Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Gobi and Batu!

This Memorial Day marks the one year birthday of twin snow leopards, Gobi and Batu, who live at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle! Hooray! Check out their blog, and pictures of them playing with their enrichment birthday "cake." I'm so excited! One of these days I'll make that trip to Seattle just to see these beauties~

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Missing" by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Sent (The Missing, #2) Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the second book in the series, and every bit as good as the first book, "Found." I found myself assigning it as science fiction rather than fantasy because of their time travels, although I also desperately wanted to give it a historical fiction tag (in my own mind) because I wanted what I read about the past to be true...

View all my reviews >>

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Scott and Sara's Marriage BBQ Celebration

Scott and Sara got married at Yellowstone Park on 3-2-10. Coolest date ever, eh? Unfortunately I was unable to go for all the fun (they went dog sledding!!!), but luckily they came to Reno for a celebration with the family! :) Lots of pictures to share with you. First we have the newlyweds:

Some much less newlyweds (Kevin's parents, plus Sara's dad, all deep in an intense conversation it looks like- I was being sneaky with my camera!):

And my Aunt Linda and Uncle Paul:

My Dad with Sean and Ashton, and their sparkling apple cider to toast with~ my older brother was dubbed Best Man and gave a wonderful on-the-spot toast, saying what the rest of us were thinking- how Scott is the happiest most laid-back person he knows, and that Sara is the most intelligent person he'll ever meet, and wished them a joyous and happy long marriage together! Nice job with that one George!

Some good conversation, in style with the casual gathering atmosphere- they look at peace, and happy together, don't they?

Scott and me together,

And the three kids. Yes, Kevin was teasing me at the time he pushed the shutter button~

The rings! They designed their own Celtic-style rings, which were made in Berkeley by a specialist, from Platinum. Very fitting for their personalities. (Yup, this is a good one to click on to enlarge and examine to detail.)

And finally, a family photo of my immediate family, except for Kevin, our photographer:

Scott and Sara, thank you for arranging this get-together! The food was fantastic (best ribs I've ever eaten Scott! I'm not much of a meat eater, but all I wanted were the ribs, hamburgers and spicy pork sausages you 'Qued up) as was the company. It was nice to meet all of your friends, and of course get to catch up with my own family that I seem to see together only at major functions at holidays (busy, every one of us!). My love to you both, and hope to see you this summer in Montana!

May Baseball

Yup, looks like Spring is finally peeping its head out of its hid-y hole! And that means baseball season! This is the first year Sean and Ashton have played baseball, and they are doing fantastic! I've been to 2 games so far, and there has been much improvement in between. Those boys have quite the throwing arm on them, plus they aren't afraid of the ball- they get right underneath and catch it coming, even long high ones. :) The past year and a half of batting and playing catch with Daddy has really paid off! This is a previous post I wrote in Nov 2008 of them just getting their barrings. Their team is the Yankees, and they look pretty dang good sporting the royal blue colors! Since this is a beginning team for first time players, they have some easy rules for the kids. First, everyone gets to bat every inning and they don't keep track of the outs. Although if the other team catches your ball or tags you out, then you don't get to run the bases. Second, they are coach-pitched the ball as many times as needed to hit a good ball (the fouls don't count) and a chance to run to first. Third, they only take one base at a time to make it fair because they are still at the stage that if they do catch the ball, most of the time they have no idea what to do with it despite all the coaches telling them where to throw it, and then by the time they do throw it to the (maybe) right place, the player seldom actually catches it. Which would mean that every runner would run all the bases and the game would take forever. And lastly, they don't keep score, which wouldn't make sense with these rules anyway. I completely support that. :) And did I mention how CUTE they are? I love the little ones playing with all they've got, but with still that clueless look on their faces~

So down to the pictures. This first one is of the the other team at bat- Ashton is playing first base, and Sean is playing second:

Got Ashton to turn around for a quick picture:

Then it was their team's turn to bat! Here is Sean at the plate:

Ashton's turn! Here he is at the plate (notice he has the red undershirt, while Sean's is blue):

Here he is batting in a different inning- caught him hitting the ball (you can just see that little white ball flying back toward the pitcher, low):

A second photo of him coming in for a run!

Next, I want to share with you how happy I am that they can share a love of a sport with their dad! They practice together, watch baseball on TV, and Kevin is one of the coaches for their team. Last week we were able to go to Kevin's first softball game together. It was a beautiful evening, and I managed to get Kevin making a run of his own! Here is the sequence of his run:

Can you see the yellow softball in the air just above the fence?

We also found this cute little baseball diamond for the kids to play in, and of course Sean and Ashton brought their own mitts and a ball (passed down from Scotty and me :)

And taking turns...Can you see the ball in the air?

Finally, I left work early on Friday to see a second game and managed to get them to hold still long enough to get in a couple cute poses:

(Ashton's the one with the bat in these last two.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother's Day Tea Party 2010!

I love and greatly appreciate how much effort the boys' teachers go to to make Mother's day a special celebration for all of us! Last year in first grade their teacher (yup, in the same class) read them "Love you Forever" by Robert Munsch, which I have read at a few Mother's Day storytimes myself. I don't think I've ever made it through that book with dry eyes. They created their own version, but changed it to read, "I love you forever, I like you for always, As long as I'm living, My mommy you'll be." Makes me teary just thinking about it, and the boys still like to pull out their books they made last year to read to me. The year before that, we went for a Mother's Day hike up Galena Creek. :) What a happy lucky mommy!

This year they wrote another book, but this one was much less structured and they wrote whatever they were feeling and felt like creating. But since they are in different classes this year, I had to split my time between the two. Sean went first. He was so sweet, and basically told me over and over how much he loves his mommy. :) Here he is reading his book to me (with his teacher in the background, with the dark hair):

Then I skipped over to Ashton's class, where he put his book up on the overhead for everyone to see. He was a little flustered with his reading.

Here is one of his face- he looks so serious! :)

After school I took a photo of them together,

And then Sean's teacher took one of the three of us together. I feel so lucky and can't express enough how much I appreciate the length all the teachers go to for the moms to show how much we are loved- they even put together class recipe books! Each student made up a recipe for their favorite food. Ashton's was Hawaiian Pizza, and Sean's was for chocolate chip cookies. Here the recipes in their entirety (which they even typed themselves!)- take notes:

Choklitchip Cookies by Sean S.

Brown shrgr
1 egg

Mixing evrything


Hhiwin pizza

First we got to make the dough then we have to rise the dough.
Then we spred the saus .
Then there is the food ingredets.
Next we put on ham all over it.
Then we put on the cheese.
And last but not least you put the pin aple on it.
Bake it for 9 have an hor and you got a pizza.

By Ashton

(I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did!)

On Sunday, the boys and I went with my mom to the Clay Canvas on Plumb Lane to paint pottery! We spent a good hour and a half picking dishes we thought we could use, washing them, picking the colors we liked best, and of course painting! Sean chose a covered butter dish (since the "butta" dish Kevin painted like 8 or 9 years ago is starting to crack), Ashton chose a rectangular hors d'oeuvre plate, and I chose a tall mug, which I tried to paint with ocean colors, but turned out to be a rather stripy conglomerate of blues and purples on the outside and greens on the inside. Here is a picture of the finished product~

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reno Rockin' River Half Marathon 2010

I have been training pretty hard for this race- I've had more back issues this year, and have only recently been able to up my mileage on the weekends. Plus I've started lifting weights, using the P90X videos (wow, if you follow the link, that guy looks like a total meat-head. But he's actually really positive and motivating in the workouts). Thank you Abbey for sharing these with me! They have made all the difference in my back health and strength, not to mention the fact that I am starting to show some definition in my arms! Even though I have been a swimmer most of my life, this type of sport doesn't make for lots of definition. Anyway, I don't mean for this post to be a commercial. Back to the race. I was a little late in getting to the start line, and I couldn't find the rest of my team- Turi and Dave were both running the half with me, but Chris opted for the 10K, in which he almost placed first, but missed it by only a few seconds. So the horn blew right at 7:00 and I kicked off on my own. Took me 38 seconds to reach the start line because there were around 700 other runners (or last I checked on the results after the race), and settled into a steady pace after the first mile or so, iPod in full gear. It turned out to be a beautiful day, temperature in the 50s, sun shining in a cloudless sky. Doesn't get much better for running conditions! I didn't push myself at the beginning because I was a little nervous running this distance for the first time since the Kokanee run up at Tahoe at the beginning of October last year. I kept my eye out for Turi and Dave, but didn't expect to see them, or at least not Turi- until the turn-around when he was on his way back. He surprised me by passing me just before the 5 mile mark! Turns out he and Dave were at the very back of the start looking for me, and he didn't catch up to me until then. So we passed the next 6 miles chatting about this and that and marveling at the gorgeous day.

Even though I was taking it easy, I still had a time goal in the back of my mind. I have run this race one other time- it was my second ever half marathon, back in 2008, and I ran it in under 1:58. Big PR for me! So I made a little goal over the past couple weeks to try and break 2 hours again, since it was the same flat course. Once I settle into my pace, that's generally where I stay, but when we hit the 10 mile mark, I had 1:35 on my watch. That left 25 minutes for the last 5k if I were to make that goal. I have run a 5k under 25 minutes twice- once on my treadmill (and then I threw out my back later that day), and once at the Scheels Spark-A-Delic race in Nov. 2008. But neither of those runs were after doing 10 miles first. Oh well. I could be happy with 2:05. But I picked up the pace anyway. And then with 2 miles to the finish, Chris passed us running the course backwards doing his warm-down with a friend. His goal in running the course backwards was to run either a 5k or until he caught up to one of us going the other way. He and Turi started chatting, and he gave us a brief update on his race (which started a half hour after ours, but he ran it in like 33 minutes or something ridiculously fast like that). Then Chris "ran" Turi to the finish, much faster than I had energy for, so I cranked up the tunes again and pushed myself with what I did have left. About a quarter mile to the finish Chris found me again and I kicked into full gear and nearly sprinted the last 2-3 blocks. 2:03.26! I had a bit of an emotional moment walking off the first of the post-race "jelly legs" because I was actually pretty happy with this time, and because I am able to run virtually pain-free again. About a year ago there were days when I was afraid to drive to work because I knew after the half hour it took me to get there I'd be in a serious world of hurt. Physical therapy was my savior last summer, and weights this year. Also, this is by far the closest I've come to my PR since I ran it 2 years ago. (I'm keeping my watch time, BTW, because it took me almost 40 seconds to reach the start line, and my official time was 1 minute and 1 second slower than my actual time. And I placed 377 overall, and 46th in my age group.) I'm in the center, green shirt, black jacket:

It was a great day to be with my teammates, TLD (Team Library Dork), and a super supported race! Turi ran almost exactly 2 hours, just under 2:01, and Dave came in at 2:22. What a great time! Then the four of us celebrated by splitting an Espresso Yeti, and then headed to breakfast at My Favorite Muffin. Only 2 more pictures to share today- the first with Turi, taken on his brand-new-as-of-yesterday Droid Incredible:

And for the second, I begged a guy in line to take a quick picture of us after we finished breakfast~

Sleeping Babies

Yeah, I know Sean & Ashton aren't babies anymore, but it sure is hard not to think of them as my babies when I look at this photo. I captured this moment just last week- every now and then I find them together, especially after one of them has a bad dream. It makes heart feel full to bursting when I see how close they are, and am so blessed that they are each other's best friend~