WIAW: Spinach & Rice Recipe

Thanks to Jenn for hosting WIAW! Make sure to head over there after checking out my eats and recipe.

For this week I am going to focus on what I have been eating during the days we fast.

My favorite post-workout carb!

My favorite post-workout carb!

For breakfast, post-workout, I have my usual oatmeal with a scoop of peanut butter, I have been subbing the regular milk for almond milk. The same goes with milk in my coffee.

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Lunch is usually a salad with lots of veggies, this one had a side of sweet potato and broccoli. I also had some shrimp.

For dinner, we had a staple in Nick’s home, Spinach & Rice. It is super easy and fast, and if you workout at night, it is an awesome post-workout meal!

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp of Olive Oil

1 medium yellow onion

3-4 cloves of garlic

1 15 oz can of tomato sauce

1 large box (I used Olivia Organics) of fresh spinach

1 cup of rice

Instructions:

Chop onion and garlic and saute in olive oil in a large pot until the onion is translucent.

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Add Spinach, I usually put half of the box in and let it cook down a little and then add the other half.

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Add the can of tomato sauce and then one and half cans of water to the pot.

Let the mixture come to a boil then bring the heat to low.

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Add a cup of rice. Cover and let it cook for 30 minutes. I usually end up letting it cook for closer to 25 minutes but that’s because of how my stove cooks. You want the rice to be cooked completely.

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Serve with a slice of fresh french bread to soak up the extra tomato sauce!

Notes

Make sure you use fresh spinach, because frozen spinach will add too much liquid to the mixture and fresh tastes better!

You can half the recipe if you want to use a smaller box of spinach. You could also substitute the grain if you prefer.

Have you ever had spinach and rice, or something like it?

 


Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

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I am not super in to the holiday aspect of Valentine’s Day, sure Nick and I will go to dinner if we have the time and a babysitter, but we try to do it a week before or after Valentine’s Day. We also don’t really do gifts. Maybe something small if we see something that we think would be perfect, but other than that it’s just a normal day with a more special meal at home.

BAKING

The first gift idea is something homemade, I love this Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe, it isn’t fast and should be done the night before, but it is decadent and perfect for Valentine’s Day.

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A few other of my favorite recipes are these Intense Chocolate Brownies or Conversation Heart Brownies. These are bit easier and you can make them the day of! You can share this with all of your loved ones and even have your kids help make the treats!

BOOKS

I always get B a little gift or two, this year I got him a Dr. Suess board book. He loves books and I love ones that expand his knowledge, but we still aren’t at the age where he doesn’t understand that you can’t rip out all the pages of a book.


CRAFT BEER OR WINE

IMG_2805There are a lot of stores near us that sells individual bottles of beer or half bottles of wine and champagne. I personally love champagne, but I hardly drink it because I am usually drinking it and everyone else is drinking beer and I can’t drink an entire bottle. Or Nick wants beer but I don’t want to buy a six pack because it will sit in our fridge for awhile.  Pairing a nice meal with a wine or beer you love is a great idea, and being able to get a single serving is a plus.

HOMEMADE

If you have no time or the funds to do anything, a homemade card is always a winner. Showing someone you love them is always appreciated, no matter what day it is!

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day gift?

Weekly Updates 02/03/14 – 02/09/14

Weekly Workouts

My plan this past week was Tuesday & Thursday at Achieve, Wednesday at Home, Friday & Saturday at Studio Poise.

None of that happened, none. This week was extremely rough, on all of us.

Saturday B threw up after having one bite of a bread, we made an appointment with his pediatrician for Sunday morning. We went in and they had said the bug that had been going around (which had started a week ago) had bouts of vommiting. The doctor said he was on the mend and he should feel better by the next day. Sunday he ate normal food and slept through the night.

Monday was a planned rest day, considering we would have been up late with the SuperBowl etc… and B seemed to have gotten over his bug. Then all of sudden he started throwing up again. Long story short we ended up in the ER on Tuesday because we were all concerned about dehydration. After spending a good amount of time there, and a few more calls to the doctor it seems like we are on the mend.

However B didn’t start feeling normal until Saturday. He wanted to be held constantly, including during nap times. He was up every few hours at night needing water and coughing. Nick ended up sleeping in B’s bed, and B and I slept in our bed. It was exhausting. I was doing nothing, but I felt so ragged. I didn’t end up at the gym at all this week, I needed to focus on B, especially since for a few days we were worried that something more serious was going on.

As for my eating, it suffered, B threw up in the car at the grocery store. Nick stayed with him so I was able to grab some essentials, eggs, milk, bread. But I had zero time to grocery shop because I wasn’t venturing in the grocery store with B and Nick had to work on a big project. I ended up eating a lot of pb & j, because I could make that while B was napping on my shoulder.

The not so great eating and lack of workouts have left me feeling pretty blah, so I am already prepped for 80% of this coming week and I have plans for my workouts. Monday at home, Tuesday and Thursday at Achieve and Wednesday and Friday at Studio Poise, Saturday is still up in the air.

How was your week in workouts?

A Well-tempered Heart: Sibling relationships

I am grateful of the opportunity I have to read some amazing books through my relationship with From Left to Write. If this is your first time stopping by, our book reviews aren’t traditional reviews but more of starting points for a blog post, we take a theme or topic and write about it. This months books were no different, I devoured them both already. The first book was A Well-tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker.

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I didn’t read the first book in this series, and I do not think you need to in order to read this book. I loved it, but I really disliked the ending, it just felt so abrupt. A theme that really touched me was the relationship between Julia and U Ba.

I have two half sisters that I don’t have a relationship with, much like Julia and her brother. But I have an amazing relationship with my sister Caitlin.

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I think a huge factor on why we are so close is the fact that we are only 13 months apart. We pretty much went through everything together. We were and still are each others best friends. We tell each other everything. (I think this is a major reason as to why it hurts me so much to not be able to give B a sibling close in age) and we don’t judge each other.

We had the same circle of friends growing up, we eventually ended up in colleges in the same city, we worked the same miserable part-time jobs and the same fun part-time jobs. We ended up at the same full-time job post-college, Nick was confused about how we could work together all day and then spend an hour or so on the phone together almost every night. We both quit that job and went to graduate school, she went to New Orleans, and I stayed in Boston. That was the hard part, we’d never been that far apart. Up until then I’d never not been able to call her and say I need you, and she would be here in under an hour.

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From our time in San Francisco

 

No words could ever do justice to relationship we have. It sure has had its downs, but after awhile we figured out our groove. Our relationship is a bond that not many can understand, I feel her pain when she is going through a tough time. She lets me cry on the phone for as long as I need when I go through something difficult. When I was pregnant with B she took one train trip from Philly for what was sure to be his birth, it wasn’t, she went back to Philly for an exam, and then turned around again because I had him.

I understand a sibling relationship where it doesn’t work, you don’t click, you never will, and that sucks. But there is nothing like the love of a sibling, the person who for most of your life has seen your ups and downs, your worst moments and your best. I can’t tell you how many times in high school we would come out of our respective rooms and essentially be wearing the exact same outfit. This still happens.

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I know that some friendships end without cause or reasons and that is hard. I don’t know where or who I’d be without her, and I am sure glad I don’t have to think about it.

Do you have great relationships with your siblings?

Pin It Party #3

 

 

 

I know technically it is the fourth Pin It Party, but I didn’t participate in the very first one, so this is my third. Thanks to Lindsay for hosting this wonderful round-up, I hope you find a post you love while you are here! You can check my first and second posts if you have the time.

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So what is a Pin It Party? I share five of my favorite pin worthy posts with you, and link up on Lindsay’s blog. Once you write a post make sure you pin 5 blogs posts to support your fellow bloggers! Click on the photos to get to the post.

1. Toddler Time Workout

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A quick and sweaty workout at home!

2. Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Koulourakia

IMG_3803.JPGMy favorite Greek Christmas cookie

3. Stocking Stuffer Guide for the Host

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I know the holidays are over, but these are fun gifts to keep in your back pocket when you need to give a gift to someone who loves to cook, bake, host or all of the above. All of these items are under $20 so it won’t break the bank either!

4. My Favorite Books of 2013

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I made reading more of a priority in 2013 and I picked 5 books that I read that I absolutely loved.

5. Cold Weather Necessities

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I have extremely dry skin, couple that with this dry winter air and the coldness of the polar vortex? I have been employing every strategy possible to keep my skin from cracking and bleeding.

Toddler Time Workout!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or trainer, please consult with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise routine.

Let’s catch up on last weeks food and exercise first. I posted my plans last week, they were Tuesday – Achieve Kettlebell Class, Wednesday – at home workout, Thursday – Achieve MetCon, Friday - Studio Poise Pound, Saturday – Studio Poise Zumba & Pound Xpress.

So how did I fair? Tuesday, Friday & Saturday went as planned. Wednesday was a crazy day and it just didn’t happen so I figured I would hit up a Sunday class at Studio Poise instead of taking a rest day. Wednesday night my ulcer started flaring up, again. I went through everything I ate and there was no caffeine, no acidic foods, no stress. It was extremely frustrating. On the plan for dinner was spicy chili. It was already made and I needed to eat, so I ended making a grilled cheese. Not exactly on the plan, it was extremely frustrating. As one Instagrammer pointed out, it’s not me falling off the plan, it is me taking care of myself which is #1 on the plan. Because of the pain, lying down is actually very painful, so I ended up going to bed late and not getting up at 5 am to get to the gym. I ended up pulling together a short but sweaty at-home workout.

I didn’t end up getting that Sunday class at Studio Poise because B ended up very sick Saturday night, including a fever, throwing up, and feeling very uncomfortable. He wanted his momma and I was more than happy to oblige.

Here is the workout I ended up doing on Thursday:

 

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What you need:
A set of weights
One kettlebell
TRX (or you can modify)

Warm Up:
Stretch
3 rounds of 15 squats and 15 push ups

Workout:
Each section has 3 exercise done three times.
1. squat press, one arm kettlebell swing, sit ups
2. knees to chest, squats, TRX rows or pull ups
3. Right Side Plank for 30 seconds, Plank for one minutes, Left Side Plank for 30 seconds.

For the kettlebell and TRX portions please make sure you have had practice with these as you can get injured if done with incorrect form.

It’s not a long workout and you can make it as hard as you need and if you have a toddler like mine, you know the one that sometimes won’t take a nap, it’s easy to do while they play with their toys.

My plan for this week is to eat healthy for the week. We are hosting a Superbowl Party on Sunday and I would like to be able to indulge in a few of the less healthy things. So far so good.

For workouts: Monday – Strength at Achieve, Tuesday – KB’s at Achieve, Wednesday – preview class at a new barre studio in the area, Thursday – at home workout, Friday – Pound at SP, and Saturday – Yoga & Zumba at SP. Because of B’s stomach bug (it got worse and included a late doctors visit) I haven’t made any of my scheduled workouts. I might change my schedule, just to get in some great workouts in.

What are your workouts this week? Have you ever trained with kettlebells or a TRX?

Young Love

The winner of the giveaway is Stephanie, congratulations! I sent you an email, please get back to me within 24 hours with your information.
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I am sure that you’ve read one of the million posts regarding marriage and age, and just like fitness and health there is no one size fits all situation. Two of the most popular posts that I’ve seen are Vanessa’s on what you should do instead of getting engaged at a young age and Emily’s on why she got married young.

While I think that Vanessa’s post has some very important, I think it is treating marriage at 23 as black & white. So this is my story, and my thoughts on young marriage.

#TBT College Kelly & Nick

#TBT College Kelly & Nick

Nick and I met in college through a mutual friend. I had gone through a serious of bad short-lived relationships, although now I am not sure I would even call them that. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but I was happy to meet a new group of people (Nick and his roommates) and to develop more real friendships.

That spring, Nick and I were both still on campus and it was my sisters graduation, I invited him to come hang out with me for a bit, everyone assumed we were dating (we weren’t), we just were good friends. During the summer I was going through some stuff with my best friend and I needed some advice and someone to talk to, someone from the male perspective, and I called Nick.Things just sort of progressed. We started talking more and more and then we started seeing each other. Things just got serious very fast.

Fast forward back to school starting, it was Nick’s senior year and my junior year (we were the same age, I was a year behind due to transferring and losing a ton of credits). I had a lot of obligations for clubs on campus and my sorority, and in the fall it’s all kinds of crazy. We had a huge fight, and in my typical style I said it was over. We didn’t talk for months, it was difficult because we still had a lot of mutual friends. At a mutual friends birthday we ended up talking and for the next few months we just talked, we took things slow and ended up getting back together. That was scary for me, and a lot of our friends expressed their dissatisfaction about it.

That summer was the hardest, my best friend passed away and I was a mess. Not only did Nick move to Boston, so did 95% of my friends, only 3 of the core group of people I hung out with were actually in my graduating class. I was angry and sad all at the same time. I spent literally all my free time in Boston with Nick. We had talked about marriage and looked at rings, Nick had stood by me through one of the most difficult times in my life thus far. I knew that he was a keeper, but I also witnessed a ton of unhappy relationships in my family and how mean those people turned after divorce. I didn’t want to have any part in that.

Marriage to me is sacred, you honor it. Marriage is not always easy, it takes constant work. You need to communicate and spend time with each other, and to continue to give to that relationship like you did when you were dating. Divorce isn’t always the answer, I truly believe that people (old and young) don’t realize that marriage can be hard and that you go through shit that may make you want to walk away, but getting to the other side, that’s the beautiful part.

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We got engaged when I was still in school, I turned 24 two weeks before our wedding and Nick was still 23. Five and half years later here we are. In a much better place then when we started dating. I’ll be honest, we’ve had some rough times, we’ve been through some situations that really test your relationship. At the end of every day I am grateful, and Nick’s support through the miscarriage has made me even more aware how great of a partner I picked. I am grateful for the hard times, because we wouldn’t have been able to get through this without those times.

Did I miss the fact that I couldn’t just pick up and travel wherever I wanted or that I couldn’t blow all my time and money on a fad or something completely ridiculous? Absolutely not. We traveled a bunch, we spent our fair share of time roaming around Boston, finding cool bars and restaurants. If nothing else, I am grateful I got to experience all those things with my best friend and my partner.

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Five Things Friday: Yoga, Athleta & Salad Fun

It’s been a long time since I posted one of these, but I have a bunch of fun things to share and none of them make a big blog post. Before we get to those, make sure you enter my giveaway!

1. OXO Salad Chopper

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Lauren, one of the owner’s of Achieve, recommended this to me a few weeks ago and I friggen love it. When it arrived (thank you amazon prime shipping) I immediately washed it and made a salad.

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Spinach, Beets, Edamame, Broccoli, Hard-Boiled Eggs, and a small bit of goat cheese

After yoga on Wednesday I added some grilled chicken sausage to it, and ate a serious portion of this for dinner, it was perfect. I loved that there were no awkward large pieces of lettuce or spinach. It also came with a great booklet of ideas for salads to make, I can’t wait to try them.

2. Kid Classes

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Because I don’t have any many mom friends in my area, I joined a facebook group for moms in my town. One of the moms owns an art studio that does primarily kids classes (she has a few paint nights for adults) based on their age. She had a few open spots in her 2-3 year olds class and offered a free class to check it out. I went in with zero expectations, but B loved it, so we have decided to keep going. Fun fact: when he wanted to paint the left side he used his left hand, and when he wanted to paint the right side he used his right hand.

3. A Quinoa Fan

Nick had never had quinoa before, I’ve made it for myself for lunches etc… but never for dinner. I decided to just make it and see if he and B liked it. Turns out he loved it, I guess I should’ve done that sooner. B also likes to call it sweet potatoes…can’t win em all.

4. Athleta legging love

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It’s not a great photo, but I bought these leggings on a whim when I was in Athleta the other day. They were soft and comfortable and reasonably priced. I wore them to yoga on Wednesday night and I loved how they moved with my body. I would buy a gazillion pairs of these! (Someone wanted to come to yoga, but he’s a bit too young)

5. YOGA LOVE

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I took a Lululemon community class on Wednesday night. Danielle, the owner of Studio Poise, is a Market Street Lululemon ambassador. On Wednesday night Yoga Jake (also a Market Street Lululemon ambassador) held a class at Studio Poise.

I’ll be honest, I was super anxious and nervous to attend this class. I started taking yoga classes in November and haven’t taken that many classes. I was worried that everyone would be better than me and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I re-read these great posts from Christine and Angela and had a great pep talk from Caitlin.

I got to class and got settled, Jake started talking about how yoga is an individual practice and to do what you can. It really started to relax me. I don’t really want to delve too much into what happened to me and how I practiced, because it was a very personal experience, but it was an amazing experience. I was able to mentally let go of a lot and to relax. What truly surprised me was during shavasana I felt a moment of complete happiness and next thing I knew tears were rolling down my face. It shocked me, but I had heard from more than one person that it can happen. It felt freeing to let go of all my anger with the miscarriage and my unhappiness with our struggles trying to get pregnant. I am by no means over it, but it pulled me to a better place, and today I feel less frustrated with the entire situation than I have in months.

I am grateful I had the opportunity to take this class and grateful that I didn’t bail because of my anxiety.

What are some of your favorite salad mix-ins?

What’s your favorite piece of work out clothing?

Have you ever had a yoga moment that moved you to tears?

 

WIAW: Pinterest Wins!

As anyone in a relationship or marriage knows planning holidays in order to spend time with all family and friends can be very…trying to say the least. Nick and I were spending Christmas with his family and in order to have a special celebration with my parents and sister, I planned a dinner at our house the weekend before Christmas.

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I think we need a train around our Christmas tree…

Menu planning can be a bit tricky though, my sister’s boyfriend has two allergies: all nuts and poultry. The poultry one means that your usual Christmas dinner ideas (chicken or turkey) or using any sort of chicken stock is out of the question. For me that was actually a good thing, I’ve never cooked a chicken or turkey by myself and I didn’t want to have to do it for the first time for 12 people or for a holiday.

I went with my family’s standard holiday favorite: Meatloaf. I used grass-fed beef and doubled this recipe. It is very east to make and the meat was still nice and juicy, I love the flavor that the glaze adds, but you could easily leave it off.

I ended up going with a couple of carb-filled sides. All of these ideas I had pinned to my pinterest boards for a while, and I needed to try them. This was the perfect place.

The first was a new-to-me risotto. I tried an asparagus and spring pea risotto last Easter. I decided to try one that was a bit more hearty for Christmas. I went with Kerstin’s French Onion Risotto. I doubled the recipe and I used swiss cheese instead fontina, mostly because the cost of the fontina was way more than I was willing to spend. This dish was a lot of the guests favorite side dish of the night. I liked it, but it was heavy for a risotto, and that coupled with a few other heavy dishes didn’t make it my favorite, but I would make it again!

The second was this lighter buffalo chicken mac & cheese. Obviously, I did not use chicken, I used ground pork, because the flavor profiles are most similar to chicken and because we already had plenty of ground beef with the meatloaf. I doubled this recipe and it turned out wonderfully, again it was a heavier dish, but I loved it and I wish I had some right now!

The third recipe is the creamy corn pudding with crispy onions and herbs. Ever since my date with Caitlin at Agave Grill I have been wanting to try my hand at making a type of corn pudding. This dish surpassed all of my expectations and I can’t wait to make it again. I left the herbs off the top, mostly because I forgot, but to me it didn’t make a difference. The pudding had that sweet and savory taste I was looking for without being overly heavy.

I also had a large salad and roasted brussel sprouts on the side… we needed some green up in here.

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For dessert we had the classic christmas cookie (at least in my house), the snickerdoodle, and I tried my hand at Baked by Rachel’s mini cookies & cream cheesecakes. The flavor was on point, but for some reason they didn’t bake up like Rachel’s did. All that matters is that they tasted good!

Make sure that you check out all the other great food recipes and ideas on Jenn’s blog for WIAW!


I apologize for the lack of pictures, it was my first time hosting & cooking 90% of the food (thanks mom for making sure the risotto made it from the recipe to the table) and I was a bit crazy and running late so pictures just didn’t happen. I hope you try some of these recipes, I fully endorse them all!

What are your favorite successful recipes from Pinterest?

The Cartographer of No Man’s Land: The relationship between Father and Son

I know my last Studio Poise post should be up today, but my month doesn’t end until Saturday, so I am saving that post for next week!

In case you didn’t know, in my pre-child life I was a teacher, more specifically I was a history teacher. The areas I loved to teach (and to continue to learn more about) are any War era, the 60’s & 70’s, the Cold War era. When I got the opportunity, via From Left to Write, to read and review The Cartographer of No Man’s Land by P.S. Duffy, I was ecstatic!

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When his beloved brother-in-law goes missing at the front in 1916, Angus defies his pacifist upbringing to join the war and find him. Assured a position as a cartographer in London, he is instead sent directly into the visceral shock of battle. Meanwhile, at home, his son Simon Peter must navigate escalating hostility in a fishing village torn by grief. With the intimacy of The Song of Achilles and the epic scope of The Invisible Bridge, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land offers a soulful portrayal of World War I and the lives that were forever changed by it, both on the battlefield and at home.

 

I haven’t finished the book yet (thank you UPS snafu) but I have read the majority of it. There are many different topics that come to mind when reading this, but the one I want to touch on is the relationship between a father and a son. I didn’t have any brothers, so I didn’t really encounter how this relationship could unfold on a day-to-day basis. I did however see the adult relationship between my dad and grandfather and between my uncles and their fathers.

For the most part these relationships were still “hard” for lack of a better word. The father(era) were stoic and sometimes cold to the son, and it was not even close to a relationship I had with either of my grandfathers. This is something I can see now, with some of the father son relationships that are in my life.

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I do hope this is a trend that is ending. I know that Nick and B have a very relaxed and fart-joke filled relationship. Nick is definitely the fun parent, I am the rule maker and enforcer ha. B has learned to love music and instruments just like his dad, and I am sure their bond will only get stronger as B gets older.

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While all parent-child relationships are important, I think it is okay to let our sons know that men can have healthy relationships with other people, men and women. By having an open and communicative relationship with his father, I only hope that B continues to have wonderful relationships and role models with the men in his life.

What do you think? Do father/son relationships seem cold, do you think that is changing?