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Scenes from Saturday + Fall & Malls

The marathon is on Monday and it feels really strange and disconcerting to have it in the fall. This won’t make a lot of sense to those outside the area but just imagine if they decided to hold the Mummers parade in July.

I’ve only run one marathon and, with an arthritic knee, it will likely remain that way but I think about that marathon a lot. Running a marathon is an ambitious goal and the work you need to do to just get to the starting line is immense and often humbling. I found it also has a way of clarifying the other priorities or goals in your life.

Being constantly busy and trying to fit everything in is not the same as being productive. You often end up just feeling restless, bouncing from one thing to another. Finding the right balance between action and inaction is one of the more difficult things in life. It’s about working hard and then relaxing. Not working really hard and then avoiding work.

Big goals force you to prioritize and pare down your list. That is the way to find that balance. Sure, you can finish a marathon and do a bunch of other big ambitious things but you’ll likely only be able to do all of those things half as well as you could. Eliminate the inessential and you get the double benefit of doing the essential stuff better.

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Scenes from Saturday + Cooking & Carbs

Hypothetically speaking, I might have gotten upset with Cecilia this past week for forgetting two things that she needed for dance class. We had to turn around and go back to the house.

Why can’t she be more organized? She’s got all these tools and technology at her disposal that I never had. She has a computer in her pocket that can buzz and beep and automatically remind her to pack these things. She’s got it easy. Kids have it easy.

Right?

Maybe all these things I never had might make it harder? Maybe, despite my best efforts, I’m not the easiest person to live with. Maybe being a kid has always been and always will be harder than I can remember. Maybe the best response isn’t yelling or getting frustrated but trying to empathize.

I turned around and we drove back to the house, got the stuff, and the drove back to dance.

Turns out dance lessons don’t start until this week. I should probably put a reminder in my phone.

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Easy & Healthy Banana Bread

There is a divide in our house and it revolves around when bananas are actually ripe. Maybe that’s not quite right. The divide is around when bananas are good to eat.

Michelle says almost never (she carries long-lasting scars from childhood medicine that was banana-flavored). My kids both only like them when are still tinged with green and “taste more like an apple.” Um, okay.

I like them spotted but still firm. No one likes them when they are brown and resemble plantains. That is the time for banana bread.

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Scenes from Saturday + Couch & Coughing

We are at an interesting point in the homework journey. No, this isn’t about new math. Cecilia has run that gauntlet and we are back on the safer footing of long division and I’m hoping the second time through it makes more sense with Allison. I’m referring to how to help them find answers. Ally is still at the point where if she hits a roadblock we just need to tell her. There’s no easy way for her to discover how to spell ‘vegetarian’ short of asking me or Alexa.

Cecilia is on the opposite end of that spectrum. When she hits a roadblock we’ve been working on asking the right questions and then helping her find the answer. This often leads to slumping, sighing and eye rolls. I’m trying to teach her to love the process. To really get excited about it. Learning new things is something I love almost as much as carbs and reading. I want to pass that on. 

In this on-demand society learning things the slow way is…an adjustment for a ten year old but I’m hoping it eventually leads to her helping herself figure things out. I really do love learning new things but I can’t go through trigonometry again. 

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Scenes from Saturday + Loopholes & Laziness

Michelle and I had an ongoing discussion this week about the basement and how neat it should be. The basement is mostly the kid’s space. It’s filled with toys and crafts and glitter. So much glitter. It definitely gets messy and it certainly needs to be cleaned but…it’s also sort of the whole point of having that space for the kids. We can just shut the door and not get overprotective or precious about that space. Plenty of other rooms to vacuum on a daily basis.

I think a kid’s space, whether it’s a bedroom or a basement, should look like it’s played in. It should be messy! Should it be left in utter chaos? No. Do they need to learn how to care for and clean up their stuff? Yes. Does it need to always be returned to pristine condition? No. Messes will accumulate. You’ll find glitter in your socks. I’m taking it as a sign that I’m raising kids not cultivating rooms of stuff. Continue Reading

What the Heck Is Wisconsin Brick?

wisconsin brick and detroit pizza

If you’ve heard of Wisconsin Brick cheese and live outside of the Midwest, you’ve probably heard of it in relation to Detroit-style pizza. It’s a high-fat aged cheese with a uniquely tangy, salty, buttery flavor that lends the deep-pan Detroit pizza its buttery taste and more important its crispy, lacy, blackened edges. The edges will look black and burned beyond edible but don’t be fooled that’s black gold. Continue Reading