Currently

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I still have a hard time accepting that this is the world we’re living in. How can the GOP justify cutting our arts programs? Look at this face – kids deserve a free station to laugh, learn and love Elmo and the rest of the PBS classics.

Laughing/Crying over this Elmo video. I share his employability concerns…

Anxious to finish the kitchen. It’s REALLY happening this time and I can’t wait to see the transformation. The original plan has changed but I think this one will be a much better fit for our house – and definitely more affordable.

Loving IronFist. MARVEL/Netflix is doing such a great job with this series and Tom Pelphry as Ward is a show-stealer.

Surprising myself. I bought a candle from Target the other day. It is seriously the first candle I’ve ever purchased but the scent was truly calming.

Reading A Gentleman from Moscow. It’s a great book – beautifully written and easy to get drawn into.

Resisting last weekend I braved an ice storm to go to my Congressman’s townhall (which he scheduled only 2 days prior). B and I were left in the cold with hundreds of others and made the news…

 

Happy Friday

me

The Challenge: Tell a story with a mirror

The Picture: Before you have kids you think – kids aren’t going to dictate my life, I’ll do all the things I’ve always enjoyed doing. The thing you never expect is that you don’t want to do the things you always enjoyed anymore – at least I don’t. Evening networking event or drink with friends – no thank you. Keep fit by going to the gym or even out for a jog – not interested. Date night? – umm maybe…

It’s not that I don’t want to do those things. If there were 30 hours in a single day perhaps I wouldn’t mind spending an hour or two on them but with the few precious hours at my disposal, I’d much rather spend it racing cars, splashing in the bathtub, pushing a swing at a park and saving Lucas from any number of dangerous activities he wants to explore.

I’m wearing my Lucas’ Mommy locket and my Carrie necklace. It’s a struggle to be both. I love being Lucas’ mom. It’s my favorite thing. But I have to be Carrie too – for work, for Danny and for my general well-being (I will always be a mom but I won’t always have a kid to take care of). So when I look in the mirror these days, I don’t know who’s looking back at me, what she wants or how she’ll make it happen. But I’m working on it.

I know in time I’ll figure it out and, in the meantime, I have a great support system and the best little boy.

P.S. I think I’ll get this book for extra inspiration

Whole30 Week 2

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Week one is complete.

  • I’m functioning sans espresso
  • My head is clearer and I’m able to focus better
  • I’m not missing any food and am eating really well

So far the Whole30 is going well. I don’t know if it’s the program itself or my motivation to do it but it’s been very therapeutic. I’m forced to slow down and think about my actions – no binge eating because I’ve had a bad day (or a good day). I’m eating plenty and it’s delicious (Danny made scallops, lobster and steak for dinner Sunday). Since I’m paying attention to what I can eat now, I’m thinking more about what I have been eating and noticing that it’s not hard to make improvements.

Perhaps I haven’t hit the crash point yet and maybe 30 days will prove to be just enough time but at the moment I can imagine integrating a Paleo+ diet into our household for 3-4 days out of the week.

Here are some of the foods I ate last week and will continue to eat:

Breakfast: Over-hard egg, mini hash browns, sausage link and a fruit. Also coffee – Stok’s cold brew over a splash of cherry juice, Almond Breeze’s almond/coconut milk and ice.

Dinner: We’ve had the best meals this week and they’ve also provided plenty of leftovers for lunch.

My favorite meal was one I made on a whim when everyone else was enjoying pizza. Chicken drumsticks tossed in a marinade Danny randomly made (probably salt, pepper, basil, onion power and olive oil) put in a pan, drizzled with minced garlic and the juice from the jar, topped with fire roasted tomatoes (drained) and baked for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. I put it on a bed of salad greens. It was fantastic!

Snacks: LaraBars (Apple Pie, Cherry Pie and Pecan Pie), frozen fruit (peaches, cherries and raspberries) and baby carrots. Stretching the concept but staying in the rules – popcorn and original Kettle chips.

Here’s to another successful week.

Photo: Pinterest

Sending Love

heart note cards

Growing up my mom always sent cards and wrote thank you notes for every gesture. I carried on in her example until recently. The price of cards are so high that I feel like people would probably prefer the extra $5 go towards a nicer gift and as much as I want to send thank you cards for every gesture, I’ve been horrible at finding the time to write the card AND get it to the post-office.

That said, letter writing is still important to me. We hardly write or find the time to communicate in complete sentences anymore and that disappoints me. One of my most prized possessions is a hand-written note card from my Aunt Sharon. It’s short but sweet and very special.

The queen of letter writing is Kat. She sends cards for every holiday and randomly throughout the year when she thinks you need it. It always brightens my day to receive something other than junk mail.

With these thoughts in mind, I decided that March’s resolution will be to send a note to one person each week. It will allow me a chance to unplug from technology, support the Post Office and perhaps brighten someone’s day.

Photo Challenge Week 3

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It was a busy week so I’m a little behind on blogging…

The Challenge: Landscape

The Picture: I saw this sign and pulled over immediately to take the picture. The state of the world weighs on me heavily and this sign simultaneously inspires and disheartens me. I work in southwest Detroit. A portion of it is referred to as Mexicantown and the entire section of the city has a large immigrant population. I know many fear for their safety and the unity of their family and it breaks my heart.

The story of Detroit is often black and white but this is a reminder that it’s much more complicated than that.

Whole30

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Perhaps its cabin fever but I’m ready for a change. Since I already cut my hair this year, I’m going a different route this time. The Whole30 cleanse is big in the blogsphere so I’m going to give it a go. The only notable activity in the next 30 days is St. Patrick’s Day so it’s a good time to do it. I’ve given up sugar on more than one occasion and am always better for it, so I’m curious to see what the 30 day impact of going off other food categories will be like.

Whole30 is basically Paleo+. There are plenty of blog entries, pins, and Instagram accounts about Whole30 – not to mention the official website and book – so I won’t go over the program details. You can eat meats, fruits, vegetables (not legumes), tree nuts, certain oils and coffee. You can’t eat sugars, dairy, legumes and wheat. This official grocery list will be my guide.

Everywhere I’ve read about the Challenge it is recommended that you meal plan; therefore, I’ve taken that to heart and planned out the first 10 days and will either repeat the meals 3x or do two more lists. Danny isn’t doing this with me but the plan is that he will eat the same meals and we’ll add a grain or cheese for him.

This meal plan isn’t meant to be creative. I’m very happy eating the same foods over again for multiple days. My hope is that the simpler I keep things the more likely I am to stick to it. I also picked up frozen berries, baby carrots and nuts to have on hand at all times to combat cravings.

Day 1: Wednesday
Breakfast – Eggs
Lunch – Salad with ground beef and guacamole
Dinner – Coconut Red Curry Shrimp

Day 2: Thursday
Breakfast – Eggs & sausage
Lunch – Salad with grilled chicken & banana
Dinner – Baked chicken and mushrooms

Day 3: Friday
Breakfast – Eggs & sausage
Lunch – Salad with grilled chicken & banana
Dinner – Leftover Baked chicken and mushrooms

Day 4: Saturday
Lunch – Omelet & smoothie

Dinner – Chocolate Chili & sweet potato fries

Day 5: Sunday
Lunch – Omelet & smoothie

Dinner – Pork Chops with roasted potatoes & greens

Day 6: Monday
Breakfast – Quiche

Lunch – Leftover Chocolate Chili & sweet potato fries
Dinner – Stuffed Cabbage

Day 7: Tuesday
Breakfast – Quiche
Lunch – Leftover Pork Chops & roasted potatoes & greens
Dinner – Rosemary meatballs with collard greens & apricots & potatoes

Day 8: Wednesday
Breakfast – Quiche
Lunch – Soup & Lara Bar
Dinner – Leftover Rosemary meatballs with collard greens & apricots & potatoes

Day 9: Thursday
Breakfast – Eggs & sausage
Lunch – Soup & Lara Bar
Dinner – Roasted Cabbage and Apples with Italian Sausage

Day 10: Friday
Breakfast – Quiche
Lunch – Soup & Lara Bar
Dinner – Slow-Roasted Salmon

I’m not going into this for weight-loss; however, I am interested to see how my body does or doesn’t change in 30 days. I’m also hoping that at the end of the Challenge I’ll feel fresher and lighter and ready to get back into a workout routine. Nevertheless, here’s an obligatory ‘before’ picture.

1st Birthday – 1940s Captain America

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The week we found out Lucas was Lucas I knew I wanted his nursery and 1st birthday party to be 1940s Captain America (what can I say? I’m a planner). I was rather surprised to discover there weren’t many ideas on the internet so perhaps this post will offer inspiration to others.

I created the invitation based on a Selective Service Notice to Report and personalized it with Lucas’ hand stamp.

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I asked folks to dress in 1940s style and Lindsey graciously helped with my hair and make-up. This was obviously more for me than Lucas but it was so much fun! Theme parties are not to be overrated and we’ll definitely have more.

I planned the party with the fact that Lucas is one and will not remember it at the forefront. We had over 50 guests in our less than 1200 sq. ft. house so I wanted to make sure people enjoyed themselves. Good food – fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, roasted vegetables and rolls – and prizes. This was also inspired by Kat and Melissa’s family tradition of sending guests home with nice gifts. To fit the theme we had a lottery. Each invitation gave guests a Selective Service Number (I had my own list to reference) and we used a bingo machine to call up winners.

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I picked prizes to fit the range of ages at the party but tried to keep it in the era’s theme:

  • WW2 plane puzzle, dominoes and playing cards
  • Dot candies
  • Eleanor Roosevelt Mysteries & Ann Frank’s diary
  • Stationary sets with stamps
  • Seeds for a ‘Victory’ garden
  • Classic toys – stick game, yo-yo and paddle board

Even if Lucas won’t remember the party I wanted to make sure he always remembers the people who care about him, so I asked everyone to write him a letter that we’ll keep in a box for his 18th birthday. [I also emailed the text of my letter to the email account I created for him].

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I shared the story about the cookie party favors on Friday. Friday evening I spent many hours decorating Lucas’ cake and four dozen cupcakes. I did a different design for each cake flavor – chocolate, vanilla and lemon.

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The party went off without a hitch and our house was packed with people who love Lucas.

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And look at that face? How can you not adore him?

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The airplane scooter is from Restoration Hardware