Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book 61

The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais held me rapt through the entire trip of the young man's life.  So much so that I completely forgot that it was fiction, it seemed so real to me.  As I finished the book and began to read the acknowledgements, I was perplexed.  I checked the author's name, then the side of the book completely convinced that perhaps he'd mistakenly forgotten to thank the young chef he'd documented.  No-no.  It was fiction.  Wow.  The characters were so well-developed that they seemed real.  The journey was fraught with strife and I had cried at times.  I thought that this young person had overcome so much to grow into the man he'd become.  Perhaps that is the best compliment that a reader can pay a writer.  I forgot it wasn't real.  I hope the movie (released last summer) does it justice.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Resolution 36

What do you do when you are out and you see something you think would make a good gift?  Or when you are watching T.V. and learn of a restaurant where someone else lives that you might one day go visit and want to try?  Or when you are having a conversation with someone and they give you a good book title or tip?  

I type many of these things into my phone.  In fact, I found some lists in my phone that had good ideas for Christmas.  Glad I found them now and not in JANUARY!  So I decided that I should use the list feature on my computer and compile the ideas in one spot.  Your space may still be on your phone, but I don't love my phone that much.  Your space may be in a desk drawer or on a pad of paper.  Whatever it is, get them into one spot!

Resolution 36:  Collect all of those ideas and put them in one place. 

**Side note:  Post 401.  Seriously, I have had a lot to say.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Book 60

Mr. Miracle, by my favorite author Debbie Macomber, was a fun way to get into the holiday spirit.  Loosely based on the idea from her other successful stories about Mrs. Miracle, someone special comes to help people with life and love.  I cannot wait to watch the movie on the Hallmark Channel.  I have DVR'd it, but know it will probably be Christmas week before I take the time to watch it.  If you are looking for a holiday book/movie to put you in the spirit, check out this story.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh

Ten years ago when we welcomed our third child into our family, Hero Daddy and I had a conversation regarding gift giving.  That we had SO MUCH and that there was no way we could continue at that pace for a few reasons.  One reason, we quickly discovered was that tween and teen gifts are pricey.  Another motivator for us was that our budget was going to have to spread wider while our income was being reduced (due to me staying home with our newest babe).  Finally, I loved the idea of tying our gift giving into the meaning of Christmas.  Jesus received three gifts, the boys now receive three gifts.  Gold - something they really want.  Frankincense - something to practical.  Myrrh - something to share.  You might want to know what this could look like.  It usually looks like a Lego set, a box with smaller wrapped gifts to include socks and underwear, hat or gloves, school supplies or kitchen items and a game or movie.

I have done a LOT of research over the last month because I find myself having to explain why we give our kids three gifts and why we give what we give.  I cannot find why I came to the reasons I did.  Frankincense does adorn the body and kept people from smelling at one time.  Myrrh can be mixed with wine and shared.  Of course, they shared it with Jesus while he was on the cross dying which kind of puts a damper on things.  

I guess what I just need to be comfortable with is that we made this decision motivated to do less and to tie it to the meaning of Christmas, Jesus' birth.  Yes, Santa does visit our family; he brings another desired item (once it was an electric blanket that was a huge hit!) and he fills the stocking with treats and practical items.  The Feast of St. Nicholas is also celebrated in our home.  He brings items to help us prepare for Christmas, like holiday pj's, boxers, ornaments or books about the upcoming holiday.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Books 58 & 59

I am happy to tell you that the Harlequin Romance series that I found myself sucked into has finished.  Taming the Takeover Tycoon and Reunited with the Lassiter Bride brought the saga to a conclusion.  Although these books were also written by different authors, the themes of family and living life right were present.  The characters were again very different from the previous stories helping to keep the books fresh.  As part of a series, you might find similar plots, however the authors were successful in keeping me interested.  With the final two books in this series, I find myself to be happily finished with the brainless, but satisfying, romance novels of the Lassiter Dynasty.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Resolution 35

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, every where you go..."

I'll give you that it starts looking like Christmas earlier and earlier each year.  However, now that Thanksgiving has flown on by and December is here, it truly IS beginning to look and sound like Christmas.  I have found that several things keep me sane through the holidays (wine is one of them, but not one I will be discussing in this post) and the first it to create a plan/be organized.

Some people are naturally organized all year long and flow through the holidays un-flustered.  I'd like to think that is me however, then I wake up and discover that I have been napping.  So when it comes to the holidays I make lists, lists and lists.

I list the food I need to buy and the gifts I need to get.  I list the snacks that I have purchased; both appetizer and dessert types.  I list the holiday foods my family wants to eat.  I list the ready-made meals I have in the freezer for those days I just want to be in the moment with my family and not cook.  I make a list of those I need to purchase gifts for and ideas that I have for them.  Then I make decisions and shop online for as many as them as possible.  When I venture out to purchase items that I cannot get online, I take a list so that I don't impulse shop.  If I am hosting an event, I may have three or four lists for that event to complete.  Lists make me feel like I have it all under control, even though I know that may not be true.

Resolution 35:  Make Some Lists, Check them Twice

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Book 57

While taking a break from Unbroken, I read Rare Bird:  A Memoir of Loss and Love by Anna Whiston-Donaldson.  That may seem a bit unusual that I took a break from a book that had some graphic details about death and life in a POW camp to read a book about a mother who lost a child.  However, her prose is uplifting.  Her tale is horrible:  she sent her kids out to play in the rain.  What happened next strikes fear in a mother's heart.  But more than what happened is how she is surviving, one day at a time.  What is wonderful about her story is her faith, her realness.  Her storytelling creates a feeling of not sitting alone on a couch reading a book, rather of sitting in a cozy kitchen with coffee and treats listening to a dear friend pour her heart out.  

It left me feeling a bit better equipped to help someone else who may find themselves in this horrible place.  It left me feeling a need to work on my faith.  It left me feeling inspired and humbled at the same time.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Resolution 34

It is the hectic time of the year when I take time off from my computer and then feel like I have forgotten to document books that I have read.  Or it could be that I am in the middle of four books and cannot seem to get through any of them before I must return them to the library.  Two of them I am listening to in the car (and have been for the last month).  Three of them I have gotten and had to return to the library before either getting to them or (as is the case currently) getting all the way through them.  My goal, such as it is, is to complete these books prior to starting anymore as I have them all in both book and book-on-disc formats. 

In fact, this started out as a book post, but then I realized it should be a resolution.  Perhaps you've started a thing or two this month or year that you would like to see completed before 2014 draws to an end.  I know that I have more than just the books to finish, but for now, my goal is to finish the books I have started before the end of the year.  

Resolution 34:  Finish What You Have Started

Monday, December 8, 2014

Book 56

Unbroken is coming out in theaters on Christmas Day.  And I am going to see this film with my dad, like I did Monument's Men last February.  Unbroken is the story of a WWII soldier, an Olympian, and his life.  I'm not telling you anything you can't learn from watching the trailer or reading the book jacket when I say he spent time in a POW camp.  I will say that it was a VERY difficult book to read.  I had to put it down and take a break several times because it was hard to read.  What wasn't hard to read about was his faith.  Although I finished this book after the next three books that I will tell you about, I wanted to tell you about it first since I started it first.  

It is a powerful, well-written story about a man of great faith that stumbles and falls and picks himself up again and again.  I love biographies and history, so the fact that I did love this book isn't really a surprise.  It isn't an easy book to read, but it is worth it.  And sometimes when people know that about a book, that it pays off in the end, it helps them through the tough parts.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I was blessed to make a bestie way back last century when I was in high school.  A few years ago she began the "non-Oprah" cost Oprah List of favorite things.  I have joined in the fun mostly because I truly appreciate the ideas that I have gotten and because then I can share the thinks in my world that I think absolutely ROCK.  Here is the 2014 edition:  

1.  Swiftwick socks.  My #3 son had the smelliest feet around.  I mean horrible, awful!  I asked at the shoe place what I could do.  He suggested the Swiftwick socks and they are worth EVERY penny (and they are a lot of pennies at $13 a pair).  NO MORE STINKY BOY FEET!  And I've had stinky boy feet, but these feet were in a category of their own!
2. Tazo Tea.  I'll admit that the thing I like best is that I can get it in K-cups for my Keurig in two of my favorite flavors (peppermint and chamomile).  But I love making the Iced Passion tea and mixing in some Crystal Light lemonade to replicate the Starbucks version of Passion tea lemonade.  And the Wild Orange... yummy!
3.  Mighty Mug - My husband got me this insulated cup for Christmas last year at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Put it down and try to knock it over.  Adheres to most surfaces making spilled hot coffee a thing of the past when I am in the classroom!
4. Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen in spray and a stick.  First, it works.  He gets 10 minutes at break time and I can reapply and send him off.  NO SUNBURN for us this summer.  He likes using the stick on his face, I like using the spray.  And it smells really good!
5. HOMEOLOGY All Purpose Cleaner - Made by Gold Canyon Candle Company, I LOVE the smell!  It is plant-based cleaning infused with essential oils.  No amonia, no phosphates, no dyes, no chlorine and non-toxic. **This is a cut and paste from last year because now my HUSBAND loves this stuff and actually will wipe down the counters with it!**
6. Lindor Orange Dark Truffles.  You know the orange that you hit on the counter and it breaks into pieces and it is orange flavored chocolate?  Or remember the Orange Mocha you used to be able to get at Starbucks many years ago?  Like those, only SO MUCH BETTER.  It says it is a holiday flavor so I might need to stock up!
7. Dawn. Yes, I mean the dish soap.  It takes grease stains out of clothing the FIRST TIME.  I keep a bottle by the sink and by the washer.  I'm not even sure I use a stain stick anymore cause I just put the Dawn on it.  
8. Jamberry Nails.  I had to triple check that I didn't put these on the list last year because when I gave them to my nieces, they LOVED them.  Fun, easy to use and did I say FUN!  They are nail wraps that you put on with a hair dryer.  I've given them as gifts and they are a unique way to show holiday spirit, team spirit or your inner WOW.  You can Google it to find a representative in your area or message me and I'll send you my cousin's contact info.
9.  Faith Moves by Loyola Press.  This was a gift given to us and I got more use out of it than I thought I would!  
Faith Moves is a practical and fun, spiral-bound booklet that provides opportunities for parents to have faith conversations with their children, followed by a game or an activity to drive the message home. Designed for kids of all ages, Faith Moves is ideal for busy families who want to live out their faith. Perfect for family night, car rides, waiting in line, or mealtime.
10.  L.L. Bean Flannel Sheets.  This gal doesn't live in sunny California and last week's zero temps made me so glad I had put the flannels on the bed already.  My college boys leave the flannel bottom sheet on year round; they love how soft it is.  They come in extra long for college dorm rooms!  I've had department store flannel and I cannot go back.  L.L. Bean flannel sheets are the softest and durable holding up to lots of washing.
11.  L.L. Bean Backpacks and Lunch boxes.  Yes, the initial outlay of cash is more substantial than a backpack from Wal-mart or Target.  And I will own up that I have boys that don't need a new one to meet whatever the current fashion trend is.  HOWEVER, I have BOYS who are HARD on things and our BACKPACK AND MATCHING LUNCH BOX lasted 4 school years.  FOUR.  Pretty sure that comes down to about $15 a year for a backpack and a lunch box.  If you decide to order the lunchbox, there are two; get the flip-top one, as it is substantially bigger.
12.  Shutterfly.  I make things and then I wait for the coupon.  Cause there is always a coupon or a deal happening pretty regularly.  Then I give my mother-in-law (and my mom) Wall Art with pictures of the grandkids.  And they LOVE it.  
13. The Reading Promise by Alice Ouzma.  This book made me rethink reading with my emergent reader and 3 years later his book club, formed after reading this book and sharing its message with friends, is still going strong.  The book is coming out in theaters in 2015.  It is an amazing story.
14.  This is Where I Leave You.  I didn't see the movie cause I don't go to movies very often.  However, the book was LAUGH OUT LOUD funny.  Need something to cheer you up?  Believe that Laughter is the BEST Medicine?  Then invest in this story.

A Rant from a MOM

I was so proud of myself... I was early.  I am generally screeching in right on time, even for things I am excited to do.  However, on Wednesday night, the night before Thanksgiving, I was early to pick up my boy.  He was scheduled to get off at midnight.  Since he'd pulled a 10 hour shift and had a scant 14 hours before he had to be back at work on Thanksgiving (don't get me started... oh wait, this is related to my rant!!), I had decided to save him the 75 minute trip home (and back).  I mean, I just have to make some sides cause Hero Daddy is making the turkey.  Text:  where should I park?  where do you come out?  I can't believe there are people in tents here camping out.  Over the next 20 minutes I get this:  we're a bit behind.  park anywhere.  I come out the front.

I had a blanket, book, and an iPod.  I mean, if everyone on staff is in there working, how much longer could they possibly be?  Now, if I had to do over again, I would.  My son being able to be with us on Thanksgiving and not fall asleep behind the wheel of his car is a priority for this mom.  And everyone claims that they think it is terrible that people shop on Thanksgiving, but they won't tell that to their neighbor, cousin, aunt, friend.  After all, there are plenty of others who work that day:  doctors, firefighters, 7-11 employees.  How much longer could they be setting up the store?  You know how you send a message to retailers that they shouldn't be open on Thanksgiving Day?  DON'T GO!  If no one showed up, they would say that maybe it was a MISTAKE to take this day from families.  If no one showed up, they would be LOSING MONEY because they have to pay time and a half.  If no one showed up, maybe next year they would rethink OPENING ON THANKSGIVING DAY!  But people show up.  Not me.  Never me.  I don't do those sales.  I get it is fun for some people like it is fun for me to watch football on Thanksgiving Day.  I get that it is a fact of life.  And I could live with it except for what happened next.

The store did precious little in sales that afternoon and evening, but couldn't set-up earlier.  They scheduled all but one employee to work 9 pm-midnight to set-up the store.  This isn't the first year that they have to set-up for Thanksgiving & Black Friday.  How much longer could they possibly be?  I actually don't know the answer to that question.  All I know is that after I had been waiting 3 HOURS, my son said to his supervisor that he had to go.  He said that he'd worked more than 12 hours and his mom had been waiting in the parking lot for three hours.  Yep.  So they could set up a store and have their employees work on Thanksgiving Day.   If you want your employees to work 8-10 hours on Thanksgiving Day, you probably should figure out a way that doesn't have them working 3-4 hours, prior to their scheduled shift time, setting up the store.  Just saying.

My son likes working at his store.  But we are sweating his time off for a week at Christmas and he is already worried about getting time off for a family trip next year at Thanksgiving.  If he has learned one thing, it is that he doesn't want a career in retail.  I'll take it.  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Book 55

Suite Francais by Irene Nemirovsky falls into the category of being made into a movie this year.  It was written during early WWII and is two parts of a planned 5 part novel.  There are characters that return in part two from part one, although the two are completely different.  I can't wait to see how they tie them together in the movie or if they even try.  The other three parts were never written as the author was a French Jew who was arrested in Paris in 1942, sent to Auschwitz and died.  I found the stories compelling and the characters intriguing.  I wish she'd been able to finish the tale for us, but I really appreciate that no one else did try.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Books 52-54

Susan Mallery returns to her town of Fool's Gold this fifth summer in her series with wonderful tales of mystery and romance surrounding the newest residents of the quaint town.  I love that she weaves the stories with characters from previous stories AND lays the groundwork for future stories.  I love visiting this town and its wonderful folk; they are like family.  Mention of a new baby from a couple from a previous book, or a wedding or traditions begun in early books that get carried on, these things make me smile (and sometimes a little teary)! Her Fool's Gold books are her best.  I can't wait for the Christmas story!

When We Met
Before We Kiss
Until We Touch

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Resolution 33

Say "Thank You" or "I'm Thankful" or "I Love You"

Today is Thanksgiving.  This year has been one of the hardest to coordinate and it weighed so heavy on my heart.  But a few days ago, I decided to buy cards and send them to the family that I won't be with this year for Thanksgiving.  I appreciate that we make the effort every other year to get together and this year while we are apart, I want them to know that I am thankful for our Thanksgivings at the beach.  I am thankful to have them in my life and I love them.  I remembered that the true meaning of Thanksgiving Day is to set aside time to give thanks for our blessings and to let go of the stress that can be involved in coordinating a 3 day feast, such that the Pilgrims had.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Resolution 32

Make a Dream Come True

You know you have talked about it.  Dreamed about it.  But what is stopping you from doing it?  It might be something insurmountable.  But how will you know unless you try...

I was worried about how much money it would take because it would cost a lot to take all of us.  Then I worried about when we would do it and how I would coordinate three different school schedules with two different work schedules.  However, when I said, "I want this to happen!" I began to look at the problem through different eyes.  Why are we all going when I really only want to take one of my children?  Oh, that sounded harsh to my mother's heart, but it was true.  I looked back over the big boys first 10/12 years and the trips we took prior to having "the baby".  Then I looked back over LRHB's trips and I decided that although I am not a mom that believes that everything should be balanced and fair, I am neither a mom that believes that it should be too out of balance.  So when I readjusted my expectations for this trip, it became more affordable, easier to coordinate and a reality.  Where are we going?  Disney World!

Perhaps, if you look at your dream through different eyes, you can make it come true, too!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Books 48-51

The Lone Star Sisters is another series from the summer's most read author, Susan Mallery.  This had mystery and intrigue plaguing three VERY different sisters and their bestie.  The story continues through all four books, Under Her Skin, Lip Service, Straight from the Hip and Hot on Her Heels, while each woman gets her man in their own book.  I struggled because the antagonist throughout the books appears to be family, and I didn't love that.  But, once I got past that, I loved the series.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Resolution 31

Are you a HOARDER?  That word has such visual connotations for me... I picture the house with narrow paths to walk, with newspapers piled high, and old appliances and boxes of stuff.  I know people who have cleaned out such homes and I have heard their stories.  There are TV shows devoted to people with this affliction.  

However, I would venture to guess that we all "hoard" something.  Maybe you call it a collection and others call it out of control.  At one time it was catalogs.  I made a resolution and took myself off of all but one or two mailing lists.  I think it was magazines and I set aside every Sunday to go through a few until they were gone.  If only I hadn't kept all of those interesting recipes that I haven't tried.  Which is why I looked around and decided that I was a hoarder of recipes.  I have to tell you, I don't need three pages from a magazine explaining step-by-step how to make a lemon souffle.  If I haven't made it by now, I probably won't.  You know what else?  If I changed my mind about wanting to make it, I am pretty sure I could find 100 recipes with just a few Google clicks.  I cleared an entire notebook AND reduced an word document from about 12 pages to just 5 (it would have been 4, but I added 2 recipes this week - I can't help myself sometimes!).  Now, I have actually tried 2 new recipes just this month, so I do actually put them into action.  Just not quite as quickly as I collect them!

Look around and simplify your life, one obsession at a time.  I promise, you'll feel better for it!

Books 44-47

I read another series by one of my favorite authors, Susan Mallery.  This series revolved around restaurants and family in Seattle and is titled The Buchanan Saga.  I love food, foodie shows and romance so this was a series written for me.  With titles like:  Delicious, Irresistible, Sizzling, and Tempting, these stories deliver!  But don't fear, these books are not carbon copies of each other.  The characters are different and entertaining with plots that are unique to each book.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book 43

Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich is the next in her series about a bounty hunter chick and her adventurous life.  I love these books.  I don't know why I go so long in between them.  I had this one on audio-tape and if I just read them in the future, I will now have a voice in my head to go along.  These are funny crime books laced with foul language and larger than life characters.  I am gonna request another one a the library now!  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Resolution 30

Talk to your kids about risky behaviors.  

As August rolls around, the beginning of another school year, I am reminded of my friend who lost her son in 2011.  I think of her a lot, but especially in August when it is the anniversary of his accident, the week we prayed for a miracle and the subsequent mourning that happened next.


Watch.  Our sweet boy is one of these.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Resolution #29 the Reading Promise

As you may or may not remember, I read a book when LRHB was in first grade called The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma.  It struck a chord in me because my youngest was an emergent reader.  I was looking forward to the day when we would read side by side in the evenings, he involved in his story, I in mine.  This book talked about finding a relationship with a parent, a bond, through reading together.  It changed me and it gave me a soapbox from which to preach my epiphany about reading with your children.  I mean, I had already sent two kids off to college, I knew what I was doing.  Apparently I could be doing BETTER!  And I dragged a few friends along for the ride, calling it the Kids Book Club.  The group has evolved, however, we are still reading books to our children and getting together to watch movies.  Okay, they watch the movies and we seek comfort in our friendships.  This year, we've read with our kiddos 9 books (2 series of 3), our best year yet, with one more to come.  I am so proud to have made a reading promise to my son and kept it.  It may not be the same reading promise as Alice and her father, but it is working for us.  I discovered this amazing book is being made into a movie.  I encourage you to read the book and watch the movie!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book 42

This is another one from the romance series and even has a classic name:  Lured by the Rich Rancher.  It was a bit of levity after the previous story, which is one reason I read these books.  I mean, I like a good book, but sometimes I just want a happy story.  The author, Kathie DeNosky, did a good job of weaving in the other characters from the previous stories.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book 41

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a coming of age story (what does that mean?).  Rather it is the tale of teens that are making the most of life as they battle cancer.  It came off of the list of books being made this year into movies and in fact was already out in the theaters before I started it (thus gone when I finished it).  I will be getting it off of Redbox, perhaps over the holiday break when I might have time for that sort of thing.  I could barricade myself into my room with a stack of movies, but I don't have a player in my room...

I thought it was a solid book, not fabulous. I mean I can't think every book is fabulous.  I do recommend the book, it is good, sad and funny.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Resolutions #27 & #28

#27  Clean out a bedroom
#28  Clean out a bedroom

So my middle one has a passion for Legos.  But seriously, at some point they begin to take over the room.  Especially since he doesn't live here most of the year anymore.  He had to go through and decide which he was going to continue to display and which he was going to bag up for storage because it was time to downsize the shelving units in his room (I needed them for the play room!).  At the same time, I had to come to the understanding that he has no desire or need for a) jeans, b) long sleeved shirts, or c) clothing that doesn't fit because he no longer swims every day.  Donate, donate, donate!  His room was rearranged as it no longer has bunk beds and seems sparse, but it is the beginning of him moving out.  I haven't had thoughts of what I could do with his room, however, I am contemplating an air mattress for when we have much family here.

The oldest has his own apartment that is no longer room and board free.  Because for the last two years of college, he lived in an apartment on campus, he had some things to go in it, but needed other stuff.  Dressers and end tables he raided from home.  The desk from his bedroom.  While he was moving the stuff he wanted, I had him clear out the other stuff he'd been leaving behind.  Not going to wear ____, great let's donate.  Those are your text books; let's box them and move them to your place.  And once he was done, I've rearranged and made it more of a guest bedroom.  Yes, he can still sleep there, but now he has to share the dresser with the stuff my parents leave here.  And I took down his bulletin board and moved it upstairs to LRHB's room. 

I count this as two resolutions because it was a lot of work and it was two separate areas.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book 40

Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot was an audio book I checked out of the library on the recommendation of a fellow swim mom.  It was fascinating to learn about this woman who contributed to medical science in such an important way.  To learn about the impact her life had on the world and on her family.  This was a compelling tale and I would definitely recommend it.  I mean, it helps that I love biographies, because the science of it was a bit much for me at times.  However, learning about cells, cool stuff.  I am reconsidering some of the other titles she gave me, though, as this was at times complex stuff.  It is good to get out of your comfort zone, tis true.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Resolutions 25 & 26


I find it ironic that my 25th resolution for this year was (I discovered when I went back to my list) the same resolution I had last year!  This time, the one in the garage just was too much for me to handle!  At some point a soda had exploded in the garage fridge and hadn't gotten cleaned up.  I took the whole thing apart and scrubbed it top to bottom, freezer part too!  I must say, when it is said and done, it is such a feeling of accomplishment!


I have two refrigerators (freezer/fridge) and one full size freezer.  I like to put up freezer meals and buy in bulk.  I have many people to feed from time to time and find that I love having all of these at my disposal (we wouldn't call this minimalist thinking!).  The summer is the best time to clean out the freezer.  I first use up all the stuff that is hidden in it, that one freezer meal no one likes anymore, the apple pie left over from I don't know when and we make smoothies with the frozen fruit I bought thinking I was going to start drinking smoothies for breakfast again this summer (and instead didn't).  Then we unplug and leave it open for it to thaw (because the ice builds up when it gets left open on a semi-regular basis!).  The satisfaction of frost free shelves usually only lasts about a week until someone leaves it open.  again.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Book #39

Expecting the CEO's Child by Yvonne Lindsey was a brainless trip into romance world and a needed break from the last book and the audio book I was reading at the same time.  It is part of a Harlequin series that I am reading and I can't wait for the next one to come out.  They are quick and happy ending stories.  Just right for hanging by the pool.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book #38

When they announced the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014, I said, "I know who that is!  I read her book!"  I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai is the emotional story of this young woman who spoke up for education of young women against the Taliban and was SHOT and almost killed for it.  I learned so much about Pakistan while reading this book.  And I learned how very little I really know about a the world.  It is not funny, it is often horrible, but it is important.

I must also mention that she co-won the peace prize with an Indian man (a Hindu) who follows in Gandi's footsteps of peaceful demonstration to also make possible education for all children.  Malala (a Muslim) is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the committee mentions in their press release (in which they misspell her name) that they felt it was important to show people from different backgrounds are working against extremism for the common goal of education of children.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Teen Boy No More

I have to rename my middle child.  He is Teen Boy no more.  He turned 20 last month and he is amazing.  And while we are on the subject, College Boy graduated, also amazing.  What is a momma to do!?  College Boy is, however, still going to school, a different kind of college you might say.  So, I think I will leave his name alone.  He will have another name, some day, just not today.

Teen Boy, however will now become Tech Boy because he is a genius when it comes to tech stuff.  

I love the men my boys are becoming.  They have drive and a love of learning and (most importantly) a love of family.  They are good to the LRHB when they are home.  And they text asking how his baseball games are going.  And talk to him on the phone.  In a few weeks, my LRHB will be double digits.  While I love the young man he is becoming, I long for the days when he was my baby.  Sort of.  Big, hot, mess of thoughts and feelings.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book 37

I love the idea of reading a book, then watching the movie, and seeing the nuances between the two.  That is probably why it is the premise behind my kid book club, but I digress.  I will often follow a link on Facebook to an article that talks about books and more specifically an article that discusses books that are going to become movies.  That is where several of the next books I read have come from.

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper was laugh out loud funny.  I laughed at the pool, while waiting for kids, at home; I laughed my way through the book.  Are you down?  Holiday blues?  PICK UP THIS BOOK!  So funny.  In short, a man's father has died and he must sit shiva with mother & his siblings (not close siblings).  The movie came out, and like most things, life got in the way (I couldn't send my nine year old to one movie while I went to see this one!) and I am now waiting for it to come out on Redbox.  Have I mentioned I thought this book was hysterical?  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Books 35 & 36

North to Alaska by Debbie Macomber is a reprint of two books she had written in the 80's.  When she is going to re-release books, I so appreciate that she goes back through and updates the story.  I enjoyed both of these stories and perhaps one reason is I always remember our trip to Alaska when I read her books set in that state.  Although our trip didn't allow us to stay on land at all, I still remember walking through the small towns and I picture her stories taking place in one of the towns that we visited.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Computer Died...

It's true.  My computer up and died.  Thankfully, I have an external hard drive, however, it didn't have everything saved to it.  So thankful moment number two is that the hard drive didn't go and my in-home tech guy was able to get me a contraption to put my hard drive into and load onto my new computer. 

I didn't want a new computer.  I wanted an iPad.  But I didn't want to spend the money.  And I needed a computer because homework needs to get done on computers.  I balked.  I stated that I didn't need one, that I have a smart(ish) phone and computers at school.  I went on vacation.  While I was gone, they bought me a computer.  They sold me with the cost, however, since I can't do my iTunes on it, I kinda think it bites.  It does stuff and I am learning the stuff it does.  Sigh.  I just wish the other hadn't died. So when it died, I couldn't blog.  When I got home and went back to school and baseball etc, I didn't make time to blog.  But I miss it.  I have spent the Sundays this fall watching football, getting caught up on email, and reading blogs.  But not writing.  I generally like to start things at the beginning of the week.  Sunday IS the beginning of my week, however, I just couldn't find the words.  Even though I missed it.  

I might be back... now.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book 34

When I posted about books, I thought I was missing one.  I was!  I read The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida.  This was his story of what it is like to live with Autism.  I highly recommend this easy read for anyone.  It provides insight into what he experiences and why he acts the way he does.  I work with students with Autism.  I know I am going to be a better aide because of reading this book.  And I actually reread parts that I could see affecting my students.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mom musings...

My youngest is 10 & 12 years younger than his brothers.  The Good Lord knew that I wouldn't be ready in August 2013 to be an empty-nester so he sent us the LRHB.  One of my biggest concerns is that I will raise him less than the others.  That I will be "too tired" to follow through.  However, as I read the article below, I realized that I am still right on track.  Nothing like a little early morning affirmation.


It is funny that I should read this and be pondering this subject after a conversation I had this weekend.  "When you get back to the middle school you are going to go back to being the president of the PTA aren't you?"  My negative response was greeted not with respect for having already done that job for more years than one body should.  "Why not!?"  Ugh.  Cause some things I will do differently.  I will always believe in volunteering, I just may show my children that there are more paths than just one to accomplish a giving goal.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Resolution 24

Reach out of your comfort zone and talk to someone.  Perhaps you are at odds with a family member.  Perhaps you've just dropped the ball with a friend.  Perhaps you are inspired by the following blog:


A few months ago, we were having a conversation at work about at what age do you take a child to a viewing/funeral/memorial service.  The age old question about to take or not to take a smaller child that could be a little loud or ask the "wrong" question.  The concern being that the young one might distract from the occasion.  Can I tell you that EVERYONE there is hoping for a distraction from the pain, sadness, disappointment.  What better reminder could there be about LIFE than a pint-sized angel doing their little bit too loud thing in church?  I've taken my babies, toddlers and children to all of the above.  My LRHB attended two services for teens that he knew and one for a baby that was stillborn.  He's nine.  What was I supposed to do?  Hide my pain, sadness disappointment from him?  What does that teach him?  It teaches him that grief should be carried out behind closed doors.  No, that's not me.  I show up.  I crawl into the beds of the deceased with their momma and tell her over and over that he knew she loved him.  That's what I want him to know.  That we show up.  It may be uncomfortable and sad, but that is one part of life.  We make it better just by being there over and over and over.  It is okay to talk about the ones that have gone on.  So if you ask me when is the right age to take a child to a service, I will tell you that today is the right age.  

Resolution 23

Minimizing and Organizing

This time it pertains to my email account.  I have folders to keep my emails organized.  However, I actually rarely clean them out.  I had emails about Christmas gifts from 2007.  It was time consuming.  It helped that it was pouring rain outside and that LRHB was camped in front of a movie.  I was inspired by Teen Boy cleaning out his email that was more than 1000 messages. Although I have no idea how many emails were dispersed into folders, I began the day with 27 folders.  In one, I removed monthly bill statements that began in 2010, keeping only the statements from this year.  I now have only 15 folders.  I eliminated 75% or more of every folder except for the one that has pictures that have been emailed to me.  That folder sits at nearly 100 pictures dating back to 2007.  They can stay there for now.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Resolution 22

I mentioned that I am working on Resolutions designed to minimize clutter, maximize organization and keep my family safer.  Along those lines, I have been taking steps to keep my family safer on the computers.

I have updated all of my passwords.  Well, except for the one I couldn't figure out and Teen Boy wasn't home to help me.  I've had that same password since 1997.  Seriously.  Most other places make you update them more regularly.  I have all of my passwords in a place where both Teen Boy and College Boy know how to find them.  

When was the last time you updated/changed passwords?  And could someone access your accounts in case of an emergency?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Resolution 21

It is the summer and it generally means, a bit more down time or around the house time for me.  Of course that time is spent dusting a couple times a week to rid my non-air conditioned home of pollen and washing pool towels (because they drag them and ick, I guess it is a thing for me).  I have been doubling up on my Resolutions (or trying my best to) and they are a lot about what I think needs to be done and less about changing my life.  However, each time I get something done, my life is a bit better, less cluttered, more organized, perhaps even safer. 

So Resolution 21 falls into the latter category.  Instead of changing the batteries in the smoke detectors one at a time when the annoying beeping commences about 11:30 pm, I have gone through the house and changed all of the batteries.  I'm not expecting my house to burn down, but they have all been changed and the smoke detectors all work.  I know that I am supposed to change them every six months which isn't really six months because the "turn the clock back/forward" changes are not actually every six months. So, that really doesn't work for my brain.  When we celebrate the 4th of July next summer, it will be a reminder to change the batteries again.  After all, with the improvements made to batteries, they truly last more than a year, not merely six months.  And this is a plan with which I can work.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Resolution 20

You know I am a big fan of staying hydrated and drinking enough water.  I live in arid conditions so this is especially important.  While doing some reading for an online class, I read that most people WAKE UP DEHYDRATED.  So my newest resolution is to drink 8-16 oz of water each morning BEFORE coffee and breakfast.  If I start running again in the mornings, it will be in addition to the water I drink to offset the work-out.  


I finished the stand alone romances that Susan Mallery has written.  I think that I may have been a bit critical of these books when I last wrote, but this one, Sweet Success was well written, original with complex characters.  I couldn't put it down, delving into it at the pool, in the evenings and even while just waiting for stuff to happen.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Resolution #19

Recently I have found myself a bit frustrated with my children.  I know we have had conversations regarding my expectations this summer.  However, I didn't pull out the contracts from last year and put them into place.  MY MISTAKE.  Without putting it in black and white and posting it for them to see every time they go into the cabinet for a glass, my comments fall on deaf ears.  

Now, you might be thinking that July 10th might be a bit late in the summer to invoke the contract.  Not so, my friends.  My kiddos have 5 more weeks of summer vacation and my nieces and nephews have up to two more weeks after that (just an example of how much longer summer breaks may be lasting).  

Tomorrow morning is Friday July 11th, and we are having a
COMIN' TO JESUS talk tomorrow about expectations.  Respecting boundaries (LRHB) and planning for the upcoming school year (Teen Boy) are also on the agenda for discussion tomorrow.  
If you are feeling frustrated that your comments, requests and desires are falling on deaf ears, I suggest that you greet your people with homemade waffles and a contract in the  morning.  I

31 - 32

I love a good Debbie Macomber story and I was double delighted with Marriage Between Friends.  It was two stories of friendship that blossomed into more.  Now, these are re-released tales of her earlier years and the stories are not as complex, nor are the characters.  But both are original (imo) and the characters are not blah.  It was a perfect summer read for me.  

Sunday, June 29, 2014


I keep returning to Susan Mallery to lead me down a path of romance and fun.  I just finished a trilogy called the Bakery Sisters.  There were twists and turns and parts unfinished until the end of the third book.  It was far away from the real life of a summer swim team mom, sitting each morning at the pool for practice and spending the rest of the day convincing her kid that either video games are not the solution to his boredom OR that it was NOT okay to play outside when lightning is present.  Again, I feel compelled to say that her bedroom scenes are very detailed.  However, it is pretty clear when it is over if you just flip along a few pages and for me it doesn't detract from the story.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Resolution #18 Snail Mail

I know I did a resolution last year where I sent out cards.  And I am doing it again this year.  Here is a little bit about why...

In cleaning out my desk, I found a card I bought a few years back.  I bought it to send as a thank you note for flowers that I received for Mother's Day from my Auntie.  I was in Seattle, Washington with my family and it was a painted card of the Space Needle.  I brought it home and it promptly got misplaced with the scrapbook souvenir items.  I used a traditional card and sent it, wondering where that Space Needle card had put itself.  I found it later that summer and put it in my card drawer thinking I would send it to her another time.  This year in cleaning out my desk, came across it.  My Auntie died that same year, before I ever sent it to her.  I came across other cards I'd bought for other people that never got sent.  So, I took some time to send these cards.  There are two Christmas cards I bought for two different people.  Christmas in June!  I could wait, but then I would probably forget by Christmastime.  Or worse, they could be gone from my life.  

Think about it... to whom could you send card?  That Space Needle card, I am sending it to my cousin, my Auntie's son.  He became a father this year and I am behind on sending something for his little angel.  The card may not fit, but the sentiment is truly all that matters.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

Resolution 17 Clean out your desk

I am blessed (and cursed) with a desk that has a lot of storage.  It is really an office in a corner of my kitchen.  Nooks above the desk for easy access to papers.  Or easy storage of stuff with which I don't know what to do.  It has drawers.  Nice spacious drawers.  Now it has drawers that are organized.  The nooks have designations for what gets stored where.  I recycled the old computer games that don't work on today's computers... why was I keeping them?  You probably have a work space of some sort in your home that could use an overhaul.  A cleaning out.  A cleaning up.  It actually makes it more pleasant to sit at the computer now because instead of clutter, it is peaceful.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Resolution 16 - Volunteer

I have always been a big volunteer-er.  I have done the PTA thing from elementary through high school.  I've been the room mom, served on district level committees, band mom, copy mom, yearbook mom.  I've been the VBS volunteer and taught RE and mentored Confirmation candidates.  Now I have a young one and I am starting over.  Sort of.  This time around, I am choosier about how I volunteer my time.  There are things I love to do... I love to cook so making food for a staff luncheon (even though I am staff), I like to do.  I like keeping score for baseball.  It keeps me in the game.  I'm not interested in doing the PTA thing, again.  Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.  I want to help in my church, but I am waiting for the right position, the right time.  I actually hope it comes when my student is a middle-school student... that is a hard age to engage in church and if I am there, he'll have to be too.

Volunteering as a family is fun.  We've done nights at church where we've put together bags for the homeless and written notes to the home bound.  LRHB and I will cook and deliver meals to those who need them, post-surgery, new baby, dad on deployment.  Someone always needs a meal.  So I am asking you to look around at an opportunity that you can do, or do with someone.  Give back.  It feels amazing!  LRHB and I have committed to do a meal a month, 12 meals this year. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Celebrate Good Times

I am the proud mother of a college graduate.  My son graduated from college in just three years.  And, he graduated Summa Cum Laude (yes, I had to look up how to spell that) with his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with minors in Medical Physics and Music.  And he worked while going to school, as an RA during his second year and he was the Front Desk Manager for his dorm, assisted in Lab and worked the Chemistry Help Desk at the library during his senior year.  My son!  These are the moments that we need to just step back and rejoice!  God is good! 

One set of his grandparents were able to attend along with his girl, Aunt Phil, and we, his parents.  His other set of grandparents and brothers were able to watch it LIVE over the internet (I feel compelled to mention that there are a limited number of tickets each graduate receives which is why his brothers were not actually in attendance, but hanging out in the graduate's apartment).  We celebrated with a lunch at a Mexican restaurant that he loves.  We had an open house that evening so others could join us in celebrating his accomplishment.  

Psalm 118, vs. 24 "This is the day the Lord had made.  Let us REJOICE and be glad."  I'm not sure that this was the original intent of this verse.  However, I truly thank the Lord for helping my son become such an amazing man.  I pray he will be with him as he undertakes a most difficult task, the long road to becoming a doctor.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Resolution 15 - Clean Out Extra School Supplies

I am fortunate that my son's school does a school supply purchase program and that I can afford to take advantage of it.  In May, I click on the link in our weekly newsletter and enter my son's grade along with my credit card information.  In August, when he arrives at school, his supplies are there waiting for him.  No fighting the crowds in Target or Walmart or Office Depot trying to find the best price on crayons and folders.  However, each year at the end of the year, some of those supplies come home, barely or not used.  At some point, I learned that instead of putting those away in a closet, they go in a box for one of the many programs in town that collect supplies for students in need.  I also go into my school supply cabinet and clear out the extra boxes of crayons or markers we may have accumulated throughout the year.  Chances are, if we haven't used it in a year, we are not going to use it and someone else might benefit.  I would encourage you to consider cleaning out your school supplies, donating them to the less fortunate.

Back in the Kitchen Resolution 13 & 14

I mentioned I was going through my house, one room at a time this year, cleaning up and out.  Although I had worked on cleaning out some cabinets, I then paused in my great kitchen clean up/out.  Back to it, I filled my bucket with Murphy's Oil Soap and hot water and wiped those cabinets down (Resolution 13).  I must say, having done it last year, it was much easier to do this year.  Next, I moved onto my wooden chairs, table and bar stools.  My understanding is that wooden furniture needs to be oiled on a regular basis.  My (new) goal is to oil it once a year (Resolution 14).  

To visit Resolution 8, I was excellent at clearing out old plastic containers, misc baby items, wicker paper plate holders, candy making molds and kitchen tools I do not use, I didn't manage to eliminate the cut glassware or the abundance of cookie cutters and jello molds.  Some things hold too much sentimental value.  Others are too much of a pain to wrap and donate.  I think you can figure out which was which.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Dynasties:  The Lassiters

I grew up in the 80's so of course "Dynasty" the show is in my past.  In the back of some book, I discovered a tease chapter for another book.  So I investigated, discovering that that tease chapter was part of a SERIES that was titled DYNASTIES!  Destiny...

In the interest of full disclosure, they are from Harlequin and epitomize the romance genre.  I get to read one each month through September opening myself up for guilty pleasure for months.  I have, however, sworn off reading ANY MORE tease chapters at the end of books.  I have a substantial list of books that I want to read!

So a big money dude, dies and his will is a big hot mess.  I'm not really ruining the plot line by telling you that as it happens in the short novella that kicks off the series.  Next come the stories around the big hot will mess.  A "daughter" that was unknown by the family?  The nurse gets the big bucks?

You can find the story titles and various authors here:  http://www.harlequin.com/store.html?cid=622445.

I love reading in the summertime!

Friday, June 20, 2014


More from Susan Mallery...

She had some stand alone romance novels that I thought I would try out.  I have decide to wait until the end of the summer to read her Fools Gold Year 5 novels and I didn't really have enough time in May to commit to reading a series, so I thought I would give those stand alone novels a try.  Two of them involve friends and the same small town.  I read them backwards, which didn't really impact me because I have never read a romance novel where the couple featured didn't get together (unless it was in a subsequent book because it was part of a series and they still got together and this wasn't the case with these books).  However, as I was reading the second book I kept thinking... why do these people sound familiar?  Overall, her Fools Gold series is some of her best writing.  

Accidentally Yours is based on a ridiculous premise, but the characters are likeable.  Falling for Gracie has likable characters and an original story line.  It is the best of the three.  It involves characters that got together in Someone Like You, however they weren't characters I particularly liked nor did I love the story line in that book.

Resolution 12

Cleaning out LRHB's room happened over some time.  Initially, we cleared out a bunch of stuff in preparation for his room transitioning from his little boy room (Cars) to his big boy room (Sports with a few Cars things leftover).  This was accomplished during Spring Break (with appropriate bribes for hard work!).

Next, once I had Teen Boy home and a blank check for helping mom/wife (Mother's Day), we took apart the bunks in one room, moved one of the beds into LRHB's room and retired the Little Tykes Car Bed that he'd been using since moving out of the crib, like 7 years ago.  Next, to eliminate needing 3 dressers in his room and shelves for clothing in the closet, we moved the VERY LARGE dresser from College boy's room in the basement.  First, he isn't moving back for the next two years (we hope) and wherever he is going, he cannot take this dresser with him, but will be able to use the two smaller dressers as they are far more transportable.

Finally, we have been taking down the Cars decorations and adding MORE sports posters than were already there.  It is a project nearing completion and he likes it which is the most important thing.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lenten Journey

This year our family religion program came up with a lovely way to pray during Lent.  We took slips of paper and wrote the names of people we wanted to pray for during Lent on them.  Next, we put them in a jar.  The idea was that each day we would choose a name and pray for that person.  

The reality looked more like me realizing that we were a week in and hadn't prayed for anyone so we pulled a week's worth of names out and prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet, resolving to do better.  And a week later, repeating the same.  As we prayed, we created a prayer chain with the slips of paper.  

Due to our inability to think of enough for all of the papers, we had blanks slips of paper which in reality were a blessing.  In fact, I would deliberately leave some blank next time for the very reason that things come up, people get ill, have accidents, encounter tragedy, struggle and it is important to pray for the unexpected events as well.

I loved this "assignment" for Lent and would love to try it again.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


As I am afraid I often do, when I get sidetracked from making a resolution once a week and fall several weeks behind, I lose sight of the original vision.

I know that each person can be making improvements in their lives each day, week, year.  I started out realizing that sometimes when trying to fix everything at once, it can seem, alas it IS overwhelming.  So instead, I decided to make one change a week.  Sometimes it turns out to be a to-do list while other times it is truly adapting to a better place.

When I make these small changes and can assimilate them into my life, I feel better, I am better.  As I look back at how "far behind" I am this year, I am again overwhelmed.  So I am going to approach it one week at a time and it will hopefully be a combined to-do list and a self-improvement list.

Along these lines, I am taking a course this summer, a book study.  It is my third this year and we are studying this time:  The Power of Habit.  The first thing we have to do is decide if we are going to undertake changing a habit.  And that is where I have gotten derailed.  I am two weeks behind because I cannot decide on a habit to change.  You see, there are SO MANY that I could change.  The first thing we are to do is read 5 articles on habits, good habits, bad habits, habits of successful people, etc.  Near as I can figure out, I am not successful according to these standards and yet I KNOW THAT TO BE UNTRUE.

So far this year my resolutions have been:
  1. Put everything on your calendar - it is an ongoing process
  2. clean out stuff from your bedroom - still a weekly challenge to keep it in a state of clutter free
  3. clean out the dresser drawers - done
  4. clean out your closet - although I worked very hard to complete this task, there is actually more work to be done as I discovered when I realized I didn't even tackle a set of shelves
  5. drink water - ongoing process
  6. clean out the papers you don't need - you can read about that here:  http://52weeks52resolutions1mom.blogspot.com/2014/02/2014-6-7-8-9.html
  7. do your taxes - done, but due to complications, they need following up
  8. clean out kitchen cabinets - not done, in process
  9. strength training - ongoing
  10. prepare for lent - I prepared.  http://52weeks52resolutions1mom.blogspot.com/2014/06/lenten-journey.html  
  11. set a goal and take the steps to achieve it - you can read about the end here: http://52weeks52resolutions1mom.blogspot.com/2014/06/16-17-18-19-running-challenge.html
  12. Clean out a kid's room.  http://52weeks52resolutions1mom.blogspot.com/2014/06/resolution-12.html
As I am doing the initial work for my class, I am rediscovering some items that have changed my life.  Okay, I may not have lost any significant weight since starting my resolution journey, but I would venture to say that I am close to where I was when I started (in spite of my 30 day healthy journey, more on that another day).  One reason might be that I have made eating breakfast daily a habit.  It wasn't when I started.  When I started I believed that if I skipped it, I could eat more later in the day.  Yet it is very unhealthy, I don't feel well when I skip it and in fact I eat a GREAT DEAL MORE later in the day.  I was reminded of this resolution and the fact that it is one that has become a habit while doing the reading for my book study.  It is considered by many a habit that will "change your life".  It was one of my first resolutions!  And I do it!  

Although the articles for the book study seemed at first to be overwhelming, when I printed them out and highlighted them, I discovered that the breakfast example is just one example.  Another one is #5 from this year.  I am energized to jump back in with both feet and optimism!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#16, 17, 18, 19 Running Challenge

The running challenge continued with me preparing to do the 10K.  I was working out and fitting it in and my running lengths were improving, up to 25 minutes.

Then it happened.  On May 21st, I was at work, doing my after school duty of Kiss & Go (moms/dads/others picking up students in a carpool line), when the skies opened and hail rained down.  No raindrops to prepare you, just marble sized hail.  A little picture painting for you... to get to this Kiss & Go area, you must walk past the bus parking lot and up 2 dozen stairs to the top of a hill.  Not close enough to the building to retreat.  I was standing even further away than usual because the sky looked ominous and I was trying to get the kiddos loaded as quickly as possible.  The bruises have now faded, but only in the last 10 days.  When my parents came on June 5th, I still had the bruises from the hail.  On my back, my arms, my legs.  The small people were mostly protected by myself and Super J who works duty with me.  An umbrella and our bodies shielded them until we could get them safely into cars.  I don't tell you this to extol my virtues rather I am explaining how my running got derailed.  My head hurt for a couple days from the lumps I took there.  I couldn't train as I was bruised from head to toe.

Ironically, it was not my injuries that kept me from racing.  For I did race to pick up my packet in the pouring rain on the Friday evening prior to picking up college students for the long weekend.  And then the baseball tournament began.  We split the games on Saturday.  We split the games again on Sunday.  2-2 was good enough to make the semi-finals on Monday morning.  I moseyed down to my neighbor's house and greeted her as they pulled in from a long day of fun in the sun.  I said that LRHB's team made the semi-finals tomorrow morning and she said that I had to go be a momma... no racing for us.  And the team went on to win the semi-finals in a fabulous game of great batting and strong fielding.  And they held onto the lead in the championship game until the bottom of the 5th when the other team rallied and took command of the game.  I am so blessed to have a friend that shares the same values that I do... our kids are only kids for a little while and we have show up for them while we can.  One day, I might race that 10K.  I am so proud that I trained as hard as I did.  However, I wish I could tell you that I was still running.  Not so much.    Which makes me a little sad.  Unfortunately, not sad enough to get off the computer/couch and go run.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Club

Our book club chose Black Beauty for our most recent novel.  I don't ever remember reading it when I was a kid!  I loved that although some of the girls had seen the movie, none had ever read the book.  LRHB and I got a late start and finished it the afternoon of the movie watching.  Someone else hosted the evening for the first time and it was a lovely evening with spouses and good food.  Once again, the book was similar to the movie, but with enough changes to keep this century's movie watchers engaged.

It was interesting to note that due to the end of school year craziness, although we finished the book club book, neither LRHB nor I had time to read anything else.  We need to figure out some balance for the next time around.

We are choosing A Wrinkle in Time as our next book club book.  I like the idea of this story because it is completely different from the last one, and it introduces our readers to a series of books, like the Ramona and Beezus book did.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Time Flies...

I CANNOT believe it has been a month.  Although I am tempted to jump back into blogging with both feet and spend several hours writing today about books, book clubs, resolutions, races and life, I am instead committing to writing a little EVERY DAY for the next 8 weeks.  By then, I should have gotten caught up on everything, and it seems a realistic goal.

This week starts the 25th week of the year.  Going forward will require time to go back and research what I did when, what I read, what happened in my world that set it upside down and what goals I have accomplished.

Join me over the next 8 weeks while I recommit to myself, my blog, my goals.

And I am going to now play games with LRHB and prepare a great dinner for Hero Daddy on this day that honors daddies.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


So I feel a little bit silly about being so proud about running 8 minutes straight.  TWICE in a work-out.  Because:  TODAY I RAN FOR 20 MINUTES STRAIGHT!

It took serious talking myself into it.  And it was funny because at the moment that I just didn't think I could do it, God put a message in front of me and rejuvenated my spirit.  OKC beat the Clippers.  In the last seconds of the game.  We'd given up!  It couldn't happen, but it did.  And I didn't think I could do it and then I knew I could.  Let me be clear, I'm not an NBA fan nor an OKC fan (Teen Boy is).  I still saw the message loud and clear.  Now, these legs have got to get me through the day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I ran for 8 minutes straight today.  And then, after walking at a good clip, I ran for ANOTHER 8 minutes straight.  You need to understand this... I am not sure that I have EVER RUN FOR 8 MINUTES STRAIGHT!

We did this Couch to 5K program last summer in preparation for our first 5K.  I am not sure how far we got... we certainly didn't finish it, but I was still able to do the 5K.  I was anxious about it, I walked it quickly with some jogging and a ridiculous end of race sprint.  (as I often do, when I recall a moment that happened and I want to refresh my memory, I look back through my blogs.  But last summer, I was filled with angst and hid... I did not ever write about my fabulous accomplishment of finishing my first 5K.  Furthermore, I didn't write about finishing my second! OY!)  But I digress... I recall going to the gym, doing the work-out, getting sick in the middle, never quite able to run the full 5 minutes that was required last week.  I know this for a fact... I have never run 8 minutes straight.  And today I did it twice.  I may not be living up to my resolution commitment at this time, however, I am living life, living up to my commitment to fill a bucket list item.  I'm not gonna lie, I am scared.  But boy do I want this!

Monday, May 12, 2014

#13 Again

So I just spent the last ten minutes trying to decipher the title of my last running post... #9-#16.  It didn't match if I was counting the 35 days til race day.  It didn't match my work-outs.  And then I realized, it was bad math. The title should be #9-#13.  Four weeks (of planned work-outs) times three work-outs a week (of course I am doubling up) does not equal 16, but rather 12.  Plus I had started week 5, total = 13.  I am not going to go back and re-title it though.  I am going to live with my mistake, cause people make mistakes.  

Then, as I mentioned, LRHB was sick and then Teen Boy and then ME!  I know I said if I got sick I wouldn't be able to do the race.  But, I only got the stomach flu... not real sick.  I was back running after FOUR days off and two days of feeling ICK.  I redid day Thirteen because I felt that was a good place to start again.  Now, the window is very small and I am going to have to be committed to running every day without a break for the next two weeks.  Please, pray for no more sick, no derailing because I really want to run this race!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Book Club - Alive and Well

We met last week for another installment of Book Club.  I had found a couple young men that I thought would be perfect to add to our group.  Too bad they're moving this summer.

This time around I issued a challenge:  Read the Ralph Mouse series (3 books) by Beverly Cleary.  LRHB and I read two of them and the day of movie night, he read the third.  We had Spring Break to read them, but our travels kept us from reading as much as we'd hoped.  (That and some new cooking shows!)  Scholastic did the videos and the kids really enjoyed them.  

We've chosen the classic Black Beauty for our next read.  Interestingly, I meant to choose Black Stallion.  Oops.  

Books 18-21

  • Drive by Daniel Pink was a look at what is successful in motivating people in the workplace now vs. previously.  It was full of data and examples which did bring the information to life.  However, it was still complicated and then I had to draw on what I had learned to apply it to my real work situation.  I would recommend reading it so that people can have insight into what will make them a satisfied and productive individual in the workplace (also it spills over into your home life). 
  • Grace Valley Series by Robin Carr was a trilogy before her Virgin River Series (which I loved).  The themes are similar - family, community, love - and the payoff is in the end of the trilogy.  It was a fabulous break from the serious reading I've been doing.  If you enjoyed her Virgin River Series, rush out now and get started on this series.  If you haven't read anything by her, start with this as it will give you a clear picture of her storytelling.  FYI - very clean.

#9 - #16

Life... it has been happening.

YES!  I am still running.  YES!  I am still doing the strength training.  NO!  I haven't been blogging.

  1. Birthday Fun.  I had a birthday.  There was fun.  Pre-birthday fun.  Birthday fun.  Post-birthday fun.
  2. There was finishing an ONLINE CLASS.  Real book.  Real work.  Finished.  Finally.
  3. There was reading a book series because after the hard reading, I just wanted some FUN READING! (Details to follow)
  4. There was illness.  Up all night puking and running to the toilet illness for the LRHB.  Hero Daddy had to stay home with him as I couldn't take off.  (Picture me plunging a knife into my heart as it has always been MY JOB to take care of the ill and down-trodden).  Hero Daddy didn't realize that LRHB only drank 12 oz of fluid ALL DAY.  I wrote a note!!  With INSTRUCTIONS!!
  5. There was moving Teen Boy home from College Year 1.  So nice to have him home.  We've got to fix him some, but I am so proud of my young man.  Didn't lose his head with partying and brought home great grades. 
  6. There was running.  Not everyday running because after 6 straight days, these legs needed a break.  Then I took a second day off because I couldn't go to the gym and leave my sick baby after leaving him with Hero Daddy all day (see note 2).  It was hard to go back after two missed days... I'm not gonna lie.
  7. There was more sick for LRHB.  Now a fever and a cough and general misery while ON A FIELD TRIP THAT OF COURSE I COULDN'T GO ON!  Thanks to Big Brother for picking him up and giving him medicine and making him rest til the momma could come home and take over.  So another day off from running.  
But I will still finish and be able to RUN a 5K.  And hopefully WALK a 5K at the same time.  10K.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


In doubling up on the day I missed for abs/squats, I really did a number on my front quads.  Lesson of the day:  If you place your feet farther apart when you do your squats, it works the backs of your quads and your gluts.  This piece of info actually made doing squats today, possible.

I do enjoy my new playlist for running.  I enjoy even more watching hockey.  If only my team would win and move on, I'd have more hockey to watch.  And cheer for.  LOUDLY.  AT THE GYM.  Yep, that was me.  You know what I discovered... no one was paying attention.  The dudes around me at 9 o'clock at night all have their earplugs in, doing their own thing.  I am sure there might have been a woman behind me somewhere wondering what kind of work out I was doing waving my arms like I was.  I am equally sure that she didn't hear me either because she had earplugs in as well.

Run. Run. Run.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Oy, I was derailed yesterday by a migraine!  I was in agony, but I took my medicine (then some more medicine) and I pushed through work, after-school activities and responsibilities.  I didn't run nor did I do my Ab and Squat challenge (found here: http://tribesports.com/challenges/30-day-ab-and-squat-challenge).  I did download some indulgent reading as opposed to the reading I am doing for my class.  I snuggled under a blanket in the car at baseball practice and enjoyed going on a romantic journey.  I think.  No actual romance yet...

Today, I got up and did yesterday's Ab/Squat workout and after school I completed some of today's workout.  I finished the rest of the squats as I was cooling down from my run.  115 squats in one day may have been a mistake.  Just sayin'.  I think because I varied my abdominal workout to include sides, lower and upper, I am in better shape.  Sort of.

Run, run, run.  I really didn't want to go to the gym.  I really wanted to change into jammies and not workout clothes.  I really wanted to crawl into bed and delve back into my novel.  It helped that I had to go to the grocery store for supplies for a luncheon tomorrow.  I won't lie.  That is probably the only reason I went.  BUT I WENT.  And at the grocery store, I didn't buy any chocolate.  HUGE.  FOR.  ME.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

#5, #6

After taking a Friday break, Saturday and Sunday I was right back on it!  Run, run, run!  Also, keeping up with the squats and crunches.  Some of it gets easier and then it isn't.  I decided today that I am tired of hopping around from album to album on my iPod to get to songs with the right running beat so I am off to create a running album!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

#3, #4

Yesterday after school, I was able to get my day 3 run done before driving to pick up College Boy.  He is going to be Med School Boy come August and we toured the satellite campus today.  We've been hearing that he is young and after today, I can agree with that.  Most of the 20 students (if not all) have been out of school doing other things.  None of them finished their undergrad in 3 years and are now headed to med school.

Anyhow, time for posting was non-existent due to the drive up and back (in lousy weather, no less).  And this morning I got up before the sun and did my run so I could drive him back to school after the tour today.

I must go do 30 crunches and 30 reverse crunches before crawling into bed.  Thankfully, I did the killer squats this morning otherwise, I'm not sure I'd be able to after all of the walking and steps I did today!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I didn't get up and run.  I was up every hour anticipating the time the alarm would go off at such a wretched time.  About the 4th time, 3:40 am, I convince myself I could do it while I was waiting for the baseball game to start.  As if.  However, the result was fabulous.  I turned off the alarm and promptly fell back to sleep for 3 solid, hard hours.

However, after working all day, doing the post-school to baseball sprint and enduring a heartbreaking loss where LRHB didn't connect at the plate (again), I put him to bed and went to the gym.  DONE.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Books 15-17

I don't want you to think that I have abandoned my terrific reading passion.  I have not.  I read three books that I haven't had the opportunity to tell you about and I am in the middle of two others, sort of.

The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak took me awhile to get through.  Not because it wasn't fabulous, it was!  But just because it did.  It was full of detail and I found myself having to catch myself up when I would be gone from it for more than a day.  And since last month was filled with boys on Spring Break (3 kids, 3 different Spring Breaks), my reading time came in bursts.  It was fabulous!  Totally loved it!  Grateful for the recommendation from my sisters-in-law.  Can't wait to see how the movie does the book!

I also read Where Courage Calls another installment in the Janette Oke Canadian West series.  It is actually a stand alone book, designed to accompany the show that aired this winter on the Hallmark Channel, "When Calls the Heart".  The show is lovely, truly family friendly in the spirit of Little House on the Prairie series. The book was also lovely, removing the bitter taste in my mouth from the last book that I had read in the series (it was just disappointing and apparently I am still bitter).

I've read Blossom Street Brides by my favorite author, Debbie Macomber.  I read it in a single afternoon, cherishing every moment of it.  Then I received it as a gift on CD's from my mother.  I hadn't the heart to tell her I'd already read it, so I am honoring the gift and listening it to it again.  I do so love her storytelling (Debbie's) and I am loving listening to it again!  I make a lot of trips that are 60-75 minutes long, sometimes 3 and 4 times a week.  When I am alone, I am no longer alone.  I am surrounded by my "friends" from Blossom Street.  If you've not read this series, I encourage you to do so!  It is every bit as delicious as the Cedar Cove series.

The other book I am reading is for another online class I am taking.  I'll update you when I've finished.  I am sad to say that it is really cutting into my reading for pleasure time as it is not a light as the book required by the last class I took.


I am taking a moment out of our regularly scheduled program to tell you that I will return with my resolutions.  However, I am quickly telling you about two resolutions, to be numbered later.
  1. Strength Training - I am getting older and it will make me stronger and less likely to incur injuries.  Prevent defense.
  2. Setting a Goal and Reaching It - I have always been fascinated by a specific race run Memorial Day Weekend.  This year, I am going to cross it off my non-existent, except in my own mind, bucket list.  I am setting a goal and working toward it.  It requires that I stay healthy (please pray) and that I stick to a very strict exercise regimen (btw, I just learned how to spell a new word).  I will be following an App and getting on the treadmill 6 days a week.  
This is when I tell myself, I can do anything for 5 weeks.  Just 35 days from now I will hopefully be telling you all about how fabulous I am.  Well, you already know that so perhaps I will be telling you about how fabulous my race was.  Or sleeping.  

Additional bonuses might be that I am a trimmer version of me when this is done.  But that is a byproduct, not the goal.  The goal is the race.  Everything else is just gravy.  YUMMMM!  I love gravy!

PS.  I am pushing myself to document this journey by writing a brief note daily to hold myself accountable.  I am being held accountable on the strength training by a co-worker.