a week in review

Wow! This past week has been a whirlwind!

3 turned 4 on Monday — with Monday being a school holiday, my husband used his last free PTO day so that we could take the kids to Great Wolf Lodge. I took 3 there in the spring (thanks, Groupon, for mid-week specials) and I’ve wanted to take 11 & 13 (I took them to Water Country over the summer and we enjoyed the slides for a solid nine hours — so, I knew they’d love it). We prepared all kinds of food to take with us: chicken tacos and raw vegetables for the kids and prosciutto-wrapped chicken salads for us for dinner; boiled eggs and fruit for breakfast; and lots of snacks.

We took the 75 minute journey after church on Sunday and were greeted with wolf ears and a chance to hop right in the water. We spent six hours on the slides and at the pool on Sunday; needless to say, all three kiddos ate like savages and were out cold by 8PM. My husband took the kids back to the park Monday morning and I stayed in the room to get some reading done for one of my grad classes; after that, we packed up and headed home. We’d planned to stop for pizza and cookies along the way but 4 passed out, so we adjusted our plans. It was such a fun weekend and I think a much needed break for everyone.

Once we were home, it was back to the grind: 13 had a service meeting after school to prepare for the field trip which was on Thursday, 11 continues to learn more songs on the trumpet (I think he’s up to 15 now!), and 4 had t-ball and his Gotcha-day anniversary. Throw in my husband’s busy work schedule (huge presentation and meetings with his boss while he was in town from CA) and my workload and it made for quite the time.

We got through it and 13 loved her field trip on Thursday, despite the crummy weather with high winds. They went into Boston and had a lunch/dance party on a boat, did a scavenger hunt in the city, and had dinner in Faneuil Hall — highlights included the taco, brownie bites, and seeing celebrities shooting a film. I was so relieved to hear she had a blast — as the wind blew on Thursday, I worried that the trip would be unpleasant. This was another highlight of the week!

Friday rolled in and we put an end to the week with shrimp quesadillas and an early bedtime. Of course, for me, it means I was wide awake at 3AM, so I’ve been in the basement family room, online browsing, and watching Temptation Island. Having a day of separation from the week’s busy allows me to realize all we accomplished last week and how happy everyone was to get in some extra family time and then share personal achievements/excitements.

Our goal for this year (not calendar year, so much — because I operate on a school calendar year) was to be more deliberate about planning a family date each month. In September, the family date day was a camping trip in Salem, MA. I didn’t stay the night (stayed with the dog) but was there each day and this month’s was the Great Wolf Lodge. Next month, our family date date is going to be holiday shopping and dinner out — not as grande a gesture but still should be a fun chance for us to bond outside of the house.

We have a busy few weeks coming up, so it’s nice to look forward to the days where we can stop the busy and enjoy each other. I’m looking forward to next week; I’m traveling solo to visit with a friend — I’ve been trying to get ahead of my school work so that I can enjoy this trip without stress or work to do. I have three library books to read for pleasure and I’m so excited to get this girl time. My parents are coming to visit the following weekend; they try to schedule their visits when 13 & 11 are here so they can visit with them and so the kids never feel slighted for missing a visit.

We are in a season of busy — kids are busy — we are busy — but we are trying to enjoy the down time we have with nightly family dinners, walks, little trips, homemade weekend brunches, and basic conversation. I so very much look forward to these coming days but am happy I took the time to reflect upon this last week. It was truly, very special.

family date nights

We spend a lot of time trying to figure out ways to get quality time in, whether that be between my husband and I; as an entire family; or one-on-one time with each of the children (which is not easy when they outnumber you). I am very mindful when planning things to make sure that 13 & 11 get enough 1:1 time with their dad. I don’t ever want them to feel like they are in need of time that seems impossible. Fortunately, with our schedule, he does drop-off and pick-up with school daily and even takes them back to work with him sometimes (which they both enjoy).

Our usual babysitter has been working a ton this summer (she is such a hard worker), so we ended up using a different sitter for my husband’s birthday date night. She told us that she can come home any weekend to sit for us and we are now thinking of changing how we do date nights. Instead of doing a weekly date night on a Monday or Tuesday night (where all we basically do is talk about the kids), we are going to do one weekend night date a month. We can go into the city, get dressed up, and take our time to have an actual date sans kids (physically or in conversation).

As a result, we want to use the rest of our monthly date-night budget to do a family date night. It’s hard to try and plan something like this when it feels like we do a lot as a family, probably more than most people — we are at the beach often, we walk to get ice cream, we have dinner as a family every night aside from date night, goodnight stories, vacations, etc. We don’t watch much TV and have no video games/electronics in the house, so we only have each other to entertain for the most part. It works for us BUT I feel like we get so locked into our routines during the school year, having something more defined may be worth trying.

We are trying to think of something where we can all get a little more gussied up than usual and go to a nice dinner or head someplace ‘fun’ like Dave & Busters and just enjoy a few more experiences than we’d normally have. We don’t go out to each much as a family; sure, we order pizza/takeout, but we don’t get out too much because it’s time consuming and a bit pricey. I think this will be fun for all of us.

Another idea that we have to spend more 1:1 time with each of the kids is to use our weekday babysitter, on occasion, to take one of the kiddos out to do something (a movie, dessert, pizza at the beach, etc) to get some more bonding time with the kids. We feel that as they are getting older and busier, it’s in all of our best interests to be deliberate in making time with one another.

I am happy to hear any additional ideas people have on how they set aside family time! We are really looking forward to trying this out!

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?

 

sunday funday, bath edition

Now, I’m not going to lie, I love baths. I take at least one bath a week with bath salts or a bath bomb from LUSH. This week took more out of me than I can even put into words, so I started my day with an 85-minute yoga class, came home and ate while my husband and the kids were at church, and then started to prep the kids’ lunches for the week. It was a nice morning and I decided to cap off the afternoon with the same sense of ease and relaxation.

My husband was downstairs cutting potatoes and the kids were in 12’s room playing. I ran some scalding hot water, tossed in a cup of Yog-ahhhhh bath salts, and climbed in ready to relax. Apparently, the children caught wind of my attempt at relaxation and decided it was a good time to establish a garage band, but in our sitting room. As I closed my eyes, I heard the echoes of two harmonicas (3 & 10) and a triangle (played by 12). The dog was clearly auditioning for the lead singing role because I heard his [barking] voice above the music.

Ahhhhhh, indeed.

#adventuresinmumming

yoga & boston

When I lived in Boston, I was probably the healthiest I’d been since living in DC. I used to walk everywhere I could, I was training for my first half-marathon and I was going to yoga at a studio called Sweat & Soul regularly.┬áMy favorite yoga class there was hip hop yoga — what’s not to love: A heated room, hip hop music, and a vinyasa flow. It was a great workout and I was going twice a week.

I have tried several yoga studios in my area since moving to the suburbs but none of them compare, so I get bored and agitated during my practice. I’ve managed to do a good bit of at-home practice but it’s just not the same; and my husband, surprisingly, is not impressed by my jacking up the heat to recreate a studio feel.

My husband was traveling for work a few weeks ago and I spent a lot of time thinking about how to get back to that level of health and happiness. I scoured the Internet, but was unable to find any hip hop yoga classes on Boston’s north shore. I looked in my immediate area and maybe 15 miles in every direction. The only hit was ONE yoga studio in Boston’s Copley area.

I checked out the yoga studio online and took them up on their free first week offer. I attended Friday night’s restorative class and yesterday’s hip hop. I loved both but if I’m being honest here, I found far more benefits than just the yoga classes.

The studio is in a bustling area of the city, so after class both days, I walked to a restaurant and grabbed dinner/lunch to go. I got to walk around the city for a little before heading back on the MBTA and going home. I realized as I walked that being in the city gives me another type of energy. I truly love walking around — it brings me a great joy! Another thing I realized was how much these classes can lessen my mental load.

Currently, I am the go-to for all questions in the household, but if I’m gone (and off the grid, as I am during yoga and was before/after largely), nobody can ask me any questions. As a result, I had 3-4 hours on Friday and Saturday where I just got to be, me. It really helped me feel energized and after discussing, my husband and I agree that this should be a big part of my weekly routine. So, I am hoping to get there Friday & Saturday and then Monday afternoon before class and Tuesday evening.

Now, I have to keep this in mind as I meal plan. With hot yoga, you shouldn’t eat within four hours of class, so I will miss a few dinners a week that I’ll need to figure out. I think want to make sure I’m budgeting to grab something at Dig Inn, Sweetgreen, Cava, or other counter service places that offer loads of veggies.

I was pleasantly surprised at how great it felt to have that much time to myself and how the simple act of walking and grabbing a bowl of beets, brussels sprouts, and apples could make feel so great. I am looking forward to more weeks like this and more walking around once spring/summer are upon us. (It’s tough to be too excited about logging miles walking during a New England winter.)

What kind of exercise or activity makes you feel joyful?