Happy Friday! This particular Friday marks the end of my summer research... I'm a free woman. And mom. And wife. Soooo perhaps 'less pressed for time' is more accurate. Although I'm glad to officially begin my summer vacation, saying goodbye to all my work was a little bittersweet.

Today also marks the end of my CrossFit Foundations course. I'm at a fork in the road... I'm a little intimidated by the regular classes but also comfortable with the moves. I've scoped out some studios that I can visit during our vacation and hope to advance despite being away. I have seen a huge change in how I feel and have progressed significantly over the last month.  More than I ever imagined. It's really important to me that I don't lose my footing. 

This was a good week. Calm and low key:
1// Kiddo came to work with me on Wednesday and again today. He was so helpful and beyond adorable. Watching him study cells under the microscope, explore the little worms studied in another lab, and help me carry out my duties was awesome. It was a huge bonding experience. He couldn't wait to come back this morning. I just love this little scientist in the making.  2// I scooped up these Old Navy compression pants about a week ago. The "compression" part made me a little leery, but they are hands-down the best workout pants I've ever worn. I must have more.  3// I passed these cheery blooms every day this week on my morning walk from the lab to a local coffee shop. They made my day brighter. 4// Kiddo was feeling a little under the weather, and we didn't have enough time to go home before our next obligation, so we picked a shady area next to a park and took a little siesta in the car. It was lovely.  5// I just discovered the local sushi joint I frequent (1/2 price sushi between 11 and 3 on weekdays... booyah!) can make my favorite rolls with brown rice. I can cut back on the white stuff and still enjoy my fix. Shazam!

The next few days will be spent relaxing, making progress on my chair refinishing project, and prepping for our trip. Packing for a month away from home, and a week of camp for Kiddo, is no easy feat. Not to mention all the instructions I need to leave for the housesitter. Lots and lots of lists. Fortunately, I have a whole week to get organized.

Linking up with Lauren!


Summer begins today.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The last week and a half have been full. Busy. Kiddo wrapped up the school year Friday, but spent the week with a summer bug. He barely ate and begged me to let him go to school the last two days even though his grey skin color suggesting staying home would be prudent. Mario was in California for 7 days and I was in the throes of my research. Our house only saw us at bedtime and prior to our 7:30a departure.

There were a lot of demands on my time and energy. There were a few moments where I was completely overwhelmed (and worried about a certain young man who wouldn't eat more than two bites of anything). I simply didn't have time to blog. Yet this little corner of my world was never far from my mind. I routinely reminded myself how long it had been since I'd posted. Nagged myself even. Possibly scolded once or twice. Then I caught whatever virus was making Kiddo miserable and have spent the last two days in a Sudafed fog. I cared a little less that my blog was getting neglected. Then I lost a follower. Just one. But I was bummed when I saw that number go down. A week without a post and my bloggy friends abandon ship? How fickle!

In all honestly, it was probably someone who starting following me for a contest and was merely cleaning out their blog roll. I've done the same thing. It also reminded me why I contemplate ditching my GFC widget on a regular basis. I'll be honest: something as small as one less follower made me realize I had, at some point, turned this blog into an obligation. Another burden to lay on my shoulders. I like to write and relate to other bloggers! It's fun! So why did I turn it into an expectation?

Times like these are a good reminder of why I do this and what I enjoy about it. Followers should be an afterthought if I extract joy from the process of writing for this blog. Here's my point: I'm back but was never really gone. And although I turned a short absence into a negative thing, it shouldn't be. It was an opportunity to slow done and realign my perspective. Staring at a blank screen whilst pressuring myself to come up with a significant post is silly. That's not what this is about for me.

A week from Saturday we head out on a 4-week vacation to Montana. We'll spend time with family and friends, relax, take some road trips, and Mario and I have a whole week to be fancy free in the Pacific Northwest while Kiddo is in camp. I've become enamored with photography over the last 6 months and can't wait to see familiar and new places from behind the lens of my camera. I look forward to sharing my adventures... and hearing from those who can relate to where I've been and what I've been up to.

That's why I blog.

Neglected but not forgotten.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

So hard for it honey
She works hard for the money
So you better treat her right

Donna Summer

After inserting the above quote, I remembered it's about a hooker. That I am not. But I work hard (sort of) for the money, so I'm going with it. This is not being written on a street corner as the next stanza would suggest.

I got paid. Twice. For the first time in 5 years, I'm an earner. A paycheck producer. It could only cover my car payment plus some petty cash, but it's a paycheck nonetheless.

Although I have been working hard over the last 4 years, and having a college degree will increase my income substantially over the course of my working years, I missed having a salary of my own. It turns out receiving pay for my time and efforts means a lot to me. A chunk of my self esteem, in some ways, is tied into my ability to produce. The amount seems inconsequential, actually. For me, it's about feeling independent and valuable. 

The fact is, I enjoy being a part of the working world and always have.

My paychecks are getting cashed and stowed away for next month's vacation. It will cover the housesitter and provide a wad of spending money.

And although my summer research comes to an end next Friday, my excitement for the future has been reignited after an exhausting spring. To go to a job I love every day while making our lives more comfortable in the process is a pretty cool prospect.

She works hard for the money

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

George Orwell, 1984

This week has been weird. Tuesday was a disaster, and although the rest of the week was looking rosy by comparison, little blogging took place. I simply felt overwhelmed by life as we all do on occasion. 

Today was a good day. Apparently I have a knack for cell culture, because I nervously looked under the microscope to find a flask full of beautiful lung cells. I did it! On my first try! This biologist is over the moon. With only two weeks left of summer research, I've reached my goal early.

Instead of my usual High Five post, I'm going to give you a glimpse of what life has looked like as of late. Happy Friday!

I needed some fresh air this morning, so I locked up the lab and walked the few blocks to a favorite coffee shop. A latte and breakfast sandwich made everything better. // Spumoni with the husband on my lunch break yesterday. His fave. // Mario invented this Buffalo Chicken pasta salad using only the leftovers lingering in our fridge. Like, OMG. That man has talent. // Tuesday morning definitely called for smoked salmon sandwiched between carbs. I reserve the right to eat bagels any time a mouse invades my personal space.

I put Kiddo on this bus at 6:45 this morning. He's on a school trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. I love that he's having this experience, but having him in the big city without his parents makes me go into mama protection mode. I want my baby bear close. On the plus side, Mario and I are going to have a late dinner date after my CrossFit class. // It's a shorts bonanza 'round these parts. Discount codes made them a steal. // Interval training. All week. I've been trying to improve my speed and endurance, and this is the way to get there. I'm tired. // The reason my new shorts still have tags on them. Brrrr. It's June, right?

A dinner date with my main man earlier this week while Mario was out of town. I just adore him.

Winston was gelatinous with fatigue.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

The last 24-hours have been quite unbelievable. If it weren't for the fact that the following events have played out in front of my very eyes, I'd scarcely believe it myself. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Source: lh4.ggpht.com via Sarah on Pinterest

Last night I began week two of my CrossFit Foundations class. Our goal? Pull-ups. Well kips at least (which is the rocking back and forth you see above... it builds momentum for the actual pull-up). I'll admit it: I could barely hang from the bar for more than five seconds let alone swing like a monkey. I tried a zillion times. My brain said I could do it but my body disagreed wholeheartedly. It sucked. Then came the WOD which kicked my bum. It hurt, I was tired, and I came in dead last. I was frustrated. I got to my car and cried. A lot. I cried because I couldn't do it but wanted to badly. I cried because I'm mad at myself for my lack of physical ability and overall state of chunkiness. 

I arrived home only to be reminded that Mario was on his way out the door to drive to Maine for work and wouldn't be back until Wednesday evening. In my CrossFit stupor, I'd forgotten. I hit the sack exhausted and overwhelmed. I even tried meditating for a bit to calm my overstimulated mind.

At 6a my alarm went off. In the seconds following, I felt a scamper across my back. Still half asleep, I thought it was the cat. I opened my eyes to see a mouse sitting on my nightstand. I don't remember flying across the room in a fit of adrenaline, but this girl flew. Sore muscles be damned.

We have never had mice in our house. Ever. I trapped him in our room and scoured the house looking for A. how it got in, and B. more mice. Thankfully, he didn't seem to bring friends, but I still can't figure out how he got in. In five years of living in the country, this was my first rodent experience (in the house, at least). And I'm traumatized. I opened the sliding glass door to the outside and he soon made his exit (thank goodness!), but I can't shake the awful feeling of waking up to scampering rodent feet on my body. Still, of all the people in my family it could have happened to, it was probably better it happened to me. Mario would have had a full blown coronary and Jared would have been scarred for life. I'm the least skittish when it comes to rodents, and I still need therapy. Fingers crossed he didn't put the word out that our house is some sort of mouse-y rave.

NH Fish and Game

Coffee was definitely in order so after I dropped Kiddo off at school, I headed to Starbucks. If ever a day called for caffeine, this was it. As I pulled in, I saw people stopping and strategically driving over and around something. The something was a giant snapping turtle who misguidedly left the park behind Starbucks to find a place to lay her eggs. I took on the duty of herding her back into the riverside park. She hissed and snapped at me most ungratefully. Thankfully a nice man finally came to my aid, picked her up by her tail, and took her back home. At that point I was wondering if I should have just stayed in my mouse-infested bed.

My lung cells came today and my fingers (and toes) are crossed that I successfully cultured them. This is an amazing experience and grad school application-booster, so keeping them alive will be a huge accomplishment. With only three weeks of research left for the summer, I feel a certain anxiety to get it right.

Coming down off the post-culturing adrenaline rush, I looked at my phone to realize Kiddo hadn't called to let me know he'd made it to the library safe and sound. It is only a couple blocks away from his school, and he's walked it many times, but we always have him call to check in. Twenty minutes after his expected arrival time, no call. Fifty unanswered calls later, I jumped in my car and made the short drive up the street to find him. A block away, a bird swooped in front of my moving car and, well, you know. Fudgesicle.

Kiddo was fine and right where he should have been, but his cell phone remained at home in his gym bag. All is well. Although I'm wondering if my aura needs saging. Or my animal friends are trying to tell me something. 

Everyone has days like this... right?

You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don't help.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We were not feeling particularly ambitious this past weekend so we used the time to reconnect, catch up on household duties, and relax. Movies, home cooked meals... it was lovely.

Friday brought breakfast with my main man...

... and a graduation gift from two amazing friends. I miss them every day.

I also wrapped up my first whole week of CrossFit and officially became a convert. I am already up by 25lbs on my deadlift.

Saturday saw a new dip recipe (yum!), homemade croissant-wrapped mini sausages for Kiddo, and Oriental Chicken Salad for the grown ups.

I drank way too much of a certain brew over the weekend.

Sunday morning breakfast.

Unintentional thrifting. A local antique store is closing and Mario scooped these up for me. He's the bestest.

Another unintentional Pyrex find. Mario went to sell some lingering CDs from our January purge-fest and found this Pyrex coffee set. Complete with cream and sugar containers. It's darling!

This weekend we ate at home every night. It was awesome! Last night I made our favorite Green Chili Enchiladas. It was a delicious disaster. Since living in New England, I have not been able to find good corn tortillas that don't fall apart. I finally resigned to the fact that it was going to be more of a casserole. Mario and I had a good laugh over the whole rigmarole. I meal planned for this week and hope to keep up our no-eating-out momentum. We have a month-long vacation coming up in July (and a house-/petsitter to pay) and need to save our pennies. Eating out, although sometimes necessary, is a budget-buster.

I feel rested and ready to take on another busy week. Mario hits the road tonight for a couple days, my cells come tomorrow and I'm just praying I can successfully culture them, and Kiddo has a big NYC field trip on Friday. In addition to all our usual activities. 

I thought it was supposed to be summer! Still, it's good to be staying busy. Although I have a feeling I will be visiting the derm, eye doctor, and getting my teeth cleaned all in the week before  leaving for vacation.

Linking up:

A weekend in photos...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Do you know where your margarita is?

 Amy Neftzger

Happy Friday, friend! Today is rainy and peaceful. I have the lab to myself, so my day is being spent sterilizing and prepping for my beautiful lung cells that come early next week. My fingers will be crossed all weekend (and into next week) that they grow for me. There are only 3 weeks left of my research, and it would be amazing to achieve success... and to be the first person to culture human cells at my school. I'm nervous and excited.

This was a good, full week, but I'm exhausted and look forward to switching off my alarm clock at bedtime tonight. High five for Friday!

1// Long live dodgeball. Although it seems it was created for the quick and agile (aka not me), it's a great activity. Kiddo has been playing at the Y for the last few weeks and loves it. He comes out glowing and proud. 2// One of my favorite breakfast/lunch/snack treats: herb goat cheese and smoked salmon on whole grain crackers. It hits the spot when I'm feeling lazy but need sustenance. It's easy peasy and so delish. I picked up some Ak-Mak crackers at Trader Joe's and wish I'd bought more... they are the perfect addition.  3// Tonight marks one full week of CrossFit under my belt. Which I hope is getting a few notches smaller. I had a breakthrough on Wednesday and really found my groove. I love it!  4// I can't take the cuteness overload.  5// All I want to wear right now are my lace-less Chucks. They are comfy and perfect for running around in any weather. I wish there were more colors!

We don't have much in the works for what is going to be a rainy, cool weekend. I see a lot of movies, home cooked meals, and family time. Perfection.

It's 4:58 on Friday afternoon.

Friday, June 7, 2013

This girl has been running on fumes. Every night this week has brought an obligation, meeting, or activity. Bedtime has been postponed. I started my CrossFit Foundations course on Monday night, so my body has been a bit tuckered out. Instead of finding moments to reboot, I've been sucking down coffee like it's my lifeblood... which then keeps sleep at bay. It's a viscous cycle, no?

Yesterday afternoon, after a day spent desperately trying to keep my eyes open and my mind attentive, I dropped Kiddo off at swim lessons and headed to CrossFit. I parked my car in the shade, set the alarm on my phone, and slept. A half hour later I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle my workout.

When I got home, I left my laptop in the trunk of my car. Instead of checking emails and cluttering my freshly-cleared brain, I got in the hot tub. As I settled my sore muscles, the trees started to glitter. Our property was alive with fireflies. Had I googled, blogged, shopped, and surfed instead of taking a moment to relax, I would have missed a rare and beautiful evening. 

Here's to taking moments of solitude... especially when you need them most.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Last Friday I took Kiddo out for the evening. Mario was stuck at the Denver airport and it was 90 degrees outside, so an outing fit the bill. I bought him a pretzel dog and searched store after store for the perfect shorts. He was just bummed we didn't visit the Apple store.

I took him out to his favorite dinner. We made a stop for ice cream. We bought some of his favorite foods at Trader Joe's. Overall it was a great evening of bonding with my favorite young man. Almost home, he said suddenly, "Mom, I'm really disappointed we didn't go to the rock climbing place."

That, you could say, was the straw that broke this mama's back. I was a bit crestfallen. I'd worked so hard to give him the perfect evening and it simply wasn't good enough. When will my best be good enough? I thought. Should I have let him play on the iPads while I sat around waiting? It was getting late and I was concerned about the dog being out all day and decided to forgo the climbing gym (which hadn't even been proposed as an activity... we simply happened to pass by). Should I have taken him anyway? Would it have been enough?

This is a trap I too often fall into. The fact is I can't please everyone all the time. I also can't be everything to everyone. But I sure want to. And that, my friend, is where the trouble lies. Oh to be able to say no with abandon. Without that smidgeon of guilt or letdown creeping in.

Kiddo does not live an indulgent life. The word "no" is familiar to him. He has an incredible existence by any definition and the undivided attention of two parents who love him dearly. The trouble with having an only child is this: You get one shot. I want every moment to be amazing with him. As a result, I end up placing far too much pressure on our time together. Not every second. But the outings and brownie dates weigh more than they used to. Because I realize they are not something I can take for granted.

Pleasing others is a very human condition, especially when it comes to the ones we love. There is much less people-pleasing in my life than there used to be, but it certainly creeps in. It's exhausting! I don't have to make cupcakes for every occasion. Sometimes a card is enough. A missed meeting isn't the end of the world. It's okay for Mario to take over sometimes. Appeasing all those around me may make them feel better, but it certainly doesn't fulfill my own needs. Instead, I live with the fear of falling short. That is an unfortunate trait I work to abandon daily.

Jared certainly isn't thinking about the climbing gym anymore. Or the Apple store. So why am I still dwelling? Well, because I'm a work in progress. And perhaps admitting that I feel like a less-than mom (or wife or student or friend) sometimes (or a lot) is a good step toward change. A change in perspective. In self expectation. Because Kiddo is not going to look back on his childhood and think if only she'd taken me to the climbing gym on May 31, 2013... I might have had it in me to get a PhD.

Enough IS enough.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Although I am glad I went straight into research post-semester, the time to take a break has come. A chance to slow down and let other areas of my life emerge. Fortunately, things will be slow over the next week. So I asked for what I needed... which is so unlike me.

Friday started with a quick solo breakfast where I sat at the counter and read. I'm knee deep in a book... how novel.

I then headed to a coffee shop a couple blocks away to get together with some of the other moms at my son's school. There is an amazing group of woman who are interesting, lovely, and incredibly easy to be around. I feel like I have known them forever... it is that effortless. Coffee became lunch and the conversation flowed.

Kiddo has been adjusting to the idea of shorts weather, so we took a drive down to Mass to stock his closet with some warm weather duds. It was looking hopeless (he is not digging the bright primary colors some stores are carrying this season... I'm talking to you, Gap), until Old Navy saved the day. Adjustable waist? Check. On sale? Score! Now he won't keel over on the playground, drenched in his own sweat.

There is a great barbeque restaurant on the way home, and Kiddo can't resist baby back ribs, so we stopped for dinner. They have a great sides bar with an assortment of accompaniments. Delish.

My first watermark... I love this picture so.
The drive home is beautiful and we were graced by a lovely pink sunset. We passed a field of sheep and their babes and just had to pull off to the side to watch them. I wanted to take every one of them home! Kiddo was on board, but Mario would have put the kibosh on a yard full of baby lambies.

Of course the night required a sorbet/yogurt nightcap. This is one of our favorite ice cream stands in all of New England.

Saturday was a scorcher. We wish we had air conditioning probably 5 days per year... and Saturday was one of them. I took Kiddo to the Y to cool off in the pool, then we had some friends over for dinner. I adore my research friends.

Sunday we went for our first aimless weekend drive of the summer season. We drove up to the Lake Sunapee area and enjoyed the scenery, had lunch at a picnic table while Kiddo played on the playground, and took time to appreciate the mist-covered mountains post-rainstorm. It was the perfect kind of afternoon.

Now it's back to the grind. It is still unclear whether I'm working today or not (I'm hoping for the latter), and I volunteer for a couple hours at Kiddo's school on Monday afternoons. Mario has shared the duties the last couple weeks, so I'm up.

I got a call yesterday from the owner of the local CrossFit studio where I worked out about a week ago. She assured me that I could make the Foundations sessions work this month, so as of tonight I will be working out at the studio (The Box? Is that what they call it?) three days a week for the next four weeks. I'm terrified. I really hope I'm not hobbling around for the whole 30 days... wish me luck!

Linking up:

Hello, Monday.

Monday, June 3, 2013