Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Things to Do in L.A. with Kids

We are heading to Los Angeles for Fall Break! Matt and I know that our time with our young boys is going to go by fast, and we try to think of ways to savor it as much as possible. For us, going on as many family vacations as possible is one of those ways. At my school, we have a Fall Break, Winter Break, Spring Break, and Summer Break every year. These vacations are a time to build so many memories.

Here's what we're thinking for L.A. (please chime in if you have other ideas!).
  • The Farmer's Market for lunch
  • Date night at the Hollywood Bowl to watch concert on a blanket under the stars? 
  • Horseback riding
  • Griffith Observatory
  • Hiking in Runyon Canyon
  • IMAX at the California Science Center
  • La Brea Tar Pits and Museum?
  • UCLA (Meteorite Gallery)
  • Yoga
  • University of Southern California
  • Bike riding
  • Hiking (Temescal Gateway Park)
  • Sailing
  • Running

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Preventing Holiday Stress: Holiday To-Do List

As I see it, there are two ways to reduce holiday stress:
  1. Lower our expectations--literally cross off the number of things on our to-do list.
  2. Get started earlier. 
My personal preference is a combination of both these strategies. Here's what I want to accomplish this year:

Make holiday cards like last year.
  • I need to draft the text for our holiday cards. 
  • Ask Matt to select the photos for our holiday card.
  • Get the card designed.
  • Get the card printed.
  • Pick up stamps. 
  • Get updated addresses from my friends and family.
  • Stuff all the envelopes.
  • And send! 
Purchase all my gifts and get them wrapped before Thanksgiving. 
  • Make a list of everyone we need to get gifts for. 
  • Brainstorm ideas.
  • Make purchases.
  • Figure out what we are going to do for wrapping paper this year.
  • Wrap our gifts! 
  • Make gift tags.
Decide which gifts I'm going to make. 
  • Make a list.
  • Brainstorm ideas.
  • Get supplies. 
  • Make the gifts! 
Get Matt's birthday present (end of November). 
  • Luckily I collect ideas all year.
  • Purchase gift.
We'll see which of these things I get started on versus which things just get crossed off the list! 

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Monday, September 26, 2016


We are now entering into All-the-Holidays-Start-Coming-So-Fast territory. Halloween will be here next month. Then Thanksgiving. And then Christmas.

I need to have a yearly list of everything that needs to get done around this time. I'll save that for another post!

As for Halloween, it's one of my favorite holidays. I used to love it more before I had children. I know that sounds weird, but I loved spending a lot of time making an awesome costume for myself. Now that I'm responsible for 3-4 costumes, it's a lot less fun. I now do a combination of handmade + buy some stuff so I'm not so stressed out. 

I thought last year was going to be the end of our group costumes, since I knew Tate would have more opinions now that he's three. For the past two years, we've been letting Henry choose what he wants to be, and we create a whole theme around whatever he chooses:
  • Year 1 of Family Costume = Henry chose to be an elephant, so we made a circus theme. Tate (infant at the time) was a strongman. I was a clown. Matt was a box of popcorn.
  • Year 2 of the Family Costume = Henry chose to be a picnic, so I was a pineapple, Tate was a carrot, and Matt was a bunch of grapes. 
This year Henry chose to be Peter Pan (after reading the book at counseling) and he convinced Tate to be Captain Hook, so I'm going to be Wendy and Matt is going to be Tinkerbell. I'm inspired to make Henry's costume from scratch using this tutorial. For Tate, I bought this costume off of Amazon. For my Wendy costume, I bought this nightgown and I will dye it blue. Matt is going to use this tulle to make a Tinkerbell costume similar to this one. Should be a good time! 

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Recommendations

I am in love with the OverDrive app. It connects me to my city’s library and lets me download e-books into my Kindle app (on my phone) for free. It’s amazing! It enables me to save money and read a lot more than I otherwise would.

Here are some of the books I’ve read recently, all of which I recommend:

Gone Girl: I seriously could not put this book down. I even snuck downstairs during a party to read it in the bathroom (just a couple minutes). It’s engrossing. Surprising. Intriguing. Yes, I am clearly an introvert.

Secrets of a Charmed Life: I love historical fiction. This book was set during World War II, but it’s really a story about finding your passion and staying connected to family.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves: This book was my least favorite of all, but I still really enjoyed it and recommend it. I didn’t read what it was about before starting it, and I recommend that you do the same! It makes for a hugely interesting surprise.

It’s been fun to reconnect with the reader in me again. I feel like this phase of Parenting Two Young Children While Also Balancing a Demanding Career (and Sometimes Trying to Fit in Exercise, and, Oh Yeah, Friends) has just been so consuming. 

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Just One Thing: Working on Our Marriage

During our weekend date, Matt and I talked about the “One Thing” we each wanted the other person to work on in our marriage. Matt wants me to work on making more time to hang out with each other in the evening. I can get so focused on my work (and enjoy it a lot); it can leave him feeling left out.

As a side note, we are saving up money for an inexpensive hot tub. I did an experiment last winter where every day I would ask, “If we had a hot tub, would you want to go in it right now?” Our answer was most often “yes.” My idea is that a hot tub is an awesome way to connect with one’s partner. For us, it’s different than playing games because games require a lot of thought and aren’t the most relaxing. It’s different than watching TV or a movie because it involves talking to each other. Long story short, I’m looking forward to saving up enough money to get an inexpensive hot tub to facilitate connection. In the meantime, we’ve decided to try turning out the light 30 minutes earlier than we normally would, so that we leave more time to talk. If we turn the light off exactly at bedtime, we end up feeling like we shouldn’t talk too long or else we’ll be exhausted in the morning. 

My “one thing” for Matt is for him to keep our kitchen counter clean. He tends to use it as a “landing pad” for miscellaneous things, and the clutter makes me feel stressed.

I think I’ll add our “one thing” items to a list that we revisit occasionally. When we feel like we’ve each mastered the “one thing” that was asked of us, we can tackle another item! 

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Date Weekend: Things to Do in Steamboat Springs, CO

Matt and I got to sneak away for a whole glorious weekend to attend a wedding while my mother-in-law watched the boys.

We flew into Denver and drove approximately three hours to Steamboat Springs. On the first day, we went for a hike at Fish Creek Trail, enjoyed salads on the patio of Freshies, and got pedicures together. That night we went to the rehearsal dinner.

The next day, we enjoyed the Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Normally, I find hot springs to be pretty un-enticing and sometimes downright gross, but this place was beautiful. It had lots of different pools with varying temperatures, the architecture was beautiful, and we got to lounge on chairs high above the hot springs while I finished my book (which, by the way, was completely engrossing and sort of left me feeling like an addict because I couldn’t put it down and wanted to spend large amounts of our vacation weekend reading).

The trip was pretty fast but definitely fun. The good news is that I really missed being around our boys! I was eager to get home to them. 

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