Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hanging in There . . . Homemade Applesauce Helps

Still haven't shaken the head cold, so running continues to be on hold. I haven't let the sinuses keep me from my strength training, though! I'm three weeks into the Bounce Your Body Beautiful balance ball training program by Liz Applegate, Ph.D. and am thrilled with how it is going.

For example:
- 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

Starting with a Tired Body, but a Thankful Heart

Just when I get back in the groove with my workouts, my body says "Hold it, Sister!" I'm the last person in the family to get the hacking cough, headache and all around foggy brain, so I suppose it is only fair. I'm sticking with my balance ball routine, though. I'm not good at running with a headache, so that will have to wait, even if it is perfect fall running weather. *sigh*

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

Gearing up for the Week

Today my son attended "Superhero Training School" at a friend's birthday party. What a time the kids had! The birthday boy's mom had 3 training exercises for the kids to complete:

- superhero listening/honesty building (Simon Says)
- superhero agility/rescue training (obstacle course with the final task of rescuing a citizen from the woods - ie., a baby doll!)
- superhero balance and speed drills (Red Light, Green Light on a slippery hill - that wet hill part was unintentional, but worked out just fine)
At the end of each training session the kids earned parts to their superhero costume - a mask, cape (personalized with each child's first initial - photo to be posted soon, as it is INCREDIBLE!), and superhero arm bands. The kids also went home with a fist-sized tropy that reads: Congratulations: You are an Official Superhero!
It was a great way to spend the afternoon and a fun way to kick-off an adventurous week. And I have a feeling I'll be seeing that special cape fly regularly at my house, which just makes me smile.
All that fun in the beautiful October air (and the runner's high from 2 back-to-back runs this weekend) has me feeling good about starting yet another week. Mr. Music has tomorrow off from school for a Teacher Work Day, so we'll busy ourselves with fall decorating and some baking after we take Little Sister to music class. If the weather holds we'll for sure head outside to enjoy it while it lasts.

Thursday is the preschool's Storybook Character Day. My mom put her Serger to good use this weekend to turn a towel into 4 puppy dog ears, 2 dog tails, and 2 sets of paw-like shoe covers. Mr. Music will be dressed as Mudge from Cynthia Rylant's Henry & Mudge series, as will Little Sister, as she just LOVES dogs. I thought we'd have a riot on our hands if she couldn't be a dog, too. She'll get to wear her costume to music class.
Again, I'm keeping my yellow hat firmly in place in the hopes that we continue to have the sunny, crisp weather we've been enjoying for the past week so I can get a few more good runs in outside. 2 this week would make me a happy camper!
Have a super week!

Friday, October 24, 2008

There's Nothing Like the Release of a Good Run

About 6 years ago I was sitting in a lecture for one of my Master's classes with about 40 other teachers-in-training at Queens University of Charlotte. It was the last class of the semester, so our professor asked us to spend a few minutes thinking about where we thought we'd be in 5 years. Immediately heads looked up at the ceiling or dropped down in thought as we all looked through our crystal balls and sought the answer for what we'd be doing.

Those silent moments seemed to drag on forever for me. There I was, more than half way through the program (countless dollars into it, too!), but I wasn't ready to say, "I'll be happy as a clam teaching fourth grade." I did enjoy and work hard at my job as a fourth grade teacher (and third grade, too), but I just didn't see it as my life's work. I wasn't quite sure I should stick with the honest truth when it was my turn to report my vision of the future, lest the optimistic women around me come after me and send me running before I could earn that degree. So, I took a breath and listened to the dozen or so responses before my turn. Some of the visions that were reported included:

- I see myself in a colorful kindergarten room with 20 smiling faces looking up at me as we read together from a big book.

- I see myself as Teacher of the Year for my school.

- I see myself going back to school to become a reading specialist.

- I see myself team teaching with gifted students.

- I see myself taking a break from teaching to raise a family, but will volunteer in the schools.

On and on the reports went. And, I think they were all sincere and optimistic - as they SHOULD be! But, my heart wasn't right there with them. My crystal ball was telling me something much different. So, when my turn came, I took a breath told the women what I saw for my future:

- I see myself as a published author. I'll still work for and with kids, but not in a traditional classroom setting. For me, teaching is a stepping stone for something else.

That was the first time I really verbalized and believed those ideas of being an author. And here I am, just a bit more than 5 years later, after three years in a classroom (I taught while I finished my degree) and four years at home with children . . . a published author. An award-winning author.

The thought of that dream becoming a reality has been overwhelming the past few weeks. When the final award listing was published this morning, I called my husband (cried a bit), updated Facebook to let my friends know the results, emailed my illustrator/graphic designer/foreword author/newspaper editor to let them know and then did what all good runners do . . . I went for a run!

And I'm here to tell you that that overwhelming feeling is clearning and I feel refreshed and excited and ready to do all that the honor of this award needs me to do. There is just NOTHING like the release of a good run.

You can see the award results for yourself at Independent Publisher. We Are Girls Who Love to Run is honored with the Moonbeam Children's Book Award Bronze Medal in the Body-Mind-Spirit category.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And Illustrators, Don't Forget Your Favorite Illustrators!

Somehow in my post yesterday I neglected some of my favorite people: illustrators! (I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that I was typing while Little Sister squirmed in my lap while fighting off a nap)
I don't know where I'd be without the talents of Nicholas A. Wright, the illustrator of We Are Girls Who Love to Run . . . or the talents of Kirk Werner, our graphic designer and an author/illustrator in his own right. I'll be reviewing Kirk's Olive the Little Woollybugger books for you in the not-so-distant future.

So, to the list I shared with you yesterday about how to support your favorite books and authors, just mentally add THE ILLUSTRATOR to each of those comments. Illustrators make our world bright and beautiful, bringing authors' words to life.

And a special welcome to any visitors from the Blissdom blogging conference - I'm honored to have you here!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Trials & Achievements: Support Your Favorite Authors

First a big HOORAY to celebrate the achievement of a fellow author:

Congratulations to author PJ Hoover - today is the official release date of her book The Emerald Tablet! Be sure to read my review of her book here and then stop by her blog to wish her a wonderful day, because for authors Book Release Day is much like a child's birthday. A big deal. A really big deal. But if you've read my blog before, you already know that!

And now onto a discussion of a related on-going trial:

PJ sent out a great announcement email this morning. And it struck me, now that I'm 6 months into this published book world myself, that a significant chunk of the success of an author really does lie in the hands of READERS!

Think about your own reading cycle:

1. You pick out a book (either because it LOOKS interesting or because ANOTHER reader tells you it is).
2. You read the book.
3. You tell others about the book (either that they SHOULD read it, or that they should AVOID it - and why).
4. The cycle repeats with the next book. And if you recommended the book, the cycle repeats for the book with another reader (or thousands!).

In her announcement email, PJ Hoover included a great list of things readers can do to help celebrate and spread the word about their favorite books (which is especially helpful for first-time authors and small presses who don't have the big house man/woman power behind them). I think it is such a great list that I'm including it here. While PJ created the list to help publicize her book, The Emerald Tablet, but I think it is applicable to any book/author that you enjoy (maybe even a yellow-hatted girl who loves to run - I think you know who SHE is, right? - and her book, or her author friend Carol Goodrow):

- Tell everyone you meet to buy THE BOOK.
- Review THE BOOK and post the review on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Good reviews are even better. Brianna's note: It is even better if you've taken the time to review at least one other book - it adds credibility to your review and helps YOU with your writing skills!
- Suggest THE BOOK as the kid's book pick for Al Roker on The Today Show or for Oprah Winfrey's kid's book list.
- Give THE BOOK as a gift to every kid you know.
- Make THE BOOK your standard holiday gift this season. Remember it come birthday party time, also!
- If you order it at the bookstore, suggest they order a few more copies to keep in stock!
- Recommend THE BOOK to your school or public library and ask that they order it for their shelves.
- Blog about THE BOOK or THE AUTHOR or both.
- Suggest THE AUTHOR to your school librarian for an author visit. Brianna's added tip: Coordinate visits with neighboring schools/clubs to share travel costs and make a visit affordable for everyone!
- Have your kid recommend THE BOOK as a read-aloud book in their classroom.
- Interview THE AUTHOR, write an article about THE AUTHOR, or even just mention THE AUTHOR in passing to an old acquaintance.
- Use THE BOOK in your book club.
- Form a book club for your kids if needed just for this purpose.

Other ideas I have:
- Use THE BOOK (or related products) as a fundraiser to support a cause (check with the publisher for how you can do this!).
- Donate a copy of THE BOOK to a local Boys & Girls Club or community center.
- Write a letter to THE AUTHOR or THE PUBLISHER about why you like THE BOOK (they may include it on their website!).
- Take advantage of special offers THE AUTHOR or THE PUBLISHER provide for buying THE BOOK and share the offer with other readers.
- Visit THE AUTHOR's blog and leave a comment.

How about YOU? What suggestions do you have for supporting your favorite author?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We Are Girls Who Love to Run is a Semifinalist!

I wasn't going to post again this week, as I'm busy welcoming home my husband and daughter from their cross-country trip, BUT . . . news this BIG just couldn't wait:

We Are Girls Who Love to Run is a semifinalist for the Moonbeam Children's Book Award in the Mind-Body-Spirit category!!!!

The final medals for each category will be announced next Friday. Thanks to all of you who have been supporters of this writing dream of mine - from the moment the idea came to me through these crazy days of spreading the word about the book. I couldn't have done it alone. Seriously. This book is my third child . . . and we all know it takes a village to raise a child.

Be sure to check back next week to see how it all turns out!

Haven't gotten yourself/your teacher/your coach/niece/daughter/sister/neighbor/local school/girl scout troop a copy of the book yet? Be sure to read here to see how you can get your hands on a copy - the remaining donation copies are likely to go fast now that the book is getting some exciting press! And, be sure to let others know - in these days of budget cuts, school libraries are getting shorted. Wouldn't your local elementary or middle school love to get a FREE bilingual hardback book that celebrates strong girls, positive self-esteem, healthy choices and goal-setting? That's what I thought!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lost in the Pages: Book Review of The Emerald Tablet by P.J. Hoover

I imagine this has been a glorious (yet exhausting) month for author P.J. Hoover. Her debut novel, The Emerald Tablet, releases this month. Now readers can hold and enjoy the fruits of months and months of her labor (moms will find the process remarkably similar to pregnancy and labor for humans - without the visible stretch marks).

The Emerald Tablet is a science fiction novel, the first of a trilogy for middle grade readers (target ages 8-14, with an emphasis on 11+, I believe). Anyone who enjoyed discovering the world of magic with Harry Potter will enjoy diving into a different magical world with Benjamin Holt and his friends. The group forms after meeting up at a summer school on the hidden, submerged continent of Lemuria. Can you imagine finding out one day that you have amazing "magical" skills - and that you've come from an underwater continent? What a plot line (and for you Potter fans, the experience is TOTALLY different from Harry's)!

In the midst of developing teleportation, telekenesis, telepathy and other new found skills, Benjamin and his friends discover the magical Emerald Tablet and find they must work together to save the world and battle adversaries from Atlantis (Lemuria's rival hidden continent). This is no easy summer school experience!

Filled with adventure, unusual experiences, plot twists and character trials, The Emerald Tablet is a book readers will not want to put down. Readers will find themselves in a new and exciting world, anxious to learn more about Lemuria and the conflict with Atlantis. Though their dialogue is sometimes lengthy, the characters are likable and easy to identify with: the curious bookworm, the competitive best friend, the confident girl, the shy and uncertain yet strong girl, and the confused but determined protagonist. I look forward to seeing how they continue to develop and what they tackle together in the next book!

Be sure to check out P.J. Hoover's website to learn more about The Emerald Tablet and for links to some other fresh middle grade and young adult novels being released this year. You can also visit P.J.'s blog for her perspective on being a newly released author!

Next book up for review: Janey Junkfood's Fresh Adventure! by Barbara Storper, MS, RD

And, as always . . . send ideas for reviews my way! Anything new, unusual, fitness, and/or youth related is game!!! Special thanks to MizFit for sending The Emerald Tablet review opportunity my way. Who will I get to thank next?? Could be YOU!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No Trials, Just Achievements

I'm happy to report that my 3 days of one-on-one time with my son were fantastic. And, they're finishing out just at the right time. As much fun as we've enjoyed together, we both miss the other half of our family and look forward to their return tomorrow afternoon! In fact, Mr. Music asked today if he could get together with Little Sister to play (nothing like setting up a formal play date with your sibling!). While Mr. Music was at school (or sleeping), I enjoyed time to myself, too.

Some of the things I was able to accomplish so far this week . . .

1. Not one, but TWO runs with super dog Albus.

2. Not one, but TWO sessions with the balance ball

3. I cleared out my computer cabinet - not just the space surrounding the monitor and keyboard, but the two shelves above the computer space, too. Rock on!

4. I cleaned out my half of the closet and already have the box of donations in the car to drop-off to the wonderful folks at Goodwill tomorrow

5. Three junk piles in the kitchen no longer exist

6. I FILLED the shredder AND the recycle bin

7. I washed the dog (who rolled in poop - oh, so lovely . . . now the shower needs cleaning, too)

8. I walked three children a mile to a park and a mile back to the house

9. My son and I finished The Mouse and the Motorcycle

10. We mailed a birthday gift 2 weeks in advance (instead of 2 weeks late!)

I told you this time would be cleansing, uplifting and energizing! I look forward to continuing to roll with this positive energy. What more can I knock out this month? What can YOU knock out this month?

Any achievements you'd like to celebrate?! Don't hold back - let me know by leaving a comment!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Starting with a Thankful (and quiet) Heart

Happy Monday!

The rain has returned, but I'm still on cloud nine after a great weekend and won't let the grey skies pull me down.

I'm about to head out for a run with Albus, so this is quickie today. Today I'm thankful for:

1. the unconditional love and support of my dad.
2. the house-filling aroma of fresh-baked pumpkin bread made with pumpkin fresh from the patch.
3. one-on-one time with children.
4. the intermittent rain of the Seattle area - allowing me to get in a run while the rain takes a break
5. the physical challenge of a balance ball (yes, I finally got myself started with the 6 week plan in Bounce Your Body Beautiful that I mentioned so many weeks ago)

And, YOU, kind reader? Be sure to leave a note about one thing that makes you thankful today. Have a great week!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gearing-up for the Week

Saturday was a glorious fall day - the kind of day that comes to mind when someone asks you to visualize the "perfect fall day". We headed to the pumpkin patch with the kids to find a vast array of pumpkins - short ones, fat ones, tall ones, white ones, mini ones - and managed to bring home one of each (which you can sort of see in the wheelbarrow Little Sister is attempting to push!).

The whole experience put me in a wonderful mood that I hope to maintain as long as possible! The pumpkins on the front steps will serve as a reminder of our wonderful family pumpkin patch outing, which should help prolong the warm, fuzzy feeling - even if the sky returns to the dreary Seattle gray.

This week I'm working to oust the junk - piles in the kitchen and bedroom don't stand a chance! If I can sit still long enough I'll get through the monstrosity on my desk that is on the verge of blocking the lower portions of my monitor (one telephone is currently serving as a paper weight to prevent that from happening, but I'm not sure how long the phone can battle the power of the junk!).

I'm also enjoying some one-on-one time with my son, which is something that doesn't often happen. Little Sister is off on an adventure with her dad for a few days, leaving Mr. Music and me to some quality time to ourselves. It is really a winning situation for us all.

Today my dad and I took him out for lunch and then to the zoo. When we got home we got to play a board game (a rarity, since Little Sister is usually around trying to take the pieces) and then made pumpkin bread with a sugar pumpkin we got on our adventure yesterday. A whole day of fun. Before bed, we curled up on the couch (bellies full from the pumpkin bread) to read not one, but two entire chapters of The Mouse & the Motorcycle - uninterrupted, even. Good times.

I anticipate the week being filled with more glorious reading time, playtime in the backyard (assuming cooperative weather, which I really SHOULDN'T assume), more pumpkin baking adventures, and more games. I'm smiling just thinking about it. I'm really going to treasure this time with just him, knowing that these opportunities are so rare. AND, the ease that comes with being with one child instead of two - really, I feel more relaxed and less stressed - refreshed even. Though I miss my husband and daughter, this time is good.

To make good on my dedication to de-clutter this week, I'm off to tackle the tops of the bedroom dressers. Then it is off to do some "light reading" - Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child. This is going to be a great week. I love the satisfaction that comes with accomplishments!

I think the week is also looking good for 2-3 runs . . . Look out Husband, you might come home to a new wife - a de-cluttered, exercised, calm, happy woman.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Flashbacks - Familiar Books

When I initially planned the idea of Friday Flashbacks, I had high school and college memories on the brain. I'm about a month away from the big 3-0, so this year has been filled with thoughts of my formative years. Maybe once the big day arrives I'll be ready to pull my brain out of the past and get to dreaming out the future again (usually I'm a planner and a goal-setter, so this year has felt a bit quirky).

I digress . . .

Thursday my son came home from preschool with the phonics reader "Sam & Al". I nearly fell over when I saw the book. It was the FIRST book I read when I was in Montessori School . . . that's right, do the math - about 27 years ago! So when we got home, there we sat together on the couch as he read it to me. I couldn't help but get a little teary-eyed - with pride for my son as his reading skills blossom, and with sentimentality as I think back to those exciting first days when I learned to read. Talk about a flashback!

Though I do enjoy reading the Magic Tree House series to Mr. Music, after 28 books since mid-July, I did insist on taking a break from them. We'll get back to them soon enough, but I just needed to have our conversations be about someone OTHER than Jack or Annie from those books!

I'm mentoring a high school senior for her Senior Project (a learning experience now required for graduation). She's writing a children's book - good pairing, eh? When we met a few weeks ago I suggested that she spend a bit of time revisiting children's literature so she could get a good idea of how authors develop characters and keep stories flowing. Good writers are avid readers, and while I know she has some great ideas to incorporate into her story, I'm sure early chapter books aren't what she has been reading as of late. So, together we sat at the library and picked out some top notch kids' books to refresh her memory - books by greats such as Beverly Cleary and Andrew Clements made the stack.

In our exploration I stumbled across The Mouse and the Motorcycle and Ralph S. Mouse, two books I vividly recall my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Jennings, reading aloud to my class. I can still hear her voice making the motorcycle sounds as Ralph figured out how to make the motorcycle run in The Mouse and the Motorcycle. I couldn't let my mentee have all the fun - I made sure she got what she needed and then checked out the mouse books by Beverly Cleary books to read to Mr. Music.

He LOVES them. We're about 7 chapters in (started it on Monday) and he begs me to read past his bedtime every night so he can see what happens next. I have a hard time saying "We'll read more tomorrow" because I'm right there with him, enjoying the adventure of the little mouse. And, there's Mrs. Jennings' voice in my head as I read it - I think I'm even starting to use her intonations as I read. Funny how we don't realize what an impression a person has on us until many years later . . . after doing a quick calculation, I realize I first met Mr. Ralph S. Mouse via Mrs. Jennings 21 years ago.

I'm also realizing that Mrs. Jennings' selection of books to share with my class was very influential for what I read to my own class of fourth graders (who are now seniors - yikes!). Her choice of literature was outstanding and not always mainstream. I don't recall too much more of that year, but I did walk away with a great appreciation for books and a strong skill set for reading books aloud so they come alive.

So, kind readers, I leave you with these two questions: Which of your teachers had the greatest passion for books? What book is most memorable from your early years?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Trials & Achievements - Scrambled Brain!

Yesterday I crossed more off my To Do list than I ever thought was possible. Today I'd love to keep the momentum from yesterday going, but for some reason I can't even figure out where to START. I guess that's half the battle for most things - the courage and drive to START a task. Once we make that initial first step, momentum &/or gravity take over and before we know it, we've FINISHED. I'm looking forward to finishing some things here before too long . . . if I can just get to that START line!

My pressing trials:
- finishing my daughter's quilt so I can clean up the sewing room
- developing a method for clearing the piles of junk out of our house (I'm hopeful that fewer junk piles to look at will also de-clutter my brain!)
- writing a few articles for guest blog posts and newspapers - I seem to have writer's block in the worst way
- developing a workout schedule and sticking with it. This girl needs to get out and RUN, no excuses (again, this will de-clutter my brain!)
- getting Mr. Music to get put together in the mornings so we can leave on-time (I'm reading the book Setting Limits with your Strong-Willed Child by Robert J. MacKenzie to help with this and many other scenarios we've been experiencing throughout Mr. Music's 4 years here on this planet - he IS a strong-willed little guy . . . and we love him . . . and we'd like him to enjoy a good long life . . . in harmony with those around him!!!)

My recent achievements:
- another good sized book order from our wholesaler
- I finished the book I'll review for you next
- I sent over 100 items to the consignment sale (will know within 30 days how successful it was - the wait is HARD!)
- making mini cupcakes with the kids after a rough day yesterday

Any recent trials or achievements you'd like to share?

Hope your week is going well! I'll probably add some links before the day is out, but the grocery store calls - we can't eat JUST mini cupcakes for dinner. :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Starting with a Thankful Heart in the Rain

Here we are at Monday again. While not everything is falling into place as I'd like, I can't seem to accomplish my tasks as quickly in reality as I do in my brain, and our home has been plagued with the first round of colds this season (and we're out of tissue!), there are STILL many things for which I am thankful. Here are my top 5, in no particular order:

1. Cooler weather means I can pull out my sweaters and my Keens/Dr. Martins. I love my chunky shoes. Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em.

2. Morning naps (Little Sister's, not mine - I would enjoy a daily morning nap I'm sure, but I'd be frustrated that I wouldn't be accomplishing tasks). I'm enjoying these while they last. Something tells me the days with naps are numbered.

3. The Seattle Symphony Tiny Tots series. We're headed for the first concert of the year on Friday, this time with some friends! Can't wait!

4. The magic of the Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Raising Sand concert last Wednesday. It was a LATE night for us, but it was absolutely amazing. Led Zeppelin fans have every right to be sad that Plant won't be reuniting with is former band members . . . but they should seriously consider checking out his new projects. I can't believe how T-Bone Burnett transformed some old classics to be hauntingly wonderful new pieces using bluegrass instruments and the voice talents of Plant & Krauss. I could just go on & on & on & on . . . it was simply one of the best concerts I've attended - and I've seen some good ones!

5. I'll be signing books my birthday weekend in November at the REF runs for Riverview Turkey Trot (which was the topic of my first post , which was just 147 short posts ago - woah!). Somehow the event had slipped my mind (not my calender, though!) . . . until I read my name in the paper as one of the attractions for the Expo! Things have been a bit slower than I like with the book, so it is great to know that my "name" can help promote a wonderful event that will benefit the health and wellness programs for a school district. And, it will motivate me to get some longer runs in over the next few weeks so I can take part in their inagural 10K race!

And YOU, kind reader, what is something for which you are thankful this fine Monday?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gal to Gal Virtual Walk - Part 2

Two posts in one day - unheard of for this blogger!
But, as I was posting about the Gal to Gal Virtual Walk on BookieBoo, I realized what a great educational tie-in the route of the walk is. Here's something to consider as you sign-up to participate in the virtual walk with your family:

The site is also a great place to visit over the course of the month with your children. The avatars are walking from Boston, MA (they started there on the 1st of October) and will work their way across the United States to end in San Fransisco, CA at the end of the month (they do journey up to Seattle before going south to CA - hooray!). You can turn the walk into a fun geography lesson for your family as you watch your avatars make the trek! Fodor's (the renowned travel book publisher) also provides city trivia for the "City of the Day" with links to more information about that destination.

Some questions to consider with your kids:

1) Which city on the walk is closest to where we live?

2) Do we know anyone who lives in the "City of the Day"?

3) What important historical events took place int he "City of the Day"?

4) How far did our avatar travel yesterday?

5) Get a pedometer for your family and take turns wearing it - who took the most steps this week? Did your avatar walk further, or did the family?

6) How many miles has the avatar traveled in all?

I'm sure you could come up with MANY additional questions for your kids to answer and research with you (and they can be adapted for age appropriate skills!). Let me know what questions you would explore with your family on an adventure like this one!
Oh, after you leave your comment head on over to the Gal to Gal Virtual Walk join my Balanced Steps team! Can't wait to see you there!

Gal to Gal Virtual Walk

Yesterday, October 1, was the start of the Gal to Gal Virtual Walk to raise $250,000 for patients and families battling stage IV breast cancer.

All it takes is $5 to join and you can make a difference! You get to make your own nifty avatar and join the fun virtual walk. As for me . . . I'll be walking/running at home during the month-long event, too - my sporty avatar isn't the only one who gets to be active!

Click here to see the celebrity video on YouTube about the event (I'm not yet savvy enough to know how to embed it here, or I would!).

Join my team - Balanced Steps - to help make a difference! You'll find companies such as Epson & Franklin Covey are supporting the Gal to Gal walk, as well as a long list of celebrities.

Check back here for an update - I'll post my avatar here (once I figure it out!), as well as some celeb avatars. My goal is to get 20 folks on the Balanced Steps team. Won't you help me?!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Trials & Achievements - How is it October already?

I'm heading to the Robert Plant & Alison Krauss concert tonight (and to dinner beforehand with my husband!), so my time here will be zippy.
Here are some recent trials I'm working to overcome (mostly life balance related!):

1. A bit of a break from doing work things has been refreshing and has allowed me to do more things on the homefront, but now work-related projects are creeping up on me and I'm not sure how to work them back into my life!

2. I'm struggling with how to strike a balance between how our family is used to living and being more environmentally aware. Being green isn't always a cheap way to go, but it is definitely smarter and has a positive long-lasting impression. More on this to come, for sure.

Some recent achievements I'm excited about:
1. Next week we're taking our first step toward carpooling for pre-school. Since the kids are young (3 & 4), the other mother and I are taking it slowly so that it is as easy as possible on the kids. We'll have a bit of a playdate one afternoon and then each do one pick-up from school later in the week. Wish us luck - this will be FABULOUS for time and gas savings if the kids roll well with it (11 miles each way)!!!
2. Little Sister's room is painted. Turns out the walls never really were painted before (or maybe just once in 10 years, we're guessing) - so they soaked up TONS of paint. It took nearly 2 full gallons to cover 4 relatively small walls. But, it is done and looks fresh and happy.

3. My wonderful readers are reaching out to their local bookstores to ask them to carry We Are Girls Who Love to Run! We're starting to get requests from bookstores that order through a different distributor than the 3 we use to order directly from us. Very few things are more satisfying to an author than to hear that her books are in demand!

4. I tagged over 100 items to sell at a big children's and maternity consignment sale this weekend in Seattle. I'll haul them all to the event Friday afternoon and hope that most of them will sell on Saturday & Sunday! If it goes well, I'll be even more thorough in getting things ready for the spring sale (I didn't go through accessories and such this time around, just clothing). The great thing about the sale is I had a choice to donate what doesn't sell to a local charity or have them set it aside for me to pick-up. Everybody wins at these events!!!

Off to pack the kids for their overnight at my parents' and then get myself out of my mom duds and into some fancy concert-going attire. Think I'll remember how to put on make-up?
What are your recent trials? Have an achievement you'd love to celebrate with us? Be sure to leave a comment!