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.
Baby Nick woke up bawling just seconds after the President said “Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, girl of the South Side…” I was bawling at that point too, cradling my sweet child, grateful that both our children were born at a time when such an incredibly smart, respectful, kind and caring family lived in our nation’s White House. I am doing my best during these remaining days of Barack Obama’s presidency to watch every video of the President + kids, the President + dogs, and the President + VP (especially today’s Medal of Freedom presentation) as humanly possible… rather than give into the sadness and anger simmering below the surface (real talk).
Also, it was snowing and single digits this weekend… but it’s 55 degrees in Boston today. The world is ending.
Simple snacks to share with Baby Nick… because these days, he has major food FOMO and needs to sample any/everything on my plate. Blackberries and cottage cheese have been a big hit this week.
All the winter citrus, all the winter citrus, all the winter citrus… put your stems up. (Or whatever.) I especially love satsumas, and not just because you can buy them with the leaves and stems still attached.
Not a single Diet Coke today (not so obvi)
Fiveway Veggie Broth (definitely unexpected) – I received a complimentary sample right before the holidays and am totally hooked on this incredibly flavorful broth, which you can straight up drink from the bottle. I like warming it up on the stove and drinking from my beloved “BC Grandpa” mug, it’s both delcious and fortifying. Non-vegetarians will likely dig their bone broths. Fiveway products can be found locally in Massachusetts + New Hampshire.
My new FitBit (a Christmas present from Nick), the Charge 2 special edition (lavender + rose gold, so pretty) — I really liked the Charge HR, but there are so many design/functional improvements in this version. I especially like the 2 minute guided breathing program. People like me need tiny wrist computers to remind them to breathe.
The babes enjoy winter… it’s just the best. Nick, Grace, Baby Nick, Clark and I had so much fun being snowed in down the Cape last weekend. I love watching the kids and Clark explore in the yard. I’m so grateful that we have an escape from the city (and that we have the city to return to, as well).
Organic Bath Company’s Nourish Night Balm — this stuff is pure magic.
This hand painted calendar is coming to you live and direct on October 3rd. So I suppose my number one goal for the month should be… punctuality?
PRINTABLE OCTOBER CALENDAR
Materials used: Two leaves, 8 x 10 Gelli Plate (for mono-printing — such a fun tool to have on hand!), brayer, various acrylic paints (Golden liquid + high flow acrylics, Dick Blick matte acrylics, Martha Stewart craft paint), cold press watercolor paper, Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolor paint, #2 round brush (for the October hand lettering), calendar text added digitally (because it took 9 months for me to accept I can’t paint in a straight line, apparently)
I went in a bit of a different direction with this month’s calendar. My distaste for fall colors is well documented here (plus there was the time I almost committed a crime against our wedding caterer when she suggested decorating our wedding reception with fake pumpkins and leaves…). But I do love a good fallen leaf. Whatever that means.
Grace and I collected a few on our way home from this morning’s workout and used them in today’s art project (I haven’t been doing much painting on my own these days, but we’ve been killing the mom/toddler art scene. Again… whatever that means.). Using my Gelli Plate to pull prints of these leaves was a lot of fun, and the result was just fall-ish enough to be October appropriate… without being a fake pumpkin.
Regardless, we’ve got so much to look forward to this month — Nick’s birthday, my sister’s birthday, baby Nick’s baptism, dressing up Clark (and the children, obvi) for Halloween, football football snacks, and a really exciting thing I’ll tell you about later, because I seem to have become superstitious. And vague.
Keeping it basic. Like a PSL.
My primary wellness goal is, once again, consistency– consistent workouts, consistent hydration, consistent nutrition. (I’d say consistent sleep… but… #babiesdontsleep). The Mama Beasts fall challenge is underway, which gives me some much needed structure and motivation.
Make 1 new-to-me recipe each week. You know, in an effort to stop making the same three things over and over.
Be more intentional about our weekends. It’s often the only solid family time we have during the week. I’d prefer we not spend it buried under laundry and/or rushing around.
And on that note: laundry awaits. The glamor of my life continues to abound.
I missed an entire night of sleep this week (baby Nick were at the hospital– he was having a little respiratory trouble, but is much, much better). Remember when we were in college and did that on purpose, stay up all night? I’d like to travel back in time and give 2004 Elizabeth a real talkin’ to.
And while I’m at it, I might as well travel back even further and tell 1982-ish Elizabeth that staying up all night and skipping naps is just wrong. Plus, it’s a crime against your sleepy parents.
34-year-old me cannot hang on no sleep. And even on a good night, I could stand to catch a few more hours of sleep. I’m guessing you can relate.
September sunsets in South Boston are pretty great. As is sleeping for more than 2 hours and 12 minutes per night.
So I’ve become obsessed with learning how to prioritize sleep. How to fall asleep sooner. How to stay asleep longer. How sleep affects our brains and our bodies and our moods and how many plates of nachos we want to eat and/or actually eat.
Spoiler alert: If it works for you, do it. (Slight bummer: It doesn’t work for everyone.) A good soak definitely seems to help me quiet my mind and relax my body after a long week. I love this epsom soak, especially after a tough workout.
I really enjoyed this book (and it is little, relatively speaking, perfect for overtired readers). There’s an entire section devoted to sleep, one of the master keys of health, as Dr. LoGuidice calls it.
Sleep Like a Champion: Sleep Tips for Athletes from Casper
We’re big fans of Casper (even Clark, who has never missed a minute of sleep in his life and is currently cuddled up on the Casper dog bed Nick recently ordered for him), and I thought this info sleep stages, in particular, was interesting. I know my fellow Mama Beasts and I are likely years (decades?) away from getting 10 hours of sleep, but I like knowing that any increase in quality sleep could improve our speed, reaction time and overall athletic performance. And maybe it’s time I learn to nap when the babies nap.
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
July’s printable calendar is inspired by the matching popsicle pajamas Grace + Nick wore last night. As soon as the paint on this sucker dried, we hit the road, staying up past our collective bedtime and making decent time from the city to the Cape.
Nothing beats an actual popsicle on a hot July afternoon, but popsicle pajamas are pretty great. And these painted ones aren’t so bad either. They’re mess-free and calorie-free… which is occasionally a good thing. Like, say, if you’ve already eaten four real popsicles. Or whatever.
A new Mama Beasts challenge kicks off on Sunday, which makes setting wellness goals extra easy — I find these challenges to be super motivating (a new session of classes just started, check out the website for more info) and love feeling extra inspired both during and outside of class.
In addition to specific challenge activities (increased vegetable/fruit intake, mileage, core work, etc.), I will also be conscious about staying adequately hydrated. I usually drink at least 100 oz. of water, but I’ve been slacking lately (and feeling ridiculously thirsty at night).
Start (and, like, somewhat finish) sleep training. We moved Nick in with Grace a month ago… and then he cut 5 teeth and stopped sleeping so I moved him back to the co-sleeper in our room. I love having him in there. But I haven’t slept for more than 4-5 hours straight since 2013. And I think that’s probably not okay.
I want to streamline everything. I was reading about people who eat the same breakfast everyday in order to not waste their decision making braincells (or whatever) and started noticing how much time and energy I waste waffling (which, disappointingly, has nothing to do with waffles). This is obviously not a fully developed idea, so I suppose my goal is: Figure out what “streamlining everything some things” would look like.
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.
Take it from your friendly neighborhood not-a-meteorologist: It is hot as blazes today. I slowed things down a bit at bootcamp this morning, but I’m not sure it made much of a difference. By the time Grace and I got home, we were both ridiculously sweaty and in need of an extra nutritious lazy summer lunch: Popsicles, raspberries and lots of water.
Now that I’m feeling rehydrated and somewhat normal, let’s revisit the weekend according to Instagram.
There is no point to this photo, except that I am obsessed with my dog. Clark has been extra patient and playful with Grace lately, and I think he’s finally back to his usual self after a not-so-usual winter. The poor little guy had emergency spinal surgery at the end of February, was on bedrest for six weeks and is still waiting for most of his back fur to regrow. It’s sort of like built-in air conditioning, but looks… weird nonetheless. Nick recently found the breeder’s new website (she was sort of MIA for a while, which fits the bill)– the last thing we need right now is a puppy, but there were three that looked so much like baby Clark that I almost tried to convince Nick this was a good idea. ‘Tis not.
I know I need to get over myself (and I mostly did this weekend), but as long as we’ve lived in Southie (and in the past two years, right on the water), I couldn’t bring myself to swim at Carson Beach. Supposedly the beaches in Southie are cleaner than Miami Beach, but… what does that even mean? Long story short: We all went swimming on Sunday. And it was actually kind of nice. So that’s that.
Sunday was National Ice Cream Day. I don’t know where this crap comes from, but I am happy to celebrate anything that involves sprinkles.
This poodle is one of Grace’s new best friends. As previously mentioned, she is a miniature dog whisperer. They flock to her (when she is not chasing them).
We went for a nice, long walk with my sister in Charlestown on Sunday (which is where we encountered the poodle), strolling through Paul Revere Park and through the Navy Yard.
My first Google Express delivery arrived on Saturday afternoon. We each received a gift code at last Tuesday’s dinner at Serafina to try out the service, and I’ve got to say, I’m impressed. I’ve got a gift code to share with you (please see below), too. The hardest part for me was deciding what to order. I originally planned to go with diapers (boring, but necessary), but Grace’s size wasn’t available… which was just the motivation I needed to order a few fun things instead. I love that you can purchase from multiple retailers in the same order. I ordered some moisturizer and my favorite eye shadow from Ulta, and Go Set a Watchman and a grown-up coloring book from Barnes + Noble. Everything was delivered the next day (in adorable packaging) during the delivery window I reserved. I can see this service being perfect for last minute gifts or entertaining (in addition to household staples) and would love to hear if you have or planned to order from Google Express.
And a leftover from Thursday: Why bring a teddy bear to a teddy bear picnic when you can bring a sloth? Exactly.
Here are the details for Google Express:
Now through August 2nd, use the code EXPRESSBOSTON to receive $25 off your first purchase with Google Express (limited to the first 2,500 users; please note it is stated in your cart when paying that Google Express may need to authorize payment method for the total amount of your order without the promotional credit, but the promotional credit will be reflected in the amount actually charged to your payment method.