Scenes from Saturday + Stalking Lulu

It can be tempting as parents to focus too much on those areas that need improvement in our children and lose sight of the forest for the trees. God knows, they often don’t make it easy. I found a unexpected reminder of this in Cecilia’s after-school program mailbox this week. [Note, it was dated 12/4, but maybe this was fate holding it for me until I needed it most].

This is an excerpt from the program’s “report card” for Cecilia: “Cecilia is extremely goofy. She loves to laugh and have fun. She has a sense of humor. Cecilia is attentive during group time, choice time and any other times at MAP where listening to directions is important. Cecilia always does the right thing. She is respectful to rules and MAP staff.”

Who is this child? I’d like to meet them! The child at home is not always the same as the child away from it. Or maybe they are and we just sometimes can’t see it through the coats on the floor, the messy rooms and the continuous battle over piano practice. I’m going to stick this piece of paper in a drawer and break it out on those occasions that I need a gentle reminder. 

Or maybe I should keep it in my pocket? It might get daily use. Continue Reading

4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Treadmill Workouts

It’s February here in the Northeast and we are deep into treadmill season. Despite some brief respites of days over the freezing mark, the majority of my runs over the last two months have been on the treadmill.

As a replacement for the bulk of base miles the treadmill often gets maligned, but as a training tool for specific, targeted workouts, I think it is often neglected. I wouldn’t want to run all my miles on a treadmill, but the treadmill can have a purpose in your training cycle. Continue Reading

Same Day No-Knead, No-Roll Sicilian Pizza Routine

no-knead no-roll sicilian sheet pan pizza

Some days the pizza craving comes on strong and fast. Too fast to think ahead and have dough prepped. Too strong to put off another day. You need the pizza and you need it tonight. If you find yourself suffering from pizza fever, for the love of god, don’t settle for mediocre (or worse) takeout pizza. Making pizza at home isn’t a big undertaking and the results (maybe with a little practice, but not much) are far, far superior to your average suburban pizza shop. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Bedtime Milkshakes

Friday finally felt like the first normal day in almost week. Sandwiched between the mid-week, sugar-kissed high of Valentine’s Day, Ally got the flu and we had the awful Florida news which makes putting your kids on the bus each morning more stressful than it has a right to be. 

We know Ally is genuinely sick when she either doesn’t fight taking a nap or refuses dessert. Saturday afternoon she did both and knew we were heading for trouble. Thankfully, we had all received the flu shot and I think that went a long way toward both keeping Ally’s symptoms relatively mild (if 105 temp is mild) and keeping the rest of us healthy. Getting the flu with Addison’s takes things to a whole new level that I wasn’t keen to experience. That’s why you get flu shots. It’s not necessarily for you, the healthy person, but for the kids, elderly and immunity-impaired. 

By Friday, some of my anger, fear and frustration had receded about Florida, Ally was once again angling for extra cookies, and Michelle was opening the prosecco. Just about back to normal…. Continue Reading

Back Pocket Recipe: Pickleback Slaw

Dinners you know and trust. Everyone has them. They are time-tested and family-approved. The recipes or meals that you can pencil in on the weekly plan or pickup the ingredients without thinking while strolling the aisles during the weekly shopping and you know people will eat, or at least not grumble out too much when placed on the table.

For us, quick fish dinners, tacos or burgers, rank high in our easy, repeat dinner rotation. It’s something that I know I can get on the table quickly, will be nutritious and filling, and the girls won’t complain. Mostly because we’ve given up on Ally for the moment, she gets beans and rice, but still easy!

With just a little bit of forethought, you can dress up fish tacos, or burgers, with only a little additional effort. Sort of like putting the occasional bow tie on your dog.  Continue Reading

Recent Reads – January ’18

The new year got off to a bit of a slow start. I fell into a reading rut after the holidays. Started and stopped a number of books, never finding anything that really captured my attention. In the end, I read mostly thrillers, typical for me, but nothing that really snapped my head back.

Turned to a couple of John Milton thrillers mid-month to try to jumpstart the mojo as I knew they would be solid and propulsively plotted and would get me back in the habit of reaching for a book.

The one big outlier this month was Victoria, the book club pick this month. I put off reading this one as it fell well outside my typical fare, but I ended up really enjoying it and would recommend people give it a try.

Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Play Date Dance Party

We spent a lot of time and effort this week on multiplication facts. It’s embarrassing that Michelle doesn’t know them by now, so we decided to … okay, it was Cecilia. Now, Cecilia knows the facts pretty well, but when you introduce the clock, it turns her into a bit of a puddle. So we’ve been practicing doing the facts with the time pressure.

She’s improving and she aced the 4’s test by the end of the week in school, but the improvement has not been exactly in a straight line and it’s led to some stressful mornings. Just like the first few days of a new piano piece week, any mistake throws her into a tailspin. Its all left me trying to figure out when good is good enough. 

I’m certainly not perfect, not as a parent, husband or human, so demanding perfection from our kids doesn’t seem all that fair. Kids need to learn that people, and the world, in general, is a flawed and complicated place. Sometimes I will screw up. Sometimes my kids might not succeed as much as I wish. Sometimes they will miss a few math facts. Imperfection is the human condition. Accepting that seems like a healthier way to parent. Continue Reading