September 30, 2014

A Good Day...

picture taken by my husband - Boston is a pretty little city

Okay, I think we're all starting to settle into this new routine.  I was overwhelmed by the stress of getting a sitter for the boys for after school, and that really prevented me from fully embracing everything else.  Long story short, I hired a wonderful young woman this weekend - the boys love her already, and she has enabled me to relax.  I can hear my sister now, saying "See?  I told you things would work out the way they're supposed to."  She's absolutely right, but damn it sure can be stressful along the way.  Anyway...
I had a good day yesterday.  I woke up early and got a workout in before putting on my favorite dress and leaving for work.  My new client is in a suburb, so I don't have to drive all the way into the city.  No train ride, but a relatively easy commute that allows me to turn the music up and sing nice and loud.  My client partner is great, and everybody I've met is very nice and easy to work with.  I got a decent amount of work done.  I went out to lunch with the new person on my team.  I left early and went home to receive the best hugs ever from the cutest boys ever.  Aaron told me he loves piano again and practiced his new song for me.  Nathan gave me an extra hug just because he wasn't sure I got one in the morning.  I made a homemade but very easy, one-pot dinner that the boys ate and enjoyed.  I ended the day with a mug of ice cream and Jon Stewart.  Oh, and did I mention that it was a warm and gorgeous day? 
They won't all be that easy, but they won't all be hard either.  It's a good reminder to have. 

September 24, 2014

Recently Read

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd.  I am a sucker for historical fiction.  These books have the story to draw you in and provide emotional resonance, and they also have a basis in real history.  They give us an insight into a different place and time.  In this case, the setting is the first half of the 19th century in Charleston, South Carolina.  The time of slavery.  The story is beautifully told, and I was drawn into the characters immediately.  Although I love a happy ending, it felt a little unrealistic to me, but that's one of my few complaints about the book.  I like that the author distinguished fact from fiction at the end, which I always find fascinating.  Highly recommend.
Rage Against the Dying, by Becky Masterman.  This is an okay book.  It's a decent one to borrow from the library or a friend.  It kept me engaged, and I enjoyed myself along the way, but it did feel a little too much like an Ashley Judd thriller that's shown too much on TV.  The main character is a 59-year-old female, which is sort of refreshing, but she doesn't really feel like a typical 59-year-old.  And by the time I got to the end, I realized I didn't really care who did it.  I wanted to see how everything wrapped up in the same way that I want to see Ashley Judd saved at the end of the movie. 
The Painter, by Peter Heller.  I loved The Dog Stars, so I had high hopes for this one.  It is good, and I do love Heller's writing style.  I could get drawn in by the language alone.  It's a pretty dark and heavy book, though, and it's not a frame of mind I'd want to stay in for too long.  It's so well-written, and the main character is a fascinating one who is extremely thought-provoking.  There's a lot of talk of art (which I enjoy) and fishing (which I can appreciate but only to a certain extent).  I recommend it, but read The Dog Stars first. 

September 23, 2014

Weekend Recap and Goals

The structure of our weekends is changing along with everything else.  Since I am no longer running errands and cleaning and grocery shopping during the week, some of these jobs must necessarily get done on the weekends.  I will remain focused, however, on making sure we fit in fun and quality family time as well. 

This weekend's highlights included a visit to the farmer's market, along with some free painting in the park. It was a gorgeous weekend, with typical September blue skies.  The weather also called for apple-picking.  We hit an orchard and loaded a couple bags.  And when you have a lot of apples, you must make pie.  So I did.  The mornings are getting chillier, and the dark is closing in earlier; and we all know what that means.  We have to savor every little bit of Fall before the Winter sets in. 

As I get back into the swing of things, I'm also going to go back to setting some goals at the beginning of the week.  I'm still figuring out how best to manage work and home together, and having some overall goals is a good thing. 

Goals for this week:
1.  Hire a new sitter.  (Don't ask - very stressed.) 
2.  Research apps for maintaining grocery lists to determine if it'd be worth getting one.  Maybe I should eliminate some of the paper from my life/kitchen counter?  Do any of you use one you like?
3.  Get up early to exercise two more times this week.  (I did today!  Go me!)
4.  Purchase some more work clothes.  Kevin actually asked me to add this one, after watching me sift through my clothes in the closet and sigh, struggling to find an outfit.  I seem to have clothes, but very few outfits.
5.  Plan a date to get together with friends.  Social planning is one of those things that will fall away easily if I don't make it a priority. 

September 19, 2014

A Few Things...

source unknown

I just love the above picture.  That is exactly what I want to do right now.  Put on my cape and mask and sit down with a glass of wine.  Like the badass I am.

I survived the first week back at work.  I am more exhausted than I've been in a long time, and my head is spinning.  But we all made it.  Similar to my first week at home, I realize that I need to relearn how to do everything again.  Getting used to a new routine can be daunting.  I am also so conscious of the fact that I do not want to fall back into the same habits and work routines that I had before.  I am focused on finding the right balance.  (We talk so much about balance - I almost wish there was a different way of talking about it, but I think it's the one everyone understands.)  Much more to come as I settle into our new phase.

This weekend, I plan to sleep late, get some exercise, play with my boys, eat some apples, bake something pumpkiny, watch a movie, and mentally prepare myself for what is sure to be an exhilaratingly busy second week of work.

I've had a few things bookmarked along the way...

The One Word Men Never See In Their Performance Reviews.  I've never had this word used to describe me, but I do know people who have received it in reviews.  It's interesting to think about how men and women are evaluated differently.

My cousin, Tiffany, created a fabulous new web site.  It contains her inspiring blog but also so much more!  Check it out!

Another Weekly Menu Idea.  I'm getting used to my new dinner planning routine, too.  Planning on Saturday, or Sunday morning, shopping on Sunday (along with everyone else - I forgot how crowded the grocery store is on Sundays!).  I brought my headphones with me last week and got it done quickly, so it wasn't too bad.

I want my local pizza place to start using these boxes.  Genius!

I'm digging this online yoga challenge.  So far, most of the sequences have been rather short, so they're great for before or after another exercise session, or good for doubling up.  It's totally free, so if you have any interest, sign up and you'll get them in your inbox!

I then went on to sign up for the myYogaPro membership.  I know there's plenty of free stuff on youtube, but these are great classes, and it's so well-organized.  I think it'll motivate me to do more yoga.

Letters from husband to wife.  I just love this.  A sense of humor is the #1 thing that will keep a relationship thriving.

I loved seeing his old post on Cup of Jo.  And this one that Design Mom linked to today.  It brought me right back to Amsterdam, and I love the memories I have of such a cool city and good friends.  I totally miss the bikes!  I found myself in an REI last week, gazing longingly at the bikes.  Someday, one of them will be mine.

Steve Jobs was a low-tech parent.  Interesting.  This has been on my mind quite a bit lately.  I think we're doing okay, but I feel my son trying to push his limits.  It makes me want to tighten up even more.

September 16, 2014

My First Day...

I am back at work.  I was home for two years and yet it feels like it happened so quickly.  Time is weird.  Anyway, yesterday I woke up early, did a quick workout, showered and got dressed up, and took the train into the city.  I realized I hadn't taken the train for work since before the kids were born, and it felt like a luxury.  A half-hour of quiet thought.  After a quick stop at Starbucks, I made it to the office, met about a hundred people, forgot most of their names (I wish I didn't suck so bad at that), and spent the day getting set up. 

It felt good. 

At the end of the day, I also found out where I will be assigned, and I'm happy with the opportunity.  It starts next week, and preparations have begun, so work will pick up speed quickly.  That's definitely the best thing for someone who's been out of practice for a while.  I need to jump in with both feet as quickly as possible!

On the homefront, my husband has taken over the morning duties, and I will cover the evenings.  He will have breakfast with the boys, make lunches, and drop them off at school.  I will handle dinner, baths, bedtime, and preparing for the next day.  It feels like a good balance for now (after 1 day - ha!), and I hope it lasts. 

The boys are handling it all in stride, although my heart did ache a bit when Aaron decided to rank all the caregivers in his life by how much time he spends with them.  He said, "teacher, sitter, dad, mom".  WHAT!?  So I helped him with the math and clarified that if I'm home before 5:30, it goes "teacher, MOM, sitter, dad".  If I'm home after 5:30 then the sitter beats me, so you better believe I'm going to make it my mission to be home before then every night. 

So that's my update.  I'm in a new phase, meeting new people and learning new things.  It's exciting, and I'm choosing to remain optimistic that we're all going to be able to balance everything.  Here goes nothing.

September 12, 2014

Ryan Adams - My Wrecking Ball

I haven't posted any music in a while, have I?  Well, I'll have to get you all caught up on what I'm listening to.  I'll try to start posting a music pick every week again.  September always seems to have a bunch of good releases in it, and this year was no exception.  Let's start with Ryan Adams.  His videos can be a little painful, just because I really want to brush the hair out of his eyes, but the music is what matters, and it's good.  

John Vettese/WXPN

September 10, 2014

Taking Stock - September 2014

Enjoying:  Our last Red Sox game of the season.  We went to the game on Sunday to watch our last-place team.  It was a gorgeous afternoon, and it's always fun to watch baseball.
Making:  Basil-Walnut Pesto, using up the rest of the basil from the garden.
Cooking:  A new batch of granola.  Trying to get stocked up before I start work and no longer have time for things like homemade granola.
Reading:  The Painter, by Peter Heller.  It's dark, but I'm digging it.
Hoping:  My first week of work goes well.
Wanting:  Some new work clothes.  I may do some shopping soon.
Watching:  House of Cards.  Kevin and I watched the entire first season on the flights to and from Europe.  We got home and signed up for the first free month of Netflix just so we can binge-watch season 2.
Playing:  Uno with my little guy, while Aaron is in his piano lessons.
Eating:  Ice cream every night.  As usual.
Wondering:  When I should declare it the end of "ice cream season" and put the spoon down.
Loving:  September weather.  Cool mornings and blue skies.  Hello, Fall.
Noticing:  How crabby I get when I'm stressed.  Trying really hard to keep it under control.
Drinking:  Water during the week, wine on weekends.
Knowing:  We live a charmed life.  There are times when Kevin and I stop to acknowledge this.
Feeling:  Grateful.  Hopeful.  Nervous.
Listening:  Mostly to Ryan Adams' new album.  Delta Spirit's latest is on right now.  They're both good but probably a little too sad-bastard for my current mood.  Anybody got a recommendation for something happy and bouncy that I might like?
Bookmarking:  A recipe for profiteroles.  I've always wanted to try making them, and I'm thinking our anniversary might be a good excuse.
Needing:  Rain boots.  I've needed them for years.  That's it - I'm ordering some today!
Waiting:  For the holiday-planning mood to hit me.  I think I'm too distracted by the start of work, but I know that it'll only be a few weeks before I start making lists.
Following:  The news, but most of it makes me so sad.  I understand why so many people just try to ignore it all.
Liking:  My last week at home.  With both boys in school full-time, the days are quiet and productive and relaxing.
Wishing:  I had more time to add some fun things to my to-do list.  But see above re: charmed life.  It's all good.

September 9, 2014

Change Is Hard.

I'm no good at change.  Uncertainty makes me uneasy, and I get cranky when I'm uncomfortable.  I have always worked hard to maintain routines, keep to-do lists, prepare for things way in advance, and otherwise do everything I can to stay ahead of the game and avoid uncertainty as much as possible.  In some ways, this craving of stability is not a bad thing.  It motivates me to stay prepared and organized.  It also encourages me to make decisions rather quickly.  On the other hand, this fear of change can keep me in situations for longer than I should.   

All this to say...I've been cranky lately.  I'm in a period of uncertainty, and I'm uncomfortable.  I try to remind myself that we should all do hard things every day - that's how we grow and make necessary changes in our lives.  It's true, and I can say it and acknowledge it, but it doesn't make things easier.  

I start my new job on Monday, and things are changing.  The boys are in school - and loving it, thank goodness.  My husband is going to take over the morning duties and school drop-off.  We've had to arrange after-school care.  We've arranged a new piano teacher for Aaron, and Nathan starts soccer next week.  I will be starting a new job and a commute into the city.   I'm trying to move through the list of uncertainties and check them off as quickly as possible, but it all takes time.  I don't know yet where I will be working, and I am reminded of one difficult aspect of consulting - the not knowing where you will be staffed next.  I've just got to embrace that.  

It's all good.  I know we're on the right path.  I'm just very much looking forward to settling down into our new routine.  Fall feels like the right time to be embarking on a new challenge.  It has always felt like the beginning of the new year to me.  The crisp fall weather has finally arrived here in New England, and I continue to take deep breaths and know that with every day and every decision, we're one step closer to achieving that new normal.  

September 5, 2014

House Update - Family Room

It's been a while since I've posted a house update.  After finishing the big renovation two years ago (has it been that long?), we've slowly made changes and additions to the interior.  I thought it was time to provide another update on the family room.  Since last posting about it, we added a sectional couch, new pillows, coffee table, and a ficus tree.

I'm so excited about it!  I love this room now.  The couch is big enough for all of us to relax, the coffee table has a soft top that's great to rest my feet on, I love the bright colors we added with the pillows and mirror...  It came together just as we wanted, and it makes me happy to see it every day.  Yay!

built-in bookshelves between the family room and kitchen

September 4, 2014

Highs and Lows...

It has been so long since I've posted here.  I've thought about it, but I somehow couldn't get the words out.  We are in a time of transition, and that has made it difficult for me to formulate my thoughts in any coherent way.  We came home from our amazing vacation - the boys keep asking me when we are going to go back to Amsterdam, amazingly not remembering (or caring about) the weather but only that we had a ton of fun.  We spent a few days at home, doing laundry and trying to organize ourselves, and then the new school year began.  

I have found myself oscillating wildly between good moods and bad.  I am not one who can get over moods easily.  I generally have to wait them out, reminding myself that this too shall pass.  I caught another cold - this time a bad one - on the flight home, and I am not a good sick person.  I mostly just want to lie on the couch and be left alone.  I managed one afternoon of this, but then I had to pick myself back up again.  Being a mom doesn't stop.

Then came the first day of school, and especially since it was Nathan's first day at the same school as Aaron, it was exciting and so much fun.  It was a great day, and thankfully both boys are happy to go to school every day.  

We managed one last trip of the summer - a weekend down in New York, visiting our good friends.  My moods followed me there, but we always have a great time with them, and this was no exception. This week, I've been focused on tackling my to-do list, getting as much done as possible before my return to work, which is rapidly approaching.  I've done the shopping, organized the pantry, taken one car in, the other goes in tomorrow, I've cleaned and organized and updated the calendar...  And behind all this is the underlying stress of not yet having a sitter lined up to watch the boys after school once my job begins.  

I haven't had time or energy to even think about the job.  My first day is a week from Monday, and I don't feel ready.  I hope I will be when the time comes, though.  

As I drink another much-needed sip of wine, I realize that I'm probably still not expressing my thoughts in any coherent way.  Rather I'm just giving you the run-down of what's been going on.  That's okay too, I suppose.

Painting by Cy Twombly


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