury. I loved being able to run this with so many other Mama Beasts members. It was just last year that I was asking my sister-in-law Colleen about the group after seeing so many women running in matching shirts. I joined the group a few weeks later and have been so grateful for the workouts and the supportive community. I pushed Grace and Nick in the double stroller and did my best to keep up with Colleen (until that last hill… not happening). I finished nearly 2 minutes faster than the Marine Corps Honor Run (my first post-baby/double stroller race), which seemed like a pretty awesome way to celebrate baby Nick being six months old. It was definitely an “all” day.
This week I’m aiming for more consistency. And less rambling about home inspections and potting training. Who’s with me?
The sun has finally returned, so I decided to be a pleasant, semi-normal person again. I figured I’d do the things pleasant, semi-normal people do. For example, share. Let’s start with last week’s workouts (and who knows, maybe I’ll work up to sharing something you actually want. Or need. Or like. #nopromises).
Raining + training | Last week’s workouts
Monday: Class with the Mama Beasts – I’ve had to give myself some serious Monday morning pep talks the past few weeks. The gloomy weather hasn’t helped. I’m gladwe made it to all three classes this week, though… mostly because the alternative was being cooped up in the house. Where there is chocolate. And no other adults between 8 AM – 6 PM.
Tuesday: Tone it Up workout + 2.5 mile loop around the Sugar Bowl and Castle Island
Thursday: 3 mile walk in varying degrees of rain (sprinkling… drizzling… full on raining… and down pouring) to the post office (where we got to chat with a nun from the neighborhood, so that was a bonus) and the library (which was closed… and I am a dingbat for not checking the schedule ahead of time) and to the store for Zantac (the glamour of my GI-challenged life never ceases to amaze). And some much needed yoga.
Friday: Class (it seemed like an especially tough one), lots of stretching and foam rolling.
Saturday: Marine Corps Honor Run 5k and a 1.5 mile walk – I feel like kind of a boob saying this, but I’m pretty proud of how it went. Running with the double stroller is no joke. But Grace and baby Nick provide a good distraction. And there’s room for snacks in the handlebar pouch thing, so… there are definite advantages. I checked with our pediatrician first (obvi), but with its flat course and my current turtle pace, this race provided the perfect opportunity to run with both babes. I’ve run the Marine Corps Honor Run before and it’s always a pretty moving event. It’s an honor to be able to run it, for sure.
Sunday: Rest day
Despite all the rain, this felt like my strongest week of workouts in ages.
I’m slowly emerging from that postpartum fog (mostly I’ve come to accept that I will live like some sort of medieval peasant, getting 4 hours of sleep at night and subsisting solely on Grace’s table scraps until a miraculous 10 free minutes appear and I manage to consume the equivalent of breakfast, lunch, lunch 2, lunch 3 and dinner all at one).
And I’m so appreciative of this body I have. That matters as much (likely more) than any workout I finish.
On that cheeseball note, let’s go (responsibly) enjoy some sunshine.
This May calendar is coming to you a day late (sorry)… but it doesn’t matter if you’re a dollar short. Because you can download it for free. Or whatever.
If you’re down with the whole coloring book craze, this one’s for you. And if you hate the rainbow and are a strictly black and white kind of person, this one’s for you too (just skip the coloring part… obvi).
Materials used: Black watercolor paint (Winsor + Newton professional, ivory black), round brush (size 2), Micron pen (black, 01), Canson mixed media paper (160g)
I think I skipped a week. I think no one cares. Let’s move on.
Last week was the final week of the Mama Beasts’ winter challenge and I’m sort of disappointed that it’s over. I think I’m going to start giving myself imaginary points for workouts, non-Cheeze-Its dinners and routine “me” time. Points are weirdly motivating.
They also distract (sort of) from the actual work — the past few weeks flew by and I’m left with some pretty solid good habits. Like eating breakfast. And staying tuned in during workouts at home. And being a bit more mindful of my tendency to snack when stressed.
Last week’s workouts | 003
Monday: The Name Game – Class was canceled due to snow, so we were given a “name game” workout to complete at home. Each letter of the alphabet had a corresponding number and exercise (for example, E = 50 squats). There were extra points awarded for completing your first, middle and last name… I got through E-L-I and considered whether or not I could legally change my name to Eli Smith… or something even a letter or two shorter than my ridiculously long name. When it was all said and done (I broke it up over the course of the day and it took me until almost 10 PM to finish), I completed:
25 power burpees
90 second wall sit
50 biceps curls
100 high knees
90 second high plank
90 second low plank
300 mountain climbers
50 plank jacks
50 triceps extensions
900 swear words
You could easily come up with your own “name game” workout and use random (or not so random) words instead of names. I’m definitely holding onto this one for future use.
Tuesday: Plyo pyramid (another at-home workout)
Wednesday: Class with Mama Beasts
Thursday: Yoga (Happy Hips + Hearts flow from OneOEight.tv), “Booty Burner Pyramid” from a past MB challenge
Friday: Class with Mama Beasts; Class (and the challenge) ended with a Beep Test (it has a bunch of other names — more details here thanks to the Internet). This was my first time running a beep test and admittedly, had no idea what was going on… so I am looking forward to redeeming myself at the next opportunity. Also, I downloaded a beep test app and fully intend to train under the cover of darkness in our driveway. Or whatever.
Saturday + Sunday: Rest (I think I was still sore from the name game).
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.
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
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 | 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.
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.
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