Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
So, what have we been doing for all of these days? Here's a little list of cabin fever busters we attempted over the last few weeks . . .
1. Run on the treadmill. Even Mr. Music took a bit of a walk on it (assisted, with a MAX of Speed 2)
2. Holiday movies (Rudolph, Grinch, Mickey, Garfield, Frosty . . . shall I go on? I think Mr. Music saw each one at least twice - and this is a boy who watches 1-2 half-hour shows MAX a day, if ANY!)
3. Christmas cookie baking (just once - with just enough to share with neighbors and Santa)
4. Trips to the Vet (2 trips made by my husband, father and dog - once by foot because the roads weren't safe, another by car in the miracle window of good weather and "safe" streets before the third wave of snow hit). I'm thankful his bite is healing nicely now.
5. Christmas Card writing (see letter below) - complete with Mr. Music signing his name on each card himself!
6. Pre-Christmas toy sorting to make some space for a few new things from Santa and family
7. Facebook updates
8. New quilt project
9. Driveway shoveling
10. Igloo construction with snow from said driveway
11. Treadmill running
12. Balance ball workout
13. Dinner prep game - What can we make with what is in our fridge and pantry???
14. Treadmill running
15. Closet sorting
16. Driveway shoveling
17. Visits from parents who snow-shoed a mile to get here
18. Sledding with neighbors
19. Present wrapping
20. Piano playing and Christmas caroling
21. No church due to road conditions - lessons and carols at home!
22. Shoveling out neighbors' stuck cars
24. Using degrees in English, Art History, Forestry & Education to put together children's toys
25. Catching up with all of the laundry TWICE
26. Treadmill running
27. Digging trenches to allow the snowmelt to reach the drains and prevent our garage from flooding (that's where all the books are!!!)
28. Oragami with Netflix mailing envelopes - they have patterns on their website!
29. Phone calls to distant family to pass along words of cheer for Christmas
30. Writing "Mad Lib" style thank you notes for the gifts we received (see below)
I'm sure there was more excitement these few weeks, but I've blocked them out . . . I'm putting the "adventure" behind me now and am looking forward to the promise of a new year!
Here are the letters we put together for our friends and family this year:
When you leave the Christmas card responsibility in the hands of a little redheaded girl who is not quite two years old, you get something musical, short and snappy - much like her!
(sung to the tune of “Baa Baa Black Sheep”)
For Merry Christmas time,
(Sister’s) here to sing you
A little family rhyme.
(Mr. Music) is reading,
And learning how to write.
Daddy is dreaming
Of me sleeping through the night.
Mommy is eye-ball deep
In blogs and press releases.
I’m learning to put together
Puzzles with (a handful of) pieces.
Swimming lessons, music
And (Mr. Music)’s pre-school, too.
As much as we enjoy them,
None are as special to us as you!
Merry Christmas, Family.
Happy New Year, Friends.
Wishing you love and joy
As this full year ends!
And our thank you notes go something like this:
We’ve been a little stir crazy this December (i.e., the snow has kept us homebound for over 2 weeks!). To entertain ourselves (and you), we created this “Mad Lib-style” note to express our gratitude for your kindness this Christmas. We did part of it for you, but you’ll need to pick the nearest friend or relative to help you fill in rest of the blanks before you read the note. Be creative and enjoy the results!
Person’s Name: ___________________
Person’s Name: ___________________
Plural Noun: ______________________
Verb ending in –ing: _______________
Group of people: __________________
Verb ending in –ing: _______________
Sorry I can't format the letter to look right here on Blogger. I think you get the idea, though!
Christmas at our house was _______________. We spent the day with
_______ and ___________ doing _____________. We ______________ with
(person’s name) (person’s name) (verb) (verb)
our new _____________________.
My favorite part of the day was _____________ ______________. Next
year I hope we can do it again, and maybe __________________ with ____________, too.
Snow has been _______________ here for _______ days. We took advantage of
(verb ending in –ing) (number)
the _______ inches of snow by building a ______________, sledding with our
_____________, and having ______________ fights. My _________ and _________
(group of people) (noun) (person) (person)
even snow-shoed to our house everyday to visit with us! It is all melting now and we’re
____________ for floods. _____________!
(verb ending with –ing) (exclamation)
Thank you again for your thoughtfulness this Christmas. I really like the
__________ and ___________ and ________________
(noun) (noun) (noun)
you sent me. I’m looking forward to ______________________ with it.
(verb ending in –ing)
Have a _____________________ New Year!
Enjoy the end of 2008, everyone!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
After breakfast the kids were engaged in some sort of fort-building, baby-doll playing, book-reading adventure (yes, all three at once - my kids are multi-taskers like their mama). Since they clearly had a plan that didn't involve me (this time!) I had a chance to check my email and read a few blogs. My husband needs coffee to jump start his mornings, I need my computer screen.
About five minutes later my daughter wandered over into my work space (a stone's throw from where they were playing) and spotted my hand weights and Bounce Your Body Beautiful Book.
"Mama! This Mama's!" she excitedly announced, holding up the weights.
"Yes those weights are Mama's. Put those down so you don't drop them on your toes. I'll use them later." I said as I finished reading a post.
"Now, Mama! Ball, Mama!"
"Go play with your brother for a few minutes and then I'll get to it." I tried to stall her.
"Ball! This book, Mama! Now! Yeah! Yeah!" she shouted as she ran full speed down the hall to my bedroom to retrieve my balance ball. Clearly she wasn't interested in MY timeline. This girl wanted me to work out - NOW. And, as it turns out . . . so did Mr. Music.
"Come on, let's put on our workout clothes, too. We can ALL work out!" he chimed in. There was no turning this thing back - a workout clearly was my destiny. Blogs could be read later.
So, I threw on something more appropriate than flannel pants and an old 5K race shirt while the kids disappeared into Mr. Music's room to conjure up their own brand of gear. Knowing that it wouldn't go well with a 4 year-old or a nearly-2 year-old on a grown-up's balance ball, I figured I better make an alternate plan for their modified exercises.
Each would do their exercises on a yoga mat. Instead of hand weights, one would use rhythm sticks, the other drum sticks. This is how we roll. We're a musical bunch. You knew that, though, right?
No sooner did I have my plan figured and in place then the kids came barrelling out to join me - decked out in Mr. Music's superhero Underoos. Yup - Mr. Music in the Superman garb, Little Sister sporting a mix of his Diego and Spiderman sets.
"Oh, I see I have some superheros joining me!" If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?
"We're not super HEROES, Mom. We're super WORKOUT heroes!" Mr. Music corrected.
"Yeah. Super. Work. Mama." Little Sister grunted, raising her arms up to show me her muscles.
Really, how could I have been so naive as to not notice that these were no run-of-the-mill superheroes?
And so, with my super WORKOUT heroes beside me, I got started. They stuck with me for about 3 exercises before they felt strong enough to rescue some poor stuffed hippo from a burning building (closet) somewhere. I knew this because my son announced, "Woah. I'm feeling stronger now. I'm sure glad we decided to work out with you today, Mom. My muscles are definitely bigger! Come on, (Little Sister), someone needs our help!"
"Yeah! Strong!" she agreed.
And off they pitter-pattered, leaving me to finish my circuit with a smile. Sure, I had a bit less screen time before facing the day, but this time it was worth it.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
On Monday morning my son exclaimed, "This is the coldest day EVER!" Turns out he was right. At 17 degrees Fahrenheit, it WAS the coldest day ever in his 4.5 years . . . until Saturday when the temperature dropped to 3 degrees. Not dropped 3 degrees, dropped TO 3 degrees. Brrrrrr!
With all of this snow, what better to do than get out and play in it! Little sister wasn't too thrilled with the whole idea, but she is pretty keen on the snow pants and boots. And since the rest of us were interested, she decided to join in a bit for the sledding. That's my girl - up for the best part of the adventure!
(Hard to see the smile under her coat, but it was BIG!)
Even Albus played for over an hour in the snow on Thursday, running up and down our hilly street, playing with other dogs and the kids. As a lab mix he just ADORES the snow! Sadly his fun came to an end when he me up with a dog who wasn't so interested in romping. They got into a fight and Albus came out of it with a nasty gash (that we didn't discover until bedtime). My husband and my dad walked him down to the local vet's office (about a mile) the next morning for some staples and antibiotics. Thankfully he was able to make the walk there and back without much trouble. Whew!
So, with all of this time on our hands, both my husband and I have gotten in some extra runs on the treadmill. The sledding and hill climbing in the snow are great for cardio workouts, too! He took our son for a mile-long snowshoe trek up the hill to my parents' house on Friday (and back!), so Mr. Music is getting good physical release in all of this, too. This morning I took him out to crunch around on the icy snow for a bit and we collected big chunks of ice along the way. I can honestly say I've never had an ice collection until today!
My parents are the ones getting the best workouts in all of this. They've snowshoed down to our place 3 times in the last 3 days. My dad also made the extra trek to the vet's, so as he puts it, "I've worked out more in the last 3 days than I have in 3 months!" I think this is just the experience to get them both back on their fitness paths. Sort of a jump start for the New Year!
That being said, I should probably see about getting my balance ball workout in for the day. I finished the 6 week Bounce Your Body Beautiful plan by Liz Applegate and am 2 weeks into doing the workouts for a second time. I'm really into this strength training stuff and am kicking myself for not giving it a shot sooner!
Have a wonderful Christmas week, everyone!
Oh, and I'll see if I can add a picture tonight to show you the full 20 inches of snow. All of the photos above are from early in the storm experience.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I find that it is much too easy to latch onto negative thoughts and let them fester, all the while knowing in the back of my mind that the pessimism is unhealthy for me and my family. When I started growling at the kids for no good reason it made me stop to re-frame things and get me back on track to finding that beloved yellow hat!
This week I started playing a little mind game with myself:
When I'm ankle, knee, shoulder . . . or even eyeball deep in frustration, I take a breath and find the silver lining in the situation.
Allow me illustrate:
Frustration: I just walked my daughter back to her bed for literally the 20th time tonight. This is probably the 20th night of this ritual in the past month or so.
Silver Lining: I'm using the experience as a practice in self-discipline and as time to "just breathe". It also worked out timing-wise for writing a guest post at the Positivity Blog. If you haven't yet checked out that blog, you should.
Now. Just go. I'll still be here when you get back.
See? It's great, isn't it? Well worth the trip, right?
Now . . . back to what I was saying.
Frustration: School was cancelled today in anticipation of big, snowy storms. Funny thing, though - not a single snowflake fell until 5PM. Since Mr. Music was home most of last week, I was really looking forward to having him at school!!
Silver Lining: I invited my mom to come over and decorate our Christmas tree with us (as a surprise for my Grinchy husband who would rather not decorate - and he WAS thrilled to come home to a house all decorated and cleaned because that meant HE didn't have to do any of it). We also got in much needed trips to the Chiropractor, the post office and to our church to make a donation to the food pantry.
Frustration: My daughter's attention span while I'm on the treadmill is about 20 minutes. Not so good for much of a run.
Silver Lining: It is better than not running AND I'm setting a good example for her by taking care of myself. I'm more likely to get on the treadmill more frequently each week now that I know she CAN last 20 minutes. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to lengthen the time and that it will help with her adjustment to being in the Child Watch at the YMCA when I take classes. It is also motivating me to keep up with my strength training, since my stronger core is enabling me to run faster!
With our Christmas tree right next to my work space, I'll likely find the silver lining easy to discover for the remainder of the year. I hope that regular posts on this topic will help me continue on my path of optimism. I'm also finding that my patience extends longer when I can find the positive in a negative situation. Patience is a priceless (and essential for sanity) when your kids are 4 and nearly 2!
Like the Smurfs sang all those years ago, "Goodness makes the badness go away! When there's goodness in your heart, the badness just can't start. Goodness makes the badness go away!"
As for YOU, what silver lining you can find in your life this week? What words of wisdom have stuck with you from the cartoons of your youth?
Monday, December 15, 2008
This is our award certificate for the Moonbeam Children's Book Award - isn't it fancy? You can see the stickers in the corners. I'll get a photo of a sticker on a book ASAP.
See how the bag folds flat so nicely? That's because we used a canvas bag as a template! This is one of 5 different fabric combos. It just so happens that I bought this fabric in Italy in 1999. I used some of the fabric for bedroom curtains when we lived in North Carolina - but now I've reused it all for reusable bags!
If the bag could stand alone, it would look like this (we filled it with reference books!). We have since added straps made of the same fabric, but I haven't gotten a photo of the bags with straps yet!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
As we are now full immersed in the joy of the holiday season, I think it is important to remember all of the things that keep our bodies happy - and make it fun for our children to understand why we can't have cookies all day long!
You may recall from an earlier pre-holiday post, Books for the Holidays, I'm focused on making books an integral part of our Christmas gift-giving. I was going to save this book for a stocking stuffer for my son, but couldn't hold off that long. Maybe you have stronger will-power than I had! This is a fun book that you'll want to share with your children (or grandchildren) as you pass along your passion for health and wellness.
The Busy Body Book: A Kid's Guide to Fitness by Lizzy Rockwell caught my eye at our local Jamba Juice smoothie store. While we weren't able to purchase anything there that day (turns out the store didn't have allergy-free blenders like Emerald City Smoothies does), the book's cover stuck in my mind and I ordered the paperback version from Scholastic Books through my son's preschool just a few weeks later. I was not disappointed!
Filled with lively illustrations of kids of all ethnicities, sizes and abilities happily engaged in physical activity, this book is a geared for the pre-school/kindergarten crowd. Rockwell brings the workings of the human body down to a youngster's comprehension and vocabulary level without dumbing down the concepts. For example, when describing how the brain and nervous system work, she writes, "Messages travel back and forth, at lightning speed, along wire-thin fibers called nerves." That truly is it in a nutshell, right?!
As a former teacher I also appreciate the inclusion of diagrams throughout the book. Well labeled diagrams of the systems of the body (skeletal, muscular, nervous, respiratory, circulatory and digestive) enhance the main content of the book. The earlier kids get accustomed to reading diagrams, the easier school will be for them!
My daughter's favorite page (and keep in mind that she's not quite 2, but very interested in books) is one toward the end that is a grid of children involved in 40 different physical activities ranging from leaf raking to kayaking. These simple, but colorful illustrations show children that "There are lots of ways to be a busy body!" My daughter is captivated by the illustrations of a young girl horseback riding and a redhead swinging (we're all redheads). My son likes pointing out all of the activities we've done together and pointing out the ones he'd like to try (namely skateboarding and tree climbing!). The musician in him loves that a marching trumpet player is included in the mix while the mom in me enjoys the depiction of a little boy scrubbing a floor!
The Busy Body Book is a fun resource for teachers to use in their classrooms for units about the body and for lessons about how to read diagrams. Families will enjoy sharing the book before heading outdoors for a physical adventure (or maybe even before chore time!). The bright colors and positive message leave the reader smiling and energized. This book would be fun to pair with mine, We Are Girls Who Love to Run/Somos Chicas y A Nosotras Nos Encanta Correr and if you have two kids for whom you are purchasing books (The Busy Body Book for a younger child (boy or girl) and my book for an older sister, friend or cousin)!
Next on my list of books to review is Rockwell's other title: Good Enough to Eat: A Kid's Guide to Food and Nutrition. It will be post-Christmas, though, as that book IS going in my son's Christmas stocking!
Monday, December 8, 2008
Ummmmm, I'm not really sure. But I DO know that I am thankful as the week starts because:
1. I'm a stay-at-home mom who can take care of my son as he battles a wicked cough (really, it is a killer one). I'm not sure how working moms do it. My heart goes out to them!
2. My husband made chicken soup for dinner last night and the leftovers were perfect for my son's lunch today. I don't know if he was more excited that it was soup or more excited that his dad made it just for him.
3. In my hours of market research I've run across some really cool websites. Today I discovered Girlfriendology. Fun site to check out! And maybe you'd be interested in Skipping Stones (an international multicultural magazine). Discovering new things is what keeps me from remembering to put on socks . . . seriously, I get caught up in reading and forget that I was "just going to read some email while I put on my socks" and then an hour has passed and they still sit rolled up next to my keyboard while my feet turn icy!
4. My husband and I got to have 2 nights and a Saturday to ourselves while the kids played at my parents' house. Friday night was fabulous with dinner at Spazzo's, an Italian restaurant in Redmond. Just thinking about it makes me smile. Saturday we enjoyed our regular bagel run to Blazin' Bagels and then knocked out a bulk of our Christmas shopping. Saturday was a sewing marathon to work on our Christmas project as we watched Get Smart (NOT a worthwhile movie, BTW). We were able to finish off the weekend with quick runs on the treadmill (too foggy to venture far outside by foot) before we had to fetch the small ones (one of whom is SICK) Sunday morning.
5. Today my daughter brought me a hair band and a comb so I could put her hair in a pony tail. Never in all of her nearly twenty-three months has she ASKED to have her hair pulled back, despite the fact that it is usually in her eyes or stuck to her nose! I'm wondering if she asked because I have my hair pulled back today (unusual unless I'm going for a run).
What about YOU? What are you thankful for today - something little or something big?
Have a wonderful week, everyone! Wishing you HEALTH and happiness as you prepare for the holidays.
Monday, December 1, 2008
1. My guest blog post is up at the Positivity Blog - this is a blog worth following, it is filled with fantastic daily reminders of how to live a life of gratitude and positive thinking. Check it out (and not just MY post, take a minute or two to read some of the regular posts - I promise it is worth your while. Subscribe to it, even!).
2. I was a guest on the Seattle-area radio show Chat With Women this morning. I was thankful that traffic was light and I made it to the station with time to spare (and time to go to the bathroom, even though I had to hunt down a code to get into the locked restroom!!). I'll have the 20 minute audio up on the Balanced Steps website by the end of the day.
3. I'm getting orders for my book from people who met me at the REF Turkey Trot Fun Runs in November.
4. Our Christmas gift making plan is working well - my husband and I figured out some good techniques and steps for the process last night.
5. My mother-in-law gets to meet her newest grandson this week - happy travels!
How about YOU? What are you thankful for today? Be sure to leave a comment!
Have a wonderful week!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
While I'm not going to make that many pillowcases again this year (fabric was specially chosen for EACH one . . . I think I was truly out of my mind!), we did decide that the bulk of the gifts will be homemade. The others will be as locally-purchased or experience-based as possible. If you are a family member reading this, please STOP reading NOW and move on to your regularly scheduled life - email reading, dusting, vacuuming, playing with the dog, walking on the beach - WHATEVER . . . just GO!!!
What are you still doing here, Mom? Pat? Get out of here! I love you, but NO PEEKING!
OK, I think they're gone. *whew!*
I mentioned a week or so ago that I'd really like our gifts to be environmentally and budget friendly. I think we've go it: Homemade reusable bags (similar to these)! My husband and I cranked out the prototypes last night while the kids were at my parents' house for a sleepover. Here's the rundown:
- We're using fabric from the stash I've been building for the last 10 years (some fabric I bought in Italy before we were married!). I'm also reusing some old curtains that I made years ago that are still in good shape but don't fit our windows in this house. I'll be using thread from my stash, too. Random colors of thread will add to the eclectic feel of the bags!
- For the more "masculine" bags (no fru-fru stuff for the manly men in our families!) we DID get some navy striped sheets on sale to cut up and use (budget friendly, not AS environmentally friendly). That was the ONLY shopping we had to do.
- We figured out how to make the bags like the reusable canvas bags from the PCC Natural Markets out here, so they are quick and easy! All it will take is sewing 2 rectangles of fabric together (the bags are lined to make them more durable since we're NOT using canvas), making the tuck to give the bags a bottom, and then attaching straps.
- We'll use the bags as wrapping paper for a few little goodies to send. That's right - no wrapping paper needed! I can feel some trees smiling about that one.
- Even with the little goodies, everything should fit in a flat envelope for cheap mailing and limited "Post Office package juggling dances" while managing 2 small children in line.
- If we make 2 bags/night, I can have 20 made in 10 nights, which means that all the packages can be mailed well in advance of the Christmas rush!
- Since the idea was truly my husband's, he has agreed to man the iron. This really will be a fast project with two of us on deck!
Since I was able to run at the YMCA after my son's swimming lesson yesterday and I started my morning with the first workout of Week 5 in the 6 week Bounce Your Body Beautiful plan, I'm feeling quite energetic. I'll put that energy to good use for tonight's sewing session! I'll be sure to get some photos of the process to post while we're at it.
Friday, November 28, 2008
7. My husband is happy. This is a delicate balance of leaving him alone for awhile (he's an introvert, I'm an extrovert) to let him do his own thing on the computer or in the garage/garden/guitar/whatever and doing things with him like watching a movie/working in the yard/etc. Sometimes this just involves me taking the kids for a walk so they stop climbing Daddy Mountain. Other times it involves getting the kids into the kitchen to work with us to make a big breakfast as a family.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Congratulations on this amazing first novel, Stacy! I wish you great success and look forward to reading your future books and celebrating them with you.
As you search for the perfect books for the people on your holiday gift list, take a minute or two to look beyond the best sellers lists! There are treasures awaiting you between the covers of independently published books, too.
Next on my to-review list: A pair of books by Lizzy Rockwell, The Busy Body Book and Good Enough to Eat: A Kid's Guide to Food and Nutrition.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
1) Find the kitchen sink
2) Catch up on my emails
3) Send out more press releases
4) Start getting the house ready for Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends
5) Get laundry done
Hmmm . . . I don't think my friend is prepared to take on two kids for as long as it will take me to accomplish all of those tasks (days, perhaps). I guess I'll just have to make do with the 2.5 remaining hours until their return.
I'm happy to report:
1) I'll have not one, but two, guest blog posts out in the world in the next few weeks. Yes, folks, these are definitely more formal than what you'll find here. They are starting to inspire me to tighten up my posts here, but I'm not ready for that adjustment until the new year. Hang with me until then, though, won't you?!
2) I've officially been named as a Contributor on Bookieboo, a "Fitness Hangout for Moms"! You can find my women's and children's fitness/health book reviews there. Strange name, but the social site is truly filled with great bits of wisdom and insight about pregnancy, childbirth, parenting . . . and FITNESS. My fellow contributors are experts in fitness, nutrition, childbirth, etc. Stop by - it is definitely worth checking out!
3) As of next Monday I should be one degree closer to Kevin Bacon. I'll be on Chat with Women, a radio show that also hosted Whoopi Goldberg as part of the book launch tour for the book series Sugar Plum Ballerinas. You can listen to the show live Monday, December 1st at 8AM PST (I believe), and it will be available on the website for you to listen at your leisure!
Darn, I'm down to 2.25 hours before the kids return. I'll just leave THAT as my big Trial for the day - and head off to see how many of those items from the first list I can accomplish!
Wishing you the best as you tackle your trials and celebrate your achievements this week - and be sure to leave a comment so I can pass along some extra words of encouragement for those bumps in the road or celebrate something wonderful with you!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
1. I sent out over a dozen press releases announcing the award for We Are Girls Who Love to Run. Which leads me to an important question for YOU, dear reader: Did you know that Her Sports + Fitness is now Women's Running Magazine? Be sure to check it out!
2. I've been working on some meaty guest blog posts for some BIG blogs out there. I'll let you know where to go when they're posted!
3. I just put the final touches on our Christmas letter - and it isn't even Thanksgiving. While I really enjoy Christmas cards, I usually get stressed about this aspect of the holidays. I write the letters from the kids' points of view, so they're not a typical blah-blah-blah letter - and they're also SHORT! Well, tonight the inspiration hit and it is DONE (in the voice of Little Miss Fireball). I even got the wallet-sized photos ordered to include with the letter. BTW: this is MUCH more budget-friendly than photo cards and the leftovers can go in my wallet so that I actually have photos of my kids with me.
4. My husband and I have been spending our spare moments cleaning out junk. You know the stuff - the pile of old Runner's World magazines, the rubber bands from the heads of lettuce we bought at the farmer's market in June, the thousands upon thousands of kid art projects, scraps of fabric from quilts I made two years ago . . . I feel so liberated with all of it sorted into the appropriate bins: garbage, recycle, mail.
5. The Fireball's horrid cold is nearly gone now, so we squeezed in a trip to the park while the sun was out for a bit this afternoon. We almost didn't get it in, though, as Mr. Music is going through one hum-dinger of a growth spurt and is back on track with nearly daily naps. It's no wonder I can't get myself on a schedule!!!
Now that the Christmas cards are under control, I'm off to have that yearly sit-down with the husband (who after a year of blogging, should have a nick-name - I'll work on that) to figure out a healthy balance for Christmas gifts. Things to consider for balance:
- environmental impact
- time involvement (last year I made about 30 personalized pillow cases for family members - BIG hit all around, but BIG time sucker on my end . . . and I have some quilts to finish!)
- personal significance of gift (I like gifts to have some sort of important connection and meaning)
- do we consider donations in our family members' names through a reputable charity?
Does anyone have experiences with the charitable donation approach to gifts? Did you receive one? Have you given one? I'd love to get your insight!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
So, I'll stick with my usual Monday post because I can't think of a better way to celebrate the start of a new life.
Today I am thankful for:
1. The safe arrival of dear, little Nate. Well, okay, he's not SO little, weighing in at 9lbs. 6 oz., but he's just a few hours old, so that makes him little!
2. The closeness of my husband's family to one another. The phone was going for at least an hour as we all called one another and celebrated Nate (and his lovely mother who is likely feeling relieved to not be pregnant anymore and tired after a full day of bringing him into the world, and his lovely father who is likely just exhausted from the sheer intensity of it all and cheering on his wife).
3. Little Sister's snuggles this afternoon. She's fighting some sort of bug, so she's been quite snuggly - usually she's wiggly and will only let you get a quick hug and kiss. Today she fell asleep in my lap. There is something powerful about having parents close to help you feel better. I remember that from when I was still small enough to climb into my parents' laps/bed when I was sick.
4. The fact that my parents are squeezing in a bit of a date night for us even though their week is remarkably full.
5. The safe arrival of dear, little Nate. I think that news deserves mentioning at least twice, don't you? Happy Birthday, Nephew!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
1. After DAYS of rain and gloom, the sky cleared and the day is AMAZINGLY bright and wonderful.
2. My husband is home from work today to help me celebrate the day - he took the kids away from the house for the morning so I could enjoy some peace and quiet.
3. Our daughter greeted me with "Happy Mama!" as she climbed on top of me in bed this morning . . . and then scrambled off the bed and pitter pattered away to do whatever it is she had in mind to do (under her dad's supervision, I got to go back to sleep!).
4. The first words out of Mr. Music's mouth this morning when I saw him were "Happy Birthday, Mom!" and then I got one of his amazing bear hugs.
5. Before they headed out, the family gave me one of my birthday presents - a fabulous pair of gloves/mittens - you know the kind - they have glove fingers (cut off at the top), but also have mitten parts that can cover the gloves if needed. I love them!
6. When Albus, our wonder dog, saw that I was in my yellow hat, running skirt and running shoes, he did a happy dog dance and went to sit by the door to wait for us to go for a run (I'm choosing to assume that his dance also meant "Happy Birthday!").
7. Except for a few slippery leafy patches, it was a glorious morning for a run. The blue sky, fresh air, and warm sun all seem to be indicators that it is okay to be 30, that the world has much more in store for me.
8. Since the kids are off with their dad for the morning, I was able to follow-up my run with some strength training. My mom borrowed my balance ball book, so I tried out "The Smart Workout" from November 2008's Redbook Magazine. It is 6 moves that REALLY challenge your body.
9. I even get to enjoy a shower without interruption this morning.
All that, and it isn't even 11AM yet!
I think that this is going to be a great birthday and that I'll find some new strength and adventure in this new decade. Thank you, kind readers, for coming along for the ride!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
- hosting a lunch play date for Mr. Music's little friend and her mom on this beautiful, sunny November Monday (the motivation for all the cleaning this morning!)
- everyone's enjoyment of swimming lessons
- my husband taking off work on Thursday to celebrate my birthday (he knows I'm feeling sensitive about turning 30, so he's making it extra special and fun for me)
- a fun weekend with the family
- my mom's discovery of a local company that recycles "old" home knit sweaters and finds them new homes (Running Knitter, this made me think of YOU!). The kids have some beautiful "new" sweaters to enjoy this fall/winter.
Have a great week, everyone!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
How about YOU? Are you making any new healthy changes to your life routine? Have you found a simple change that has a significant impact on your family's health and life quality?
Friday, November 7, 2008
1. Drop the kids at the YMCA child care.
2. Try a Zumba class.
How'd it go?
1. My son loved it. Two of his closest friends from school were there, so he was set. Little Sister didn't share his feelings. At all.
2. I reserve my review of the Zumba class for a time when I can do more than 10 minutes of it. That's when the child care staff came looking for me. Nothing like having to walk all the way across the front of the class (twice even, as I had to retrieve my water and key) to go console a sad kid. *sigh* So far I'm still interested in going back, assuming we can get Little Sister to take to the child care.
I'm excited at the opportunities our new YMCA (or YNCJ, as Mr. Music called it earlier) membership gives us. Swimming class went VERY well on Tuesday for Little Sister (perhaps that's why she wasn't interested in playing - she wanted to be in the pool!) and Mr. Music is excited about his first class tomorrow. I'm also hoping that my dear husband will be able to take advantage of the open lanes for some swimming from time to time, too. As for me . . . we'll just keep trying the child care stuff so that I can enjoy what the Y has to offer. It shouldn't take TOO many more partial classes, right??? I have these grand visions of classes and time in the weight room . . . and how those will help me run faster!
Does anyone have advice for how I can help my 21 month-old take to the child care?
Monday, November 3, 2008
1. The new potty seat for Little Sister that has her interested and ASKING to go potty. We've got 3 success stories since yesterday. I'll take 'em!
2. Hooray for Big 5 Sports. Not generally my favorite store, but they came through for me today when it mattered - I needed a swimsuit for ME for Little Sister's swim lessons (they start tomorrow morning and I haven't gotten a swim suit in YEARS) and they had one in my size - in November, no less!
3. Mr. Music's interest in writing. Between his new science observation notebook and card-making for family and friends, it consumes 1-2 hours of each day. Guess he's following in his mama's footsteps. :)
4. Two heart-warming reviews of We Are Girls Who Love to Run from readers from my high school hometown (remember, I was an Air Force Brat!). One from my best friend from those days, another from a teacher at my school (who bought 3 copies!). I'm truly honored that they took the time to let me know what they thought in the midst of motherhood/teaching/taking classes, etc.
5. Pediatric Dentists. Who knew that my 4 year-old wouldn't need me for an entire appointment (x-rays and all!)?
I hope your week started out smoothly. Have a great one!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
- There's just something fun about the discovery of Halloween through a not-quite-two year-old's eyes . . . "NANDY!" Little Sister cried over and over again while clutching bags of Skittles and M&M's. I was thrilled that she remembered her manners when people tucked new goodies into the bag I made her as we went from shop to shop in our town's Downtown Trick or Treat experience.
- We only got 8 trick or treater's (not a type-o, just 8 little souls), BUT, we were also pleased to have three middle schooler's stop by on a food bank collecting mission. We were happy to donate some canned goods to the local food bank . . . and they were happy to get a few containers of playdoh - "Sweet!" they chimed together when I offered them the goodies. It warmed my heart to see their excitement over playdoh!
Check out our little "Swamp Monster" and his muddy coat. I think his tag-a-long might need a rear fender. You think?
- I'll be turning the big 3-0 in a little over a week. That weekend I'll be signing books at a race. I think that's a fun way to kick off a new decade - full of positive energy and a good run.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
- I've had neck/shoulder/arm trouble since the week before my now 21-month old daughter was born. The troubles come and go, but since getting the strength training under way, this is the best my shoulder has felt in nearly 2 years. That's motivation for me to keep going with it!
- My sleeping has improved since my non-sleeping summer, but again, my sleep in the last 3 weeks (well, prior to the head cold) is the best it has been in a long time.
- I feel stronger.
- When I DID run last week, I was pleased with how easy it was to hold a good running posture. Good posture makes for a smooth run.
Mentally and emotionally I've been feeling a bit worn, but I think a good part of that is related to not feeling well and the building excitement for Halloween (which is also my husband's birthday). The book award is certainly adding to the stress, too, as my mom and I haven't had a chance to talk about/truly celebrate all that the award means for us and what our next steps need to be for the book and educational consulting branch of the business. She's been helping extended family for the past few months (for which I'm very proud of her, as it hasn't been easy), so I know she's looking forward to figuring out the next steps, too, now that she's home.
See? This girl needs a run to have thinking and de-stressing time!
I'm targeting Monday for a trial run. We just got a family membership to the YMCA, so even if it means I get on a treadmill at the Y, I'll take it!
In the meantime, I'm off to enjoy a bowl of the homemade applesauce that just cooled. It isn't a run, but it is bound to take off the edge before the excitement of the Birthday Halloween tomorrow.
Have a fun weekend!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Even though I'm bummed and foggy-brained, I do have a number of things for which I am thankful today:
1. The cooperation of my children as I sifted through the ingredients lists on 300 packages of cold medicine at the grocery store to find the ONE that did I what I need it to do.
2. The kindness of my husband to call and check on me throughout the day to see if he needed to come home early and bail me out if I was too sick to chase our busy little goobers.
3. Mr. Music's exploding interest in writing and making cards for others (he doesn't quite have it figured out that the letters have to be in some sort of linear arrangement in order for others to read his thoughts, but BOY, can the kid compose a lovely card FILLED with "words" - about half of which you can decipher, which ain't bad for 4!).
4. My aunt's improving health after major surgery and an impromptu last-minute trip to see her surgeon post-surgery that paid off BIG TIME. We're praying for continued improvement for her.
5. The power of NyQuil that shall lull me (and keep me) asleep tonight, as it did last night after an hour-long coughing fit. I'm being proactive tonight and taking it BEFORE bed!
6. The kindness of my husband for being on kid alert tonight while I'm zonked out (usually this is my territory - I'm the light sleeper, anyhow).
Wishing you health and happiness this week! If you are a runner, see if you can run an extra mile for me this week. :) I'll be back in the game by Thursday I'm betting.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
- superhero listening/honesty building (Simon Says)