vacation reads


We were on vacation last week at Kelleys Island – a small island in the middle of Lake Erie, near Cedar Point.  We enjoyed golf carting around the island, throwing rocks in the water, hiking, and more.  It was really great.  There’s little to no cell service on the island, so it’s a great way to disconnect as well.  As always, I got quite a bit of reading done!  Here are the books I read while I was away.  Bonus: I would recommend each of them!

  • Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
  • Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines
  • Back When We Were Grown-ups by Anne Tyler
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Falling Free by Shannan Martin (Shannan is a dear friend to me and this book is truly amazing – funny, thought-provoking, honest, and just beautiful.  It’s challenging but not preachy and it’s a very true representation of who Shannan is and how she lives.  I’m so proud of her!  You can preorder her book here.)

I also started The Devil Amongst the Lawyers by Sharyn McCrumb and while it was slow to start, I’m enjoying it now that I’m in the middle!

What have you been reading lately?

books · Uncategorized

favorite kids books

This is by no means an exhaustive list and it’s certainly one that changes regularly, as we find new books/authors and as the kids get older and their interests shift and change.  But here are a few that we love!

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead



My Aunt Penny got the kids this book and it is just so dear.  Dave and I love that it centers around an older man (not a typical kids book character) and the illustrations are so sweet and serene and wonderful.  The whole book feels very nostalgic and is just incredibly well done.  The kids love it, too.  Highly, highly recommend.

Being a Pig Is Nice by Sally Lloyd-Jones


We recently picked this book up from the library, mainly because Sally Lloyd-Jones wrote the Jesus Storybook Bible (LOVE) and I heard her on a podcast and wanted to check out her other books.  Leo is currently obsessed with this book and as soon as we finish reading it asks if we can read it again.  It’s perfect for his age.  We also got her book The House That’s Your Home and while the kids like it but don’t love it, I find it to be one of the more poetic kids books I’ve encountered.

Look Inside a Farm by Usborne books


This is Katie’s current favorite book.  She likes to find all the cats hidden about.  This is such a fun book because it has flaps within flaps and books within the book.  It’s super cool and very informative, too.  Leo especially likes that when you lift one flap of a cow’s tail, you see the cow pooping.

Flutter Fly by Kaaren Pixton


This is Molly’s favorite book, if she had one.  As our resident goat, Molly will relentless pursue anything she can put in her mouth, especially paper and plastic bags.  We originally got this book for Katie when she was a baby and she didn’t care about it at all.  Molly, however, finds it quite satisfying to wave it around, eat it, etc.  It’s indestructible and can’t be torn, so she can chew to her heart’s content.  It’s also washable, although I haven’t needed to yet.  The paper has a slightly fabric feel to it and I find if I crumple up the pages a bit, Molly can get a better hold on pages.

This is a short list and leaves out a whole slew of other books that the kids love and read (or want to read) daily, but these are current favorites.  What about you?  Any we should be checking out?

books · running · running total

October runs and reads

I came in at 67 miles for October, which was lower than my previous months but definitely expected as I hit the end of pregnancy.  My highest mileage day was 7.25, when I did 4 in the morning and 3.25 more when I met up with Kimberly for some trails.  I’m on the treadmill now pretty much all the time.  I started because it was getting super cold in the mornings, but I’ve stayed there because I figure this late in my pregnancy maybe it’s wiser to run at home in case labor would start up.  And it’s still been pretty cold in the mornings, or rainy.  Although I’ll admit that on some afternoons when the sun is out and the leaves are all so pretty I am itching to go for a second run and enjoy that fall air.  Maybe that needs to happen this weekend.

This month I read 9 books:

  • The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown – I’ve had a gift certificate to the local bookstore for almost a year and never used it.  It’s REALLY hard for me to buy books because I don’t want to buy a book I’ve never read and then hate it.  But I bit the bullet and picked this one out and guess what?  I liked it!
  • the Harry Potter series – once a year I read the series again.  I read this completely out of order but yeah, loved it again.  As always.
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon – I haven’t had a chance to get to the library lately so I’ve been re-reading books off my bookshelf and it had been awhile since I’d read this one.  It’s so good!

I finished The Curious Incident a week or two ago and haven’t picked up a book since.  I need to go to the library, as I’m completely unmotivated to re-read any books on the shelf right now.

Do you have any book recommendations for me?  I’m hoping to get to the library soon!

books · pregnant · running · running total

September runs and reads and 34 weeks

September runs: 100 miles.  I just made it.  As the end of the month approach (basically the last four days) I realized I was very close to being able to hit 100 miles.  I had to run at least 3 on Monday, which didn’t seem that hard, except I really didn’t feel like running Monday morning.  I drank decaf that morning instead of half-caf and it apparently made a huge difference.  I just felt tired and draggy on the run, but managed to pull out 3 all the same.  Phew.  I’m pretty excited that nearing the end of the 8th month of pregnancy I still got 100 miles in and that running is still going well.  I’m pretty much only doing solo runs.  Running with the stroller is just plain hard now, so most mornings if we can work it out schedule-wise, I run solo and Dave fields Leo at home.  It’s made a huge difference!

September reads:

  • Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat
  • Sleeping in Eden by Nicole Baart
  • How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
  • The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
  • The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

The last three books are all re-reads from my bookshelf, but ones I always love.  I actually hadn’t read any of them in a couple years, so it was particularly satisfying to read them again since I couldn’t exactly remember what was going to happen.

And lastly, 34 weeks (as of last Friday):


Baby girl is in posterior position, or head down but facing out instead of toward my back.  The midwife gave me some exercises to do to encourage her to turn (basically some movements on my hands and knees).  If she hasn’t switched by my 36 week appointment I’ll probably make a call to a chiropractor – they can do a technique that is pretty reliable in turning babies as well.  And if all else fails, we just go with it.  Sometimes babies turn in labor and sometimes they are just born posterior (generally is a longer and more painful labor – woohoo!).  Everyone with me now: spin, baby girl!

books · running · running total

August runs and reads

August was a really good running month for me.  The heat wasn’t too bad (except last week) and my hip and baby girl felt great.  I ended up running 26 out of 31 days in the month and came in at 113.3 miles!  I’m really surprised (and happy) that I managed to increase my mileage.  I do not expect that to continue every month!  Last week my pace slowed to about 10:30/mi with the stroller.  Now that it’s cooler again this week in the mornings I’m interested to see if my pace speeds back up or not.

I also read some really good books last month!  In fact, I would strongly recommend every single one.

  • Floating in My Mother’s Palm by Ursula Hegi – I’ve read this book before and loved it, but it was really fun to read it again.  It’s a pretty small book and reads fast, but the characters are so unique and interesting and the story so well done.
  • Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver – I love B.K. (Poisonwood Bible) but her last book, Lacuna, didn’t wow me.  But this one was amazing and felt like the B.K. I love.  So good.
  • The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton – About 50 pages in I realized I had read this book before, but it’s so good I didn’t even care.  Just as satisfying to read again!
  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini – I think this might be my favorite of Hosseini’s three books (although it’s been awhile since I’ve read Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns).  It was beautiful and I loved the way he told the story through different perspectives and generations.  Crazy great book.

What good books have you been reading?

books · running · running total

july runs and reads

I had a really great running month in July and came in at 104.25 miles.  I did the Tuesday night 5k trail run three times and hit 20 or more miles every week.  Dave has been taking over stroller duty lately, so I’ve run on my own and, weirdly enough, seem to be getting faster?  Last week I ran sub-9 minute pace twice and yesterday I ran sub-10 minute pace with the stroller.  This is right around the time I had to stop running when I was pregnant with Leo (pelvic joint issues), but this pregnancy I feel like I’m getting stronger and feeling better as I go!  I think baby girl is sitting higher than Leo (not aggravating my pelvic joints) but not so high that she’s in my lungs.  However it is, I’ll take it!

I didn’t read quite as much this month but here’s the three I read:

  • Addition by Toni Jordan – I tore through this book crazy fast.  Has a little language/sexual content if you’re sensitive to that.  But it’s really interesting and well done.
  • The Wish Maker by Ali Sethi
  • The Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman – Seriously, is there a nonfiction cooking book that isn’t fantastic?  I LOVED THIS.  It was so much fun to read about elite chefs and how they’re trained and what they cook.  I definitely recommend it.

What books have you been reading lately?  How has running gone for you?

books · running · running total

june runs and reads

I hit 86 miles in June and had a high week of 25 miles.  I was going to do a double day on Sunday to try to make it an even 90 for the month but went for a long walk with a friend instead.  Some mornings I’ve felt tired but once I start running I end up feeling really good.  I’ve even dropped my pace a bit – Leo and I have been hitting closer to 10:10 or 10:15 pace on our runs.  I also got to to do the Tuesday trail run 5k three times – 28:47, 29:09, 29:53.  It’s been really humid in the mornings, so much so that I’ve even started bringing a sweat towel along to wipe off with.  Gross!  Leo and I run the same route every morning, which is really pretty boring for me, but we do it because of the following:

  • safe, well-lit roads and well-paved surfaces
  • opportunities to see a train (key for Leo – he says “hi, train tracks!” every morning)
  • cars and buses
  • the turnaround is at a fire station, so we stop for a minute or two so Leo can see the fire truck and ambulance

Also, Leo likes to tell me “fast!”  He’s going to be a tough running coach, I can tell.

As for books, here’s what I read:

  • The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman – beautiful, different book
  • Look Again by Lisa Scottoline – lighter read, but very engrossing!
  • Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio (audio book) – maybe it was the lady reading this, but both protagonists irritated me to no end (whiny), which didn’t really help me love the book.
  • The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
  • A Death in the Small Hours by Charles Finch – this series can do no wrong!
  • Come Home by Lisa Scottoline
  • Naked Hope: Discovering Beauty in our Vulnerability by Abby Jackson – Abby is a good friend of mine – we were roommates in college – and I was so excited to read her book.  It’s beautifully written and honest.  I loved it.
  • The Memoir Club by Laura Kalpakian
  • Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg – I have almost every single one of Elizabeth Berg’s books and this one was so good.  The way she writes… it’s like she’s in your head, but more articulate and detailed.  She makes me want to write.
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Calahan – Fascinating book!
  • Tomorrow there will be Apricots by Jessica Soffer – I randomly picked this up at the library – I think I liked the title? – and it was so so good.  Really really well written.  I definitely recommend!

All in all, a pretty great month.  How did your month shape up?  Any good book recommendations?