Friday miscellany

IMG_2956I spent several hours last night at the local high school for the Reading Olympics, which my 9-year-old was participating in. The judge asks questions about books from a list of about 30 books. The teams huddle and appoint a spokesperson to answer the question. My son had been told the requirement was to read five of the books, and so that is what he did. His team did OK, though it was clear there was very light coverage on a few of the books from the list (which of course seemed to be the titles that came up all the time). Afterward, we discussed the evening, and my son informed me that he wanted to do Reading Olympics again, but he thought it would be good to read more than 5 books, and maybe re-read some of the books he read, so he'd remember what happened. He also told me that the kids who read a lot of books did so on their Kindles, rather than waiting to get them from the library, so next time he could do that. I enjoy parenting moments like this, when a kid figures out what you would have told him, but you don't have to tell him. Hopefully, the fact that it was his idea will encourage him to pursue all these strategies next year.

I went to my daughter's parent-teacher conference yesterday. I learned that she had asked to sew this doll (see top photo). They'd all done some practice stitching on burlap as a class, but she wanted to pursue an additional project. The doll has red hair, and is named after an extended family member with bright red hair. I admire her initiative on this, though it is not universal. Yesterday, during a playdate, she and IMG_2959her friend opened a Lego Frozen set, then quickly requested help. I will admit that I took 30 minutes and put together this scene of the sleigh and trading post.

On the work front, I am close to having a workable survey that will then be incorporated into my next book. I haven't quite decided when I will open the survey yet. People fill out a time diary about the previous day, and so I need to have it open on a Tuesday-Saturday (or until I get sufficient data). I also ask questions about time perception. I hope, if you're reading this, you'll consider taking it. The two requirements are that you be working for pay at least 30 hours/week, and have children under age 18 at home. Since I know my readers are disproportionately female, I also hope people will forward the survey link to a few working dads in their lives. I'll post an announcement here as soon as it's up. As an incentive, I'll make a small charitable donation for each completed survey, and on the last page, you'll be able to pick one of three charities.

On the tracking front, I am back to weighing myself daily. In late February, I stepped on the scale and it was a number that I hadn't seen since I was in the post-birth weight loss phase with my last kid. I guess I wasn't really surprised, I'd been eating a lot of junk, and running daily doesn't really negate that, much as I wish it did. So, I watched everything carefully and got it back down roughly to where I wanted, but then it's easy to start making exceptions again. This is always a work in progress.

This weekend there's a preschool fundraising gala and my 9-year-old's karate "graduation" in which he gets his yellow belt. The temperature should hit 70 degrees tomorrow, which may finally get rid of the last of the snow. I hope to run outside, read, and maybe get caught up on some work too.

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7 Responses to Friday miscellany


  1. Gillian says:

    Weight maintenance is such a challenge! I, for one, don’t love getting on the scale each day. But the data is pretty impressive, people who weight themselves daily are less likely to gain. And on the upside, when you weigh in daily there are definitely fewer surprises. Interestingly, when you are trying to lose weight, the data supports checking your weight only once per week (on Wednesday or Thursday when we are all at our lightest typically). Kudos for getting back down into your goal range!

    • Caitlin says:

      I was also going to recommend a once-a-week weigh in as well. I log each week in the notes app on my phone so it’s easy to see when it’s creeping up. I happen to check each Thursday–interesting to read that’s a day we are typically lightest!

  2. Anne DeBie says:

    I just love your writing and visit your Twitter feed for inspiration and sound advice.
    The idea of “decluttering” my diet and becoming more focused was what got me in the best mindset to start tracking my food via My Fitness Pal. Before, I was a bit defiant and not up for the chore of tracking my intake. But because I love to declutter my house, and I crave and covet “focus,” bingo- I was off to the races. I’ve kept the food diary for over a month and feel good. It has become second nature and I’ll likely keep it up indefinitely.
    Also, my husband and I bought a set of adjustable weights called a power block. That has helped us establish and maintain a very basic (push, pull, legs, rest) lifting routine.

  3. Clare says:

    I love the idea of a reading Olympics! Sounds like a great way to encourage reading. I’ve been thinking of setting up a book club for my 8 year old and her friends.

  4. lorna says:

    This column reminds me of my son’s younger days when he would get these way too difficult themed lego sets from grandparents (eyes bigger than stomach problem) and I would be relegated to designating a sunday afternoon “helping” him put them together. It would go like this, he would put together all the mini figures up front and then I would have to put together the rest with some help on searching for pieces from him. I had something like a 400 piece per hour track record, which was always accompanied by a glass of wine per set. The afternoon could drag on…but mama was generally content…

  5. Kathleen says:

    Hi Laura: My kids are grown now; but one of our fondest memories is of an entire Saturday building a Lego castle set together. Looking backwards, it was time well spent. KGL

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