Saturday, November 30, 2013

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.

If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

Oprah Winfrey














Although it has been quiet around here this week, it has been far from quiet behind the scenes. In only the best of ways. The festivities began on Wednesday as we began prepping for the holiday. We had guests coming over for Thanksgiving dinner, and I had yet to meet them, so I wanted to remove the stress that comes with scrambling at the last minute. I also wanted to spend time with everyone as opposed to being chained to the kitchen.

Cranberry sauce from scratch made with fresh Cape Cod cranberries... sausage cornbread stuffing... vegan pumpkin pie... a new brine recipe... Mario's amazing bread making skills... so many delicious things. Kiddo and I decorated the table with simple votive candles, cute Thanksgiving-themed toothpicks, paper leaves... and of course some fall colored Pyrex made an appearance.

After dinner our new friends taught us how to play their favorite game. Benjamin, the sweetest little man, was probably the most mellow baby I've ever seen. He slept through dinner and didn't mind that we used him to get our baby fix. Watching Mario hold that tiny little baby made my heart go pitter patter. I've since had to have a very stern talk with my ovaries.

Friday evening brought the town's tree lighting ceremony. Kiddo's class had a bake sale fundraiser, so Wednesday also included cookie baking. I baked and iced about 120 lemon cookies... my favorite go-to recipe. More on that lovely night tomorrow.

This was a good week. I let myself focus on what was most important: family and fitness. Next week will bring a lot of studying and writing as a result, but there are no regrets. I went to CrossFit four times (including a rather rigorous post-Thanksgiving WOD), and slowed down... which is no easy feat for me.

I'm getting excited for the month ahead. Two weeks stand between me and the official end to my undergrad education. Over 70% of the class points are still on the table, necessitating laser-like focus to obtain the grade I desire. But I'm taking solace in the things around me, rather than getting completely overwhelmed. Hot chocolate, warm, cozy clothes, and a tree that is making its debut tomorrow. I really love this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's Friday, yo!

I haven't looked forward to the weekend this much in a while. And I love the weekend. The weather has shifted and the holiday season officially starts (in my opinion) next week. I'm ready to wrap up this semester and spend some time with those boys of mine. The elastic waist pants and comfort food kind of quality time.  

We found out yesterday that Mario's coworker and his wife will be joining us for Thanksgiving. They don't have any family nearby, and probably haven't made many connections yet, as they just recently moved to rural New Hampshire. He took over Mario's old job, so we can definitely relate. We offered to have them come and they accepted. Did I mention they have a one month old? (Baby fix!) I haven't met them yet, but I'm so happy they will be joining us and we are able to share this holiday. No one should be alone on Thanksgiving!

We also reduced the price of our house just a tad this week to see if we can renew interest. While we are not in a hurry to sell right now, we know it's important to stay on the real estate radar. (Moving in the winter would be a bummer of the worst kind, but we certainly wouldn't pass up a good offer.) Between that and upcoming guests, this weekend must include some house cleaning. Time to re-spruce since we've become a little lax about keeping our house staged. Have I mentioned that a housekeeper is on my bucket list?

How about a peek at the week?

1// I bought two new winter scarves at Target this week. I wore this black and white one three days in a row. It is so cozy! I get their coupons via text and saved five bucks. The only thing better than a great scarf is one on sale. (P.S. I clearly still haven't mastered the selfie, as this rather odd face proves.) 2// Winter is announcing its arrival with a nice snow storm predicted for next Wednesday. We are getting our snowblower maintained pronto so we are ready. 3// My 30-day Paleo challenge is over, but I want to keep up momentum by making monthly goals. This month I'm trying to ease up on my coffee consumption. I once went coffee-free for over a year, so I know I can do it. I haven't quit cold turkey, but I'm becoming reacquainted with tea. 4// This week has brought a shift at CrossFit. The workouts are still hard, but I'm not reaching the level of exhaustion I was before. A bit of a plateau, perhaps, since I've gained so much strength. I also realized yesterday that I haven't mastered anything new lately. I'm going in today to talk to my coach about tweaking things, as I don't want to lose momentum. 5// I have several pairs of workout pants that are calf length. I love them and don't want to have to replace them. I spied these legwarmers the other day and scooped them up. They keep my legs warm getting to and from my workouts and I can still wear my favorite pants. No buyers remorse here.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Winter is not a season, it's an occupation.

Sinclair Lewis
source
I always imagine winter will look like this. Beautiful trees, hot drinks, and cozy clothes. There is some of that, sure, but I often find myself dreading the realities of cold weather. Snowblowing the driveway at 6:30a just to get my car out. Perpetually cold tootsies. Feeling a bit claustrophobic in my layers as I go throughout my day.

I think I've come to dread winters because of circumstance rather than winter itself, and I'm trying to separate the two. New England winters are beautiful! I'm quite certain I will miss them years from now. Unfortunately, Kiddo's snow days rarely coincided with my off days, which meant scrambling to find childcare or taking him with me to class. Trying to get out the door on time, dealing with unplowed roads during our morning commute... the list goes on. Mario has a crazy busy travel schedule the first three months of the year, so these responsibilities fall squarely on my shoulders. (It's also lonely without him!) I let it affect the spirit of the season. I simply couldn't focus on the lovely things around me most days. I was a weekend winterer (at best). 

This year will be different, I hope. No more classes to report to come mid-January. A job, hopefully, but a less all-consuming existence, I think. I'll have to work to change this rather ingrained tendency to feel overwhelmed by the piles of cold white stuff surrounding us.

In addition to actively shopping for a warm, comfortable new winter coat, I'm taking moments to soothe my anxiety by scoping out cozy sweaters and socks, drinking lots of hot beverages, and using Pinterest to vicariously experience the lovely, idealistic side of the coldest season.
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 //  8 // 9 // 10

Etsy has me all twitterpated with handmade knitted hats, boot socks, and thick mittens. (I've resolved to start wearing beanies this winter. No more loving them on others.)

I'm excited for our excursion to NYC! I imagine my beanie-wearing self all bundled up in my new coat, clutching a latte, taking in the certain kind of beauty that can only be experienced in the city this time of year.

Low key weekends spent watching movies with the boys!

So instead of fretting, I'm allowing these happy moments to be the focus.

Here's to enjoying the season, now.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

Socrates

I've been on quite a documentary kick as of late. Instead of our usual crime drama before bed (I miss you, Vincent D'Onofrio), I have been perusing Netflix's recommendations for me or simply exploring the documentary category for something new and exciting.

It all started a couple Sundays ago.

source
With this documentary. A lifelong fascination and love of orcas had me immediately intrigued by this film when I first heard about it many months ago. Mario brought up that he'd seen a movie about killer whales on CNN at the airport and my excitement was immediately renewed. My wait was over! The boys and I sat down to watch it. It was everything and more than I expected. I've thought about it a lot since that day and even re-watched it by myself last weekend. You. Guys. This movie. So much to think about. I put the little "k" next to it in my DVR queue.


I figured we were on a roll, and Mario seemed willing to be informed by his entertainment that day, so I pushed my luck and followed up with Forks Over Knives. Two documentaries in a row. I felt super productive despite failing to change out of the sweatpants I'd worn the night before. Because we were already inching toward a diet overhaul, this movie affected us more than it would have had the topic of healthy eating not already been on our minds.

Since then, we've watched a steady flow of films:

source
Hungry for Change // I Am // Happy // Vegucated

Jiro Dreams of Sushi was a favorite! We watched it as a family with collective fascination. The videography was something to behold. It was just so good.

Documentaries are a funny thing, I think. Once I watch them, I'm hooked. I remember my last documentary-watching streak was about four years ago and began with Food, Inc. I didn't eat beef for three years, and still very rarely partake.

You see, ignorance can be bliss. For example, once I know where my food comes from and how food production animals and our environment are treated on the way to my grocery shelf, I feel called to act. I can't un-know something. Which I think is why Mario can be resistant to watching documentaries with strongly held opinions. I can respect that. I've given him a hard time for it, but I have definitely come to understand his perspective. If he is already informed as to how filet mignon comes to market, for instance, but does not wish to become a vegetarian, he doesn't feel called to watch a film about the beef industry. I'm simply more open to the discomfort and potential effects of watching this sort of subject matter. To each there own... there is no wrong or right.

I'm at such a crossroads in my life. I've accomplished things I think I never thought would come to fruition. I have a much greater insight into my own behavior, emotions and motives. I'm so much more self evolved than I was in my twenties... or even than I was two years ago. Perhaps facing big life changes and many unknowns drives one to seek out the knowledge of others. Guidance from those who already know. A CliffsNotes for how to proceed in your journey toward health, happiness, and all the things that get you there.  

I recommend all of the films above. Some captured my attention and consumed my thoughts more than others. However, I don't regret the time spent watching any of them. Will I necessarily alter my existence every time I view a documentary? Nah. But it certainly makes me a better, more informed citizen of this world. And sometimes they simply help me live in my own skin.

Any recommendations?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

 Mark Twain
Our first homemade almond milk experience.
As I alluded to last week, a bit of a health shift has taken place around these parts. We have turned into bonafide co-op-shopping, meal-planning, veggie-eating folks. Not to be mistaken for the fakers we used to be. What started out as reluctance (and a bit of resentment by some, truth be told) has turned into devotion. An evolution has occurred. No doubt. They say it takes 21 days to make something a habit, and this rather dubious claim seems to have some ring of truth. In this case, anyway.

I talked about my trial return to CrossFit back in September. Although committed, I questioned my ability to stick with such a rigorous workout regimen long term. This non-athletic, non-competitive gal simply couldn't imagine her place in such a world. Two months later, I can honestly say it's changed my perspective on working out. Never before have I wanted to go to the gym. In the past, all I was doing was plugging away on the elliptical, and yet could still barely muster the motivation to put my sneakers on. I was bored to death by exercise. All that has gone away. I've seen a swift and substantial difference in my stamina and strength. I stand taller. My husband comments on my changing physique at least five times a day. (Flattery will get you everywhere, my friend.) And those days when I'm tired and dragging? I go anyway. CrossFit is definitely not for everyone, but it turns out to be exactly what I've been looking for. I just didn't know it.

Vegan mac and cheese
The biggest change, perhaps, has been in our eating habits. We have consistently planned our meals for a couple months now and tried tons of new recipes. A funny thing happened in our (initially) unintentional journey toward better health: we crave less junk. Although our diet rarely consisted of true junk food, our habits needed some serious tweaking. Truth be told, meal planning has streamlined and de-stressed mealtimes. We can better stick to our budget. Our rather picky kiddo is trying new things. Win, win, win. Mario will admit that things like vegan mac and cheese, homemade almond milk, and cashew-based dips were cause for significant concern and resistance. But a funny thing happened. He actually likes them. Eating lighter, plant-based meals makes him feel good. He said so himself. (Such an admission is not unlike an eclipse... a rare and beautiful thing.) Although more open to trying new things, I have to say I've been pleasantly surprised by the power good food has had over us. I can't imagine going back to our old ways. (Note: My grouchy, sensitive belly? It's calm for perhaps the first time in my life thanks to less eating out and more whole foods.)

Dairy-free hot chocolate
While I don't imagine ever going completely grain-free, less is definitely better. My hobbit hands are less puffy and my skin glows. I've had to cut back on using my Clarisonic face brush because I simply don't need it. I used to use it every day and now it makes my face feel a bit raw if I use it more than once a week. Vigorous exercise has definitely contributed to this. And the fact that my wardrobe has expanded as my waist grows smaller. The fact is, I like eating less. I like it when food is on my radar a little less often. I simply lacked the self discipline to do something about it when the world seemed a little too much to handle without nachos. Which I still eat when the mood strikes, by the way.

Before you roll your eyes at my proclamations (I would have six months ago), know that I am certainly flawed in these areas. When faced with a particularly difficult homework assignment, I find myself in front of the fridge. I stress eat. I'm prone to anxiety which makes me want to avoid all the things that make me feel better: exercise and healthy eating. I have a long way to go, but for the first time I have a routine I can stick with. I'm not sure what next year will bring. A new job, a new city on a different coast, a kiddo who is growing up much too fast. If I'm going to get through it unscathed, I need something to turn to. A habit so ingrained that my significant life changes will seem less overwhelming. Because I'll have a way to cope.

All that said, I wanted to share a few of the recently tried recipes and where I found them. My go-to cookbook right now is Against All Grain by Danielle Walker. I've also tried a few from Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook, It's All Good, which were all good, actually. A blog I turn to when I need some dairy-free recipes is The Pretty Bee. I'm really amazed by her ability to adapt and create recipes around food sensitives. (For those that don't know, my son was diagnosed with a dairy allergy about five years ago. Boy did that change our lives. He does not produce the enzymes necessary to break down milk proteins, necessitating a dairy-free diet.)

Vanilla lemon macaroons (vegan, gluten-free) from Against All Grain (cookbook). French vanilla coffee creamer. Both are good. The creamer doesn't give that satisfying white swirl the way the palm oil-laced stuff does, but the flavor and consistency are on point.

Pictured above:

Homemade almond milk (Against All Grain): I used the recipe from the cookbook, but she also has one on her website. Kiddo helped me make it and proceeded to drink two cups. We used it in a couple recipes and really liked it.

Vegan macaroni and cheese (The Pretty Bee): I've been wanting to try Daiya dairy-free cheese since it came out, but Kiddo had no interest. (Early on our fake cheese experiences were pretty gross, souring him on the idea.) I came across this recipe and had to try it. I honestly couldn't remember the last time I'd had mac and cheese. Mario doesn't like the real thing, but loved this. Kiddo did, too. It was easy to make and totally satisfying. Honest. I didn't feel like I was missing out at all. I've since made it a second time. (Note: we didn't make it gluten-free as the recipe is intended. Regular flour and pasta worked just fine.)

Dairy-free hot cocoa (Against All Grain): This stuff was rich. Holy moly. Next time I will thin it down a bit and perhaps sweeten a bit more (we used 88% cacao). But I really like the idea of real hot chocolate.

Note: I have gutted no less than three vanilla beans in the last two weeks. I'd never laid hands on one prior to this. I feel like a domestic goddess! I now know that the insides are called the "caviar"! You may, from this day forward, call me The Socked Contessa. Because Ina is my hero. Only, I live in New Hampshire and these feet don't go sockless from October to April for fear of having a toe fall right off.

More meals to come. If you're not sick of me, that is. I promise not to succumb to the Whole Foods Syndrome. Because I will, no matter how veg-loving I get, feel like this every time I step foot in one.

Oh, and despite these realizations, a life without Mexican food and cupcakes is simply not worth living. In my humble opinion. Everything in moderation.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things

 - not the great occasions - 
give off the greatest glow of happiness.

Bob Hope

source
I rarely, if ever, rant on this blog. Today it simply couldn't be helped.

Let me start by saying I love Christmas. I love giving. I love the food, festivities, and warmth the holidays bring. We watch A Christmas Story on TBS all day on Christmas, despite owning it on DVD. Watching Kiddo explore his stocking while sipping a cup of joe with my main man is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. Just so we're clear.

All that said, I'm fed up with Christmas. With its encroachment on Thanksgiving and Halloween, in particular. It has become a watered down holiday thanks to commercialism gone horribly awry. Retailers are so over the line, they can't even see it anymore.

Kmart proudly announced this week that they are outdoing all other retailers by opening at 6a on Thanksgiving morning. First, I wasn't aware people even shopped at Kmart anymore. I haven't seen one in over 10 years, to be honest. Second, can't Grandma's $10 toaster wait until Friday? Third, and most important, this mine is bigger than yours attitude that has developed between retailers over the last five or so years affects real, flesh-and-blood people. People who need some extra dough around the holidays. People with families. Sorry honey, if mommy wants to keep her job she has to work 24-hours straight through Thanksgiving. Are you kidding me? Are we, as consumers, so selfish as to deny others their family time because we simply can't wait one day to buy stuff that will be a distant memory by the time we've abandoned our New Year's resolutions? If people stopped showing up, there would be no incentive to push the boundaries in such a fashion.


Every year for the past 6 years, Kiddo and I have made ornaments for the people in our lives. Teachers, relatives, friends. It's fun finding ideas and executing them. It's a great way to bond with my child.  This week Michael's had some great coupons. While shopping for supplies for this year's creation, I'll admit I got a twinge of excitement for the Christmas season (we have to start early to get them out in time to hang from trees). Yesterday, with a few minutes to spare before picking Jared up from school, I stopped by our brand-spanking new Kohl's. Christmas carols blared throughout the store and no less than 1/5 of the space was devoted to Christmas decor. Scrooge came back with a vengeance and it took all I had not to push over one of their trees. Not really, but I was on the verge of a good foot stomp. I like carols. But not in early November. Oh, and thanks Sirius, for replacing one of our favorite channels with Christmas music. A month earlier than last year.

What about all the good that can happen at Thanksgiving? I usually buy a meal for a family through a local grocery store. I want to take a moment to be thankful instead of having tinsel stuffed down my throat.


For those of you who put their tree up November 1st, well, that's your thing. No judgement! How you celebrate is up to you. If you came to my house and put up my tree, that's a different thing. And that's how I feel every time I walk into a retailer this time of year. Would you believe that I had to actively search for non-Christmas Kleenex at Target the other day? Like I want to be the oaf with a Santa box of tissues come February because I managed to evade a seasonal cold.

I proposed a radical idea to Mario a couple months ago: a cash Christmas. As in, no credit cards or dipping into savings. It took a while for him to come around. But he did. Each person gets x amount of dollars and it may buy ten presents or four, depending on what we decide to gift each other. Mario and I are on equal footing rather than trying to show our love and gratitude through the volume of gifts we purchase for each other. I also proposed pulling names out of a hat and having a gift exchange among Mario's family members in lieu of buying everyone a gift. And there's a $25 cap. I'm not sure how it was received by certain participants, but I don't really care. I don't want the burden. I don't want to move excess stuff next summer. There are people in my life who give obligations, not gifts. I want out.

The ornaments we make? They are gift enough! I don't have to keep stuffing the box with more things. What drives such behavior? Guilt? Pride? Perfectionism? A bit of each, I imagine. But I'm removing myself from this impossible scenario our culture nurtures. It has made me resentful of my gift recipients and come the 25th I'm usually burned out and stressed.

I'm tired of the rat race. Of agonizing over what to get people. I'm tired of being broke come January. I'm tired of forgettable gifts because quantity was prized over quality. Last year Mario gifted me my camera, perhaps the best present I've ever received. We enjoy it as a family and I'm recording memories. I've found a passion for photography. I honestly can't remember anything else I was given. And I know the boys feel the same way most years. I want my kiddo to grow up knowing how to spend responsibly. If I get him out of the holiday black hole before he's had a chance to fall prey, I'll consider myself a good parent in this department.

I've spent a great many years trying to keep up with the Joneses. Trying to outdo myself from year to year. Then I figured out the Joneses were just as stressed and in debt as I was (perhaps more). I want to enjoy Christmas with my family. So we're getting back to the basics. I realized the other day that next year we will likely be across the country and unable to enjoy Christmastime in New York City. Walking around all bundled up, looking at the window displays, eating great food, flexing my photography skills (this will be my first Christmas with a fancy camera). So we budgeted for a 2-3 day trip to the Big Apple between Christmas and New Years. That's gift enough for me, truth be told.

In the meantime, I can't help what's going on around me. But I'm staying out of it. I won't let it invade my headspace and my wallet. You'll find me enjoying the season when the season actually arrives; but you most definitely won't see me trampling another human over a cheap foreign-made television on Thanksgiving day. This is me taking back Christmas.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain

and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix



It's been a bit quiet around here, eh? Biochemistry took over my life. What is supposed to be the joyous conclusion to my undergraduate years has become quite the pain in my tookus. After the first exam I was sure I was going down in flames, destined to be a mere 4 credits away from a bachelors degree for the rest of my life. Dramatic? Probably. Although I'm still apprehensive about the outcome grade-wise, I've let go of the fear of failing. I do wish it was a calmer, more assured end to a rather long journey. 

Last week's exam had my mind in its grasp, so blogging wasn't on the agenda. Once it came and went, I still wasn't feeling it. So I didn't. Though never far from my thoughts, a post wasn't waiting in the wings. And I let myself off the hook. 

Despite the sound of crickets, the gears have been turning in our house. Big lifestyle changes, really. I've tried no less than 10 new recipes in recent weeks, creating everything from my own trail mix (a 2-day process involving soaking and dehydrating raw nuts), almond milk from scratch, Paleo coffee creamer, and numerous meals. Only one or two didn't make it onto the repeat list. I'll do a post dedicated to the subject this week.

In the meantime, here's a glimpse into life as of late:


My goodness. These two things could pretty much sum up last week. I spent many an hour at Starbucks the first half of the week reading and prepping for the exam. More caffeine consumed than I care to admit.

In mid-October I had to miss a couple classes because I was fighting a bug. As a result, I had to attend 5 classes in the last 8 days to ensure I got what I paid for. The workouts have been hard lately, often taking 20+ minutes instead of the usual 12-15. But a strange shift has occurred and I find myself missing it on my days off. On a whim last week, I grabbed one of the pairs of jeans off the too small pile in my closet. They slipped right on. What a nice surprise! In the end, what matters is that I feel good. Strong. Powerful. And what else can I ask for, really? In fact, today I was feeling tired and rundown but went anyway. I gave it my best. At the end of the workout I realized something: my "off" day was better than a good day two months ago.


Today I woke up to a generous dusting of snow and ice on my windshield that necessitated scrounging through my trunk for a scraper. I'm not ready for winter. And because it's our last in New England, I have this sneaking suspicion that it's going to be a doozy. On another note, the skies this fall have been breathtaking. Beautiful cloud formations and colorful sunsets. I've been looking up a lot. 


This most fabulous of kiddos. He's quickly fallen in love with fencing; is a superb lab assistant with a knack for pipetting; a Lego master. This is a little penguin warrior he came up with yesterday. There have been some amazing creations gracing our coffee table as of late.


Now that I know what it's like to have this dude home every night, what am I going to do next month (and the dreaded first quarter of the year)? We've developed a natural rhythm I don't want to give up. Enjoy every second, I say. 

I think we may be, as a family, obsessed with our cat. We have never been like this with any other pet, so it's rather strange. He has beautiful fur that, unfortunately, gets very long and prone to knots. So we finally gave in and had the groomer give him a lion cut before it gets too cold (even though he's an indoor cat, a chill definitely permeates the air). He also has a new gingerbread house/scratching post. And I think I caught him giving himself a timeout last week. I'm convinced he's part human. 

That's all she wrote for today. Until next time, my friends.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Success is not measured by the position one has reached in life,

rather by the obstacles one overcomes while trying to succeed.

Booker T. Washington

 
Things are feeling very real on this particular Monday. After a weekend spent relaxing and running errands with the boys, reality has coming crashing down. 

I have an exam on Wednesday. It will undoubtedly be as hard (or worse) than the first one. Oh, the pressure to perform. I've talked before about this course. It is the last of my undergrad career, cost a pretty penny, could affect my honors status, and is integral to my grad school acceptance. The first exam did not go well and I'm rethinking how I study while simultaneously doubting my aptitude as a student.

I need to confront someone related to my research. My weakness. Oh boy how I hate confrontation. I sought the wisdom of a beloved professor, and now feel more prepared to craft a carefully worded email detailing my availability; meanwhile reestablishing some personal boundaries. Don't back down, Sarah. Be strong. Or so I keep repeating. 

This is all I have. I'm signing off until Wednesday or Thursday as the pursuit of my future career is more important at the moment. Nose to the grindstone.

Happy November!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happiness only real when shared.

Christopher McCandless
(the man behind Into the Woods)


A blissful Friday night. Spent with my boys. Oh, these boys. This rather worn out gal needed the weekend. So here I sit. Take-in-bake pizza and warm chocolate chip cookies. Ghostbusters. Warm, comfy clothes. Yes. Just yes.

 

Can we take a moment to talk about this kid? Gosh is he the bee's knees. For Halloween he dressed up as the 10th Doctor from Dr. Who. A wonderfully obscure choice, in my opinion. For those who aren't familiar, it's a looong running British television show and cult favorite. I grew up with a sci-fi-loving older brother, so I have more insight than most moms, I'm sure. Boy did he look handsome. 

This Kiddo is pretty amazing. I'm biased, sure, but also know it to be quite true.  

Once Upon a Time, a show that must be watched together and from the confines of my bed. Fine chocolate (the silver lining of a dairy allergy... only high quality chocolate in this house). This young man (and a feline friend). I don't want these moments to ever end. Never ever.

Last year we decided would be his last spent trick-or-treating. He's getting to that age. He can't eat 90% of his loot. It rains every year. He didn't seem to mind. I, however, began to feel nostalgic and sentimental the moment I dropped him off at school. It was one of those moments that socks you in the gut with the realization that your kiddo is getting older. The solution? A Halloween Edible Arrangement hand delivered mid-morning by yours truly. He enjoyed. He shared. I found a new tradition, perhaps.

I am also fairly convinced he's part monkey. Watching him scurry up a tree is truly something to behold. His talents are endless. Really. This week ushered in his newest endeavor: fencing lessons. Of course he's a natural. This is the kid who was skiing black diamonds after just three lessons. I'm in awe of this beautiful creature.

Speaking of beautiful creatures, this dude started his month-long stint as a work-from-home (only) business man. In the history of our marriage we haven't slept next to each other this many nights in row. Mario is a traveling man, that's for sure. (Insert Ricky Nelson song.) November is shaping up to be a good month, indeed.




Boy am I trying to soak up my morning walk to the college. Also, this week I came to the rather startling realization that a jacket is now necessary. I learned the hard way during a particularly chilly walk spent clinging to my latte like it was a life raft of warmth. 

After a particularly bummer week last week, breakthroughs again abounded at CrossFit. Yesterday's WOD (left) was a repeat from last month. It is hard. I shaved two minutes off my time. I'm not quite up to handstand pushups yet (HSPU), so I did straight pushups today. I've never been able to make it through pushup-heavy workouts without having to use my knees. Today I did all 55 reps... in a full military pushup position. This is huge, guys. I set a goal for myself and just did it. I can't raise my arms to change my shirt, but hey.

I've also made progress in the diet department. My sweet tooth has all but disappeared and we, as a family, have tried several new veggie-heavy meals. (Cauliflower rice? Who knew?) Every single one was a hit. Woot!

Sleep in! Rejoice in the wonder that is Saturday!