Monday, March 31, 2014

March Reads

This was my audiobook for the month.  It was a great audiobook to listen to while training.  The stories make me realize anything is possible and the races I've done with the life I have are little in comparison to these people's: 1 ironman mother of 6, 1 ironman double lung transplant, 1 ironman was basically told "get off the couch or you are going to die"- the stories were interesting and all different.  The writing was very good and could tell author is journalist. 
Story of young girl living in depression era.  This book reminded me a lot of Gregory Peck's stories which are entertaining, but also tell you about what is going on at that time period.  I look forward to reading something else by her.
3. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore  Author: Sloan, Robin
Great read!  Totally imaginative, read like a bookstore mystery/fantasy, but not too fantasy for this non-fantasy imagination girl.  I really liked the story and found the idea behind the main characters path throughout the story believable. Also, took me until about 1 week into the book to realize the cover is interesting with the lights off- you'll have to check it out. Started it in Boston and finished it back home, was great traveling companion.
Found out about this one when perusing the Parent Reading Section in the Children's Reading room in the St. Louis public library, downtown.  I liked this book because it not only told you the basis for what 100 books to read with different age children, but it also gave you some back ground of the author, which I found intriguing.  It amazes how so many of these authors came from not the best child hoods, but yet end up writing really amazing and long lasting classics in children's literature.  If you love books about reading to children or for children I highly recommend this. 
 Author: Cantor, Jillian      
O.K. Bookies look away from my book review.  Liked this book so much because of the subject matter, which I've always found interesting: Holocaust and Anne Frank.  So I picked this book as our 12 year anniversary book for book club in May.  Maybe some will say this book is a little unbelievable, but I like the What if... What if Margot, Anne Frank's sister, didn't die in concentration camp, and instead was able to escape and live her life.  What if other Holocaust members family members were out there and not dead/buried/gassed etc, in some horrible concentration camp. 
This was on my "to read" list last year and I finally got around to it this year.  It was O.K., I was a little disappointed and I can't exactly explain what I was expecting.  I knew the book was about a dad and daughter who read at least 10 minutes or more nightly for something like 9 years straight, which if you really think about it is pretty amazing, but the book was more about the author's life and less about the reading.  Which maybe that's what caught me off guard.  I thought the book would talk about  what they read, which it did, but normally there wasn't that much about the actual books.  It was about life.  Life can be messy and unfair and I think this "real life" picture was not what I was looking for.  The ending of the book also was a  little hard to believe- no one dies, but the events that occur for her father to me are somewhat comparable to a death of sorts.  If you read it you'll get what I mean.  I think this book just reinforced the importance reading to our children/any child has on their life. 
Author Mason, Jane B.
My daughter picked this book at her book fair this past fall.  We finally got around to reading it.  My daughter loves dogs and mysteries so this was win/win.  I liked the story line and the chapters went back in forth written in narrative of dog and dog's owner/best friend.  I'm sure I'll be reading more of these.
I bought my son the 4th Harry Potter when I was out in Boston, so I wanted to find a "special book" for daughter.  She is in to chapter books and mysteries and one of the main characters in the book has the same first name as my daughter so I thought this looked like a good pick. It was a super quick read, but enjoyable and good mix of fantasy and strong/independent girls. 
So I love this series.  Again- spunky girls, and normally a little bit of plot like mystery going on and my daughter, son and I get a kick out of the girl's antics.  Reminds me of things I did growing up. Great series and again will likely be reading the rest of these.
So I read quite a bit with the kids this month, which always makes me feel good. I also got some awesome reading done due to the traveling I did.  I really liked this month of reading.  FYI- didn't have a book club read, because I listened to the book "The Paris Wife" last year when training so decided to not "read" it also.  It was a great book to listen too and based on our discussion most in the book club really enjoyed reading it.  Well off to bed to do some more reading.  Hope you are finding some good books in your life- don't know what I'd do without them. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Two a days x 3!

So St. Louis was great- Day 2 wasn't as good as Day 1 (zoo was under construction in major way, it was COLD/WINDY out, and I was hoping for 60 degree weather), but it was still filled with museums (St. Louis Art Museum SLAM was great- so big we didn't get through the whole free exhibit part, St. Louis History Museum is having a special 250 Birthday Exhibit for St. Louis that was great), zoo animals, park, and fun.  Oh- and thanks to my friend WINE!  Kids did great, but by Tuesday night I was feeling "tired" from so much vacationing- I know get out your tiniest violin out and play it on your finger.  I think I was prematurely dreading the drive back home Wednesday morning.  It was an uneventful drive, but by the time we got home, unpacked, ran to library to pick up a book on hold (priorities in my life) and home to make dinner (actually reheat the dinner my hubby prepped for us the night before- awesome guy) I was done.  I was suppose to run 3 miles that day when returning home, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  So what did that mean- I would have to do 3 two a day workouts and one day of a run- to get all my runs, bikes, and swims in for the week.  Luckily this week was a "step down" week. 

Side note- I totally believe in "step down" weeks.  All of the training plans I've ever followed has them and I think this is one of the reasons why I (knock on wood) haven't experienced too many injuries/set backs in my training/racing over the years.

So this week I needed to run 4 miles, 3 miles, and a 5K Race (basically do a fast 3.2 mile), do a 35 minute swim, 20 minute swim, bike 45 minutes and bike another 30 minutes.  I was lucky I didn't have to figure in a super long run that would have tired my legs out, but I did decide to turn the 4 mile run into a 3 mile in 27 minutes followed by 1 mile finishing me in 37 minutes (that is fast for me).  I did that on the treadmill and did a nice little ramp up by starting at 6.0 mph, and with each song increasing 0.2 mph for subsequent songs until I reached 7.0 and then stayed there for 2 songs and then started back at 6.0.  This type of ladder work out makes the time fly by for me faster on the treadmill along with the added bonus of non-stop exciting basketball games on 24/7 this weekend.  I pulled myself out of bed on Thursday morning and went to spin, which although at 5:30 a.m. is one of my easier workouts each week to get done.  Swimming later that day at the Wellness Center while kids enjoyed the "lazy river" and playing with some old neighbors.  It is nice that they are good swimmers and older now so I can do my laps, but I try to keep my shorter swims for the week on days I think I'm also going to be doing "mom duty".  My longer swim of the week was at Rec Center on Sunday.  I like going there right when it opens on Sundays, because hardly anyone is there when it opens and today another guy and I basically had the pool to ourselves for the first 20 minutes of my 35 minute swim.  I chose to work on endurance instead of speed and did 500 free style, 300 kick board (50 front kick, 50 on back kicking x 3), 300 breast stroke (easier stroke, but you don't get very far, but I've read that this stroke can help in open water swims to "calm down" and get your bearings if feeling "freaked out" in open water, then 400 free style.  My other bike was a quick 30 minutes on the trainer Friday afternoon- that morning I had done a quick 3 outside and allowed for several hours in between: trip to ice arena to let kids skate,  trip to Olive Garden with the two munchkins for lunch and a nap in the afternoon- so basically felt like working out two different days with all the stuff added in between.  Despite not a high mileage week getting all these workouts done in 4 days feel like an accomplishment.  Two a days is coming easier to me than I thought it would.  As I have to train longer miles/time this may not feel that "easy", but for now I'm enjoying it.

My only issue is when to work in a 1-2 days of "strength training".  I just can't seem to make it a priority and you know what happens when something isn't a priority for chattynatty- it just doesn't get done.  I totally know the importance of strength training, mainly injury prevention, and also the benefit of having those extra muscle fibers able to fire when needed during a race to help me push through.  So this is on my "to do" list in the upcoming week or two.  Keep you posted on whether it really does come to fruition.  Happy Sunday and Happy to have my four days, three 2 a days, done for the week- Hello Chile Cab /Merlot blend I'm having with dinner- chattynatty pour definitely!

Found on

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Louis- Day 1!

Well this is actually the 2nd day, but we got here around 2pm yesterday so this is our 1st full day.

Kids loved coming to St. Louis last year and so were almost assuming we were coming back for this year's spring break.  Something totally "Midwest" about two kids loving going to another city, that doesn't have cabanas, beach, sand, and surf for "spring break" :). 

So we traveled yesterday by car.  Due to the "busy season" of all public accountants "the coach" did not travel with us.  The kids were GREAT!  No movies were watched, instead 2 hours of looking at books, and 2 1/2 hours of listening to Harry Potter, playing some "card car games" and eating lunch. Made it here and had a lovely evening including a long game of Monopoly with the oldest while dancing daughter was "getting her groove" on listening to Pandora Kids Bop Station on Iphone, followed by yummy pizza and bed.  Followed by some catch up time with friend once kids fell asleep over some great Cab.

Today was even better- started the day at "The City Museum" in downtown St. Louis.  If you haven't been there- go- go now!  It is one of the most creative, eccentric, activity (physical that is) promoting places I've been with my kids.  There is so much to describe- it is truly sensory overload!  I think last year I was a little overwhelmed and over protective,  but youngest daughter was only 4 and oldest was 7 so probably not o.k. to just say- go off for 20 minutes of exploring while I sit here reading a book, etc.  Well this year that year difference and the "buddy system" they are good at, allowed me less worries, less climbing through all the "tight places" that little people have no problem climbing through.  This year we also had the great luck of running into our old neighbors who lived three doors down from us and have two kids our kid's ages.  It was great to have the kids "run" with each other and be able to divide up among "old kids" and "young kids".  However, besides meeting up with our neighbors my favorite time was spent in the art area.  Both kids received a "ball of clay" from the ADHD/ADD/"possible manic" clay artist (I mean that in all due respect, because she had a "well oiled machine" at her clay counter- no kids were given clay until they showed their "elbow muscles" aka- push your sleeves up and if you didn't listen she would just say it louder, and again not give you the coveted ball of clay.  She also was big into saying, "When you are done, paws in the bucket and then in the sink"- she again had a "well oiled machine of cleanup".  However, for some nicknamed "chattynatty" I couldn't keep up with her "conversation lines".  She was all over the map.  Youngest made this cool looking twirling clay/almost rose figure and oldest made clay bowl- unfortunately youngest' clay stature was so popular when we went back to pick both up her's was gone.  She handled it like the trooper she is and way more mature than the 5 year old I ever was and shed no tears, but said something to the effect "someone else must have liked it"- how awesome is that coping :)- yep didn't teach her that one must have been "the coach". 

Then after the Clay fun we moved onto oldest building his own bow/arrow set with paper, a green shamrock colored stretchy material clearly meant for St. Pat's day crafts, and another twisted piece of paper with cut out fins/feather region.  Youngest made fabulous flower with the good old scrunched up colored tissue paper glued to construction paper to make a "flower" and I loved my "collage" of numbers/writings and art that I cut and glued to old file cabinet dividers- totally awesome recycled art products. 

After we left our neighbors we went to the car and "had a picnic" due to the chilly weather, but then I bribed them with "no crying/whining and 1 mile walk to Arch will get you treat"- I know you aren't suppose to bribe with food, but it saved me reparking and it was great exercise and we got to see so much more of the city, and pet dogs, and see all the crazy St. Pat's day patrons, then if we would have driven to another parking garage.  All in all my parking for the day cost me $5- yep you are reading that right $5.

We walked to the Arch and preceeded to enter the Museum of Westward Expansion where both kids exited with Junior Park Ranger Badges for answering the questions in "junior park ranger book".  They have the gold badges to prove it.  After the museum we took some great pictures and then walked to Starbucks and had our "treats".  We then walked back to the car, but took a detour- the best detour ever!  The St. Louis central public library. Seriously, I love libraries and this one is a good one.  The kids remember going to it last year and so were all for it this year.  One ended up sitting in the three story soft cushioned reading statue with her graphic novels and easy readers while the oldest was in the "teen room" also known as the "1912 children's library room" reading graphic novels for the "older child".  I meanwhile found some new books to add to my "to read" list for myself and the kids.    My favorite find of the day was the following book by Anita Silvey "100 Best Books for Children".  In the introduction I was hooked...

"Nothing lasts longer in memory than childhood reading experiences.  And nothing ensure the success of a child more in society than being read to from infancy through young adulthood.  reading books to and with children is the single most important thing a parents, grandparent, or significant adult can do."

"I believe 3 stories exist for every book: the one the book tells, the one behind the book and the story of what happens when a child or family reads the book."

I'm pretty certain I will be purchasing this book soon. We headed to my friends house after the library to make a yummy dinner, followed by kids playing across the street at school playground- how awesome is that- my friend seriously has the kind of house/porch where the kids are a "shout away" and can play in fenced in protected black top/playground area.  Now both kids are in bed, my friends have either gone back to work due to "being on call" or gone to "man cave" to watch "Futbo'l" and I get to sit with some Girl Scout Cookies and yummy Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin to end out my fabulous day. 

So grateful!  Such a lucky person/mom I am.  Spring Break 2014- St. Louis- this may be an annual Spring break spot, in fact my oldest said "See you next year" when leaving the "city museum" and also "next year when we come we will do...".  Lets hope Day 2 will be just as adventurous and great!

Friday, March 14, 2014


Had a good time in Boston. Never accomplish as much as I hope to when traveling, but happy with what I did do: ran twice (one day was a joke and I wussed out because of the wind and cold),swam one day, finished one book and 1/2way done with another, networked and met great NP (nurse practitioner) leaders, did some sight seeing (never enough), had some new beers (Harpoon IPA seasonal my fav), and of course indulged in food I haven't had for awhile (burgers, fries,macaroni/cheese, brick oven pizza with real pepperoni, and flour less chocolate cookies- oh yeah and my McDonalds at O'hare).

I roomed by myself and honestly thoroughly enjoyed it. Could come and go as I pleased and take as long as hot showers as I wanted. The daylight savings time screwed with me, plus the hour added due to East Coast time. I felt somewhat foggy all week, like I just couldn't get enough sleep or caffeine.

Waiting for the flight home. I'm tired and really don't want to think about the fact that I'm suppose to run 8 miles tomorrow-ugh!  Back to reality. Boston it was good, but next time I want it to be warmer and more tourist time.

Friday, March 7, 2014

February Reads

For some reason I feel like I'm forgetting a book from my February List- maybe it will come to me.  I try to be good about putting down in GoodReads all the books I read and those I want to so I can remember what I've read and what I want to.  I highly recommend it for any readers or those who like to create "to read" lists.  Anywhoo-

In no particular order here is what I read:

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
I wrote about this one during the month because it was so spectacular.  Again read it if you haven't and have your kids read it too!

A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White
Our book club book.  It was O.K.  I struggled with the authors writing style.  I normally don't mind books that flashback and skip to different years (case in point- loved "The Time Traveler's Wife").  This book just felt somewhat disjointed to me and I struggled with the two main characters being pulled a part of each other.  They were half-sisters, and I kept forgetting the "half" part and kept on thinking about the "sisters" part and couldn't think of being torn away from my own sister.  Again-O.K., but don't think I'll be reading anything else by White.

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
My son and I had a mini-bookclub with this book.  He read it for a reading program at school to meet the "award" genre he needed to fill.  I then read it, because I never had, and we discussed as well as a "old mom" and "3rd grader" can :).  I liked this book and was glad I read it.

Triathlon for the Every Woman by Meredith Atwood
This was my last read of the month. It is a great book and I think super helpful for the beginner triathlete.  I took a lot from this book and feel a little bit more prepared for what lies ahead.  Anyone interested in triathlon training I highly recommend this read.

Well that is all I can remember for February good month of reading with some fun young kids lit thrown in.  Having a little slow start to March.  Tried reading Emily Dickinson and just couldn't continue.  All the poems I read had some symbolism or connection to death.  Not what I'm needing right now.  So moving on to other reads.  Yep- I'm growing up- and putting on my big girl pants and choosing what to read, when to read, and when to stop. 

February Mileage: AKA Swim, Bike, Run

Now that I'm doing all three types of exercise on regular basis I won't be able to write monthly run logs, but will also include swim, and bike too. 

February was the start of my tri season with my first "tri" and indoor triathlon.  It went well.  It was a time based race- 10 minutes to swim, bike and run and basically the miles you could get in those time periods were then added up for your total mileage over the 30 minutes.  I did well with 500 meter swim, 5 mile bike and 1.25 run to get me a "first for my age group" win.  However, only 9 in my age group :).  The indoor tri had approximately 100 competitors and other than having to wait quite awhile for the swim to start, and hence my race to begin, I otherwise thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Following that race I was plagued with wonderful sinusitis which really cut my training back.  I was suppose to start training for the Pigman sprint the Tuesday after the indoor tri- didn't happen and I've redone my schedule so that I'm now following a 13 week training plan which I started this past Monday. 

Other than having lower mileage than I thought I would I ended up not feeling to loss in my conditioning when I started training this week.  So my mileage for February: Swim 6,000 yd (1900= 1.2 miles), bike (or spin d/t weather) 70 miles, and 36.41 miles Running (yes I count any little amount my Nike TOM TOM GPS watch will give me). 

A couple of things I learned this past month- I didn't totally lose my legs going from 5 miles of extreme spinning to the treadmill, which I'm hoping is a good sign that transitioning from bike to run will continue to be smooth with of course added training of bricks (combo workouts of swim to bike or bike to swim, etc).  Being sick is not good for my training nor my mental health- It drove me nuts and I'm a horrible patient- note to self make it a priority not to get sick.  Lastly- sleep is needed and will be needed in this upcoming year of extreme training.  Onto March!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Happy Anniversary- 3rd year!

Can't believe it has been three years since I started this blog and started posting.  I'm so glad I started three years ago.  I write for me and write about me, my life, my training, my kids, my reads, and my family.  It has to be for me- right- because not everyone wants to know about my life, my training, my kids, my books, and my family. 

I'm no longer RESTLESS- had a great weekend at home.  Home- funny word- I still call HOME my home with my mom, dad, and where my in-laws live- my HOMEtown.  It is so nice to go home and get rejuvenated by playing records on my parents stereo, going to my local roller rink and skating with my kids, eating well, drinking some good vino, seeing family, reading books, sitting by fireplace, playing CLUE ( I love that board game), and getting some dancing and running in.  It was a good weekend.

However, I'm not HOME anymore I'm Home- I love both and want to try and figure out how to make my Home my HOME!  What a great new goal for me- you know I love goals.  One way in which I think this goal may occur is to get that HOME isn't a place- well it is- but what I'm hoping to find that HOME is really a feeling that I can bottle in my heart and keep with me or pull out of my pocket when I want to.  Being mindful of the here and now/present is not something I'm very good at, but I think by being more mindful and present I will start to see the HOME inside my Home. 

I'm very spoiled- I've led a very, very sheltered, nice life.  I haven't had any horrific things happen to me like you read or see in the news, online, or even you see in real life daily.  I'm also selfish- I like doing things for me like riding a bike for a long time, running for a long time, reading books and attending book club, being with my PEEPS (My GIRLS), trying new things like training for a half ironman.  All of these things make me- me.  I'm also sensitive, a worrier, the "spender" in my marriage, the loud one, the inpatient mother, the planner (boy am I the planner), and on and on and on.  But I'm also the crazy "goal setter", the dancer, the singer, the laugher (the pee her pants laugher), the smile, the traveler, the lover of art/movies,

the friend,  the sister, the daughter, the mother the wife.  Life is about balance and I'm hoping in my search for HOME I will also get better about balance of all that makes me- me. 

Isn't Vivian Leigh Beautiful! 1940 Oscar's picture.  Vivian Leigh was Scarlett O'Hara- fyi- GONE WITH THE WIND!
O>K> enough of the heavy stuff for an anniversary post-- in honor of my 3rd anniversary I'm sitting here writing this post while watching "The Oscars" just as I did three years ago.  For the Oscar Night is my anniversary, I know the dates change, but I'm sticking with it.  Onto a night of some yummy food, drinks, and much needed "couch" time.  Onto a new week.  Thanks to those who read my blog and write me comments.  Thanks for being o.k. with me!