For the last year or more I’ve wondered if I’m still a runner. I haven’t run very much and when I have it’s felt pretty awful. I didn’t enjoy it and it felt too difficult, both mentally and physically. I thought maybe I just wasn’t the runner I used to be, that maybe something had shifted in me and I needed to find something else. But recently Molly has started sleeping through the night the majority of the time (insert a happy dance, jazz hands, and all the heart-eye emojis here) and I’ve been running in the mornings again. It started with intervals – running 3 or 4 minutes, then walking for 1, and repeat. Then I switched to just ditching the intervals and running and one morning as I cruised through the miles I realized I’m enjoying this. Turns out when I’m not feeling as bone-deep tired, I really do still love running. I love the quiet mornings. I love the alone time and the breathing and pushing my legs and my lungs. I like feeling sweaty and that burst of energy that comes from tiring yourself out a bit. I’m looking forward to my morning runs again and enjoying the work. It feels a bit like getting some of myself back again.
We were on vacation last week at Kelleys Island – a small island in the middle of Lake Erie, near Cedar Point. We enjoyed golf carting around the island, throwing rocks in the water, hiking, and more. It was really great. There’s little to no cell service on the island, so it’s a great way to disconnect as well. As always, I got quite a bit of reading done! Here are the books I read while I was away. Bonus: I would recommend each of them!
- Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
- Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines
- Back When We Were Grown-ups by Anne Tyler
- We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
- Falling Free by Shannan Martin (Shannan is a dear friend to me and this book is truly amazing – funny, thought-provoking, honest, and just beautiful. It’s challenging but not preachy and it’s a very true representation of who Shannan is and how she lives. I’m so proud of her! You can preorder her book here.)
I also started The Devil Amongst the Lawyers by Sharyn McCrumb and while it was slow to start, I’m enjoying it now that I’m in the middle!
What have you been reading lately?
In the last year or so I have really gotten into podcasts. I credit Dave – he loves podcasts. I wasn’t too interested but once I started listening I was hooked! They’re especially great for long car rides. Once a week I travel for work an hour and 45 minutes each way and podcasts really help the drive pass quickly and keep me awake. Here are a few of my favorites:
The Popcast: This is by far my favorite. They’re mostly discussing pop culture, but Knox and Jamie are hilarious and so entertaining. I also love their southern accents. I eat these podcasts up and I’ve been back-listening to episodes, too. Can’t get enough and never gets old.
The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey: Every week Jamie brings another woman on and they just talk about life. It sounds basic but it’s really fun to listen to. They tend to run the gamut in terms of deep, emotional stories, funny tidbits, and silly details about fashion or makeup.
Surviving Sarah: I just started listening to this one, but so far I like it. It is pretty similar to Jamie Ivey, although maybe a little more serious.
What Should I Read Next: Anne Bogel interviews someone each week and asks them to name three books they love, one they hate, and what they’re reading right now. Then she makes recommendations based off of that. I’ve written down a bunch of books to read that she’s talked about. Episodes are pretty short, too.
Relevant: I haven’t been listening to this one as much recently, mostly because I’ve gotten into some new ones, but I always enjoy listening to the banter between the guys. I sometimes listen to the interviews, but mostly I’m listening to the first half where they’re all just talking to each other. So funny.
Sorta Awesome: I’ve only listened to a few episodes of this one, but it seems promising. Four women share hosting responsibilities and it seems like different combinations are on each week. They talk about their “awesome of the week” and then generally focus around a particular theme or idea.
I use the PocketCasts app to listen. It’s $3.99, but I think it’s worth it if you listen to podcasts because it allows you to adjust the speed for listening. I listen at about 1.6x speed and now when I listen at regular speed I wonder why everyone is talking so slowly. If you want a free app, BeyondPod is a good option.
And not a podcast but a tv show, I’ve been really loving Suits lately. I’m watching season one right now and I’m all in!
What podcasts do you listen to? Do you have ideas for me?
I pulled the recipe for Spring Onion Alphabet Soup out of Better Homes and Gardens last month and made it last night, with some adjustments and substitutions. We loved it! It’s a really light soup, but warm and comforting. Good for a rainy spring day (like yesterday) or as a vegetarian substitute for chicken noodle soup. We’ll definitely make it again.
- 1/4c. butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 leeks, white parts thinly sliced
- 2c. frozen peas
- 8c. vegetable broth
- 1 1/2-2c. small pasta
- 1t. salt
- 1/4c. pesto
- 1 lemon, juiced
Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add the onions and leeks and saute for 10-15 minutes, until onions are soft and translucent and just starting to caramelize. Add the peas, broth, pasta, salt, and pesto. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering for 10-12 minutes, until pasta is tender. Remove from heat, add lemon, and serve.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and it’s certainly one that changes regularly, as we find new books/authors and as the kids get older and their interests shift and change. But here are a few that we love!
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
My Aunt Penny got the kids this book and it is just so dear. Dave and I love that it centers around an older man (not a typical kids book character) and the illustrations are so sweet and serene and wonderful. The whole book feels very nostalgic and is just incredibly well done. The kids love it, too. Highly, highly recommend.
Being a Pig Is Nice by Sally Lloyd-Jones
We recently picked this book up from the library, mainly because Sally Lloyd-Jones wrote the Jesus Storybook Bible (LOVE) and I heard her on a podcast and wanted to check out her other books. Leo is currently obsessed with this book and as soon as we finish reading it asks if we can read it again. It’s perfect for his age. We also got her book The House That’s Your Home and while the kids like it but don’t love it, I find it to be one of the more poetic kids books I’ve encountered.
Look Inside a Farm by Usborne books
This is Katie’s current favorite book. She likes to find all the cats hidden about. This is such a fun book because it has flaps within flaps and books within the book. It’s super cool and very informative, too. Leo especially likes that when you lift one flap of a cow’s tail, you see the cow pooping.
Flutter Fly by Kaaren Pixton
This is Molly’s favorite book, if she had one. As our resident goat, Molly will relentless pursue anything she can put in her mouth, especially paper and plastic bags. We originally got this book for Katie when she was a baby and she didn’t care about it at all. Molly, however, finds it quite satisfying to wave it around, eat it, etc. It’s indestructible and can’t be torn, so she can chew to her heart’s content. It’s also washable, although I haven’t needed to yet. The paper has a slightly fabric feel to it and I find if I crumple up the pages a bit, Molly can get a better hold on pages.
This is a short list and leaves out a whole slew of other books that the kids love and read (or want to read) daily, but these are current favorites. What about you? Any we should be checking out?
It’s been a looooong month over here. Molly got a cold at the beginning of February. Leo caught it, which led to an asthma attack that required steroids. Molly’s eventually became an ear infection (which had been cooking for weeks – at her doctor appointment at the beginning of February they were a little pink, but not infected, and then a week or so later when she wasn’t sleeping they were still pink, but not infected, and then another week or so later one was, yes, very infected). One round of antibiotics wasn’t enough so we had to do a second, stronger round of antibiotics which did, finally (or so it seems), kick the ear infection AND the congestion. Oh, she also popped two teeth during all that, too. Just as we were feeling relieved from all that, Leo caught a stomach bug and was up during the night puking. Then two days later I caught it and was up puking, too.
So now we’re on the other side – or at least I hope we are. Molly has a large scab on her nose from where it rubbed raw from so much suctioning and wiping. The washing machine is running load after load of sheets and towels and laundry I got behind on while I was flat on the couch. And I’m still a little bit worried that the stomach bug isn’t through and Dave or Katie or Molly (although she’s least likely, since she’s still nursing) will fall prey. I hope not!
In that month though, Molly has gotten faster at crawling and has figured out stairs – she likes to climb the whole flight for fun (with Dave spotting her). And my two toes – which I broke way back in mid-January – finally seem to be healing enough that I could start doing some exercise again. That actually seems feasible, too, as Molly is sleeping better now that she’s not sick and those teeth have come in!
We also had a big snowstorm and got about a foot of snow. We spent one morning enjoying some time outside with friends, sledding and building a snow fort, and also inside, eating pancakes and drinking hot cider. It was a wonderful snow day!
One of the things that saves me week to week is meal planning. It’s helpful in terms of groceries (having things on hand but also no over-buying things I don’t need), but also because by the time 4 or 5pm hits the last thing I want to do is make a decision. My meal plan takes the decision out of it – I just make what is already on the schedule. Easy. So here’s what we’re having the next few nights (if they have meat assume I’m subbing beans):
trashy tamales: this is a new one to try but I adore Kendra and I’m convinced she will never lead me astray in anything (also, her blog Lazy Genius is, well, genius).
oven baked falafels: again, new recipe to try
quinoa lentil tacos: new recipe from Aldi. We love us some Aldi!
cauliflower mac and cheese: old standby that we love – for Dave’s birthday!
chickpeas and dumplings: this is one of my favorites, from the cookbook More Peas, Thank You. I love this recipe – it’s the perfect comfort food.
Oh, and on Sunday we’re going to have pink waffles for Valentine’s Day. I try to do a mix of old and new recipes, but I’m pretty sure every week we have some sort of Mexican dish. It’s definitely our favorite!
What are you making this week? Any recipes to share?