Sunday, January 30, 2011

January Reading List

In my quest to track the number of pages I have read in 2011, here is my January reading list:

Sweetwater Creek, by Anne Rivers Siddons (Pages: 480)
This was okay - your basic "coming of age" chick lit kind of read. I wouldn't re-read it but I enjoyed it. It's the kind of book I would have read in high school, and has some stuff in it that I'll work to make sure my girls DON'T read, even in high school.

1st to Die (The Women's Murder Club Series) by James Patterson (Pages: 432)
I actually re-read this. It's been awhile and I'd like to work my way through the whole series this year. I think somewhere around the third one I stopped buying them and now they are popping up in thift shops and secondhand bookstores so I'm keeping an eye out for them and picking them up as I find them.

Under the Dome, by Stephen King (1072 pages)
Of all the King books I have read (and I've read a lot of them) this one is right up there with the ones that got into my head the most, It and Cujo. I'm not going to say that I didn't enjoy it (because I'm human and like all humans, I have a morbid streak), but there is no doubt that it was extremely disturbing. King writes so graphically that I was reminded over and over that since having my own children, I can't read certain things as easily as I used to. Hence why I have never re-read Pet Semetary. But it was good. I couldn't put it down until I had bullied my way through all one thousand plus pages.

I, Alex Cross, by James Patterson (365 pages)
Like all of Patterson's Alex Cross books, I read this in less than 24 hours. I have a major crush on Detective Cross and even though it was good, I didn't feel like it was quite up to his earlier Cross books. Patterson is assuming that if you are reading this one, you have read the previous books and although that is likely true, I really missed some of the more in depth character connections that are at the forefront of the earlier Cross books, and are the reason I got sucked into them in the first place. In the first Cross books, you feel like you are getting to know the family for the first time. Then later, it's like revisiting an old friend. I didn't get that this time and felt disappointed. But that being said, I will ALWAYS buy the next one in the series, and as a whole they are some of my favorites.

Total Books Read: 4

Total Pages Read: 2,349

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hard to believe

Another year has gone by. Today marked nine years of almost-always-happy-marital-bliss for Skippy and me.

In case you missed it a few years ago, here is one of my absolute favorite posts, "The Story of Us"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Couch to 5K: Week One

Feets don't fail me now.....

That's what I was thinking when I took this picture this morning while standing next to the treadmill and deep breathing at the gym at 6:30 this morning.

Once upon a time, I loved to run. I never really ran competatively, but I was one of the only girls who never groaned with dismay or faked cramps when the gym teacher announced that it was time to run the mile. At one point in high school, I was accomplishing the mile in eight minutes or less.

Then I went to college. They had buses. Then I had kids. They kept me home and I wasn't motivated to do anything for myself. And that was the end of that.

Then my butt expanded.

I had to buy bigger jeans.

And I am tired of it.

So today on my birthday, I started the Couch to 5K program. I am hoping to rediscover my love of running. I hope all of you will help encourage me when I am rocking, and push me when I'm slacking.

Week 1, Run 1: 30 minutes, 1.4 miles

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's that day again....

I really thought that I was going to be able to get away with not doing the whole "did you know that my Dad died?" blog this year. I was genuinely going to try. I've been venting my emotions out on Facebook and talking to good friends and just kind of getting by. But maybe I've been in denial, because every year I think it hurts a little less and really....every year I realize that it still hurts the same.

Plus tonight the husband is out of town and and my kids are doing their ping-pong-ball-off-the-walls imitations and I'm retaining water and craving chocolate and short on sleep so I'm just generally feeling kind of down. Not to mention I just finished wrestling a tinder-dry Christmas tree out of the house by myself, carpeting my hardwood floor in pine needles before knocking a shelf off of the wall and sending a lamp flying in the process -- right before stepping in dog doo after unceremoniously heaving what has basically become the world's largest toothpick into my front yard for the time being.

So yeah....I've hit a low point. Every Mommy has them. This is mine.

I'm not sure if it was the tree or the lamp or the kids that finally made me realize that I've spent a good part of my day IGNORING the day. I haven't let it in. And I'm still not sure I want to. Right now I kind of feel the way I did three days after Banana was born, when my Mom came over to help and I got emotional over the fact that I burned a grilled cheese sandwich right before bursting into hysterical tears when I stubbed my toe...I'm in that place right now - where the smallest thing could be akin to the breaking of a dam. And I'm not ready to open the floodgates.

So this year, let's try something different. If you want to read the sob story, it's on here, under January of 2009. This year let's talk about some of the GOOD stuff. Like the time we went camping and my parents realized that they had remembered the coffee, but forgotten the coffee filters. Being a coffee drinker myself now, I completely understand that that was a potential disaster of substantial magnitude. But my Dad didn't let it phase him - not when he had a perfectly good clean tube sock at his disposal. It may not have been Starbuck's Special Roast, but cafe ala sock probably had it's own unique taste!

Then there was the time he took me fishing. Actually he took me fishing millions of times, but this one time he took me to Shabonna Lake in Northern Illinois. I don't remember much about the day, just that we left early, he bought us McDonald's for breakfast, and I caught three fish that day. Mostly what I remember is that it was just me and my Dad, and that day I had him all to myself, and he was my hero.

I remember the look on his face the first time he saw me in a formal dress...and the look on his face after the doorbell rang and he saw the look on my high-school boyfriend's face! I remember sitting in the garage in the old yellow swing after getting my first real kiss and jumping six feet in the air when the door to the house squeaked open and he came out "to check on the sprinkler." Sure, the sprinkler. Right. Moving on.

When I was in college we took our last big family vacation to the Grand Canyon. In Sedona we ventured out on a guided horseback tour. If you have ever been on one of those, you know that the only horses that are more gentle and calm are the ones you see hitched up to the pony rides for little kids at the carnival. But when we crossed a small stream, Dad's horse pawed at the water and whuffled loudly, coming up on his hind legs before finally relenting and crossing the creek...and afterwards to hear Dad tell the story, you would have thought that Wyatt Earp had just bullied his wild steed across the mighty Mississippi.

I remember so many different things - so many snapshots - so many moments.

I remember telling him he was going to be a Papa. Twice.

When Skippy and I got married, my Dad was determined to have everything just so. My Mom was the one who worried about getting the bride ready to go, but Dad was the one who made sure I ate breakfast and who decided at the last minute that we should have balloons for the guests to release after the ceremony. I remember him coming to me in the chapel and telling me that it was time to go. He was stoic when he walked me down the aisle - my pillar of strength. His voice was strong when he replied "Her Mother and I do" in response to the classic "Who gives this woman in holy matrimony?" He was quiet and proud and serious when he took his seat next to my Mom....and then somewhere along the way, during a fourteen minute ceremony, it was the father of bride, not the mother, who became choked up.

So many little when my Dad laughed really REALLY hard, I used to think he sounded like Ernie from Sesame Street.

He bought cheap beer, but I think his real drink was rum and Coke.

He tucked his tshirts into his sweat pants on weekends.

He drove us crazy, lectured, and gave unsolicited advice every chance he got.

He loved us more than anything.

I love you, Dad.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


You know that feeling you get on a Saturday morning in the spring, when you open your eyes, warm and cozy under your favorite blanket in your bed, and you see the sunlight streaming in through the windows? The birds are chirping, your children are sleeping, and there is a cat purring on your pillow...and although you feel fully awake in an instant, ready to greet the world for another take just one extra moment, and you stretch. You arch your back and close your eyes and point your toes, and you STRETCH every creak and kink and ache away before you begin the day. You feel your lungs fill with so much air that your chest hurts, and then you let your body go boneless and the air comes out in a whoosh and for a split second your chores and your worries and your to-do list all seem minor and your whole world is just waiting for you to begin all over again. It is without a doubt one of the very best and most gratifying feelings in the world.

I have to tell you, that's how it feels to sign into your blog when you've been away for far too long.

Too much has happened since I last checked in with you, so I've decided that I won't even try to begin to cover it all. Some of it has been wonderful. Some of it has broken my heart. I've been stressed out and I've cried and I've laughed until I've wanted to puke and I've hugged my kids more times than I can count. Life is hard. Life is good. And I think that rather than spend a whole blog entry looking back, I'd rather just take a big bloggy stretch and look towards what lies ahead instead. I'm sure we'll reminice as we go.

It's the first day of a new year. I am ridiculously romantic about starting a new calendar. I believe in resolutions and new beginnings and that anything is possible on January 1st. It doesn't even bother me that at some point, I will most likely break the numerous resolutions that I've made - I told a co-worker that at some point during the year I always come full circle and revisit them. I don't think of resolutions as ironclad win-or-lose edicts....I consider them guidelines that I set to make myself a better person, a better wife and and a better mother. And if they fall by the wayside occasionally, that's okay. I know where to find them again.

So in case you haven't figured it out, the big resolution of 2011 is to blog more. Or rather, to blog again. This is the one resolution I hope to hold on to firmly because I have realized recently how much I miss my blog - how much I miss sharing our life in Oregon with anyone who cares enough to read about it. So stay tuned, because I'm hoping to attack it with a vengeance, and I'm going to try really really really REALLY hard to blog at least once a week.

I've got some other resolutions...I already know that some will be more successful than others, but we'll see how it goes. Naturally I'm going to share them with you, so that in coming months you can taunt me while I stumble around trying to hold fast to them.


(I can tell you're on the edge of your seat. Really.)

So I'm going to lose some weight. Let's just get that one out of the way because I totally get that it's trite and predictable and that a kazillion other people have said the exact same thing tonight. But I'm really going to do it. We'll get into the specifics more later, but let's just say that over the last year I have developed a "bookshelf ass" and I'm not happy about it. I do not believe that it just means that there is more of me to love - I believe that if someone can set their drink on the top of my rear at a party that things have gotten way out of control. And maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit....but really, it's bad. And I'm done. So more on that later.

Just for fun I want to keep track of the books I read this year. I want to cook at home more. I want to coupon hardcore at the grocery store again. I want to play board games with the kids and beat them at Mario Kart on Saturday nights. I want to make a point to go on dates with my husband again. I want to keep learning new ways to do my job better, faster, and easier. I want to stress less, sleep more, and enjoy my family.

I want to have a good year. So I'm going to stretch and flex and shake out the cobwebs...and I'm going to get my rear in gear. Here's to 2011.


Currently Reading: "Run Like a Mother" by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea