Saturday, April 22, 2017

Week in Review 4.22.17

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This morning we got up and headed to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. It felt fraught with troubles (the interstate was closed, we were running late, it started raining) but it ended up being so much fun. I've relaxed a lot in the past few years. I packed extra clothing, told everyone to go potty and off we went. In years past, I would have packed enough food to feed an army, stressed about being late, freaked out about the interstate closure. This year, I said, Oh ha! We'll go a different way. If it is crowded, then we'll worry about it then. It was a muddy mess and the kids were so happy! Molly got an ear ache on the way home and thanks to Swedish Express Care, we were able to stop and get her seen. She now has a prescription for antibiotics and is already happier. #winning.
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Exercise

My exercise buddies were off this week for various reasons so I decided to take a step back from working out so hard. I skipped boot camp on Monday but went on Wednesday and Friday. I also walked Greenlake on Tuesday. It felt good to take a wee break. I think our bodies need that sometimes. I'm back at it on Monday though as my workout buddies will be back!


I also worked out with Molly and Maggie a few times this week for a story assignment I'm working on. It was both great and infuriating. Overall though it was quite an experience. 

The previous weeks were about average with 4-5 workouts. I'm still feeling rundown so they weren't my best but I saw a glimmer of the sun yesterday and wow! it boosted my spirits!


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Food

My eating has been crappy lately. I did a doughnut tasting for work and am actually sick of doughnuts. I ate too much Easter candy. I have however started my CSA research for a story I'm doing which means more veggies! I hate wasting food so I'll be eating a lot more produce. 

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I do not regret the HUGE ice cream I had at Snowgoose Produce today. It was huge and delicious and I don't need ice cream for weeks. 


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The Girls

Molly asked for her own garden this year so we built a small garden box to place outside of my garden. It was made of mix-matched wood so we used some left over paint to spruce it up. I asked what vegetables we should plant and she sassily told me, "I don't like vegetables! I just want flowers" so we planted mainly flowers and I snuck in a few vegetables so they can see how they grow and maybe mess with their plants and not mine.


Molly's class went to the Planetarium at the University of Washington last week so Maggie and I tagged along. It was so much fun learning about the planets and the solar system. I admit to being more excited than most of the kids. I was also amazed at how well the kids did on the long bus ride. They thought it was great!


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Other Goings On


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In other news, I got two new chickens and picked-up my first one! We named our new additions, Hai Hai and Pinky Pie. I built a temporary pin next to the chicken coop where the chickens stayed for about 10 days. Then I let the two flocks roam together for a bit. Now they are all in the same coop but I'm having troubles getting the new chickens to go up to the roosting poles at night so they have been sleeping in the cat carrier. I tried to put them up one night but the other chickens were being jerks. I think they just need more time. Hopefully they'll get there.

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I was able to see the Terracotta Warriors with Seattle Refined and loved the experience. They are amazing, seriously amazing. 


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I also started a 100 Day Project for B/W photos for 100 days. I've been enjoying the experience so far which you can follow on Instagram. I'm using #100daysofreebeckibwphotography as my hashtag. 

Stories Published


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Seattle Refined: Chocolate & coffee lovers rejoice! We've found the best mocha in town

Seattle Refined: 14 Activities to Fill Up Your PNW Spring

Seattle Refined: Easter Basket Goodies for all the kids (and grown-ups) in your life
Friday, April 21, 2017

Monthly Goal Check-In (March)

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March was incredibly busy with a trip to Disneyland, work, kid activities and Scott's travels. I feel like I'm still catching up. The rainy weather has also not helped me with keeping my energy up! I have this deep desire to snuggle on the couch with a hot drink and just stare at the rain as it pours down. While a delightful way to spend an afternoon, it is not such a productive way to live!


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2017 Goals

1. Workout 217 times in 2017 - I worked out 21 times in March. I'm at 64 workouts with 153 more workouts to complete this year. 


2. Participate in the Year of Creativity - This month was all about messy feelings and I've been feeling so messy. Scott pointed out that this time of year was when my Dad told us about his cancer. I think I'll also feel a bit messy at this time of the year. 


3. Shoot one roll of film a month - I shot two rolls of film in March but have yet to process them. That seems to be my big stumbling block. 

4. Complete TKGA Master Knitting Level I - I worked on my Blocking Report research and got it all together along with the necessary books and articles. 

5. Finish my Miter Square Blanket - Sadly I didn't knit any of my squares this month. There is still plenty of times, right? 

6. Read 52 books. - I read 2 books this month and will post a book report early next week. This means I have 38 books to read this year and 14 under my belt. I had a hard time reading in March!

7. Finish up various House Projects - We selected our contractor and architect so I feel like the basement remodel is on the way. I also selected colors for the kitchen and bathroom which need to be repainted.

8. Catch up on my yearly photo books of the girls - I'm still gathering my images but slowly making progress on this goal. 

9. Become more politically active and work to be the change in my community - This has sadly gotten sidelined. 

10. Learn how to make a really good stock  I'm counting this goal has being done! 

Bonus Goal: Grow two new crops in my garden and add some chickens to my flock. - I started my seeds - Delice de la Table and Burgess Butter Cup squash but have not transplanted them yet. It has been too cold. 
Thursday, April 20, 2017

We Went to DISNEYLAND!

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Earlier this year, Scott came home from work with an excited look on his face. He told me that his work was going to have an off-site in LA and he thought it would be fun to also take the girls to Disneyland. I may have raised my eyebrow at him and said, "You know, that won't be cheap!" but in the end, I'm glad he persisted in his wish. He's been dreaming of taking the girls to Disneyland since they were born. And now all of us are dreaming of going back.

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We flew into Los Angeles on Wednesday morning and spent the afternoon, exploring the La Brea Tar Pits before heading to Santa Monica for dinner with friends. Randomly a bunch of my good friends all had babies around the same time and one of them moved to LA. We often exchange texts about parenting. Our girls are about 3 weeks apart in age so the turmoil is real.

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We spent the next day exploring Santa Monica and drove the long way to Disneyland. We finally told the girls we were going to Disneyland as we drove towards the park. I'm so glad we waited because their excitement was huge which meant they asked how long until we were at Disneyland, the entire drive there!

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We went through Long Beach and had a good time before checking into the Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel. We got a really good deal through Costco which covered our rental car (which if you are only going to Disneyland, you do not need), hotel and 3-days of park hopper tickets. We spent the afternoon at the hotel pool and headed into Downtown Disney for dinner.

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Friday Morning was our first day in Disney and this is where I'll admit that we should have reversed the order of the trip! Smart parents would have gone straight to Disneyland and started there but not me! Actually what happened is that Scott was supposed to have on off-site but then that got cancelled and we decided to forge forward with our trip. Except, I didn't keep that big change in mind. It still worked out, it was just really busy in the park (because weekend!).

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We spent the first day in Disneyland before heading over to California Adventureland on Saturday. We ended up going back to Disneyland later on Saturday and spending Sunday morning there again. On Sunday, we met up with a Knitting Twitter friend of mine and her daughter. Our kids hit it off and I loved meeting Shannon in person. Scott looked at me as we headed to meet Shannon and said, "You've never met this person have you?" and I said, "I know her, we just haven't physically met yet." Luckily he knows me and knows about the tight knitter twitter community I've built up.

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There were some lessons learned and tips acquired on this trip. We rented strollers in the park which was a lifesaver for little feet. I walked almost 25,000 steps one day and I know they would have melted down. We also stopped at Target and picked up a lot of snacks and water for the park which I then stuffed in the bottom of the strollers. When the kids would whine about being thirsty or hungry, I was ready with snacks. We ate cereal in the room for breakfast except when we enjoyed a character breakfast at Ariel's Grotto. We packed PB&Js for lunches one day and enjoyed hot dogs at one of the stands another day. We ate dinner out most nights which worked well for us. 

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I didn't over plan this trip at all. In fact, I may have under planned it. Scott had two things he wanted to do in the park - see Chewbacca and ride Pirates of the Caribbean. The Pirates ride was closed so he said he'd be back but he got to see Chewbacca. I made sure we went right there on the first day. Otherwise, I used the Disneyland App to see which rides had short lines near us and we'd go there. We used one Fast Pass for the Haunted Mansion which the girls loved. I loved the Mint Julep drinks located at the restaurant next door. We may have enjoyed them multiple days in a row. Most Fast Pass tickets didn't work for us as Maggie is still about an inch too short for the rides. She also would not have tolerated her sister going on a ride without her. It just means more rides for future visits! 

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By the end of the trip, I admit to feeling a bit Mombie! It was a really fun time though and I'm so glad we went. However, next time I think we'll go mid-week to cut down on the traffic. 

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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Podcasts, Dinos and Meals Are This Week's Links From Around the Web

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S-Town Have you heard this podcast yet? It took me an episode and a half to really get into it but now, I can't stop! 

14 Dino Sites to Visit with Your Kiddosaurus This is a wonderful list for the dinosaur lover in your house. 

30 Delicious Meals to Make in April This all looks so good! 

Your Cat’s Favorite Thing to Do Is Hanging Out With You Ahh I love hanging out with my cat. 





Sunday, April 02, 2017

Week in Review 4.1.17

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This week zoomed right on by. I admit to getting excited about April 1st. The beginning of the month means a new Year of Creativity lesson goes up and I always get excited about them. I also felt a little anxious because I didn't work on my yearly goals as much as I wanted to. 

Exercise

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I didn't push myself on the workout front this week on purpose. I got in 4 solid workouts and they felt good but decided to skip the 5th. I'm at 64 workouts for the year so I'm on track for 217 in 2017! I went to a Flywheel class with my friend, Laurie. It was hard and sweaty but I loved hanging out with her in the middle of the day. It felt like a treat! 

Food

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We had some good meals this week and the girls actually ate most of the food. I think they were hungry. After working out with Laurie on Thursday, I had some extra time before I needed to get the girls from school so I tried out Bounty Kitchen for the first time. It was so good! I'll be back! 

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Maggie and I headed up to Edmonds on Tuesday for poke. The owners loved that she didn't touch the rice but inhaled the poke. That's my raw fish lover! She constantly asks me to take her out for sushi which means she's a pricey little date. 

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I got some new ice cream - Sweet Lo's and the family loved it! I had a few bites and this stuff is delicious! It's going to be hard not to eat all the ice cream, all the time. 

The Girls

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Maggie started a yoga class this week and she loved it. I was worried because she is currently the most 3 of 3 and threw a tantrum when I mentioned trying out yoga. However, when yoga day came, she was super excited. She carried her mat in and confidently set up. When I came back at the end of class, she showed me her moves and the next morning, insisted that we do yoga together. It was awesome. 

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The girls threw themselves into Letter D of the Peaceful Preschool. We read books, made a bird seed wreath, painted everything and made cards for friends. Maggie loved making cards and I heard the recipients of her cards loved them too. We have one more week with Letter D and some fun activities. I'm planning to write more about our lessons shortly. 

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Molly recently expressed interest in learning how to garden so I'm building a small box for the girls. Until I can get that done (the rain won't stop!), I got the girls this egg carton veggie seed kit. They planted seeds on Wednesday and I took the opportunity to use Treehouse Schoolhouse's Life Cycle printouts to discuss the cycle of plants. The girls keep excitedly checking the progress of the seeds. 

Other Goings On


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It was a fun and busy week. We took a day trip to Olympia for a story I'm doing and had the best time. The Hands On Children's Museum is seriously the best in this area. I really want one like that closer to our house. The cherry trees are blooming and they are gorgeous! We are on the hunt for a kitten but "inventory" is low right now and we want to get the right one for our family. 

Stories Published

The April issue of Seattle's Child is out along with my SHOP column and some adorable pictures of the girls in the ROMP section.

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Seattle Refined: Stair Climbing doesn't have to be scary!
Saturday, March 25, 2017

Week in Review 3.25.17

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This week was a bit better than last week. I had some blood work done which included having my Vitamin D levels tested and it turns out there is a reason for my fatigue! I have low Vitamin D so I'm on a 8,000i.u. regime for two months and then I'll go back to 2000i.u. a day. This might also explain my thinning hair concerns. Hopefully I'll be back to feeling more energized with more hair soon! I'm pretty happy to have a reason for feeling exhausted other than I have children because that excuse is getting old.

Exercise


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Even though Scott was out of town this week, I still got in four good workouts. I did two boot camps, 1 barre3 and 1 yoga class. I've gotten a good system down for when he is gone and I'm figuring out which gyms have childcare. I'm still on the fence about my Classpass but I really used it this week. I'm at 59 workouts for the year. 

Food


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I've been feeling more inspired to get into the kitchen and cook! I love to cook but having to provide three meals a day, everyday starts to wear on a person. Even a chef doesn't want to cook every single meal. However, my joy for cooking has been coming back and I think part of it is that I've been simplifying. Instead of making fish tacos, I made fish stick tacos this week (we've been making them for about a month and are obsessed!). Instead of buying whole veggies and cutting them up, I've been buying precut vegetables. Yes, it costs a bit more and is a little less fresh BUT it means I'm eating more vegetables and that my friends is HUGE! 

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I made Salads in Jars this week for lunches and I'm planning on doing the same again this week. I got a lot of questions about it too so I'm planning a post about meal planning and salads in jars soon. Having my lunches pre-prepped for the week meant that I ate so well. I literally would pull a jar out of the fridge, grab a bowl and dump the salad in it. Then I'd stir it up to coat everything in dressing and dig in. I love it when lunch takes me 2 minutes to prepare. 

The Girls


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We returned to swim this week and it was awesome! The girls are both avid swimmers who can't wait for swim class. Molly currently takes two swim classes a week - one with me and one with her preschool while Maggie only takes one. I've offered to sign Maggie up for a second one but she has opinions about swimming when her sister swims only. 


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Since Scott was out of town at the beginning of the week, we mixed things up. I kept dinners really simple and we even went out to dinner with a friend one night. The girls were quite amp'd up all week and then Maggie got sick on Wednesday night. She's been moping around telling me that she does not feel good. Poor baby! 

Other Goings On

This week was both busy and slow. I'm on the preschool auction committee and the auction is tonight so I've been busy helping with last minute items. I sold raffle tickets on Tuesday and worked on the program. Now onto the centerpieces! 

I feel behind on my goals for the year so I've made some solid plans for next week to work on them along with pitching a few new publications. I have ideas swirling in my head and I need to take action on them.

Our family is also on the hunt for a kitten. Mel-B needs some animal companionship and the kids need a pet they can take care of. Oh I know this means more work for me but really one cat, two cat - they are about the same amount of work. We've been missing a second cat since Kato passed. We met a cat on Friday night but unfortunately he was not the cat for us. 

Stories Published


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Seattle's Child: Whistler Provides Family Adventure, Even in the Off-Season

Seattle Refined: Self Defense 101: Give Yourself a Fighting Chance 

Seattle Refined: Yes, it's spring - but you can still find some last minute winter road trips
Friday, March 24, 2017

February Book Report

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I read a lot of books in February and then have taken forever to report on them. My reading was all over the place without any particular rhyme or reason. I read 6 books in this short month due to a short trip I took by myself that afforded hours of airplane reading time. 


The first book I read was Siblings without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It was comforting to read that we were already doing some things right and horrifying to find out that we were doing some things really wrong. For instance, my girls are competitive and we often fuel it by setting them up against each other. It feels innocent, i.e. "Who can clean the room faster? Oh Maggie is the fast one!" but that builds rivalry so we've been doing our best to stop that and instead we are saying, "Come on Team! Let's clean the room together! Many hands make fast work!" 


The Writing Life by Annie Dillard was an "assigned" book from my Coffee & Crumb's Year of Creativity group. I was fooled into thinking that it would be a short read due to the compact size of the book but Dillard's writing requires deep concentration and often tears me away from the pages with the journey's my mind is encouraged to roam on. I loved this book and took away so much from it. 


I was attracted to Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon because of the beautiful cover artwork which was designed by Yoon's husband. I ended up loving this book. It's a Young Adult novel about a girl with so many allergies, etc that she basically lives in a bubble. The teenage girl soon falls in love with the teenage boy next door and the adventure begins there. 


I am not a money genius but I want my kids to be confident with their money. Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You are Not) by Beth Kobliner was so helpful and one I know I'll go back to again and again. I did skip the teenagers information because we are years away from that. My biggest takeaway was there is no "RIGHT" way to do allowance, one just has to be consistent about it. The other one was to talk about money with your kids. Be open about how much things cost. 


This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel was the Seattle Refined Book Club pick and I LOVED it. The book is about a transgendered child and how the family deals with it. Laurie Frankel is also a Seattle resident and so her descriptions of Seattle were top notch. I also loved how the family dynamics worked and kept thinking, this is how I would hope to parent in this situation. 


I read The Handmaid's Tale by Margret Atwood years ago and decided to re-read it in light of the current political atmosphere and the Hulu Mini Series. It was just as horrifying now as it was a few years ago. The part that struck me the most was where Atwood noted that she didn't want to write about anything that hasn't happened somewhere at some point. 


I read the February chapter in Year Between Friends: 3191 Miles Apart by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes in the nick of time. I loved the February part, especially the recipes. 

Yearly Book Total: 11/52

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means if you buy something from a link, I receive a very small percentage back. 
 
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