The January blues are passing and like any bear-personality, I can sense the end to Winter hibernation. Despite the cold and the storms this week, I detected spring in the air a bit this past week. Ah.

It helps also that I finally lost another pound this week, after being stuck at a 30 pound loss for a few weeks. I haven’t been gaining, but I have only been strict enough with calories to maintain and not lose. Bill is right that the formula is simple: it is calories in vs. calories out. Every time I have ever overeaten by 3500 calories, that’s a pound. Anytime I burn off 3500 more than I eat, I will lose. After years of taking a “it will work out somehow” approach to my weight and diet, fully diving into the mathematics of it turns out to be the only thing that helps me keep accountable to myself. As my friend Naheed says, “If it can be measured, it can be changed.” I weigh myself almost daily and count everything as best I can and the math works. 1200 calories is really not at all a huge quantity of food, although I can eat tons of veggies. I thought in past years that I could not handle the mental stamina and self-denial necessary for this approach, and yet now I find comfort and strength in the control and in becoming my own best guardian.

Weekends are also a time to log solid running miles without worrying about being home before Bill leaves for work, and I love the bright chilly mornings. On a second mile this morning, some neurotransmitter kicked in (this has been happening more and more), and all of the sudden I found myself really seeing—like really seeing—the bark on the nearby trees, and I found myself wanting both to laud and weep at how utterly and soul-crushingly beautiful that bark is. My whole mind and heart wanted to exault. This happened a couple of weeks ago, too, when I saw how truly blue some blue flowers were… It’s probably just extra blood and oxygen to the brain, but it is an incredible feeling.

The big, big news of this weekend is that one of my best friends Lauren had her baby, and first son, Luke. Welcome, Luke! I love his name so much. She was “overdue”—although we both feel that babies often come on their own timing, and in the perfect timing. Still, we had a long and great phone call on Thursday, and everyone had been hoping little Luke would come soon.  Well, he arrived on Saturday—accidentally at home at 4:13 in the morning! Lauren gave birth to her first daughter at home, but had her second daughter in a hospital and intended to have Luke there, too…whoa! I can’t wait to hear the whole story, but Lauren actually was planning to call me at 5:00 AM to let me know. She ended up writing instead, so when I woke up for the second time that morning, the good news was there! They later went to the hospital to check everyone over, and today they are back home. I signed up to take Lauren and Tim a meal in a couple of weeks, and I am trying to think of something comforting and nutritious to make! Fun! I love, love, love new babies and the amazing magical time that is in a family…

We also started getting ready for a long-term project one of my friends and former TVHS colleagues Susan is orchestrating. She was a creative and smart mentor in the English department when I first came on board, and now we’re both applying our love of teaching and learning to our children. Susan is putting together a kiddo art gallery at the end of the year, and our goal is to make ten pieces each while studying a variety of artists and techniques. Susan is a first-rate teacher and truly one of the most amazing lesson planners… It is so energizing to be able to share ideas with her. She has already put us on a clearer path in our Picasso studies. Katie is old enough to handle most instructions and work, but the key is to differentiate for Eric—I want the work to be truly his own.

Here is our Warhol pop art project from this weekend:

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The finished project, with an emphasis on the technique of repetition


We also fit in some soccer practice this weekend:




Beautiful Temecula, my fun and active kiddos!


And we got started on our valentines this year. We’ve got a fun week ahead, full of Valentine’s Day celebrations! We are so thankful for our homeschool group to share these kinds of activities with. Some of us are planning to pass out valentines at the senior citizen’s home on Wednesday morning, and then we’ve got a homeschool Valentine’s party at the park that afternoon. Thursday will be our traditional fondue party, and then we’re spending some special time as a family this weekend.


Katie got busy making valentines for the homeschool party. I still remember passing out valentines at school and how the whole day was extra special because of that! So glad that Katie will experience that feeling, too.




Eric worked on folding his valentines after his nap (see the damp hair)!

And from earlier this week:




Katie became the teacher and supported Eric as he learned to ride Katie’s old trike. I love her protective arm around him.

There’s so much more to tell about this week, but I find my eyes growing heavy…and I am also paying attention to Downton Abbey.

Hope everyone had a beautiful weekend.