Monday, December 30, 2013

A Spunky Six

Fresh off a birthday for this little guy.  Hard to believe the "baby" is six.   Good thing his favorite thing to do still is snuggle with his mama!

Books about Food

I read quite a few books about food this year.  Some have been waiting around on my to-read list for a long while and some were impulse reads to keep up with this Paleo bandwagon we jumped on.  It started with some conscious food decisions (and a New Year's Challenge) and turned into so much more. Because really, what is the point of working out so hard to be happy with your body if you are just going to refuel it with a whole lot of crap.

The Paleo Solution (Robb Wolf) and the Paleo Diet (Loren Cordain) are both great starter books for anyone interested in Paleo eating. They lay out the basics of going grain and dairy free.   Both are pretty quick reads and have quite a bit of reference material to get you going.

If you are not sure about all the paleo hype, consider watching King Corn.  You can get it on Netflix even.  If nothing else you can chuckle at the clothing choices of the video subjects.  I may live out in the sticks but those Iowa boys are way behind the fashion times.  The short story of King Corn is two guys set out to determine how much corn Americans are really eating.  It all starts when they test their own hair samples and find them to be some ridiculously high percentage of corn.  Even if you aren't consuming huge amounts of corn on the cob or even canned corn for that matter, corn is used as a filler in a lot of products.

If you find King Corn even a smidge bit interesting, try watching Food Inc.  It's pitched a little bit more into the animal rights area, but that aside, it makes a good point.  Do you know where your food is coming from?  And is that smoking cheap deal on chicken really all that good?  Another good book, though it's not really about food is Animals in Translation.  In it Temple Grandin discusses how society has ruined certain breeds of food animals by aggressively breeding for a single trait.  The major example being breeding chickens for larger pieces of breast meat.  While focusing on this one trait, breeders have disrupted the normal mating behaviors and created rapist roosters.

If you aren't so sure about giving up your grains and beloved cheese, but still feel the urge to be more food conscious Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver) would be a good book for you.  It chronicles the successes and struggles of a family as they try to eat local for one entire year.  Local meaning a predetermine mile radius from their house.  If it wasn't grown or harvested within that area, it wasn't an option on the dinner table.  It's certainly a bigger undertaking than I would ever dream of but it definitely influenced what I planted in our garden this past year and influenced what and where we by our meat products.

Completely unrelated to food challenges and paleo propaganda, Blood, Bones, and Butter (Gabrielle Hamilton) had been on my to read list for quite a while.  It is more a memoir centered around good food.  And it will make you think twice about filling your children's childhood memories with happy meals and drive thrus.

I picked both Lords of the Harvest (Dan Charles) and Dinner at the New Gene Cafe (Bill Lambrecht) out of the footnotes of the Paleo Solution.  Both heavy on the science of genetic engineering and the legality of it but worth reading I thought.  I didn't realize just how many mainstream crops have had some sort of gene tampering with them.  Most people are aware of corn, soybean, and tomato engineering but there has also been work done in potato, rice, and several other crops.  These books are primarily the what and how facts and the legal battles that have cropped up because of it.  Legal battles such as the manufacturing of seeds and fertilizers, the monitoring of seed recycling, and the labeling of end products as genetically modified.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How can you not love that girl

I probably have the only seven year old around that asked Santa for a big pack of meat.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pictures from the weekend

As the only boy who participated in the annual Newman family cookie making day, Bob spent his time making snow angels in the yard and building forts in the living room.

He's such a trooper!

Plus I'm pretty sure he didn't mind being the official cookie taste tester.

I can't believe he'll be 6 in a week.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ready or not

BoBo: Mom, you should keep my first tooth.  I know you are really sad about me growing up and all.

Me: But what about the tooth fairy?  Do you want to write her a note and ask if you can keep the tooth?

BoBo: No, cause what if she takes it.  I don't care about the money mama.  I want you to keep my tooth forever.

That really happened.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Surprise endings

#1 - A few weeks ago I ran the last race of the Reno 5000 series for this year.  It was supposed to be in early September but the air quality from the area fires was so bad they postponed it. 

As much as I understand the reasoning behind the schedule change, I was really bummed.  I was trained and mentally ready for that race.  Fast forward to actual race day: I am not ready for the race (aka I just spent three whole weeks 'tapering'), it's cold and raining, and because of schedule conflicts none of my normal running group is with me.

Because I had nothing better to do, I hung around for the awards ceremony and raffle drawing in hopes that I might win something cool.

I was rather surprised when they called my name for winning 3rd in my age group.  Especially since I was grumbling to myself about how slow and hard this race felt.  I was two whole minutes slower than the 10K I ran in June. 


I was even more surprised when they said I won 3rd in my age group for the series.  And while I am pretty sure I only won because all the fast people stayed home that day....I will take it!

#2 -  And one year minus 5 days from the day I had my ACL reconstruction surgery I ran the Healdsburg half marathon.  I hadn't trained as much as I wanted to the last two weeks leading up to it (again...big surprise!) so I was very pleased with my 2:08 time.  It's a minute faster than my best time pre-knee situation.  And so close to the 2 hours mark that I can't keep trying for it out of my head. 
This half marathon called for a sparkle skirt and batman socks

I'm back running the distances I love, it was the first half I got to run with the boy, and at the end there was a wine glass waiting for me.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

'Round Here

It's been busy around here lately!

The boy and I went to a Pink concert.  It was awesome.

The boy went to Germany for a week.  That was challenging.

We took the kids to Disneyland for a week.  It was fun!

I don't have many pictures from any of it either.  Fail.

We are all still alive, and in the words of my dad, "Just trying to get through today".
Racing from school to homework to swim practice to bed.
I can't believe my mom did this with 5 of us in tow.

In our spare time, I (really we) am working on handstand push ups.  They are hard!  For a couple of reasons, one being that I'm getting old and two being that I'm a giant wimp and afraid to do anything that involves one leg.  Trying to get the mental attitude that my fixed knee is just as stable as my other one is difficult.

And yet Emma makes it look so easy:

And here's what I'm pretty sure I look like:

So that's the short version of October.  We had our first fire in the fireplace last night and I'm sure I'll have more time for catching up now that it's too cold and dark to be outside much in the evenings.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Run in the Woods

My favorite running buddy (other than the boy of course!) and I ran the Wicked Thorn trail run last weekend.  It was my first official trail run.  7.25 miles of single file, kind of rocky, lots of hills running.  This might just be the farthest I run before the half marathon I'm signed up for at the end of October.  Eek!


It was cold at the start but the views were beautiful and the run felt good to my lazy, just back from vacation muscles.  I must admit, I didn't study the elevation change much before hand and it was a lot harder than I anticipated!

And of course the after run carbs tasted so good.  You can never go wrong with a bratwurst and a budweiser.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

If you take the kids to the zoo

If you take the kids to the zoo (aka the Animal Ark) because you are trying to kill time on an idle Saturday while you wait what feels like two forevers for the boy to fly home from Germany....


You will come home and find two wild animals terrorizing your house and threatening to "EAT YOU UP!"


p.s.  I'm still alive. 

p.p.s. The Animal Ark was pretty cool.  We had a living social deal we had to use up.  But now we must go back sometime so the boy can go too. 

p.p.p.s.  It was at the Ark that I realized I have a tried and true reader on my hands.  She was in charge of the map and knew what everything was before we got there.  I was both impressed and sad at the growing-up-ness of it all.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Lazy Girl's Trip to Philadelphia

If you get lost, just look for the William Penn statue

So, I am recently back from a trip with the boy to Philadelphia.  Surprise!  We went to attend the Budweiser Made in America music festival and stayed a few extra days to do tourist-y stuff.  Seeing as how I'm really terrible at reading maps on the computer and figuring out which way is up and what distances are actually walk-able, I did next to none 'pre-planning'.

The concert had quite a few people I like but wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to see a show.  I was mostly in it for Beyonce, Imagine Dragons, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  We enjoyed ourselves even though it felt ridiculously hot and humid to us desert rats. 

We passed the time between bands we actually knew people watching.  It might have been the highlight of the concert really.  This small town girl did not know that high waisted shortie shorts and fanny packs were back in style.  We saw too many to count.

A few months ago, when I flew out to my sister's house in Illinois, I missed out on a 5K bagelfest run and getting free bagels and a fabulous neon green shirt.  Why?  Because I didn't know.  Who knew really that such a thing existed and would be happening the exact weekend I would be in Illinois.  I was really kind of bummed.  And I don't even eat bagels!  So two days before we left I googled runs and Philadelphia and found this:

We picked the 10K strictly based on starting location in relation to our hotel.  Quite possibly the best impulsive decision we made on the whole trip (that didn't involve food or beer in an way).  Our running guide was a local teacher.  We got a good tour of the city along with brief histories of most of the historical sites along the way.  It also allowed us to see what the options were and what we wanted to go back and spend more time at later in our trip.

This was one of the statues we ran past.  Created with the help of old keys and 1.8 million pennies collected from local schools.  We also ran past Ben Franklin's for profit fire house, the cemetery where he is buried, and the first bank of the United States.

We went back and checked out Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, too.

While we were at the concert I made a random Canadian friend.  He had this to say:  That we as Americans take a lot of our freedoms and our treasures for granted.  That at the end of the day, everyone else still wants to come and visit America and we should be prouder of what we have.

I left Philadelphia feeling the same way.  How could people live this close to all this history, the history of our country at its very beginning and go about their day without appreciating it?  I will admit that when I think of American history my first thought is Washington D.C.    I had forgotten that before the White House, there was Philadelphia.  And it's begging for us to appreciate it.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Emmers has all the spunk and confidence that I lacked in my childhood

I hope she never loses that

Which is why I never say no to pink hair or getting her hands dirty

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

I am slowly working my way through my list of "American classics".  Most recently, I read Betty Smith's, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.  Written in 1943, it's the tale of an Irish-American family living in Brooklyn in the early 20th century.

I don't have much of a review of the synopsis (you can read it on wiki if you like).  But I really enjoyed it!  I have tried to talk the boy into reading it but so far he hasn't picked it up yet.  It felt like reading a mix of the Laura Ingalls Wilder and Frank McCourt books.  Not a terribly suspenseful story but the every day struggle of a family just trying to work and have enough money to pay the bills and raise a family.

Anyone who is a little house fan would enjoy this one too.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

So How Was Your Day?

Hey Bob, how come you haven't brought home any crafts from school yet?
I'm in kindergarten now mom.  We do MATH not crafts.
Well...we did do one craft today.  But it was just with crayons.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

And then we went was camping

Seems like the new school year snuck right up on us this year.  In an effort to cram as much fun as possible into the fading hours of summer we tacked on a camping trip to our way home from Disneyland.  
Have you ever tried to pack for two very different environments into one suitcase?  It was challenging.  Thankfully, Grandma decided to meet us at the campground and so we were able to send a lot of the things we needed only for camping with her.

We camped with only  half of our extended family but we still had a good visit and the cousins got in some quality mischief making time.  We took turns basking in the morning sunshine on the logs.  It was a lot colder at 10,000 ft that we have become accustomed to for August.

The littles did a pretty great job hiking to see the Bristlecone Pines at Great Basin National Park.  We made a day of it and hiked up to the glacier too.  Better put it high on your to-do list if you want to see it.  They said in 20 years the glacier will probably be gone for good.  The last time I saw it was probably 20 years ago (that makes me feel old!) and I was surprised by how much smaller it is today.

Bob and I agreed, the mornings were too chilly for our liking.  I definitely should have packed more layers.

 The deer wandered in and out of camp fairly regularly.  That's one of my favorite memories from camping here as a kid.  It's not uncommon to find one in the trail on the way to the camp bathrooms. 

Someone gave Bob a flashlight and an official job on the cave tour.  That's a brave park ranger right there!  I stayed behind to be sure that Bob wouldn't abuse his privileges.  We took the 60 minute tour of Lehman Caves since we had the littles with us.  Everyone loved it and no one got restless.  Next time we'll do the longer one for sure!

MmmmmMmmmm....cave bacon 

MmmmmMmmmm....even better, real bacon!  Cooked over the campfire of course :)

Poor husband always has to fish with the pink, barbie pole.  But he caught a fish and we got to eat it so that's all that really matters right?

Emma was crashing through the woods on her way to the creek and she almost ran smack into these does.   We sat and watched them for a long time before they spotted the dog we had with us and trotted off into the trees.

Bob found a triangle shaped rock and immediately took it as a sign that we should go home so he could play Zelda.  Silly boy.  And that is why we go camping...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Life on the Refrigerator Door

This is just to say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the ice box

and which you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

--William Carlos Williams

So it's been too long since I've mentioned what books I'm reading.  Rest assured, it hasn't been from lack of reading. 

Alice Kuiper's Life on the Refrigerator Door was such an interesting concept.  A story told entirely on post-it notes.  Which also makes it an extremely quick read.  It'd be a good commuting or going to a busy beach book.  It is the story of a high school student who lives part time with a busy working mom and part time with her father.  I am sure a lot of families can relate to life lived on the go and leaving notes for mom, dad, son or daughter on the kitchen counter. 

As much as I enjoyed this book, it left me wondering.  Are post-it notes on the way out?  In a world where kids are getting cell phones younger and younger I just don't think this story would have been as endearing had it been a book full of text messages.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Disneyland in the summer time

Next time I come here and say, oh hey I'm thinking about going to Disneyland in August, please allow a moment of silence and give me that look.  There is a reason why the last time we went to Disneyland in August was 11 years ago. 


But to be fair.  Even a hot crowded day at Disneyland is better than not being at Disneyland.  And you know what?  The line for the Winnie-the-Pooh ride....still just 5 minutes.


As a kid, I might have ranked the Jungle Cruise ride right next to the Tiki Room at the bottom of my favorites list.  Judging by the kids faces as they listen to the guide, I'd guess they feel the same way.  But the older I get the more I love it.  I "get" every one of their jokes now.

By the last day, Bob was pretty sure he should get to decide which rides we go on and in what order.  Turns out no one else felt the same way.  So the burrito and I hung out in the shade of the carousel while everyone else rode Pinocchio. 

And then we did some street dancing and scored some beads.  It's the little things I love the most about being here.

We also repeated the Medieval Times show (Not Disneyland I know, but close-ish!).  We got yellow knight, again.

The kids were so taken with the show they ate zero bites of their dinner, again.
But it was worth it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

And then there were two in school

This year we had two first day of school pictures.  Unfortunately the camera man had to leave in a hurry this morning so we weren't quite put together and the pictures are a smidge blurry.  But we remembered and that's all the matters right?

Say right :)

First up, the girlchild.  Who still wanted to be a zoologist up until yesterday when she decided a scientist would be equally as good.  Apparently we took pictures in front of the door last there goes that plan.  But at least you can tell Emmers grew a little since last year.

And then there was Burrito.  Who is so ridiculously excited to be going to school just like his big sister he didn't even want me to walk him to the door.  Don't worry Mom, he says, I got this!

Bob's sign says he wants to be a ninja someday....naturally.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My little Cloverbud

A few months ago the girlchild joined the 4H dog training club in town.  I had hoped to fly blissfully under the radar and be that parent who drops their kid off, happily does their own thing for an hour, and then comes back to pick their kid up at the designated time.
But little did I know that a combination of the 4H leader moving out of town and a very shy "don't leave me alone with strangers" girlchild would lead to me becoming the club leader.

Good thing she's cute! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Running around

In three months I am planning on running a half marathon.  The first half marathon since my ACL reconstruction.  In three months time.  That's 12 short weeks away.  The internal debate is do I just go out with a goal to finish it? Do I dare even think about setting a time goal?  Can I (or more directly) HOW do I use crossfit to train for this so that I'm not running too many miles on my knee?  And speaking of miles....what should the longest, long run in the training program be?

I've been running with a group on the weekends lately.  They keep me motivate, accountable, and best of all, introduce me to new running paths.


I found this little guy on the new route last weekend.  I think I'm in love!  I scratched his head till my hands smelled of lanolin and then was on my way.

I'm not much of a morning person but the early morning sun on these cheerful sunflowers was just what I needed to put a smile on my face.  I'm not one to run with my phone usually, but that morning my ipod battery was dead.  I was so thankful to have my camera with me so I could take these pictures.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lords of the Harvest

View from the front window

It just so happened that I started reading Lords of the Harvest right before I went to Illinois.  At least it made the never ending scenery of corn and soybean fields more interesting.  I think what I liked most about the book, was that it's a book about molecular biology written by a non-science person.  You wouldn't have to know a thing about cloning genes, or DNA, or proteins to still enjoy the book. 

"The book chronicles the cutthroat scientific competition and backroom business deals that led to the first generation of genetically engineered crops: Flavr Savr tomatoes, Roundup Ready soybeans, and insect-killing cotton and corn.  It explains Monsanto's fateful crusade to re-write the rules of the seed business and how it ended up in a feud with the world's largest seed company, Pioneer Hi-Bred International.  It outlines the forces and the personalities that drove Monsanto toward decisions that transformed the company, in the eyes of many, into a villain with ruthless ambitions that spanned the globe."  (

In my opinion, Monsanto still comes off as a bunch a jerks in the book, but it does give some hint to the conversations that went into why they made their policies they way they did.  If you watched King Corn you see the farmers dilemma and fines they pay for saving the GMO seeds from harvest to harvest.  Their frustration is very evident in the film.  The Starlink corn controversy, was probably the most interesting part of the book to me.

I found myself starting a lot of sentences with "Did you know?"

Did you know that the same company that invented roundup, invented the roundup ready soybean?

Did you know that the same company started putting growth hormones into cows to produce more milk? AND that there really wasn't ever a milk shortage?  That they did it just to see if it would work?

Did you know that researchers put a Brazil nut gene into a soybean and found that people who are allergic to Brazil nuts showed the allergy when exposed to those soybeans?  Makes me kind of wonder if there isn't some kind of link to that fact and the ever growing peanut allergy in our society.

Did you know that there are regulations that a certain percentage of acreage has to be planted with non-genetically modified species so that the insects do not develop resistance.

The worst part of the book?  That it's 10 years old.  It ends just at the start of 2000.  I'd love to see an updated version including the last 10 years.  I would say that with the recent demands for GMO food to be labeled more completely and the request to leave off the label the fake sugar additives to milk, there is more to be told about the presence of GMO foods in our diet.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

For the love of a horse

Emma inherited the horse lover gene from her aunt Jacko.  I like to ride but I do not have much interest in professional riding of any kind.  I prefer the lets take the horses out and pack some snacks for a picnic lunch somewhere kind of rides.

Emma and Tux

So we packed the girlchild off to favorite auntie's house for nearly 3 weeks so she could get her fix for the year.  There has been talk about just signing over the custody papers and letting her stay forever.  But word got out that we are going to disneyland next week, so the girlchild decided maybe she'd move next summer instead.

As part of my "MOM watch!" duty, at least I can tell she is making progress from last year.  We are still working on balance but at least we've moved onto the trot.

Along with the riding, the girlchild got to help with the routine chores.  They let the horses out to pasture every morning.  She got gates while Auntie cleaned pens.  The gave the horses their daily afternoon beer to cool them down.  And did bed checks at 10pm just to make sure everyone was still standing.
I'm glad for this opportunity but equally glad to have her home. We missed her silliness!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Be very, very quiet

So I spent a good part of last weekend hunting crawdads with a certain little girlchild.   I don't know about you, but when I think about hunting crawdads I think:

A) some kind of trap
B) set down in some kind of water
C) filled with some kind of bait (a.k.a. bologna).

Not walking out into the yard and shining a flashlight down a hole.

And yet we ended up out in the front yard shining flashlights down 1 inch round holes looking for claws or the shine of those beady, little eyes.

I don't know about you but the fact that the crawdads live in the lawn (I assume because the water table is so high there) kind of freaks me out.  In the it's okay to visit but I could never live there kind of way.
Sorry Illinois!  You are not the state for me.


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