March 2014 in Pictures

Another pic from March Forth
Cherry blossom time

Baby girl's interpretation of 'people'
Hand holding
Busy builders

Wee sushi expert
This month's fun sleeping spot
Shooting hoops

STEM night and school mascot
I sometimes pull on her hair while saying 'boing, boing'
Summer like day

February 2014 in Pictures

Lots of 12th man crazy in February
Everything is Awesome
A little late winter snow

Snoqualmie Falls
Getting into the Olympic spirit

Ferris wheel - have yet to go on it!
A rare happy homework day
Orca hugging at the aquarium
Gotta love having Spring like days in the same month as the snow days

Valentine's Day party at school
Too tired to even hold her water bottle
Another Spring-y day
Tree hugger

January 2014 in Pictures

Not a lot of pictures taken in January.  I'm thinking we were burnt out on all of the holiday craziness...

Hoot, hooting at the zoo
Gorgeous run day, probably in the 50s
Yeah, she's our crazy sleeper...

Finally seeing Frozen in mid-January
Second ever haircut!
Another tooth fairy visit

I die of the ballet cuteness
Aaaaand, she's under the bed...
Doesn't everyone wear fun hats while addressing Valentine's Day cards?


This Weeks Eats 4.27.14 and an Ode to Indian Food

Nearly twenty years ago, I tried Indian food for the first time.  I will never forget it, because I've been so very lucky that my mom has shared her love of travel with me.  No, I've not been to India; but to get authentic tikka masala, you only need travel to England.  The origin of everyone's favorite Indian dish (isn't it, though?) is far from India.  My mom and I did a quick three day trip to London to take advantage of a Virgin America deal, since they had just starting flying out of O'Hare.  We hit all the usual tourist spots, caught musicals (Tommy and Starlight Express) and ate in a tiny little hipster Indian Cafe.  It was one of those meals that you never forget, heavenly.

Fast forward many years later and my husband and I had a few favorite haunts in the city and we found a few when we moved to Seattle.  Since having kids, however, we just don't go out for it as much as we used to.  It's not usually a first choice for date night.  We've introduced our kids to it (mostly naan), but it just doesn't hold that allure like the oh so gourmet Red Robin.  And as much as we've tried (and believe me, we've tried - making ghee, the whole shebang) cooking tikka masala at home never comes close to restaurant quality.  We had just a couple hours free on Friday and it was the perfect meal for a mini date night.  

Our other favorite curry is veggie korma, on the left.

So, yeah, you won't see Indian dishes often on our weekly menus.  I'm thinking that we'll probably make an effort to go out for it more though...

The spinach and quinoa casserole we tried last week was a little dry, I'm making up for it by trying the Pink Parsley recipe this week.  The meatballs we ate on Saturday were deeeelish.  Although, I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to meatballs and I'm always a fan of something I can freeze.

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


Family Jewels 5K (Formerly the Jaimeson Jones Memorial 5K) Race Report

I ran a little trail race, ummmm about a month ago.  If I don't write a race recap, did it actually happen?  I'm not sure, so I'm thinking better late than never...

This race initially drew my attention because it's held every year at Saint Edwards State Park which is a stone's throw from my house.  We've done PLENTY of hikes with the kids there, but I've never really run the trails.  Then I got to reading about the charity and I couldn't sign up fast enough.  Jaimeson Jones passed away from testicular cancer at the tragic age of just twenty years old.  The fund assists college students that are siblings of children dealing with cancer, the shadow victims.  It's one of only two such funds of it's kind.  The story behind it is very much worth reading.

To make this race even more convenient than it already was, they had pre race packet pickup at Everyday Athlete: my favorite running store that's also a very short jaunt from my home.  Super cozy shirts have been plentiful at the last few races I've run, and this one was no exception!

Hehe, quite the logo...

Additionally, inside the packet, there were these little silver dollar sized samples of the homemade pie that Jaimeson's mother serves up after the run every year.  I KNOW, RIGHT?

With my bib in hand the day before, I was free to sleep until at least 8AM on race day!  After gearing up and driving over, I was still plenty early to warm up a bit for a 9AM start.  It was a pretty chilly and damp March morning, but thankfully free of rain.  We lined up on time and then the race announcements took a while, but basically had me in tears.  Jaimeson's mother talked to the group about his cancer, his siblings, and how he loved to run at St. Edwards.  The first recipient of the memorial scholarship was there, and he had traveled from Eastern Washington along with his family to attend the race and we all gave them a round of applause.  Then she introduced Jaimeson's Bothell High XC coach, who was there to give us an overview of the course and sound the starting gun.  Additionally, there was a contingent of current Bothell High XC kids volunteering.  It was all so very emotional and such a testament to how much this young man meant to the community.  Once I finally dried my eyes and we all had a few laughs over his mother's humorous delivery to get our full attention about detecting testicular cancer, we were ready to go. 

The 5K course is part grass and part trail, running through the woods just surrounding the park and through the fields around the main buildings.  I had done a 7 mile long run the day before, and I was not looking to go fast - just enjoy the trails.  I've never really run on grass before and I really have a whole new respect for XC runners, it feels incredibly slow going!  

happy to get off the grass!
But the trails felt fast and fun, just like the last time I ran a trail race, akin to riding a roller coaster.  The race is two loops, which is good and bad.  It was good in the sense that I knew exactly how the trail was going to twist and turn; bad because, ugh, I have to pass the finish and do that one more time!  Overall, it was a fun course and had an old school finish chute where we lined up as we finished and put the bottom tag of our bib on a spindle.  

Our bib info/race results! I'm on the bottom right there, somewhere in the first 10 women to finish in 30:32.
If it had been a warmer morning, or if I had convinced someone to run with me, I would have stuck around for what looked to be some good odds on cool raffle prizes.  Alas, I was cold and a bit worn out, so I had some hot chocolate and pie (yum!) and headed home.

Mmmm, homemade apple pie...
There is NO QUESTION that I will do this race again.  I love Saturday races, love that it has so many personal touches, love how close to home it is, love that it's on the trails and above all, even if I'm unable to run, this cause will receive my money every year.  Thank you Jaimeson's family for putting on such a great event! 


This Week's Eats 4.20.14

It really didn't occur to me until about midweek that Easter weekend was coming up, when I remembered that I had to procure plastic eggs for my daughter's preschool class.  

And thanks to the Y, she got to meet the Easter Bunny!

It's a nice excuse to buy the kids a few fun things and be lazy on a Sunday morning.  Usually, it's a day for us to go and get our wiggles out together as a family at Jump Planet.  It was a tradition for us to worship at the house of jump for four years running and we were so very bummed that they closed their doors a few months ago.  We found other ways to get our wiggles out today, but it just wasn't the same.

I'm thinking I need to find another crazy tradition for next year, instead of winging it like we did this year...

The Sesame Soy Meatballs we tried last week were excellent.  Meatballs make every dish more fun, in my opinion.  I think I'll put some on the menu this week, too!

  • Monday - Pizza
  • Tuesday - Satay Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Brown Rice
  • Wednesday - Chicken Sausages on the grill with Alexia Tots and Salad
  • Thursday - Stuffed Flounder Filets from Trader Joe's and Cheesy Spinach Quinoa (new cheesy quinoa recipe I found via Pinterest)
  • Friday - Mini date night out while the kids go to an event at big brother's school!
  • Saturday - Spaghetti with Meatballs (trying this new recipe from Anne Burrell)
  • Sunday - Baked Chicken Taquitos (a staple from Our Best Bites)
As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


Watching E.T. With My Seven Year Old

Watching a movie that I loved almost thirty years ago (!) with my son was quite an experience.  Interesting enough for me to want to talk about my observations in some detail...

For reference, my E.T. doll looked like this one:

this is going back in time as well...

Not this one:

I was not as smart/cool as Dawson to have more than one, let alone hold on to them for posterity, dammit.

First off, it's highly annoying that Spielberg and Lucas have gone and mucked up their classic films.  I thought I was getting the E.T. I saw for the first time.  Alas, they updated the special effects and the adorable creature I knew and loved has a CG face in most scenes.  GAH!  There's also an added bit where he and Elliot spend some time in the bathroom and E.T. falls in the tub.  It was a weird scene and I could see why it wasn't used in the first place.  Of course, I came to realize after the fact that the second disc had the original theatrical release and not just bonus material.  

If you have this version, don't just put in the first disc, like I did.
I think you can finally get DVDs of the original Star Wars releases, too, so I suppose I'll let these transgressions slide.

One observation from my point of view thirty years later, and as a mother: I'm thinking it's highly unlikely that I'd leave my own young child home sick, even once he's ten.  But, I get that she's on her own and has to work.  It just was one of those things that I bet my mom was thinking while watching the film and was completely a moot point to me when I was little.  Although, after the drunken frog breakout scene, when she has to go get Elliot from school - she just leaves Gertie at home! WHAT?  I've been on the receiving end of a call from school to come and get my boy (not drunk, he had a fever), and I can't even think of a reason why I wouldn't put my daughter in the car.  Hmph.  Also, the presence of Gertie was a fun way for my son to relate to Elliot, having a nagging little sister.

Another observation on age appropriateness: since when do third or fourth graders, at most, dissect frogs??  "What are they feeding the frogs mom?" my son inquired.  Well, that's not food...  I gave him the straight scoop and said that first off, I'm not sure if kids do that in school at all anymore.  Second, it's not until high school until you might be faced with that task.  And third, I'm preeeeetty sure you do not actually execute the frog - it comes to you already dead.  Thankfully he just thought it was gross and we glossed over this pretty quickly.

Last question: what the hell was going on in early 80s California on Halloween night?  Based on the film, one would think it was the apocalypse with jack-o-lanterns ablaze, kids openly hitting and egging cars, and fiery garbage cans rolling down the street.  What the what?  My son was rather concerned about the garbage that caught on fire.  "Oh, that's not good! Looks like that can caught on fire.  They'd better call the fire department."  

Here I was, fretting about how he would handle E.T's deterioration and possible death.  I guess that we've talked a lot about death lately, and that he doesn't have as many questions as he once did.  There was definite anxiety and sadness once E.T. and Elliot start to get sick.  But, even before you could see the glow coming from the white container that supposedly sealed his fate, my kid turned to me and said, "Mom, I have a strong feeling that E.T. is going to be OK."  A STRONG FEELING.  I just about died.  "Yeah, hon, I think you might be right."  And whenever the heartlight glowed, he was concerned that there was a hole in E.T's chest.  "No, no, it just glows so bright you can see it through his skin - there's no hole."  

One of the other funny reactions from my son came at the beginning of the movie as the kids are sitting around the kitchen playing cards: mom, where are they?  Are they at a restaurant?  He almost didn't believe me when I said they were at home.  Ah, 80s decor!  The faux Tiffany lamp hanging over the banquette table in the kitchen.  Also funny from that scene is how the kid on the phone is calling a radio station to request a song - who remembers doing that?!  Well, me, for one...

Overall, it was fun for both of us.  I love movies and they mean a lot to me.  So I'm glad we had this little experience together, where I let him stay up late after his sister went to bed (woot!) and he enjoyed my reminiscing about my own childhood.  And, lo, I didn't get around to watching Xanadu.  Womp, womp.  I thought it was streaming on Netflix.  I thought wrong.  But, never fear, I obtained it from the library this week!

Seeing this cover is making me speechless.  I CAN'T WAIT to watch this again!  Maybe I'll have some fun observations to share...


This Weeks Eats 4.13.14

Ahhh, it's been a really lovely week.  I was dreading the fact that my husband had to take a business trip while the kids were on Spring Break.  But, we've had such amazing weather and took advantage of it all week.  And, yes, I did watch E.T. with my son.  I have so many observations to make that I'm writing them in a post - lest I forget the hilarity.

Spring Break got off to a great start with a long play date that began with lunch at the park, included a walk to gelato, and ended at the beach.

Actually taking turns and playing well together!

Everyone and their brother was at the zoo this week, the most crowded I've seen it.

I also managed to fit in a ten miler on Thursday, and it was glorious.  It was the first time I've run double digits in almost a year!  I also did a few tempo miles today and was slightly shocked to see that my pace was the same as the last 5K I raced.  I've been feeling really good with my running lately and I'm wondering if part of it has to do with the weather...  

The BBQ Pork Salad we tried last week was excellent.  The summery BBQ taste over salad was satisfying and refreshing on a warm evening.  I'm thinking we'll make this quite a bit in the coming months, maybe even with my favorite Pioneer Woman pulled pork that's more spicy and less sweet. I don't know why I never thought to make this kind of salad before!

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


Books I Read in March 2014


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

This was another of the many Printz honor books I've been trying to catch up on, and it was pretty compelling, albeit dark, material (the protagonist is dealing with having been raped). It really called to mind the feelings of isolation most teens feel at some point in their lives (at least I did), and the author does an amazing job of putting you in Melinda's shoes in a very real and visceral way; certainly not uplifting, but very worthwhile.  Incidentally, it's the 15 year anniversary of this book and Book Riot just did an interview with Laurie Halse Anderson on their blog.


The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

This was another one of those 'not exactly uplifting, but very worthwhile' novels, as any written about slavery in the South are bound to be. In some ways it felt a little soap opera-like, with person X not knowing that person Y was someone's relation, etc., and love triangle misunderstandings. But the story was absolutely riveting and I could barely put it down, it was so suspenseful - in a very ominous way. The characters were all fully realized and I fell in love with every each one in Lavinia's family.


Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

I just don't know about my affinity for self-help type books.  It's just a re-hashed version of a lot of common sense to me.  It's like someone went on Pinterest for inspirational quotes and then extrapolated it into a book.  I wholeheartedly agree with all of her sentiments and would love to hear her speak, but my eyes totally glaze over with these types of books.


The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith

A friend of mine suggested I read this and another friend of mine had told me she loved the movie, and I thought I'd better read it before seeing it.  This was absolutely heartbreaking and riveting material.  It exposes the history of Irish adoptions to the United States in the 1950s by following one remarkable story.  I was especially engrossed because my late father in law was adopted around the same time, born to an unwed Irish Catholic mother.  I will say that although I really loved this book, I wish there was more of Philomena's story included.  We follow her for the first quarter of the book or so, and then don't hear from her again until the very end.  Now to watch the film... 


As They Slip Away (a novella prequel to Across the Universe) by Beth Revis

Thanks to Bookriot, I learned that Beth Revis wrote a novella prequel to Across the Universe, which is my favorite YA dystopian trilogy as a whole (Meaning, each book was great and the last one didn't fall off the rails like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, Matched, etc etc etc - all fantastic, all they all fall apart IMHO.)  As They Slip Away was a rather melancholy story of one of the peripheral characters and how she chose to become a drone on Godspeed (the spaceship where the story takes place).  If you have 30 minutes and read this series, it's worth checking out.

Speaking of YA dystopian stuff, I saw Divergent last week and thought it was great!  Although, I'm conflicted, as The Fault in Our Stars is coming out and it's really weird to have Ansel Elgort as Shailene Woodley's brother Caleb in Divergent and then play Gus to her Hazel in the most heartbreaking romantic story.  I suppose there's only a handful of actors that can play YA roles, and the all obviously keep overlapping.  Sigh.  I shudder in fear of what they might do to Eleanor and Park.  For my third link to Book Riot, I think they hit the nail on the head on why casting the film adaptation will be very important and have the potential for great change...

Linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy's awesome 'Twitterature' book posts roundup!


This Weeks Eats 4.06.14

I've got a pretty slim menu to share this week, as The Mister will be out of town for a couple of days.  This is when I usually make dishes he doesn't like, or ones that can easily be consumed on the couch in front of the TV while watching Pitch Perfect or, lately, Veronica Mars.  We watched Anchorman 2 this weekend and I'm inspired to watch Ice Castles, and maybe Xanadu if I have time.  

I may or may not have roller skated around our basement listening to the soundtrack as a child...  Speaking of my childhood, I also was obsessed with E.T. around the same time (when I was around seven or eight) and I'm thinking of introducing this classic to my oldest who is almost seven.  It's Spring Break for the kids this week and I might let him stay up late to watch it with me, which could be totally awesome (he'll love it), totally frustrating (he'll be boooored), or a total mistake (he'll be horrified/freak out).  I'm guessing it'll be one of the first two, hoping for the former: will report back.

In no particular order, this weeks dishes for when we're all together:

mmm, hopefully for Saturday night dinner
The baked Caprese Pesto dish from last week was okay; it dried out a bit too much for my liking once baked.  I'd either half the amount of pasta, or just serve the pasta and sauce without baking.  We did enjoy our burrito bowls with the addition of the Chipotle Sauce; it was easy to whip up, as we usually have chipotles in our freezer and plain Greek yogurt in the fridge.

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!


April Goals and March Check In

Goals from March 

Drink that 72oz of water a day!
I did much better at this last month, adding an 8oz glass of water as soon as I wake up in the morning and remembering to drink a glass (or a glass of Nuun) with my lunch.  I realized that I hardly ever drink anything when I eat, which is weird, right?  That was an easy fix.

Start going to yoga.  
Yay!  I actually set foot in a yoga studio for the first time in my life!  I really like this place; they offer a variety of classes at various temperatures, not always hot.  I definitely feel like it's been beneficial and will try to keep up after I've used up my Groupon. 

Figure out Spotify.  
I downloaded the app, set up my account and one playlist.  I don't know if I'd call that 100% figuring it out, but I'm LOVING that I can pick out specific songs to listen to and will continue to investigate this nifty app.

Get back to monthly photo posts.  
I did organize my January and February photos offline, but have yet to arrange them for a collage.  Adding that to April goals...

Goals for April:
  • Finish up monthly photo catch up!
  • Have a plan for the kids birthdays and get presents.  Both my kids have early May birthdays and it gets a little hectic, although I've been trying to ease away from 'big party' expectations, we shall see...
  • Get out to the trails at least twice a month.  Now that the weather is getting much more Spring-like, I really need to take advantage of the trails while the kids are still in school, and I already got one day in this month!
I feel pretty lucky that I live near places like this to go running.
  • Lastly, go to the chiropractor at least once a month for an adjustment/ART.  I felt really great during/after my latest long run (an 8 miler!) and I really want to keep the whole injury thing at bay.