staycation

My husband and I booked a hotel in the city and are heading in after work today. We have dinner reservations tonight, a half-marathon (for him) and lots of yoga (for me, though he’s going to come to a class or two as well), brunch, and a baseball game planned.

I. Cannot. Wait.

Our last overnight trip together was a weekend away in December 2018; we stayed at a hotel in Pittsburgh last summer over vacation but went down with the kids and then met them the next day for a baseball game, so it’s not the same level of kid-freeness.

Anyway, I won’t be planning any meals this week but am looking forward to recapping the restaurants and getting back to swing of things next week!

 

water park adventures

My semester ended on Monday and on Wednesday, 3 and I packed our bags and drove to Great Wolf Lodge. It was interesting trip for a few reasons:

  1. We drove to Fitchburg, an area I’d never been but in our journey to get there, we passed Shirley, MA. Five years ago, my husband and I put an offer and deposit on a lot to build a house in Shirley.

    WHAT. WERE. WE. THINKING?

    When you get off of the exit, you’re greeted by a giant tractor store. I know that there was a lot going on during that time and it is beautiful out there in the country. All I kept thinking as I drove past was how miserable I’d be if we’d ended up there. Sure, we’d have a beautiful home that we’d designed, but that’s where things would come to a stand still for me. I am happy we ended up in our beach town, able to walk to the ocean (and bonus, we designed our current kitchen last summer when our floor caved in, so – there’s that).

  2. We drove past the town where my son was born and spent the first year of his life. I was definitely feeling emotional passing those exits. I’ve only ever been to that town for his disclosure meeting, pre-move-in visits, and our court date when his adoption was finalized.
  3. My son was excitedly talking about our “abventure” and then I looked back and he was out cold asleep. What a little trooper. He managed to get in a 40 minute nap on our 70 minute drive, so he was all ready to roll when we got into the water park.

Great Wolf Lodge is HUGE! I parked on the other side of campus and when all was said and done, we walked nearly three miles before we even got to the water park (granted, I ran 1.5 in the AM and we did walk the dog before we left).

We went to our room, moved the car, got changed, and then went to the water park. What fun! There are two sides of water park at the GWL in Fitchburg. We spent a few hours on one side where 3 ran and played and swam. He went down a water slide over and over and over and just laughed and laughed, having the best time.

I love that I get to see the world through his toddler eyes. He was just having such fun and as a result, so was I. After our water park time, we showered and went to dinner and then to bed. It was a busy day and I wanted to be well-rested for the following.

The next morning started off okay — we went to breakfast; 3 ate a small feast; and then we went to the other side of the water park. He didn’t care as much for this side, so we only spent a little while there. We went back to the room after a bit, changed, went to the balloon animal activity where 3 got a purple monkey on a green tree balloon.

We walked around, got dessert and then pizza, and then went back to our room for naps and some HGTV. 3 was pretty exhausted at that point, so we took it easy the rest of the night. Friday morning, we got up, had breakfast, and got on the road to head home. I had my Friday 5k to run upon our arrival and figured 3 could use a nice, long nap… actually, it seemed we BOTH needed a nice, long nap. I put 3 down and decided to lay down myself; two hours later, I awoke, got my 5K in, and got ready for dinner.

We ended our adventure with a trip to one of our favorite Tex-Mex restaurants as a family. All-in-all, it was a great couple days and a nice way to kick off the end of the semester. I am still waiting for consistent warmer weather, though I will say, this weekend’s preview has been lovely!

meals, may 17-24

Because 3 and I planned our first adventure, I’d already figured on burgers for Friday but I’m thinking I’d prefer a lighter fare, so I’m switching things up a bit.

I have been feeling a bit defeated that my weight isn’t going down at the pace I was planning. I’ll have periods where I’ll drop and then plateau and it’s frustrating. My body is definitely changing composition (thanks, yoga) and I’m fitting into clothing differently (and clothing that previously was too tight to wear), which is great but that number is just not moving. I know that I should be grateful for the endurance I’m building (and I am) and that my running pace is decreasing — I am definitely seeing all types of non-scale victories but that doesn’t help me not dwell on the number.

I’ve been reading that people who are healthiest tend to eat the same things over and over. I have been doing this, largely, but I think I’m consuming far more meat products that I’d prefer. I used to not eat meat at all and now it’s center stage in all three meals, basically.

This week, we are going to mix things up a bit: open-faced breakfast sandwiches and refried bean tacos for lunches during the week and then grilled meat and salads for dinner. I am hoping this brings more of the balance I’m looking for and won’t require so much day-to-day cooking on my part. I have been getting A LOT of chicken kebab salads from a local place (it’s a nice .75miles r/t walk) and I like that they serve pita with their salads, so I think I’ll grab some of those for us to have with ours to really round everything out if we want to add a little more substance. I also think I’m going to roast some baby potatoes as an alternate carb option.

My husband and I are going away next weekend for a few days, so it’ll be nice to see how this works and if it’s worth our while when we get back from our long weekend trip.

 

mother’s day

For years, Mother’s Day left me in a strange place. I was a step-mother being celebrated for my contributions to my family but yearned for a child of my own at the same time. It was difficult to be appreciative and not show outward aching at the same time. When 3 came home, that all changed of course…

This weekend, we celebrated Mother’s Day and it was all lovely. Yesterday, I was showered with love and hand-made gifts from 11 & 13. They each made me mugs that were thoughtfully painted and they were both proud to tell me that I could use these mugs for my tea. I can’t wait!

Their mom took them to Michael’s to get a craft for me, which is appreciated. She has not always been so accepting and approving. Last night, when she came to pick 11 & 13 up, she texted my husband to let him know she got to the house and to have him wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. 11 & 13 left with handmade cards from an in-town printing press, flowers, and chocolate-covered strawberries in hand.

Before that, though, we went to Davio’s and had an Italian dinner (and a glass of Moscato for me). It was a delicious meal and our server complimented all three kiddos on their behavior (and their appetites).

I also was taught a new dance this weekend. I honestly wonder what the neighbors think, as there are frequent dance parties that take place in our sitting room and kitchen space. The newest dance I learned is where I catch an imaginary ball and then look like I’m tying a bow with my fists. It appears there are dramatized facial expressions as well.

All-in-all, a great weekend that led up to today. For Mother’s Day, my husband and 3 took me to brunch at one of my favorite places, Eastern Standard and surprised me with tickets to the Red Sox game! The weather in Boston was less than fantastic today, but after a Mother’s Day winter hat purchase, I was comfortable enough to make it through the game. Fortunately, my husband got us seats under the grand stand, so we stayed dry the duration of the game.

After a stunning Sox victory, we drove home, admiring the city and recapping our day. Then, we ordered pizza and cheesecake, because is there really any other way to celebrate Mother’s Day?

 

meals, may 10-16

Last weekend didn’t quite go according to plan. I missed yoga on Saturday and Sunday due to a sore throat and ear ache (thanks, rain) but I’m felling better now and I’m looking forward to the weekend ahead: Mother’s Day brunch & surprises; back on track with yoga and working out. Monday is my last class of the semester (and the upcoming year, thanks to a sabbatical), so once my final grades are submitted, 3 and I are heading out on our first adventure of break!

I started using Instacart last week for groceries to save some time/money. I can get groceries from multiple stores without running around. We are trying out the Express membership for two weeks and then will decide if $99/year makes sense. The fact that they can deliver from BJ’s makes me think it will be worth our while, but we’ll see.

We are going to keep our at-home meals simple and quick (and mostly healthy).

Friday — BBQ chicken legs, potatoes, and a spinach salad.

Saturday — What a busy day we have planned: 3 has soccer and from there, I’m heading to yoga. We are going out to dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day early with 11/13 since they will spend Sunday with their mom. Breakfast will be quick — cereal.

Sunday — Happy Mother’s Day! We are having brunch in Boston after yoga at one of my favorite places — blueberry gin may be calling me name. For dinner, we are going to stick with something easy — buffalo SHRIMP skewers on the grill and beets.

Monday — It’s my last day of class and 13 is having a tooth extraction, so I wanted something easy, nutritious, and soft: Unstuffed cabbage and mashed potatoes.

Tuesday — Taco Tuesday and we’re switching it up this week with taco mac: quinoa pasta, ground turkey, black beans, peppers, shredded cheddar, and Greek yogurt.

Wednesday — It’s just my husband, 11 & 13, and I know that H is in the throws of the busy season at work (meaning, he will likely have more work to do after he picks the kids up from school). I want to make things easy, so I figured on a crockpot meal that I can put in before I head out on 3’s and my adventure. I figured on meatballs and lentil pasta. I know that it’s pasta two days in a row but it’s easy and there are zero people in my house who complain about eating pasta; a salad kit can round this out nicely.

Thursday — Leftovers / sausage stir-fry.

I went really easy/lazy this week to help my husband get out the door quickly and grabbed some pre-made breakfast sandwiches. It’ll be easy to pair them with an applesauce or some fruit and call it a day before school. My husband will take his usual lineup of Greek yogurt, string cheese, boiled eggs, Kind bar, and a banana. Lunches are equally as simple: slow cook chicken breasts and shred over salad kits. My husband has work meetings all week, so he’ll be eating there and this will make things as simple as possible for him once 3 and I are on our trip.

april to may

April was a really busy month for us! We hosted my parents twice; my husband ran the Boston Marathon (so proud); we hosted Easter… The kids started state testing in April and that continues through May, as do field trips and end of year activities. We are checking out a Parochial pre-school program for 3 on Sunday and while soccer’s been delayed a week due to rain, we have that on the horizon as well.

I have found that blogging has really helped me stay accountable to myself and continue to prioritize my health and wellness. It’s truly been a gift! This is the first area I’m going to discuss. My diet went a little out of control over the month of April; more meals out than usual and with company, richer foods than what my body’s used to. While I didn’t gain any weight, I definitely gained some bloat/puffiness, so I’m hoping in May to dial it back a little and get back to eating how I prefer to eat — largely gluten and dairy free, reduced grains, and lots of vegetables/fruits (and potatoes) with a moderate amount of meat, which I’d like to start swapping some out for seafood for lunch. My goal for May is to also continue making mostly good choices that don’t leave me feeling puffy on date nights. We try to go out weekly and it’s tough to always choose the healthier options but I think I mostly do a good job… sometimes, though, you have to have the shrimp quesadilla.

Further, I want to stay with my exercise goals. I track my exercise on the MapMyRun app. I’ve been using it for about 10 years now (back when it was just a website). Currently, I have two goals in place: Run 3 miles a week and Exercise for 3 hours a week. While I did not meet the 3-hour weekly work out (feel short two weeks, 2.19 & 2.24 hours), I did meet my 3 mile goal weekly. Today, I talked myself into just running half a mile to meet that goal and should have 3 hours of time completed after tomorrow’s yoga.

For May, I want to increase my mileage goal to 4 miles per week and maintain the 3 hour workout goal. Most of that time comes from yoga, which is tough because I’ve realized that the night classes are really rough on my body — I get home around 9PM and am more than ready for dinner, so I end up eating more than I typically would and I go to sleep too late/ wake up sluggish and exhausted. My semester ends on May 13th, so Monday nights will get back to normal then. Otherwise, I’ve decided to take one fewer yoga class a week. The yin class I take is really great, so I don’t want to drop that one; therefore, I’ll keep my Tuesday night class but will drop my Friday night class. I will keep Saturday and Sunday morning/early afternoon classes. I figure if I feel I can get to a Friday (or any other night) class or double up a T/Sa/Su class, then that’s great but otherwise, I will still get regular practice in.

For our anniversary (today), my husband got me a yoga bolster and two more blocks. I’m really excited because I think I can do restorative yoga at home now and it’s my goal to do that on Friday nights to come down from the busy week.

At the end of May, my husband and I are doing a staycation in the city while my MIL stays with the kids for a few days. I can walk to my yoga studio and my husband is doing a half marathon that weekend, so we are planning to stay active. We also got Red Sox tickets, which should be fun!

All in all, I hope that May can shape into a great month for us. I am really looking forward to seeing the pre-school for 3. 11 has a big field trip on Monday to a ropes course and he’s really excited about it.

Do you have anything fun planned for May?

 

meals, april 26-may 2

April has flown by! We’ve done a fair bit of entertaining with houseguests and Easter and I just can’t really believe that May is just around the corner. We are trying to get back into the swing of eating better and relying less on takeout. We definitely go through phases where we don’t feel like cooking and then order food and with guests in town, we definitely weren’t making the best food choices. For example, my mom brought these pizzas you can only get in western PA: I put American cheese on my sauce pizza and I broke out into a rash after eating it — this did not slow me down, as I ate the entire thing. Myself. I have one left in the freezer that I’m trying to have my brother take.

This week, we did a lot of vegetables and salad. Since I somehow deleted the post for this, I’ll give a quick run-down:

Monday — True Roots roasted chicken with roasted carrots & potatoes. I ate this like a savage after class. This is one of my favorite recipes from TR and it’s so simple.

Tuesday — We used leftover chicken from Monday to make chicken salads and topped them with Primal’s Mild Buffalo sauce, Alexia fries, tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, and boiled eggs leftover from Easter.

Wednesday — Sauerkraut and turkey kielbasa in the slow cooker, plus mashed potatoes to round it all out.

Thursday — Date night.

For lunches, my husband threw together quinoa, frozen peppers, and sausages in the rice cooker. I sautéed 365 spinach-chicken sausage and had them for lunches with tomato salads; I also had tuna with Simple Mills rosemary crackers as another lunch/snack option.

This week, we are going to keep with the simple cooking ideas. I wouldn’t mind getting into the habit of doing something a little special on Saturdays for dinner since we are all together and have the time to make something a little more elaborate. This week, I figured I’d go with a Tex-Mex theme and am really looking forward to what I have planned.

Weekend breakfasts will be simple: Saturday and Sunday, I am doing yoga so we are going to hold off on big breakfasts. We have acai bowls from TJ’s that will account for one day and I am going to make chocolate chia pudding for the other.

We are also going to do some large-batch cooking/grilling so that we aren’t having to spend a lot of time making dinners nightly. For the weekend, we are going to grill three pounds of chicken thighs. We are going to use them for Friday & Saturday dinners and lunches on Saturday & Sunday. I’ll do the same on Monday before class with three pounds of ground beef.

Friday — Skewers with BBQ chicken thighs, red pepper chunks, and pineapple plus foil-packet-potatoes.

Saturday — Chicken fajitas with frozen peppers, pickled jalapeños, tomatoes, and avocado; Siete queso, salsa, and guac.

Sunday — Buffalo chicken salads with the remaining chicken thighs, tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, boiled eggs, fries, and carrots.

Monday — 11 has a field trip and I have class, so planning something easy is key: Slow-cooker Taco Soup (from Pinterest). I’ll grab sour cream to go with this and some tortilla chips.

Tuesday —  Taco Tuesday with ground beef, frozen peppers, crunchy shells & Spanish rice

Wednesday — Asian meatballs (basically, dumplings without the wonton) served with stir-fried bok choy and Chinese potatoes.

Thursday — Leftover taco soup while my husband and I are out for date night.

Lunches during the week — chicken sausage, spinach, and tomato salads for me; my husband will do sauce, peppers, and sausage with rice. The kids will have sandwiches or kielbasa, peppers, and rice.

Breakfasts for the week are egg cups with prosciutto.