Monday, March 30, 2015

I did a Triathlon

In a very weird moment of (obvious) craziness last month, I decided to sign up to do a mini triathlon to help raise money for Avery's wonderful school. What really made me go over the edge was when I saw it was going to be row/swim/run instead of the usual bike/swim/run... because this girl does NOT bike, but has been lovin the row machine since college. I also saw an opportunity to invite a wonderful old friend to town to join me in the challenge as she 1) is practically a professional triathlon/marathon expert and 2) had a baby in December that I was dying to meet!

Lucky for me, everything worked out and my lovely friend Diana drove in this past weekend with her adorable new sidekick, Finn. We got to catch up and I got to cuddle (with Finn-ha) and then we woke up really bright and early on Sunday morning and DID A TRIATHLON. Just absolutely words that I never thought I would say.  Did I train for it? No, not really. Did I survive? Yes, thankfully. Did I have fun? Surprisingly yes, but mostly when it was over. :) I do have to say it was fun to challenge myself and meet a new goal.

Here we are post-tri with our cheerleader

Even WAY more fun though was afterwards when I got to babysit Finn while Diana went to a wedding shower. He is just a wonderful baby. Four months old and smiley and cooing and I just loved it. My little helper Maddie did too. Her favorite was getting to feed him. She was so sweet and very gentle with him. She just kept exclaiming over and over, "isn't he cuuuute!"

And Finn loves mirrors just like my girls did! He would catch sight of himself and just break into a huge smile. We probably played this game for like 20 minutes.

And then after we had playtime he fell fast asleep on my chest and it was just absolute, peaceful baby heaven. And I asked Bub the hub if we could maybe keep him but he said Diana would probably miss him, and I agree. But seriously, it was wonderful.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Book Club

I'm doing an official not-about-my-kids-post! wow! I hope that is not a cue for you to stop reading. Ha! Talking about reading, and thanks to joining a neighborhood book club and getting a bunch of great books for Christmas from Bub the hub, I have actually been devouring books (almost) like I used to. It's a very wonderful thing that I truly miss... from before I traded my functioning brain cells and seemingly all of my energy for the adorable little loves that are my children.

So for the last eight months, I've managed to get through nine books... which does not sound like very many now that I write it down. But it's a hella lot more than I've averaged for the previous 6+ years!! Awesome. Anyway, if you are anything like me and enjoy a great book, I thought I'd save you some time and let you know what's worth reading. 

After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story by Michael Hainey-- This is one of two memoirs/non-fiction of the group. The premise was really intriguing to me as the author goes on a real-life search to figure out the secrets behind his father's death at a very young age of an apparent heart attack. Both father and son were newspaper reporters, so it was interesting to read the behind the scenes stuff. Easy to follow and definitely suspenseful. Grade: B

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter-- Lord knows I like flashbacks and these are done so beautifully and intertwined so gracefully. There's 1960's Italy, modern day L.A., a love affair and cameos by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton! What's not to love? No, seriously, it's a pretty fun read. Grade: A-

The Rosie Project by Graeme Stimsion-- a fun and unique premise and a glimpse into the mind of someone with autistic tendencies. Full of humor and great characters and a super fast read! Grade: B

Gray Mountain by John Grisham-- not sure how else to say it... SKIP IT. Also, is John Grisham still even writing his own books anymore? This one would make me hope no. Grade: D

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham-- obvs the other memoir. I thought it was hilarious. If you like Lena or her show, Girls, I would highly recommend. Although the honesty is sometimes hard to bear (I am semi-prudish though..), I still tremendously admire her crazy life experiences and talent. Grade: A

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters-- This initially had me interested because it's a period piece, which is my fav. 1920's to be exact. A young woman and her widowed mother are forced by a loss of wealth to take on renters in their upper class home.  I have to give this one props because it totally shocked me only about 1/3 of the way in, which pretty much never happens. I can kind of guess the plot turns of t.v. shows/books/movies about a mile away. After that big one, it does get a little predictable though... but the ending feels good in a way. Grade: B-

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng-- This book opens with the mysterious death of the oldest daughter from a Chinese- American family. There are many unknowns around her death but I found the slow reveal of this girl's character to be even more absorbing. Or perhaps, how you think you know a person (even your daughter, or mother) but you really don't.. at all. I think this author is very talented. Grade: A

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins-- SO suspenseful that it's a crazy quick read because you cannot even put it down. At least I couldn't because I HAD to know whodoneit. A woman travels on the same train every day and finds herself involved in a murder mystery. Best summary ever, right? Also, the (alcoholic) protagonist is very hard to like, which makes it both unique and annoying. Grade: B-

Enchanted by Rene Denfeld-- I'm actually not technically finished with this one quite yet but it's a gorgeous read so far. It takes place in a prison, on death row actually. Doesn't sound gorgeous, right? But the author's way with words is... enchanting :). It's about redemption and "the human capacity to transcend even the most nightmarish reality." I love it. Grade: A+

Now go forth and read!!


Monday, March 9, 2015


We found out a couple of weeks ago that Maddie Brynn was selected by the lottery to be able to attend our local preschool. I am really excited that she will get the opportunity to start preschool at the same school that she will be attending all of her elementary days... she will be one of the youngest in her class, just like mommy was. It's going to be every day, which will be a big transition for her!

She so looks forward to her two days a week right now when she's at Mother's Day Out. Her teachers always say the nicest things to me about how sweet and helpful Maddie is in the classroom. And I never get tired of hearing them tell me how smart she is. I'd even say that it pretty much makes my day. 

Last Friday we were at her weekly ballet class and afterwards her teacher was speaking with an assistant and motioned for Maddie to come over. Maddie ran over to her and gave her a big hug. Her teacher said, "This is Maddie, my littlest ballerina." The other girls are mostly 4-5 years old. The teacher looked at me and said, "She is doing so well. And she is very smart!"  I told her that I appreciated her saying that. "I don't just say that," she said, "Maddie is very, very bright." That made me blush a little! Mostly because my response should have been different. I didn't mean to infer that she was just saying it to be nice, and in the future I am going to stick with thank you! Because I truly do appreciate the compliment for her and it makes me immensely proud.

The other thing I have been hearing lately about my baby bub is how "theatrical" she is. One of her MDO teachers told me as I was picking her up that Maddie seemed to be very naturally theatrical. I'd never heard it phrased like that before, so it gave me a little pause. I had a conversation with the teacher about how glad I was that she was so social and extroverted because I myself was a more introverted child. Maddie seems so comfortable in social situations and I love that she has the self confidence that can be hard for little ones to build sometimes!

Last weekend we were at a birthday party with several other little girls and in the middle of the party one of the guests (whom I had never met before) exclaimed that if they had to pick an actress from the group, it would definitely be Maddie. She had been more bubbly and talkative than some of the other girls... but again, it gave me a pause. A total stranger picks her out as a future actress? I had to laugh. 

I'm not sure that any of Maddie's outgoing personality qualifies her for a future in the limelight. I think that's a totally different category. I am grateful that her little soul shines so brightly though. She definitely puts a smile on all of these people's faces, and most certainly on her mommy and daddy! 

Here are some examples of her recent "theatrics"

 Girl loves her some tea time!

First ballet class

Parading in mommy's boots

As a waitress at the Children's Museum,
she was very attentive I must say

Posing with Elsa at the birthday party...
she had to get her hands just right :)

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