Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Little Bit of Crazy, A Little Bit of Quiet

The Crazy
Three birthday parties this weekend. One Friday at a Mexican restaurant where I got my newborn baby fix, but no photos.

One Saturday afternoon at my house where I had more than my fair share of 6 year old girls. Details to follow in another blog entry.
and a Moroccan themed surprise birthday party on Saturday night that was definitely NOT for kids. A friend's house was transformed into a Mediterranean oasis complete with belly dancers! Look at the draped ceiling! And, yes, that is me smoking a hookah for the first time...

The Quiet
Today. A lazy day. Crafts, reading, quiet time. Multiple overs - cast and hung. My mom is here so she has been entertaining the kids quite a bit. Pulled some Chili Blanco out of the freezer and made some cornbread muffins (using red cornmeal) with Kate. Baking with my children is always and exercise in patience but a good reminder that things don't have to be perfect to be good.

The muffins did turn out really good, and during dinner my mom and I were discussing what might make them so good. Kate piped up that it was her special touch in baking.

My mom replied, "So love is the secret ingredient?"

"No, Ama," Kate said, "POWER is the secret ingredient!"

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Guitar Hero

Remember when I mentioned learning to play Guitar Hero when I was in Austin? Remember that I said I played horribly? Apparently, my look is worse than my score when I play!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Poetry Prodigy

I write poetry. I don't tell many people this (I'm not sure Matt even knows!), and I share my work with even fewer. My writing isn't as prolific as it was when I was an angsty teenager and young adult, but occasionally a bit still gets out.

Kate came home from school today with a book titled "My Book of Poems" as they have been studying poetry the last few weeks. I'm not sure what I expected, but I certainly didn't expect to be so impressed! I admit that the prose brought me to tears. But I am her mom.

Snow
by Kate
2.2.10

White ice.
White tres.
White stars.
White popritns.
White leevz.
White snow.

(Translation:
White ice.
White trees.
White stars.
White paw prints.
White leaves.
White snow.)

My Mom
by Kate

My mom
She
Loves
Me
and I love my mom.

(She spelled everything correctly in this one, and Kate was very proud of her "line break")

Scissors
by Kate
Jan 2010

Sum sisrz
loock like
a bot.
The bot snipt
the wotr in haf

(Translation:
Some scissors
look like
a boat.
The boat snipped
the water in half.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Birthday

Being the dedicated and slightly neurotic mother that I am, I was up until midnight last night making "6" sugar cookies using this recipe (I love this blog but really dislike that they encourage bottled water) to share at school, but I forgot to take a photo. I was going to use the royal icing they recommend, but got freaked out at the last minute with the raw egg whites. Normally it wouldn't bother me (we eat raw cookie dough all the time) but imagining all the kindergartners with salmonella got the best of me.
Kate requested pink frosting for her cake. I made a chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream frosting. I didn't have enough powdered sugar (see above's frosting concerns) so the frosting was pretty runny. Still it was super yummy.
Kate says she doesn't know if it feels different being six as she has already forgotten what it feels like to be five.

Six

Now it takes TWO hands to tell how old I am! -Kate
But now I am six
I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now
For ever and ever. -AA Milne

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Airplane Quote

Read this quote on the airplane in the American Way magazine. It struck a chord:

"The two most important days of your life
are the day you were born
and the day you figure out
why you were born."

Am I the only one out here still working on the second part?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Last Week

So last week...

Never really said much about my half marathon other than I finished. I had lots of cheerleaders the last few miles which really does help. Our friends Matt & Lauren & their boys, my mother-in-law, my college friend Keahi & family, my parents, and my sister with her beau. I also got to see my friend Dimity at the finish. My only "mistake" for the race was underestimating myself and starting in a pace group that was too slow. I was a bit sore for about 24 hrs but recovered quickly.

Dimity and me
I spent most of Monday with my mother-in-law. We took a nice, long walk around Town Lake and then went to see her new RV (now I want one!). I had dinner at my friend Keahi's house. Homemade ribs - yum! I also learned to play Guitar Hero. (Am I the only person in America who had never played this game? I was horrible...)

Arrived home in Colorado on Tuesday and had a few days with Matt's sister and my nephew & niece (they arrived the day before I left and were here while I was gone). It was fun to have a full house. After they went home, Matt took Jack up to ski for a few days while Kate and I had some good girl bonding getting ready for her birthday this week.

Jack skiing this weekend... he isn't even 5 yet... reportedly he was even going on those ramp thingies... how will I survive this?


I'm looking forward to getting back to normal this week (although is it ever really normal??).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On the Run

Just ignore the silly facial expression... I was somewhere between mile 11 and 12 and almost to the top of the biggest hill.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

13.1

Did it! No problem and faster than I expected. I feel great! Now going to enjoy the next 24hr+ of my little trip away.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, February 12, 2010

REI Sale

And if you didn't get enough from Patagonia yesterday, REI's winter sale starts today. I received an REI gift certificate for Christmas that I *need* to use.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Patagonia Sale

Patagonia's Winter Sale starts today. I don't think I've ever gotten through a Patagonia sale unscathed... just love everything about Patagonia!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Coastal Green Air

This system was in our condo in Alabama. Thought this was a great idea, especially since I know we've been guilty of opening up doors (to hear the ocean as we sleep... ah!) and not thinking to turn off the heat or air. I'd like to have it on our whole house!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Running, Running

Less than a week until my half marathon. Excited but jittery.

After I finish (which I will, barring anything flukey!), I've decided that I will start referring to myself as a runner. Even though I've been running sporadically for a few years, I never thought I could/would be a "runner." I certainly never thought I could run longer distances. It wasn't until someone made an off-hand comment to me last summer that I had the "quads of a runner" that I even considered possibly doing more. I'm glad I found the inspiration.

Colorado Mama recently introduced me to Tall Mom on the Run's (who is also doing a recovery sock giveaway) challenge to run 1000+ miles in 2010. I'm tempted. I logged 76 miles in January which is just short of the average 83 miles/month needed. It is also much less than I had planned (darn winter weather and the various illnesses that come with it!). We'll see how February goes. By next Sunday I should already have about 50 miles.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Beach Day Pics

More photos... sorry there are so many... couldn't control myself!

Beach Bound
Grandma and the seagulls
Emmy and Kate doing cartwheels
Discovering Wildlife
Mom and Jack's doomed sandcastle
This one lasted longer
Matt and Jack
More Splashing & Running & Playing

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Trip Pics

Some photos from our Alabama trip. We had quite a crowd this year. Grandma, Aunt Gwen, Cousin Emmy, my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law Jenifer, and cousins Mira and Sonny. Plus my Aunt Gretchen who lives in Mobile came down for a day. PLUS we also had dinner with Matt's uncle who lives in Mobile.

The first couple days were a bit chilly, but the last day we got nice weather and LOTS of photos from the beach. I'll try to get those up for tomorrow.

Cooler Days at the Beach
Kate
Grandma Picking Up Shells
Not Too Cold for the Feet
Around the Condo
Quiet Time
Cousins in the Tub
Jack and Grandpa Joe
Eating Out
Jack Catching Rolls at Lambert's which may be
our all-time favorite family restaurant
Jack wouldn't even pose with the sign once he knew what it said*
*Matt and I snuck away one morning to do a long run (9 miles - I crushed Matt!). We ran on a great path in Gulf State Park. As I ran under the Spanish moss covered trees, I was thinking to myself how nice it was to run in a forested area and not be at all worried about mountain lions... until I saw a sign that said to watch out for alligators!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Speaking of Beets

I really prefer beets just roasted with butter. Second up is pickled. But this salad is a close third. I've even been known to eat it for breakfast! I got the recipe from my mother-in-law a summer or two ago. I'm making it today to snack on all weekend.

Roasted Beet Salad

1/2 lb roasted beets, chopped
1 med tangerine, peeled, pitted, chopped
2T chopped red onion
1 med celery stalk, chopped
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
s/p

Toss beets, tangerine, onion and celery in bowl. Make dressing with remaining ingredients, mix to coat.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Beets!

I love beets. Love 'em! Love them roasted with butter, love them pickled, love them in salads, love them anyway. Yum. Unfortunately, I married a man who does not like beets at all (unfortunately about the beets, not the marriage... most days anyway!), and Matt is pretty open about food - I can't think of any other food that he doesn't like. But I found a beet dish that finally won him over! Shredded beet and carrot salad. It is a raw recipe which always makes me feel healthy, and even Kate really liked it (Jack... not so much). My only issue is that it didn't satisfy my beet cravings... you can hardly distinguish the beets from the carrots! I like to taste the beets. But the salad is really pretty - I served it with grilled pork chops and bamboo rice. I should have taken a picture.

Shredded Beet and Carrot Salad
(it is a Martha recipe from Great Food Fast - which is one of my favorite cookbooks- but I couldn't find it on her website)

1/4 cup lemon juice
1T olive oil
1T honey
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
salt
1 lb raw beets, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
1/3 cup fresh parsley (I used dry since that is what I had on hand)

Whisk together lemon juice, oil, honey and spices. Shred beets and carrots in food processor. Toss veggies and dressing, sprinkle with parsley.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

January Reading List

For awhile I've been wanting to blog about the books I read like Penny does. I just haven't gotten around to it. Thought I'd start fresh in 2010. I'm not listing any of the self-help type books I read. Most of those are partial reads or just referencing. I'm a self-help book addict!

Reading Lolita in Tehran - I admit that I didn't really like this book in the beginning. In fact, I started reading it while Matt and I were in Utah back in November. I would read a few pages every few nights, but got thoroughly distracted over the holidays. I started reading it again mostly just to get it over (I can't stand having an unread book!), but found myself soon captured. It is the memoirs of a woman living in Iran told through the novels she uses in her teaching. Only taking the minimum literature courses in college, by the end of this book, I was wondering if I should go back to school for an literature degree. The list of recommended reading is long, and I've added each to my reading list.

The Green Hour - this was my second time to read this book (the first read was in Nov). Some well written books I like to read multiple times. I always seem to find something deeper the second time around. It is the story of a woman who spends her life longing for the man she fell in love with in college. The coming and going of this man in her life. The book led me to the Spanish poem Love That Endures Beyond Death by Francisco de Quevedo which I is now one of my favorites. A couple of my favorite lines from the book...

"How will I ever know who you are?" she asked flatly.
"What's there to know?" he said, closing his eyes. "It's all set between us, always was and always will be."

and

"Are we," the letter continued, without transition, "still together, Red? Nothing, of course, has changed for me. What is time to us, anyway? All our separations and our being together is the same moment, the time we are alive for each other."

Uglies, Pretties and Specials Trilogy - This is actually three books, but since they are written for the pre-teen/teen audience and I finished all 3 in just 4 days, I hate to count them individually. Good, fun, fast reads. Fairly predictable but very imaginative. The story takes place in a futuristic world where at the age of 16, everyone undergoes surgery to become "pretty." There is a 4th book with different characters, but I doubt I'll read it.

Believe - I'd like to do a separate post on this book. Very moving. It was written by a classmate of mine from St. Olaf. I saw it in the St. Olaf magazine and thought I would show support by purchasing the book. Never did I expect to be so moved.


The History of Love - loved it. I cried (but I cry pretty easily!). A passage that caught me:

"Every time she tries to leave, knowing it's what has to be done, the boy stops her, begging like a fool. And so she always returns, no matter how often she leaves or how far she goes, appearing soundlessly behind him and covering his eyes with her hands, spoiling for him anyone who could ever come after her."

Love the One You're With - story of a married woman who rekindles emotions with a past lover. Easy, enjoyable read. Found the mention of Tiger Woods and his "gorgeous, doting wife" with the main character's questioning thoughts about the solidity of the golfer's relationship very entertaining and a propos.

Water for Elephants - I've been wanting to read this for awhile. Finally snagged it on BookMooch. Loved it. Although the author's note at the end left me a bit sick to my stomach. And my favorite line in the book

"Sometimes I think that if I had to choose between an ear of corn or making love to a woman, I'd choose the corn."

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Very enjoyable. But not much to say about it.

Monday, February 01, 2010

BookMooch

Do you use BookMooch? I started using it about 9 months ago. It is a free, online, book exchange site that uses a point system to trade books. The simple explanation of the system is that you get one point for every book you send to someone. You can then use your points to "mooch" books from others. So far I've sent out 95 books and mooched over 125 (you earn extra points for feedback or sending to other countries). Some I've kept for my collection, some I've read and then sent off to others.

Previous to joining BookMooch, I kinda had a book buying problem that bordered on an addiction. I know that there is the library, and I do use our local library for children's books and craft books. I am just a reader that needs time to sit with books both physically and emotionally. Some non-fiction may take me months to read (I usually have multiple books going at the same time). BookMooch works really well for me, because I can maintain a wishlist of books (which decreases my impulse to buy), browse for books via Amazon, and re-circulate books on my timeframe.

Fun story with BookMooch. I had been waiting for the book History of Love to become available. Finally I caught one and was happy to see that it was from another Colorado member (I like it when shipping isn't too far). I opened the member's profile, and to my surprise and delight, I realized that it was listed by Kate's BFF's mom! I got special delivery and a fun, new connection.