Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Recommendation

I go though reading phases where I won't read at all, will read one book, or be reading 5 different books at the same time. I'm currently engrossed in a handful of books at the moment but just recently completed The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman.  Amazing book. If you're a reader, I'd highly recommend taking the time to curl up with a blanket and get engrossed in this novel which happens to be the author's debut. It's both captivating and heart breaking and it left me in tears with the unsurety of whether they were tears of sadness or happiness. The story is quite transcendent and what I consider to be an "easy read". 

"After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.
The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel."

Monday, September 10, 2012

August Happenings

Time flies these days. As I get older, the days and months seem to pass by more swiftly. August came and went so quickly. This month was an eventful one for us. My sister and her family flew in from Italy to visit for 3 weeks, my grandmother passed away, a dear friend married her best friend, and there were a few events for my brother's future wedding. Here is a recap in photos of last month:

My sister and I at my Grandma Jo's Celebration of Life.
Ready for my friend's wedding.

The gorgeous bride and her new husband.
Everett conquered a bridge that once used to frighten him.
Not many photos but I have a good excuse. I actually don't own a real camera. I really need to invest in one but the Canon I want cost an arm and a leg.

In the subject of running, I'm still putting in miles and following Hal Higdon's Novice 2 Marathon Training Program. If you click on the link, you'll be able to view my weekly schedule. I am currently on week 8. I'm putting in on average about 30 miles a week, running 4 days a week and cross training one day. On my off days, I've been doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred. I finally hit level 3 last week! A new running friend recently asked me to run the Girlfriends Half Marathon on October 14th with her so I've decided to do that and looking forward to my second half!

I need to spend some time and catch up on everyone else's blogs. Sorry I've been a bit missing on my blogging but hope you haven't forgotten about us. I promise to cut out more time to keep you all informed and updated!

Friday, August 17, 2012

New Products

There are so many crunchy and interesting products out there that I have come across. For most people, it's probably not very exciting to go to your local Whole Foods or New Seasons and spend a good hour checking out all natural bath and body products. For me, it's like Christmas or as my husband likes to describe it, I act like a giddy kid in a candy store. Yes, I have simple pleasures.

My new favorite store is New Seasons. It recently opened and since it's across town, I don't go there often but when I get an opportunity to go there, I write down a list of everything I want to check out. Since we've dwindled down to the last of our mainstream bath and body products, it was time to transition to those that are all naturally made with no skin irritants or chemicals. Here are a few new things we found:

Everyday Shea Shampoo
  • Everyday Shea Moisturizing Shampoo - First of all, it's local. It's made up in Lacey, WA. It's also Fair Trade Certified, and best of all, it is free of parabens and synthetic fragrances and produced with only unrefined ingredients. Also, it's not tested on animals. A 32 fluid ounce bottle costs you about $15 but it lasts awhile. I love this shampoo and will definitely continue using it. My hair seems to stay cleaner longer and I don't get that itchiness or oiliness I usually get if I go one too many days of no washing.

Oregon Soap Company

  •  Oregon Soap Company (foaming hand soap) - This soap is local, made of essential oils, and smells delicious. New Seasons offers refills allowing you to reuse the same soap pump which is pretty eco-friendly. I also love that for a certain number of gallons sold, a tree is planted on their behalf. My husband liked this soap but I felt that my hands didn't ever really get clean enough. It didn't sudsy up enough and often times, failed to remove simple residue off my hands. I probably wouldn't buy the foaming soap but would like to try out their bar soaps. 

Oregon Soap Company

  •  Oregon Soap Company (exfoliating bar soap) - Man Soap. That's what I call this. This isn't one I tried but one that my husband picked out for himself. It literally smells like a combination of pine leaves and dirt. And oddly enough, the dirt part smells pretty good in combination with the pine leaves scent. My husband loved it. It's what I assumed considering it took him half the time to go through the bar than it does for the average person. He loved it that much or he's just really dirty than the average person. He said it felt like he was in the forest, ripped a branch off a pine tree and rubbed it all over himself. And afterwards, he howled and pounded himself on the chest. Okay, not really. I made that part up but that's what I visualize. He said he'd definitely use this product again.

Preserve Toothbrush

Preserve Toothbrush Return
  •  Preserve Toothbrush - The best toothbrush ever.  The handle is 100% recycled from #5 plastics and is even completely recyclable after use. It's also BPA free.
     And the best part? They come in these neat postage paid packages in which after your 3 month use (since that's what dentists recommend toothbrushes to be changed out), you just stick your used toothbrush in it and place it in your mail. On their website, they offer a program where they will automatically send you a toothbrush every 3 months. They also offer cute toothbrushes for your little ones. We absolutely love this product and won't go back to the mainstream ones. They aren't recyclable nor BPA free.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ice Cream Truck

Yup. I'm behind on blogging again. We're still having issues with our laptop so actually being able to get logged on is few and far between. I dream of having a Mac. Does anyone have one of those, by the way?

Today, Everett is 2 years and 8 months exactly! I just realized that. Happy 32 months! I remember having mini monthly celebrations for Everett. I think that stopped at about 24 months.

Anyway, I still celebrate "firsts." Everett bought ice cream for the first time from the Ice Cream Truck. This was back on July 4th. Yes, I know, very behind on blogging.

He didn't end up eating his orange creamsicle though. Dad forgot vanilla with chocolate is his favorite kind of ice cream treat. C'mon, Dad! We live in a very small cul-de-sac so we rarely have the opportunity to see the Ice Cream Truck but I'm glad he was able to experience it at least once this Summer!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July 2012 Festivities

This year, we had a pretty mellow Fourth. We actually didn't have any plans until last night. We were just going to stay at home and hang out since it's been pretty busy around here lately. We ended up hanging out with my husband's parents. In Oregon, fireworks that go over 12 inches are illegal so you can only imagine what kind of "wow" factor Oregon fireworks have so we didn't do any. Not to mention we think it's a waste of money. We've never actually bought any in the years past other than sparklers and pop-its. We bought Everett a box of pop-its which he thoroughly enjoyed and thought were pretty cool. I love the simple minds of toddlers.

He didn't want to throw them for some reason but rather wanted to jump on them.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner of BBQ ribs, sweet potatoes, shrimp, and fresh cherries from the Tri Cities. They were so juicy and sweet!

My favorite part of the evening was making s'mores and hanging out around the fire pit. It was Everett's first time having s'mores and he didn't enjoy them as much as I thought he would've. He just wanted to eat the graham crackers and chocolate separately.

Everett's Papa has a few riding toys and each time we go over there, he enjoys sitting on them.

Happy Fourth of July to you all! Hope you had a fun, exciting day with your family and friends!

( Yes, that is a hotdog on a skateboard on his shirt and yes, he has socks with sandals on. He's starting to want to pick out his outfits. It's entertaining.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Farm and Garden Time

Since planting our garden at my parents' house, we've been spending a lot of time there to make sure we keep up on the weeding, hoeing, and watering. I'm thankful that they're only 3 miles away!

Everett has been pretty helpful each time we're out there, minus the time the other day he trampled our lettuce that just came up. I guess I don't blame him-it all looks like weeds after awhile. It's been hot here but he's been good about taking water breaks.

It's been fun going back to my parents' house and noticing how much the plants have grown since the last time we were there. But you know, this gardening can be some hard work, especially when it's so hot outside. It requires breaks and taking off our shirt.

It rained a lot last night so I'm sure we're one step closer to our fresh produce deliciousness!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Vancouver USA Half Marathon Race Report

It's been awhile since I've set a big goal for myself and took the time and dedication to achieve that goal. When I say that, it makes me sound like I've been some sort of lazy person the last few years. I admit I haven't been the most motivated person with big major goals but that changed when I found my love for running. With that being said, I challenged myself to a 12 week training program in hopes to complete a half marathon. I didn't worry how I was going to follow and dedicate myself to this program but with my mind set that I was just going to do it (Nike says to just do it, right?), I just did it. I received advice from more seasoned runners that as a beginning runner, I had to trust the program, respect the distance, and follow the program with no serious modifications. This was important to do if I wanted to be successful on race day. Well, I did just that and completed my first half marathon last Sunday. I asked one of my friends if she wanted to run the race with me and she gladly said yes which I was so excited about!

Getting our bibs at the race expo. I was the lucky winner of the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS drawing they had!
The night before the race, I didn't get much sleep. I had nervous jitters and had trouble falling asleep. I barely got 5 hours which was a bad thing. I had to get up at 6am and get myself ready to run over 13 miles with thousands of people. I had planned on getting a full 8 hours of sleep and to be well-rested. I'm sure this had a lot to do with one of the reasons why I lacked energy during the race.

It started at 9am and my husband decided to come with me and to stay for the whole race. I was concerned about how he would entertain our son for over 2 hours but thankfully, it was at Esther Short Park where the farmer's market is located and plentiful park and playground for Everett. On the morning of race day, my husband got up early with me and cooked me the breakfast of champions. And no, it wasn't Wheaties. It was my favorite, egg on top of whole wheat toast. I pretty much eat that every morning.

I had to fight a bit of anxiety and mentally ward off panic attacks with being around so many people but I managed to focus on the race ahead of me and relaxed myself into the excitement that was in the air. You could feel how excited and hyped up everyone was so that helped and motivated me. 

Just a countdown away from gun start. Can you see me?!

I look excited but I was just really nervous.

Well, the race itself was tough. Much tougher than I anticipated. My goal finish time was 2:10 but I came in at 2:27:28. Far from my goal. I contribute this to 3 factors. These factors were conditions that I did not train in. The weather that day was hot. The sun was out and it didn't help that the course had us running right at it. I didn't have a hat or sunglasses so the sun just beamed into my face pretty much the whole time. Secondly, it was very humid. We don't get a lot of humidity here in the Pacific Northwest but this day, we had it. Thirdly, the course had hills. Hills and hills and hills. As I approached them, I convinced myself that walking was not option. Well, it obviously was. Walking the first hill, I was disappointed because one of my biggest goals for the race was not to walk. As I looked around me, everyone but a few were walking all the hills. You can tell a seasoned runner from a beginning runner and even these seasoned runners were walking. Seeing that made me realize I wasn't just being a wimp. Aside from the hills, I walked here and there between miles 8-12 and you could tell the heat had gotten to everyone. 

I've learned a lot of things I will do differently for my next half marathon but one of the main things I will do would be to wear a fuel belt. I slowed down and even walked through some of the water stations due to the lines but if I had had my own water on me, I could've shaved off a minute or two off my finish time. 

I spoke to a guy after the race who was an avid marathon runner and I was telling him how tough this race was for me and he admitted that this course was one of the toughest he had ever done. I thought to myself, "so, it wasn't just me?!" I had fun and enjoyed the post race atmosphere and was excited to have completed my first half but I was a bit down for not reaching the finish time I had set myself for and for having to walk parts of it. You live and you learn though. I've definitely learned what things I'll do and not do for my next race and I'm already itching to run another one. A lot of people have told me that marathons are addictive and I didn't quite understand what was so addicting about them. Just run one and you'll know why. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Little Snippers

When we lived in Oregon City, we found the perfect children's hair salon called Sit Still Salon near our home. Not only was it very accommodating for children but the stylist that we had was absolutely wonderful. She cut Everett's hair perfectly and interacted with him so well. Since our move, I have found a local children's salon, Little Snippers. It doesn't compare to Sit Still Salon but the stylist who now cuts Everett's hair is just about as good. He got his hair cut this past Monday and she did well in keeping the tears away til right at the end. All in all, he did great.

He's always had a longer cut but with a little reluctance, I decided to have it cut pretty short for the Summer weather. I didn't want his long, soft baby hair cut! He's 2 and a half years old and I still feel like he's my little newborn. Umbilical cord still attached? Yup.

He got a little concerned when the buzzer was brought out so I had to convince him that it was harmless.

I love this picture. They brought the bubbles out and he got quite amused by them.

He enjoyed the play area for a bit afterwards. This is the shortest he's ever had his hair. Doesn't he look like such a big, handsome boy?!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Garden Plotting

My parents have graciously offered some of their land so we can plant a garden this year. My main reason for wanting to garden this year is so that I can can a lot of food for winter and to be frugal too of course.. It's been pretty rainy here and you need a handful of days for the soil to dry up but it's been raining about every 2-4 days so it was a cycle that didn't ever give us any dry land. In the meantime, we admired my parent's garden and used the abundance of their early produce and worked on figuring out our garden layout.

My mom is the master gardener and I just love hers!

Everett loves spending time out there and is a pro at dirt shoveling.

My parent's lent us the lower half of their gardening area.

Thankfully, it was dry for a few consecutive days and we were able to get part of it planted this past Saturday. It was so hot that day and I was a bit worried about Everett getting overheated so we got half of it done. He was such a wonderful helper. Helped shovel soil with his cute, little hoe and helped poke the beans down into the ground.

It rained today so now we have to wait until the ground dries up again. Thank you Mother Nature!