Scenes from Saturday + Sniffles & Secret Errands

Like many, Michelle and I are doing a health reset in January after the excess of the holidays and recently had a discussion about the best way to measure success without just relying on pounds or calories. We never did resolve that question but the amorphous nature of a potential answer did lead me to thinking about how I might ultimately measure success as a parent. What does that look like? I mean, having healthy kids who eventually move out of your house and survive to adulthood is an obvious answer. But a lot of that could be put down to luck and has a whiff of just barely meeting the basic job requirements.

If I look into the future, what might I see that makes me happy? Ironically, for an introvert, I decided it’s having a crowded house. On holidays. On birthdays. On a random Sunday night for dinner. I’ll be a success as a Dad if I ultimately have children I get to see, who actually want to see me, and spend time with me. A crowded house or a crowded table will be my metric of success.

For now, they have no choice. They are stuck with me. Here’s how Saturday went…

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Run Fast Eat Slow: Millet Pizzas

I’ll admit to being skeptical about these gluten-free alternative personal pizza crusts but by the end of the night they had definitely won me over. They won’t ever replace true pizza crust and they just flat out confused the kids when I refer to them as pizzas but they did help satisfy that the pizza craving during our January cleanse when the alternative might have been to cave to the craving and eat half a pie myself.

The dough is knead-free, flour-free, and gluten-free and comes together fairly quickly and easily. We topped our mini-pies with sauce, various roasted veggies, and cheese for a delicious and filling protein-packed pizza fix without any of the guilt or cost of takeout.

That’s not to say that everything went smoothly with the first batch…

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Scenes from Saturday + Gucci & Snack Cake

After I pushed the girls out the door and they made the bus by the skin of their teeth yet again, I went upstairs to get dressed and found both their lights on, one bed unmade, clothes on the floor and…the list could go on. You get the idea. I’ve told them a million times and yet…still a mess.

I got dressed and went to my desk mildly fuming and….found picture frames still not hung up. A computer still running Windows 7. A fish tank that could be cleaned. Plants slowly dying on the bookshelf. How many times had I been told or told myself to do these things and they still weren’t done?

That was my Dad epiphany this week. Like most weeks, it wasn’t all that profound but jeez kids spend a lot of their days getting commands, demands and requests thrown at them. Maybe cut them a little slack. Or at least a little understanding. Maybe finally hanging up those pictures will show them it’s hard for me too but I’m trying. Worst case, Michelle will have one less thing to do on a Saturday.

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Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow: Chicken Cannellini Soup

Our house has been awash in coughs, colds, and general snottiness since before Christmas. Every time we appear to have recovered, it starts up again in some new form. It’s been like the old saying about painting the Golden Gate Bridge.

All the sickness, or near sickness, has led to a general apathy toward cooking. We are mostly worn out at the end of the day and just want something quick and easy. This chicken cannellini soup (the veggies in the family subbed in tofu) is the perfect weeknight dinner. Add a salad or some bread and you have a filling, nutritious meal that doesn’t take a lot of effort to get on the table. If you hustle it can be done in 30 minutes or so. Better yet, make it ahead, let the flavors mingle and heat it up.

Never underestimate the power of broth. It’s nourishing, hydrating, and soothing. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Halftime Dance

I have a lot of concrete goals and tactical things I want to accomplish for 2020 but I didn’t really think up a personal resolution until this week. The girls love to put on shows. There are at least one or two performances per week. You probably think this sounds cute, creative and adorable. And it should be.

But in the last year or so, I’ve become increasingly impatient and annoyed as I watch. The shows are too long. The shows are boring. The shows are repetitive. The shows lack any real dramatic tension. I was becoming an ugly jackass. For my kid’s performances. I was essentially making it all about me. Not my most pleasing personality trait.

Ego is the enemy. Of everything, but especially of the things that really matter in life. In some respects, it is all about me. I helped create these two wonderful, dancing, musical loving girls now I just have to surrender and let them keep making me better. I know I can at least be a better audience. So that is my resolution: relax and enjoy the show. Continue Reading

3 Winter Treadmill Speed Workouts

3 Winter Treadmill Workouts

After 10 solid years of service, our basement treadmill finally called it quits last fall. We looked into having it repaired but apparently a decade of my corrosive sweat had rendered the circuit board inoperable. The tech was impressed we’d gotten such a long run out of it and suggested a new purchase would be more economical than replacing the board. We ended up purchasing the exact same model (Sole F63) in the newest model year. Why mess with something that works? But…. why buy a treadmill at all? How do you stand it? Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Carbs & Costumes

The girls started back to school this week and Cecilia had a rough re-entry. Maybe it was a holiday hangover. Maybe it was just this lingering cold that won’t quit. Maybe it was something else. Whatever it was it was immediately clear she wasn’t her normal self when she returned to the house Thursday afternoon. She was moody and mopey. That might be the new normal in a couple years but right now she’s usually pretty happy and resilient.

I immediately jumped in Dad problem solver mode. This is what I do. I have valuable life experience. I was an introverted moody kid. I can probably handle this and ice these cupcakes at the same time…I immediately hit a brick wall. This will also likely become the new normal soon. Hanging out with your Dad (especially when he has a world-famous blog) is not high on many pre-teens’s to-do list.

I realized that I’m going to have to learn that moods and feelings are not problems for me to solve. They are facts. They are, in some way, announcements. It’s an impossible task to try to stop my kids ever being moody or heartbroken or angry. What I can do is listen to them. Try to hear them. And try to understand. No more. No less. Continuing to ice cupcakes probably won’t hurt either.

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