Monday, September 29, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
What are YOU reading? What are your KIDS reading? Be sure to leave a note and let me know!
Who knows, I might invite you to share a review . . . or your suggestion might end up on my night stand and I'll review it myself! Remember - I'm always looking for great books to review.
Monday, September 22, 2008
So . . . after a dreadfully long week last week, I'm happy to kick off this work/school week with some sunshine (which is remarkably how our weather is today, too - sunny after a week of rain). Today I'm thankful for:
1. The combined powers of kind doctors/x-ray machines/mineral oil/Miralax/prune juice and one fabulous little pediatric suppository that got Little Sister back to her little self again (I told you it was a long week!!!!)
2. The restorative powers of Sunday football for a husband's psyche and spirit (even with the Steelers' loss, the time was well spent)
3. Neighbors that look out for one another
4. The rope swing that entertains our son for HOURS at a time on our Cedar in the back yard
5. The carpet cleaner that takes care of plenty of "oops" scenarios - ranging from dogs who eat what they shouldn't to little girls who rip off their diapers and then yell "Pee!" while showing you the dry diaper and the wet spot on the carpet.
Yes, we're still in the early stages of potty training, but I think the pace is picking up quickly - we've just put 2 and 2 together to create an amazingly bright lightbulb idea for why our daughter has been waking up multiple times every night for the past week or so: We THINK (and will check tonight) that she's feeling herself wet her diaper at night. In my mommy fog at 2AM and 4AM, I don't think to check, I just redirect her to her bed, cover her up and smile when she falls immediately back to sleep (hoping I can do the same for myself!). I'm hanging onto my yellow hat as best I can - potty training is an adventure that I'm looking forward to completing.
Have a wonderful week, everyone.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Imagine our surprise when the signed poster arrived! It was an exciting day at the Grant house. Unfortunately, it was also a busy day, so the poster was carefully placed in the piano bench so it wouldn't get lost before we could properly frame it.
Fast forward 10 months . . . (yes, I said 10, not 1 . . . sometimes things get lost by the wayside)
I discovered it in the piano bench yesterday, so when we went on our adventure to check out the YMCA in the next town over, we stopped by the Ben Franklin on our way home to pick up a frame. I don't think my husband was in the door longer than 2 seconds before Mr. Music pounced and asked if they could hang it up. The anticipation was apparently quite heavy in the air, so while he might ordinarily have put off the task for at least 10 minutes so he could say hello to everyone and check the mail, my husband got right to it and put Justin Roberts in the designated place of honor right as you walk in the room and by Mr. Music's bed.
Sort of reminds me of my giant Tori Amos poster hanging over my bed in college . . . *sigh* That was a good bit ago . . .
It also leaves me wondering (after watching our old favorite That 70's Show nearly nightly as we wait for our favorite season premiers and seeing all of the posters in the background of Eric's basement and Donna's bedroom) what posters may replace Justin Roberts in the future. Only time will tell what musical adventures await us, but really, there's no rush to find out. I'm going to enjoy this little guy one day at a time.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
A few things that crossed my mind:
- Woah! Why am I running up hill at a 7:15 pace? Have I ever run at a 7:15 pace? Go me!
- Wait a minute, is Garmin working right?! Maybe I miss read the digits . . . nope, I didn't!
- Why are the high school cross country runners running with traffic instead of against traffic?
- High schoolers are looking younger and younger every day!
- The blackberry bushes are looking pretty picked-over - good thing the kids aren't along, they'd be sad.
- Is the Garmin battery going to last the whole run? (I forgot to recharge it after my last run)
- Will the laundry be ready to change around when I get home so I can get another load done before picking up the kids?
- When is the last time we ate spaghetti? Is it too soon to eat it tonight?
- The senior I mentored today (she's writing a children's book for her senior project) is the same age as the first group of students I taught when they were in 4th grade - all my "kids" will be graduating. To quote the loveable Scooby Doo, "Zoinks!"
- What a great day this has been.
And, so, fellow runners, readers and life participants . . . I shall now take leave of you to get a shower and get some more chores done before retrieving my children - have a wonderful remainder of your week!
Monday, September 15, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Here's a great shot of my mom and me - that's my happy new hat (not yellow, but come on, you have to admit it is kickin'!)
I love the look captured here as I caught Mr. Music in a "I love you and as your mother I'm asking you to please STOP running around the house so we can get just TWO more photos before Ms. Jennifer leaves!" kiss.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
If we get back from pizza at my parents' house tonight in time (boy, the sun is setting earlier and earlier!) I'm going to see about squeezing in a run. We went for bagels this morning and then ran errands until about lunch time. I'm enjoying a low-key afternoon of some sewing (the quilt just doesn't want to finish itself!) while my husband works on getting the new bubbler bucket ready for hydroponic tomatoes and the kids nap. True, this would have been a great opportunity to run . . . but there's something to be said for working on OTHER goals, too. I just love the steady whirrrrrr of my sewing machine - and the immediate results of seeing the progress!
We had some photos taken yesterday - some new headshots for our Balanced Steps website and a great bunch of photos of the kids (and of the kids with me). When I get them back I'll be sure to post a few of my favorites. I'm getting antsy waiting to see how they look, even though it has only been a day and a half. I've seen the photos my friends had taken by the photographer and they are amazing, which is probably why I'm so impatient!
So, the quilt calls . . . I'm off to get another block quilted before the kids wake up and we're out chasing them in the yard.
Happy weekend, happy running and happy times!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Treasure follows the journey of a young, inactive girl, Hannah, as she struggles to discover her confidence and her "inner athlete" (my term, not hers). I immediately related to Hannah - she felt strongest and most loveable when she was around her best friend. When her best friend moved, Hannah's sense of security vanished and she had to work extra hard to re-establish her sense of self. As an Air Force brat I was often on the moving end of friendships, but could identify with Hannah's predicament. With today's mobile society, I'm sure many youngsters will find a kinship with this kind-hearted and timid girl.
Hannah also felt that her school's annual Chipmunk Chase fun run was out of her reach, something she surely couldn't even attempt, let alone complete. Running scared me throughout my youth, too. I'm sure I would have taken Hannah's initial position and avoided the event. I'm thrilled that she finds the strength and excitement to give it a shot (involving her parents in the training, no less!) - and secretly wish that I had been as strong and tenacious as young Hannah (it took me 23 years to build up the courage to run!)!
If readers can relate with her in the beginning, then I'm sure they'll cheer as I did as Hannah faces her fears and discovers the excitement in trying new things: she gets a dog and faces the trials and pleasures of training him, finds satisfaction in tending a garden and eating its fruits, puts aside her fears and rides a two-wheel bicycle, and (this is my favorite because it is SO like my own running story) ultimately unlocks discovers the joy of running!
As an educator, I found my brain making dozens of connections for how teachers can use Treasure in their classrooms. Not only is it a great motivational book to share some simple and fun lessons in making healthy food choices (without being preachy) and making exercise fun and approachable for people at all fitness levels, but it makes great cross-curricular connections, perfect for use in a health unit in the lower elementary years. As Hannah gleans a treasure of health and happiness in her dream world (a great read-aloud!), classes can track their own progress and interests in eating and fitness with tables/graphs/charts. Heck, they could use Happy Feet, Healthy Food as personal journals throughout the unit . . . and on into the school year and beyond - is Carol smart, or what?!!Parents/Educators who are looking for uplifting and encouraging chapter book reading experiences for their kindergarten-third grade students will find The Treasure of Health & Happiness to be a great read for adults and kids share together. It not only serves as a positive example of making life-style choices and the importance of making choices as a family or classroom, but it is certain to fuel conversations about WHY and HOW to make healthier choices (without being obsessive!).
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
My company, Balanced Steps, will donate a copy of We Are Girls Who Love to Run to the school of your choice (you must be one of the first 100 replies to this post!). *see details below!
Before embarking on this amazing trip called motherhood I was an elementary school teacher. I remember those first precious days of the school year as the students (3rd & 4th graders) and I got to know one another and we laid out our goals and expectations for the year. Those were days filled with excitement, a bit of nervousness (for both teacher and kids!), uncertainty and promise. This last one was the most important - promise that I would be there to help guide the kids and help them discover new ideas, develop new friendships, read new books, and pull them through their struggles. For them there was the promise of meeting the expectations of being a learner in my classroom, a good listener and classmate for their peers, and for letting me know HOW I could assist them in making the year a good one. BIG expectations - you bet! BIG results - absolutely!
It is those great promises that I celebrate in my bilingual book We Are Girls Who Love to Run (Somos Chicas y A Nosotras Nos Encanta Correr). The book is filled with hope and joy for girls who are discovering their inner strengths and passions and learing to share them with the world. True, the book's underlying theme is running, but the text reaches out to girls of all ages, interests and abilities. Seriously, I've signed some books for women to give to their best friends. The book reaches all.
So . . . how can you help me celebrate? I'm glad you asked! Here are those fun details:
* Buy a copy of We Are Girls Who Love to Run to keep or give as a gift and we'll ship a FREE copy to the school of your choice (and include a note letting the school know you chose them to receive the book)!
In your order please be sure to include:
1) your name & address
2) your chosen school's name & address
3) check or money order for $26.20 made out to Balanced Steps, LLC (this covers your book + shipping/handling for both books) *WA residents please add your local sales tax for the $17.99 value of your copy of the book.
Mail your order to:
Balanced Steps, LLC
PO Box 1179
Duvall, WA 98019
Please allow 4-6 weeks to receive your order (it will likely take less time, but we don't want you to worry if you don't get it immediately - we are a small company and will have 200 books going out to 200 destinations!). This offer is not available through the Balanced Steps website. It is a special through the Girl Who Loves to Run blog ONLY (orders placed through Amazon.com are not eligible for this offer)!
Feel free to spread the word about this Back to School CELEBRATION! Remember the first 100 folks that leave a comment here and place their order will get a FREE copy sent to the school of their choice!
Monday, September 1, 2008
Last week was one of the most difficult ones I've had in quite a long while. I'm glad to put it behind me and move forward into many fresh starts:
- new week
- new month
- new school year
Bring it on! I couldn't be more ready.
Today ended up being a fairly nice weather day, though it started around 45 degrees when we woke up - brrrrrr! Once the sun decided to greet us, the temps warmed considerably and it seems everyone was out working in their yards. We completely filled our yard waste bin (and then some!). Starting September with a well-groomed lawn is a nice way to go, too.
So, here are my 5 things I'm thankful for today:
- fresh starts
- the talents and positive energy of educators (especially pre-school teachers!)
- the hope and optimism of small children
- the dishwasher is humming and the kitchen is clean
- neighbor friends for my children (even Mr. Music added this one into his prayers tonight - super sweet!)
Have a wonderful week, everyone. Best wishes if you start school this week like we do!