Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dirt: The College Recruiters Always Ring Twice

Our mailbox, like the mailboxes of all households with sophomores, is getting inundated with school advertisements. "Come here" they all say , "We are the perfect school for you! "  One of them may be the right school for our girl. She is gravitating towards engineering and an urban school with a crew team.

We laugh at the now monotonous onslaught of schools  that girlfriend has no interest in or anyone has ever heard of. Schools that sound fancy, but are really not. I laugh at her responses to me. ( Me: "New York seems less scary than New Orleans." Her: "Good, I am going to New Orleans!")

Via Flickr

I play it cool, but a little piece of me twinges every time I see the envelope. I remember those days of looking and dreaming...what would it be like, I wondered.  Nothing like I could have imagined.  I could not wait to get out of dodge and only came back for one summer. Hopefully I can entice her with more summers than that.

I am reading a book about a mother who bonks her head and loses 10 years of her memory. That is how I feel sometimes when I look at where we are in the stage of raising kids. They are closer to grown up than babies. While I do not under any circumstances want to return to babies and toddlers, I am a little overwhelmed. How are they teenagers when I am just barely out of my teens  myself.

I love the conversations I have with my girls. They are  interesting and smart. By proxy, I feel smarter and more interesting. Life is funny in how you age and your kids age and for awhile, it seems you are getting closer and closer on the timeline.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cooking: Rolling, Rolling, Rolling...keep that momma moving...Rawhide!

 Days fly by, don't they? Hours may drag, but days fly.  I feel a little ground hoggish this time of year. Eat, sleep, drive kids, work, repeat.   The short amount of daylight during  winter days makes it seem as if our days are short as well. The sun showed it's face finally here for more than five minutes this past week and I was at least able to be outside. I am jealous of my best friend whom I see park every morning to go run as I am off to work.  I miss morning runs.

This week was a good week for working out. I ran once, hit the barre twice and lifted weights one day as well. Yesterday, a friend and I took a 4 mile  hike, which was a therapy session for us both.  She is dealing with a divorce and I just vented about  my need to find things that are more my own. The hike was challenging enough that we felt it, but still easy and we both enjoyed just being  outside.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cooking: Middle School is On Its Way Out!

This is the year things end. Middle school things that is. Last middle school swim championship, last middle school swim season, last middle school dances.... I am nostalgic for some of these  things. Middle school still sounds little kid to me. This will be the last year I have a little kid. I am happy for the growth and maturity that comes in the next stage in our lives, but for a few moments, I am nostalgic for the middle school years. They have been great learning experiences for us all.

This weekend we watched Ellie swim in her last middle school championship meet. She took time off both of her races and was part of a pretty great relay team. The best part of the whole day was watching her cheer her team with all of her heart. She loves being on a team and their 6th win (her second as part of the team) was a big deal for these girls. They went in nervous, worked hard and came out a winning team.


This weekend was a huge "Ellie weekend".  School dance, championship, talent show tryouts and cotillion just to name a few of the many things she did. Life is busy in middle school, that is for sure. Good thing we still have a full semester left to enjoy all the business of  middle school.

Casa Swann still in middle school Menu
  •  Chicken ragu/ stuffed bell peppers/ creamed spinach
  • swim meet  (Freezer pork soup/tomato soup)
  • Veggie bowls
  • Grilled chicken thighs/ Mexican baked sweet potatoes

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Reading: Century Trilogy

I am two thirds of the way through my third book of the year. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett is literally a heavy book coming in at over 1,000 pages. I could get a workout reading the hardback version.  Luckily, I am reading it on my beloved Kindle, so I am not exhausted from holding the darn thing.And when I fall asleep holding, I don't end up with a black eye!

I started reading it based on the recommendation by my best friend, husband and mother-in-law, three of the biggest readers I know. Varied in what they read, I felt that if all three liked it enough to recommend it, then I too would enjoy reading the series.

 Fall of Giants - US

My husband was the clincher with his statement that it reminded him of Downton Abbey. I am a huge fan of Downton Abbey, being one of the few who did not cheat and find it online before it was premiered  in the USA two weeks ago.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Cooking: A little Cat Stevens

My daughters have gotten into Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) after Delaney and I heard him being interviewed on the way home from choir practice. She was so intrigued by his voice and that he gave up being famous and singing for his faith.

I have to say, I love Cat Stevens and always have. As a child, my mom loved him and so I knew all the words to his popular songs. Just like every other child of the 70's, I know all the songs to Morning Has Broken and Peace Train. But one that I did not know and that I now love, is  "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out..." I love this song. The lyrics are so peppy and wonderful. Very Cat Stevens typical.  I think it is awesome that my daughters can be found sitting around the kitchen table, doing homework, singing along to Cat Stevens. It is almost like a Wes Anderson scene, except we are not color coordinated enough.

This week, if you are sad or need a pick me up, give Cat Stevens a little listen. Also, if you want to read a cool blog about ear worm songs and get a little musical history, read my girl Nikki's blog, Mommy Mixtapes.

Sing Out for your Supper

  • Baked chicken legs, green beans, quinoa and power greens salad, baked sweet potato (for me)
  • Fritatta (swim meet)
  • Asian Shrimp and broccoli with  black bean noodles
  •  Smoked turkey thighs, creamed spinach, sauteed squash
  • Dinner out (dance, date, date)
  • Chili

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Whatever: My Favorite Christmas Day Photos

First full week of work of the new year checked off! First week of working out 5 days, checked as well. I was going to hike my first hike of the new year today, but it is 24 degrees outdoors with a very stiff breeze. So, instead I am going to clean my house, sort through pictures and work on taxes. Lucky me. I am sorting through the roughly 1,000 pictures I took during  December and want to share my favorites from Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

Trying out my tripod

My favorite thing is that he wore this red shirt to church. With a green sweater. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Reading: An Inspired Walk

I am sure you all have either heard of, read or seen Wild *. This book seems to be everywhere and with the Reese Witherspoon movie out in theaters, I am sure millions of people will see Cheryl Strayed's story.  I love Reese, she is from my hometown and is my hair crush. However, I wanted to read the actual words written by the girl who walked the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) alone.


I am a fan of hiking. After a brief hiatus when the kids were whiny and made for a very painful  hike, I am back. Steve and I hiked a lot this fall and the girls were up for several long hikes as well. However, I am a ninny. I am afraid. Yes, I truly am afraid of hiking by myself. Mostly because I have read too many books about girls getting attacked.  The wild animals don't scare me. The wild people do.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dirt: The 2015 List

Happy New Year! Steve  and I were talking last night about  how we cannot believe it is 2015! Seems we were just waiting for the Y2k bug to wipe us all out!

Christmas was one of our best this year, despite having a sick kid throughout  most of break. Poor kid.  We set no expectations and actually did more things and had a better time than when we do. Tree got purchased, decorated and enjoyed. Cookies were made several times and enjoyed. We watched all our favorite movies, went ice skating, did a puzzle,  saw friends, ate our favorite meals and drank our favorite drinks (hot cocoa, wine, coffee and Moscow Mules). We saw our extended family some, but really spent a lot of quality time as a foursome.