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Name: Lauren         Location: Middle Tennessee, USA

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Classics Bookclub
Classics Bookclub

In January, I developed a goal for reading classic books in 2010. I can't link to my January post because I accidentally deleted my blog, but these are the books on my classics list:

Jane Eyre (Readable Classics)
Little Women
To Kill a Mockingbird
Gone with the Wind
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

I am happy to say that I have already finished three of these books. Of course, I started with the easiest first: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (a children's classic). I distinctly remember this book from my childhood. I loved it then, and I can say with certainty that I love it now. This book is a treasure. Because no one appreciates her at home, Claudia Kincaid devises a plan to run away with her younger brother Jamie (to teach her parents a lesson, of course). Claudia and Jamie spend a week living in the Metropolitan Museum of Art where they spend their time unraveling a Michelangelo mystery. Thanks to this wonderful story, I will never enter a public bathroom without wondering if I could hide out until after closing (if you don't understand this, you'll have to pick up a copy). If you have never enjoyed this story, I highly recommend it!

After an easy start, I selected a much larger novel: Little Women. I have heard the names of the March sisters mentioned for many years, but I had never read the book or seen the movie. Although I thought the book started slowly, once I got into the story, I was hooked. This story is a familiar one, so I won't rehash the details, but I will say that I grew so comfortable with all the sisters, especially Jo. (***Spoiler Alert***) Although I was initially disappointed with Jo's rejection of Laurie, and I didn't feel that I knew Professor Bhaer enough to be attached to him, I felt that Jo made the right decision in the end. I closed the book with a warm feeling, like I had spent a nice afternoon with friends. After reading the novel, I indulged in the Winona Ryder version of the movie and enjoyed it immensely. I thought the casting was perfect. As usual, I liked the book more, but I did enjoy the movie version, and I was not disappointed with it the way I often am when I see a beloved story on screen. I am sure many of you have read this novel, so I welcome any comments you have.

My final book for this quarter was Jane Eyre (Readable Classics). I started the original version last year when it was a 5 Minutes for Books selection, but I didn't make it past the initial chapters. Due to health reasons, I was tired, and I couldn't keep my eyes open to read it! When 5M4B highlighted the Readable Classics version, I thought it would be a perfect fit for me. I enjoyed this revised version so much! Of course, the story of Jane and her journey from being an unloved orphan to a much loved woman of great strength and courage (not to mention wealth and intelligence) is a masterpiece, and I am so glad that I finally know the story. I am thankful I picked up the Readable Classics version; it was a great way to immerse myself in a classic tale without struggling through the language. Now that I am familiar with the story, however, I do plan to read the original before the end of 2010. I will be sharing more thoughts on the Readable Classics soon, so stay tuned!

If you have read any classics recently, or if you would like to read reviews of the classics, head over to the 5 Minutes for Books Bookclub today!


  posted at 7:38 AM  

Sunday, March 28, 2010
Sunday Afternoon Fun
While everyone else in the state of Tennessee was watching the UT men play Michigan State in the Elite 8, my kids and I enjoyed a great outing: we attended a performance of Miss Nelson Is Missing at the Nashville Children's Theatre.

(For the record, it wasn't raining, but a girl is never fully dressed without a purple, ruffled umbrella.)

It was so fun! Several of the performers were absolutely hilarious, and I loved laughing with my kids. At the beginning of the show, we realized that one of my Best Girl's pre-K classmates was sitting behind us. After the performance, she went to him and said, "I have to tell you something. Miss Swamp was really Miss Nelson in a disguise!" It was so cute that she thought she was letting her friend in on a big secret. (If you haven't read Miss Nelson Is Missing, you'll have to pick up a copy to understand this comment.)

In a few months, we'll be heading back to see a performance of Charlotte's Web. I love these outings, and I hope they will be something that my children remember fondly.

As far as basketball is concerned, we returned to the car in time to listen to the last few heartbreaking moments of the game. I hate that the Vols didn't make it to the Final Four, but they certainly had a great season!

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  posted at 3:58 PM  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Small Talk about Fashion
I am a low-maintenance female: I wear very little make-up, accessories, or fashionable clothing. I can usually be found in a plain shirt with capris in the summer or some kind of warm-up suit in the winter. I value comfort over fashion, for sure.

Somehow, I ended up with this...

I am certain that my Best Girl does not approve of my fashion sense.

This morning, she came in and asked, "Mom, do you know what accessories are?"

I answered yes, and she replied, "You really need some."

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  posted at 10:48 AM  

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
What's On My Nightstand?
It's time for the Nightstand carnival at 5 Minutes for Books. I am currently reading Jane Eyre for the Classics Bookclub (the Readable Classics version), and I am also reading Lucky, a wonderful baseball story for young boys.

Other books in my stack:

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
A Distant Melody
Once in a Blue Moon
I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced (Read Jennifer's review HERE)
Fireworks Over Toccoa
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
To Kill a Mockingbird

Happy Reading!


  posted at 7:43 AM  

Saturday, March 20, 2010
Hooray for Spring
I am so thankful that warmer temperatures are here!

For starters, I was able to run outside twice this week. I have been working on the ChiRunning technique, and I think it is really helping me, particularly with my shin pain (although I am not yet completely pain free). I completed week 8/day 2 of my Couch to 5K program on Saturday morning, so I only have four more runs to go before I finish. Until this week, I had done all my running on a treadmill, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to run as long outside. When I did my first outside run, I concentrated on controlling my pace (I didn't want to run too fast and run out of energy), and it worked out fine. I was able to run the required 28 minutes, and I found that the time went by much more quickly outside than on the treadmill. I am hoping to participate in a local 5K on April 17th, so I'll post soon about my progress.

Today, we were able to enjoy the beautiful spring weather at the ballpark. It's baseball time again, and my Favorite Boy and Coach Dad played a scrimmage today. Next Saturday will be the first real game, and they'll play through the first full week of June. I look forward to enjoying the fresh air and sunshine at the ballpark (although I am sure we will still have some cool temperatures for another month or so).

After a loooong, cold winter, I am so glad spring is here!

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  posted at 6:55 PM  

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
A Big Day for My Best Girl
My Best Girl is very excited: she registered for kindergarten today! I took her with me to fill out the paperwork, and she happily colored a picture while I was busy. Of course, since her big brother is already at the school, she knows the office staff, and she visited with them quite a bit as well.

I really wish I could link to my posts about starting my Favorite Boy on the path to kindergarten, but I haven't gotten that far in my lost blog recovery effort yet. I had a very difficult time registering him and sending him (I really didn't want him to go). I know I will shed tears when my baby goes as well, but it doesn't seem as traumatic since I have been through it before.

However, I may be speaking prematurely. My Best Girl is very attached to me. Although she is excited to say she is going to kindergarten, she may not be so excited when it is time for mommy to leave. All of this may be quite traumatic for both of us before it's said and done, but I am going to think positively!

For now, I am going to forget about all this kindergarten stuff and just enjoy the next five months!


  posted at 9:40 PM  

Sunday, March 14, 2010
A Busy Week
Last week was super busy around here. In addition to the routine activities that always keep us moving, I had to wrap up a math program that I have been coordinating at my Favorite Boy's school. The program went well, and it was my kind of volunteering—high on organization, low on creativity. I have been working on the program since November, so I am glad to reach the end for this year.

Friday was my birthday (36), and I got to go out for dinner with my husband. I also received a new toy that I hope to use when I start running outside (I watch TV when I am running on the treadmill). My Favorite Boy doesn't think it is as cool as an itouch, but it suits me just fine.

Over the weekend, we enjoyed a visit with my sister-in-law and my youngest nephew. They came to Tennessee from New Mexico for her father's retirement dinner. My Favorite Boy and Best Girl enjoyed being the "big" cousins.

Although I wrapped up some projects last week, I know we will stay busy coming months. The last few of months of school always seem to be full of activities (I think they try to wear us out so we will be thankful to have a two and a half month break). We are looking forward to everything spring has to offer!


  posted at 4:07 PM  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Wordless Wednesday: My Feisty Feline


  posted at 7:44 AM  

Monday, March 8, 2010
Marvelous Monday
We had a wonderful Monday! Our school district was out for staff development, and it couldn't have fallen on a more perfect day. It was sunny, and our temperatures were in the mid-70's. We spent three hours at the park with friends, and I could have stayed longer. After enduring more snow and cold temperatures than we are used to during the winter, it was such a blessing to have a day like this. I am thankful for the beautiful reminder that spring is on its way.

We'll be back to business around here on Tuesday, and rain is coming as well. However, we won't leave all the fun behind. My Favorite Boy is excited that I am coming to his school tomorrow for Parents in P.E., and my Best Girl is looking forward to a visit from a police officer at preschool (it's community helpers month).

I am glad we had such a wonderful opportunity to enjoy ourselves outside today, and I look forward to the week ahead!

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  posted at 9:20 PM  

Friday, March 5, 2010
Taking a Step Back So I Can Run Forward
Well, I was making great progress with my running plan, and then my shins started hurting. I have had problems with shin pain in the past, so I knew I needed to address the pain quickly before it kept me from running at all. Thankfully, I came across the name Danny Dreyer and his idea of ChiRunning on several websites. According to the information I read and the reviews of runners who attest to the technique, ChiRunning leads to pain-free and effortless running. With painful shins, I thought that sounded pretty good, so I decided to read the book.

ChiRunning is based on principles of Tai Chi. I am not qualified to fully explain it all, but the idea is that our bodies were made to run, and if we run with the proper form (including posture, balance, and technique), it should not be painful. What I learned from reading the book is that I am definitely not running in a Chi kind of way. As a matter of fact, I am running with a pound the pavement kind of form that is prevalent in our "just build your leg muscles" and "no pain, no gain" western running environment.

Some of the thoughts in the book are eastern-y/be one with nature/be centered in yourself kind of ideas. However, in the same way that I think a person can benefit from the physical aspects of Yoga without adhering to its spiritual components, I think that the lessons I am learning about running are truly beneficial to me. Unfortunately, I am going to have to take the time to re-learn how to run, and this will delay my progress in the Couch to 5K program for a few weeks.

Although I am a goal-oriented kind of girl, I am okay with this delay. I really want to stick with running long-term, and I know I won't do this if it hurts. Now I have to get busy teaching this old dog new tricks. I'll let you know how it goes!


  posted at 7:18 AM  

Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Disney, Day Eight
On day eight of our Disney trip, we headed to Animal Kingdom. We only spent one day in this park, but it was packed with fun. Neither of my kids had ever ridden Expedition Everest, and they both decided to give it a try (my Best Girl was just tall enough). As soon as we arrived, we headed toward the mountain, ready to conquer it.

Although both kids were willing to give Everest a try, they were somewhat hesitant. After riding, however, they both declared it to be one of the best rides in Disney World, and over the course of the day, we rode it four times. It was so much fun to enjoy it as a family.

After our first ride on Everest, we headed to Dinoland where my Favorite Boy rode Primeval Whirl. My Best Girl wasn't tall enough, so she rode Triceratop Spin (a dinosaur version of the Dumbo ride) and then had her picture made with Goofy and Pluto.

We spent the rest of the morning enjoying It's Tough To Be a Bug, the Safari, and Everest (again). At one point, as we were walking through the Africa section, my Favorite Boy stopped to entertain us. There was an African man leading the music, and children were invited to join in the fun. My Favorite Boy loved it!

During the afternoon, we watched Finding Nemo: The Musical and then watched the Jingle Jungle Christmas parade. This was wonderful. Minnie's float even smelled like hot chocolate.

The kids begged all day to ride the Kali River Rapids, but we made them wait until the end of the day because it was cool. My Favorite Boy really didn't like the idea of wearing a poncho, but his mean parents made him (so we wouldn't have to hear "I'm cold because my clothes are wet" all the way back to the hotel). After the first ride, I was lucky enough to be relatively dry, so I got off, knowing my luck wouldn't hold out forever. Because all the sane people were avoiding this ride, there was no line, and the rest of my crew chose to ride again. I was able to take their picture while they rode. I think my Favorite Boy was the wettest, and he was thrilled about that.

After a wonderful day, we headed back to the hotel, but we stopped for a picture in front of the Tree of Life on our way to the exit. I love these three people!

Coming soon...Day 9. Only two more days to document (maybe I'll get these posts wrapped up before we go again)!


  posted at 2:35 PM  

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I Read It
In last month's I Read It carnival, Carrie shared a post about Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. After her review, I knew I had to read it.

I am home with a sick little girl (she's sick enough to be home from preschool, but not sick enough to stay out of trouble), so I will simply point you to Carrie's review and say that this is a beautiful story, and I highly recommend it. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is about love, family, honor, prejudice, and fear, and I enjoyed every page.

Thanks, Carrie for your recommendation (which you read based on someone else's recommendation—I love that!). I am so glad I Read It!


  posted at 8:29 AM  

Previous Posts
  • A Disney December, The Final Chapter
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