Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last book and last run...

2013 has been a great year. Feel so truly blessed for so many different reasons. I did my last run of 2013 earlier today and just finished my last book/read of 2013- excellent book- "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I look forward to writing recaps of my reading and running of 2013, but for now I keep it simple and short.

Happy New Year- totally loving life and looking forward to making this an upcoming phenomenal year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

6 days to Xmas!

I'm ready. I am like a kid. I love Christmas.

I get that excitement that, if I weren't a tired mom/wife/professional, I'd likely not be able to fall asleep due to the anticipation. I love Christmas so I thought what better time to write my reasons for loving the season- so in no particular order here they are:
1. Hanging ornaments on the tree and reliving memories that come with those memories
2. Christmas cookie baking and eating
3. Pulling out the kid's Xmas books for bedtime reading
4. Xmas movies- Holiday Inn, White Christmas, The Bishop's Wife, the Holiday, Love Actually, Family Stone
5. Christmas Eve service when they lower the lights and you hold your candle (aka light stick now), and sing Silent Night
6.Chtistmas music24/7
7. Seeing the look on someone's face Xmas morning when they get that perfect gift
8. Getting xmas cards in the mail
9. Hearing that story- you know the one husband and wife  travel to Bethlehem and the search for shelter and of course the end product of a baby in a manger
10. Another excuse to have friends over and eat/drink and be merry
11. Stockings- loved them as kid and big surprise still love it as a big kid
12. Family - it not mattering whose house or what state we are in- just together

What's on your list?  Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

November Reads

This is even later than my running post for November.  I think with the move I just told my self that I had to "focus" on the task at hand and couldn't do my multi- project/ideas/thinking while moving.  So now it is mid December and I'm finally getting around to writing about what I read in November- again no particular order.

"Maisie Dobbs" by Jacqueline Winspear  This was the book club book and I thought it was O.K.  It was suppose to be a mystery, but I didn't feel like the mystery started until the last 1/4 of the book.  The first part read more like a novel and I enjoyed it, but I kept on thinking "when is this mystery going to start".  Some of the bookies liked it so much they went on to read others in this series- don't know that I will be traveling that path.

"How the Light Gets In"- 9th of the Inspector Armand Gamache books by Louise Penny.  I love these books, so much, that I really get sad when they end.  The mysteries are great, characters are real, and the relationships believable.  Read the first and keep on going in the series- you won't regret it. 

"Just Grace" by Charise Harper.  I've been trying to read some beginner chapter books with son and daughter (daughter wants to learn to read so badly like her big brother).  We picked this one because the 2nd Ivy and Bean was out. It was good and funny and enjoyable.  It is a series and we already have picked up the next one. 
"Ivy and Bean and the Ghost That Had to Go" by Annie Barrows.  This is the 2nd one and it was great.  Kids and I really enjoyed reading it.  Looking forward to the series.  It has been good book for my kids- two different ages/grades. 

So keeping it short- I need to get reading my current book.  It is a good one, but I'm kind of stalling because the plight of the protagonist is going in the wrong direction and I'm kind of scared to find out what is going to happen to her. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

November Running

Yep- you read it right- it is almost middle of December and I'm just now getting to posting about my fitness for November.  I totally have Xmas Brain so I'm likely forgetting something I wanted to write in this post 

My total mileage for November- 40 mi.  My year to date miles 733 mi.

I ran 11 times in the month of November.
I did weights 7 days.
I swam 2 and spun 2. 

So lower mileage, but pretty active overall.  I always seem to struggle to find that "balance" in a lot of things in life, and why should running/fitness be any different?  I want to keep up the mileage and yet also do all the other cross training and I just can't seem to put that package together. 

I started a new Jamie Eason's LiveFit 12 week trainer.  However, I'm not sticking directly to it, because as the weeks increase  your days of lifting increase and I want to stay running, swimming and spinning.  So I have been through the first 3 weeks and after December will return to week 4 (maybe).  No I didn't completely fall off the weight training band wagon for December, instead I'm doing my own 30 day challenge in December- 1 mile or more running daily and 30 Day Challenge
 (below is the excerpt from their facebook page).  On Wednesday I run 2 or more miles due to my own challenge of 1 mile/day during Dec and their Wed "move a mile challenge".  I've really liked it and it is doable!  I don't do all 100 push ups at the same time.  I spread them out during the day and I also do "women" push ups, because regular ones and me aren't compatible yet (aka not strong enough to do several multiple ones).  Here is the Facebook page title: 30 Day Total Body Challenge--2013 Round Up!!

Welcome to the 30-Day Challenge Series Full Body Challenge!

It's a round up of all the fitness challenges we've done in 2013! Stay tuned for a detailed post with links to all the challenges for refreshers on what each of these moves are and see below for the quick reference cheat sheet for how this will all go down.

Sunday Push-Up Challenge...
--100 Push-Ups anywhere, anyway, as many sets as you need.

Monday Abs Challenge
--20 Crunches, 20 Bicycle Crunches, 20 Scissor Kicks, 20 Leg Raise, 20 Hip Extensions

Tuesday Lunge Challenge
--30 Forward Lunges (15 each leg), 40 Side Lunges (20 each leg ) 30 Reverse Lunges (15 each leg)

Wednesday Move a Mile Challenge
--Run, Walk, Crawl, Bike, Skate, Ski. Just move a mile forward.

Thursday Arms Challenge
--50 Triceps Push-ups, 50 Triceps Dips

Friday Plank Challenge
--Hold Regular and Each Side Plank for as long as you can (Levels 1-4)

Saturday: Repeat, Rest, or Test
--Repeat: Your Favorite! Rest: If you need it! Test: Do them ALL for time
My favorite run of November was the FoodRun 5K.  My son and I ran it together.  He did Awesome!  It was a beautiful Saturday morning in November.  All proceeds went to the Food bank in our town- win/win run in my book.
I'm not running too long these days- my longest run in November was just under 6 miles.  This always gets me down a little, because I feel like if I was a "real runner" I'd still be putting in a "long run" (8 or more) on the weekends, but at the same time it feels good to have a little break, but yet still be running. 
I'm looking forward to winter break time to read up on Triathlons and figure out what races I'm going to do next year.  Hope you are staying active despite the change in temps, if you are a Midwesterner.  Happy Holidays and Happy Running, Crunching, Lunging, Push-Upping, Swimming, Spinning,  Tricepping, and Planking (yeah I know some of these aren't really words- but they are for chattynatty).   

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 1st

I truly love this time of year. Free pic with Santa during our Toys for Tots shopping.

We spent a great 4 days at home with our family. We tend to pack in the activities- 5K turkey trot walk/run, thanksgiving dinner- followed by games and fun, annual cookie baking day (we bake cookies for friends/family and donate to local food bank/shelter, shopping, watching football, and more family time :).

The time flies... And now hours away from bedtime and the start of a new work week. I like my job and have a very nice work schedule, but sometimes I just want "one more day" to regroup after holiday fun. I want 8 hours of uninterrupted "me time" while kids are at school to start whittling away at my to do list (which at this time of year seems to be even longer and more lofty than normal).

Alas, I will get up tomorrow and head to gym early to start my work week right. The days will fly by and before I know it I will be feeling the same way next Sunday.

So this Xmas/December,more than any other time of the year, I want to enjoy the present and not look far ahead and miss out "on the most wonderful time of the year".

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tough Run

So I went out with a plan to run 8 miles this morning at a nature trail I really enjoy running at.

I was kind of procrastinating before I left- had cup of joe, some Cheerios and was chatting with my father in-law and brother in-law- they even called me on it when they said "don't know if you really want to run today".

So I got my butt in the car and drove to trail. When I went to link my watch for the run it wouldn't link so I reset it and instead of it working the screen went blank. No GPS. What are you going to do- go run.

About 2 miles into run realized no mid run snack (gummies, chews, Gu). I normally don't run more than 6 miles or an hour without some rehydration/snack. I did have water though. So I kind of decided then I wasn't going to do 8.

When you make that kind of decision, as a runner, it can be defeating. So I stopped and walked through one Xmas song (the only bright side of the run listening to my Pandora Xmas station). I started running and made it until my phone started ringing. I never run with my phone but wanted to listen to Xmas songs with minimal commercials. So I answered my phone- one of my most favorite people- sister checking in for "cousins" plan of day. I was happy to vent few minutes about my crappy run and then have her tell me to "get running".

Finished my 5.8 mile run in 1 hr 3 min. Not a fast time or the distance I wanted to run but I ran, it is done and I can move on.

This time of year is always a little frustrating -I am not training for anything so my running mileage always goes way down. I try to focus on other activities ( weights, swimming, spinning) and there just isn't enough time or maybe motivation to get it all done.

I'm secretly waiting for the year that I get done with races and keep running long- not super long- just 8,10, 12 milers once a week.

For now I'll keep doing what I'm doing and just try to run a little longer. Hope you do the same.

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Tough Run

So I went out with a plan to run 8 miles this morning at a nature trail I really enjoy running at.

I was kind of procrastinating before I left- had cup of joe, some Cheerios and was chatting with my father in-law and brother in-law- they even called me on it when they said "don't know if you really want to run today".

So I got my butt in the car and drove to trail. When I went to link my watch for the run it wouldn't link so I reset it and instead of it working the screen went blank. No GPS. What are you going to do- go run.

About 2 miles into run realized no mid run snack (gummies, chews, Gu). I normally don't run more than 6 miles or an hour without some rehydration/snack. I did have water though. So I kind of decided then I wasn't going to do 8.

When you make that kind of decision, as a runner, it can be defeating. So I stopped and walked through one Xmas song (the only bright side of the run listening to my Pandora Xmas station). I started running and made it until my phone started ringing. I never run with my phone but wanted to listen to Xmas songs with minimal commercials. So I answered my phone- one of my most favorite people- sister checking in for "cousins" plan of day. I was happy to vent few minutes about my crappy run and then have her tell me to "get running".

Finished my 5.8 mile run in 1 hr 3 min. Not a fast time or the distance I wanted to run but I ran, it is done and I can move on.

This time of year is always a little frustrating -I am not training for anything so my running mileage always goes way down. I try to focus on other activities ( weights, swimming, spinning) and there just isn't enough time or maybe motivation to get it all done.

I'm secretly waiting for the year that I get done with races and keep running long- not super long- just 8,10, 12 milers once a week.

For now I'll keep doing what I'm doing and just try to run a little longer. Hope you do the same.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

How do you communicate?

I noticed today, as I do almost everyday, that my email is really an AD message board for any store I've ever purchased anything from.  Email is no longer a way to check in with friends- if you are close friends you will "text" each other and if you are mediocre friends you will find out about your "friend" via "Facebook", Blog, etc. 

There is rarely a phone call or a good old "snail mail" letter involved to stay connected anymore and I know this won't surprise you, but I miss that connection.  I of course love even more that one on one, face to face time that I make some of my favorite Peeps share with me on a semi-routine basis: coffee, dinner, drinks, b-day celebrations ( I know they only happen once a year, but sometimes that one time out yearly is more "face to face" time than I have with other "friends" in my life). 

This past year I set out to write a letter- good old "snail mail" once a week to someone, anyone.  I did really pretty good, but have been floundering over the last 2 months.  I've also done a poor job of keeping my letters logged- I am planning to post later a review of those I sent a letter to and brief "why"-first names or no names listed to keep it semi private.  Anywhoo- I've been slacking, I've been exhausted, and I've just been plain unmotivated, but alas the year is closing in and I want to end it on a good note. 

I will- WILL- write a letter a week for the last weeks of 2013.  Maybe one of you readers/Peeps of mine will be a lucky recipient.  We all want to receive mail- at least the kind of mail I'm talking about.  Plus win/win for keeping our Post Office in service/business.  In a world daily where I feel like I have more contact with "Ann Taylor Loft's" latest "sale email" or Land's End's holiday sales emails or better yet good old Walmart  notices (yep I shop there and proud of it, but don't really enjoy getting daily email from them). 

So this Holiday season- yep the holidays are upon us in case you didn't notice the already trimmed houses in your area with lights and trees, xmas merchandise out for sale at all stores and the holiday music you can now start listening to beginning Nov 1st- think about sending someone a good old "snail mail" letter- no not a generic x-mas card, but an honest to goodness note/card/ bust out that good old stationary (the one our grandma gave you a decade ago- I have some and am proud of it).  It'll make you happy to write and send it and it will make the receiver even more happy when they go to their real "mailbox" and see what is awaiting them.

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's been too long

Can't believe the last time I posted was Nov 6th.  I've had some pretty good excuses, but won't bore you with them.

I feel like there have been so many different posts I could've put in over the last two weeks- some examples: Why eating out at fast food restaurants three days in a row won't help your energy level, How do you survive a move, What I've been reading, Holiday Thoughts, and How Awesome All House Audio is!... these to just name a few.

But time moves on and if you don't write about certain subjects when they occur or hit your brain/spend time pondering, well most of the time the topic/subject moves on and you have more to write on.  So I'm moving on. 

I will tell you I'm looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving and not having to think about what "box" I will have to unpack next.  I'm looking forward to our annual cookie baking day.  I'm also excited for our 3rd annual family 5K walk/run Turkey Day Morning.  I'm also about 40 pages away from finishing another great Louise Penny book from the Armande Gamache series- if you haven't read her yet you need to.  (Note recommend starting at the beginning of series). 

This was a quick post, but I got one in.  I leave you with a picture taken from my "reading room" the other morning when I got up to run.  Life is beautiful!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Random Wednesday Afternoon Post

I'm having a strage Wednesday.  I got up went to the gym, came home, got ready for the day, got in my car drove 2+ hours for a meeting, meeting done now sitting at a Starbucks trying to get some writing done, heading to another meeting/dinner tonight, spending the night at friend's house and then heading home.
I'm on my own, by myself, can do whatever I want, I only have me to be concerned with- no "what are we going to have for dinner", "what are we doing after school", "did you get your homework done?", etc, etc.  It makes me feel like I'm living a different life-removed from all the crazyness. 
If you can do this one afternoon- get away, by yourself, and do what you want, when you want- it truly is freeing and makes me feel young- you know the young you were when in college and only had to worry about yourself.  Happy Wednesday! 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

October Reading

I'm kind of in a reading slump.  I'm struggling to figure out what to read- I peruse the shelves at Barnes and Noble and the library and can't seem to find what trips my trigger- not in the mood for heavy, romance, or intellectual.  I've been waiting to see the Louise Penny- Armande Gamache series- new book on the shelves at library, but alas I broke down and just put my name on the "hold list"- 2 Penny fans ahead of me. 

I'm reading book club book- which I like- but I normally have 3-4 in my "reading cue" but just am kind of road blocked.  So kids and I went to library today and seriously were there about 2 hours- which I took advantage to write one of my overdue posts, hence the two in one day (kids asleep now and hubby watching movie that wasn't my genre tonight- Murder/Suspense/Thriller- not in the mood for "scary movie").  So I'm digressing- at the library today I looked into the Nonfiction section- Dewey Decimal 011 and 028 to be specific- books about books and what people read.  I'm hoping two of my picks inspire- "1001 Books you must read before you die"- written by over 100 book critics (which intimidates me a little- I'm not high brow and wonder if the critics will be high brow).  The other book "So Many Books, So Little Time- A year of Passionate Reading" by Sara Nelson.  I'm already at chapter 3 and like this lady a lot, but thus far her reading picks haven't keyed me in on any must reads, but her writing style and how her reading affects her family and life in general do resonate with me.

So enough about my reading roadblock and onto what I read this past month.  In no particular order...

Behind the Scenes at the Museum  Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
This was an interesting read.  It was written in a quirky no nonsense type dialect- almost in letter form, with dates being written in the heading of each titled chapter.  Ruby is the main character and you follow her through her life.  For some reason I thought the book was going to be a comedy, but it really wasn't.  It was o.k. and I didn't regret reading it, but don't know that I'll pick up another Atkinson book.

The Pale Blue Eye  In my quest for some reading stimulation I walked along the shelves starting alphabetically one day at my favorite public building- Library.  I came upon this book after picking up the one previously mentioned- get it Atkinson, Bayard.  This book look intriguing and so I picked it up after the Atkinson one and found it read like a mystery.  The book takes place in 1830 West Point and the two main characters are a New York City detective and a young cadet named Edgar Allen Poe- yes that Poe.  I found it a little long, but was not disappointed in the end and was a better pick from my alphabetical wanderings at the library.  Would be interested in reading other books by Bayard, especially since it had a historical fiction feeling to it and wonder if other of his books do to. 

  Ivy and Bean (Ivy and Bean, #1)  Ivy and Bean (#1) by Annie Barrows
Daughter was wanting to read a "chapter book" with her good old mom and so I asked our wonderful children's librarians (two of my favorite- one was whom suggested "My Father's Dragon" for my son and I to read back when he was in 1st grade and seriously without her suggestion I don't think I would've known about that wonderful trilogy- read it if you haven't).  Anyways,  these two ladies had another good suggestion- Ivy and Bean are two different girls who find their differences appealing.  I appreciated this book because it showed kids using their imagination and there was little of the language I despise "boring, stupid, shut up" or worse.  My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed it so much we have ventured to the library twice in search of book #2- there are 9 in total- so put my name on that "hold list" today too.

Athens, America "Athens America" by Larry Baker
Book club read for the month.  It was an interesting story, but after book club this past Wednesday I wondered more than once whether or not I would have enjoyed this book as much if it didn't take place in a fictitious town very ironically similar to the one I live very close to.  Was I drawn into the story wanting to read and look for "city" connections.  After I got over looking for the "city" references I did wonder how all the stories tied in.  It was not a feel good book and I felt at the end I was kind of left wondering what it all meant.  If you are interested in "city politics" I would recommend this read as I feel it does portray a somewhat accurate picture of what I've heard "city politics" to be like.  I.E. the local PTV station just happens to lose audio during important speeches/debates/ or basically anytime they don't want the public to hear the truth.    Again, O.k. read, but unsure if I will pick up another Baker book.

Which leaves me with the thought that some authors are unlucky in that a reader may pick up their worst, instead of their best and never read their best.  I.E. if I had read Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" first I don't think I would've read another Steinbeck book, but I read "East of Eden" first which I thought was great and so went on to read others and may end up reading another by him, so maybe I'm doing myself a disservice by saying I won't read another book by a said author just because I don't like the first one I read by that author.  Anyways, off to read- having a glass of Cab (fyi- Butterfingers candy bars go great, Peanut M&Ms not so much :)).  I'll keep you posted on what books I've found in reading about reading and books about books. 

October Running

Above are pictures from my last 1/2 of this running season- Run for the Schools.

Mileage for October- 60
My longest run was on October 20th (13.1). I ran well but didn't PR. The hills were tough and I enjoyed them until the last one at the end. The weather was perfect (cold). I didn't enjoy the start where I was bobbing and weaving around walkers ( seriously why do walkers do that and why do race directors not make an announcement for walkers to go to the back of the pack). Also was tough, mentally, running out and about mile 3-4 seeing 10k runners running back toward you- defeating knowing that I had many more miles to go. Lastly, a first for me- wore my fuel belt during race. Found it easier to drink on the run. Not sure I'd wear one during the marathon but will likely wear one during my next 1/2. I'm no good at drinking from open cup and running so normally walk through water stations. Wearing the fuel belt allowed me to run the whole time. Looking forward to a break from training schedule for awhile.

Besides running I also started some weights at the end of October. Jamie Eason LiveFit 12 week training plan- it's free and pretty easy to decipher. Go to bodybuilding.com ( no serious) and sign up with email. You are then sent the weekly training schedule along with diet/nutrition guidance too. Bet you can guess what part of the LiveFit plan I'm failing at- didn't help that we just celebrated national trick or treat day. I like this plan because it makes me go to the gym and if I go somewhere more likely to follow through then thinking I will get up and drag my body downstairs to do free weights at home.

Needless to say the weight program kicked my butt- especially the arms part. Her plan calls for no cardio when you are starting out, but I didn't totally want to lose my conditioning plus if I'm going to up my tri participation next year I need to keep swimming and biking. So I was able to smoosh 4 days of lifting into 2. It took me an hour each day,but I was able to still get in swimming, biking and running.

Now it is November and I just really can't believe how fast this running year has flown by. Feels just like yesterday I was planning my race schedule out for 2013.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

And so it continues...

Random blabbering from me while I watch my youngest pout through her swim lessons. Not sure what the issue is but sure I will hear about it.

One of my friends posted this pic on her Facebook page and I thought it was perfect for current state of mind. I also took a picture of my feet in swimming flip flops as reminder that even though my arms feel like noodles ( started weight lifting program this week and seriously I was a little concerned if I got in the pool I a. wouldn't be able to swim and b. worried I wasn't going to be able to hoist myself out of the water). Well I made it through and despite my time crunch of 20 min got 750 yds in- which isn't a whole lot, but more than not doing anything at all right :)? So another day has flown by with busy work day, interrupted by horrible stomach cramps (maybe it was combo of wearing tights all day- not uber comfy, and the diet coke/peanut M&Ms I had following a lunch of broccoli and brown rice- life is all about balance right ) and then pick up kids,make dinner, do spelling ( I'm forcing myself to smile writing this) and then hit the pool. Day will soon be over and I still have 75 pages left of book club book- I know- what is the deal? Can't remember the last time I finished a book club book the day before book club. This is life. We are all living it in our own way.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

It's been too long...

I have missed writing.  I think those of us that blog do so because we like to write and put down our thoughts. It is therapeutic- at least for me. I haven't done very much writing lately (blog, journal, kid's books, or even letters).  I've truly been missing it.  I have thought about so many different topics I can write about and haven't done it.  I've always heard that if you are going to be a writer, you have to write a lot.  Not that I'm going to be an author any time soon, but if you enjoy writing and getting your ideas down on paper why wouldn't you?

So I don't like the excuse "I've been so busy"- because I truly believe that you make time for those things in your life that mean the most to you, but sometimes other areas of life take up more time and energy than others. I've been busy finishing up my racing season (another post another time), working on getting the Little Free Library donations and Reach Out and Read donations (aka-having a fun girl's night party at my house with all my favorite peeps), finishing the building of our house (no I'm not doing manual later, but I tell you if I didn't work part time I don't know how we would be getting all the numerous meetings and errands done during the work week), working on NP organization, and lastly trying to be a mom.  I know I should be putting down being a good wife, but fortunately hubbie and me are good with each other and so not a focus right now (I know may come back to bite me).  I don't list all these varied "to do's" as an excuse, but sometimes it helps to write stuff down and give myself a break in regard to my lack of writing.  We only have so much time in the day. 

Like right at this moment I'm sitting in one of my favorite buildings (Library- know you guessed it) and trying not to pull my hair out of my head as my oldest pain stakingly re-writes his spelling list, because his nice spelling sheet he brings home on Monday has been colored with pencil all over and I shouldn't have to strain my eyes to read his spelling words right?  Yep sometimes we have to spend time on things that are painfully energy sucking!  The time it has taken me to write this post and spell check it and edit we are still working on wonderful spelling worksheet- grin and bare it. 

But this is the time of my life I'm in- I'm starting to get it as I get older :)- you know recently turned the big 37.  Super Elderly!  A friend and I were discussing this "time" in my life in comparison to where she is at. We got to this  by me discussing my wonderful experience with my oldest getting  his flu shot.  Yep- took 3 medical assistants to hold him down- while as my youngest held still and nothing but one single crocodile tear rolled down her cheek.  She went first, thank the Lord, because after she witnessed her brother's antics I don't think she would have handled it so well.  So I was telling my friend all about this fun experience and she being older and wiser- you know older as in maybe 39 :).  Says, "as you get older you will stop worrying about others judging you"- like me thinking I looked like the "worst" mom in the world, because my oldest needs three lovely ladies to hold him down and get his annual flu shot.   We were talking about how as you age you become wiser and start to figure out life a little more easier.  Sometimes it is because you grow up and you figure out who you are- which I can attest to.

A few years ago I thought that I was a "bad" mom because the month after my first child I had no desire to soon parent again another baby/child, where as I felt surrounded by moms that just had their first child whom couldn't stop talking about having another.  I asked my husband one night if he thought my lack of desire to have another baby soon meant I was a bad mom?  He of course reassured me and I soon let it go to worry about other mothering/parenting things. For example-  guilt early in my motherhood when friends  would say "don't you love being off of work with your baby" and I would cringe thinking about how I was counting down the days until I could return to part time work and part time time away from my "challenging" child.  This also brought on guilt, because some of my friends didn't have the great maternity leave I had.  I know, I know feel like the whole theme of this post is "guilt". 

Looking back I was a first time, type A mom, who thought since she had a master's in pediatric health care of children (PNP) that I would know all the right answers and parent by the books I had studied- growth/development, milestones, etc.  Then with my second I was much easier on my self.  I still had the pressure to be a "great mom" and do what is "right" - aka- breastfeed my little one (which I never felt like I did well nor did I enjoy the feeling of being the sole nutrition provider).  But the crying didn't seem as much, and she slept easier, and I just felt like I was a "better" mom. 

Fast forward 8 years and my oldest is still a challenge and I still feel like I'm not the best mom, in comparison to all my other "mom" friends (some of my mom friends are saints in my book- they offer to have endless play dates at their home, are great teachers-always patient), but I'm doing the best I think I can.  Hopefully if I'm really screwing them up someone will tell me.  Not the lightest fair, but it is a post and I'm writing.  Looking forward to catching up on writing about books, running, and life. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Marathon Weekend

Two of my favorite peeps asked me what I felt like with the Chicago Marathon weekend upon me and me not running. 

I feel kind of peaceful.  I'm looking forward to  being on the sideline cheering my husband on.  I'm looking forward to seeing the Elite Runners, the average runners, the fans/spectators, and of course my favorite city Chicago.  It will be a different race this year, because instead of having our kids, and family present cheering whichever VW(s) running the race on- there will likely be just me on the sidelines.  I'll keep you posted on the race experience as a singleton. 

Last year when I was running the Springbrook Trail in Illinois in November and had that "aha" moment of "I'm not going to run a marathon in 2013" I think it was a good "aha" for me.  I got to do 3 1/2 marathons, a sprint tri, and some other fun 5K's with the kids.  All 3 races were in different seasons.  The spring one was a hilly one and I did good, but no PR.  The summer one was HOT! and I just didn't jive/get my normal race mojo and hence did OK, but no PR.  The sprint tri was good, but times weren't as great as last year- I truly blame that on my horrible Transition (sport's bra issues going from swim to bike).  Last 1/2 is next Sunday and who knows what it will bring, but since this training schedule has been my most lax to date in regard to diet, no true interval training, and no ban on alcohol I'm assuming I won't PR it either. 

So no fast race times for me this year, but again I feel pretty peaceful.  I feel like I'm still able to drive around town proudly with my Running Girl magnet on the back of my car.  I am a runner. 

So to all those buddies of mine who are either racing in Chicago or have other races upcoming I hope you have great runs, maybe even some PRs, and call yourself a runner, too. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

September Running

I'm still in my pajamas and it is almost 12pm- LOVE IT!
Had a social gathering/goodbye to house party + book/cash drive for Little Free Library and Reach Out and Read Iowa last night so I planned a no early run day for this morning.  Well I've ended up basically working on catch up with house stuff, and normal every week "mom" stuff, and of course catching up on my blog posts.  So here is the low down on September Running...

Total for month of September: 93 miles
The increase is due to me being at the height of my training and doing some 10,11, and 11 mile runs throughout weeks in September.  I have been swimming almost one day a week every week- and I'm doing some biking, but nothing heavy and that will need to increase if I want to up my distance on the Triathlon racing.  I jumped quite steeply from 63 miles in August to 93 miles in September.  I wasn't hurt during this increase, which I'm lucky, because sometimes that kind of increase can bring on injury. 

I have one more long run- tomorrow 12 miles- and then it is taper from there.  My times/speed has not been the best, but I'm kind of not pushing it with this upcoming race.  Not sure if I'm just needing a break of what.  I always get a little "anxious" after a race is done and need something to focus on moving forward, because I get worried I won't keep running.  I think when I no longer get this "anxious" feeling I will then know that I'm a "true runner" or that running is forever engrained in my life.  I'm working on it! 

Lastly- I had to share that I won something.  I follow the Another Mother Runner ladies- listen to their podcasts, have read both their books and also read their blog posts.  Well they have these Wednesday "Hump Day Giveaways" and I was a winner.  I won the following:   one set of Inspiration cards, one RACEDAY book (training book/diary- will love this), triathlon book, one HipS-sister (belt for keys, etc), and one variety pack of pancake mixes).  I will keep you posted on what I think of these as they come in.  What you had to do to enter this "giveaway" is write three words about your running- could be about you, your last run, etc.  I submitted FINISH STRONG NOW- pretty god timing for me to see that again .

September Reads

I felt like I wasn't reading very much in the month of September, but looking back I read a variety of books.  Here they are- in no particular order:
1. The Last Girls by Lee Smith
- based on true story of college girls taking a raft down Mississippi River (newspaper article copy about girl's trip found before you start reading the book)
- My Mother in-law loved it and sometimes when someone says they love a book than high expectations are put forth (note to self if I really want someone to "love" a book I "love" don't praise it :)).  So I didn't "love" it, but it was a good, easy read, but felt like it took me a while to get through. 
- I liked the flashbacks and flash-forwards throughout the book and the strength of some of the female characters. 
- O.K. read

2. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
-Book club book for September
- I hadn't read anything by him and I enjoyed it
- Different reading experience because it was written as a play so you read it as a play
- Liked trying to envision the scenes on stage
- Look forward to seeing it on stage sometime

3. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
-Have read this, I think, three times total (once a year over the last three years)
- Look back at previous post on this book for all my favorite quotes
- Love how timeless her writing is.  Despite being first published in 1955- the subjects she writes about: motherhood, independence, creativity as a women, marriage, etc- aren't any different from today's mothers, women, wives. 
- If you haven't read it- READ IT!

4. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
- I really enjoyed In Cold Blood so had been meaning to pick up another Capote novel.
- This one was nothing like In Cold Blood, but I enjoyed it still
- Holly Golightly is a character!  I somewhat struggle to envision Audrey Hepburn playing her, but will definitely rent the video sometime soon to watch the screen version. 
-It was light/entertaining, but had depth too. So that if you wanted to read it to see a more serious/sad story you could, but if you wanted to read it like fluff you could also. 

5. Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by Hal Edward Runkel
- I read this in two days.  I think I needed to read it that quick to find out all the great ideas to parenting my kids better.
- I really thought his parenting view was logical, straight forward and realistic.
- I wish I had read this sooner and like and need reminder of it so much I will likely look for it the next time I'm at a book store. 
- If you are struggling or feel challenged by your child(ren) I really recommend reading this. 

6. Wonderstruck by Brian Sleznick
- I really enjoyed Hugo Cabret so have been meaning to pick up this book that followed Hugo.
- I think I liked the story line more than Hugo Cabret.
- Awesome pictures throughout the book, but I think I paid more attention to the story this time and less to the pictures, because I really wanted to find out what was happening.
- At the beginning I was a little confused by the two different story lines, but as the story went on it all fell in together to make a great book.  Due to the confusion I experienced at the beginning of the book I decided that my kids may need awhile before they'd get it, maybe I'm wrong and underestimating them- which is likely :). 

So now I'm off into October- I'm almost done with one book, and getting ready to start another, seems to be the story of my life.  I've really decreased my reading to the kids due to mainly my oldest reading to himself now and wanting to read "his" books before bed.  My goal for this month is to get back in the habit of reading out loud to both kids.  Need to find a good kid book- great excuse to head off to the library today. Happy reading!

Friday, September 27, 2013

One of those weeks

I think the picture says it all. These were my checkouts at library this morning.

Being a parent, a mom, is hard for me. Don't know if I'm just not meant for the role or what. My oldest has challenged me from day 1. He didn't like to sleep as an infant. It made me not shed a tear when maternity leave was over. I needed to go back to work for some respite. While other friends of mine who had kids around same time period were talking about "can't wait tell the next one"- I was thinking nowhere near their thoughts on motherhood- thought this was a sign that I was not a good mom.

The challenges have continued. We are too much a like in so many ways- both emotional, overly sensitive, inpatient and easily frustrated. It is hard to see your least favorite traits in a mirror image- your child.

I'm not saying I am the worse mom ever or that I don't love my oldest child. I'm just wondering why it is hard for me and don't like that I feel like I'm failing him in some big ways through my inadequate parenting.

So I will read these books and let you know if I gleam any "aha" moments. I'm thinking not, but worth a try. I'm also realizing I just need to let some things go, give myself and him a break and move on. Moving on doesn't mean allowing "bad listening, pouting/whining, and emotional break downs" ( from both sides) to be acceptable but handling each day as it comes and trying to focus on the positives:not the negatives. This is going to be tough, because I'm not a forgiving person (one of my worst traits). I will let things bother me and bother me.

I can't be like this for the rest of my patenting life. I don't want to wish away my kid's years just because I'm not willing to or wanting to deal with their naughtiness or ill prepared or just incapable of parenting. I also want my kids to not grow up remembering all the negatives ( arguments, yelling, disappointed looks) but instead my finest parenting moments ( hugs , cuddles, talks, books read together, and those fun childhood memories that even at 36 years of age I still remember and warm my heart).

As I share my running escapades with whomever cares to read so do I share my parenting escapades- not for reassurance or judgement, just to admit it is tough- for some of us more than others. It doesn't make us bad parents it just makes it more challenging. I also realize I could have it much worse- single parent, special needs child (physical or mental), or economically challenged. So please don't read and think "whiny women" :).

So onward into the weekend. Looking forward to some reading (obviously) and creating some positive memories for my kids and me.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Finish Strong

Meant to write about this on Thursday after my long run for the week but alas it is now Sunday- better late than never.

Despite having trained for a handful of marathons, 1/2's and sprint tris I still seem to get mentally fatigued at the height of my training. No matter whether I'm training for short or long distances. I get grumpy and just "blah". Sometimes I wonder if this is a sign I'm not a "real" runner. If I was a "real" runner my mileage would be 30 miles a week not 18-22:)- these days. Running a 9 miler would be nothing. But I think it is just me, I am a runner, but maybe never, ever an elite or ultra runner.

So when my daughter got sent home with high fever from school Wed I started worrying about how I was going to get my 9 miles in on Thursday. I had planned on running after hubby got home from his run at 7 am. I'd run when kids were at school. I knew what the fever meant -no school for daughter- and at kindergarten age I didn't think it would be smart of me to leave her for 90 min + run lying at home watching Disney Jr. So we improvised. Hubby ran Wednesday night and I was out the door by 5:30. I haven't run that early for awhile- I'm getting spoiled having both kids in school and being able to run in the morning but not "crack of dawn/so dark out I'm wearing a head lamp" morning.

I was not looking forward to it. I got up marched down stairs and found this sign on our fridge. Amazing how 2 words can change your attitude. Wasn't sure if hubby put it on the fridge for me, him or both of us. (He later said "whoever" when I asked him who he put it up for). I felt like my whole run an mental outlook really changed. I thought about these two words and how important the hardest part of any training schedule really is. The training is truly the hardest part of the race, not the actual miles run on race day.

So Finish Strong is my new mantra for now- maybe it will work for you in whatever goal, race or just life you are trying to live and experience. Put a sign like this on your fridge and see if it has same effect on your outlook as it did mine.

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Realistic Running

Lying on my sister's couch having a lazy afternoon of family hanging out while waiting for the "big game" to come on.

Read this great article and had to share this quote from an article titled "In Her Shoes: Why do women run? Because they're human,of course". Peter Segal,author, ran with two great runners- women- and thought he was going to have some great epiphany on women running "ideas" he could share with his own daughters.

What he found was," Everybody runs-or doesn't- for their own reasons... There are no perfect runners, and although you can improve, sometimes greatly, you can never train yourself out of your own body and mind". So true, so true! Be true to whom you are and what you can be. Not to say you should be lazy, but you are who you are. We are runners in our own way.

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Little Free Library- no longer a dream

So this week the LFL I have been working on getting built, painted, filled and put in community space has happened.

This all started last November when I attended a meeting about the LFL movement- check back at posts if want that story. I left that meeting filled with ideas and places I thought the LFL could happen. I wanted it to be a community place- where those in need and the masses would have access to it.

After some letter writing and selling my idea I found a "taker" in the local community food bank. Then came my problem of finding someone to either help me build (my shop class from 6th grade probably wasn't going to be enough).

Well I found the "woodsman" in my soon to be next door neighbor. He had approached us about a tree on our lot that would need to come down for our house construction. I told him yes and then asked "can you build a LFL if we give you the tree?" He said sure. I gave him mock up blueprints from the LFL website and he went with it.

Then I got lucky again when this great neighbor said " my brother-in law is an artist he's working on painting it now".

I was further surprised to find out that he used wood from our tree that we gave him to make this LFL. As you can see it is perfect.

We made it moveable so that it can be moved around in the food bank and we didn't have to weatherize it which made it great too.

I filled the library this morning and was so proud to see it filled. The volunteers were just so excited to have it in their space. Next step is to get my LFL registered so it is part of the registry and noted on the map. These are popping up everywhere- even internationally. With registration we get a plaque to be placed on the LFL with a basic saying of Read and Learn- take a book and return a book.

I will post when it officially gets registered. Super Friday! Enjoy the weekend.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

August Running

I kind of feel like a "broken record" these days in regard to running.  I'm running fine, no injuries (knock on wood), no high stress long runs due to not training for Chicago, and pretty perfect running weather (minus last week's "heat wave")- so why am I running so darn slow?  Earlier in the year when I was following the Another Mother Runner 1/2 marathon training plan I was running some pretty fast miles/short distances- these days I am running at 10 min mile to 10:30 min mile. 

Am I not pushing myself?  Do I need the break and my body is just feeling more relaxed and at easier pace at current min mile speed? Am I getting old? Am I lazy?  Yep asked myself these things just last week when I wrote about my horrific treadmill run at home (aka single mom week so forced to run "the mill"). 

So instead of over analyzing it and feeling bad and defeated about it I've shared the above thoughts and am moving on.  Moving onto finishing training for my third 1/2 of the year.  Moving onto still loving running as much as ever.  Moving onto being me and maybe 10 min mile is who I am right now. 

So here is the recap of my August runs...
Total mileage running- 63 for a total of 540 miles in 2013.  Only four months left and won't be making the 1,000 mile goal this year as I can't do or better sad have no desire to run 115 miles/month for the next four months. 

I ran 2 7 miles, one 8 miler and the rest were 3-5 miles with at least one or two days of cross training (bike or swim) per week.  My fastest time was my tri time of 2.1 miles at 18 min, however, of late my times have been SLOW- Tuesday morning 3 miles in 32:09 (10:53 min mile).  O.k, O.k., O.k, I'm getting over it and moving on.

Next step finishing up the 1/2 marathon training schedule for my October 20th 1/2.  Then a week off running and then I want to get back at it with goal of running 4 days/week with at least one semi long run 7-8 miles/week.  We will see how this pans out, but I always feel like after I write it down it is more likely to happen.  Onward to September- Happy Fall Running!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

August Reads

An Irish Country Village
An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor
I read this book, because my mom has read almost or all of the books by this author in the series.  It was a "fun" read, but not a ton of excitement for me and I just wasn't as in to it as my mom was.  I don't think I will be reading the rest of the books in the series. 
      Small Miracles: Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life
Small Miracles: Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life by Judith Leventhal and Yitta Halberstam
This was one of those books that you read and some of the stories you just can't believe, but you pretty much know that the authors wouldn't lie, or you'd like to think they wouldn't lie.  It is one of those books that reminds you of the everyday things that can happen that are truly amazing.  Long lost friends finding each other after the war at a supermarket, sisters finding each other after being separated at birth, etc, etc.  It was an easy ready and short stories so easy to pick up and put down when needed.
      Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen
I LOVED THIS BOOK!  I listened to it on audio and LOVED it so much I plan to purchase it the next time I find it at the Half-Price book store or find it at Goodwill :).  It was a great audiobook and made my long runs more enjoyable.  I loved the honesty with which Anna Quindlen wrote this book.  I'm wondering though my favorite question after I read a memoir- what does memoir mean- what part of the book isn't biographical or autobiographical in this case?  Read this book- I think anyone can get something out of it or relate to it.   
      The End of Your Life Book Club
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
I listened to this book on audio during the trip to Virginia and then ended up finishing at the beginning of August.  It was O.K.  It was pretty intellectual- a lot of politics/international refugee/war/cancer- a real feel good book.  O.k. I'm being a little snarky.  I had read some of the books this son/mother team read and enjoyed hearing them talk about those books, but unlike other books that review past reads/personal reads I wasn't frantically writing down books to add to my "to read" list.  Maybe I would have liked this book better if I had read it.
The Age of Miracles
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
This was our book club book and I really enjoyed it.  It is dystopian, but very real life writing.  I loved her writing style and could say I thought she was an extremely "smart writer". I'm amazed when people can write so clearly about the end of the world or that genre, because it is as if they have a crystal ball and can see what is going to happen before it happens therefore allowing them to write so realistically.  I enjoyed this one and recommend it!
A good month of reading.  Looking forward to some good reading in September.   

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A run- I'm done

This morning I had to get on my treadmill to run 3 miles before getting myself ready for work and kids ready for before school program (single mom this week with hubby at training all week).

I am not a treadmill runner. I can't go long and I don't run fast so the "mill" isn't my first choice of workout options, but three miles I can do that.

Or can I? I pretty much knew the minute I started it was going to be one of those runs where I'm constantly in need of water (aka- I can't run and drink so if I drink that means I'm not running :)), or I'm constantly moving the towel to see my time and how far I've gone. You know if you peek every minute or two it really doesn't make it go any faster.

What was my problem? Why am I feeling so mentally and physically done? My ideas/answers in no particular order:
1. I'm needing a rest from running.
2. The wonderful heat wave
3. My 3rd grader, who I swear has the best selective hearing and ability to push my buttons to no end (if anyone has advice on how to instill coping skills and anti-frustration power for 3rd grader working on spelling words- well be it anything for the first time that he doesn't get perfect right away let me know). I reverted back to some WT mom yelling last night and that always bothers me.
4. I'm getting old- no I don't mean nursing home ready- just reality that maybe I will always be a 10 min miler, 9:30 at best with long distances.
5. I'm lazy- I'm not pushing myself.

So I only ran 2 miles. I just couldn't/didn't want to go any longer. It took me 20 min 58 sec. I got off the "mill" and you would have thought I'd run 6 or 10. I'm not writing this for sympathy or support. I'm writing this to share that running is real and life affects it. We all have off days, I'm hoping this is just one for this week and doesn't become a pattern or I may need either a rest or hubby to tell me to "suck it up" and push through it.

Now I'm sitting waiting for the courtesy car driver to stop dinking around so I can get to work- days got to get better. It is only 7:45.
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Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Ideal Bookshelf

I told you I'd get around to sharing "My Ideal Bookshelf" after reading Thessaly's "My Ideal Bookshelf".  Thessaly La Force (editor) and Jane Mount (artist) are the force (no pun intended) behind this book plus added bonus Thessaly is a Iowa Writer's Workshop Peep- Yeah!  The premise have people (some famous, some I've never heard of, but likely should know from all types of profession write about books that changed their life, favorite books, books that made them who they are.  They had a template at the end of the book that you could draw/color in your "ideal bookshelf".  Here is mine...

"Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides
This is my all time favorite bookclub book.  It was read, I think, in one of our first year's of book club.  Bookies have been going strong for 11 years and 2 months.  I thought this book was going to be all about a hermaphrodite, but it wasn't it was almost like reading historical fiction through a family's eyes.  If you haven't read it I highly suggest it.  However, "Marriage Plot" I would not recommend- totally disappointed in that one- Sorry Jeffrey. 

"Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm" by Alice Provensen and pictures by Martin Provensen  This book is a book from my childhood, and I think filled my love and desire to be a "farm girl".  I wanted to live on a farm like the farm I visited 2-3 times/year up until I was school age and then visited twice yearly up until a Senior in High school.  This farm- Maple Hill-, wasn't like my grandparents, exactly- grandparents only had dairy cows, dog and cats, but the pictures and descriptions of farm animals really grabbed me.  I still love looking at this book and although the pictures are a bit rudimentary, I love them all the more for the fact that they are not computerized and edited, but drawn by hand.

"The Alienist" by Caleb Carr is a great mystery + historical fiction (Teddy Roosevelt is talked about).  This is the first Caleb Carr book I read and then I went on to read "The Angel of Darkness"- somewhat the sequel to the "The Alienist" and loved it to and for the fact that one of the "bad guys" was actually a lady, which I think we sometimes forget about in real life.  Read it or both if you love mysteries and historical fiction.

"Little House on the Prairie"- the first 5 books at least- by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  My son is blazing through these right now and I kind of feel sad that I'm not reading them out loud to him, but his sight reading and skipping words has gotten way beyond my verbal reading ability so alas I will likely start reading them out loud to my daughter, although I'm worried she's not going to be as into them as he has been.  This book reminds me of my sister and father.  The three of us would sit on the couch in our living room and dad would read the book out loud before bedtime.  I always asked for more and my sister was not as into the book as I was so was ready for bed sooner than I.  These stories were so magical to me and again fed my love for "farm life".

"Beach Music" by Pat Conroy- this is likely my most favorite book.  I think I've read it at least three times, which my "Bookie" friend Mary would give me heck for because there are indeed too many books out there to read so why read one more than once, but I loved this book.  It is not a "feel good" book and has some deep topics, but Pat Conroy's writing is just so real that is reads easily and keeps me wanting to know what is going to happen, how are these people's lives going to turn out.  I've read "South of Broad" (My second favorite Conroy book) and "The Great Santini".  He is such a great author!  I love to read his books and hear the "southern voice" just fly right out of it.

"Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier.  I think I read "Jamaica Inn" first and then my mom told me I should read "Rebecca".  Another wonderful mystery written so that you can just see the black n white movie line of this book play out in your head when you are reading it.  It is great!  A classic book for me.  The ending gets me-maybe it will get you.

"Gorky Park" by Martin Cruz Smith.  This book I read on the way to Virginia to visit grandparents when I was a Sophomore in High school.  This book is a mystery and it had me- no really I didn't stop reading.  We got to my grandparents house and I kept reading- pretty unsociable, which you may guess isn't me- but I just couldn't put it down.  I felt adult reading this book- KGB, romance, murder, etc. 

The Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport by ?.  So Edward Stratemeyer wrote the first volumes supposedly, but the volumes I grew up with (the purple spine with black covers/pictures and no dust covers) were likely writted by Lilan Garis, (4-28).  These books were another bedtime staple in my home growing up and my father again read these books to my sister and I.  Last summer my son, daughter and I read the first 3-4 volumes of my purple spine set, but alas we all weren't as hooked as I was as a child.  I felt the verbiage was antiquated, but alas seeing these books on shelves of used book stores makes me want to open my pocket book up to complete my set. 

"Misty of Chincoteague Island" by Marguerite Henry.  I loved and still love horses.  This is on my bucket list to go visit the island sometime in my lifetime.  I would ultimately like to go for "pony penning day", but not sure that will happen due to excess people and time/money.  This is a great story of the love for animals.  It brings you back to a "simple life".  If you have a child or you yourself are a horse fan and haven't read it you need to.

Last but not least- "to be continued" meaning- yet to be determined- the last book in my "ideal bookshelf".  I'm looking forward to it taking me at least 50 + more years to find that one and hopefully read some pretty great books during my search for that book. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

For Sale

So this may explain why my writing has really not been up to par lately.  Our house is for sale and we are building a house.   To see a for sale sign in your yard, your first yard, your first house, your home you've raised thus far two children who love each other, their parents, grandparents and cousins along with other family members very much.  To say this is "surreal" is likely an understatement, but not surprisingly I'm not too emotional.  This kind of event happens to hit my emotion button at weird times.  For instance, my youngest is getting ready to head to kindergarten and I can guarantee I won't be a mom teary eyed at kindergarten drop off, but catch me on some Friday morning at our local Starbucks and I'll have tears in my eyes because my youngest won't be sharing "coffee time" with me, but instead becoming "educated". 

It has been a crazy summer, and crazy year- really.  The process of building your "forever home" is exciting, intimidating, scary, empowering, and real life chaos.  However, our process has been relatively smooth thus far, with no "huge" bumps in the road.  (Knock on wood).  Our house  getting ready for the market was stressful, hard, hard work, and at times not the friendliest environment between husband and wife, but thanks to great in-laws and awesome kids and equally hard working spouse and myself the house is in tip top shape and we are already reaping the benefits of our hard work by some 1st and 2nd showings within the first 24 hours of being on the market. 

So now what- yes we have a few more things to finalize for our new house and a few "to do's" on the old house, but it feels strange not to be so frantic. I'm utterly inpatient and so waiting for the house inspection of our current home will likely drive me to drink heavy "chattynatty" pours if I'm not careful.  However,  not to be eating dinner at 9:45 pm every night of the work week due to not having to do manual labor when getting home from our normal "work day" will be nice.  So I kind of feel strangely at unease with this "free time".  This "what are we going to do when this is all done"- thoughts will haunt my I fear.  I know I'm strange, but I got the same way when my wedding was over- I got kind of sad.  Not that the house is over, but it is the thought of it ending that makes me a little sad.  Of course, I will be so grateful for the beautiful- "forever"- home we will have, but it is strange to think of what will fill my time- I know, I know, stop whining or moping and enjoy life- Yes that is what I will do! 

So for now, having a little beer to celebrate our week's work and enjoying the fact that I get to sit and write about this instead of thinking of it in my head and not having the time to write it down. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

July Running Recap

These days I seem to be behind on everything. I'm helping my daughter do thank you notes for her birthday that occurred at end of June. So I guess posting about July's running halfway into August isn't horrible- right?

I ran a total if 53 miles in the month of July. This is in stark contrast to where I was last year (80+). However, it is a different year of training for me. When training for 1/2s you don't decide to go further than 13.1- or at least I don't so my higher mileage runs just aren't there. I ran the Chicago Women's 1/2 at the end of June and so the first week in July was recovery and mainly July was a focus on bike, swim and run in prep for tri. My longest run in July- 6.

So what I'm learning- I like running, but if I don't have longer distance race I'm training for I just don't get in the higher mileage. This is ok but makes the goal of 1,000 miles a year pretty unrealistic. So I will keep running and training for my last 1/2 of the year and then move forward and reassess for next year's goal.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Oswego Tri

Before I forget the details or just move onto another event I'm making myself sit down and eat dinner at 9:30 pm and write this post about the Oswego "I tried a Triathlon" husband and I participated in this past Sunday.
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                                                    This is the before     This is the after

We have done the event before.  We both placed third for our age group last year.  This year we both wanted to do better.  I wanted to be better in both the swim and the bike and husband was diligent with going to the pool weekly at least and thus wanted to do better at swim.  He also purchased a nice road bike this year and we were hoping the nicer bike would make the 6 miles go by even faster for him. 

Well- we both accomplished what we wanted to... I placed third again for my age group (official time 50:30   - breakdown 250 yd swim 5:01, 6 mile bike 26:29, and 2.1 mile run 18 min).  My swim went much better, less anxiety and smoother strokes this year.  My bike was great and I felt strong.  Husband improved to- took a minute off his swim time and 3 minutes off bike time, plus he is just fast when it comes to running.  However, my overall time was about a minute slower than last year.  It wasn't do to my effort, but instead due to being a girl, who needs a little support (if you know what I mean) and struggled getting my sports tank on over my wet swim suit.  I put the tank on and took it off at least two times because I kept on getting my arm tangled in the wrong whole of the sport tank (it had a bra and a tank together).  So I finally got my self situated and was off, but I felt like I lost precious time with the mess up at the swim/bike transition.  Next year I'm going to plan on swimming with my running bra over my swimsuit and then throw a shirt on after the swim therefore no arms going in the wrong hole problem. 

I really enjoyed the tri and am feeling the urge to go bigger with participation in longer triathlons, but just not sure I'm ready financially to make the commitment (definitely need a new bike if I'm going to ride longer, likely would need a wet suit if participating in tri that takes place in cooler temp/time of the year).  You know me and my grand ideas- I'll of course let you know if any of it comes to fruition.

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She is so proud!

Lastly, my favorite part of the tri, other than when it is over and I get to have a Popsicle :)... is watching my daughter, nephew and niece participate in the kid's tri following our event.  It is super short, but the kids love it.  My son is too old to participate and he is already making comments like, "mom I have four years to train for the tri"- yep 12 year olds can participate in the Oswego tri- my sister thinks his first time out he will smoke both my husband and me- She's probably right!

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The kid tri participants- Yep they got a ribbon and Popsicle just like me :).

Monday, August 5, 2013

July Reads

While my family and in-laws are watching GoldRush I'm taking time to catch up on some much needed posts. I feel like time is just flying by and I just can't keep up with life, let alone the summer.

This past month I read the following and listened to one audiobook. The audiobook I really enjoyed. It was "The Art Forger" by B.A. Shapiro. It was a really enjoyable story about an artist. And her job of being a Degas replica specialist and gets involved in some interesting detective work as an artist and in some interesting relationships. Added bonus some historical fiction about Degas. I highly recommend it.

My book club book this month was Amy Tan's " Saving Fish from Drowning". I really enjoyed the story line. I felt lie the story could have been cleaned up a little and some pages cut out, but otherwise thought it was worth my time. I felt kind of like I felt when reading Ann Patchett's State of Wonder. I still like Amy's "Bonesetter's Daughter" book better.

One great find in te cookbook section at the library was "A Homeamade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table" by Molly Wizenberg. I enjoyed this look at Eric life and family experiences via recipes. Each chapter ended with the recipe that was somewhere and somehow featured in that chapter. I loved the family stories and really want to buy the book for the recipes. Anyone who loves to read and cook should pick this one up.

"My Ideal Bookshelf" by Thessaly La For e was a great and entertaining read. The premise is to think about what your "ideal bookshelf" would or does look like. She then asked people from all walks of life: careers, ages, gender, ethnicity, etc what their "bookshelf" would look like. Some of the books I'd never heard of, some I had read and are favorites, some I disliked and some I've had on my "to read" list for awhile.   The other thing  I loved about this book was one page was the reader's story about their shelf and the other page was what the book spines of their shelf would look like if someone was looking at their shelf. The artwork was beautiful. Te artist and editor even give you your own blank template at the back of the book to pick your own favorites for your bookshelf and illustrate your book's spines. I'll share my bookshelf with you in the week to come.

Lastly,I read "March" by Geraldine Brooks. It is Mr. March's story during the period of time "Little Women" takes place.  I thought it read like Historical fiction and I really enjoyed it, although it is at times a sad story. I love this author and "People of the Book" is still my favorite of her's. I recommend reading them both.

I didn't get much kid's lit read this month. I think this is because 1. I'm not making time to read to kids daily (oldest is plowing through Little House on Prairie books and Bones- I know odd twosome. My youngest meanwhile is trying to be like her big brother and "read" on her own. 2. I thought I was going to have all this time to read to them on our travels this past month, but I ended up doing a ton of driving during vacation. So instead I'm still reading the same chapter book I started end of June and unfortunately have to return it due to "fines" I owe on book- I know shame on me!  Hopefully I will have at least one chapter book in the August Reads post.

On to bed now in prep to get good shut eye before tomorrow's tri. I'll have to fill you in on my workout life in the next few days too. Goodnight, hope a good read is sharing the last few minutes of your day with you.

This was suppose to post Saturday night, but something went wrong so getting it out now. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back to Reality

I'll keep this short...- no really I will. 

I'm back from being away from home for 11 days.  I traveled in 8 different states and stayed in three different places during the vacation time.  It was so great, but now back to life/reality:
laundry, "to do" lists (which overwhelm me currently), making lunch, work tomorrow, getting my head on straight to get ready for the week, let alone realizing that this week ends July 2013- where has the summer gone. 

I've gained some more adult perspective over my vacation time- life is indeed good and I should remember all the great things I have and people that I've been blessed to know in my life.  I have it good: good kids (healthy, a little snarky now and then, but good), great family (both in-laws and immediate), and a husband who I really enjoy sharing my life and dreams with. 

So back to reality, but with a fresh perspective, at least until I get annoyed by something at work or better yet before I even step out the door to go to work tomorrow.  It has been a busy/great month!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Family so important

I am 36 1/2 years old and have been traveling to Virginia to see my father's family since I was born. I went two times a year until I was about a junior or senior in high school and then visited off and on over the years. I've been lucky to have all the memories (bad and good of my trips to Virginia).

I'm lucky my kids are good travelers and find "farm life" and vacationing in Winchester just as fun as I did growing up. On my last night in Winchester at this great Herd's Inn (single family log home) I feel teary eyed thinking that sooner or later this experience in my life will stop because times are changing, people are getting older and the reason to visit Winchester is not the same as it use to be.

On our last night here we had dinner with about 15 of my family members. We went to visit a second cousin of mine who lives in my great grandmother's house and I took a walk with my daughter for one last visit with kittens in the farm we are staying at-one in particular "Furry"- whom she'd take home in a minute if I had amnesia and forgot about our cat at home who has no love for other felines in her life.

I'm thankful that my dad grew up where he did and that he had us experience traveling to VA throughout my childhood and now adult life. I'm hoping my kids can look back at pictures from this trip and others and feel as happy as I do looking back at pictures from my childhood travels to VA.

The first picture is my sister, my grandparents and me sitting on my grandparent's porch swing at farm house. Love it!

Second is a picture from the family reunion I attended last Saturday. Oldest 90 ( my grandpa and youngest 6 months old).

Third picture my three cousins, minus my sister, the all girl grandchildren of my grandpa.
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Monday, July 22, 2013

A great day!

Do you ever just have one of those days you'd like to bottle up and be able to open the bottle when you are having one of those tough days?

Today was a great day- I'm not writing this to brag or make my life inflated- I'm writing this to be a reminder and a looking back point when I'm doubting my skills as a mother and person.

So why was it so great...

I woke up had a yummy breakfast sitting with some of my favorite people in the world: my mom, dad daughter and son while looking out at the beautiful countryside of the Shenandoah valley and mountains. We then (son, daughter, and me) headed to the Wagon Wheel Ranch in Winchester, VA for a trail ride.

My daughter was ecstatic and enjoyed riding her own horse while being lead by Tabitha one of the trail guides. She looked so cute with her little riding helmet, skinny jeans, and pink cowgirl boots. Her horse Whiskey was a perfect match.

My son, I had been a little worried about because he is more apprehensive around animals let alone an adult size horse. He did great!

We rode for 90 minutes and there was no whining or complaining. We were smiling at the end. I'm ready to take lessons when we get back to iowa and I'm pretty sure daughter ready too- not sure who is going to foot that bill :).

Son went off to spend the rest of the afternoon golfing with my dad and daughter and my mom, Kate and I headed off for afternoon of shopping.

Shopping was fun. We all had some great buys, but none better then daughter's "school backpack".

Now finishing the night with everyone in the family room- some as you can see on hide-a-bed watching a great movie "The King and I". Perfect ending to a perfect day.

Really wish I could bottle it up!
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Sunday, July 7, 2013

This week...

Starting tomorrow we begin our annual no T/V, screen time, blogging, etc week. We did this last year and didn't miss technology so much we went on to another week.

This year I'm timing the week before we head on vacation to Virginia. Not going to try the 14 hour trip, me driving with kids by myself for 5 of them, without a little movie watching, and of course Facebook , and blogging our trip. So tomorrow starts the freedom from technology.

So if you don't hear from me for awhile know I'm just on vacation :). My writing has not been that prolific lately so i'm hoping that this week off gives me some time to read and write.

Here are some of the finds I've found today at the library. A bunch of cookbooks to entice me into cooking. I'll let you know how motivated I get. So enjoy some chattynatty free time and look forward to the return in a week or so.

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Friday, July 5, 2013

June Reads

It was a challenging reading month in June.  I read a couple of long books that weren't my favorites and so I felt like it was taking me forever to get through a couple of books and move onto ones I really was interested in.  Here they are in no particular order..

      Beautiful Ruins
This was our book club book for June.  I was disappointed in it.  Too many story lines going on and some of them not too interesting.  It as a long one and I kept reading thinking it was going to get better and it just never got there for me. 
      A Long Way from Chicago (A Long Way from Chicago, #1)
I started reading Newberry Award winners and thought this was one of them, but then realized that is was not a winner, but a  Honor in 1999.  However, I'm glad I read this one with the kids, because my oldest enjoyed it so much he wanted to read the other two in the series, which one of them was a Newberry Award winner.  The story is great and the main characters are all very strong and interesting, especially the grandma.  Fun family read. 
      Inkheart (Inkworld, #1)
Two of my friends recommended this one.  The one said it is a book for those who love books.  It was an o.k. read, but I think that the book had been too hyped up for me and so I just kept expecting more.  Don't think I'll be reading the other two in this trilogy.