Sunday, September 28, 2008

Run Around Donner Lake. Twice.

Well, I didn't make it up to Tahoe for the half marathon this year, but a friend of mine and fellow library worker, Dave, invited me to go run around Donner Lake. That was awesome of him because I was really quite depressed about not getting to compete. The plan was three trips around but we settled for two after the knees started protesting (on my part, anyway). It's almost exactly 7 miles around (7.05 his Garmin said). He has a training regime where he runs slowish and stops at each mile to finish out what ever is left of that minute before starting up again. I could have run the first lap around the lake quite easily without stopping, but this type of training surprisingly agreed with me, because it gave me the energy to keep going through the second lap with a good amount of energy. It was a beautiful morning, and the perfect temperature for a nice long run. And I made a great discovery: I LOVE running on pine needles! They are soft to run on, and have a very satisfying crunch. Not to mention the pleasant sappy smell they release when cracked open. I even found myself swerving for patches of them just so I could run on them. The other thing I noticed today was how LOW the lake was! The spot where they have the swimming start for the Donner Lake Triathlon (which was sadly, but justly, canceled due to smoke from the thousands of California fires this summer) was almost empty! There was a spot in the middle that was just an island of mud. I wonder if they drained it or something?

Anyway, back to running. Today set a new PR for me. Not in time, but in distance. While I definitely didn't break any records in the running-without-stopping department, but this is the furthest I've ever gone in one go. Here are Dave and I post-run, and feeling good! Thanks for pushing me Dave. :) I owe ya one...

Even though I wasn't up at Tahoe today in person, I was there in spirit- congrats and great job to all who ran today!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Random Words

This morning I corrected Ashton in his pronunciation of "library." He was saying, "liberry," as I'm sure many of you have heard come out the mouths of small children. Well, he's 6 now and his mom works in a library so I figured it was time for him to start saying it correctly. After he repeated "library" several times, he came up with this analyzation of the word: "Mom, saying that makes my mouth taste like bananas."


"It makes your mouth taste like bananas?" "No, just underneath my tongue." Well, okay then. That's an interesting thought- what if all words had a taste associated with it when we said it? And not necessarily the food we might be saying (such as chocolate- although that would make me a very happy girl! All the flavor without the calories?!?!); perhaps the sound would have some influence over the taste. How's this for an example: Computer might taste like popcorn- the hard sound of the c, p and t might be like crunching on popcorn. Am I a dork or what? Do you have any good word taste/sound ideas?

Another random thought: having tons of homework is a great way to get the house clean.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sean and Ashton's 6th Birthday (Week!)

Oh, I am way behind here! The boys have been 6 for almost a week and a half now, and I haven't posted any pictures (of which I have zillions to choose from). On Wednesday (September 17th), my parents came over to celebrate with us on their actual birthday. So this blog's going to be mostly pictures. First, dinner! They requested ravioli, which I was happy to oblige with since it was easy and I had already slaved for two nights on their chocolate devil's food triple-layer cake:

Then came cake and candles (which I am embarrassed to say that I had no little ones, so they got the jumbo variety from the china cabinet). Make a wish:

Come true yet? (Isn't that a lovely cake? :)

After dinner and cake came presents! Here are my parents and the boys (Ashton is in red, as always)-

And me with my babies and the monstrosity that is blocking my entire dining room now-

I made my dad put together their tent/house/tunnel of fun. Thanks Dad! What are grandpas for, if not for struggling with all the multiple parts and unclear instruction of children's toys?

And some cuteness from inside the tent:

It's a two-headed...tunnel?

Then came the day of their birthday party (Saturday, which I invited their entire first grade class to) at Jump Man Jump! Man, am I glad I didn't have their party at our house. I don't think I could have entertained 25 >6-year-olds for 2.5 hours, let alone the half hour it took for cupcakes and presents (yeah, I gave up on the ice-cream cone idea because it was late and I'd already spent four nights baking)!

I think next year if we have a humongous party again, we'll take the presents home and open them there, even if it is wonderful for the givers to see the joy on the receivers' faces when they are opened.

Here is Sean (who is in blue throughout all the rest of these pictures) at the top of a monstrous slide at JMJ (although they didn't blow up the biggest steepest one, and thank GOD for that- can you imagine 25 little kids screaming in terror from their deepest nightmares combined, the fear of falling and heights?) This one was perfect:

And James, the older kid at their party that Sean and Ashton almost idolize with the pool and the board shorts:

And a "proper" picture of the boys with James (Ashton?)- although he looks just like them in this picture:

Here are Sean and Ashton on the jousting feature- I have to tell you, these little ones are absolutely HILARIOUS trying to hold up a jousting pole? lance? stick? that weighs almost as much as they do; as soon as they manage to so much as tap the other person, they both fall over. One from the tap, the other from overbalancing trying to tap the other.

This is Ashton on the jump rope/dodge ball/dance floor. The game he liked most (and played more than anything else) was dodge ball. It was pretty cool- there was a light in the floor that moved around that was weight-sensitive, and the object of the game was to avoid being "hit" by the ball. He got really good at it, needless to say, by the end of their jumping time.

There was also a ball pit for the little ones: here are ?, Nathaniel and Gabe, plus their mom, Petrina- all of whom come to my Toddler Time. I am very thankful for the opportunity to meet Petrina! She is such a happy person, with wonderful boys, and has great recipes to share. I always feel good about myself after hanging out with her. :)

After the kids had exhausted themselves jumping and running like mad chickens for an hour and a half, came the sugar! Bring on the cupcakes and the singing! Here I am leading in song:

And here is little sweet Sofia, with her rosy cheeks and cute-girl locks:

After jumping and cupcakes, came present time. Of course all the children wanted to help, 'cause this is the best part!

Wow. Talk about a high-energy party! We gave Ellie a ride home (and they played with, what, a Styrfoam cup instead of one of the 800 toys they got?),

and all four of their grandparents and Alice (my girl!) came over for a dinner celebration (I don't blame them for not wanting to try to spend quality time with them at JMJ!). Here is my dad giving Ashton a birthday sack-o-potatoes ride around the living room, which I think he enjoyed as much as Ashton! :)

Entire family photo (From left to right- me and Kevin, Astrid, Alice, Ashton and Michael, Crystal, George and Sean):

Whew! Thanks for stickin' it out to the end~ there were a lot of celebrations I didn't want to miss sharing with you! See I told you! Birthday week! (Wish I had it that good...)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Hilarious! There was a delicate balance between what is in the bible, and how Christopher Moore interpreted what "could" have happened in Jesus' sub-30 life, in his own goofy way (his word not mine!)- a balance that I could very easily see tipping and pissing off a whole bunch of people who are a bit more rigid in their beliefs. But even then- I don't think he stepped over that line. The compassion was there, but but Chris didn't forget that boys are curious and like to have a little fun too. Gotta love that Biff!

Now I'm an instant Christopher Moore fan- lots of his books to catch up on (when my classes are over... sigh).

View all my reviews.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Reno Journal Jog 2008

This is the second year I've run in the Reno Journal Jog, and whoo-HOO! I shaved 2 minutes off my time from last year. 42:15 for an 8k is not bad, eh? So I placed 14th in my age group and 410 out of 1098 overall. They switched the route around a bit, and we ran it in reverse from last year, but it was a great course- fast and mostly flat, and we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day! My friend Turi also ran, and took 8 minutes off his time from last year.* He wrote a really nice blog about this year's run- check it out!

*Last year we blabbed through most of the race which might account for the slower times. (Well, on his part for sure! Mine, maybe not.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Diz Aster

Well, this must be the biggest baking disaster of my baking career. Or should I say, Baking Hobby. Geez. The picture explains all. My advice? Don't buy the cheap cones because I think what happened (or part of what happened) was that the batter soaked right through the cones before they had a chance to bake. And I guess I overfilled a little? But instead of puffing over the top nicely like it was supposed to, it poured over the sides. Broken cone edges (even small pieces) apparently don't help either.

What a mess.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Birthday Cake!

So, I don't honestly remember the last time I've made a fancy cake. But for their 6th birthday (tomorrow!!!!) Sean and Ashton requested ravioli for dinner, and a chocolate cake. Since their birthday falls on a Wednesday this year, their party is going to be on Saturday at Jump Man Jump, and I'll be making ice-cream cone cupcakes for that occasion. But I couldn't let their actual birthday go uncelebrated! So chocolate cake it is. I found a Devil's Food Cake recipe in this cookbook, but decided on chocolate whipped cream frosting instead of the dense fudgy frosting that accompanies this recipe. First, a picture of the flour, melty chocolate
mixture, and the whipped sugar-butter:
I love the swirly pattern the chocolate makes as I blend the three bowls together (if you click on it you can really see some detail):

And one of the two cakes (which I baked last night so they would be cool enough for assembling tonight- can you see the parallel lines from the cooling rack?), plus the "unchocolate" whipped cream:

Now I know you'll look at this next picture and think, "Wait- didn't she say 2 cakes? Why are there only 3 layers here then?" Well let's just say that one got a bit disfigured during the cutting and flipping process. Plus three layers is plenty, right?

I made this cake while the boys were asleep, for two nights now. I hope it will be a great surprise for them tomorrow that I made them a nice cake (even though they did ask for it). At any rate, my parents are coming over, and I know my Dad will be in pure chocolate heaven with this one... :)

And lucky for me that frosting hides any little mistakes there might have been with my layers... :)

Moulin Rouge Windmills

Just a couple quick pics to catch you up on what Kevin's been up to: props for his marching band field show. These are stands for his various soloists to climb into and perform on a microphone, while the band moves around them. Here he is with his power drill, having a bit too much fun (and btw, we did have to look up some geometry equations online to remember how to find the correct angles for the size wood (hee hee) he would be cutting. (So sorry...)

And after they've been painted:

Handy man!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Sean lost his glasses on Tuesday morning. I know he had them because I made him take them off before he got into bed the previous night, and I told him to put them on again in the morning. While I was getting their lunches ready for school and getting all my junk together for work, the boys were outside "working," which consisted of putting on my garden gloves and getting Kevin's fishing net to gather various backyard rocks in. ??? Who knows. All I know is that when they came in I noticed that he wasn't wearing them. We have talked to Sean over and over about putting his glasses away in their case upstairs in his room even if he is downstairs or outside. About how he is NOT allowed to let anyone else touch them, including his brother (who has gotten in big trouble for having them on). About how to put them on with two hands, and LEAVE THEM THERE ALWAYS. When I asked him where they were, he didn't know. And, the search began. I looked for about an hour for them. Then Kevin came home from 0 period jazz band and blew a gasket. He searched for probably 3 hours, which included the dog run and sifting through the wood pile which is almost as high as the boys are tall- because that's where Sean said he lost them. Sean stayed home until around 11 with Kevin looking for them, until Kev had to go back to school to teach. When we got home from work, we both looked exhaustively for several more hours, but they were no where to be found. Two days have passed; the boys were grounded until they were found (yes, both of them), but still no sign of them. Today is Thursday. On Thursdays, they are picked up from their bus stop by their baby sitter, Kevin's drum major, who knows about the missing glasses and so immediately asked Sean where he lost them. He replied, "the dog cage." (Which sounds awful, but don't feel sorry for the dog because that area was big enough to park our 30' 5th wheel and have space for a shed and a wood pile, let alone an 80 lb. dog.) So they all trooped outside, and immediately she found his glasses. On the ground. Completely chewed. Or as I have stated in the title, Mangled. That's $400 down the drain. Although, I have to say those $400 glasses held their own against the powerful bone-crushing strength of a set of golden retriever canine mandibles. Here are some pictures- if you click on them, you can see the teeth marks on the unbroken lenses, and that the frame almost kept it's original shape. That's impressive, if you ask me.

I can't believe that they just went outside today and found them right off the bat. Kevin raked the whole area! I'm convinced that Pirate (which he certainly is) buried them, because he always immediately buries his bones. Most insurance companies don't cover "glasses as chew-toys," so Sean's next pair will be slightly cheaper... And at least we can stop looking now.