Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sports Pottery and other good stuff!

I just joined The Runner's Lounge and have been having some fun exploring it. I'm not usually a sucker for ads, but the ad for this place caught my eye because it is something TOTALLY DIFFERENT than the usual sports products I've seen (including the Runner's Diarrhea ad that keeps popping up on my blog - not sure how THAT one found me, I don't recall writing about it!!!): Sports Pottery (image below found at Sports Pottery).

Anyhow . . . if you're looking for a cute gift to pair with my book (*ahem*: this is a great time to remind you that you can win a FREE copy of my book We Are Girls Who Love to Run by participating in my super cool Virtual Book Launch Party - and time is running out!) you might give these folks a look-see!

The sun was able to grace us with some warmth today (more of a peek-a-boo game with the clouds), so the kids and I walked up to the park for some outdoor play. It was the PERFECT plan, because now they are both ZONKED and sleeping so I'm knocking out some big to-dos before joining the LIVE Teleseminar with Kathrine Switzer (I'm SO excited to finally "meet" this AMAZING MARATHON WOMAN!!!). My dad is graciously watching the kiddos while my mom and I enjoy the call (you can also catch the webcast if you miss the call!) and I have BBQ chicken in the crock pot so dinner will be ready when we finish with the call. I actuall thought AHEAD on this . . . can you believe it?!

I'm trying to think ahead to next week, which is bound to keep me running in circles:

ALL WEEK - super fun Virtal Book Launch Party HERE!!! I'm still looking forward to getting YOUR entry (hint, hint - send it to: girlsrunning@hotmail.com!)!

Monday - phone interview for a great website (I'll let you in on it when it goes live!)
Tuesday - general life stuff (and hopefully a RUN!) and the rehearsal for the Girls on the Run of Puget Sound auction in Seattle
Wednesday - childcare swap day, kids at MY place in the afternoon
Thursday - AUCTION! (I get to meet Sally Bergesen from Oiselle women's running apparel - she's the guest speaker!)
Friday - my kids spend the morning with friends (thanks to that great childcare swap!), Friday night is the LAUNCH PAR-TAY!!!

And now . . . on to my next task . . . now where did I put that list of things to do???

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rollercoaster Weekend

My mom and I left for Spokane on Friday to attend the America's Kids Run Expo. It was QUITE a weekend and I'm happy to report that we survived it! If I could stand to sit at my computer to chronicle the rollercoaster of a weekend that it TRULY was, I would; however, these cheeks of mine have done enough sitting for one weekend, so I'll keep it short(ish)!


- our ROCKIN' new banner for booths at Expos
- making it to the Spokane Convention Center without getting lost!
- the conveniently located Kinko's that rescued us from our "missing price list emergency"
- meeting girls of ALL ages who love to run (that's what my book is all about, afterall!)
- the girl who saw my book and said with tears in her eyes to her mom, "That's ME!"
- meeting dads, brothers, grandfathers, and sons that support their girls and women who love to run
- selling some books!
- purchasing some new books for my own kiddos
- making some great professional connections (helpful to US and helpful to the folks we met!)
- the hotel where we collapsed at the end of a long day (it was a SUITE with separate bedrooms, a kitchenette and a living room!)
- the Cup of Noodles available in above mentioned suite that really hit the spot (at 9:30PM - that's nearly 7 hours after eating lunch, folks!)

- the chicken salad my dad packed for us in the cooler that I ate after inhaling the said Cup o' Noodles
- inhaling breakfast at a Perkins (I haven't eaten at one since college, I think)
- the sun was shining
- the friendly, helpful nature of 95% of the people we encountered in Spokane
- the amazingly diverse landscape of the state of Washington
- some great brainstorming on the ride home
- getting home to a family who missed us

The PLATEAUS that are almost (though not QUITE) funny now that they're hindsight:

- missing the actual Kids Run because the map we had was incomplete and ridiculously unhelpful (is that a word? If not, it SHOULD be!)
- my mom telling me (in her most-helpful and encouraging voice) "Oh look! Either of these nameless roads can get us there!" to wich I replied, "Awesome, Nameless roads. What else?" then cried tears of frustration/laughter/disbelief at reality (we had been in the car for 2 hours and hadn't acually made it to a destination that should have been a 30 minute trip!)
- discovering that the mountain pass that leads home was closed for avalanche control, trying to find a plausible work-around, and then discovering that the roads opened literally MINUTES after we found out about the road closure (but 30 minutes after what turned out to be unnecessary panicking!)

And, though I'm EXHUASTED, I did get away for a run this morning and added more proof to my husband's theory that I can run faster than I think I can. I'm pretty sure I ran two 9 minute miles. I'll have to readjust my breathing patterns if I'm going to go that fast for any greater distance, though.

OK . . . I have to add JUST ONE MORE THING . . . I'm so very honored to be listed as the "Runner of the Week" over on Faithful Soles. Never in a MILLION YEARS did I ever think I'd earn THAT title. If all my PE teachers could just see me now! :) Be sure to visit the site to see all the great resources Robert Key has over there and see if there might be a new running blogger you've never met - he has an entire global database of people like us!

Have a great week!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Virtual Party entries are already rolling in!

I've been gone for a few days longer than usual because I've been going non-stop on a multitude of projects:

- Tomorrow is the America's Kids Run Expo in Spokane
- The in-person Launch Party is Friday, May 9th
- I've been lining up some amazing radio interviews over the next few months (stay tuned for details when they're set!)
- grocery shopping (truly a project)
- volunteering to help with the Girls on the Run of Puget Sound auction (May 8th)
- cleaning the house so that it has a chance while I'm gone for the expo this weekend
- reading books with my daughter who has JUST discovered that books have more to offer than corners for chewing - hooray! In fact, this kid is in LOVE with books. It makes me laugh now to think that I was worried that she'd not have any interest in books!

- keeping my calm with my son who must be having a growth spurt or something because he's acting a bit out of sorts (is there a full moon, maybe?). I'm trying to be compassionate and understanding - which is consuming at least 70% of my energy these days!

As for the Launch for We Are Girls Who Love to Run, I'm excited to announce that I've already received a recipe (it is a yummy one - I know, I've tried it!) and two inspirational stories about why these women love to walk and run. I can't wait to add YOUR photo/story/recipe to the entry mix so that YOU have a chance to WIN A COPY of We Are Girls Who Love to Run! Send your entries as soon as you've got 'em ready, because I'm working to compile 'em to share with everyone the week of May 5th. And, don't be shy or greedy - share the fun with your friends!

Happy running (or walking, skipping, galloping, pedaling, swimming, crawling, hiking . . . sun saluting . . .), everyone!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Virtual Book Launch Party Announcement

Since yesterday was the running of the US Women's Marathon Olympic Trials and today is the running of the Boston Marathon, I thought it appropriate to announce more running-related celebrations:

I'm having a party right HERE at the Girl Who Loves to Run blog!
You're all invited to join in — and please bring your friends (seriously, invite them!)!

We'll be celebrating the power of girls and women,
running, reading & the launch of
We Are Girls Who Love to Run
(Somos Chicas y A Nosotras Nos Encanta Correr)

It's a cyber-party of course, so you'll have to come as a jpg.
Just send one of the following:
* A photo of you running
* a short, inspirational blurb about why you love to run
I'll post them Sunday, May 4th through Thursday, May 8, 2008.

Can't make the party?
That's OK, just send some food!
Send your favorite pre-run or post-run recipe
I'll post them Sunday, May 4th through Thursday, May 8, 2008.

You'll be entered in a drawing to receive a signed copy of
We Are Girls Who Love to Run by Brianna K. Grant
illustrated by Nicholas A. Wright
published by Balanced Steps, LLC

I'll display entries on the blog throughout the week.

Drawings will be held at the in-person
Book Launch Open House
the night of Friday, May 9th.
One winner per category will be chosen (photo, blurb & recipe)

Winners of the We Are Girls Who Love to Run drawings
will be announced HERE on the Girl Who Loves to Run blog by
Saturday, May 10, 2008.

Come help me celebrate the launch of We Are Girls Who Love to Run and the power of running!

Send entries here by Monday, May 5th (the earlier, the better, though!)!
Drop by to see the entries all week long!

* special thanks to the amazing illustrators over at Picture Book Junkies for modeling this great idea with their own books (be sure to check them out!)!

Edit: Also, congrats to Sarah for her 3:05:25 finish today at Boston - that girl can RUN . . . and raise some money, too! Enjoy the sweet taste of success, Sarah . . . and some well-earned rest!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Refreshing Sunday

While it is STILL snowing (thankfully, it isn't sticking), today has been a refreshing day. My parents had the kids for an overnight last night, so my husband and I enjoyed an evening out and the opportunity to sleep-in this morning. I couldn't sleep later than 7:45 (I must be broken), so I got up and checked my email, read a few blogs and then decided that the morning stillness was just what I needed to motivate me to go for a run before my husband finally greeted the day. He enjoyed the warmth of our rockin' bamboo sheets until about 8:30 (that's a good 2 hours longer than he usually gets!) and was fine catching up with his own computer-related work in his jammies while I wrapped up a "quick" 20 minute run.

After getting ready to go out for a kid-free brunch (yummy french toast with special cinnamon cream and glazed apples - so decadent!), it dawned on me that today was the US Women's Marathon Olympic Trials in Boston. A quick google search led me to the exciting results:

1st - Denna Kastor (2:29:35)
2nd - Magdalena Lewy Boulet (2:30:19)
3rd - Blake Russell (2:32:40)
4th (alternate for the Olympic Team) - Tera Moody (2:33:53)

These women are FAST (oh, so much faster than the casual 10 minute miles I was plodding while they were hammering out their under-6 minute miles or so - but I bet we all had fun)!!! You can read more about the excitement on the Olympic Trials site - and hopefully see some photos soon.

Congrats to all of the Marathon Trials runners this morning, especially the Trials runners from my neck of the woods (Washington State): Gwen Greiner (2:44:25), Caryn Heffernan (2:46:25), Marlene Farrell (2:52:58).

And to everyone who laced on their running shoes or bike cleats or suited up for a swim today (or went for a hike, took the dog/kids for a walk, practiced yoga, mowed the lawn, salsa danced, or whatever!): celebrate your strength and fortitude, too! No matter your speed, celebrate your dedication to your athletic side and the positive role model you are for the next generation of leaders.

Friday, April 18, 2008


So . . . I just checked the handy-dandy time/date in the lower right hand corner of my computer and it says that today is indeed Friday, April 18, 2008 (And, like Santa, I checked it TWICE!). I confirmed it with my day planner and the wall calendar that is conveniently not on my wall, but rather in my mess of work stuff at my computer. All three sources say that today is April, 18. If those sources are true (and maybe I should check with something more official . . . but . . . ) then why is it HAILING???!!

*Edit* It is now several hours later -the hail turned into snow and hasn't stopped since it started this afternoon (it is now 8PM). I'm glad I didn't have my heart set on a run today . . . it is COLD and dreary out there. On a cute note, though, my son wanted to know if the snow meant it was time for Christmas again. He wishes!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sharing the Vibe Post-Marathon

Have you ever asked yourself: "Self, what should I do with the space blanket I got when I crossed the finish line of the _____ (insert race name here) Marathon?"

I have NOT had that discussion with myself, but only because the marathon I ran somehow ran out of the blankets before I hauled myself across that all-important, life changing line (that's incentive for me to pick up the speed, right?). I am the proud owner of the finishing medal, though, which really is more important - as is the photo of the finish, in which my husband and I crossed together and the mitten my grandmother knit me is shown laying on the ground mere inches behind the line. I didn't realize the fate of that mitten until the race photos were available - can you believe I ran with mittens in my vest pocket for at least 10 miles and didn't lose one darn thing until the VERY end? I LOVE that it made it into the photo, as it just adds to my memorable experience. And it leaves people scratching their heads, "You ran in MITTENS?" Sure! Why not?

Anyway *ahem*. . . back to the question at hand. Race blankets are great for immediate recovery after the race, but don't make for the classiest window treatments, cozy chair throws or cushioning picnic blankets once you return to life. I know a good number of runners who achieve their dream of completing a marathon and are then left wondering . . . "Now what?" I HAVE had THAT discussion with myself . . . and my husband . . . and anyone willing to stand still long enough to listen to me brainstorm aloud (not too many people fall into that category).

Carol Goodrow, the author/illustrator, educator, runner, and hostess with the mostest of Kidsrunning.com has answers to those looming questions! Not only does she live and breathe the philosophy of "pay it forward" but she encourages others to do the same - and, here's the best part, provides you with IDEAS for how to do it. So, take a second (or longer!) to explore her site and see how you, strong runner, can pass along the passion of running to our youth. It might be just the nudge you need to get that sweaty space blanket off your kitchen table (get a cloth one - they withstand washers and dryers better!) and onto the wall of a school whose kids could use some fuel for their own dreams. It may even fill that hole in your psyche that's nagging at you with the "Now What?" questions . . . which, is probably a lot easier and less time consuming that my answer: "I'll write a book about running." Though, if you opt to use my answer, let me know and I'll happily cheer you along your course.

Seriously, folks, check out the great list of ideas Carol shares on her site. You might not be running Boston, but I know you have your eyes on another goal! Share the running love!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Quest for Self-Improvement

Lately I've been immersed in reading blogs:

- about runners improving their times/distance/strength/dedication to a plan/training for a race. I keep silently shouting, "I want to do that, too!"
- about families making changes to be more eco-friendly and balanced. I keep silently shouting, "I want to do that, too!"
- about illustrators and authors working on new projects. I keep silently shouting, "I want to do that, too!"
- about people going on VACATION. I jump up and down shouting (and praying the house rattling and yelling doesn't wake my napping children), "Now I DEFINTELY want to do that!"

I don't know about you, but I can't keep the first three of those balls in the air at once, let alone sneak in the fourth (which will definitely cause the others to CRASH to the ground).

I DO have things I'd like to improve (that's the driven perfectionist in me), but think maybe at this stage in my life (wife, mother of 2 kids under the age of 4, author of newly-released book) that I should focus on ONE of those things right now (because being perfect is WAY out of reach, and my housekeeping is proof of that!).

The one that has been nagging at me the most is the first one. I keep talking/blogging/dreaming/mentioning plans to run a 10K in June, but I'm discovering that wishing and hoping just isn't making it happen. 2 fluffy runs (if that, some weeks) and a yoga class just isn't going to cut it each week to make that goal happen. I need a plan that I can sink my teeth into and make mine. I need to own this goal and turn it into a reality. I need some motivation, people! I need my yellow hat to grow a megaphone to get me in gear!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Morning Smile

My son stumbled down the hallway this morning, rubbing his sleepy little face and then falling into my arms for a good morning hug. It was a sweet way to start the week (especially since he slept all the way to 7 - hooray!), but only got sweeter:

Me: How'd you get to be so darn cute?
Son: I have red hair like you, Mama. I have to be cute!

Just melts your heart, doesn't it? I didn't even pay him to say that!

Have a good week, everyone!

*Edit* We received our first review from an official Review Publication for We Are Girls Who Love to Run today!!! Visit Midwest Book Review to see it! This IS going to be a good week . . . even if the rain and gloom has returned, I'm making my own sunshine.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weekend Update

This was by far one of the nicest weekends we've had in a LONG time. I'll keep this short because I'm EXHUASTED from all the fun, but here's my Top 5 for the weekend:

5. Breakfast at Blazing Bagels in Redmond - even the kids dig sharing a bagel in the warehouse bagel shop with the steam on the windows!
4. Pulling weeds in the yard with my husband while the kids took naps - hey, you can't beat time with your best friend in the sunshine & fresh air!
3. Walking to my parents' house for dinner - our son pedaled his trike (hubby guided him) & I pushed our daughter in the jogger
2. Cleaning out/washing the car and planting newly acquired plants in the front yard as a family
1. Blue skies, sunshine and temperatures in the 70's for 2 days in a row (Friday & Saturday)

Grey skies ruled today, but the 2 days of beauty and light are a shimmer of promise of days to come as we get farther into spring and closer to summer. I'm also wondering if the positive energy from the Seeds of Compassion event in Seattle (including dialogs with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama) had anything to do with the great weather and overall feeling of joy and gratitude that bubbled through the weekend. Hmmmmm . . .

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Yellow Hat Came Back

(that title reminds me of "The Cat in the Hat Came Back" - which makes me smile)
I should have realized that it was silly to spend the day looking for my yellow hat - that in due time I'd naturally find my way back to it with some purposeful experiences instead of frantic searching. Once I took a breath and spent a few minutes putting everything into perspective last night, the black hat fell off my head. I don't think the yellow hat officially returned until this morning, but these are some of the things that helped reunite me with it:
- I emailed a book reviewer about my favorite aspects of my book, reminding me that the message in the book can help keep ME balanced, too!
- I took a shower!
- I took the kids to my parents house for an overnight (their excitement as we packed was enough to get me to crack a smile)
- I went to my Vinyasa yoga class where our town's cheery florist and I had a wonderful small class experience with our radiant instructor (who had also had a gloomy sort of day, so she knew just what asanas we could all do to clear our minds and bodies of the funk)
- It was date night, so my husband and I enjoyed take out from our favorite Mediterranean restaurant and just RELAXED and enjoyed the quiet of the house
- I got to wake up this morning when I wanted to wake up (no children tugging at me, "Come on, Mom, let's get up!")
- When I did wake up, I stayed in bed and stretched a bit before actually opening my eyes to greet the day
- The sun is SHINING!
- I got an email report from my mom that the four of them had a fantastic time together (grandparents & kids!)
- I'm taking the kids for a little hike with some friends later this morning
Whew! It's good to have my hat back. Thanks for all of your encouragement.
Happy weekend, everyone! If you were in the same funk I was yesterday, I wish you well on your own path to recover your hat!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Has anyone seen my yellow hat?

My husband says I'm travelling through life wearing a yellow hat. I'm optimistic and can see at least one positive aspect in just about any situation. I'm the one people turn to for pep talks and congratulations . . . cheering them through tough spots and consoling them for the truly dark times. We joke that he's going through life with a black hat. His sarcastic humor is almost directly opposite my sunny disposition, but we appreciate one another's different takes on life and end up with a fairly decent balance that helps us tackle situations that life throws our way. Though I often wish he would find a yellow hat to wear at least occasionally, we've come to respect that these are our personalities and that we can respect the insight one another's hats give to the other.

The problem is that when I woke up this morning, I couldn't find my yellow hat. I've looked all day, but it is nowhere to be found. I even put on a REAL yellow hat today (a gift from my husband, of course) in efforts to help me in my search. All I could find were my husband's back-up black hats. Maybe he took my yellow one to work by accident, but I truly doubt it.

Not sure what I'm talking about? Well, here's a snipit of the differences between the yellow hat and black hat outlooks on situations:

Yellow hat: Hmmmm. I've only gotten 2 emails so far today. It is mid-week, so I bet people are busy in meetings and will get back to me later today or tomorrow. That's fine! I'll go put in a load of laundry, run the dishwasher and make my bed. Maybe there'll be something to read after that - and my house will be cleaner in the meantime!
Black hat: WHAT? Only 2 emails? But I sent out a dozen or so that requested replies! Maybe I used the wrong words and they got stuck in a spam filter. Maybe my ideas stink and people are tired of me. I better check my email every 5 mintues, just to be sure. 2 mintues later: WHAT? Still NO messages?

Yellow hat: Geez. How do 4 people make such a mess? Well, if I keep at them, I can clean the counters and that'll make me feel better. I like clean counters. And if I can get the floor looking clean, we'll be set.
Black hat: More dishes? I forgot to run the dishwasher? It's no use; they're multiplying like bunnies. I give up. Someone else can do them.

Yellow hat: My blog is called Girl Who Loves to Run, so I better get going with this running stuff! Two runs/week is a good start, but with some planning, I can squeeze in a bit more. Well, a walk today is a step in the right direction. Not a run, but I'm getting back into the swing of it.
Black hat: With only one run this week, I should just throw in the towel.

Really, things are going better than I'm feeling today. In fact, if I force myself to sit and list out the good things, it is a nice list. There are really only a couple of frustrating things. But, I can't seem to get out from under the dark clouds today. UGH! I'm ready to find my balance and find my yellow hat!!!

If you've seen it, let me know. I'm feeling a bit lost without it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

You have to take it with you

Funny thing about a day planner:
It won't do you ANY good if you don't take it with you!!!!
I learned that lesson yesterday on my first of two visits to Starbuck's for meetings yesterday. Though I live just outside the Coffee Capital of the US, I only partake in the liquid gold once or twice a month, so it was VERY odd that I would visit not one, but two different locales in one short day. I shouldn't say that too loudly or they might make me move!  Anyway, back to the point of this . . . it is much easier to plan an event with others if you have your calendar in hand, otherwise you run the risk of embarassing yourself by misremembering dates of important events (like race dates - I can hear you all gasping now!). I'm fortunate that we didn't have anything set in stone when we adjourned the meeting and that the person I met with was amazingly gracious and flexible enough to come up with a Plan B. I remember reading a few blogs last week about how Plan B can often be better than Plan A. I hope that is true in this instance!!  And, I'm walking away from this with a bit of life experience that should help me be better prepared for future meetings.
Other updates:
I DID get my Google calendar set-up and made it so that my mom can see/change things on it, too. She was thrilled and has even referenced events on it in our email conversations! Now, like the day planner, I have to remember to update it and USE it. I DO like that it will email reminders to me - on day one it reminded me of an appointment when I got caught up in some work while the kids were napping, so I already see what a handy dandy tool it will be once I get in the groove with it.
I remembered to take my 6 reusable bags to the grocery store today. Not only did it mean that I got a 10 cent refund for each bag I brought, but since the bags are bigger than those bad-for-our-environment plastic ones at the store, I only used 5 of my bags instead of closer to 10 of theirs. Less waste and fewer trips to get everything from my car to the kitchen!  I LOVE that!
The cloth napkins are all washed and ready for more use. I've also been remembering to use towels to clean up spills instead of paper towels, so the roll we put out last week is still quite full, compared to our nearly roll/week habit we'd been sporting for too long.  I've also been using cloth diapers for my daughter about 50% of the time. We used them 90% of the time for my son for the first year or so (and thankfully he was an early potty trainer a few months before his second birthday!) and for our daughter about 60% of the time for her first six months, but then I got away from it. We'll see how it goes and if I can get back in the swing of the process to use the cloth diapers a bit more consistently.
It really is a mental game, because the changes aren't difficult ones to implement physically!  It's all about changing habits and THINKING about the basic choices I make. I'm no "Earth Child" yet, but I am feeling that my minor changes can make a lasting, positive change for our environment. That's what's keeping me at it!
On the running front: I'm dressed and ready for a run. It's been a tough evening on the parenting front with 2 over-tired children (too much fresh air from playing at the park - is that possible???), so I'm really looking forward to a run. My poor husband is pulling a 13 hour day, capping it off with a dinner meeting. My son fell asleep EARLY, though my daughter hasn't quite given in yet (but . . . wait, I think she just settled in!). As soon as she's down, I'm headed for my friendly treadmill. Even Albus, the dog, is ready to escape to the quiet of the basement to relax to the whirr of the machine. He keeps nudging me with his cold nose.
Time to fill up the water bottle and go release some tension, folks. Happy running!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Full Calendar Already?

So I guess this is technically a good thing, but I just scheduled some things for MAY already. Me. The gal who doesn't check weather reports because I live day to day. Much to my mother's dismay, I haven't get taken the plunge to update an online calendar so she can know what's going on and we can coordinate things (which WOULD help with communication and planning for our business - yes, I get that and I want to believe that it would be easy to do!). Maybe that should be my goal for the week - put things on a Google calendar. Are you proud, Mom? It is going to happen!

Seriously, folks, I've gone from being a stay-at-home mom of two with a calendar loaded with playgroups and doctor appointments to an almost full-fledged business woman! I'm looking at my day planner (really, a planner - my college friends are laughing now - can you hear them?!) and there is AT LEAST one (some weeks have more!) non-kid related event listed for the next 4 weeks. And tomorrow is so packed with good things a brewin' that I even have a babysitter hired for my daughter in the morning and have a crock pot dinner planned to lighten the load. I think I'll go look in the mirror to make sure I'm still me!

One more note on the bamboo sheets, since everyone got excited about them yesterday (and just thinking about them makes me want to change the sheets early so we can have ours back on the bed!) . . . the ones from Target are a good deal cheaper than what many places sell them for - because they're only 250 thread count - which doesn't mean they aren't any good, but I thought I should mention the difference for any of you researching mavens out there. We got our sheets of heavenly goodness from JCPenney.com when they were half off (I try not to pay full price for anything, if I can help it!) - I think they're more in the 400 thread count range (they seem way softer than the sample we touched at Target yesterday).

Oh, and my GREEN EFFORTS report for the day:

I'm banning paper napkins/paper towels from the dinner table. We're going with cloth. I read in the relatively new Body + Soul magazine about cutting up old flannel shirts to make napkins, which I thought was a nifty idea. Unfortunately, the old flannels went OUT with loads of stuff when I first started my cleaing frenzy a few months ago and I didn't read the article until last week. BUT, on our Target trip the other day, we did find a pack of 6 flour sack dish towels (30x30 each - that's BIG!) that I'm going to cut into four napkins. That's 24 napkins for $6. Not too shabby! I figure that will get us from one laundry day to the next. :)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bamboo Sheets

I've been trying to get some time to write about my new focus to become more environmentally conscious, but I've been busy spring cleaning. I'm rounding out nearly a full calendar year of clearing out the junk that's bogging down our lives - games that are missing pieces, clothes I haven't worn in 4 years, shoes I don't remember ever wearing and wouldn't even think of wearing now, clothes the kids don't fit in, "keepsakes" from high school (time to let that stuff go, for sure, now that it has been over a decade!) . . . seriously, the kids shouldn't hold still for too long, because stuff is GOING and it is getting launched out of the house FAST!

But, while I'm busily decluttering, I did allow one new something to pass through our house doors - a new set of sheets for our bed. Not just any set of sheets - a set of bamboo sheets (we thought we were getting 100% bamboo, but ended up with a 60/40 bamboo/cotton mix). Here's what I really want to share (since I now have the energy after a nice 2.25 mile run!):


1. After just the pre-use wash, they were already softer than any sheets we've had for 2 years (when we upgraded to a King - another great decision!)
2. Getting into the sheets the first night was like slipping into a cloud
3. I slept better the week those were on my bed than I've slept in MONTHS
4. With more sleep, I've been more excited and energized for runs
5. They somehow regulate the temperature in the bed and my husband doesn't get too hot and throw all of the covers onto ME (talk about feeling HOT - geez!) and then get cold and steal back all of the covers again (leaving me with the chills!)
6. I can't imagine what a 100% bamboo set would be like . . . you'd probably never get a review from me because I'd never get out of bed!

There is one note of caution I should share:

If you are an early morning fitness enthusiast, you might want to avoid these sheets . . . you won't want to get out of bed in the morning!

More about my new dedication to becoming more "green" next time . . . my daughter is stirring from her nap and my son is probably going to start doing his "I'm hungry" song and dance for his lunch. Time to put on that Mama hat of mine . . .

**** Edit **** Speaking of Spring Cleaning . . . for some GREAT decluttering tips check out what Leo has to say at Zen Habits. I would have posted the link sooner if I had found it sooner! You can bet I'll be doing some of these things this week - my closet is on the list of things to tackle!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Publication Day!

For those of you who don't already know, I wrote a book and created a publishing company with my mom to publish it. Our company, Balanced Steps, LLC, is proud to announce the official release of the bilingual picture book for girls of all ages: We Are Girls Who Love to Run (Somos Chicas y A Nosotras Nos Encanta Correr)! It has been a 3 year project for me, with the big official push over the last year.

To celebrate the day, I went for my first outdoor run in months! I have no idea how far I went (I'm pretty sure it was farther than I would have gone on the treadmill, becuase I was crusin'!), but I went for a total of 30 minutes and ran part of the 10K route I'll be running at Duvall Days in June (hills, hills, hills, that race!). It was a glorious day for a run - the sun was shining, the temp was in the 60s, I spent 2 hours at the park with the kids, everything was "just right" - I even had dinner in the crock pot so my husband could feed the kids if they went into a hunger meltdown before I made it home from my run. To top it all off, the three of them were playing in the front yard to greet me after I huffed myself up the hill to our house. Little Sister ran up the driveway to me to give me a hug and a kiss (giving kisses is a newly acquired skill of hers - and she knows just when to give them!) that was simply the sweet icing on the cake. It was a good day to run and the run made me glad to be a runner. The welcome when I returned home made me glad to be a mom.

In business news, the book is now being carried by the educational wholesaler Follett. So we now have 2 wholesalers and 1 distributor (Marathon & Beyond Magazine will carry it at the running expos they attend). Horray! My mom also got it placed in a few stores in Wenatchee, WA today. Things are picking up.

If you are interested in getting a copy of the book, you have another day or so to enter a drawing with Marathon Bird - she's giving away 2 signed copies. I'm cooking up a surprise with Non-Runner Nancy for her 10K on the 10th Virtual race, so look for news on either of our blogs for that. You are always welcome to order signed (and personalized!) copies directly through our publishing company, too!

Thanks everyone for your support with this book. We're excited to share it with the world and encourage girls (& women!) to embrace running, see the awesome potential they have to reach their goals, and take steps to make their dreams become realitites!

Happy Publication Day!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!

A business friend of ours (hooray Duvall Chamber of Commerce!) heard about my last blog and shared this recipe with us (she wrote it on the spot from memory, so it HAS to be good!):
"Healthy" Banana/Oatmeal Cookies
3 Ripe Bananas, mashed
2 cups rolled oats (she uses coarse, reg. cook, not instant)
1 cup raisins or craisins
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all ingredients. Let set 15 minutes on counter. Drop by teaspoons on parchment paper or ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 350 degrees 15-18 minutes. Will be brown (lightly) on bottom - tops don't usually brown.
Makes 3-4 dozen small cookies.  Enjoy!
I think we'll give them a try, if I can convince my son to hold off on the pumpkin cookies so we can do something NEW!  He usually goes for new adventures, so I'll post when we make them!
In the meantime, I haven't forgotten that a few of you have done the 6 words that sum up your life (I'll link to you all here later today). This is a HARD challenge that has kept my brain busy and blocked out the Frog & Toad songs, for which I am quite grateful! I'm not sure that I have it totally set yet, but here are my thoughts:
My husband's is easy: "I can sleep when I'm dead." It sums him up to a tee!
Here are a few I've been pondering for myself:
- I sometimes eat cookies for breakfast.
- You don't know until you try.
- My past decisions got me here
I like the first one the best because I think you can look at it a number of ways - from basic literal translation to a more deep, contemplative view. And it makes me think back to when I was 3 or 4 and ate an entire box of Entamann's (I don't know how to spell that!) chocolate chip cookies before my parents were even up for the day - my mom said I could have 2 (they were little) but I kept rearranging the cookies to make it look like I hadn't eaten any extras . . . .until there were about 4 left and it dawned on me that she'd probably notice. Some things never change - I ate 5 of those evil cookies from the weekend yesterday before noon!  Ha!
Have a great Tuesday everyone - and thanks for all of your great feedback on the allergy situation with my son. I'm hoping that in June we'll get clearance from the allergist with a negative blood test that shows he's outgrown his allergies and we can just put this behind us. I'll keep you posted!