Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Morning of Dec. 8

I have finished my morning workout and am taking advantage of the still-quiet house to do a little reading before the kids wake up. I'm reading a book called "Everyday Blessings" on "mindful parenting." The chapter I'm on is called "Live-in Zen Masters" and is causing me to reflect on all the things my children have taught me, and are still teaching me. Like how impatient, rigid, and attached to having my own way I can be. How reluctant I am to cede any of my planned free time to unexpected interruptions. How little I pay attention to my own internal state when under stress and how often I lack empathy for what it's like to be small and powerless. Yes, my little Zen masters are powerful and effective teachers.

Ten glorious minutes of reading go by. I hear small footsteps and look up to see Sam's head, covered in a blanket, peeking around the corner. I offer my standard morning greeting: "Samwise! Good morning sunshine!" His mouth opens and a little squeak comes out. The blanket goes over his head and he disappears back into the hall. A few seconds later he is back, curled up face-down on the floor at my feet. "Woof, woof," he says. I rub his back. "'Woof, woof' means 'I am hungry,'" he informs me. "OK, little puppy dog, let's get you something to eat."

The morning routine begins. Coffee, oranges, cereal, frozen berries. Sam gets himself dressed but in the process opens up a wound on his thumb that begins to bleed. At the same time, he urgently needs to go to the bathroom. He runs to the toilet clutching the front of his pajamas and sucking his injured thumb. Alex makes him a "band-aid" out of yellow sticky-note paper and offers to bandage him with it. I am happy she's trying to help, but must veto the paper "band-aid" in favor of a Snoopy one with an absorbent pad. We finish breakfast. I start a load of laundry and load the dishwasher. The kids find the number 8 on their Advent calendars and happily munch their chocolate squares.

10:00 AM. Swimming lessons for Alex. She is making beautiful sine-waves with her body, moving like a dolphin across the pool, a plastic ring around her feet to keep her legs together. Sam is borrowing the instructor's clipboard, writing "SAMUEL" and "MOM" in awkward capital letters with a pencil. "How do you spell 'humongous?'" he asks. We write more words and draw mazes. Alex does a delicate dive, followed by a belly-flop and a cannonball off the diving board.

11:30 AM. Half an hour for lunch and then we head to school. Alex asks if we can go to the library, "pretty please, with a cherry on top" to get a book called Barn Owls that she read in school.  She also asks, "Mom, why is it important to know how to fight?" I tell her that sometimes we need to fight to protect ourselves from being hurt, or to protect others who we love. We talk about self-defense. She wants to study Tae Kwon Do. I think I may sign her up, and Sam if they will take him.

That's it for today. Just wanted to record the ordinary stuff. Life is beautiful, no?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November MauldenNews

Alex's homemade glasses
Hi All,

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. We had a great time in Reno with my mom and various Billharzes/Billharz associates. Sam kept singing "Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go!" In this case it was "over the mountains and through the snow." We had cold temps (the lowest recorded on our car thermometer: 2 degrees) and icy roads on I-80, but we made it in about 9 hours. Kids' dramamine and a portable DVD player with "How to Train your Dragon" kept the back seat crew pretty happy. Alex drew some awesome dragons too.

Thanksgiving day - Alex had a blast sledding with her cousins in grandma's yard. I ran my own 5K around the neighborhood and broke a new personal record - for the coldest I've ever gone running outside (at least voluntarily). 26 degrees. Crazy! We had the usual holiday mob - 25 or so for the big turkey dinner, 15 of which were kids ages 1-18. Thomas ate mostly broccoli, Sam ate mostly cheese cubes and grapes, and Alex ate mostly cranberry sauce. Mom cooked all the side dishes and Jenny brought 3 turkeys: one real and two made out of fruit and veggies. I need to get the pictures from mom - they were amazing! It was actually a little strange NOT to cook for Thanksgiving this year, but I didn't mind too much. :-) The rest of the weekend was soooo nice and relaxing. We watched UNR beat Boise, spent time with family, helped put up the Christmas tree, and took the kids swimming and then out for pancakes. Sunday I went to church and sang hymns with my mom, which made me happy. I ran into some familiar faces there, including the pastor who married me & Bryan 19+ years ago.

After playing with their cousins, Sam and Alex decided to start their own clubs. Sam's is "the flying club," in which the boys shoot people with marshmallow guns from their airplanes, and no girls are allowed. Alex's is "the loving club" and grandma and I were the first to join.

In other news, I visited Washington, DC for a work conference and enjoyed the change of scenery, the chance to eat at a good Ethiopian restaurant, and warmer weather than in Utah. But it was good to get back home.

Four books I liked this month:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (listened to Jeremy Irons read this on CD - great stuff!)
The Hunger Games - good suspenseful thriller with an interesting premise
Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan - an American woman goes on an impromptu 4-month "walkabout" across the Australian continent with a tribe of Aborigines
Fool's Gold by Gillian Tett - the story behind the 2008 financial meltdown - the housing bubble, the big banks crashing and burning, the Wall street craziness behind it all. Not my usual reading material but it's been surprisingly interesting, and eye-opening.

Well, that is about all our news for November. We are full of thankfulness and mindful of our many blessings.



Sunday, October 31, 2010

MauldenNews October 2010

Hello All,

How is everyone? 

We've been busy with the usual things - school, work, 3 friends' kids' birthday parties, swim lessons, and of course, Halloween. We had a purple fairy princess and a Lightning McQueen racecar driver this year.

This month was pretty nice, weather-wise, for Utah. We did get our first snowstorm, with about 5 inches of snow at our house and more in the mountains. Ski season has begun. Still, Tammy and I have been lucky to have several good long runs together on Saturday mornings. I love keeping in shape and getting some extended chat time with a good friend. :-)

I've had a pretty good reading month, too. My book club read The Help by Stockett, which I really liked,  and I have slowly been working my way through Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen. This is my new favorite on adoption and parenting issues - I HIGHLY recommend it for anyone parenting any child with a complex background - very helpful insight,  interesting research reports, and best of all, practical wisdom and tools for every age and stage all the way to adulthood. Grateful to be reading it at this stage, as both kids are growing more aware of adoption issues and asking questions about their identity. I wish I'd had it earlier - am now more acutely aware of my many parenting mistakes  - but I'm learning. 

Other books that are worth mentioning:

Razing Hell by Sharon Baker - a well-thought-out, interesting and provocative look at the theology of hell. Actually it touches on other key theological topics as well - but easy to read for us non- (or amateur) theologians. This would be a good one to discuss - if anyone's interested or has read it - let me know! I really liked it. 

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah - I listened to this on CD - it was painfully sad (story of a child soldier), but good. Not for the faint of heart.

Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan - I'm halfway through this one now - woman gets sort of kindly "kidnapped" by Australian Aborigines for a 3-month "walkabout" across the Australian continent. Intriguing so far...

And that's about it for us. As always, I hope things are well with all of you.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

first school photo - kindergarten

I was a little worried about how this first school photo would turn out, since this girl does not like to comb her hair. Plus, picture day was Papa's day to drop her off at school and who knew what she would be wearing. I think we got lucky! Whew.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

bedtime fears

Alex goes through stages of bedtime fears. I think it's a form of separation anxiety. She'll be fine for a while and then go through a period of being afraid. When we ask what she's afraid of, she'll say, "My room," or "the dark," or "my closet." The other night she told me, "I keep hearing ominous sounds in my room." :-) I didn't even know she knew that word!

We have developed a system that works for us. We put a sleeping bag or blanket on the floor of our bedroom. We tell her that whenever she is afraid, she is welcome to come in and sleep on the floor as long as she is quiet. When kindergarten started, she did start coming in about every other night. Gradually she's coming in less and less. It helps that our floor is not quite as comfortable as her bed.

I had forgotten all about the sleep fairy until she reminded me a few days ago. When she was 3, we had a really hard time getting her to go to sleep and stay in her room. We told her that the sleep fairy would leave her a prize under her pillow if she went to bed quietly and stayed quiet all night. The sleep fairy left pennies, raisins, pieces of candy, stickers, and occasionally small toys.

The other day she said she wanted the sleep fairy to come again. Maybe this was her way of telling me she is ready to plan on sleeping in her room every night again. So the sleep fairy has been visiting. Now that Sam is a little older, of course he wants in on the action, so he gets a prize too. I have to admit it's a lot of fun being the sleep fairy and coming up with new things to put under their pillows. I love to watch them sleep.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

book thoughts: A Long Way Gone

I just finished listening to Ishmael Beah read his book, A Long Way Gone. Oh, that book was hard. It's a first-person account of the author's childhood during war in Sierra Leone, including his years as a child soldier. It's the kind of book that makes you feel like crying on every page. It's hard for me to comprehend that it even happened. 

Despite the above, I do recommend it. It will change your perspective about things for a while. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Beautiful October; 9 miler

I love October in Utah. This month has been so nice and warm, with cooler nights (finally turned on the heat this month). We had our first dusting of snow on the mountaintops recently, but it didn't last long. The leaves are gorgeous.

Tammy and I had a great run together this morning on the Jordan River Parkway. It's so nice to start a Saturday running as the sun comes up. I went 9.25 miles in 1:42:49, a good bit better than my last run of that length (approx) - 9.55 miles at 2:03. Just happy to be doing it.

Sam's moment of genius

Yesterday was Sam's half birthday (making him 4 and 1/2). He made it a special day by reading "5 Hour Energy" off a bottle in the grocery store. I was astounded - normally don't kids start with little words like "cat"? Before you get too impressed, I'll just say he hasn't read anything before or since. But it was nice to know he is off to a good start!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rant: still trapped in between

Today I went shopping for some simple basics: black sweatpants and plain long-sleeve t-shirts.

I was quickly reminded why I have hated shopping for clothes ever since I turned 13. I'm sort of a freak of nature, but I always forget until I try to find clothes that fit.

I am still IN BETWEEN the girls' sizes and the women's sizes, believe it or not. Since the super-sizing of America, I swear women's "Small" sizes have increased every year. Clothes my size simply do not exist in most stores. The "petite" sizes are great for my pre-teen-length legs, but actual petites are few and far between, and if I find them at all they scream "grandma" or "reject from 8 seasons ago". The women's "XS" shirts are the only ones with a neckline that doesn't plunge below my nipple line, but at the same time their sleeves hang down to my knees. Who actually fits in these clothes? The women's sweatpants don't exist in XS, but the "S" sizes (smallest available) extend 3 inches past my heels. Since they are a cotton/poly blend, I don't think my old trick of washing them in hot water and blasting them in the dryer to shrink them will work.

So I head to the girls' section, since the largest girls' clothes occasionally fit, sort of. The advantage is, sometimes they are cheaper. The disadvantage: most girls' clothes are NOT appropriate for 40+ professional women. Sometimes the legs are short enough; most often they are too short. There isn't much hip or bust room, even though I've not got much of either. The "L" sizes are too tight and the "XL" sizes have legs that are too short combined with waists that are too big.

I felt fortunate to find ONE women's petite pair of black yoga/stretch pants, which were exactly the right length and cost 3 times as much as any of the regular women's or girls' pants. They were the only petite clothing item I saw in the entire store. I bought them.

It's one thing to be a teenager in this awkward in-between stage and eventually outgrow it. It's another to be permanently stuck there. My mom is still there too - at least I know I'm not the only one. And someday, maybe I'll be a grandma and all those grandma clothes will be perfect!

Friday, October 8, 2010

our little fish

Alex really, really loves swimming. Every time we take her to the pool, she gets this huge grin plastered across her face. When it's swim lesson day, her face lights up and she can't wait to go. When it's time to get in the water, there is no toe-dipping or getting used to the water - she just bounds in (head and all, under the water) as if there's not a moment to be lost. I don't think there's anything she likes better.

So when we won free swim lessons with Swimkidz at a school fundraiser silent auction, it was perfect! She LOVED her lessons and made great progress. The only problem is, now she is addicted to the one-on-one attention and wants the expensive private lessons instead of the cheap group lessons. Surprise, surprise.

Actually, I did see big improvements in her abilities after just 2 lessons. She is swimming on her back independently, diving to the bottom to retrieve rings, jumping off the diving board, making good progress in the backstroke and starting to learn the crawlstroke. So, how could we not give her more lessons? There is true joy in following your child's passion and doing little things that make them so ridiculously happy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

scary dinosaur park

We've been having beautiful weather, and this weekend Bryan was on call so I thought I'd take the kids out to do something new and fun.
I'd heard about this Dinosaur Park up in Ogden, about an hour north of here, and it was a perfect fall Sunday afternoon so off we went. Darn it, I forgot the camera. Oopsie.

It was a good park, full of interesting facts and life-size models of all kinds of dinosaurs. There was a robotic display inside, in which a triceratops with 2 babies faces off against a T. Rex. Lots of posturing, roaring and grunting.

The thing was, they had the park all decorated for Halloween, including very loud realistic sounds coming from speakers all over the park. We could hear it from outside the gate. Howls, growls, roars, thunderous footsteps, and crashing-through-the-brush sounds. A sign at the front entrance read that some of the Halloween decorations may be a bit scary for young children. Yeah - do you think young children coming to a dinosaur park might find fake body parts and human skeletons hanging from the trees just a wee bit disturbing?

At first the kids were pretty freaked out. They stayed close to me especially when the sounds got louder and more threatening. We talked about how everything was just pretend and they understood that. Eventually they were able to enjoy the playground, the dino dig, real lizards and especially some popsicles I bought them, but overall I was disappointed. At least the kids seemed to survive and there was no evidence of nightmares the next day.

I just don't get all the gory, creepy Halloween displays. I'm a Halloween scrooge. I say, Bah, humbug.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

September MauldenNews

I'm moving the Maulden newsletter to my blog. So here it is.

This month was the Month of Perpetual Fun at our house. Every weekend we did something different, and though I hadn't planned that, I like the way it turned out. Except for this...courtesy of Salt Lake County.

Labor Day weekend we camped with our church in the mountains outside of Coalville, UT, about 1.5 hours away. We had a bigger turnout, meaning some poor unsuspecting campers wound up sharing their cabin with us. Both kids fell out of their bottom bunks in the middle of the night, sending me or Bryan scrambling down from the top bunks to rescue them. I got up early one morning to run (training for the half marathon), and enjoyed a gorgeous morning, with beautiful scenery and a deep quiet that I don't get in the city...very, very nice.

September 11 - ran a half marathon in the Little Grand Canyon! Awesome. Great weather, great friends to run with, great scenery, great food afterwards. Love the endorphins and the feeling of being in the best shape of my life! Even better, I raised over $1000 for Holt Ilsan Center in Korea. THANK YOU everyone - you are good people!

September 18 - Alex milked her first cow at Wheeler Farm...

gave all of us tattoos...

and experimented with my camera during the car ride to Cascade Springs.

We had a wonderful time there...

until Sam fell in the creek.  Of course, we had brought a change of clothes.

Next weekend was the Oktoberfest at Alex's school. Rides! Games! Candy! Lederhosen! Bratwurst! Beer (in Utah!?!?!) Sauerkraut! and a special appearance by Yodel Man. Yeah, didn't know he existed but he has his own costume and can get a whole crowd of kids yodeling. We won free swimming lessons at the silent auction, but missed out on getting the principal's parking spot for a year - a total steal at $35. Speaking of winning, I also won a CD collection of Mahler's complete works, in a daily drawing for donating to our local classical music station. Mahler is OK, I guess, but I kinda wish it were something else. One friend's opinion of Mahler has always stuck with me: "Whenever I finish hearing Mahler, I feel like I have to ask what century it is." Maybe I can sell it on e-bay??

And as if all that weren't enough, we went to the Ringling Bros/Barnum & Bailey circus too. It was nuts, we paid way too much for popcorn and cotton candy, and it was everything a circus should be.

And now September is over. I'm relieved. Having all this fun has been hard work. Plus, I had to give three different presentations for work this month, and public speaking stresses me out. Glad that's over! I did have a very nice evening with some friends at Silver Lake.

Oh yes - a reading update. Book of the month was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She's a writer and mom of 2 living in New York City who diligently researched happiness and then tried to pursue it intentionally for a year. I liked her honesty and sense of humor. After reading the book, I joined a book club, which I know will contribute to my happiness. :-) Next month we're reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

I will end with something I'm thankful for - we all went to the dentist this month and got good reports.

Til next time,


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Five good minutes

The question of the night (in our church group): How do you practice listening, or silence, or stillness in your life?

Recently I enjoyed skimming a little book called "Five Good Minutes in the Evening." It's a collection of little "practices" you can do to quiet your mind at the end of the day, touch base with God, or your body or breathing, and let go of the day. I like it. I often do some praying during this time.

How about you?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

morning chat with Sam

This morning Sam asked me, "How do you make bread?"

I told him about mixing up flour and water and yeast, stirring and kneading, and putting dough in the oven.

Then he chimed in, "And then you cut a piece off and send it to your tongue!"

Send it to your tongue. How do kids come up with stuff like this?

Goodnight, I'm going to go send a few chocolate covered acai berries to my tongue.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey

Took the kids to the circus today - their first time ever. Alex claimed she did not want to go, but once we were there, she loved it. She kept yelling at the trapeze artists to "Be careful up there! That is VERY DANGEROUS!"

It's one of those things I would never do if I didn't have kids, but I enjoy it because I do have kids.

It was a good show - I especially liked the acrobats and the high flyers. The looks on the kids' faces as they gaped in amazement with their mouths wide open: priceless.

An act I don't remember seeing as a child: seven guys on motorcycles zooming around inside a giant metal cage, in the dark, with glow-in-the-dark helmets and uniforms on. Cool. Overall, I think the circus is better than I remember as a kid. I still don't really laugh at the clowns, though.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

new 10K PR

This morning: 10K in 1:04:27 - a new personal record (PR)! Tammy deserves the real credit - I was pushing to keep up with her. It was a beautiful morning on the Jordan River trail - loved being out there - and what a treat to go with a friend. It was totally worth the 4:40 a.m. wake-up.

OK, that was more than one sentence, but I reserve the right to take liberties on my own blog. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sam time

In reading "The Happiness Project" for a new book club, I am intrigued by the idea of writing a one-sentence journal. Maybe if I only had to write one sentence, I would blog more often.

Anyway, one thing the book made me think about is how all the little moments go by so fast. "The days are long, but the years are short." I wanted to remember something that happened this week.

I've been reading a really good book about raising adopted kids. The most recent chapter talked about "facial exploration" and how some adopted kids are fascinated with exploring their new parents' faces. Maybe as infants they didn't get the chance to do this as much as children who stayed with their birth parents. The book encouraged parents to help their children learn to explore - gently - and mirror their kids' actions to promote connection.

Anyway, the very next morning after reading that chapter, Sam came and climbed up in my lap when he woke up. He and I often are the first ones up in the morning, and we enjoy our special one-on-one time. This morning, I was smiling at him. He looked into my eyes, reached out one finger and gently touched my teeth. "Teeth," he said. I touched his front teeth and replied, "Teeth."

He touched my nose. "Nose," I said. "Nose," he replied.

Then he touched my eyes. "Eyes." I touched his eyes. "Eyes."

And so it went with cheeks, chin, lips, eyebrows, forehead. Then he touched my glasses and said, "Glasses." I reached toward his eyes and said, "No glasses!" And we both laughed.

I just wanted to remember this little game we played. It was very sweet.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Little Grand Canyon Half Marathon!

We did it!

This picture was taken only moments after crossing the finish line. Actually, I think I gulped a few bites of watermelon between the finish and this picture. Can you see the juice dripping down my chin?

It was cold at the start - upper 30's. Brrr!! Yes, I did have 3 layers on my top half and no, I did not get too hot at the end. I like to be warm.

The scenery was nice and the sun came up as we ran...ahhh...the weather was ideal, no wind and cloudless blue skies.

Isn't this a nice rock formation? Again, love the color of the sky. A beautiful cerulean blue.

This self-portrait was made at about mile 8. I think it was around that time I started to feel a little pickup from the triple-berry caffeinated goo (aka GU) that I sampled at the aid station. That stuff is weird. Like eating toothpaste. While running. Yeah. Weird.

More geologic wonderment.

Coolest feature of the run - ancient Native American pictographs painted on the canyon walls.

Holding up our medals (and Sno-Cone) at the end. We crossed the finish line together in 2:23 and something. Yay, us! and, a shout out to Jeff Galloway who gave us the virtual coaching and training schedule to finish strong. We ran 4 minutes, walked 1 min. the whole way except for the last mile which we ran in 9:39. Our average pace was between 10-11 min/mile, I think. We were soundly beaten by most of the crowd, of course, most notably by a couple pushing the cutest twins imaginable in a double stroller. On a dirt/gravel road. I marvel at the energy of any parents of infant twins to do such a thing. I really wish I had gotten pictures of the babies on the bus ride - they were smiling at everyone and really, really, really, really, really, really cute.

Speaking of pictures - all pictures (above) courtesy of my friend Tammy and nice friends along the way who helped out. There are more from Jessica's husband who captured us doing our warmup exercises, so maybe I'll add them later, if they're not too embarrassing. :-)

I am so grateful that I could do this! Grateful not only for a great race day, but for new friends and new experiences, even black toenails and weird goo along the way. I never imagined running would become a fun hobby for me. Life is strange, but good.

Last but not least - a huge thanks to all my friends and supporters - Holt's Ilsan Center is about to gain $1000 in donations! Thank you for making it happen. You're the best!



Thursday, August 19, 2010

birthday girl AND first day of kindergarten

How did we go from here...

to here...

so fast?

It feels like this...

which is all I could get when I tried to take her picture on the first day of school. She was totally anti-picture. It's probably the only picture you'll ever see where she's moving and Sam is standing still. :-)  Leave it to her to be the nonconformist kid who won't let me be sentimental and document the memories. I feel sorry for the photographer at her wedding already.

Her first day at school went great, from what I heard. Of course, it helps that she gained instant popularity by bringing donuts for the class for her birthday. The drop-off was chaos, but in a good way. I am impressed already with the teacher's craftiness. She met us at the door with a list of instructions for how to organize and put away all the school supplies. It kept everyone busy and taught all the kids where everything goes, and no one had time to even think about crying. :-) Zip zip, we said goodbye and went out the door to a ferocious thunderstorm that soaked us running to the car. The whole sky opened up and I read in the news that a man was hit by lightning but was doing OK. A drama day for my drama girl.

She had her swim party with friends last week, so tonight we just had a family "party." Her choice for birthday dinner was Kraft macaroni and cheese, and ice cream for dessert. I tried her pink bubblegum flavor and it tasted exactly like those fluoride treatments at the dentist.

I have lots more blurry pictures, as she never wants her picture taken, but I finally was able to sneak one good one. Happy birthday to my sweet SIX year old - I love you soooooooo much.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Interesting running venue

I'm in Las Vegas for a work-related trip this week. The hotel has a gym, but unlike in most hotels, gym access is not included in the room fee. They want $25 per day or $50 for 3 days. No thanks.

So, my challenge last night was to find somewhere to run. It's about 100 degrees here in August and we're located in the middle of the Strip. Running through the air-conditioned mall adjacent to our hotel was tempting, but I felt too self-conscious. So I took an impromptu, self-guided walking tour of the area. It was hot, and the sidewalks were packed with tourists taking photos, so I rescheduled the run for the morning and wandered around. I can't remember when I was here last - maybe 7 years - and it hasn't changed much - if anything it looks a little more worn down. I wonder if the economy has been tough on it. Anyway, Seinfeld, Cher, and Cirque du Soleil are all here, and I saw one ad for Donny and Marie. Good times.

This morning I did run for about 45 minutes. It was still hot - probably 75 degrees - but at least the crowds were gone and the scenery was interesting. Too bad I'm such a flake - should have brought my camera - maybe tomorrow morning. I passed Caesar's Palace, the Mirage, Treasure Island with the pirate ship, the volcano that erupts every hour, the Eiffel Tower, the Venetian, Fashion Show plaza, Circus Circus and some less glitzy areas under construction. There was a "Sin on Sunday" billboard too. I got to run up and down some escalators and threw in a few extra flights of stairs just for kicks. There were a few other joggers, a few homeless people and a police officer just hanging out on the corner. The casinos were all open - definitely a 24 hour town.

Never thought I would be jogging on the strip in Vegas at 6 a.m. I wouldn't call it a "rave run", but at least it's a nice flat road with unique scenery. One thing I won't miss about Vegas is the air - between the smoke inside and the exhaust outside, I bet my cilia are working overtime.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

ignorance is not bliss

So today we were at the playground and a Caucasian girl walks up to Alex and says, "Why are your eyes so small?"

Alex looked at her and said, "What?"

"Why are your eyes so small?"

Alex: "They're NOT."

Girl: "Well, why are to the corners of her own eyes, searching for words)...that?"

Alex walked away and came over to me and said, "Mom, that girl doesn't know ANYTHING."

Boy, did she hit the nail on the head there. I mostly love living in Utah, but sometimes it is frustrating that kids of this age seem never to have encountered a person of another race before? Come on!

We had a more in depth talk about this afterward, and Alex seemed OK, but I did see in her face at the time the confusion and hurt of feeling singled out and made to feel, well, different. I feel so inadequate as a parent to guide her through these moments. Pray for us as school starts in a few weeks...Alex has been showing more signs of anxiety lately. And I don't think this little experience today was very helpful. Sigh.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Running for fun and a good cause

Hello friends and family! 

As many of you know, I have started run-walk-running for fun and fitness. Generally I run for 5 minutes, walk for one, and repeat. Because I don't run with earbuds or tunes, running affords me a nice, rare time of solitude and reflection. 

One recurrent running thought, besides "When will I be done?" and "I can't wait to eat breakfast!" is: Wouldn't it be nice if all this activity could benefit someone besides me? Lots of people these days are doing marathons for cancer research and other fundraisers. Well, I'm not quite ready for a marathon yet. But I'm training for a half marathon (13.1 miles) this fall, in the Little Grand Canyon near Huntington, Utah. In honor of our five-year anniversary with Alex this year, I'd like to use this event to raise awareness and funds for disabled and homeless children at the Holt Ilsan Center in Korea. 

Holt International Children's Services is an international adoption and child welfare agency working in 13 countries, including the United States. Our personal connection is obvious - Alex was adopted through Holt (Sam was adopted through a different agency). Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed with Alex and Sam, I can draw inspiration from Harry and Bertha Holt, who were into their fifties with six children already when they decided to adopt eight more from Korea. More about Holt and its history is here. And, just for fun, click here to see a picture of Grandma Holt setting a world record for her age group in the 400 meters at the Hayward Masters Track and Field Championships in 1996. :-)

Back to Holt Ilsan Center. The Holts established it after the Korean War to care for disabled and homeless children. Currently, Ilsan serves the needs of approximately 300 residents, ranging in age from toddlers to adults. Most of the residents have some sort of disability, and receive therapy and training to overcome obstacles they may face. They have a performing choir, a competitive wheelchair basketball team, and a dedicated staff of professionals and volunteers. See attached pictures (used with permission from Holt) - but beware - some of these kids are dangerously cute! 

Currently the Ilsan Center needs some funding for maintenance (some of the original buildings built by Harry Holt are still in use), as well as other needs related to caring for disabled people. I would love to collect any donations you may care to give. If you're not in a position to give, that's all right. I know it's a tight economy - no donation is too small, and any amount will help. Please make checks out to Holt International and mail them to me at 8916 Sutton Way, Sandy, Utah, 84093. All donations are tax deductible. Additional information about Holt's financial accountability is at the end of this letter.

Many thanks for your friendship and support.


Holt International Children's Services qualifies as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization under IRS code 501(c)(3).
Contributions to Holt are tax deductible if you itemize.
Holt is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Children's Charities of America and the Independent Charities of America, Participating in the Combined Federal Campaign.
Holt is registered as a private voluntary organization with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

10K Race

Today, I am thrilled to report I have achieved my goals for my first 10K race!
 - to finish:
 - in the upright position,
 - with a smile on my face,
 - wanting to do it again.
I even attained a new Personal Best - 1:09:53. (earlier record was 1:14:05) Woo-hoo! I haven't set or achieved many physical goals in my life, so this was fun. What made it special, though, was the opportunity to share the experience with old and new friends.

It was thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end. I never thought I would say that about running 6.2 miles, but it was true. Sarah, Jessica and I ran at a "conversational" pace and enjoyed each other's funny stories while doing the Galloway thing (running 5 minutes, walking 1) until mile 5, and then we ran the last mile (plus point two) to the finish. Tammy (who had outraced us easily) was waiting for us at the finish; it was wonderful to have people cheering for me as I crossed the line. :-)

The morning was beautiful, with blue skies and gorgeous views of Mt. Timpanogos. Afterwards we were treated to free sports drinks and french toast. Overall, it was a very satisfying day! I am looking forward to my next race. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

5 years

5 years ago on May 25...

We welcomed the girl of our dreams into our arms and hearts.

Happy Arrival Day, Alex! We love you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hand Shaped Soup Recipe

Alex has been talking about making "hand shaped soup" for a few days. It is an Alex original. Here is the recipe, exactly as dictated:

1 egg
2 cups baking powder
1 cup vanilla extract
4 cups milk
1 cup flour
3 cups sugar

Mix all ingredients in a big bowl and bake for 5 minutes.

Doesn't it sound delicious? I am almost ready to let her make it, just to see her face when she tastes it.

Reminds me of the time my sister's 1st grade teacher had each child write the instructions for "How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich" and then the teacher read them to the class and made the sandwiches exactly as the recipes directed. I'll have to remember that one for the next rainy afternoon.

Monday, May 17, 2010

running update

I am slowly but successfully working my way through a nice gentle training program (courtesy of Jeff Galloway) to complete my first 10K race, which is happening on Saturday, May 29.

Overall, I am actually enjoying the act of running (or run-walk-running, in my case). This enjoyment is a true surprise to me. In an earlier blog post I wrote about how running beyond a moderate exertion threshold actually used to cause me to break out in freakish red welts - exercise-induced urticaria, according to my doctor. This was very convenient for me as it got me a bona fide excuse from running in high school PE class. There was only happiness, no sadness, in this for me. Running in general did not make me feel good - quite the opposite. In retrospect, I think I was just trying to go too far or too fast.

In college, I picked up jogging again after reading my dad's book about aerobic exercise by Kenneth Cooper. (Dad ran a few marathons, but he was also crazy in other ways and I didn't really feel inspired to imitate him at that point. He did advise me to take walk breaks, but like a true know-it-all teenager, I blew him off. Now of course I realize he was right!) Although I jogged on and off for several years in my 20s, my main motivation was to be reasonably healthy and burn off calories so I could eat desserts. Running was just a convenient and cheap means to that end. I didn't ever think much about the actual physical experience, except when it became painful. Which didn't take long, because I had no idea what I was doing. I knew zero about training or form. I just thought some people were made to run, and some weren't, and I was not. It was OK with me. As long as I put in the then-recommended 30 minutes three times a week, I was fulfilling my duty to my puny body with its puny little cardiovascular system, and that was good enough. It was like brushing my teeth to prevent cavities - necessary, but not particularly enjoyable or fulfilling. Just a chore.

Somewhere in my mid-30s my knee starting hurting slightly when I ran. Around that same time, I got the impression (in med school/residency) that runners wear down their cartilage and hasten the onset of osteoarthritis, requiring joint replacements as they got older. I decided running was best left to those under 35 and quit. (I have recently seen research that suggests the above is false - that is, runners are no more likely than non-runners to develop osteoarthritis.) I found other ways to stay fit. Then, this year around my birthday, some weird inexplicable urge to run seized hold of me and I have been in its grip ever since. For some reason I wondered how far I could run and how fast, and now I have to find out.

So I gradually eased into it, and a couple weeks ago I ran my farthest distance ever - 7 miles - without pain and actually felt good at the end. Good enough to eat a whole berry sundae from Costco, in fact. But even without the sundae, it would have been worth it. Last weekend, I left my GPS and heart monitor at home and just ran for 50 minutes (still pausing for walk breaks every 4-5 min) and it was one of the most joyful runs I have ever had. I felt awesome. I didn't need to know how far or how fast I was going. I was just loving it.

Then I changed my routine from afternoon to morning. I went running this morning - at 6 a.m. - and oof! my body did not run the same at 6 am as it does at 4 pm. I felt sluggish the whole time, and hungry, and kept wondering when I could stop and go eat breakfast. I am wondering if I will get used to early morning running. Hope I won't feel like I did today on the morning of the race, because I was struggling to do 3 miles, let alone 6.

Oh well. The nice thing about running your first race of any new distance is that, whatever your time, you get an automatic PR (personal record). I am actually not too concerned about time - I like what a friend told me about meditation. She said, "If you feel good while you're doing it, you're doing it right." My goal for this race is to feel good and - as Galloway says - to finish 1) in the upright position, 2) with a smile on my face, 3) wanting to do it again.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Sam turns four this Thursday, but we had his party Sunday. It started at the pool and then moved to our house. The camera batteries died at the pool...more pictures will be coming, hopefully, thanks to Tammy.

I can't believe my baby is turning FOUR.

Tonight he let me hold him and snuggle him. I cherish these times. He is truly "blessed from above" as his Korean name indicates. His latest fortune cookie fortune read: "People admire you for being such a charmer." I would say that is Apt. Grateful today - again - for his Korean mother and wishing her every happiness.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

5 miler

Today I ran 5 miles!

Well, really I alternated running (3 min) and walking (1 min) but I did the entire 5 miles in a little under an hour and felt good at the end of it. Yay! I have not run that far in at least 10 years.

Treated myself to a gelato with a friend afterwards. Feeling happy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

a new world record

I think Alex set a new world record today.

Does anyone else have a child that can make a 30-minute piano practice last for 85 minutes?

Didn't think so!

Hallelujah! I can see again!

The saga began one year ago. I was having some issues with my 5-year-old contacts (rigid gas permeable) and so I began the process of getting new ones. Little did I know what I was in for. I've been wearing the same type of contacts for 30 years (!) and NEVER had these issues.

Our health insurance offers a "vision benefit" that we signed up for so I called around to see who provides the services. After an hour or more of searching and calling, I found ONE provider who can both do the eye exam and provide the appropriate lenses. My prior eye doctor has since retired, and was not on this plan anyway.

So I went to get the new prescription. But the new eye Dr. said my lenses had flattened and the shape of my cornea had changed, and when I got the new lenses the world was blurry. I went back to the old lenses but they were starting to get uncomfortable and collect protein deposits and I knew it was only a matter of I waited a year (so the insurance would cover the new lenses again) and tried again.

Wore my glasses for a month to allow my corneas to "round" back to their natural shape. Got the new Rx and the right eye was OK but the left was still blurry. Went back and they changed the power of the left lens, but now it was only in focus if I stared straight ahead. If my eye slightly moved in any direction - up, down, right, left - everything was blurry. Grr. I drove around not being able to see the road signs, etc. very well for another month...went back to the Dr...they gave me a new lens last week, and ...


I know - I am being a bit whiny compared to people who really can't see. But after months of a blurry world, it is SO GREAT to see a nice sharp crisp world again!! Yayyyyy!!!!

One thing about heaven that I look forward to (with my new perfect body) is having perfect eyesight. That, and a beautiful singing voice. :-)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

spring training

This week Tammy found a 10K race on May 29 and we are going to register! Yahoo!

I can't believe I'm actually excited about this. Me, turning into a runner? I was literally allergic to running in high school. I got hives - excercise-induced urticaria - but these somehow subsided several years ago. I never would have expected to be bitten by the running bug (but partly can blame genetics since my dad and several siblings have been or are runners).

Today I did 4 miles in 60 minutes, alternating running 2 min. with walking 2. A nice comfortable pace. The best part was, a couple of new running buddies were willing to come along and run/walk with me on the Jordan River Parkway. It's amazing how good company makes the time fly by.

Monday, March 22, 2010

not the best day

Well, today I have managed to lose my Blackberry (government issue) and lock my keys in my car.

I had the BB with me yesterday on the Jordan River trail with the kids. Unfortunately I don't know how it got separated from my person, but I surmise it could have been when the kids got tired and I was carrying them - maybe they bumped it off? Or else it fell off while I was assisting them with peeing in the bushes since there were no available restroom facilities. Thought about going back to look for it but decided my chances of success weren't very high. So I am going through the government process for reporting it lost/stolen, which required about 5 phone calls so far to 4 different people, about 5 e-mails, and so far only filling out one form (and then answering more e-mails questioning whether I had filled out the form) . The real work will come if and when they issue me a replacement - re-programming all the stuff back onto it. Well - it's my fault.

Wasn't too happy about locking my keys in the car either, but at least I managed to do it on a Monday when Bryan could come to my rescue. My knight in shining armor came through - yay!

And now, my workday is through and I'm heading out for a run, hoping I won't get struck by lightning or step in a hole. I've had enough self-imposed misfortune for one day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

what to do with a sassy girl

Looking for suggestions...

Alex has become quite a sassy girl. Lately the attitude, arguments, and backtalk have just escalated. It's time to put the lid on it.

We've tried a few things. We usually give her some time alone until she is ready to rejoin the family. Mostly I think we just need to be more consistent. I also want to teach her constructive ways to express her anger, disappointment, etc. instead of just silencing her. I'm wondering what other experienced parents have done that worked. Anyone care to share?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Run/walking update

I've read through most of Jeff Galloway's book on running (except the chapter on "Running Over 40" which I look forward to) and started my run/walking workouts this week. Goal is to finish a 10K and continue running through the summer and fall. I'm planning on 3 days running, 2 days cross-training and 2 days off per week.

The book is interesting. Mostly good, though there were some things I found surprising. For instance, he says stretching is a leading cause of injuries among runners and recommends doing very little stretching - especially before or after a run. Opposite of what I always thought. I am skeptical and will probably keep stretching some, but with more awareness and not worrying about "how far." One of the worst injuries I ever had (hamstring) happened during a routine stretch after a workout, when I was trying to pull "just a bit farther." He showed 3 stretches that are dangerous and I have been guilty of all of them. He also says he doesn't believe in "carb loading" before a race and eats very little or nothing 12-18 hours before (but does keep well hydrated). Again, interesting. Who knows.

This week I ran/walked about 9 miles and walked another 3 miles. I am s-l-o-w (12-13 min/mile) but purposely holding back since I haven't run in so long, and also at this point more than half of my "run" is walking, so I may get faster over time. If I don't, though, I'm OK with that. I am being VERY conservative - starting with a ratio of 2 min. running alternating with 3 of walking. Next week I'll move to 3 min. running and 2 walking, then 3:1, 4:1 and 5:1 and probably stay around there if it's comfortable. After 3-4 weeks I'll start increasing distance, and maybe try some intervals or other things just to keep it interesting, but first I'd like to run for a few weeks without problems. It's hard to hold myself back because it doesn't feel challenging enough right now, but I just keep reminding myself that running slowly is better than not running at all. Galloway is very good at getting that point across and makes me feel OK with the slow and steady approach.

Today's run was the best yet - I discovered the Porter Rockwell trail and it was great! Lots of kids, dogs, walkers, joggers, and bikers and beautiful scenery. Thanks Tammy for the great tip! The only problem was I could not find the mile markers until I was almost finished - was looking for sign posts and they were painted in red on the ground - so I'm not sure how far I went but with warmup and cooldown I was out there 45 min. so I am guessing it was at least the 3 miles I was "supposed" to do today. Looking forward to getting my Garmin!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Poop update - read at your own risk

Sam actually pooped in the potty on Tuesday, for the first time!

My elation was short-lived, though. Ten minutes later he pooped more, but in his pants. Poor kid is always having near-diarrhea. He has ALWAYS been this way. In the past week I have taken him to two social events and had to change his poopy pants 2 or 3 times in one hour. Almost everywhere we take him he poops. And I don't think I've ever taken him to McDonald's without him pooping. Something about those playland tubes is very intestinally stimulating to him.

So I asked my pediatrician brother what to do to make his stools firmer and he said take away all juice and limit him to maintenance fluids. (He currently is allowed 8 oz of juice per day, and likes to drink a lot of water. He doesn't drink milk of any kind.) Buzz is so awesome, he even calculated Sam's maintenance fluids on the spot: 40 oz a day. But Bryan remains unconvinced. He doesn't want to take away the juice. I can't imagine why Bryan resisted this idea, especially directly after cleaning up Sam twice in one restaurant meal. In fact, immediately after we had this enlightening conversation about the juice, Bryan gave Sam a juice popsicle at home. Men.

Anyway, I am still trying to convince him to give Sam a couple of juice-free weeks. Wish me luck. If this makes the difference it will be a very happy thing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hmmm, running?

I thought I'd take a break from posting about potty training. :-) Thanks to all for your wise and kind words. We are making great progress with #1, so I have faith that eventually we will also accomplish #2 (though Sam is still holding out, for now). Wow, after 5 years of diapers (I know that's not much) I am seeing the end in sight! I will not go back to diapers I will not go back to diapers I will not go back to diapers...

But I digress. The topic for today is running. For some inexplicable reason, as my 41st birthday approached, I began to wonder if I could run again. I used to "run" in college and for several years afterward. Really it was very slow jogging. So slow, in fact, that one day as I puffed uphill past a man pushing his little boy in a stroller, I heard the boy ask, "Daddy, why is that girl running so slow?" I had to laugh. 'Cause I just can't run any faster!!!

I've always been slow and it never bothered me. I knew I was getting a good workout and I knew I would never be a "competitive" runner, so I just ran at a comfortable pace. Sometime around 1993, I actually entered a 5K race and finished it without stopping to walk, which I was very happy with. In medical school, I tried running 5 or maybe 6 miles a few times, but I don't think I ever ran longer distances. Around age 35, my right knee started aching a bit at the end of 3 miles, and I stopped running. I've enjoyed my self-made regimen of fitness walking, aerobics with weights, core strengthening, and elliptical machine, but as spring approaches I am hearing the call of the wild.

I was in Phoenix in January on a work trip, and our hotel was near a running path, so I did 3 40-minute runs that week outdoors. It felt great! It probably wasn't wise to do that much that fast, and my legs felt it, but no knee pain. It made me want more.

So, I'm planning to start this week. I read about Jeff Galloway's "run-walk-run" training method and I'm going to try it. Bought new running shoes (Sauconys, first time ever). What I'm most excited about is my new gadget: I ordered a Garmin Forerunner 305, which will track my mileage, elevation, heart rate, and pace for me.

My first goal is to train for a 10K. I may even enter a local race, just to see what that's like. If I can train without injury or other setbacks through the summer, I may even try a half marathon in the fall. Or maybe not. I'm hoping to discover some new local routes too. If you know of any 3-10 mile runs around Salt Lake without a lot of traffic, mean dogs, or steep hills, please share!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

potty training - a small success

OK, so since I whined so much about how impossible it's been to potty train our 3 and 1/2 year old boy, I want to put in a positive report here. Yesterday I decided Sam is just too comfortable with going in his pants. I'd heard of letting kids go naked and I wondered if it would make any difference to Sam. My only reservations were 1. that he would be cold, and 2. that we would have to buy all new carpet and furniture. At least his pants were containing most of the worst...anyway, I took the plunge and made him go bare-bottomed yesterday afternoon. He didn't complain of being cold, but after a couple hours I noticed him holding himself. He actually stopped watching a movie to come and ask me to put his pants on. I promised him he could wear his pants after he went potty. It took several minutes of convincing, but - Hallelujah! - he did it!

And this morning - same thing - he was bare-bottomed all morning and then - without any prompting - he went in the bathroom and did it without any prompting from me! Yee-haw! So, I have hope now. Yes! We CAN do this.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

potty training, continued. It still sucks.

Today our babysitter had Sam and Alex all day, since it was Tuesday. We tried to spare her the worst of the potty training by starting on a Wednesday, and last Tuesday the kids were home sick. So today was the first day she had Sam in pants all day. We did put a diaper on over his underwear, a great trick I learned from my friend Tammy. His pants will be wet and yet he won't make a big mess...

Well...he didn't go #1 or #2 all day. Not in the potty, though she took him a few times and tried to coax him. Not in his pants either. As soon as I picked him up at 5, he peed his pants.


Help, help, please give me suggestions. I'm dyin here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

potty training totally sucks

OK, I guess we got lucky with Alex because she pretty much figured out potty training easily and very rarely had accidents. Now for the fun part: potty training a boy.

Sam is 3 and 1/2 and has actually peed in the potty ONCE in his life, that I know of, and that was about 6 months ago. We weren't worried, and didn't push it. But I just couldn't stand the image of him in diapers at his 4th birthday party. So we talked it up, got him all ready, bought him the big boy underwear, gave him lots of practice sessions, read potty books, watched potty videos, and finally almost 2 weeks ago we took away the diapers (except for nighttime and naps). We've promised him the moon and then some if he ever succeeds. No luck. Have found NOTHING that motivates him. Not candy, not trips to the store for prizes, not videos, nothing.

I've heard a lot of people say "Don't worry, you never see kids going to kindergarten still wearing diapers." Well, with my luck my kid will be the one.


Friday, February 5, 2010

On women and anger

Today was another day when a theme just converged. I went to a moms' group in the morning, where the discussion was about dealing with frustration and anger. One thing we talked about was the positive side of anger, the ability for our anger to give us the energy and courage to make a change that needs to happen. Then I came home and read this:

Most of my life I'd run from anger as something that good daughters and gracious ladies did not exhibit. Perhaps the thing most denied to women is anger.


Yet anger needs not only to be recognized and allowed; like...grief, it eventually needs to be transformed into an energy that serves compassion. Maybe one reason I had avoided my anger was that like a lot of people I had thought there were only two responses to anger: to deny it or to strike out thoughtlessly. But other responses are possible. We can allow anger's enormous energy to lead us to acts of resistance...Anger can fuel our ability to challenge, to defy injustice. It can lead to creative projects, constructive behavior, acts that work toward inclusion. In such ways anger becomes a dynamism of love. - Sue Monk Kidd, Dance of the Dissident Daughter

As I am rather defective in my ability to express anger constructively, I worry about passing this defect on to my daughter. Oh how well I remember feeling totally powerless as a child, and particularly as a girl. I recognize the emotions and behaviors in Alex, and I want to give her more than I had. Better resources, better understanding, and better insight. Praying for grace and wisdom.

What TO Wear

Ever have one of those days when a particular theme just keeps popping up?

I've had a couple days like that recently. A few weeks ago, I watched that show What Not To Wear. I have very mixed feelings about that show. I love how the two hosts just blatantly ridicule people for the way they dress. I love seeing even worse clothes in other people's closets than what is in mine. I love knowing there are lots of other people out there who dress the way I do (not very thoughtfully, most of the time). I secretly love the idea of picking up tips and advice about how to dress better, since I am unfortunately very clueless about clothes and looks. But I don't like how much the show focuses on externals, especially in a culture that already ties so much of women's (especially women's) worth to their looks. I also don't know if I could let myself spend $5000 on a new wardrobe when people are hungry and starving and suffering from preventable diseases. I always wonder if they ever invite someone to be on the show who refuses because they don't want to spend that much money on clothes. I've decided that the only way they could get me on the show is if they agreed to give $10,000 to a humanitarian cause in addition to $5000 to me. Ha!

Anyway, immediately after watching the show that morning, I encountered this in my daily lectionary reading:

As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against each other, forgive each other...above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. - Col. 3:12-14

A bizarre fantasy played itself out in my head then, a silly dream about a TV show that dared people to clothe themselves with kindness and humility and compassion. Instead of teaching people to find the perfect dress and the perfect shoes, the hosts would follow people around with video cameras and catch them finding ways to put on gentleness and patience. I pictured the end of the show, where all the friends and family gather to see the transformed person, and they would all be cheering at how this person learned to put on love. If only we got that kind of encouragement from society...what a world this would be.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

40 days til 40 (or 41) 9

Yeah, well, I'm way behind on blogging but it's because I've been having so much fun. :-D Yeah.

Tammy and I are doing our "40 days til 40" celebration again this year. This time she is turning 40, and I am celebrating my last 40 days of being 40. Today, day 9, we had lunch together (without kids!) at the new Corner Bakery Cafe that opened up near my work. Earlier in the week we celebrated by touring the music store and buying some fun new piano duets, playing said duets (and posting silly videos!) , and listening to some new (to us) classical music. I LOVE having a birthday twin. We really are a lot alike.

One new thing we did this year was to pick our "one word." I heard about the idea on the radio - a bunch of people decided that instead of making New Year's resolutions, they were going to carefully select the one word that they wanted to focus on for the year ahead. Tammy picked "unwind" and I chose "connected." In my mind, there is a graphic related to my word that probably only makes sense to me and a few other people, because it comes directly from medical informatics. Basically, in computable terminologies, terms are pretty meaningless ("primitive") in and of themselves - they gain meaning and are "defined" by building a network of relationships to other terms. I thought of this as an analogy for people - the more rich our relationships and associations are with others (as well as with God and our own selves), the more full and meaningful our lives are. I think I've been in the habit of taking my "connections" for granted. I want to be more intentional about strengthening them, and more willing to invest in them.

Coming up: this weekend, more 40 day activities: snowshoes, the Super Bowl, and trying out some new mixed drinks.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Chuggy Little Snowman

Sam was too shy to say the Snowman poem during his preschool Christmas program, but he did say it for the camera. The beginning got cut off, but the first line is definitely "The Chuggy Little Snowman."
Not chubby.
Not chunky.
Sam was very definite about that.