Friday, September 30, 2011

The Year We Left Home

O.k. for the bookies in my reading group please ignore this post if you are reading or planning to read this month's Oct book club book. 

I decided to go ahead and post about this book, because I truly want to move on from it. 
The Year We Left Home
I didn't get it.  I didn't get the title of the book after having read all 325 pages.  Here is the quick detail from goodreads about the book
 
From National Book Award finalist Jean Thompson comes a mesmerizing, decades-spanning saga of one ordinary American family—proud, flawed, hopeful— whose story simultaneously captures the turbulent history of the country at large.
 
I just really didn't get this book.  I struggled throughout the book to become connected to any of the multiple characters in the book.  I struggled to figure out what the point was and I struggled to figure out what I was missing.  This author and the book had many rave reviews and I just couldn't figure out why.  Maybe I'm not intellectual enough.  Maybe I totally missed the boat on this one, but all I can say is I'm happy to be moving onto my "Marathon of Reading"- starting with Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. 

Fastinista

So along with my lofty goal of running 1,000+ miles next year I also plan to refit my wardrobe with new running clothes. This outfit is my start to refit the running wardrobe. I found it at Kohl's. It is nike technical shirt with these nifty little thumb holes which worked out great during my windy run (note pic of grass blowing sideways). The top fit great and technical is the way I roll these days- no more cotton tshirts if I don't have to. The pants fit like a glove and mommy butt and gut didn't look bad in them :). What you don't see is the new bra. I've been running too long in some of my fav support systems and need to take the plunge into the wallet and spend $ on these oh so important supports.

This outfit is pretty matchy matchy for me in a sporty way. Don't think I'll ever be caught running in skirt or dress. Even though nike gear and support friend is champion after using the oh so famous kohls cash, 20% total bill coupon, and already discounted Nike gear the wallet didn't feel to unfriendly.

Also shared a pic of the nature preserve sign- great place to run if you are ever in the neighborhood.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mommy Project 52: Caring

So I find it a tad bit ironic that the first topic I join in on for the Mommy Project 52 is Caring.  I find this ironic for two reason: 1. I'm sitting right now with my dad while he gets his last chemotherapy treatment.  I won't go into details of his cancer, but it came as a shock to me when he was diagnosed and I wanted to be with him during each chemotherapy treatment as a way to care for him and my mom.   Now, I have no intention in turning this into a post about cancer so will leave it at that. 2. I also find this topic making me write a more personal post than I have in the past.  Don't get me wrong I can be pretty chatty, but this post makes me address a recent feeling/thought I had in regard to my blog.  I just was telling my BRB (best running buddy) the other day that I worry that my posts are not interesting or are too personal for those who read. What I mean is I'm writing on things I want to write about and was becoming apprehensive that I'm making/forcing readers to read about boring, too personal, silly topics.  Well this post topic makes me come to terms with the fact that I am truly doing this BLOG as a way to write, get my ideas, passions, goals out and also to connect with anyone who is interested- but ultimately this BLOG is for me.  I of course hope to entertain and connect with other readers, but if not that is o.k.  So here it goes... Caring.

My parents are both very caring and have instilled a sense of how you should care for others.  My dad, being a man, cared for his daughters in a way that he felt comfortable and most knowledgeable in- Sports, Family, and Church.  Sports- caring came by the way in which he signed up to coach sugar n' spice softball teams each year we participated.  He had this knack for taking teams that were average or below average and made them into competitive teams.  He always gave every girl a fair try and knew just how to put the right girls in the right place to help them succeed to her best ability. He cared by treating the team to ice cream after wins at the local dairy hut.  He cared by going to every sporting event my sister and I were ever in. He would drive all over to each and every away game and sit on hard bleachers or out in cold, rainy Spring weather for our softball games.  He allowed us to go to every sport camp we could go to in the summer.  He cared by being involved. 

He also showed us caring by being focused on the importance of family.  His family all lives in Northern Virginia and yet his family, my uncles and aunt and grandparents were a huge part of my childhood and current life.  As you remember my sister and I traveled with my dad to VA this past Spring Break with our kids to enjoy "farm life" and see the relatives.  My dad always has made seeing friends and family a priority and hence I think why I  myself will drive our family all over kingdom come just to spend time with our family and friends no matter the length of time.  This type of caring is reciprocal, because in caring to get to see your relatives or family members you hence gain great memories and feel important to those who may not just live a block away or just across town.  My dad's caring for his family in VA made me realize that no matter the distance you can indeed have an everyday life that involves your family no matter where they are.

Church- my dad is not boisterous with his beliefs on god or religion, but he truly does care deeply about his church and cares deeply about helping others -as those of us who attended Sunday School remembering Jesus did. Again- not trying to make this a Religious Advertisement or getting to "Godly" on you- just stating that by watching the numerous years my dad has volunteered to be Sunday School teacher, church treasurer, volunteer at local Homeless Shelter, church clean up, etc-  he showed me how you can care for others through another avenue in your life- Church.

As I sit here with dad, today, I am so grateful for how he cared for my sister and I in our Sport endeavors.  I don't know if I would be the runner I am today if I hadn't done sports as a child.  I also love that I will drive all over kingdom come to see family and friends and thank him for this characteristic.  I don't think I will ever be as active in Church as he has been. I do think being apart of Church life for me and the kids is something I need and in a way is how I care for myself and see the bigger picture of caring for others.  I leave you with three photos- the first my dad as a child, the second his high school graduation picture and the third a picture of dad with the grandkids on our Spring Break Trip.   Life has a funny way of bringing in perspective what is important and over the last few months dealing with his diagnosis and treatment has brought to light, for me, just how valuable life is.  Thanks for caring Dad!











Mommy Project 52

I really liked this idea when I found it during one of my recent readings of another runner's blog (  http://hotconfidence.blogspot.com ) .  I love reading about other women/mom's running blog posts/ideas and found a cute little button on the side of her blog that said Mommy's Project 52.  Intrigued I clicked on her Mommy's Project 52 and found this other Blog which had the following idea/project.  I've decided to participate, because I like the idea of being forced to write one post a week decided by someone else. This will hence make me write about something I would otherwise never think to write on.  So here goes the list- I've started a little late so will continue to follow their schedule- maybe I'll go back and write a quick one or two liner on past subjects.  We'll see.  The following taken directly from Mommy Project 52 initial blog: http://www.babiesdesignfood.com/

How it works:
Starting on August 4, 2011 we will all post once a week on our own blogs on Thursdays by using the words below  (as listed by date) as inspiration for the rest of your post.  Example:  Your first post will be.  "Mommy's Project 52:1  Teaching".  From there it's all up to you how you want to interpret it... it just has to be something creative.  You can post a "teaching" picture.  You can tell a funny story that has something to do with teaching.  Write a poem.  Post a sock puppet video on U-tube.  Sing a song. Draw a picture.  Bake a cake.  Tell a joke.  Share your advice on the subject.  Do a dance... whatever your little heart desires.  Link up your blog below so we can all see what you come up with each week.  Checking out each others blog is going to be half the fun of this project.  I'm also going to link all participating blogs at the end of each project 52 post I write.

You can start anytime, I just ask that you follow the schedule below when you start so that we are all on the same theme each week. 

  1. teaching (08/04/11)
  2. silly (08/11/11)
  3. challenging (08/18/11)
  4. dirty (08/25/11)
  5. loving (09/01/11)
  6. crazy (09/08/11)
  7. selfless (09/15/11)
  8. happiness (09/22/11)
  9. caring (09/29/11)  This is where I'm joining
  10. cleaning (10/06/11)
  11. rewarding (10/13/11)
  12. time out (10/20/11)
  13. bathing (10/27/11)
  14. fixing (11/03/11)
  15. nap time (11/10/11)
  16. organizing (11/17/11)
  17. leading (11/24/11)
  18. styling (12/01/11)
  19. folding (12/08/11)
  20. cooking (12/15/11)
  21. shopping (12/22/11)
  22. working (12/29/11)
  23. dressing (01/05/12)
  24. playing (01/12/12)
  25. making (01/19/12)
  26. networking (01/26/12)
  27. saving (02/02/12)
  28. dancing (02/09/12)
  29. family (02/16/12)
  30. spiritual (02/23/12)
  31. singing (03/01/12)
  32. tradition (03/08/12)
  33. musical (03/15/12)
  34. outdoors (03/22/12)
  35. smelly (03/29/12)
  36. colorful (04/05/12)
  37. pretending (04/12/12)
  38. emotional (04/19/12)
  39. flexible (04/26/12)
  40. natural (05/03/12)
  41. entertaining (05/10/12)
  42. sharing (05/17/12)
  43. speaking (05/24/12)
  44. sweet (05/31/12)
  45. thankful (06/07/12)
  46. beautiful (06/14/12)
  47. respectful (06/21/12)
  48. loud (06/28/12)
  49. sad (07/05/12)
  50. forgetful (07/12/12)
  51. responsible (07/19/12)
  52. active (07/26/12)
At the end you will have a nice collection of memories from an entire year.  Maybe I'll show it to Ava someday when I need some serious mommy guilt powers on my side.  "What, you want to do what???  But .. but... look at how I use to freeze perfectly square cubes of fresh organic veggies for you when you were a baby"...  hehehe...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Year in Provence

The first part here taken from good old Barnes and Noble- overview of book:
 
National Bestseller 
In this witty and warm-hearted account, Peter Mayle tells what it is like to realize a long-cherished dream and actually move into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs. He endures January's frosty mistral as it comes howling down the Rhône Valley, discovers the secrets of goat racing through the middle of town, and delights in the glorious regional cuisine. A Year in Provence transports us into all the earthy pleasures of Provençal life and lets us live vicariously at a tempo governed by seasons, not by days.

Annotation

An entertaining account of a year in Provence spent in a remote 200 year old French farmhouse. Told by an escapee from the advertising world.
_______________________________________________________________________________
Well I'm not able to go to Book Club this week and how I will miss my Bookies.  They always add warmth to my heart and knowledge to my brain through our discussions.  This book was a book I had suggested and I'm very sad that I will be missing book club at Sherrie's this month due to the fact that she always goes over the top with yummy snacks and drinks for book club.  Our last book club at her house, I believe, was The Help. She had 1960's appetizers.  It was great!  So I'm sad to miss out on a book discussion and the food/drink that so heavily was entangled in this book.  I really enjoyed this book and found the story light, easy to read, yet entertaining.  A theme of books I've read or are reading lately is haunting me:  3 of the last books I've read have either a date and year or just a year/month which breaks up the chapters of the book.  This book did the same with every chapter a different month of their "year in Provence".  This book also made me again want to take the plunge and travel.  I've been preoccupied with France lately and it is a definite "to do" on my "bucket list".  This book made me want to learn French.  I don't know whether that will ever happen- listened to a Learn French Podcast the other day and was totally lost.  So for now- au voir!

Friday, September 23, 2011

15 minutes outside


I picked this book up when the kids, Matt, Grandma Randy and I visited the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL.  This book wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be- I thought it was going to be Nonfiction story of this lady/author leaving her corporate life to start her own business Rebecca Plants, LLC.  She started this business which she helps people design gardens for their own yard.  Along with this change the introduction talks about how she realizes that she would like to make a New Year's Resolution to spend fifteen minutes outside with her children each and every day.  Each chapter was a month of the year/season.  Each chapter started out with this Nonfiction story line (which I enjoyed), but quickly moved to ideas for outdoor activities each month/season.  Some of the ideas were not new to me ( I skimmed over these parts), but I did enjoy a lot of resources/references she wrote about throughout the book.  I list below some o f my favorites from the book.   Overall good read, not quite what I thought it was going to be, but definitely motivated me to spend more time outside with my kids.

http://www.rebeccaplants.com/ (her own site which is full of tons of info on plants, gardening tips, activities to do outside, etc).

www.monarchwatch.org/waystations

http://www.nwf.org/ National Wildlife federation

http://www.pocketnaturalist.com/ help you find retailer in your area that sell pocket guides for different topics (animal tracts, butterflies, flowers, weeds, animals)

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/

http://www.backyardcampout.org/ 

goexplorenature.blogspot.com

http://www.moonconnection.com/ I really liked the interactive moon phase calendar.

Two books related to the sky night I hope to check out soon:

Stars: A Guide to the Constellations, Sun, Moon, Planets and Other Features of the Heavens (A Golden guide) [Paperback]

Robert H. Baker (Author), Herbert Spencer Zim (Author), James Gordon Irving (Illustrator


   The Kids Book of Night Sky by Ann Love

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Wish list...

I won this spiral notebook, the size of my hand ,one year from the local library through a "read four books in February contest".  I've only been able to complete this task 2 out of the four February's I've signed up for the contest.

First off reading four books in February has been challenging for me over the last few years, no idea why.  I understand it is the shortest month of the year, but why I always gravitate towards one very long or one very short, but intense/philosophical- "have to actually pay attention when reading" book each February is beyond me.  Anyways, this spiral notebook is a book which allows me to keep lists of books I want to read, kids books "wish list", music for the kids, and web sites I want to visit- normally related to some kid topic.  I love adding to this list, but feel like I never really bite into the "wish list".  When writing the name of the book down in my book I really do believe that I will someday read the book.  Well my list is getting longer and longer and I'm not crossing too many of the books off my list.  So after the marathon I plan to embark on another marathon.  I have 10 books I've picked from my list that I would like to read within lets say the next 4 months.  10 over 4 months doesn't sound too bad, but the kicker is these books can't include any of my book club books- so really 13 books (we take Dec off from book club) in the next 4 months. I think this actually might be a little above me to complete in 4 months, but you know me and setting goals.

 So here they are.  The first one is a recent addition to my "wish list" and I highly recommend looking at this lady's blog.  I first heard about her in the Sunday NY Times Art and leisure.  The story really struck a chord in my heart and I find her idea of reading as therapy for the loss of her sister something I could actually see myself doing. 

1. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair:  My Year of Magical Reading
You know me always copying from other's here is the book description found on her http://www.readallday.org/about_tolstoy.html site. 

Nina Sankovitch has always been a reader. As a child, she discovered that a trip to the local bookmobile with her sisters was more exhilarating than a ride at the carnival. Books were the glue that held her immigrant family together. When Nina's eldest sister died at the age of forty-six, Nina turned to books for comfort, escape, and introspection. In her beloved purple chair, she rediscovered the magic of such writers as Toni Morrison, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ian McEwan, Edith Wharton, and, of course, Leo Tolstoy. Through the connections Nina made with books and authors (and even other readers), her life changed profoundly, and in unexpected ways. Reading, it turns out, can be the ultimate therapy.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair also tells the story of the Sankovitch family: Nina's father, who barely escaped death in Belarus during World War II; her four rambunctious children, who offer up their own book recommendations while helping out with the cooking and cleaning; and Anne-Marie, her oldest sister and idol, with whom Nina shared the pleasure of books, even in her last moments of life. In our lightning-paced culture that encourages us to seek more, bigger, and better things, Nina's daring journey shows how we can deepen the quality of our everyday lives—if we only find the time.

The second line of the first paragraph had me hooked.  My mother has talked about going to the bookmobile as a child and finding reading as a way to escape. 

2. My friend Wikipedia for next one- I've wanted to read this for awhile and have avoided due to page length (515), but I've decided page length sometimes means nothing if it is a great book.

Sophie's Choice is a novel by William Styron published in 1979. It concerns a young American Southerner, an aspiring writer, who befriends the Jewish Nathan Landau and his beautiful lover Sophie, a Polish (but non-Jewish) survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. An immediate bestseller and the basis of a successful film, the novel is often considered both Styron's best work and a major novel of the twentieth century. The difficult decision that shapes the character Sophie is sometimes used as an idiom. A "Sophie's Choice" is a tragic choice between two unbearable options.
Sophie's Choice won the National Book Award for fiction in 1980.

3. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss- main character writes his long-lost love a book written for the one he loves to read, but is  then published without his knowledge and goes onto change the lives of others. 

4. The Mercy Rule by Perri Klass
At first glance, Dr. Lucy Weiss looks like the typical high-achieving, upper-middle-class working mother who, along with her husband, is bringing up much-beloved children in a world of Saturday morning soccer, private-school teacher conferences, and hyperaggressive classroom mommies. But Lucy's own history makes her an anomaly. Having overcome a difficult childhood in foster care, she is what's called a super-survivor, a kid who grew up in the margins. Now a pediatrician, Lucy finds herself working with some of these same at-risk patients and their families.
The Mercy Rule is a novel about the all-important job of taking care of children. Lucy's work takes her back into the world of families living on the edge, where every day she must decide whether parents' actions are so incompetent--or so flaky--that their children are in danger. It's her job to make the call and to step in when she has to. As she moves between her disparate worlds--from worrying about her own brilliant but odd son being labeled with a diagnosis to worrying about parents struggling with drugs and impossible living situations--Lucy must judge herself as a parent, critique other parents, and also deal with the echoes of her childhood.
Watching Lucy try to keep the balance, enjoy her own children, and look at other families with humor and justice and mercy, readers will understand why Chris Bohjalian said of Perri Klass, "Few writers write as beautifully or as authentically about parenting."

5. Another thanks to my friend Wiki below:

The Bonesetter's Daughter, published in 2001, is Amy Tan's fourth novel. Like much of Tan's work, this novel deals with the relationship between an American-born Chinese woman and her immigrant mother.
This book is actually called The Bonecutter's Daughter because the principal was a Chinese medicine man who prescribed slivers of dragon's bone to his patients. There is no bonesetting anywhere in this novel.
The Bonesetter's Daughter is divided into two major stories. The first is about Ruth, a Chinese-American woman living in San Francisco. She worries that her elderly mother, Lu Ling, is gradually becoming more and more demented. Lu Ling seems increasingly forgetful, and makes bizarre comments about her family and her own past.
The second major story is that of Lu Ling herself, as written for Ruth. Several years earlier, Lu Ling had written out her life story in Chinese. Ruth arranges to have the document translated, and learns the truth about her mother's life in China.

6. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck ( don't think I need to describe this one)

7. The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon
following copied from Barnes and Noble review of book

Publishers Weekly

This brisk romantic mystery, set in post-WWI London, begins with a situation worthy of E.M. Forster as Evelyn Gifford and her family receive a visit from a nurse and a young boy who claim to be the wartime lover and child of Evelyn's late brother. Evelyn has little time to ponder the implications: a lawyer in training, she is pressed into service when her firm takes the case of a war veteran accused of murdering his wife and burying her body in the woods (along with all incriminating evidence). Evelyn believes in the man's innocence and tries to unearth new evidence that will exonerate him, but complicating her investigation are Nicholas Thorne, a handsome but engaged attorney whom Evelyn falls for, and the nurse, Meredith, who, having moved in with the Gifford family, begins to force Evelyn out of her settled existence. Despite these distractions, Evelyn doggedly follows a trail of clues leading back to a wartime coverup. In this determinedly old-fashioned novel of tangled mystery and morality, Evelyn makes for a smart and resolutely modest heroine. (Feb.)
8. The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostokova
again following copied from B&N review...
Andrew Marlow, a psychiatrist, has a perfectly ordered life—solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when the renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes Marlow's patient.
When Oliver refuses to talk or cooperate, Marlow finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this silent genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver and toward a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.
Moving from American museums to the coast of Normandy, from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love, THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (again don't think I need to describe this one)

10. Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy
below taken from books by Pat Conroy site.  I picked this one due to the fact that my favorite book of all time is Beach Music and yet I have only recently read one of his other books "South of Broad" which was phenomenal. 
THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE is a novel about coming of age, brotherhood, betrayal, and a man's forging of his own personal code of honor. The scene is the venerable Carolina Military Institute in Charleston, in the fall of 1966. The first black cadet has been admitted to the college, and Will McLean, a senior on the cadets' honor court, is asked to keep an eye on him. There is a rumor that a secret organization, The Ten, may be trying to run the black student off campus.
An outsider by nature, Will plays basketball for a school that prizes military prowess but belittles athletics. He riles his gung-ho, conservative roommates by daring to question the escalating Vietnam war. Off campus, though, he is less sure of himself, in his tender but uncertain romance with the haunting Annie Kate Gervais, a native of the classically beautiful Charleston — with its Federal mansions and fragrant gardens — that captivates and threatens the country boy in Will.
THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE shows us cadets desperate to prove they are men in a regimented, cruel world — and one determined to be a man in is own way, whose search for the truth ultimately leads him and his beloved friends into tragic conflict with a corrupt system.
Right in humor and suspense, abounding in a rare honesty and generosity of feeling, and written with magnificent force of language, this novel established Pat Conroy as one of the strongest fictional voices in a generation.

I hope to keep you posted on my goal of reading these books within the next four months.  If interested in reading along with me let me know :).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

20 miles and still standing

I'm happy to have my 20 miler done for this season's Chicago Marathon training plan.  Even though I was suppose to do 3 of these in my original training plan I am happy that I was able to do just one.  My little fish tank mishap back in June side lined me for a month and as my running partner reminded me this a.m. "Did you ever think you would be running 20 back in June"- Nope I didn't think I'd be able to run that distant, but I have.  I'm thankful for my hubby who put my training schedule together and of course for his support on all of my long run days.  I'm also thankful that my running partner joined me on the last 12 miles of my run today, and all the other miles she has done with me in training. 

Today was gameday in Iowa City- Hawkeye Nation. I actually love running on gamedays in Iowa City.  It is another thing to keep me preoccupied with during those long runs.  I also loved the weather this a.m- cool.  In capris, hat, gloves, longsleeve technical with a short sleeve technical I was quite comfortable.  Now it is down hill from here: a 12 miler next weekend and then an 8 miler the weekend before Chicago.  My plan is to stay healthy, finish my training schedule and throw some stretching/yoga in there- felt kind of tight today.  Looking forward to Chicago Oct 9th. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Irony in it

So only a few hours ago I put this post out about "Take the Time" and some parenting hints I've found in my latest Parents mag that really hit home.  So soon after that post I went and picked up son from 1st grade and proceeded, with my big 30% off coupon to Kohl's.  Not 5 minutes into the shoe department, where the kids and I were headed to get new tennis shoes and church shoes, but what happens- I turn around and there is no Kate.  She's gone, vanished.  I figured she was just hiding on me so didn't panic.  Told Mason to stay where he was with the shoes he found and the cart and my purse and I went looking.  This older mother started helping me to after she saw me walking the same path for the 3rd time calling for Kate.  I told Mason again to stay where I was and that I was going up to the counter to ask for assistance.  While standing there a man approached me with the other mom who was helping me look for Kate and he says into his mouth piece "I've found the mom".  I was soon reunited with Kate who had wandered off to the opposite end of the store to do a little "toy shopping".  I was furious, but relieved.  Guess I need to follow that last post and take a deep long breath.  Ironic isn't it- someone out there must have known what was ahead for me this afternoon and knew I needed to write what I did in the past post as a reminder to myself to "not beat myself up" and "Take the Time".  Hope this isn't a foreshadowing of the weekend ahead of me. 

Take the Time

Take the Time Mindfulness for Kids by Maud Roegiers
This book was amazing.  It is great for both parents and children.  It is a reminder about how we all need to take a breath every once in awhile, look around and enjoy where we are at.  As the inside cover/jacket reads.... Both parent and child can learn to "experience the experience" rather than rushing from one thing to another.  I plan to add this to my Books I love For Kids List and will purchase this book in the near future.  The artwork was very cute too. 
Front Cover

To go along with this Take the Time mantra I enclose some recent parenting tips I've read/found in various magazines/newspapers etc.  Some of the comments were a slap in the face, because I was not always being the mom I should be...

Lessons from a Zen Mommy- your life Mental Health Parents Aug 2011
1. Do what you're doing while you're doing it. Mom translation: Stop multitasking. So I fail at this a lot because I'm always trying to cram too much into my days, especially my days off.  I feel like in order to stay sane I need to clean the house, while at the same time feel like I'm playing with my daughter so while cleaning I am having her do an activity, but at the end of the day I'm really just cleaning and finding something for her to do- which isn't bad, but I realize I spend way less one-on-one time with her than I wish I did. 

2. Leave no trace. Mom translation: Take responsibility for yourself and your mess. And teach your child to do the same.  I do o.k. with this one- not feeling a slap in the face about this comment, but need to remember to have the kids pick up instead of me picking up after them, to shorten the time it takes- I do find myself doing that sometimes: it's easier if I just do it- instead of waiting for them to do it.

3. Take just the right amount. Mom translation: Limit acquiring too much stuff. Oh to downsize... I started about a month ago going through my desk/scrapbook area downstairs and if my kids have too many little "happy meal" like toys, then I have too many odds and ends when it comes to scrapbooking, which I really haven't touched since oh- Kate being 9 months old.  I know this date due to the fact that her 1st year of life baby/scrapbook is still missing months 9, 10, 11, and 12.  Yep she is 3- and yes I feel guilty about not having it done- but obviously not that guilty, because it still isn't complete.

4. Practice patience. Mom translation: don't beat yourself up over things. OUCH! total slap in the face because I do this all the time.  Have to include more from the article it really spoke to me. 
Of course we all want to be perfect.  And we want our kids to be perfect too- responsible, generous, polite, nice.  However, it's a life's work to become a decent human being.  Because our kids are constantly changing, we're always total beginners.  We all need time to learn, make mistakes and start over.  But we live in an impatient world, and many of us- women especially- tend to beat ourselves up when we feel like we've fallen short. I need to read, reread, and reread this part of this post because I'd be a happier person if I practiced more patience. 

They also put in some home practices for Zen Moms- here they are:
Develop Rituals-can be small everyday starts to the day- sitting with your kids and talking about one goal to accomplish for the day
Count Your Blessings
Remember to Breathe- There is no underestimating the power of truly allowing yourself to simply be a few times a day. 

In this same August Parents 2011- they had an article about Discipline Mistakes All Moms Make which I found to be a good follow-up to the above Zen Mom makeover.  What I pulled from that one...We're all talk and no action The fix: Set limits and follow through. Sounds easy, but I don't always feel like I'm doing this consistently so was a good reminder to see it in writing. We expect too much from our kids. The Fix: Play teacher. Their examples were instead of getting upset realize the child's age, what behavior should be appropriate and then model what you expect of them- i.e. expecting a toddler to sit through church on Sunday without making a peep not realistic so you/mom needs to realize that your expectations need to be lowered and the church time will go better.  We model behavior we don't want to see. The Fix: Apologize and take a do-over. There's a boomerang effect to behavior. If we yell, our kids probably will too.  Yep I fall into this trap to and again just need to be reminded once in awhile about my own behavior and what little "back seat" driver is watching me and learning how to act from me. We intervene when our kids simply annoy us. The Fix: Ignore selectively.  Often, parents feel the need to step in every time kids do something, well kid-like.  Again guilty as charged.  My husband is much better at ignoring the constant sibling banter, but it drains on me so I nip it in the bud much more frequently hence am constantly intervening.  Although it will still annoy me I will try and make lesser interruptions into sibling play.  Maybe buy some earplugs.  We're too negative. The Fix: Ask for the behavior you want to see.  Another big slap in the face.  We all can get pretty negative and I need to along with practicing my zen patience need to also improve my momitude (yep I think that's a word). 

If anything writing this post was a reminder for me of all the things I've to work on- Whew! tired already, but if it makes me a happier mom and hence have happier kids it is worth it.  Make sure you "Take the Time" this weekend.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What a Weekend

Matt, Mason, Kate and I have traveled a lot this weekend.  Kate and I started on Wednesday evening of last week driving home to Oswego so I could be home with parents.  Kate enjoyed spending time with the grandparents.  Then Friday afternoon Papa Chris, Kate and I drove to my sister's in Mishiwaka (sp?) near South Bend.  We went to the Fort Wayne Snider Panthers vs Penn Kingsmen.  Back story- Snider Panthers football team was coached by Matt's Uncle for a long time.  He now is the athletic director at Snider High School and attends as many of his team's sporting events as possible- including this past Friday's meeting.  My sister her two kidos, hubbie, Papa Chris, Kate and I jammed into the minivan and headed over to Penn High school for some real "friday night lights".  The field was one of the nicest high school football fields I've ever stepped foot on- artificial turf- should've taken a picture of that.  The outcome of the game wasn't the greatest Penn won by quite a bit.  It rained/drizzled throughout most of the 2nd and 3rd quarter.  The kids had a great time though.  They loved their VIP seats on the field, but also wanted to try out the stands and all agreed that their view of the field was much better up in the stands.  Here are the pics from Friday's adventures.
Uncle Russ, Carolyn, Kate and John

They are doing their game faces and linemen stances.

Go Snider- Aunt Melissa says

Mom- I'm hot stuff!


When we returned home Mason and Matt had arrived from Iowa- due to school and work obligations the boys had to drive separately for the weekend activities.

Saturday a.m. was a nice one.  The cousins were decked out in their team gear ND vs MI.  A lot of time outside that day for the munchkins.  While Matt and I were on the way to the game and/or having a lovely dinner at Arbor Brewery in Ann Arbor- great food- no drinky, drinky due to marathon training, but would like to go back sometime and try their strawberry blonde. Yum- kids were enjoying outdoors time at the Cobus Nature Preserve, eating shrimp and getting ready for the big game.  Some more pics.


Many comments on this pic- Mason is totally me- I tilt my head like that a lot in pictures, John Henry- So Cute!, Carolyn, while the kids played was cutting flowers from her mom's garden- again so cute, Last but not least Kate- I think her face tells you the kind of mood she was in "you are kidding me mom- you want me to do what?- smile- I don't think so".

I'm getting this one framed- how awesome is that tree
Love this- Despite rooting for different teams the cousins can put aside their differences and walk hand in hand through this beautiful world together :).

While all the above was going on Matt and I were enjoying our own fun- I could write a whole post on the game, but I need to wrap this up- The game was Priceless!
It was a game that I will remember for a long time.  At the end with :08 seconds left on the clock Denard throws it/lobs it into the right corner of the endzone for catch- my heart was racing and my legs were shaking for all the excitement of the game.  It was a wonderful win.  Even after the game ended no one wanted to leave. At least five songs were played and the yellow pom poms were still moving to the beat.  Old/young people were dancing/singing.  When Denard came back onto the field for post game interview the crowd went crazy.  It was a great game and so glad Matt and I could enjoy it together.  We ended our weekend by driving from Ann Arbor- South Bend to pick up kids- to Minooka Illinois to pick up our car from the grandparents and then onto Iowa.  We are all exhausted, but was a weekend so full of memories I couldn't wait to share them. 

Here are pics from the game.  Due to weather being questionable I only had my Iphone, so not the best pics, but glad I have something.


End of the game- all the yellow across from us is the student section.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Daily Mile

Well my blog page has changed a little due to me adding a widget called Daily Mile.  It tracks your activity and I think it is a fun tool.  It was fairly easy to set up and saves your profile- you can set up the look of your tracker.  Some of you running buddies who read my blog I will be sending you an invite and that way if interested in becoming my "friend" you can communicate back and forth to each other about your runs, bikes, swims, etc. I guess it is like Twitter and Facebook for athletes :).   I like the map your route and save your route profile in the DailyMile.  Even though I've been running some of the same routes for quite awhile I still sometimes forget the distance of a certain run.  This site lets you save the map, mileage and name the route.  Will be a great resource for me.  Here is the website :)http://www.dailymile.com/.

Women's Tech Tee 
They even have a store :)- love running tee

Also another great blog I found about a mom who runs: http://www.tallmomontherun.com/.  Now those of you who know me, know that I'm definitely not a Tall Mom on the Run, but I'm a mom on the run who was impressed with this mom's following challenge... Here it is- straight from her blog:

Tall Mom 1,000+++ Club 2011

Welcome to the Tall Mom 1,000+++ Club, for those who strive to Run 1,000 and BEYOND in 2011.

The Rules are simple:1. Run, walk, swim, shuffle, or crawl 1,000 Miles or more+++ in 2010! Miles by the power of your feet (or full body for swimming). Maybe you do not believe you can make 1,000 miles?? That is OK, sign up anyway everyone is welcome!!! Those of you Triathletes please come up with an equivalent you are happy with for bike miles and record as you see fit.

2. Keep track of your mileage, shortly after you sign up you will get a link to the shared spreadsheet. Be sure to keep your miles updated because there will be Check In Posts on Tall Mom every quarter. Also those who are close to their Goal will get extra entries into Tall Mom Giveaways.

3. Post the Club logo (Above) with a link to this Post somewhere on your Blog. If you do not have a Blog be sure to let people know you are taking on this challenge so they WILL cheer you on as you go.

4. Make it to your goal by January 1, 2012 and you will get recognition on Tall Mom with extra incentives as we go..
A little intimidated??Break it down in simple Math

1,000/12 months in a year= 83.33 Miles per month

1,000/52 weeks in a year= 19.23 Miles per week

1,000/365 days in a year= 2.74 Miles per day
**Maybe your goal is not 1,000, it may be less or more.. The Math is the same, just insert your number and calculate. It is VERY IMPORTANT to know your weekly/monthly mileage Goal to stay on track.

YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

So I think this may be on my "bucket list" for 2012.  DailyMile will be a great tool to help me track my mileage.  Again if anyone is interested in joining this endeavor with me let me know.  I'm assuming she will continue to do this yearly- she did it on her own in 2009,. then opened it up to public 2010 and 2011 is currently going.  Happy running!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cheapest therapy around

I ran this morning and did little over 5 miles. It was a good run- what constitutes a good run for me- little to no pain, cool temp, sunny, interesting things to look at,and combo of good music or lively conversation with running buddy. Matt and I ran the first 2.65 together while my father in-law biked back and forth passing us on the trail. Matt and I don't have much conversation when we run. Sometimes I wished we chit chatted more- which is long running "want" of mine in our life together. However today it was peaceful running side by side with minimal chatter.

Since I was chit chatting I listened to a podcast for another mother runner. The first one I listened to was focused on running challenges such as humidity, getting motivated to get out of bed and moving, and mental challenges during races. It was interesting how each of these women dealt with these topics. One is very competitive and the other is not. The one who is competitive seemed to verbalize that mental fatigue during race as just another hill to conquer. The less competitive one finds mental fatigue as basically the tallest hill ever to climb. She has no problem walking if needed during race or just daily run. The other sounded as if walking for her was ultimate defeat. I myself have walked more this summer in training than I have in previous summers of training. My justification is I really am amazed with the fact that despite missing month of June from running due to fish tank fall I've been able to train and get ready for Chicago.

At the end of my run today I thought of what my running buddy and I say a lot after,especially, long runs. Running is the cheapest therapy around. When I run with her we discuss life dreams,goals,disappointments, and frustrations. Even today without her listening to my podcast with these two women talking about running it just reconfirmed how running really makes me better in health, fitness and mental well being.

No I'm not getting any kick back from Dimity or Sara- authors of "run like a mother",but if you have time and want to listen to great discussion about running I highly recommend downloading these free podcasts. iTunes is where I found them by typing another mother runner into search. Happy running and listening.

Friday, September 2, 2011

That's what friends are for- Part II

No this isn't more mushy stuff about me becoming an adult and enjoying relationships with no expectations.

This part II is about how I love nights like last night for drinks and food. Wish I would have taken a picture of the appetizer I made. It was so yummy and easy I'm going to share the recipe despite no picture to back up it's goodness. I hate when cookbooks don't have pictures to compliment recipe ( Joy of Cooking not for me).

Baked Brie Pizza
premade pizza dough in refrigerator section (comes in can and u roll out :)
Brie cheese ( I used 7 oz)- sliced in 1/4 inch- 1/2 in sections
Pears (2 -skinned and in thin slices)
Small bag (1/4 cup) slivered almonds

Cook pizza dough- rolled out of course- at 425 for 7 min
Take out of oven and layer with Brie, pears on top of Brie and sprinkle with almonds. Increase oven to 450 and back into oven 7-10 min or until cheese melted.
Serve- so yummy! Going to be one of my new "go to" recipes.

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That's what friends are for

I'm always amazed when I stop to think about how truly lucky I am to have so many good friends in Iowa.  All of our family is out of state and so whether some of my friends like it or not, they have become our/my second family. 

I also am amazed when you reconnect with friends you haven't seen in a long time, but yet you start back up like not a minute has passed between your last conversation and the present. 

Last night I got together with four friends who have seen me through laughter, crying, sickness, frustration, low times, high times, birth of my kids, and still want to hang around me despite my not so great "foot in the mouth" episodes.  I had one of those "foot in the mouth" = "oh my god did that comment come out of my mouth"- "really you said WHAT" events last night.  I won't share the comment, because that isn't what is important, but I felt bad after I said what I said and if you know me, you know that I stew and stew over my stupidity and therefore when I woke up this morning still feeling embarrassed about my remarks I decided instead of lingering in my worried state I would just stop by this friend's house and apologize about my remark. (side note- I think that is a truly run-on sentence: my "editor" would probably say be more concise :)). 

You know friendship is an amazing thing.  I hadn't seen this friend  (the one I felt I hurt with my comment) in forever, and kind of thought we were bound for "the land of no return" with our relationship ( i unfortunately have extremely high expectation of friendship and friends and if I get disappointed or hurt I tend to distance myself from that friend/situation because I think they don't need me in their life)- however, after my apology, her great hug and forgiveness and really basically saying she didn't think twice about what I said- I realized that I need to do more of this in my life- meaning- I need to just accept when I make mistakes, apologize for them and move forward.  I also need to be around people who give me good energy, want to be around me and I need to stop analyzing my importance in their life.  I guess what I'm trying to say at the end of this post is as long as I'm happy and feel good around someone shouldn't that be enough and leave the expectations at the door. 

Two of the four friends I was with last night have told me that expectations are pretty much disappointments waiting to happen.  They are right!  So with that I will try harder to be happy with the great friends/relationships I have and try, try, try to enjoy life and leave the analyzing of relationships at the door.

Thanks to the great 4 I spent the night with last night!