Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Headed to the "happiest place on Earth"

Tomorrow morning, I'm picking Bryce and Annie up at school, and my friend Heidi is driving me and the four kids to the airport to fly to Orlando. My grandparents are having their 60th wedding anniversary party at Epcot this weekend, and they promised all of their progeny that if we could get ourselves to Florida, they'd put us up in style. Since I've been planning the weekend for the last year and a half, I have to say that I think they're making good on their end of the bargain. We're going to a character dinner tomorrow night with our Alaska cousins. My parents have promised not to desert me with my four kids at the Magic Kingdom on Friday. Eddie is arriving Friday night and we're taking the kids to Animal Kingdom and Epcot on Saturday (they're more "educational" according to my oh-so-fun-loving husband). Then on Saturday night, we'll be celebrating Grandma and Grandpa with a dinner in Norway (well, Norway, Epcot-style), followed by a dessert party and fireworks on the Moroccan shores (well, Morocco, Epcot-style). It should be really cool. We're all staying on Disney property and all of us, except for two grandkids (out of 14) and one doofus of a son, going to be there.

I'll return and report with pictures next week!

Monday, September 24, 2007


On Saturday morning, I had the hardest time getting out of bed. It was 5:45. Maren was up (so were Isaac and Annie-- what is it with my kids?). Eddie was awake and willing to take her. But I did not want to get out of bed and run. I had fifteen miles on the schedule (my longest run so far) and I wasn't looking forward to it. At all. But somehow, somewhere, I summoned up the energy to put on my clothes and shoes (I had already frozen a water bottle and filled my amphipod the night before, which helped) and got out the door.

And you know what? It wasn't so bad. In fact, it felt great.

So as I was running, I was thinking about all of the tasks that I think I hate, but once I get started, I really don't hate that much after all. Here's what I came up with:

-picking up. I love how a neat house looks, and if I can just summon up the energy to tackle the big basket at the bottom of the stairs, it takes about two minutes to unload when I get it upstairs.

-doing dishes. The water feels good. I turn on some favorite tunes. I restore order to chaos. Love it.

-vacuuming, washing the floor, sweeping. For me, it's all about just getting the paraphernalia out. Once the cleaning supplies are out, I'm all over it, but for some reason, it seems to take a lot of energy to walk to the closet, open the door, pull out the vacuum and plug it in. But the results are so worth it.

-drying my hair. Once again, I think it's because I have to pull out an appliance. But I really like the chance to steal ten minutes to read under the hair dryer. And I look cuter.

-writing in Maren's calendar. I've kept a calendar for each of my kids for the first year of their lives. In theory, I write in it every day. In practice, I write in it every month or two and furiously try to wrack my brain thinking about the milestones she's reached and the things she's done during that time. But it honestly only takes 10 seconds to write in it for the day.

-reading the scriptures. Enough said.

Once I get over my inborn inertia (a body at rest tends to stay at rest, right?), I actually like doing a lot of the things I think I hate.

But folding laundry, ironing clothes and making dinner don't really improve once I get over that first step of getting off my butt. I still hate those.

What do you like to do once you get over your inertia? What do you still hate?

Book #53: Me and Emma

Title: Me and Emma
Author: Elizabeth Flock
I feel sort of emotionally wrung-out after reading Me and Emma. It's the story of two sisters whose father is murdered, whose mother falls apart, and in her depression (or whatever it is she fell into, or already was to begin with), marries a mean, abusive drunk. The whole time I was reading the novel, I just kept thinking, "why isn't anyone stepping in and helping these girls?" I mean, after their dad died, wouldn't friends keep an eye out for them? What about their friends? What about the girls' teachers? It seems like a lot of people had Caroline and Emma sort of on the periphery of their viewpoints, but they never really saw the direness of their situation. For me, it made me think a lot about the Church, and about my current calling as a Visiting Teaching Coordinator. I know we don't have the Visiting Teaching program to "tattle" on each other, but it seems like Caroline and Emma wouldn't have been quite so neglected with a nice sister from the church showing up once a month. (I know, fantasy world, but it is fiction, after all, right?)
It also seemed like there were a lot of things in Me and Emma that didn't quite add up, like the timeline of events. But I guess that when the narrator is a child like Caroline, that's to be expected. There's a surprise at the end, and if you can suspend disbelief until you get to that point, a lot of things that confused or annoyed you as you read will make sense. I promise. If you can stomach what happens to Caroline and Emma before you get there.

Book #52: Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil

Title: Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil

Author: Deborah Rodriguez
My Aunt Kate recommended this book to me a few months ago, and it narrowly missed being chosen by my book club for this year's roster. If you're looking for a book club book, here are a few reasons why, after finally finishing it myself, I think it's a perfect choice:
* It's relatively short (300 pages)
* It reads quickly
* It's written by a "real" person, as opposed to an author, so the writing isn't too dense
* It's a darn great story (a stylist who goes to Kabul with a relief organization and ends up opening a beauty school to train Afghan women to become stylists themselves, earn money and liberate themselves from male domination). In the process she finds love and meets some very interesting people
* It's clean (for those squeaky-clean, easily offended book group types)
* There are a lot of books that could be paired with it (like The Thousand Splendid Suns or Three Cups of Tea) to create sort of a thematic couple of months in a book group
* Afghan food sounds good
* Everyone could come dressed up like an Afghan bride-- 12" hairdo and all!

Book #51: The Adventures of Captain Underpants (The First Epic Novel)

Title: The Adventures of Captain Underpants
Author: Dav Pilkey
Since I'm a voracious reader, I always assumed that my kids would inherit the reading gene from me. Annie taught herself to read before she was four and has been reading herself to bed at night ever since. Bryce also learned to read early, but he's used books more for information than for entertainment. Until last week. He asked me to get him a couple of Captain Underpants books from the library. I'll admit that I was sort of put off by the name, but I did it anyway. We read the first book together. I kept thinking he'd be begging me to end reading time, but we read 75 pages the first night and finished it up as soon as he got home from school the next day. He's been reading the second epic story to himself at bedtime and I love hearing him giggle as he discovers the books on his own. They are pretty darn funny books too. But then again, I love potty humor, so my idea of a funny book would probably be one that would appeal to a second-grade boy.

Book #50: A Thread of Grace

Title: A Thread of Grace
Author: Mary Doria Russell
First of all, the Fifty Book Challenge? I made it! Not nearly as quickly as last year, when I hit fifty in July, but still, I did it. And I think that the books I read have, in general, been more challenging this year than last. At least that's what I keep telling myself. Mary Doria Russell's A Thread of Grace definitely falls into the "more challenging" category. It's the story of Jewish refugees during World War II who escape into Italy once they hear of a peace agreement between the Allies and the Italians. When the Germans invade Italy, the Jews must be hidden. The story reminds me a lot of Suite Francaise, which I read earlier this year (I think) and which I also liked. But I'm so glad that I live in a less precarious, less dangerous sort of life myself. I get exhasuted just reading about the trials people went through when a war was fought on their home turf. It also makes me wonder if I'd be brave and resistant for a just cause, or if I'd find the path of least resistance to protect my family.
And just an aside-- is it just me or does every girl who has sex ONE TIME in literature or film seem to get pregnant? It's like a given that if a girl has sex with a guy who is just about to die, she will bear a child nine months later. It sort of bugs me.

Friday, September 21, 2007

My cups runneth over no longer...

I have some pretty vivid memories of seventh grade. I remember dances in the middle school gym. I remember eating pizza and ice cream and french fries for lunch every day and being ravenous when I got home from school. I remember Rob Taylor skateboarding over to my house after school and doing tricks out front to try to impress me. And I remember getting breasts.

For most girls, I think getting breasts is sort of a gradual process. They go from being flat, to having little nubbins to having those nubbins flesh out and turn into breasts. Not me. I went on vacation to Florida over April Break. I had just turned 13 and I was flat as a washboard. I returned home ten days later as a C-cup. For the rest of my middle school years, I had to endure the tauntings that I stuffed my bra. Kids drew boxes of Kleenex in my yearbook. I felt like I was cursed with breasts, and would have preferred to stay flat. I've always admired those skinny ballet dancers and runner girls with long legs and flat stomachs and no boobs.

So, for nearly 20 years, I've had pretty substantial breasts. I mean, they haven't been huge or anything, but they've definitely been noticeable. My high school boyfriend's mom used to call them cantaloupes, if that gives you any idea. They were there, they were a little lopsided, and they were perky.

And then I had kids. And they were still there, but not so perky.

When Oprah went on her "90% of American women are in the wrong bra size" kick a while ago I went out and got measured. I was in the wrong size. The right size, I learned was a 34D. Over the last seven or eight months, those 34D bras have gotten big on me. Finally, they got to the point that I could stick my whole fist into the cup of the bra with room left over. So I got measured again, and I'm now a 32C. I know, it's not tiny, but it's, um, a lot smaller than it used to be. I'm still nursing too, so I'm anticipating even more shrinkage a few months down the road. I don't think people would look at me anymore and say, "Wow, she has nice boobs" or "Wow, she has cantaloupes." It would probably be more like, "Ho-hum, I've seen limes before."

The funny thing is, this is the look I've always aspired to. I had the long legs covered (thanks, Mom). Now I've got small boobs. But a flat stomach isn't going to happen. I think that everything that four kids have been responsible for removing from my chest has found its way right to my tummy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Week in Training: September 17-22

Mon-- 4.5 mi run with jogger (done)
Tues-- run 2 mi hills, spin class, a little bit of yoga (done, spin class interrupted twice for potty problems in the childwatch and it's hard to do yoga with a kid on your leg)
Wed-- 4.25 mi speedwork (5K time 20:05) (done)
Thurs--abs class, spin class
Fri-- 6.3 miles with the jogger.
Sat-- 15 miles. First six took me 50 minutes. Second six took 43 minutes. Last three took 20 minutes. I guess I wasn't pushing myself very hard at first.

The mornings are finally cooling off here, which is making me think I just might be able to pull off this training thing after all. I really had to overcome some serious inertia this morning to get myself out the door, but once I did, it really felt great. The afternoons are still in the 90s here, but I feel like "fall" (we really don't get a true fall in Texas) is just around the corner when I wake up and it's in the 70s or even the upper 60s!

Total running miles: 32
Total other stuff: one abs class, two spinning classes and a very short portion of a yoga video

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Eight (Seventeen, actually) Random Things...

Eddie is guest-authoring the first part of this post, so you can see just how well he knows me and how much he loves me...
1) Shelah keeps her toenails clipped VERY short and is missing the middle toenail on her left foot.
2) Her favorite jokes are those dealing with bodily functions.
3) She has a thing for NBA small forwards.
4) She HATES to lose totally inconsequential competitions like board games.
5) Favorite TV show: Feasting on Asphalt with Alton Brown (Food Network)
6) She cooks and does the dishes really fast (about 1/3 of the time it takes me).
7) In her frenzies of cleaning the house, she has a tendency to throw away valuable and irreplaceable documents.
8) She falls asleep with the light on EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.
9) She loves babies so much, she would probably have 12 kids if I would let her. (Shelah says, "they knew that already.")

Since I don't want to tag anyone new, here are eight random things about Eddie (payback time)
1) He has great recall for books that he read in middle school (like The Good Earth) but can't remember things that actually happened to him in real life six months ago.
2) He knows the names of pro sports referees. One night last week, I was watching an NFL game with him and commented on the impressive arm muscles of one of the refs. Eddie said, "you mean Ed Hochuli?" Um, yeah, the one in that striped shirt over there.
3) He prefers baked goods that started their lives in factories to those produced with love in our own kitchen. Grossness. He won't eat at all things produced in other people's non-commercial kitchens. And you wonder why my kids are picky eaters.
4) He kicks butt at playing Guitar Hero. He's even been taken into Guitar Hero heaven. Pretty amazing, considering that he doesn't play all that much. I bet his mom is so proud that all those years of threatening him with a wooden spoon while he tried to get out of practicing the piano have paid off.
5) He talks to each of his brothers and his father at least three times during each BYU football game. We were at a concert last night and his brother called TWICE to update us on what was happening with the game.
6) He drinks ridiculous amounts of soda. I buy two or three twelve-packs a week. Sometimes I feel like I do nothing but walk around and pick up the empties.
7) He has a prodigious mind for pop culture trivia. And I think he's going to secretly be sadder than I am when our subscription to Star magazine runs out next month.
8) After ten years of living outside of Utah, he has lost his Utah accent. Not that he ever thought he had a Utah accent in the first place (but he did).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I think that no matter when your baby wakes up for the day....'s probably at least an hour earlier than you'd like it to be.

My wonderful friend Janet called me the other day. She has been sick over the last few weeks and as a result, she and her husband are both, to put it mildly, very tired. She also has an adorable four month-old baby, who, she lamented, keeps waking up so early. I asked her how early was "so early" and she said, "most mornings it's exactly 7:1.3"

For Janet, 7:13 is excessively early. It's her first baby, and she and her husband have always been of the "late to bed, late to rise" persuasion, so it shouldn't surprise you to find out that I spent a lot of Friday and Saturday nights during the three years that we lived down the street from each other asleep on their couch or their living room floor while they watched movies with Eddie.

I am an early-riser by nature.

Maren is an earlier-riser. This morning, she chose to get up for the day at 4:55am. I tried everything in my power to get her to GO BACK TO SLEEP but it was no use. By 5:40, she, Bryce and Isaac were all running around the house. After lunch today, I snuck into my bedroom to finish the book I was reading (about neglectful parenting, ironically) and immediately fell asleep. An hour later, when I woke up, I found Isaac sitting by himself downstairs, looking out the window forlornly. He had closed the baby gate behind him when he went downstairs, and couldn't get it open to come upstairs to find me. Unlike my three other kids, who would have raised holy hell at that point, he wandered around the downstairs, tried to take a nap himself (evidenced by the blanket on the couch), tried to get himself a drink (evidenced by the milk jug on the counter) and probably tried to get back over the gate.

Maren's up. Again. Gotta go. Lucy, I saw your meme and I'm doing it, I just need a little more brain power than I have today.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I know I always say that I feel like a single mom...

...but this week Eddie is gone all week and I really feel like a single mom.

I don't know how all of the real single moms do it. I can "just keep swimming" most days until six or seven, as long as I know that when Eddie walks in the door, he'll hold the baby, supervise the homework, and yell at the kids to get back in bed for the millionth time. Most days, I pull about a twelve-hour solo parenting day. Yesterday was a sixteen-hour solo parenting day, and I'm telling ya, those last four hours were killer. Even call nights aren't always so bad, because I know that it's just one night (well, two if you count the next night when he's sleeping off the lack of sleep from the previous night, but that's still not five nights in a row).

I've decided that no matter how annoying he gets, he's too valuable to me as an extra set of hands to divorce for at least another ten years (and yes, I'm totally kidding about that one).

Besides, I miss him. So do the kids.

Friday can not come soon enough.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pimping my ride?

Though I haven't bought any testicles for my minivan lately, I have become slightly obsessed with finding the perfect bumper sticker. When I was a kid, I thought bumper stickers were so cool. I begged my parents to put one of the "My child is an honor student..." stickers on their car (they never did). My dad had an beat-up station car, unaffectionately called "the brown bomb" which spent the last year of its long life with the driver's side door tied shut with a rope. It would have been the perfect car to plaster with annoying bumper stickers (RULDS2 anyone?). If it distracted the drivers behind us to the point that we got rear-ended, all the better.
But my parents never bumper-stickered that car. Instead, my mom, in a fit of I don't know what, put a "Give Blood, a Gift from the Heart" sticker on the back of our minivan. From that point on, the van was known by my friends as "the heart van." Pretty soon, I grew out of my affection for putting my personal mantra on the back of my vehicle. My parents surprised me on my 21st birthday with a red Dodge Neon with "Shelah" license plates, which attracted more attention than any annoying bumper sticker ever would (especially when my brother inherited the car the next year) and I decided I'd rather live in vehicular anonymity. I did put a see-through BYU decal on the back of my parents' van when I went off to college, but Eddie drew the line a few years ago when I bought a BYU license plate holder for him ("we graduated five years ago, get over it").

Since I've become passionate about running, I want to shout to the world that I'm a runner. These are three of my current favorites.

But I think I might just wait until I can get this one.

What would your sticker say if you were pimping your ride?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Book #49: Twilight

Title: Twilight
Author: Stephenie Meyer
I didn't only run 14 miles yesterday, I also read more than 400 pages in this book. Yep, it's really that engrossing. Last year I read a vampire romance (Dead Until Dark) and it wasn't nearly this good. Eddie asked if I thought he'd like it. Um, no. Definitely a chick book. But, since I'm all about keeping the inner angst-filled teenager alive, I'll admit that I loved it.

Book #48: I, Mona Lisa

Title: I, Mona Lisa
Author: Jeanne Kalogridis
I love two different kinds of books-- the ones that have a great story that reads quickly and the ones that make me think and feel smart. It's easy to find the first kind of book-- pretty much any Harlan Coben or Shopaholic book will suffice. I tear through them quickly and then forget them immediately, but they're fun while they last and I ignore everything around me (housework, kids, ringing telephones) amd immerse myself in the story. The second kind of book (the smart one) doesn't usually hold my attention as well while I'm reading, but I can usually remember it better. It's kind of like eating the high-fiber Kashi cereal instead of a bowl of fruit loops. It may not taste quite as exciting on the way down, but it keeps me fuller longer.
Anyway, after that long digression, I Mona Lisa is both tasty and satisfying. I loved the story and spent almost all day on Friday while Isaac was in preschool reading, but I didn't feel like I was sacrificing brain cells to do it. It's a great, fast-paced mystery, with well-drawn characters and an interesting protagonist. My only beef is that (since it's based on historical events) there were way too many guys named Guiliano. It was sort of hard to keep them all straight. That's where the excessive brain power has to come into play, I guess.

Book #47: Fatal Distraction: Or How I Conquered My Addiction to Celebrities and Got a Life

Title: Fatal Distraction: Or How I Conquered My Addiction to Celebrities and Got a Life
Author: Emmi Fredericks
Just don't even bother reading it. I'm so embarrassed because the first twenty pages or so weren't awful, so I recommended it to a friend who shares my addiction to Star magazine and Entertainment Weekly. But after the first twenty pages, it takes a serious nosedive. The protagonist, Eliza, doesn't have a life because she's obsessed with celebrities. And apparently, it's not too easy to write a book about someone who doesn't have much of a life. In fact, the book was so bad that when Sunday came around (my one nod to the sabbath day is that I won't read trashy magazines) I set the book aside, 2/3 read, and on Monday, I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Maybe Eliza dumped her boring, awful friends and got herself a life, but I just don't care.

Book #46: Abundance

Title: Abundance
Author: Sena Jeter Naslund
I loved Sena Jeter Naslund's novel Ahab's Wife, so I went into Abundance with high expectations. Those who are familiar with Moby Dick know that Una, the wife of Captain Ahab, was a very bit player in the original novel. But Naslund expanded on the story and told a beautiful tale of the strong women married to New England whalers. Although there was quite a bit of research about whaling communities and she used Moby Dick as her inspiration, most of the story was of her own making.
In Abundance, Naslund didn't have as much inventive freedom. We know more about Marie Antoinette than we do about virtually any other woman of the eighteenth century. So I was worried that the novel would either fall flat, or be a simple recitation of the many biographies written about Marie Antoinette. What saved Abudance is the way that Naslund got into Marie Antoinette's head. When we read Ahab's Wife in a book group a few years ago, several women complained that Una seemed too strong and too modern to be a realistic portrayal of a nineteenth-century woman. But Naslund's Marie Antoinette wasn't a twenty-first century feminist in a wig and a corset. Instead, I feel like I had a better understanding of Antoinette's own faults and her strengths. Although she's popularly vilified (and misquoted) as being the queen who "let them eat cake," Naslund portrays her as an eager-to-please princess, a frustrated snubbed wife, and a woman who matures and loves fiercely as a mother.


Eddie doesn't share my passion for a good, sweaty run, but he is willing to wake up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning to watch Maren, so I went for my fourteen-miler with Brandon this week. Brandon Flowers, that is. We (Eddie and I, not Brandon and I) are going to see The Killers on Saturday, so I'm getting myself pumped by listening to their music. Actually, I'm just too tired by the time Friday night rolls around to download myself any new tunes. And I just spent $20 downloading both of the High School Musical cds for Annie, so I can't go too crazy at the iTunes store for myself right now. Kids, I tell ya, they bleed you dry.

Tunes aside, I've decided that running in my subdivision sucks all of the life out of me, so I started running in another subdivision a couple of miles south of my house. There are two loops, each slightly longer than 3 miles, so they're perfect for any run that's a multiple of three. They're also on a golf course (so prettier) with better people watching (I see 50 or so runners on these loops, opposed to the 5 I'd probably see in my own neighborhood in the same amount of time), so I feel a greater sense of cameraderie. And some of the people are very, very funny.

Every week I see an elderly Asian woman. She's tiny and walks like she probably had bound feet. She often wears a shirt, white with huge read letters, that reads "Don't People Pimp." I'm guessing that she doesn't speak a word of English, or at least not enough to understand what "pimp" means (I'm not sure even I understand what "don't people pimp" means). Or else she just has a great sense of humor because it cracks me up every time I see her wearing that shirt.

Yesterday I happened to start my run at about the same time as a group of walkers set out. I chatted with them a little bit, and learned that they were doing seven miles, which is impressive. They all had flash-in-the-dark lights and belts full of water and looked very well prepared for their endeavor. They sort of naturally fell into three groups-- a fast group, a medium group, and a slow group. At the very back of the slowest group were three people, all quite obese, who were passing between them a huge Sam's Club bag of trail mix. I know I probably sound like a jerk when I say this, but as much as I think it's great for cardiovascular fitness to get out and walk seven miles (and it is a big accomplishment), if you're walking that distance to lose weight, freely consuming peanuts and chocolate while you're working out probably isn't the greatest way to do it.

All I know is that even a fourteen-miler feels great. I must be totally sadistic because I find it a great stress reliever, and other than being so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open for the rest of the day (and being treated like a salt lick by Maren as soon as I walk in the door of the house), it makes me wish that every day could be Saturday.

Week in Training: September 9-15

Monday: 4.25 speed workout on treadmill
Tuesday: 2 miles hills and spin class
Wednesday: 4.25 treadmill or jogger
Thursday: 2 miles hills and spin class
Friday: 5 mile pace run
Saturday: 12 miles

I can't make excuses and put off my workouts until the evening this week because Eddie is going to be in Austin all week and I'm going to be flying solo.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Book Club Selection Night update!

I know, my readers (all three of you) have been waiting with baited breath to see what we chose for our book club for the upcoming year. We had a great turnout last night, and man, did these girls come prepared! I'm publishing both the reading list and the list of things that got recommended but didn't make the cut. I've read a lot of the books, and they're good ones!

October- Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (because we're all reading it anyway, and we all love us a good vampire romance near Halloween)

November- Life of Pi by Yann Martel (to turn us into amateur philosophers)

December- The Alchemist by Paul Coelho (inspiration for the holidays)

February- The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (to make us glad we don't have to have our babies on the side of a field)

March- The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason ("The DaVinci Code without all of that Christ crap")

April- Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (to make us more generous)

May- Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson (to help us feel better about letting our kids watch endless hours of Noggin)

June- The Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (because we all need a good cry every once in a while)

July- Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities by Alexandra Robbins (because we missed out on that in our college experience)

August- The Road by Cormac McCarthy (because Jen's family said we have to read it)

September- Selection Night 2008
And the ones that didn't make the cut...
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
The Last Girls by Lee Smith
Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides
Kabul Beauty School by Barbara Rodgriguez
A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
The Spy Wore Red by Aline Romanos
The Girl of the Limberlost by Jean Stratton Porter
Peace Like a River by Leif Engler
Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
Confessions of a Shopahlolic by Sophie Kinsella
For More One Day by Mitch Albom
Life is So Good by George Dawson
The Story Girl by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Life's Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Week in Training: September 3-9

Monday: 4.25 mi on the treadmill
Tuesday: 2 mi of hills, 45 minutes of power yoga (ouch, my shoulders hurt!)
Wednesday: 4.25 mi outside, 90 degrees, high humidity, right after dinner, 29 minutes
Thursday: 2 mi of hills, spinning class
Friday: 5 miles on the treadmill, sandwiched between getting kids 1&2 to school and taking #3 to preschool
Saturday: 14 miles-- my longest run ever! Took me 1:49. Not so shabby, I guess.

Total running miles: 31.5
Total other stuff, 2 days of spinning

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

do not feed the bears

We went to Yellowstone last summer. A year later, the thing my kids remember best about the trip, other than being surrounded in our car by a whole herd of bison, is the signs everywhere that read "Do not feed the bears." They thought the bear-proof garbage cans were really cool, and were appropriately terrified when their grandparents told them that a bear had recently attacked a camper in the canyon where they live. This summer, when we went to Bryce Canyon, they knew all about how we shouldn't feed the woodchucks and squirrels because it would teach them to be dependent on humans for their food supply. Still, Isaac tossed fruit loops at the squirrel in the lodge dining room and thought it was hysterical when the squirrel ran over and gobbled them up.

Now that I'm doing a better job of keeping the floors clean, Maren has lost her easy access to stray cheerios, goldfish, and potentially lethal magnetic toys. So, like the bears in Yellowstone, she's adapting and getting smarter. Her latest trick is dumping over all of the wastebaskets in our house (so gross, I know) so she can rifle through the contents for: a) discarded food, b) paper to scrunch up and put in her mouth, or c) something more disgusting than that. Yesterday when Eddie came home from work, he asked me why all of the wastebaskets were sitting on desks and tables. We're just practicing the domestic equivalent of hanging our camping food up in trees instead of inside our tents.

As much as I adore Miss Maren, I'm hoping this stage passes soon. I never liked camping all that much.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I found a reason to love living in Texas

It's September and still freakishly hot. When it's not pouring and hurricanes aren't threatening to send us packing, that is. But even though we're entering into the tropical equivalent of Chaucer's "April is the cruellest month" (where you expect the weather to get better and it doesn't), I found a reason to be happy that I live in the Lone Star state.
It's quite possibly the very best ice cream I've ever tasted. If you're like me and don't like strawberry ice cream, never fear. It's Blue Bell's awesome vanilla, with chocolate sauce, strawberries and these little strawberry-filled chocolate candies. Yum.