adios, winter



dear winter is on his way out  - it hit 57 degrees today and the kids already asked to play in the sprinkler. i mean, it IS 74 degrees warmer today than it was in the picture above…. so i don’t blame them. i found perverse joy in taking photos of the temperature on my phone all winter. now i’m left with about twenty coooooold photos. to prove what, exactly? i don’t know – my bravery? my determination? my shivering??? my stupidity in getting a new puppy and having to stand outside with him while we were potty training him? one sad night includes pictures taken at 1 am – minus 11 degrees, 3 am  - minus 13 degrees, and so on. at that time of morning, it’s not like anyone was near me to whine to, so i whined to myself by documenting every minus degree.

we are desperate for warmth. and me?  desperate for baseball. because that can only mean spring is ready to hit and i’m ready to tackle it head on! documenting every plus degree along the way, i’m sure.

on the spring agenda this week:

-plan herbs for my new kitchen garden window
-plan outside garden and plant spinach seeds
-start digging through winter clothes, and sorting the kids’ summer clothes
-sit in the sun and just… soak up the warmth


Books 2014

What I’ve read in 2014 – Highlighted books are highly recommended by me:

1. The Little Book of Talent; Coyle, Daniel   Rating: 9   
2. You Learn By Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life; Roosevelt, Eleanor   Rating: 8
3. Rules of Civility; Towles, Amore Rating: 9 

4. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants; Gladwell, Malcolm Rating: 9
5. The Lies We Believe; Thurman, Chris  Rating: 8
6. Interrupted: An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith; Hatmaker, Jen  Rating: 7
7. Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World; Oxenreider, Tsh  Rating: 7
8. Stuff Christians 
Like; Acuff, Jon   Rating: 7
9. The Light Between the Oceans; Stedman, M.L.   Rating: 8
10. Eleanor & Park; Rowell, Rainbow   Rating: 8
11. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief; Wright, Lawrence   Rating: 8

Beating Winter

Along with everyone else in the tri-state area, I’ve battled cabin fever this winter – after multiple minus degree days and snow upon snow upon snow and you’re stuck inside, forced to make up meals from what’s in the cupboards… you go slightly crazy.

Slightly crazy in my world means I spent too much time texting, too much time watching reality TV (the fact that I know what’s going on in the Kardashian world is nothing I’m proud of), and too much time just plain lying around.

It had to end. 

I woke up two Mondays ago proceeded to go into Drill Sergeant Mode. It’s all or nothing with me – that’s the only way I get things done!

The main thing on my agenda this winter is to get back on track with exercising. I lost all motivation over the fall and winter and stopped completely, except maybe once or twice a week giving a half-hearted attempt at being active. 

So – my new plan was to complete P90X3 – the latest 12 week workout program from Tony Horton. The main difference between P90X and P90X3 is that the workouts are now only 30 minutes long (they used to be an hour, sometimes more). I am loving loving loving them so much. It’s the traditional Tony workout I’m used to, but intense and only half an hour! I’m mid-week-two and enjoying it a lot. I also have immediately snapped back into that surge of energy you get when you work out – there is nothing like that delightful feeling of being just ever-so-sore and when you hit midweek yoga day? Oh, it feels so good to stretch.

I’m excited to also firm up my eating plans. I am eating okay now, but could be a tad bit stricter and plan on doing so soon.

So my Health Goals this week are:

-Finish up Week Two of P90X3
-Watch random snacking
-Minimal carbs
-Start planning ahead for next week by writing out meal plan and shopping!

Recent Reads

Here’s my list of books I’ve read so far in 2014, including a Short Attention Span Review for each:

The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle -

Easy to read, and very motivational, Coyle gives 52 tips for developing your talents. He gives good ideas, such as: knowing the difference between hard skills (learning the scales on the piano) and soft skills (learning to play with feeling and musicality) or focusing on one small section of your technique (your tennis serve) and getting it 100% right. Loved this book and will be reading it again soon-Rating: 8

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

A man running a small inn in a small town in Italy is visited by an American movie star. From there, the story moves to America, 50 years in the future, when Pasquale comes to find the actress he once had known. The story is a good beach read. Drifted a bit at the end, but the story of Pasquale and his friend, Dee, make for a sweet story of friendship and love.  Rating: 7 (out of 10)

You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt

The former First Lady sets out eleven principles for living life. Very inspiring and motivational and wise, Roosevelt’s advice includes taking responsibility for your own choices, learning from others and, my favorite, an introductory chapter on always being interested in things around you and continuing to learn your entire life. Rating: 9

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Story of Katey Kontent, a working class girl in the late ’30′s who makes her way up the social ladder. Gray and not-very-filled-with-hope, this book was well-written and amazing to think it’s a first novel. I fell in love with it because of paragraphs like this:
In the meantime, I took five thousand pages of dictation. I typed four hundred thousand words in language as gray as the weather. I sutured split infinitives and hoisted dangling modifiers and wore out the seat of my best flannel skirt. At night, alone at my kitchen table I ate peanut butter on toast, mastered the ruff and slough and waded into the novels of EM Forster just to see what the fuss was about. In all, I saved fourteen dollars and fifty-seven cents.
My father would have been proud of me.

Rating: 9 out of 10. (Some language and sexual overtones.)

Summer Dates

We’ve found a Mexican restaurant we love and have had several summer evening dates there. Eating burritos and chips. Then we wander down the street to the Caribou Coffee and treat ourselves to an after dinner drink while we sit outside and enjoy the weather.
We have an unusual situation in that my husband works from home. For us, the pros of this outweigh the cons, but it’s not always easy. We still need to make sure to get out and sit by ourselves and talk about things other than the business checking account or what people haven’t paid their invoices yet.

So we’ve made it a habit. To sit and talk. And laugh (sometimes). And fight…I mean, discuss. And just be our dating selves again.

Date Night With My Son

He’s 8 now. I’m thinking we should probably stop referring to him as SuperBoy. So from now on, he’s CJ on here.

I told each child they could pick a date with mom. He chose Olive Garden. “Just you and me. Just us by ourselves.” I’m not a fan of Olive Garden, but when your son says that’s where he wants to go just you and me by ourselves, I’m there in a heartbeat. A melancholy heartbeat that wants to hold on forever to my little man.

He settled in for the drive with the Penguins of Madagascar DVD.

I know it’s fuzzy, but I love this picture of him because he’s talking so excitedly and he’s SUPER excited about the AMAZING BREADSTICKS! “How many can I have, mom? Can we ask for more? She’ll bring us more?? Awesome.”

And then Awesome Mom let him order the chocolate cake. Seriously, I rock.

Eight year olds love to talk and have little self-consciousness, which makes our conversations wonderfully sporadic and random. Underwater animals always comes up, and favorite colors and the country of Italy and cake and why those people aren’t talking at the next table and Batman.

LMMG – S’Mores

In a new feature I’d like to refer to as Lame Mom Makes Good or LMMG, I celebrate the fact that I carried through on a Mom Task. A Mom Requirement. A Mom Thang. A Thing every other mom seems capable of whipping out at last minute’s notice and smoothly accomplishing.

This Mom Thang I was incapable of pulling off? Making s’mores. It seems simple: marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate. How hard can it be?

But it took me until August for the stars to align and for me to remember to buy three items at the same time. Some little monster in my house would eat all the marshmallows, or I’d have the marshmallows and realize the Daddy Monster ate the chocolate or… you get the idea. Finally, all three items in the house.

Then they’d beg for s’mores, but it would be after SuperBoy had his bath and really, I’m just not good and patient with sticky burnt marshmallows. No matter how hard I try, I’m the one that ends up with it all over my hands. Well, me and SuperBoy. He manages to spread it all over the doorknobs too.

But finally, the magical evening came. The fire was made. The ingredients gotten out (we even added a new ingredient suggested by my cousin – a layer of peanut butter!). And They Were Happy. The End.


So…That Wasn’t Planned

This summer hasn’t gone according to plan, but then, what ever does?? That’s what cracks me up about my plannerific self – I plan out, I plan ahead, I plan plan plan. And yet…it never goes the way you thought.

Since the summer began, we’ve bought season passes to a local waterpark – The Largest In Illinois! – something I never really imagined us doing. Mostly because my germaphobic self doesn’t totally care for the thought of all those icky summer sweaty bodies dipping into the water with me and my adorable kids.

We also started SuperBoy in drum lessons. DRUM lessons. He’s always had a sense of rhythm, listening to music almost every single night of his life. Everything from The Beatles to The BeeGees. He’s doing great and it’s loads of fun to take him in to his teacher and hand him over to learn.

I have my garden plot from last year, but for some reason, didn’t feel inspired to do much with it this year. A couple tomato plants, a couple pepper plants and some herbs…then the rains didn’t come at all and it’s just pathetic looking. I can’t say I’m one for marching out into the high heat and weeding, so my poor garden is a poor example of a Kelli hobby fallen by the wayside. We’ll see about next year!

I would love to keep this blog up and have been saddened lately to realize how far I drifted off from it. I love looking back at fun stories about my family and my experiences. I hope to do better.

Part of it is because I started a sports blog with my brother. You can check that out here. It’s called I Ruin Sports, because neither Jeff or I are great at sports, but we always have enjoyed watching them and being fans and also have participated in our fair share of losing games.

First Days

It’s the first day of summer around our house. Workbooks and reading books are piled around me on our dining room table where we do our school. It’s so messy, it makes me happy. Because I love to tackle a mess and I love to organize. I love to plan. And guess what the first day of summer brings? Planning. List of Things For Me to Do, List of Places to Take the Kids, List of Rooms and Closets to Organize, List of Recipes to Try… you get the point.

Ideas are racing around my head, waiting to be formulated into a nice 1, 2, 3 list of bullet points. Books are stacked at my bedside (Still Life with Woodpecker, The Art of Fielding), magazines on the floor (Dwell, Fitness, People), and music blaring on my computer (Tears for Fears, Ben Folds).

I’m excited about this summer. I’m excited to think of the possibilities. I’m excited to have time to further obsess over my weight loss goals and my “get-into-shape-before-you-grow-old-plan” for myself. It’s okay to obsess in summer. As long as you soak up a little sun and blow a few bubbles while doing so.


Pretty Sure I Shouldn’t Be Writing This

I shouldn’t be writing this because I make no promises I’ll keep it up over here on the blog. Gone are the days of a funny two year old who feeds angel food cake to our puppy. Here are the days of an 8, 9 and 12 year old who suddenly are reasoning humans. Humans with opinions and personalities and wow, it’s not changing diapers anymore, it’s discussing what “responsibility” means or why this person does things we don’t do (without pushing them to become judgmental or legalistic).

Here are the days of me trying to balance keeping a house together, schooling my children, driving here and there to karate and violin lessons and science classes, working out daily and cooking healthy meals (which takes planning and shopping and the making of.) and practicing/playing the piano for various things.

I’m not stressed and I’m not worn out – I’m actually really really truly enjoying my life. I’m not oblivious to the bad, the ugly, the pure sad around me, but I’m also joyful and thankful for a life that keeps me jumping.

I’m also pretty sure the fact that I own this cat helps.