The early-riser gets the squash

Fresh beans

If the early bird catches the worm, the early Meggie . . . buys all the produce?

(I’ll work on that one.)

When I moved in with Spencer last fall, many of his habits became my habits. I guess this is, you know, normal for couples? I don’t know. But if there’s one thing to know about my husband, it’s this: he appreciates time. Time for projects, professional and otherwise; time to maximize and time to waste. My guy works and plays in equal measure, and he accomplishes these things best by getting up early.

I didn’t function that way.

Growing up, my sister and I had an early-riser dad who would accomplish more before 8 a.m. than many folks would all day. He despises “lazy” behavior, and rarely let us sleep past 9 a.m. I admired his up-and-at-’em qualities, but the last thing a teenager wants is a parent busting in to break up their beauty sleep by imitating birdsong and flashing lights.

I once took after my mom, you see: a night owl. I thrived in the wee hours of the morning, staying up to write or read or study. I worked long shifts at the bookstore during my last two years of college, and the dark hours after midnight were sometimes the only ones I had to get stuff done. Especially when I was too busy running around with boyfriends to work on math problems during the day.

Lessons learned.

Now that I’m staring down age 29 (on Friday!), I sense a marked shift in my schedule these days. Spence likes to turn in early and rise with the sun, taking advantage of our weekends for projects and fun. This has increased exponentially since we bought the house, because there is always something to do. Like, always. Never mind that we’re only partly through several major changes, like installing hardwood floor upstairs; the base level of laundry/dishes/vacuuming is enough to keep us moving much of the day.

And we don’t even have children yet.

Somebody hold me.


Lately? With my mind churning, a huge to-do list, a new house to nail into and paint? I’m all too happy to oblige Spencer’s go-getter attitude. I’ve started waking up at 6:30 a.m. without an alarm clock, even on Saturdays, and feel most productive before lunchtime. I crank out emails, tear through work projects, make lists upon lists and color code them all. It’s pretty awesome, actually — and only partly attributable to caffeine. Though coffee is awesome.

Last weekend was crazy, and we had more than enough to keep ourselves occupied. We hosted the annual family birthday party for my dad, my sister and me on Sunday (our birthdays are within a week of each other), which meant Saturday had to be spent cleaning, organizing and de-boxing whatever we could de-box in an effort to make the place look somewhat less crazy. We succeeded, I think, and the party was great! So much food, great family, delicious pasta salad.

But before all that, we hit the farmers’ market.

I’m kind of obsessed with vegetables. Since starting Weight Watchers last year and getting serious about healthy eating, I’ve learned all kinds of ways to prepare them that are addictive. Finding fresh, local produce at a reasonable price is fantastic, and we’ve stopped by the local farmers’ market twice in the last few weeks for all kinds of goodies.

And I bought a fruit bowl — a big, white, gorgeous fruit bowl. I keep it overflowing . . . and it is glorious. One of the earliest WW tips we received was to surround yourself with good food — food that’s good for you, food you actually like — and to have it front and center, where your eyes will always gravitate to it. No candy dish, you know?

That’s my fruit bowl.

By 10 a.m. on Saturday, we had met friends for breakfast, gone for produce at the farmers’ market and gotten a full grocery order for party foods and beyond, then gone home to unload it all and start party prep. We did so much before noon (Spencer installed a toilet! I did all the laundry!) that I kind of want to slack off for the rest of the day, but I forced myself to quit the laziness.

Also, I drank a lot of Diet Coke.

In terms of our haul, we came home with squash and zucchini, red onion and sweet peppers, bright red cherry tomatoes and baby varieties in purple, yellow, pink. For less than $10, we had enough veggies to last us the week — though most were chopped for salads and sides before the day was out.

I feel impossibly grown-up when I’m chopping vegetables. On a real cutting board. With an actual knife. It’s very soothing.

And then I nearly cut off the tip of a finger and feel ridiculous again (“Who let me use this knife?!”), but . . . y’know, that’s okay.

I’m learning.

And I have squash — and Spence — to thank for it.

30 thoughts on “The early-riser gets the squash

    • So good, Kathy! Makes me want to get up even earlier during the week, actually, to crank stuff out before work. Imagine what could get accomplished . . .


  1. I wish I could get up early I really do. My partner wakes at 6am everyday, it hasn’t rubbed off on me at all yet and I’ve lived with him for 2 years…. :-/ FOREVER LAZY 😀


  2. I have a very strong love/hate relationship with waking up early. I love getting these accomplished and done before noon, checking off my to-do list with plenty of time for fun is so satisfying! But I also hate the fact that I didn’t sleep in. Oh well!
    Happy birthday week!


    • Thank you! And I definitely know what you mean. It’s a push/pull between wanting extra sleep and needing to crank things out, but I tend to prefer the latter. And if I polish off the to-do list early enough, I can goof around without a hint of guilt! 🙂


  3. Our garden is spitting out squash, GIANT zucchini, and cherry tomatoes like crazy, and it’s been a challenge to figure out what the heck to do with them! I’m coming up with some new and interesting dishes and incorporating them into existing ones in new and interesting ways. I’ll share some of that over the next few “Weekend Cooking” installments. After I had G my schedule shifted to much earlier in the day, and now I can’t shake the feeling of awesome productivity in the mornings. Woo!


    • Ooh, can’t wait for your posts! Totally jealous of your garden. Though we were too late in the game to start planting when we got the house this year, I’m going to read up and plan to curate a little garden next spring! I’ve never gardened in my life, so we’ll see if I have any luck . . . but with your giant zucchini and other awesome eats, sounds like I know who to turn to for help 🙂


  4. Chopping veggies and feeling too mature…! Never thought about it that way although the feeling is most definitely lurking around subconsciously. The good news is that the more you eat these veges and less of the high-caloric affair, the better your mind and body becomes at snapping into action without even the aid of caffeine.


    • So true! Since becoming a veggie-aholic, I definitely feel and see the difference in my body — and I really miss them when I get off course and load up too much on starchy sides. I actually crave vegetables just like I would sugar . . . interesting, eh?


  5. Happy birthday in advance! I generally prefer waking up at around 8am, but since I’m doing summer hours currently, I need to be in at work by 7. Been waking up at 6.30 for two weeks now, and I love it! There’s nothing better than getting a lot of things done while the world is still sleeping!


    • That’s how I feel, too, Athira! We go on sunrise trips occasionally with our photography club, and having been out and at breakfast for hours before most people are even wiping their eyes is amazing. Of course, then I want to fall asleep by 10 a.m., but . . .


  6. Shawn and I are the same way, but opposite. Before we shacked up together, that guy would stay up so late. Like, past midnight, gasp! I love going to bed around 9:30, reading for a bit, and waking up around 6. He’s totally caught on to my schedule, and now if we go to bed past 10 he almost panics, “It’s getting so late Nat, we gotta get to bed!” Works out great, because we get so much done in the mornings when everyone else is snoozing away. That is almost my favorite time to grocery shop! The shelves are perfectly stocked and there are no crowds. The best!


    • Ooh, yes — so right about the grocery store. We were there around 9 a.m. on Saturday and loved the empty aisles! I hate crowds and get anxious in chaotic environments, so getting out and about in the morning definitely works best for me. Too funny about Shawn nearly panicking — cute!


  7. I wish my early morning habit would rub off. But it seems like he will always be a night owl. Though, he never worries about being late to work anymore. I do love having the quiet time to myself; walking the dog, reading emails, taking pictures. I feel like sunlight should never be wasted


    • Sunlight shouldn’t be wasted — I love that! And agree. Sometimes I need to remind myself to actually sit and slow down, but that’s typically just in the evenings. Quiet time is the best!


  8. I was a lot like you. Always up late, struggled to get up in the mornings. Didn’t take a college class before 10:00 if I could help it. Then I got married and had children. Wow. Now, I’m a morning person. I love getting up before everyone else and accomplishing so much. Although, I will admit that this summer, I have let myself sleep in much more than normal and I find I am less productive on those days.

    Love a great farmers market!


  9. My boyfriend almost never gets out of bed after 830 or 9 am at the latest. I doze until 1030 or 11 and it feels SO GOOD. I can’t fall asleep before 10 if you paid me. Usually closer to 11 or midnight. Night owl for life!


  10. Are those peaches I see!? All of ours in my area in PA got frosted and I am so jealous!! There’s just nothing like fresh produce. I was going to post tonight about all I canned and froze today, but I can’t possibly go another moment haha 🙂


  11. I love reading along with the lessons you’re picking up in marriage 🙂 Yay for farmer’s markets + finished laundry before noon. When I met my boyfriend, I slowly pulled him into my routine of waking up very early to get everything done, then having tons of time for fun + play all afternoon. It took some adjusting, but he seems to like it! Here’s hoping you continue to have awesome early-morning weekends + conquered to-do lists.


  12. I’m a night owl too and, unfortuantely, that didn’t really change when Gage came along. He gets up between 6-6:30 every day and that means I must be ready to present myself to the world at the point because there is no more me-time. That is why I am often seen in yoga pants with no makeup until after I drop him off for school/camp at 8 or 9 🙂 Getting up early makes you accomplish stuff BUT only if you’ve had time to shower. Just warning you for later 😉


  13. I’ve been a night owl all my life but now that I have a baby…all that has changed! Luckily it means we’re the first at the farmer’s market. : ) Have you ever looked into joining a CSA? We belong to one and we get all kinds of vegetables we must learn to cook with. I love it. I feel like you and Spencer would too.


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