Is it Friday Yet?

I have lost 19 pounds. I am super proud of myself. But guess what? Life does not get any easier even when you’re a dress size smaller than you were two months ago.

I am having my second surgery of the year in November. It’s a revision to an ear surgery I had in college and my doctor is hopeful it will help me regain hearing in my left ear. I am currently “profoundly deaf” in that ear, which makes teaching and office life very difficult.

Today I was diagnosed with tendinitis in the same wrist I broke earlier this year, and if the shots and brace don’t work to help the pain, I’m looking at another surgery.

I am so extremely stressed out from work and pain that it took everything I had not to add cheese and sour cream to the lentil soup I made tonight. Instead I added nutritional yeast and had baked tofu instead of the chips I was craving. But I didn’t have a single salad today, that’s how bad I’ve been feeling.

But the good news is that I love teaching. I love it. Even if it’s added stress on top of all my regular job duties, it’s my favorite thing.

And I made a delicious dish earlier this week that you all have to try: tofu lettuce wraps!

Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Sauté onions, mushrooms, garlic, tofu, zucchini and water chestnuts. Start with a few tablespoons of water in the pan, then add the onion and garlic. After about five minutes, add the tofu and zucchini and cover for 10 minutes, or until zucchini is tender. Add water chestnuts and a dash or two of coconut aminos and sauté until tofu has reached desired consistency. Serve with lettuce and top with Cookie and Kate’s peanut sauce.


The Quarterly Update

I am currently stranded next to my son’s bed, and expect to be for the next hour or so. Last night it was over two hours, and then an hour later he wandered into our bedroom, slipped in between us, and when I woke up at 2am with not an inch to spare on the side of the bed, I realized I was being kicked by A and snuggled next to by the cat. Our queen bed is not large enough to accommodate everyone. At one point P tried to sneak into bed too, but even G, who is usually a pushover, said no.

Why is my previously great sleeper not sleeping? We converted his crib into the toddler bed version and apparently we did this too soon. I’ve read every recent online article about how to make this transition, and since I’m 100% positive we did it wrong with P, I’m determined to do it right this time. But is there an absolute right way? Of course not. I’m just trying a different plan, hoping it makes the transition easier.

So what’s the plan? It’s the “fade away” – sit by your kid’s bed for a few nights until he’s asleep. Then sit by the door, so he knows you’re still there. Basically, gradually increase the distance from the bed while assuring him with your presence. Except last night, every time I was sure he was asleep, I left the room and 30 seconds later he was up again. Hence the many hours on the floor next to his bed, starting the whole process over again.

This is probably the worst possible time for us to attempt this transition. I am slammed at work, teaching a new class on top of all of my other responsibilities. The good news is that I recently got a promotion, but the expectations are extremely high both from my bosses and of course, myself, and for the first time in my life I’ve had to work after the kids are in bed multiple times per week. The ability to leave work at work is one of the reasons I decided not to practice law and chose academia instead, and I know I should be grateful I still have a job in this legal climate, but man, I’m tired.

In other news, I’ve lost 17lbs on my Eat to Live diet. I plateaued for a few weeks but am finally making progress again. My goal had been to lose 20lbs by this weekend, but even though that’s not going to happen, I’m still proud of myself. It’s been very hard but I’m sticking with it for the foreseeable future.

P started 1st grade and is in a classroom with 6 of the 9 kids from his Kindergarten class. The rest of his classmates are 2nd graders. In other school news, I joined the school board and attended my first meeting this week. As a parent who can’t drop off or pick up her kid because of work, or volunteer in the classroom, also because of work, it feels good to be part of the school, even if it’s after hours.

Things I’m looking forward to: seeing Book of Mormon and Hamilton in early 2018; going to Boise in October for a work conference; and celebrating A’s 3rd (!!!!) birthday in a few weeks.

National Blog Posting Month is coming up in November, and if I’m still sitting by A’s bed at night, I’ll be participating for sure.

Must Love Tofu

Five weeks ago I gave up oil, salt, sugar, dairy, and gluten, hoping I would lose 10lbs by the time my best friend got married three weeks later. While I only lost 7lbs by the wedding, I’m down 14lbs as of my last weigh-in a couple days ago, and I have decided to continue this new lifestyle for the indeterminate future.

And let me tell you: if this ice cream-loving, chip addict can do this, you can, too.

In a nutshell, this diet is based on the Eat to Live book that claims to cure migraines and diabetes with this plant-based “nutritarian” diet. I make no claims to understand the science behind the diet, but if you want to read it and attempt to understand it, go for it! The main idea is that you can eat as many fruits and veggies as you want during three meals per day. No snacking is allowed, and after six weeks, you can introduce one carb – like a baked potato or rice – per day. Ideally you’ll eat lettuce, beans, nuts, raw onions, and mushrooms every day. I don’t, but the diet still works.

A Typical Day’s Meals

Breakfast: a hard boiled egg and a smoothie made with frozen fruit and coconut water. Yes, I still eat hard boiled eggs. This is one of the big things that makes this diet possible for me, so I’m willing to break the rules. And coffee. Lots of coffee, sometimes with soy, almond, or coconut milk.

Lunch: a salad, maybe another hard boiled egg if I’m really hungry, carrots and hummus, and fruit. La Croix instead of soda.

Dinner: a salad and either 1) roasted veggies, baked in foil in the oven with no salt seasoning; 2) portobello mushrooms water sautéed with onions and other veggies; or 3) baked tofu. Often times I’ll make a bunch of quinoa and either eat it hot with the veggies or tofu, or eat it cold on my salad.

And that’s pretty much it. It’s very boring.

About the baked tofu: one recipe is made with nutritional yeast, the other is made with coconut aminos. And you can buy both at Trader Joe’s! Each recipe has only three ingredients and is super easy to make, but it’s not something you can whip up in a few minutes. I like to bake both recipes for an hour. Once they’re cooked, you can cut them up to use in salads, or make a dipping sauce for the tofu. My favorite dipping sauce so far is this no oil peanut sauce.

About salads: I have two favorites I make all the time. The first is spring greens with dates and walnuts. The second is lettuce with corn, pico, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, and avocado. The best dressing I’ve made from scratch is this no oil Dijon recipe. I also keep garbanzo beans, hearts of palm, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes on heavy rotation in my salads, as well as dried apricots for dessert.

If you are interested is this new lifestyle of mine, feel free to post a comment with questions or DM me. You should also check out Hello Nutritarian, Cookie and Kate, and Pinch of Yum for delicious recipes that are far more exciting than I’ve posted here!

And if you’re in the area, text me if you want to go on an Eat to Live date to Chuck’s produce. Their green drink with coconut water is my new favorite.

Around Here

Summer is almost over and it feels like it just started. In no time at all, P will start 1st grade then we’ll blink and he’ll be in high school. At least that’s what it feels like. 

Maybe I’m feeling the passage of time more acutely right now because my birthday is next week and I have decided this one feels like “almost 40” and I’m not taking it very well. 

Summertime has passed quickly because we’ve been on a lot of trips. Hawaii in April; I made a quick trip to CA to meet my new nephew in May and then the whole family made the trip in June; we had our 2nd annual friends trip to Sunriver the following week; and then the weekend after that I was in Texas for work for 5 days. 

On top of that, we adopted Poppy from my brother and sister-in-law, which meant a quick trip to Tacoma to pick her up, with a stop in Olympia to show the boys where Daddy is going to work someday. 

P also had basketball camp, the boys attended VBS, we had a lice scare, and somehow I managed to stay off Facebook. 

This weekend good friends from Utah are coming to visit, and my brother and sister-in-law are coming to say goodbye before they move back to Alaska. 

What’s coming up the rest of the summer? P has soccer camp, we’re going to a wedding, I’m planning a new class to teach in the fall, and we’re celebrating our 12th anniversary. It’s going to be a busy few months! 

Celebrate Audiobook Month!

June is audiobook month, so to celebrate, I’m listing my top 10 audiobook picks. Need more suggestions? Check out these links to other bloggers from the Audio Publishers Association. You can also win prizes during the month of June!

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan. Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend are the other two titles in this series, and they are all delightful. The narrators are gifted linguists and breeze through multiple language with ease. It’s truly amazing to hear.
  2. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) as well as books 2 and 3 in the series are delightfully evil crime novels that had me on the edge of my seat. These are the types of books that make me take the long way home after work, just to keep listening.
  3. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I was surprised I loved this book so much, as the premise isn’t one I’d normally pay attention to, but the narrator’s voice is soothing, and the topic of an elderly man walking 600 miles to deliver a message to a dying acquaintance is much more touching than you may think.
  4. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.  This book made me so nostalgic for college, and yet so thankful I’m not 20 any more. However, there are many days I wish I was still an English major, reading and writing most of the day.
  5. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I know almost nothing about baseball, but that doesn’t matter even though this novel’s protagonist is his college’s baseball star. This book also made me nostalgic for college, and I was impressed with the author’s ability to capture complicated relationships so well.
  6. The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner. I love Jennifer’s books and have read all of them, but this one is my favorite. I also love the narrator’s voice, and this is a book I revisit in both print and audio.
  7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Another college-era novel that I loved. Can you see a theme here?
  8. Taylor Stevens’ Vanessa Michael Monroe series starts with The Informationist and continues with four fantastic and gripping titles. This is a series I can only listen to – not read in print – and I think you will understand why once you read them.
  9. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes is the best self-help book you’ll ever read. It’s on my list to read yearly, I find it that inspiring.
  10. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham. Did you know Lauren Graham is not only a fantastic actress but also a talented writer? And that she wrote this book while shooting Parenthood? It makes me love it even more.


Affiliate links to Amazon hyperlinked above.


My Little First Grader

On Friday, P celebrated his last day of school with pancakes made by his teachers, and on Sunday we celebrated with his classmates and their families with haystacks and lots of sugar. 

If you had told me at the beginning of the school year that our shy, uncertain, and highly uncoordinated kindergartener would turn into the confident kid he is today, I would have wanted to believe you but I would have also been a little skeptical. 

He got first place in high jump for his class during track and field day. He got a “super scientist” award for his never-ending recitation of facts about the natural world. And he willingly goes up front at Childrens’ Church to lead out during song service. 

This summer he’s going to basketball and soccer camp, and my mother-in-law has big plans for math and reading and writing homework. We might enroll him in piano lessons. Of course he will also play, bother his brother, go to some movies, and go camping, and at the end of the summer he’ll be ready for first grade, and next year I won’t be so surprised at all he’s ready to learn and do. 

Friday Reads

Here’s a little link roundup to close the week. I haven’t done one in ages because I’ve been so busy at work (I’m doing two jobs, training students, etc.) that when I get home I just want to read. Lately it’s been Ilona Andrews’ new release White Hot. Ignore the cover and ignore the title. This book, the second in the series, is SO good. Thanks to Lag Liv for introducing me. (P.S. I can never comment on her blog because she’s on Blogger and I’m on WordPress and even though I’m very tech savvy, I just can’t figure it out, so “hi!” LL!)

This Design Mom conversation about sex is a must-read if you were raised in a conservative religion. She is so thoughtful in her answers to the 18-year old who wrote her to ask about sex. 

Why are donut boxes pink? And who makes the little clips that close the loaf of bread you bought at the grocery store? Life’s mysteries, answered

Read about the woman, who despite being deaf, blew the socks off of Simon Cowell. And watch the video of her singing the song she wrote. I watched it in Starbucks and started crying right there. 

This punctuation card is everything. As is this anniversary card

My baby finished Kindergarten today. We have a 1st grader in the house! I am simultaneously awestruck and sad. 

Happy weekend, friends.