First – what I did this weekend!


On Saturday, we put in our dues at Henry’s school and scrubbed bathrooms, painted hallways, and wiped dried glue off little chairs for three hours.  Whew.  It was actually pretty fun – afterwards, the parents and kids came together for a big pot luck!  I brought Santa Fe Casserole, of course.


Then, I took the kiddos to “pirates day” at a local museum with Brandi and her kiddos.  It was all fun and games until the musket demonstration left a significant number of the kids in tears – hah!


Chipotle afterwards because it’s rare that Brandi and I do anything together that doesn’t end in tacos.


Most exciting was the purchase of our NEW CAR!  Wahhhhooo.  I was said to see my beloved and well-worn Pacifica go, but it’s been making all sorts of interesting clunks and squeaks lately and didn’t feel as safe as it should for a family car. 


We got a 2012 Chevy Equinox.  I was torn between that and a 2015 Dodge Journey, which almost won out because of its third row and second row air vents.  The Equinox, while still practical, felt like a more luxurious and less utilitarian choice (it has a back-up cameras and a killer sound system).  Plus, the Equinox was so highly rated.  I didn’t realize how much smaller it is than my Pacifica until I got it home and parked it in the garage – I hope we can still fit our life into a smaller SUV!


As a side note, I’m trying to overhaul my parenting techniques… This is enough for a blog post of its own, but I’m trying to be less authoritative and more – I don’t know the word for it… respectful?  I had been yelling WAY too much and don’t want to be a yeller.  I’m also trying to eliminate time outs, which I think can be used well but are really not working for Henry anymore.  I’m switching to more of Janet Lansbury’s techniques (reading her books right now).  So far, I have noticed a HUGE difference in behavior.  In fact, we got through a 4 hour car buying experience with no meltdowns – that’s saying something, right?!  Honestly, it’s really hard to do this overhaul because my reactions are so ingrained at this point, but stuff like this really makes it feel worth it!


Alright, so onto Add, Not Subtract…  This has long been a healthy living philosophy of mine.  I’ll sum it up below with a few paragraphs from the original blog post.


I thought about doing a ‘clean eating’ challenge this week.  You see, I’ve kind of fallen off the healthy livin’ wagon. Traveling messed up my eating – my meals were super sporadic and definitely lacking vegetables.  I drank way too much coffee, too much wine, and not enough water.  I slept odd hours (really odd hours) or didn’t sleep much at all.  Basically, I woke up on this glorious Monday not feeling very hot.

So I thought, “Let’s do this!  A challenge!  No more processed foods.  No added sugar.  And definitely no booze.  None of this, none of that.”  But then I thought… “Mehhhh, but what about my coffee creamer?  I probably shouldn’t be drinking coffee at all on a clean eating week…”  I started to waffle. Not too many things can motivate me to give up coffee. 

Instead of thinking of all the things that I don’t want to do this week, I’m going to focus on ADDING things in.  Isn’t that a better what to think about healthy living, anyway?


So, basically, I’ve fallen off the wagon in a lot of ways and want to get back on.  But instead of ELIMINATING stuff, I’m going to add stuff in.  Here’s what I’m going to add – I can bet you know what it will be since I always struggle in the same areas!


Sleep:  In bed by 8:30 this week to read or color.

Water:  Actually drink it instead of just living on coffee.

Exercise:  Actually do it instead of not.  I have really fallen off the wagon since my triathlon and have basically done nothing for the past two weeks.

Eating:  Don’t skip meals or rely on snacks because I’m too busy to make and eat meals. Plan ahead! Get it done!


Want to join me on Add, Not Subtract Week?  What will you add in?



  • Erica {} August 31, 2015, 7:08 am

    I love the add, not subtract, mentality! I think focusing too much on what your NOT doing, is counterproductive. Focus on making small changes that can lead to huge results!

  • AJ August 31, 2015, 7:14 am

    I am a Janet Lansbury fan. As well as the books, her Facebook posts are also really interesting reading. Good luck with it, RIE is awesome. Her ‘methods’ totally make sense to me and they definitely work with my 22 month bub. I will join you this week by adding in more vegetables and more movement, thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  • Alyssa August 31, 2015, 7:15 am

    Have you taken a look at Love and Logic?? It has also proven to be a powerful parenting system.

  • Sarah Emmert August 31, 2015, 8:01 am

    we follow Janet Landsbury and RIE parenting in our house too! Love her! She’s doing a weekly free podcast right now too called Unruffled. You can get it through iTunes or wherever.

  • Dietitian Jess August 31, 2015, 8:06 am

    Add more veggies- I’ve fallen off track healthy eating in the last month… have a tri in two weeks and I know that crappy eating will definitely have me not feeling my best for race day! Congrats on the new ride!

  • Jill August 31, 2015, 8:40 am

    Hooray for a new (used) car! Fun 🙂 And while I realize everyone’s needs are different, and it’s all about perspective – if I can fit my family of four, our dog, hockey gear, and weekend crap for everyone in a little bitty Honda Fit, you will be able to function with a smaller SUV. (I’ll just be over here perusing pictures of mini vans and hybrid SUVs, dreaming of when we’ll get our next car in a few years).

    I’m all about trying to yell less as well. Sounds like it should be easy, but it’s taking a lot of thought and time and patience. Good luck 🙂 The results in our family have so far been great.

    Lastly, going to bed early is THE BEST. Hope you get some much needed rest 🙂

  • Tess August 31, 2015, 8:50 am

    Your blog always has spooky good timing! I was planning on doing a Sugar Free September and had already started rationalizing things (We have donuts at work tomorrow so maybe I start on 9/2 and go through 10/2, etc.). New goal: focus on adding fruits and veggies!

    Also, I love that you’ve gotten into coloring for relaxation! I just got a coloring book and can’t wait to start!

  • Lisa August 31, 2015, 8:55 am

    Congrats in the new car! Haven’t seen your husband on the blog in a while…hope he is well!

    • Caitlin August 31, 2015, 9:06 am

      Aw you’re sweet to ask. He likes to be behind the camera 🙂 he’s doing well… Just went on a fun trip with his buddies to golf at the beach and is reeeeally excited for college football season. Wahoo!!!

  • leatitia August 31, 2015, 9:19 am

    I’m in with you guys!
    Add: drink at least 2x 600ml of water at my desk everyday.
    Add: Color a page of my ‘Doodle Paris’ book every night. Break in my new crayon box!
    Add: Eat all the veggies in my fridge, nothing goes to waste this week!
    Add: 30 minute outside play with my son every night.

  • Anne Weber-Falk August 31, 2015, 9:20 am

    I’m in! Add exercise at least five days a week. Add water for every coffee or diet soda I want to drink. Add planned dinners instead of winging it so the meals are healthier and more balanced. Let’s do it!

  • Grace @ Diary of a Running Snail August 31, 2015, 9:25 am

    I really love the idea of add not subtract. I don’t do so well with eliminating things – it either makes me grumpy or makes me really want to rebel against the “rules” I have set for myself. I am with you on the add, not subtract this week!
    I am going to add more vegetables – particularly more greens! It makes me feel a million times better when I eat the green stuff!

  • Laura August 31, 2015, 9:29 am

    I’ve been using Dr. Laura Markham’s techniques (“peaceful parenting”) since my daughter was two, and now at 3.5, she is usually very well behaved. We don’t yell often, and every time I veer off track and find myself nagging/yelling, I re-read Dr. Markham’s posts, adjust my strategy, and we’re right back in the groove. She is a lifesaver! Check it out:

  • Kim August 31, 2015, 9:30 am

    I was just reading Janet Lansbury’s blog last week! Have you been doing RIE with Claire too?

    • Caitlin August 31, 2015, 9:33 am

      Yes, but it’s just happening a bit more naturally because you don’t have as much time to interfere with the second baby’s play – hahaha. Her diaper changing technique ACTUALLY works.

  • Megan August 31, 2015, 9:46 am

    I really like the whole idea of adding, not subtracting. I get the same way where I’ll say I’m going to do three days of a sort of cleanse but then realize that taking away coffee or cheese just ain’t happening. But adding in extra water or an extra workout seems much more manageable. You just inspired me to refill my water bottle, ha!

  • Lekki Wood August 31, 2015, 9:46 am

    I would like to join you! I am in my last trimester and suddenly horrified by *what* has happened to my diet. I think I get take-out (and I am not even going to pretend it is healthy like Chipotle – hello Golden Arches) about 6 times a week :-0 I will add: herbal tea (to hopefully replace my diet drinks), breakfast from home, and some fruit at 3 pm (or a Larabar). Thanks for the motivation 🙂

  • Danielle August 31, 2015, 9:53 am

    Just a note- authoritative is what you want to be. Authoritative parenting gentle and set boundaries but the child understands why those boundaries are there.
    Authoritarian is what your currently doing and want to change from. Look up bauramid’s parenting styles. Everyone confuses it 🙂

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More August 31, 2015, 10:14 am

    LOVE it! I’m definitely in the same boat…working on adding in a morning routine that fuels my day and helps my stress levels (starting with some peaceful writing and a workout), adding in more water (seriously, I’ve been living mostly on Spark, coffee or kombucha, it feels like), adding in more exercise (not having a gym membership right now has really put a damper in my fitness so I’m ADDING that back in knowing that it keeps me motivated).

  • Abby August 31, 2015, 10:19 am

    Great post! I’m starting Whole 30 tomorrow…you inspired me! I’m looking forward to doing it and yet a little nervous! But I’m turning 40 in October and want to do it as a gift to myself :). Weird huh? My gift to myself before turning 30…2 marathons!
    Parenting…sooo rewarding and such hard work! Same thing happened with our new car purchase this summer(a Toyota sienna). 3 nights of car shopping, our kiddos did awesome! I’m not saying how many chocolates or other unhealthy snacks they had from the car dealership!

  • ellen August 31, 2015, 12:32 pm

    I will be subtracting booze this week…because of meds i am on. I also am not buying soft drinks when I eat out for lunch. So I am a yeller too…especially lately. I am basically solo parenting since April because my husband has been away working and only home on weekends. tI has been super stressful and when I stress I yell. I HATE it, because its doing nothing for me or for my oldest. I would love to hear some techniques that you use to yell less. We are also looking to buying a new car. We are thinking the Hyundai Santa Fe or Vera Cruz.

    • Caitlin August 31, 2015, 12:41 pm

      Have you heard How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen and Listen so Your Kids Will Talk? That’s a good book too!

      • Ellen August 31, 2015, 12:51 pm

        No I haven’t. I recently bought the Whole Brain Child and Janet Lansbury’s book. I get overwhelmed with everything out there on parenting. I just want to be a calmer parent, especially when I am alone. When my husband is home I start feeling flustered he takes over .

  • Sammi August 31, 2015, 12:59 pm

    I love the Add, not Subtract mentality and I definitely need it this week! I’m going to add in more water (at LEAST 2 800ml bottles/day), produce with every meal (I’m bad for having a salad for lunch then skipping veggies at supper) and as I’ve fallen off the exercise wagon I’m adding in at least 3 workouts at the gym this week.

  • Amanda August 31, 2015, 1:02 pm

    I love the idea of adding instead of subtracting- I wrote about it not to long ago! It’s a much nicer way to think about healthy living. As far as what you mentioned regarding parenting, I’m not a parent yet… but as a teacher, I had a lot of success in using non-violent communication. It’s work a google!

  • Elisabeth August 31, 2015, 1:26 pm

    I love the add, not subtract idea – seems much more positive! I plan to add in more activities to my day that don’t involve time-wasting on the Internet – ideas include more reading, adult coloring (I’m loving it, too!), photography, puzzles and walking. I’m also planning to add more deliberate exercise to my week – fell off that wagon awhile ago & need to fix that!

  • Kelly August 31, 2015, 1:50 pm

    Congrats on the new car!
    Clare… Such an adorable smiley baby! 🙂
    I need to check out Janet Lansbury. I don’t think I currently have a parenting technique, unless you consider “flying by the seat of your pants” a technique.
    I’m adding in a prenatal yoga class this week! And a few more vegetables wouldn’t hurt.

  • Colleen @ Being Your Change August 31, 2015, 3:16 pm

    I had a Journey as a rental car recently and while the interior is awesome, it had HORRIBLE gas mileage. In the four weeks it took for my real car to be repaired, I went from loving the Journey to referring to it as “that demon machine.” You definitely made the right call!

  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul August 31, 2015, 3:57 pm

    I love the add not subtract mentality! And Chipotle! Yum!

  • Sara August 31, 2015, 8:47 pm

    I like the idea of adding. I’m trying to add more fruits and veggies to my meals.

  • Lorelyn August 31, 2015, 10:01 pm

    I have been working on being a calmer parent as well! Something that has worked for me is incorporating positive language. For example when he is having a meltdown because he wants a toy I say yes you can have that toy you have to clean up your other toys first…. So instead of instinctively saying no I say yes. So far it has been positive!

  • Katie September 1, 2015, 1:10 pm

    Yes– adding not subtracting is key, girl! I’ve also felt off track with my clean eating habits and I take a “3 things” approach– what three things can I do to help me feel better this week? That way it feels totally manageable (and it’s easy to remember-ha!). For me right now it’s 8 glasses of water, smoothies for snacks and exercise 5 times a week.

    I was just thinking this morning how I need to find a good parenting book. my 1 year old has recently started throwing little tantrums and I’m pretty clueless at what to do. I’ll check her out 🙂

  • Susan September 2, 2015, 12:11 am

    Such a great post on so many levels for me – I needed school lunch ideas, parenting book recs, and motivation to improve eating and exercising this week! Thank you!

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