The Evolution of our Eating Habits + 4 Recipes We Are Loving Right Now

I am slowly emerging from a serious food rut.

I spent a number of years around here talking about meal planning and also sharing our real time menus. And then I had a baby. That is going to be how many of my stories end these days. LOL


I did well stocking my freezer before he came, and we literally ate for months from only our freezer, meal delivery, and the generosity of friends. And right about the time we emptied the freezer, I went back to work – which meant we mostly just ate a lot more takeout. Do you know how quickly take out gets old? For a while, the thought of Chipotle made me actually gag a little. And I used to LOVE CHIPOTLE! But you can only have so much.

We slowly began to add in convenience proteins — rotisserie chickens, Costco pulled pork (YUM!), etc. But we were still just kind of slapping food together. We relied a lot on bagged salads and frozen vegetables, and ate lots of things that we had spent years avoiding because they were easy: pasta, frozen pizza, you know the drill.

It was survival times around our house, and HEY LOOK — we survived! Sweet. But also about 6 months ago we both had a little come to Jesus meeting in our kitchen and said “We have to get meals under control here.”

I’m not quite sure what “Under Control” means just yet. We aren’t adhering to any particular diet, we don’t really have any specific “food goals” (that sounds weird but I think you guys know what I’m saying) and hell yes we still have frozen pizzas in our freezer and I AM NOT AFRAID TO USE THEM. 🙂  But we are being more mindful about homemade food, and trying to stick to a protein/veggie format that we both know and love.  And hopefully our eating habits will improve from here.

All that said, I thought I’d share a few recipes that have made it into our rotation. These are meals that were relatively easy to fit into our lives with a kid, commutes, full time jobs outside the home, and limited time to prep.

PaleOMG:  Instant Pot Creamy Gnocchi Soup – I’ve had an instant pot for almost two years, but only recently have I begun to embrace it. This uses Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi (which is LIFE! yum yum yum) and can be customized with other veg/meat combos as you see fit. It’s a great recipe by itself, or a template for quick soup.

If you also love TJ’s Cauliflower Gnocchi (or maybe more importantly if you DON’T,) Iowa Girl Eats just posted a great primer on some recipes worth trying that completely eschew the TJ’s cooking instructions. (The instructions are awful! Nom Nom Paleo also has a great Instagram PSA that helps.)

Skinnytaste:  Slow Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls – The flavor of this recipe is an 11 out of 10. OMG. I am a person who loves “Bowl Dinners” and I also love anything with lots of “toppings” and this recipe includes both of these things. It’s also a Slow Cooker recipe, so I enjoy the hands off time. Throw the ingredients in, make your pickled carrots, chop up the other toppings, and then forget about it for a few hours. It’s good over rice/cauliflower rice/ even quinoa is pretty good. Garrett is a huge fan of Asian flavors, so I can always talk him into experimenting with new recipes like this.  So complex and flavorful for very little effort. That’s my love language right now when it comes to food.

Eat Yourself Skinny: One Skillet Cashew Chicken Stir Fry – My other love language? ONE SKILLET/POT MEALS! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAS. Dishes are so overrated. Ugh. This recipe is one that I make with only a slight alteration, and that is adding more heat. It’s a very rich and creamy dish, but seriously so tasty. To me, a little spice cuts through the richness. I’ve been just adding red pepper flakes, but I recently tried adding a little bit of Yai’s Thai Chili Garlic Hot Sauce. Flavor was amazing, but the heat was off the charts, so use sparingly! Have you tried any of the Yai’s Thai Sauces? Their curry sauces are THE BOMB, and all their hot sauce bottles are fun and flavorful too. I haven’t tried the Thai Almond Sauce but it’s on my list. The ingredients are all super clean (I think all their products are Whole 30 approved?) but mostly importantly, they taste GREAT!

The Recipe Critic: Cajun Shrimp Sausage and Vegetable Sheet Pan – Have I mentioned that I am so happy that I had a child during the time when “Sheet Pan Meals” became a full on food trend. This has saved my bacon, more times than I can count. I love shrimp as a quick protein, and like Garrett is a sucker for Asian flavors, I usually love anything Cajun, so this recipe always delivers. So easy, it almost feels criminal.


So that’s a little peek into what’s happening around our kitchen these days. What go-to recipes are you all making? I want to get my kitchen mojo back this year SOMETHING FIERCE, so I am very much open to suggestion!

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Best Week Ever + Good Reads

I might be having the Best Week Ever, you all. Our life is pretty much routine these days, and it’s not that often that every day has something exciting going on. Of course I’d try to find things to be grateful for every day, but this week just had an abundance of crazy good things!

Monday: My cousin Jen had a baby! A beautiful baby boy named Luke. There is something so magical about a new baby. If you want to sneak a peek at his chubby, baby cuteness check him out here.

Tuesday: On Tuesday night, WE BOUGHT A NEW CAR.  Oh man, was it a long time coming! And my Nissan Murano was really giving up the ghost and it was getting stressful. The most fun part about it was when we finished all the paperwork and came out they had put a big bow on it and filled it with water and snacks. I felt like I was in a car commercial. LOL It was kind of a fun little weeknight deviation. Not to mention a great drive to work the next day. Hopefully I’ll figure out how to use it this weekend. After driving a 10+ year old car, let’s just say the technology change for me is a real learning curve. hahahaha


Wednesday: Because we were at the car dealership until LAAAAAAAAAAAATE the night before, I was Tired AF on Wednesday. But we made a (new to us) Instant Pot Recipe and not only was it super quick and easy, but it was an 11 out of 10. I love when kitchen experiments work out like that. Here’s the recipe if you want to try it.

IP Recipe

Thursday: My house cleaners came, and seriously I felt like a Praise Emoji walking around my house afterward. They usually come every two weeks, but it had been almost a month due to some schedule conflicts, and I had hosted Christmas, so my house was at DUMPSTER FIRE LEVELS of dirtiness. Coming home yesterday felt so good, and made me excited to enjoy my clean house this weekend. (Man, I guess this is Adulting. haha)

Friday: I mean…it’s Friday! What could be better?

And just for fun, here are some fun things I have read this week in case you feel like perusing the internet while enjoying your weekend:

Have a great weekend, folks!

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2019 Goals: Habits, Family, Projects, Health

The desire and capacity to set goals has come around again and I AM HERE FOR IT!!! But I am definitely changing my approach this year.


What I have learned over the last two years since having a child (and I’ve learned it THE HARD WAY, I might add LOL, over and over) is that planning a specific “end result” has a very limited effect on what actually gets accomplished. Big ideas come to fruition with focus, of course, but also when you make sure to pivot and adapt to reality along the way. You will know what I’m getting at if you have ever had ” a goal” of getting a toddler out of the house in a timely manner. 🙂


Having a goal and a plan are great — but I find that I have more success these days if I focus on getting to the root cause of things that are driving me nuts and then solve those issues in small increments. So that’s one way I’m changing my approach to goals. Small habit changes, or reinforcements of old good habits that have sort of devolved for me in the past couple of years, are going to be something I work to be more consistent at this year.


The other thing I’ve learned as a newer parent that has affected the way I approach goals is that time is not always my own. Holden has an impact on really everything we are doing in this season of life. We want to do so many things with him! He is at such a fun age! There is so much joy in my role as a mom. But also, I have my our own personal non-parent goals and Garrett and I are still navigating  how to fit all of those things in too.


I am a firm believer that there is plenty of time to do things you want to do, but you have to prioritize what is most important. This year, my list of goals/habits/projects are meant to help me keep those priorities in my view.



*Take vitamins/supplements daily

*Learn to work out at night

*Floss at least 5 times a week

*Read for 20 minutes per day at least 5 days a week

*2-3 Peloton rides per week

*Increase vegetable intake

*Meal Plan Weekly

*Use Grocery Pickup as often as possible

*Make time to take a short walk at work every day

*Average 7 hours of quality sleep per night

*Eat more fiber daily



*Holden Swimming Lessons

*Revamp Meal Planning/Grocery Shopping Routine

*Planned Date Night Once Per Month

*Go on 12 Notable Family Outings

*Explore Pre-school transition options for Holden

*Vet back up childcare and begin building relationships with at least 2 additional childcare providers

*Explore Pre-school transition options for Holden

*Make Seasonal Bucket Lists



*Revive the blog! (content, https, site design)

*Buy a new car

*Start documenting what you wear again

*Furnish the living room

*Closet Overhaul

*Figure out how to use Tradesy or Poshmark to sell newer/nicer clothes

*Get 3 Haircuts

*Plan a Spring/Summer Spa Day with cousins

*Organize Holden’s artwork into a repeatable system

*Host a holiday party

*Host another fun get together outside of the holidays

*Make an Office Space for myself somewhere in our house



*Figure out how to make my hair grow back

*Spine/Core/Pelvic Floor rehab

*Explore additional gym options (with childcare!) for strength training

*52 Week Peloton Streak

*100 Rides in 2019

*Quit Caffeine for a month

*Try Reformer Pilates


This list will probably evolve as well, but I think it’s a great start. The future feels bright. 🙂

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Weekend Recap: Fun + Relaxing

Our first weekend this year was a great combination of fun and relaxation!

I don’t know about you, but last week seemed so long to me, even though I only worked three days. I think because I took two weeks off of work it was hard to get back into the swing of things. By the time Friday came, I was so ready for the weekend!

Friday night was pretty mellow. Holden hit the sack early (he was pretty tired after being back to his daycare routine, too haha) and as soon as he was asleep I hopped on the Peloton and did a 30 min Intervals and Arms ride with Denis. Denis, Robin and Cody have been my favorite ride instructors so far, and this one was great! I was a sweaty mess at the end. I’m always surprised that shorter rides can be such a good workout.


Saturday morning I was up early for no reason at all. I guess my body was in the rhythm of work and so I took the opportunity to just get out of bed and spend some quality quiet time with a cup of coffee and my book before the boys woke up.


It was GLORIOUS! I’m still reading this and while it was a little slow to start, it has all of a sudden really gotten interesting.

Garrett and Holden were up around 8 and it was immediately “Playtime.” Ignore the fact that all of my Christmas decorations are still up. I wanted to take them down December 26th but Garrett requested we leave them up. Now I can’t figure out when we will have both the time and energy to take them down. It may be Christmas still in July at the Franklin house!

Holden is doing this cute thing where he basically categorizes his life into Play Time, Food Time and Bed Time. (Ah, to be a toddler!) He is always asking “Is it Food Time?” right when he wakes up and after breakfast he always asks sweetly, “Is it play time?” When he starts winding down for bed each night he always jokingly says “I think it’s Play Time not Bed Time, right?” (Speaking of Play Time, those Magnatiles were the MVP of Christmas! Grandparents, for the win.)

Our Saturday morning family adventure was a trip to the local tumbling gym for Open Play so Holden could work some of his wiggles out. He has so much ENERGY these days that some sort of major physical activity is really a must. He loves the ball pit and the trampoline, and they do this cute thing at the end where they blow bubbles and one of the owners dresses up as a shark (BLESS HER HEART) and they all sing Baby Shark, and everyone goes home tired and happy!





After Tiny Tumblers, I stopped to get our grocery pick up order and you guys, MY LIFE IS CHANGED FOREVER. It was the first time I did grocery pick up and honestly, it may get it’s own whole post. It is THE BEST THING! It was an extra bonus that it was pouring rain and I just had to wait in my car to have my groceries loaded instead of squeezing in a trip with my tired toddler.


Our plan worked to wear Holden out and he came home and took an epic nap! Like, slept for four hours kinda nap — which initially had us a little worried he’d never go to bed. But he must be going through a growth spurt or something because, on top of eating us out of house and home for a few weeks, he asked to go to bed right at 7.

After he went down, Garrett + I made dinner and settled in to watch Top Chef. I’m into this season so far, but seriously Padma’s wardrobe gets crazier and crazier every season. LOL We made a bomb Shrimp Scampi and some simple vegetables for dinner and it was SO GOOD! Definitely not Top Chef worthy, but also a good reminder that simple ingredients can yield a pretty awesome dinner.


Sunday morning I tried out my new waffle maker! I haven’t had a waffle maker in decades but I spotted one on clearance at Target the day after Christmas and it called to me! It was a total “Instagram Made Me Buy It” purchase. LOL It was under $20 and I have been considering one ever since I started following Brooke Zigler on Instagram. She makes some good looking savory waffles on Instastories  and then I saw a Parmesan Waffle in one of the Chrissy Teigen cookbooks I got for Christmas and all of a sudden I was like “Must. Have. Waffle Maker.”….We’ll see how much I use it 🙂


The good news is, the waffles were 100% Holden + Garrett approved.

Sunday morning was mostly relaxing and more Play Time 🙂 My mom came over, which gave Garrett and I a chance to do a little Meal Prep for the week. He is playing so much more independently and imaginatively these days, which is so cute. He still loves to be the center of attention too, and Grandmas are great audiences for that!



The afternoon and evening were mostly spent inside doing stuff around the house. It was actually SUPER stormy here, but I did make a quick trip out during Holden’s nap to go see my cousin Jen. She was prepping for her scheduled C-Section the following day, so I just wanted to give her a hug and chit chat for a bit before she all of a sudden became a mom of two! SO EXCITING. Her first born is exactly 6 months older than Holden, so we have been in the mom trenches together the last couple of years. It is so fun to see her add to her family, and also it just makes me see SO CLEARLY how far the newborn days are behind us. I am still so unsure on having baby # 2.

If life were completely impractical and we had no responsibilities and endless resources, I would probably have 25 kids! I have loved my experience with Holden so much! But in reality, I am 40, Garrett and I both work full time, daycare is expensive, and we are both only children so we each have a major comfort level with only 1 kiddo. It’s so hard to know what to do! It’s on my mind a lot. No decisions made on that front this weekend. 🙂

All in all, it was a lovely time. Too quick, of course, they always are. But a nice cozy, stormy weekend with some fun thrown in the mix too. Hope you all had a good one!

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2018 Favorites + Words for 2019


best of 2018


Today I thought I would share some of my favorites from 2018 and talk a little bit about how I’m approaching goal setting in 2019. There is always good energy buzzing with change and possibility this time of year, but I think it’s important to acknowledge all the great things that happened. I’m not going to share an in depth retrospective or anything, but I thought I’d share some of my favorites from this past year. (No affiliate links included, just sharing for the sake of sharing.)


Timehop reminded me yesterday that a few years ago I had only read 9 books and 7 of them I ranked as 1 or 2 Stars. LAME. While I only read 9 books again this year, most of them were 4-5 star reads to me. My favorites leaned toward non fiction. I loved Busy Philipps’ memoir This Will Only Hurt A Little. I listened to it on Audible and it was the perfect mix of juicy celebrity gossip + vulnerable human insights — both of which I need to have in order to love a celebrity memoir. Highly Recommend.

I also continue to think almost daily about Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam. It’s not just a book about hacks. It is a book that helps you examine the stories you tell yourself about your time, and how to reframe (or change) those stories so that your life feels more abundant and productive. Excellent, excellent read.



I’m including this for a laugh, as it is worth noting that my kid asks for the Top 5 songs to be played on repeat, which highly influenced this list. 🙂 But it is what it is…this is what was playing most of the time when I had the music on. Both Garrett + I want to listen to more music this year — both old and new…as well as see more shows. It’s a hobby we used to share many moons ago, so hopefully we can get back into enjoying and sharing music.


Hands down, my favorite podcast this year was Best of Both Worlds. Great dialogue about practical tips for moms who also work outside the home. I have implemented a number of strategies/perspectives this year that I learned from this podcast. I always enjoy podcasts about real people talking about how they make their lives work.

A close second was Young House Love Has A Podcast. I hadn’t really kept up with John and Sherry Petersik in a long time and I am not quite sure what made me download their podcast, but it is a good combination of practical and fluff/fun so I enjoyed it quite a bit this year.


The best thing we bought this year, was a new car for Garrett. He was still driving the 1998 white Subaru Legacy that his parents bought him in high school. I MEAN COME ON, IT WAS TIME!!!! (It had been time for years, but he just loved that dang car.)  🙂  Guess what he bought?  A 2018 Subaru Legacy. HAHAHAHAHA This is my husband in a nutshell. But the car has been great for his commute, and he’s been enjoying all the technology upgrades. 2019 will be the year I get a new car as well, so that is exciting!

We also bought a dining room table from Costco and I have been so pleased with it!

Makeup Faves

I feel like 2018 was a good year for nailing down my absolute favorites when it comes to makeup. Here is the briefest overview of some of my holy grail favorites.

Foundation: Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation FOREVER (Monday through Friday.) And on the weekends I’m usually wearing IT Cosmetics CC Cream.

Concealer: Tarte Creaseless Under Eye Concealer or Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer

Blush: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush (Mood Exposure, Luminous Flush and Dim Infusion are my go-tos.)

Bronzer: Marc Jacobs O!Mega Coconut Bronzer in Tantastic

Eyeshadows: Viseart FOREVER AND EVER AMEN. I have many of their palettes and the quality is so, so good!


Getting away with my family to Humboldt County for my 40th birthday for sure! Also our weekender to Napa. Pre-kiddo, Garrett and I were all about the quick weekenders throughout California. I hope to incorporate more of that in 2019.


Themes for 2019

So with all that said — what will 2019 look like from a goals perspective? I’m not quite sure exactly yet. There are so many fun ways people talk about their approaches to goals at this time of year – Lists, Categories, Words of the Year, Challenges, Box Checking. If you know me at all, you know I love all of these things. For the last two years, I haven’t made any goals. It’s felt too daunting to do anything except to just keep swimming. This year I think I have the bandwidth to be more intentional and more focused. I’m not sure exactly how I’ll “measure” that, or how I will share that here, but I’ve had a few words swimming around in my head about what I want 2019 to feel like.

Consistent. I want to show up for myself with respect to self-care. This includes everything from diet and exercise to getting my hair cut. I want to consistently keep the focus on caring for myself. Also I want to consistently show up: for friends, in this space, with my husband and child. You get where I’m going right? 🙂


Collaborative. I want to lean into relationships, old and new. I want to continue to feed the communities I am apart of, as well find new ones.

Evolving. I hope to spend this year learning and changing and I anticipate my family will learn and change just based on the fact that we have a two year old and EVERYTHING IS A PHASE. So I know in December things will look different. I think the reason “evolve” resonates with me is that I don’t want things to feel hectic, and disruptive. I want to flow with the changes and slowly develop. Does that makes sense? Am I sounding like a lunatic?

So that’s the plan. (Or the lack of plan? I reserve the right to incorporate detailed lists as the year goes on. hahah)  What are you all working on for 2019? And if you feel so inclined, share with me some of your favorites from the last year.

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2018: In Review

  1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

Took Holden on his first weekend trip. Hmmmm I think that might be it. This didn’t really feel like a year of a lot of new things, but motherhood sometimes feels like everything is new all the time. It’s a strange feeling. Mostly it felt like I was getting better at old things? I can’t decide if that is good or bad.

  1. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t make any goals for 2018, and HELL TO THE YES do I plan to make new goals for 2019. This is the first time in over two years I have felt like I have capacity to think aspirationally.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?

We added another adorable baby boy in my extended family.

  1. Did anyone close to you die?

No. But this year, more than any other, I felt like I kept seeing reminders on Facebook of friends of mine who have now passed away. It’s a weird and sad experience.

  1. Where did you travel?

We took a weekender to Napa in February with friends, which was a blast. We also went up to Trinidad for my 40th birthday as a family and it was beautiful and rejuvenating and a wonderful family trip.

  1. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

A consistent workout routine. A regular babysitter.  Another baby. 🙂 #TotallyNotPregnant #butIsortawishIwas

  1. What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

We took an early morning walk during our Napa weekender, just Garrett, Holden and I. We were staying at a beautiful property and literally the scenery was out of a postcard. I was there with my two favorite boys, it was crisp and gorgeous, and I just looked around and had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my life and my family. Motherhood has been a hard adjustment for me in many ways. But I have also accessed some of my deepest moments of joy. That morning and that walk was one of them.

  1. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Continuing to be resilient through a number of personal and professional changes. Also, I turned 40. Man that sounds like a REAL ADULT to me. hahahahahaha

  1. What was your biggest failure?

Bickering with my husband about things that don’t matter in the big scheme of things. Still struggling with perfectionism, defensiveness and my inability to relinquish control.

  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?

For the most part, no. Though my body and its capabilities are still very different after having a baby.

  1. What was the best thing you bought?

Ceiling storage racks for our garage. Blackout curtains for Holden’s room during the summer. A new car for Garrett. Wild and Crazy, eh? 🙂

  1. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage, fo sho! Also to paying off our Costco Visa off every month. That sucker has the best cash back EVER so we basically put EVERYTHING ON IT!

  1. What did you get really excited about?

All the fun things that happen in our neighborhood. Holden talking SO MUCH! Getting a cool new position at my company.

  1. What song will always remind you of 2018?

This one: Jason Aldean – You Make It Easy (Lyric Video)


  1. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Happier

– thinner or fatter? The same actually. Probably even less muscle. Ugh

– richer or poorer? Richer.

  1. What do you wish you’d done more of?

More date nights with my husband.


  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Controlling things. I have a tendency to get very controlling when I’m anxious. It doesn’t help me, my family, or really anyone around me. I need to practice letting things flow a little more.

  1. How did you spend Christmas?

A day of family and extended family. Eating a little too much. Enjoying each other’s company.

  1. What was your favorite TV program?

I watched So. Little. TV. This year. It was kind of sad actually. I am very happy that we are ending the year with a new season of Vanderpump Rules though.

  1. What were your favorite books of the year?

I actually read quite a few good books this year.

  1. What was your favorite music this year?

Still on a country streak. I even got Garrett to take me to see Jason Aldean (and he loved it! 🙂

  1. What were your favorite films of the year?

I get an F in Entertainment.

  1. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 40 and we took an awesome family vacation. We stayed at a house on the coast with a hot tub on the front porch. Every night after we put Holden down we would head out there with wine and soak while listening to waves crash. It the most relaxing relaxation of all relaxation. Hahahaha

  1. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If my paycheck still arrived every two weeks but I never had to leave my house or family to go to work. LOL

  1. What was the political issue you that stirred you?

Too many to list.

  1. What kept you sane?

My husband. My mom. My cousins who are some of my best text message threads. Good friends in the same season of life. The ability to be slightly spontaneous again. The innocence of my sweet baby boy. Wine. Coffee.

  1. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

Continuous Improvement > Perfection

Done > Perfect

The days are definitely long, but indeed the years are WAY TOO SHORT. I feel like I will be learning that over and over again.


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What Worked in 2018 + What Did Not

Happy Holidays, friends! I hope you are all doing well.

I haven’t updated here in a while but it is the end of the year and my MOST FAVORITE time for reflection. I’m also getting that familiar desire to set goals (finally! for the first time in 2 years) so I wanted to pop in and do some sharing. The first things I’m reflecting on: What Worked this year and What Didn’t. Plain and simple.

What Worked

  • Reframing my commute as “alone time” – October marked my first anniversary of living with a more sizeable commute to work. (4o mins to and from work on a good day, some days it was over an hour both ways.)  I really didn’t want that to feel like a drag because it was something I was going to be doing twice a day, ya know? What I realized early on was that this was GREAT alone time. And as a parent of a toddler, I really grew to appreciate that. Granted, I am an extrovert and don’t need a ton of alone time. But this seemed to help me strike a balance. It was where I did a lot of quiet thinking, listening to audiobooks, chit chatting with my mom, or listening to new music. Looking back, I literally would not have time for many of those things had I not been commuting. So a total win!
  • Leaving work at work on evenings and weekends – My entire career I have been a “work until it’s done” kind of person. If that meant taking work home, or squeezing things in on the weekends, I would do it.  Having a child has changed that. My time with him in the evenings is precious (and also shorter due to my commute) so it became very easy to prioritize no working at nights. Weekends are the same. They never felt long enough when it was just Garrett and I. Now that feeling is compounded and I feel so protective of that precious family time. The challenge is that a lot of my identity is wrapped up in my career, and I am person who wants to excel. Not being willing to do anything at any time sometimes this meant being a B+ employee instead of an A+ employee. Fellow perfectionists will understand how uncomfortable this decision was. But it turns out that protecting that family time (since I never feel like I have “too much” of it) really, really worked this year and I have no regrets. Maybe I wasn’t overprepared for every single meeting. But I had to brutally prioritize, and over the course of the year I was happy with the decisions I made about when to show up and give 110% and when to just show up.
  • Neutrogena lip products – So I’m almost embarrassed to tell you that I have upwards of 50 lip products because I just find lip gloss and lip stick and lip balm IRRESISTIBLE. But this year my work horses and first choices were just about always a Neutrogena lip product. (Specifically this one and this one.)  I think there will be some makeup purging over the holiday break!
  • Audiobooks/Podcasts/Anything I could put in my ears – Curling up with a good book (preferably a hardcover) is one of my favorite things to do! But this year, had I waited on time (or energy) to get through physical books I’m not sure what I would have finished. Instead I gave into audiobooks more then ever and at least got through almost an average of one book a month. Also I spent a lot of time gleaning information and enjoyment from podcasts. More on my favorites of the year in another post. Cleaning the house, running errands, washing dishes — I most always had something good in my ears!
  • Hair Texturizer and Hair Thickening Gel – I’ve heard that post-partum hair loss does eventually stop. But I’m two years in and my head has just NOT recovered. Sadly I didn’t have a lot of hair to begin with so my hair situation is pretty sad these days. But I’ve found a couple of products that have really helped me out in this space and are no more fuss than what I used to use: This and This were/are winners!
  •  Ordering a Peloton – My workout life in general falls more into the “What didn’t work” category, with the major exception of time spent on my Peloton. I wish I would have rode MORE, of course, but literally this was the only major exercise I got this year and it was literally because there is a spin bike and very engaging programming and instructors 5 steps from my bed. Such a win. I want to commit to even more rides next year!

What Didn’t Work

  • Our Meal Planning system – God it feels never ending. Every week what are we having for dinner and who is shopping at what store and when. 2019 may be the year I try meal planning monthly and it WILL be the year I figure out how to make grocery order pick up/deliver work for us, because there was so much food prep fatigue in my life.
  • My Planner (or lack thereof)– I have ordered an Erin Condren planner every year for the last 7 years. But at the end of 2017, it just slipped through the cracks. I went almost 3 months without a planner at all, and about lost my dag gum mind. Of course in April there were no great options, so I just bit the bullet and bought a Happy Planner on clearance at Staples. It looked like Erin Condren-ish, so it had to work, right? Except it did not. Functionally it was…fine…but I did not enjoy using it. So I was inconsistent. And I do not live a spontaneous life right now, so planning keeps me sane. Needless to say I’ve already received my 2019 Erin Condren LifePlanner and it’s full to the brim with dates, life, reminders….aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh. This is one of those areas where I just need to buy what I like and not hem and haw about it.
  • A consistent and repeatable fitness routine – My mental health suffers when I do not exercise regularly. Full stop. But I just couldn’t figure out where to fit things in consistently between commuting, working, keep our house going, and having quality family time. I tried yoga at home this year. Not for me. I tried a Les Mills subscription. Didn’t enjoy. I tried a new spin studio – FIRM NOPE. The Peloton was all that worked, but even with that I struggled. Consistency is something I need to work on, no doubt.
  • Not enough date nights – Two years into parenthood I am really understanding how intentional Garrett + I will have to be (especially in these early years) about PLANNING to spend time together. If we don’t, it just won’t happen. We are lucky that it has fallen into place pretty well, but if I’m honest, I’d like to spend more quality time sharing intentional experiences with my husband rather than talking while we sit on the couch after work. I’ve already got the ball rolling on this for next year because to me it is a MAJOR priority.
  • Somewhat relatedly: Not having a backup babysitter – We are so lucky to have moved 3 miles down the street from my mom, and it literally is just straight down the street. She can be at our house in under 10 minutes, and this year she has! She has put groceries in our fridge, picked up packages off our porch, run over to our house to let the handyman or housekeeper in, has come through in the clutch on days when Holden was too sick to go to daycare…The 2018 MVP of our household is MY MOM, no question. And on top of all of that, she is the reason we have had any date nights at all. She’ll come over and put Holden to bed some weeknights when we want to have an adults only meal. Or she has been willing to have her babysit on a Friday or Saturday night if we have plans. She has even offered to stay over night and wake up with Holden on nights when she knows we will be out late (ie: wine tasting Christmas Party — HELLO!) Her flexibility, frankly, has been angelic. But also, Holden is now 2+ years old and we need to GIVE MY MOM A BREAK!! I know she loves her grandson, but I would also like to cultivate relationships with some other babysitting options as well. This is hard for me, but it’s going to be a 2019 goal, for sure.
  • My caffeine consumption – This year has been….not good on the caffeine front. Coupled with not a lot of exercise and my anxiety has been a little off the charts. Nobody wins when mama is anxious, let me tell you. Honestly, I know the answer to this challenge, and I really just need to let the caffeine go. But mama is also TIIIIIIRED. It’s a pickle. The only way out is through, I think. More to come on this one.
  • My clothing organization – This was such a point of frustration for me at multiple points this year. I feel a hard core KonMari session coming on. I just need a purge. My closet is twice the size of my old closet and it’s overflowing and I feel like I never have anything to wear. This needs to be a project.
  • No office in our house that I use – Our house has 4 bedrooms which includes our master, Holden’s bedroom, my husband’s office, and a guestroom. I don’t really have a place for any of my creative pursuits, and that is starting to wear on me. We have the space, we just need to make it work for us. I originally thought I didn’t need separate space for things like planning, blogging, memory keeping, etc. But it turns out, that isn’t a functional solution for me.
  • Not blogging – There are a million things I miss about blogging and I’m tired of complaining that I’m not doing it. I’ve already started to make space for this pursuit and I’m hoping that 2019 will be a good come back year. 🙂
  • My approach to physical self care — I’m a girly girl at heart, and honestly I am excited to put on makeup and do my hair 7 days a week. The reality of my life is that I’m lucky if I shower 3-4 times a week (Gross, I know) and many times those showers are exhausted showers at the end of a long day. Not particularly relaxing or rejuvenating. I only cut my hair once in the last year and it was a desperation chop where I walked into Ulta and had a random gal chop 7 inches of my head because I literally couldn’t TAKE IT ANYMORE! I haven’t gotten my nails done in 2018, and literally made zero time to physically prioritize myself. I don’t think bubble baths and manicures are the ONLY type of self care (clearly) but I am a person who enjoys beauty treatments and physically taking care of myself. And I *could* have made time for that. I just didn’t. I’d like to work on automating some of that for 2019.


Tell me about you! What worked for you and what didn’t this year? Are you making goals for next year? What’s on the horizon?

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Labor Day Weekend Recap

Hope you all had a nice long Labor Day weekend. We were pretty mellow but productive, which was just what I needed as I embark on a busy season at work.

And, not to be that person, but this weekend I had the happiest thought: THERE IS ONLY 112 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!


I know, I know. This excitement isn’t for everyone. haha  But the Fall and Holiday seasons are my favorite time of year. It’s our wedding anniversary, Holden’s birthday, my birthday (I’m turning 40 this year, what!!), Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas — So! Many! Fun Times! Ahead!

But also lots of planning to keep sane, ya know? I had a 1 on 1 date with my planner this weekend to start keeping my life straight! I’ve got some work travel peppered into the last few months of the year, so I definitely needed to just GET IT TOGETHER.  Anyway, a relaxing weekend was nice, is all I’m saying 🙂

Holden Mom

Friday afternoon we kicked off with a little ice cream social at Holden’s daycare. It was super cute and it was on the “big kid” playground, which about blew Holden’s mind. I left work a little early and it was so fun to socialize and get in weekend mode.Holden Friday

Saturday morning we got sleep in, which felt AWESOME (Holden must’ve been tired from all of that extra evening playground time.) “Sleeping in” meant that Holden didn’t wake up until 6:45, but since we are mostly on early schedule these days, Garrett and I were up at 6. We had a nice time having coffee and relaxing just the two of us before we had to report for Parent Duty. It’s the little things, these days. haha

Holden play

It was a mostly chill morning, but we did do some tidying around the house. We had friends from out of town stopping by for a visit in the afternoon, so you know — OBLIGATORY TOILET SCRUBS and all that. 🙂

We also hit up the little park by our house in the morning because the weather was going to get super hot in the afternoon. (Around here we are just pretending it is fall indoors while the A/C runs.) One of the most awesome things about our new neighborhood (I told y’all we moved last year, right??) is that we can walk out our front door and there are a ton of great bike paths and park options. #welcometothesuburbs

Holden Swing

It was great catching up with our friends and after they left we just hung out and had a mellow Saturday night after Holden went to bed. For me that meant I caught up on some Real Housewives (What’s up with Leanne on RHO Dallas and her makeup this season??) and I watched some You Tube videos while I took a bubble bath. #RELAXATHON

Sunday Holden woke up right at 6am on the dot and literally by 9am it felt like 10 hours had passed. Toddlers be crazy, y’all. Also I started to feel like I was coming down with a cold, which wouldn’t be a huge surprise since both Garrett and Holden have been sick in the last few weeks.

To keep ourselves sane we ended up taking a walk to the bigger park by our house which is a little further away so Holden could go nuts and run off all his energy. This worked out swimmingly 🙂  We just made ourselves huge coffees (NEEDED :)) and popped him in the stroller and took a nice Sunday walk. By about 10am it was already 85 degrees and tons of kids were playing in the splash pad at the park and Holden went straight for it — FULLY CLOTHED, of course. lol What are ya gonna do?

Holden wet

Afterward we headed back home and my mom came over to help us with Holden so we could do some projects around the house. Even though we moved in a year ago, there is still so much to be done. And hung on the walls, OY! We attacked a lot of hanging projects this weekend (which is my own personal hell, hence the reason I’ve been putting it off for a year) but I’m happy we got them done.

We hung a mirror in the guest bedroom:

guest bedroom


A mirror in the entry hall:

entry hall


And some artwork in Holden’s room:

holden room

Holden was very into the Home Improvement Vibes. LOL (This kid will use ANY excuse to climb!)

holden mischief

These are easy projects, I know. But we are no Chip and Joanna. Garrett and I are home decor novices TO SAY THE LEAST 🙂

On Monday we just continued with the house projects and enjoyed an extra day off of work. There was another park trip, more grandma time, some food prep, some laundry and even some relaxing. This is how most weekends look lately when we don’t have anything specific on the calendar.  I also woke up this morning knowing fully that a cold had taken hold of my sinuses (UGH) but honestly I felt pretty rested and refreshed and ready to go back to work.

Now fingers crossed this cold doesn’t get too much worse. 🙂

Did you all  have a fun weekend?

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The Week In Review

h and h

Y’all, it’s been a while. And I’ve got to get back into blogging somehow or I will NEVER DO IT.

I stole this format from Amber as a quick way to get caught up, so here we go!!!!

The high of my week: Getting a new job at work! I’m about 72 hours into a new role, leading a new division that will definitely require some focus and learning. All of this excites me. It’s a little scary — it’s been a few years since I’ve embarked on something new. And it’s always a little bit nerve wracking to be leading something specialized when your background is in something different, but I think it will be a great challenge!

The low of my week: Holden has been waking up at 5:30 am (which is almost an hour before his usual wake up time of 6:20am) and that complicates getting ready in the morning during the work week. As with all things parenting, I know it’s just a phase at this point, which is fine. Luckily he wakes up chatty and giggly, so it’s a plus that he isn’t waking up unhappy. I actually thinks it’s a sleep regression based on him being almost 2 and his language development exploding. Nonetheless while you’re in it, it’s a little inconvenient. 🙂

For my workouts I completed: HAHAHAHA Right now getting 10,000 steps in a day counts as a workout, but I know that isn’t! Hoping to hop on my Peloton this weekend. (I’m #HollyWould over there if you are a fellow rider.)

I haven’t quite figured out how to fit workouts into my routine. Right after work (for me that’s around 5:30pm) seems like the ideal time during the week, but the reality is that Holden still goes to bed between 6:30 and 7 and I LOVE that time all of us get to spend together as a family. I just don’t want to spend it working out.

But by the time he’s down at 7, I’m hungry, tired and frankly don’t feeeeeeeeeeel like working out. And I’m already up at 5 to guarantee I get a shower before work in the morning (see Holden’s wakeups above) so I would have to be literally on the bike by 5am, which would mean setting my alarm for like 4:45am and YOU GUYS, JUST NO. This is not the season of restful sleep that makes 4:45 am feasible…YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? 🙂

It is what it is at this point. I’m trying to just find creative ways to move.

The best money I spent was on: Hmmmm…this is a tough one. What did I buy this week? Oh, I know – two things I picked up that I’ve been enjoying:

I bought a Make Your Own 12 pack of FlapJacked Mighty Muffin Protein Muffins. I’ve enjoyed a couple lately — they are easy and filling when I’m trying to squeeze in something to eat. And I thought some of the flavors I bought would be fun for Fall. I’m SO looking forward to the change in seasons.

Also I bought 3 new Milani Keep It Full Nourishing Lip Plumpers. These are my current favorite lip glosses. They are sheer and very shiny but not super tacky. Love. My Target doesn’t have them in their Milani display for some reason so I just ordered them on the Milani Website.  The code LABORDAY gets you 20% off right now, which is awesome.

What I’m listening to and loving: We are listening to a lot of Jason Aldean and Maren Morris around our house. They listen to country at Holden’s daycare and I guess he has taken a shine to those two artists so when we put them on Spotify at home he will dance, which is A-freaking-dorable!

What I’m watching: Totally OBSESSED with World of Dance (can’t decide who I have a bigger crush on: Derek Hough or J. Lo) I’m also staying current on Real Housewives of New York (so sad it’s basically over.) But no worries, Real Housewives of the OC and Dallas are right there to help me out of  my funk! LOL  Beyond that, I’m enjoying Very Cavallari (GUILTY PLEASURE ALERT! But I don’t think I’m feeling the revamp of The Hills) and I need to set aside some time to binge the last few episodes of Sharp Objects. YES!)  This weekend I think my mom and I are going to see Crazy Rich Asians (she saw it already and LOVED it and I haven’t been to a movie in ages) and that should be fun! I’m excited for the long weekend and time with my family and my mama!


What I’m reading: Ugh I’ve got many books going at once and none completed. Here’s the lowdown on what’s in progress.


I’ll Be Gone In The Dark – so good, but also I have to read it in small bits because it is heavy and scary and very local for me. When they caught the Golden State Killer he was living 4 miles from our old house, so you know– TOO CLOSE TO HOME. But the book is fantastic and so engaging.

Food Freedom Forever – Mostly because I’m always trying to figure this out. We did a Whole 30 in July and it was SO AWESOME. August was like…NOT awesome. So you know…a work in progress. 🙂 I just like Melissa Hartwig.

You Think It, I’ll Say It – Man, I just love Curtis Sittenfeld. Her writing is A+ and these short stories demonstrate that. I found this fun to listen to on my commutes to work, but then I got focused on I’ll Be Gone In The Dark and haven’t wanted to listen to fiction.

On My Kindle:

The President is Missing – I thought I would breeze through this because we all know James Patterson writes like 3 page Chapters that always end with a cliffhanger, but my eyes get heavy very quickly at the end of the night and lately I’ve been bringing a little work home so I’m not reading as much before I get into bed.

The Secrets You Keep – This is moving slower than I am used to Kate White books moving so I’ve lost a little steam.

On My Nightstand:

Multiple books with bookmarks. I can’t even remember what they are so it’s been awhile.



So that’s where things are lately. Are we sufficiently caught up? hahahaha Not even close.

But life is good, and it’s hard to get back into habits you’ve fallen out of (I miss you blogging AND exercise!) But I haven’t given up! LOL

Will you pick one of those questions and answer in the comments, so I can hear a little bit about what you’ve been up to? I miss our chats. 🙂




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What Life Looks Like Lately – Weekday Edition

The alarm goes off at 5am.

We are getting SO MUCH more sleep lately, but 5am is still early no matter what. One of us brews cups of coffee and Garrett and I do the morning stuff. Getting Holden’s food + clothes ready for daycare, packing lunches, figuring out breakfasts.

By 5:30 one of us is showering. We ro sham bo for who has to go first. The first person to shower misses out on a few quiet minutes to scroll their phone and exhale. But the second person to shower has to squeegee the glass doors. They each have their upsides. Some days neither of us shower and we steal an extra 30 minutes of sleep. A few days a week I definitely opt to go to work with my hair full of dry shampoo and secrets. 🙂

By 6am Holden is stirring. I’m usually somewhere between my skin care routine and makeup. One of the things I’ve become even more committed to since having a baby is making time for all of my crazy face lotions and potions. It’s a little victory each morning and night. A spot of time for myself to just do nothing else but let the serums sink in. I look forward to it.

Holden is 16 months and usually wakes up babbling some of the words he knows. It’s very amusing and he usually lays there for a good ten minutes chatting through a combination of “HI!” “Elmo!” or “Uh oh!” over and over again. I am always excited to see his face in the morning. This phase of parenting right now — where his language is exploding and he is just communicating and laughing (and ok, throwing tantrums too) — is just SO. MUCH. FUN. Still busy, and all consuming, but man we are laughing a lot. If I had to pick a photo to sum it up, this recent one is it:

Learning to stick his tongue out

While I’m half ready for work, around 6:15, Garrett and I go get Holden and do the wake up routine, diaper change, song singing, getting him dressed all together. He’s so wiggly these days that it’s kind of a full contact sport. But it is one of my favorite times in the day because he is all BABY. He is growing so fast and there is just so much LITTLE BOY in him, so it is fun to start the day picking him up from his crib and seeing him in his little sleep sack with his pacifier and his lovey next to him. It makes me feel like he is still my tiny little baby.


Garrett goes off to get dressed and ready for work and Holden and I head out to the kitchen for his breakfast. We inadvertently weaned him from his bottle a few weeks ago so it’s usually oatmeal or yogurt while I chat with him about his day ahead at “Charm School” (what we have lovingly dubbed Day Care) and put on his shoes.


By 6:35am Garrett and Holden are on the road. Holden’s daycare is a block away from Garrett’s work, so most of the time Garrett handles drop off and pick up. I have a few minutes to myself and I spend them cleaning up our breakfast mess, folding up the blankets on the couch where we probably fell asleep the night before. Basically tidying the house so when we get home it’s calm and welcoming. Then it’s off to get ready.


For about 20 minutes I hair and makeup. It’s no glam squad situation but I get it done.  I’ve tried a bunch of different clothing subscription services lately and the one I like the most is Trunk Club by Nordstrom. I recently decided that I just can’t hang with baggy or saggy jeans anymore so I ordered a “Trunk” with a million pairs of jeans that are higher waisted (LOOK AT ME! GETTING OLD AND PRACTICAL!) and asked for a a few more premium denim brands. I felt like every other month I was buying another ill-fitting pair of Target jeans to solve the problem and I just ended up with 10 pairs of jeans that don’t fit right and AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. I found 4 pairs of nice jeans that stay put and look nice and have NO REGRETS. It’s the little things these days, and not tugging on my pants at work has been a real life upgrade, ya know.


By 7am I’m out of the house and on my way to Starbucks. One of my credit cards does cash back rewards and a few months ago instead of just boringly applying them to monthly bill, I decided to turn those rewards into Starbucks gift cards. I only drive through if I have a gift card, and it actually does kind of feel like someone else is buying me coffee. I know that this math isn’t quite economist approved, but it works in my head. And I’m off on my commute!

My drive to work from our new house averages about 45 minutes. On Fridays it’s only about 28 but some Mondays take almost an hour. Before we moved I thought this would be the hardest part of living in our new neighborhood. Previously my drive to work was about 11 minutes and all on surface streets. But if you can believe it, I now look forward to the drive on the highway because I catch up on podcasts or chat with my mom, or listen to audiobooks. Plus it’s actually great decompression time on the way home.

By 8am I’m at my desk typing away, attending meetings, thinking strategically, having critical conversations — you know the drill. WORK STUFF. My days are full right now, but I’m pretty satisfied professionally. You know, except for those Monday mornings when you walk into BSOD.


I’m back on the road at around 4:30 and usually home by 5:15. Garrett and Holden have usually just gotten home and we read Holden’s Charm School report card and talk about his day. If I’m being honest, this is mostly a poop related updated (#PARENTLIFE) but it is always fun to see what they did and how he was feeling. We are so grateful for a wonderful daycare family and for our Happy, Independent little boy.


By 5:30 Holden is usually ready to eat, and I’m sad to admit we are usually not organized enough to have dinner for ourselves on the table by then. We eat a little later and usually just sit down and chat (and snack, let’s be honest) with Holden while he eats. He still needs to be fed some things, but he is doing a pretty good job of getting to know his fork and spoon. Sometimes one of us will get dinner started depending on what’s on the menu. Meal Planning and healthy eating are getting a solid C+ about 16 months into this parenthood gig. Some weeks we have our stuff together and prep food on the weekends and just nail it. Other weeks when our work schedules are crazy, we rely on take out or convenience meals. Definitely a work in progress at the Franklin house.

After dinner we clean up, get in our PJs and play. Of course depending on what was on Holden’s menu sometimes there is a bath involved in there too. Post dinner play time is always a blast. Holden is at a really fun age and just wants to entertain us. He is so interactive and talkative and into pushing his boundaries. There are a lot of giggles, sometimes tears, but mostly it is so fun and fascinating to see how quickly he is developing new skills. I’m still pretty amazed how far we’ve come over the last year. I mean a year ago he was just a squishy little baby.

Not gonna lie, sometimes after dinner we try and talk Holden into curling up on the couch with Mom and Dad and watching a show. 🙂 His favorites are Vampirina and Mickey Mouse Club House, but he’s not super into TV right now. He’d much rather climb on and off all of the furniture. I am just hoping he makes it through toddlerhood with all of his teeth in tact. YIKES.
Watching Sports with Dad

We start the bed time routine around 6:45 and we get him in his sleep sack, read books (Favorites right now include basically ANYTHING Sandra Boynton) and then we say goodnight to the house. Goodnight fireplace. Goodnight TV. Goodnight Dining Room. Goodnight Hallway. Goodnight Bedroom. Goodnight Mama. Goodnight Dada. Goodnight Wesley (his lovey). Goodnight Holden…and down baby goes to get some sleep. All I can say is that our sleep coach was the best money we ever spent, and once he is down, Holden will sleep for about 11 hours. THANK YOU SLEEP GODS.

By 7pm we are finishing up cooking dinner, eating, doing dishes, cleaning up the kitchen and we try and do one house maintaining chore in the evening. Sometimes that is a load of laundry. Sometimes that is boxing up Amazon returns. Sometimes it’s cleaning the fridge out or making a grocery list. Sometimes it’s paying bills or rounding up an amazon order of last minute things we forgot to buy the last time we were at Target (I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again — HOW DID PEOPLE PARENT WITHOUT AMAZON? I don’t know.) But we always try and get a few little things done and then really? IT’S TIME TO SIT DOWN.

Garrett and I are watching a few shows together: Vanderpump Rules, Top Chef — so sometimes we watch TV. Other times one of us will say “How about we just scroll through silly stuff on our phones and have a moment of quiet.” (Usually it’s the person who lost the ro sham bo and had to shower first that morning. haha) And by 8:30 we are ready to wind down and get ready for sleeping. Teeth brushing and teeth flossing and face washing — OH MY! I’d say we consistently get in bed around 9pm and one or both of us will attempt to “read” which basically means read 5 words and fall asleep. When my head hits the pillow these days I am ready to crap out because I know that alarm will come early tomorrow.

We’ve figured out a lot of new routines but we are still struggling with eating well (or at least somewhat how we used to eat) and OBVIOUSLY fitting in fitness. We miss both, but there’s not a great gap of time in our week days and if I’m being realistic, we probably need to be focusing on meals that take 20 minutes or less. Sometimes I get a little too ambitious on the weeknights and then we are too hungry to execute and just get Chipotle. If you have any quick, healthy recipes I am all ears!

On the fitness front, I recently bought a Peloton in hopes that I could just roll out of bed and squeeze in a 30 minute ride, or hop on the bike before I eat dinner — so we’ll see how that goes. If you have one, how are you liking it? Any advice?

Honestly life is really good lately. But also I have never more fully understood the old saying “The days are long, the years are short.” I wanted to write this all down because I want to remember this season of life. The season where our days were full of joy, endurance, laughter, and probably a few too many frozen pizzas. Some day, these days will be the good old days. 🙂

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