Friday, December 30, 2011


Kylie has attended gymnastics camp this week. She has learned straddle jumps, tuck jumps and ziz-zag jumps. She has jumped on the low trampoline, hung on the uneven bars, and walked the balance beams. She has played duck,duck, goose and other games too.

And she has stretched. Or as Kylie puts it "stretched and stretched and stretched!"

"Mommy, Kylie said "They told me to put my nose to my knee, to my other knee, to my toes. They want my nose everywhere!"

She has worked hard this week and for the first time, she is actually sore. Her back and ribs are a bit sore. Karen and I got to explain what "sore" was and how it was different than an injury.

Even though kiddo is tired and ready for a relaxing weekend, she is also quite proud of her new skills.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book list for 2011

If 2010 was my year of the memoir, then 2011 was the year of the series. I’m cheating a bit on my “top ten” list as three on my list weren’t individual books but series of books. In 2010, I only read 47 books. This year, I read 75. I attribute this to Kylie’s growth and her new-found tolerance to me sitting still and reading.

Here are my top ten favorite books of 2011:
11/22/63 by Stephen King
The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart
The Soldier Son Trilogy by Robin Hobb (Renegade’s Magic, Forest Mage, Shaman’s Crossing)
The Rain Wilds Chronicles by Robin Hobb (Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians-all 5 books- by Rick Riordan
The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
A Discovery of Wtiches by Deborah Harkness
The Radleys by Matt Haig
The Long Run by Matt Long

This year I read six Jennifer Cruise books (Getting Rid of Bradley was my favorite), six Melissa de la Cruz books (the first book, Blue Bloods, was my favorite), three Anjali Banerjee books (Haunting Jasmine was my favorite), three Amanda Hocking books and two of Chelsea Handler’s. Here’s the rest of the list in no particular order:

Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James
The Kinshield Legacy by KC May
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts
The Search by Nora Roberts
The Matchmaker of Reigord by Julia Stuart
Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Violets of March by Sarah Jio
Groundswell by Katie Lee
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Fast Women by Jennifer Cruise
Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Cruise
What the Lady Wants by Jennifer Cruise
The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Cruise
Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Cruise
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Cruise
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler
The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagan
Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
Blue Bloods books by Melissa de la Cruz (Masquerade, Revelations, Van Alen Legacy, Misguided Angel, Blue Bloods)
The Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls
Working It Out by Abby Rike
Invisible Lives by Anjali Banerjee
Imaginary Men by Anjali Banerjee
Haunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee
Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking (Switched, Torn, Ascend)
The Wildwater Water Walking Club by Claire Cook
Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes
Horns by Joe Hill
Run! By Dean Karnazes
Metal Cowboy by Joe Kurmaskie
Awakened by PC Cast

Healthy Living section:
Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism by Maria Emmerich
Unlimited by Jillian Michaels
Big Book of Bicycling by Bicycling Magazine Editors
Triathlon Start to Finish by Sam Murphy
Swim, Bike, Run by Wes Hobson

Karen and I adore the JD Robb “Eve Dallas” audiobook series. This year, we were pleased to listen to these three additions:
New York to Dallas, Treachery in Death, Indulgence in Death.

I also enjoyed Patrick Taylor’s Country Doctor audiobook series and listened to:
An Irish Country Courtship, An Irish Country Christmas, An Irish Country Village, Irish Country Doctor.

Feel free to share your comments and/or favorites! Happy Reading Everyone!

Monday, December 26, 2011


What a fun Christmas!

On Christmas Eve, I enjoyed watching Karen and Kylie track Santa's progress on Google Earth via

The anticipation of Christmas Day wiped Kylie out. On Christmas Eve afternoon, I asked Kylie to play quietly in her room. A short time later, I noticed it was too quiet. I opened her door to find her sleeping soundly on the floor. She hardly ever conks out like that! Of course I had to take a picture of her.

On Christmas morning, we got up at 6:30am to open presents. We had presents from the family on our living room table and presents from Santa under the tree. I'm not sure this distinction meant much to Kylie. She loved all her new things. We heard the most squeals from her when she saw her hula hoop...

her Groovy Girls prince and princess,

her first pillow pet,

and her Rapunzel doll.

If you scroll up to one of the earlier pictures, you might see three pink suitcase-looking storage boxes sitting under the tree. We got those to store Kylie's wind-up toys, Barbie clothes and other things. I made some suggestions on what she could store in them but I also told her they were her boxes to do with as she wanted. When I was cleaning up last night I opened one up. Can you quess what I found lovingly stored away?

Some of you long-time readers much guess correctly....empty toilet paper rolls.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter camp

I'm sitting here hoping and praying that the presents for Kylie I ordered from Amazon make it to my house today or tomorrow. Someone please remind me next year to get my act together and order presents a tad earlier.


Kylie's been at winter camp held at her school this week. She's come home every day with several completed holiday crafts. She's had fun playing lots of games. The other day she was telling us about a game where the kids sit together in a circle and one puts on a blindfold. Another child tiptoes behind them and starts the game by saying, "Knock Knock". Who's there? "I'm a little elf coming out for Christmas. Guess who?" and then the blindfolded child guesses who is behind them. Kylie loved this game; we had to reenact it several times at home. Her camp lasts until 3:30 and it has worn her out. Last night she actually fell asleep while brushing her teeth before bed.


She has loved her camp experience. When I pick her up, she is so excited to share all about her day. Her fast little run-on sentences prompted me to shoot a few videos of her.

I hope all of you are doing great this holiday season (and not sweating over post office and ups service like I am). Cheers!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Santa's message

Big thanks to Ali Edwards who introduced me to the free, customized Santa messages on the Portable North Pole.

Watching her video from Santa was one of Kylie's highlights for the week. She has seen it six times and still loves it.

Here's a picture of her waving to the Santa on the screen.

Here are some other pictures I took of her at the park on Thursday. We've loved the warm temperatures and have gone to the park every afternoon this week.

She and I were having an interesting conversation while I snapped the below pictures. I was explaining why she had to wear shoes everywhere at the park except the sand lots. She was debating the merits of wearing shoes.

Kylie can get quite serious and intent.

And just like that, she decided she was done with talking. She thew herself onto the sand and giggled and how the grass tickled her neck.

Ah, childhood.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Crafts

Today was holiday craft day at Kylie's school and I got to participate. I volunteered to bring 30 white bags with handles decorated with the children's names. And I volunteered to help out with the crafts.

Kylie got to decorate a gingerbread man cookie,

and a gingerbread girl tree ornament,

a reindeer candy cane,

and "reindeer food" made out of oats and sugar.


The children were so sweet and so well behaved but I still felt like the top of my head had blown off by the time we were done. It was a lot for this stay-at-home Mom to handle. But seeing the Kylie's smile and the way she was proud to introduce me to her friends made it all worthwhile.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Kylie dancing to Madagascar

I watch this video once a day because it always makes me smile and laugh. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

{this moment} 20 miles!

{this moment} - a Friday ritual. Some photos capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Today, for the first time ever, I ran 20.25 miles. I did it in 3:12:45. And I could even smile for the camera once it was done.


This moment posts are inspired by SouleMama's Friday posts.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Noodles and pages

My Dad got Kylie some Magic Noodles and Kylie had so much fun with them. They were very easy to use. She just tapped a side of the noodle onto a wet paper towel and then she pressed the noodles together.

She made a pyramid...

and a horse (head on the left and tail on the right).

Here are some scrapbook pages from May 2010 that I completed while on the cruise.




Monday, December 05, 2011

Skipping, scavenger hunts and more

Kylie is so proud of her new skill of skipping. Her little brain and body have put all the skipping motions together and now she skips everywhere.

Kylie got to have several scavenger hunts with her cousins while in TN. She insisted we have one yesterday. Kylie, Karen and I each wrote onto a piece of paper at least five things we wanted to find in our backyard. After we found everything, we each checked one another's lists. It was sweet and fun and reminded me yet again of how much Kylie likes to collect little bits of nature.

Two other little things that I've noticed:

Someone taught her the word "disgusting" and she has used it twice in sentences about food she hasn't wanted to eat.

Kylie is calling me both "Mommy" and "Mom". I have to confess that I'm not thrilled with "Mom". I honestly didn't think that "Mommy" would get shortened to "Mom" until Kylie was 9 years old or so. I didn't realize how much I had riding on "Mommy" until she stopped using it. Oh well, I'm trying to roll with it.


Friday, December 02, 2011



Karen and I just returned from a Carnival cruise to Nassau and Half Moon Cay. For five glorious days we reveled in some private time. We slept late, had some spa treatments, got in lots of reading,relaxed and enjoyed one another. Can I just say how wonderful it was to not make anyone's breakfast, lunch or dinner for five days? Wow! I had so much free time! I made some scrapbook pages that I'll share with you in a bit.



Kylie stayed with her Nana and had all sorts of fun with her cousins, including a day at Dollywood.


We are trying to get our land legs back and get caught up in all our usual home stuff. I hope you are all enjoying the start of December.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Postcards from TN part three- Thanksgiving

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Postcards from TN part two

We spent Wednesday 11/23 with my Dad and his partner Margarita. We had lunch together and then went to the East TN Discovery Center Museum.


Some of the highlights were a space shuttle module with a black light. Kylie had fun working the controls and blasting into space.

There were whisper dishes set up on either side of the museum.



The museum had a very nice kids play area. There were only a few other people there so we were able to visit together quietly which was lovely.


We stayed for the 30-minute planetarium show. Kylie loved seeing the stars but then she got really sleepy. She took a nap in the car on the way home. And played with her cousins for the rest of the evening.