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Well, it’s Monday again.  Last week was a really hard and stressful week for a couple of reasons (all work-related) and even though we had a nice weekend, I still feel like I need more time.  Isn’t that always the way?  My parents were in town for a long weekend; they got here on Thursday, attended “grandparents’ day” at Peanut’s school on Friday, and then hung out with us until Sunday.  We had a really nice time with them and the kids loved having their grandparents around – as always.  On Saturday, my mom joined me and the kids at a charity 5K event hosted by my office, and then while the kids were napping, my parents went for a walk around the neighborhood and I hit the garden center.  Saturday was my dad’s birthday, so we took the grandparents out for dinner at Virtue Feed & Grain, a cool restaurant down by the river.  On Sunday morning, we went out to breakfast and stopped by the playground to hang out for a few minutes before the grandparents had to head back to New York.  We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging around while Nugget napped and Peanut threw epic tantrums (that phase ends eventually, right moms?) and then walked down to the waterfront in our new wagon (courtesy of Steve’s mom).  It was nice and relaxing, although I wish we could have worked a hike in on Saturday.

 

Reading.  Not too much to report to you this week, sadly.  Because of a crazy work week (what else is new?) and some big stress on that front, I didn’t get much reading done.  I finished re-reading Anne of Green Gables on Tuesday and the rest of my reading time this week has been dedicated to How to Be a Tudor.  I’m reading against a library deadline and it’s become clear that I’m not going to make it.

Watching.  More watching than reading – unusual.  Steve and I are still making our way through The Great British Baking Show at a pace of about an episode a night.  Those are dominating our evenings.  We’re well into the second season now, and it’s totally addicting.  We took a break while the grandparents were here and introduced them to Moana (they loved it) and Rock the Park (same).  Then back to TGBBS on Sunday evening after they went home – but I need to alternate between TV evenings and reading evenings, I think.

Listening.  I’m back in my podcatcher this week, but not actually making progress on my queue.  Instead, I’ve been hopping around in the archives of The Mom Hour, listening to old episodes on topics like “getting organized for summer” and “organizing, storing and creating with your photos.”  I need to actually listen to some of my current episodes before my podcast subscriptions stop uploading, but all in good time.

Moving.  The week itself was a bit of a bust, thanks to horrible stress and no time.  (Of course, that’s exactly when I should make time for a workout, since exercise always clears my head and helps me to feel better.  But knowing what you should do and finding a way to actually do it are two different things.)  But I made up for it with a pretty active weekend – Saturday’s 5K, plus spending a chunk of the afternoon gardening and power-cleaning my front porch, and then an evening walk; and on Sunday, a walk to the waterfront (and more importantly, back home – up a huge hill) dragging a wagon with a combined 60 pounds of child sitting in it the entire way.  Now that was a workout.

Blogging.  Two updates coming to you this week – an update on how I’m doing with two reading challenges on Wednesday, and a garden update on Friday.  Stay tuned!

Loving.  I mentioned it above, but I have to give another shout-out down here to The Mom Hour.  I don’t know how I didn’t know about this podcast sooner!  The episode about surviving the end of the school year had me nodding along so hard I thought my head would fall off.  (Yes, Sarah, all these end-of-year special events and demands really are designed to make the most with-it parent feel like a flake!  That was sympathy I needed after sending Peanut to grandparents’ day in her school uniform, which was apparently wrong.  Whoops.)  I love that Megan and Sarah, the hosts of The Mom Hour, are working moms – so many of the parenting podcasts that I listen to (whether regularly or occasionally) are hosted by stay-at-home-moms, which is great for them (goodness knows I loved my time as a SAHM) but just a different experience.  It’s been so nice to listen in to two moms who are coming from an experience that is more like my own (even if “full-time working mom” means a different thing in biglaw than it does elsewhere).  Megan and Sarah are both totally real and their podcast is a mixture of wisdom, hilarity, great ideas and advice from moms who have been there.

Asking.  What are you reading/watching/loving this week?

When I think back on the fondest memories I have of my childhood, the vast majority of them took place outdoors.  I could almost convince myself that I lived outdoors as a kid.  Like any active, sporty family, we had our favorite fresh-air pursuits.  While we did our share of hiking, I wouldn’t say that we spent an inordinate amount of time on the trails.  Summer and warm fall days found us, instead, on the water – sailing, canoeing and kayaking, mostly, with occasional motorboat jaunts, and my dad was never far from another spin on his windsurfer.  In the winter, we skied.  Downhill, mainly, but also cross-country just to mix it up.  Hiking was lower on the list, although I think we all enjoyed it.

Now that we’re grown-ups (well…) my brother Dan and I have both become avid hikers – even more than we were.  He’s trekking the Colorado wilderness with his wife, while I’m traversing heritage Virginia rail trails with my family, but we’re both out there, and I am sure that the legacy my parents gave us – the love of nature and the outdoors, the satisfaction of pushing boundaries, and the thrill of adventuring in the wide world – has a lot to do with that.

Just as my brother has his adventure buddy – my dear sister-in-law Danielle – I have mine in Steve.  Some of our earliest dates involved exploring the footpaths and waterfalls around the Cornell campus.  On our third date, we drove out to Buttermilk Falls State Park, where we hiked to the namesake falls and I claimed an enormous pink boulder for France.  It was a fun date, and also an important one, because I don’t know what I would have done if it had turned out that he didn’t like to go outside and play.  As our relationship developed, so did our hiking haunts.  I showed him around my beloved North Campus – taught him to play shoe golf (best game ever) at the Cornell plantations, introduced him to the best bridge-jumping spot (he didn’t jump) and slid with him down miniature waterfalls just upstream.  Of course, you know how the story ends.  We got married, took our hiking farther afield (to England and Scotland!) and eventually, found ourselves with two little trail tots.

I hiked during both pregnancies.  With Peanut, at least until ish got real at the end, I was on the trails most weekends (and inevitably fell asleep in the car on the way home).  I pushed even harder while pregnant with Nugget – sometimes unwittingly.  The picture above?  Snapped by a summit steward atop Cascade Mountain, our first Adirondack high peak, two days into my second pregnancy (and totally oblivious to the stowaway).

^Another family-of-four picture, this one snapped at Letchworth State Park – photo credit to my dear friend Zan.  Nine weeks pregnant and feeling sorry that Nugget had such a boring view while the rest of us enjoyed gorges and waterfalls.

When I think about the childhood I want to give my kids, I think about a childhood like mine – one lived outdoors as much as (maybe more than) in.  I think about fostering a deep respect for the planet, a commitment to protect and preserve our wild spaces and the creatures who share the earth with us.  I think about their sense of wonder, their marveling at the miracle of nature.

And the way I am fostering that appreciation is to give them the gift of a childhood on the trails and on the water.

In a very real sense, Peanut and Nugget are growing up in the woods.  They’ve been living on hiking trails since they were both tiny babies – starting in the Bjorn (Peanut) and the Ergo (Nugget) and eventually graduating to a Deuter KidComfort III and an Osprey Poco Plus, respectively.  Peanut spent her babyhood at Great Falls and Rock Creek Park; Nugget spent his at Knox Farm.  I want both of them to grow up with those same memories – of playing and exploring with their parents – that I did.

I’ll be the first to admit that my wanting to raise my kids outdoors is at least partially selfish.  I love the outdoors, and I dearly miss some of the active pursuits I used to enjoy before the kids came along.  I have been an avid kayaker since I was fifteen, and have had few opportunities to get out and paddle in recent years.  (The four hours I spent cruising around Lake George with my friend Seth last summer just served as a reminder of how much I miss paddling.)  And every winter I mourn all the skiing I’m not doing.  So, yeah, I hope they love this stuff because I love it and I miss it and I cherish the hope of one day paddling Blackwater or Smith Mountain Lake, sailing the Chesapeake, exploring the Blue Ridge, and sliding down the West Virginia ski slopes with them.  And more, and bigger – I want them to know my home mountain range as well as I do.  I want them by my side when I finally explore the national parks of the West.  I want to put my arm around Peanut as we watch the sun rise from a Hawaiian volcano, to high-five Nugget after a day of paddling kayaks and spotting marine life in the Pacific Northwest, to see the wonder on both of their faces during an African safari.  If I have it my way – and Steve has it his way – they’ll grow up as true adventure kids.

They’re little now, and we’re keeping our expectations down.  A short, flat trail sounds about right for our current stage of life.  Bonus points for spotting birdies.  (Relax, Nugget, Great Blue Herons don’t eat little boys.)  Next summer, we might be down to just Nugget in a backpack, while Peanut runs alongside us with her own little pack.  Before I know it, they’ll be paddling and sailing and skiing with us.

I’m doing my best to enjoy each moment as it comes.  To cherish the memories we make now, and not to get too hung up on the stuff that we used to do, that’s beyond our capabilities at the moment.  I’m taking grown-up adventures as they come, and not sweating it if the biggest adventure on a weekend hike is a diaper changed trailside.  Because I know that it’s just a few tomorrows until they can keep up with me and be true adventure buddies – if I haven’t ruined the whole experience by placing too many expectations on them too soon.  And I also know that the memories they are making on these trails – even now, at four and two – are setting them up for a lifetime of adventure in the great big world, and I hope that someday they look back on our family hikes as a cherished gift, and a gift that they’ll pass on to their own children.

We’ve been having our customary weird spring weather – stretches of hot and sunny, broken up by other stretches of grey and gloomy.  Most of May has been chilly and rainy, so I was very glad to see sunshine and blue skies on Sunday morning – a perfect day for the hike that was my Mother’s Day wish!  We briefly considered Sky Meadows, but decided it was too much of a haul – I was glad, as it turned out, because I had to squeeze a work call into Sunday morning and we didn’t end up getting out the door until after ten as a result.  Sticking close to home worked much better.

Steve and I had hiked Mason Neck State Park back in 2010 or 2011 – well before kids appeared on the scene.  I remember liking the park, but for whatever reason it didn’t get on our regular hiking rotation.  They’ve done a lot of trail work since our last hike there, and it’s not as far as I remembered (about a 35 minute drive – not bad at all) so we will definitely be back!

First stop was a little offshoot trail near the water.  My small Pisces is always clamoring to get as close to the water as possible (there’s a line where the sky meets the sea and it calls meeeeeeee) so we checked out the spur, mainly for him.

He was pleased.  I think he’d have liked to swim, though.  Another time, little fish.  Another time.

Back off the spur trail, we headed for the main event – the Bayview Trail.  On our way, we passed these cool bird feeders.  There were a few folks out birding with their long-lens cameras.  I made a note to bring my big camera next time we hit this park – I guess it’s a good spot!  We saw an osprey feeding within five minutes of starting our hike – auspicious, indeed!

Gush alert!  I love the Chesapeake area, and I am so grateful that my kids get to grow up in such a beautiful place.  Virginia has everything!  Beaches, mountains, lakes, cities…

Headed for the trailhead, I made another mental note – looks like you can rent kayaks and take them out on the water here!  Very good to know.  I made a comment about Peanut being old enough to sit in a child’s seat and go out paddling with Mommy, and she proceeded to break my heart into a million pieces by saying she DOES NOT WANT to kayak.  Sigh.

The Bayview Trailhead is just over this boardwalk!  I love wetlands, and Mason Neck has a huge network of boardwalks – such fun.  They also had something else…

Turtles!  We saw this family sunning themselves on a log, which totally made Nugget’s day.  He loved spotting them (but he also thought that some of the logs were alligators).

And then we were onto the Bayview Trail loop, enjoying a constant rotation of beautiful sights – the Potomac to one side of us, gorgeous flowering bushes to the other, and woods all around.

Stopped for a drink of water.  Sure, little buddy, I’m happy to let you use my head as a table.  #motherhood

Periodically, there were little offshoot trails leading down to sandy beach areas.  Egged on by our little water-lover, we checked out every. single. one.

After a little bit of a walk through the woods, we found ourselves entering the big wetlands area – serenaded by the songs of bullfrogs as we went along.

I looked for frogs on the lilypads – sadly, they were all hiding.  We had fun checking out the wetlands area, which was absolutely bursting with life.  Nugget said he saw more turtles.  I didn’t see any, but the little guy is insanely sharp-eyed, so we tend not to doubt his word.  Although he did also claim to see several more alligators, so…

^One of the new boardwalks.  The park had really expanded and revamped its trail network since the last time we were there, and it was a pleasure to hike.  They clearly paid a ton of attention to the hiking experience, and with great effect.  It’s easy to see why Virginia state parks are considered some of the best in the country!

More kayaks!  I wished that I could’ve gotten out on the water.  Maybe next time!  If I’m really lucky, I’ll even be able to convince Peanut to join me.  I think almost-five is old enough to take a short paddle, if only she didn’t act like the very idea was repulsive to her.  (Four going on fifteen…)

As we headed for the car, there was one last treat in store – a few brightly colored birds at the bird feeders!  I crept as close as I could get to the feeder, intent on capturing a picture of the brightest red cardinal I’ve ever seen.  Unfortunately, Nugget chose that moment to shout “BIRDIE!” at the top of his lungs, and scared the cardinal away.  But the goldfinch was made of sterner stuff.

What a fun morning hiking Mason Neck with my little family!  I sure am glad to be an outdoor mom.

Have you done any fun hikes recently?

Happy Monday after Mother’s Day!  I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend celebrating the moms in their life, and being celebrated too, if you are a mom.  My little family made me feel special all weekend.  Saturday was a bit gloomy – we’ve been having lots of grey and misty, and even some rainy, weather here lately and Saturday was no exception.  I’d planned to run some errands on Saturday morning – nothing too exciting – but plans changed on Friday when I discovered that my friend Lauren was in town from Buffalo with her family.  Lauren was a friend from Stroller Strides (my favorite exercise class ever) and it had been way too long since I’d seen her.  She’s had a baby since we moved away, and I hadn’t even met the new little one.  So I fired off a text and we decided to meet up at the Natural History Museum on Saturday morning.  We had a fun morning hanging out with Lauren, her husband and their two kiddos and checking out the exhibits.  Peanut, predictably, loved the gems the most, and Nugget was into the ocean life exhibit.  I didn’t see much of the museum – between keeping an eye on wandering kids and catching up with my friend, my attention was occupied.  But it was a great morning!  Sunday dawned clear, sunny, and H-O-T.  Finally!  The kids gifted me with a couple of books and an art print of Old Town row houses (sweetest!) and then we set off for my morning request – a Mother’s Day hike, of course.  We hit up Mason Neck State Park, which Steve and I hiked once six years ago.  They’ve done a lot of work on the trails and boardwalks since the last time we were there, and it was beautiful.  I think we’ll definitely be adding it to the regular hiking rotation.  (Recap coming on Wednesday!)  I spent naptime on Sunday reading, and after Nugget finished playing in his crib and not sleeping, we took a walk to the library (returned books only! no checkouts!) and the playground, FaceTimed Nana, and stopped in the fudge shop for a small treat.  I ended Mother’s Day in the best way I know – curled up in Nugget’s rocking chair, with a cuddly baby passed out on my shoulder.  Thanks, guys, for giving me such a great weekend!

    

Reading.  It was a busy week at work, and a bit crazy overall, but pretty productive on the reading front.  I finished The Hate U Give last Monday and can absolutely see where all the raves are coming from.  However, I needed something lighter after that, so I picked up Mother Daughter Book Camp, the seventh and final installment in the Mother Daughter Book Club series (which I have liked more and more with each book, so I’m extremely sorry to see it end!).  The last installment was as cute and fun as expected.  Next I read Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, after seeing it recommended by a few book bloggers.  It was fine, but didn’t blow me away.  Finally, last night I picked up the Folio Society edition of Anne of Green Gables, both because it’s on my spring list to read anyway, and because I really needed it after watching the first episode of “Anne With An E” – read on.

Watching.  So, on Friday, Netflix dropped the first season of Anne With an E, the new – darker, grittier – adaptation of Anne of Green Gables.  I’d heard raves coming from my Canadian friends, who have already seen it, and was cautiously excited.  I was expecting the flashback scenes of Anne’s traumatic past, so was prepared for that.  But what I wasn’t expecting was the liberties that were taken with the plot in general – especially one major change at the end of the first episode, which had me so shocked and disappointed that I threw up my hands and declared I was done.  It’s too bad, because it’s gorgeously shot and acted.  I wouldn’t have minded if it was just “showing the darker side of Anne’s past instead of just insinuating it” but what is the purpose of changing plot points that Montgomery actually wrote?  That bugged me.  (I also didn’t like the sixth Harry Potter movie, for the same reasons.)  Anyway, I think I’m done with Anne With An E, unless my Canadian friends convince me to give it another go.  After that, Steve and I both needed a palate cleanser, so it was back to The Great British Baking Show we went.  We finished the first series that is available on U.S. television (although it was clear there were previous series) last night.  What a fun show!  We both get more into it with each episode.  It’s magic.

Listening.  Not too much to report here.  I did more listening last week than I have been doing recently, and made my way through a few queued episodes of The Book Riot Podcast, then back to The Great Courses: Classics of British Literature.  I’ve just wrapped up the second lecture on Shakespeare.  It’s a lot of fun, and so interesting.

Moving.  Same as usual around here.  Hikes, chasing Nugget, and wishing I had more time for my running shoes.  Sunday was a pretty active day, with a hike in the morning and then a walk to the playground.  (I don’t just get to the playground and then sit down on a bench, you see.  I run up and down stairs, lift Nugget on and off the swings and teeter-totter, catch him as he comes down the slide (and he also insists that I “do way up high!” – a.k.a. toss him in the air – when he comes off the slide) and chase him away from the landscaping around the edges of the playground.  It’s actually quite a workout.

Blogging.  All trails this week!  I have a recap of our Mother’s Day hike (for the 12 Months Hiking Project) coming on Wednesday, and musings about growing up on the trails on Friday.  Check back!

Loving.  I’ve got two things I’m loving this week.  One, of course, is my sweet little family, who made me feel so loved and celebrated on Mother’s Day.  I’m a few years into this journey now, but still grateful every day that I get to be a mom (even if it is exhausting sometimes).  On a lighter note, this week I was also loving a new Twitter account that just started up – @ObamaPlusKids.  The account is dedicated to posting a picture every hour of President Obama interacting with kids of all ages, and the cuteness is almost too much to bear.  Some of my favorites – tummy time in the Oval Office, and the pint-size Pope in a plastic Popemobile trick-or-treating at the White House – have already been posted, and there are so many more that I’ve seen for the first time, every one absolutely adorable.  (So many babies grabbing President Obama’s nose!)  If you’re on Twitter, go follow them ASAP.  It’s a much-needed lift right now.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?

Going to pick-your-own farms is one of my favorite family activities – fresh air, the chance to play farmer, and a basket of goodies at the end; what’s not to love?  Over the past few years Steve and I have taken the kids on excursions to pick apples, blueberries, and strawberries at various places and times.  But for some reason, pick-your-own flowers were never on my radar until recently.  That changed when I read Novadventuring‘s guide to all things summer in northern Virginia, and the list of pick-your-own flower farms caught my attention as a perfect outing for a certain flower-obsessed little girl.

A little follow-up research clued me in to Burnside Farms and their annual “Holland in Haymarket” event – millions of tulip bulbs planted together in a riot of color.  How could we miss out on that?

Can we start picking now, Mom?

The boys joined us for a few minutes, but then wandered off to do man things like slide down the super slide and jump in the bounce house.

Peanut, meanwhile, was all business.  She actually struggled a bit with picking the tulips because you are supposed to pick them a certain way – close to the ground – which was hard for her to remember.  But I think she still had a good time.

 

This was definitely a popular destination.  The farm is open for walk-up tulip picking during the week, but since we went on a weekend – Easter Sunday, actually – I had to purchase tickets in advance.  One of these years, maybe, I’ll take a day off work and bring the kids out mid-week when we can have the place all to ourselves.  But this worked for now!

What a fabulous event – a perfect day to pick beautiful flowers with my little tulip.  We’ll definitely be back for the Summer of Sunflowers at Burnside, and we’ll be checking out the lavender fields at other area farms this spring.  Now that I have realized that pick-your-own flower farms are a thing that exists (and how did that never occur to me?) I can’t get enough!

 

 

After we’d filled our basket, we headed to the processing and checkout area and discovered one more surprise waiting for us there —

BABY CHICKS AND DUCKS.

They were the sweetest, darlingest, preciousest, cutest balls of fluff.  Joey-and-Chandler jokes were made.

Goodbye for now, Burnside Farms!  Thanks for the sunshine and the beautiful bouquet.  We’ll see you in July for the sunflowers!

The Tired Thirties

I look at this picture and think two things.  First, what a sweet moment with my baby.  And second, I look EXHAUSTED.

Recently, I’ve been reading A Circle of Quiet, the first of Madeleine L’Engle’s Crosswicks Journals, and early on in the book I came across a few pages that spoke exactly to my life right now.  Writing about the “tired thirties,” L’Engle laments:

I was always tired.  So was Hugh.  During the decade between thirty and forty, most couples are raising small children, and we were no exception.  Hugh was struggling to support his growing family in the strange world outside the theatre.  And there was I, absolutely stuck in bucology, with the washing machine freezing at least once a week, the kitchen never above 55* when the wind blew from the northwest, not able to write until after my little ones were in bed, by which time I was so tired that I often quite literally fell asleep with my head on the typewriter.

The various pressures of twentieth-century living have made it almost impossible for the young mother with pre-school aged children to have any solitude.  During the long drag of years before our youngest child went to school, my love for my family and my need to write were in acute conflict.  The problem was really that I put two things first.  My husband and children came first.  So did my writing.  Bump.

Bump, indeed.  For the last five years, I’ve been hustling more, and on less sleep, than at any other time in my life.  Two pregnancies; two babies.  (One in the NICU, the other didn’t sleep.)  Five homes.  Three jobs, plus a stint as a stay-at-home-mom.  (That was the sanest, happiest, most rested period of my thirties thus far.)  I’ve been through a stretch of time for the first eighteen months of Nugget’s life when I never got unbroken sleep for an entire night – not once; was usually up three or more times; and – for awhile at least – averaged four hours or less of sleep per night.  It’s no exaggeration to say that I was debilitatingly tired during that time; I was so tired that I felt nauseous many days.  Even now, six months after we finally sleep-trained Nugget, I still don’t feel caught up on rest from that period.

And somewhere in there, I have to practice law.  I’m not an artist like L’Engle, and I don’t feel called to write like she probably did.  But my family depends on my income and my job is demanding, so – bump.  I’m going through a particularly busy and stressful time at work – these times come around now and again – and while I know I am doing everything I can right now, there is a part of me that wonders whether it is enough.  I try to give my complete attention to the kids when I am with them, and complete attention to my job when I am doing it, and sometimes that’s impossible.  Nugget wakes up early from weekend naps and wants Mommy’s arms and only Mommy’s arms, but I was in the middle of writing a brief and why is he up early?  Peanut’s school calls a conference in the middle of a week when I have every working hour budgeted and then some.  I have to be a mother to preschool-aged children, and also a lawyer, and the constant hustle on both parts is just wearing me down.

There’s nothing to do by this point but hang on tight and keep trudging on in the hopes that when dawn breaks and I am somehow rested again – if that day ever comes – that I will have managed to hang onto both my career and my relationship with my kids.  At the moment I don’t feel like I do anything well, and stuff for just me – well, that’s almost not even worth bothering with.  I squeeze reading into my commutes, I sneak out when I can to go rock climbing while the kids nap, and I hope that someday I’ll have more time for myself and less guilt about it.

I’m not saying I dislike where I am.  I enjoy having a career and contributing to the family income and solving interesting puzzles at work.  And motherhood has fulfilled a deep and cherished, and very long-held, desire of my heart – more so than I could even have imagined it would.  So I hang on tight.  I hope that I will get more comfortable at work.  I look forward to the day when I feel completely rested again.  I am grateful every time someone extends me a little bit of grace that shows me they remember what it was like in the Tired Thirties.  I snatch time for myself – a book here, a run there – when I can, when the kids don’t need me.  I remind myself of the sweet moments when it all just seems too hard.

Bump.

Morning, friends.  Everyone have a nice weekend?  We did – a low-key one, even more than the last few.  We stuck close to home base all weekend and didn’t do much of anything productive.  (Well, I didn’t.  Steve put together a new armoire for the bedroom and set up a sandbox for the kids, much to their delight.)  I’ve been particularly stressed at work lately (probably more stressed than I even should be, objectively speaking) and I just wanted to chill, so that’s what I did.  We took a walk to the farmers market and picked up some strawberries, asparagus, and a gorgeous bouquet of orange and yellow ranunculus – pictured above, and it’s actually two bouquets; the kind flower seller told me to go get another one for free after I paid for the first bunch, and also gifted Peanut with a white rose – and several walks to the playground, and on Sunday we also ambled down to the waterfront and saw the fire boat deploying on a call.  I spent both Saturday’s and Sunday’s naptimes reading, despite feeling vaguely guilty for not working, cleaning, doing food prep or making progress on anything I “should” be doing.  Whatever!

  

Reading.  Good reading week over here!  Last Monday, I finished A Field Guide to Awkward Silences, which was absolutely hysterical.  With some library deadline pressure eased, I went back to the books that I owned and was partially through, and finally finished Barchester Towers, and adored every moment of that reading experience.  I don’t know what took me so long to come to Trollope, but I’m now a convert and couldn’t be more delighted to have so many more of his books to read.  After Barchester Towers I picked up The Hate U Give, which is pretty much the opposite of Barchester Towers, but incredible in completely different ways.  I’ve been flying through it and it’s riveting, heartbreaking, and – as the cover blurbs promised – searing.  I’ll finish it in the next day or so, I’m sure, and I think at that point I’ll probably go back and finish A Gentleman in Moscow.

Watching.  New obsession alert!  After checking periodically with no success, last week I finally found The Great British Baking Show on Netflix.  I’d had a stressful day and watching British people bake cake seemed like just what the doctor ordered, so I requested that we check out an episode.  Steve and I are now both completely obsessed and spent most of yesterday evening, after the kids went to bed, glued to the TV watching the show that has understandably captivated Great Britain (or, at least, captivated the English book bloggers I follow, and one of my sorority sisters who lives in London).

Listening.  Hmmmmm, not much to report.  A few podcasts.  But with our SafeTrack surge over, I’m not standing as long on Metro platforms and I’m able to get a seat so I can pull out my book on the train again – plus I’ve had so much noise in my head recently that I haven’t felt like putting more in via my earbuds.

Moving.  Nothing to report here.  Still pedaling my DeskCycle and taking walks around town, but nothing more interesting.  Steve started the Couch to 5K program, so he’s doing better than I am at the moment.  I’ve got to get into a routine before the summer heat makes running really unpleasant, or else I’ll be writing the same non-update until fall.

Blogging.  Musings on life in “the Tired Thirties” coming up for you on Wednesday, and an overdue recap of our Easter Sunday in the tulip fields on Friday.  Enjoy!

Loving.  I’m trying to rein it in, but lately I can’t get enough canned sparkling waters.  I put them on the grocery list every weekend, and every week I run out by Wednesday.  La Croix grapefruit is a favorite, as is La Croix coconut and Wegmans coconut-lime.  I’ve never had a problem drinking still water, so I don’t need to use these to trick myself into hydrating, but they’re just so darn tasty and fun that I can’t stop pounding them.

Asking.  What are you reading this week?