#Read2018 Check In

Somehow, it’s March, Team. I don’t know how we got here, but we did and this month is nearly halfway over. The Ides Of March are upon us.

In the spirit of a little Shakespeare, I thought I’d check in on my reading list so far this year. You may remember that one of my goals was to read at least 15 books in 2018. As of March 11, I have finished nine books and have started my 10th!

My list so far has been a mix of memoir and make believe. Historical fiction and fantasy. I thought id give you a peak at what I’ve finished in 2018:


The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Even at 19, she was already a better writer than just about everyone else. I’m grateful we have her words left to us.

Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden
It’s rare to find a book – by a politician, no less – that manages to eat at every corner of your heart. Joe Biden’s memoir of the last years of his son’s life, juxtaposed against the responsibilities and pressures of the vice presidency reveals a man who’s most important duty in life is to care for people around him. It’s vulnerable, it’s genuine, and no matter your opinion of him politically, it’s hard to deny the honesty with which he addresses tragedy and loss. Grief is a universal language and it knows no political affiliation. “Promise Me, Dad” is a meditation for those in mourning and a vision for a brighter future.

Thank you, Joe, for sharing your grief in such a beautiful way and for reminding us that we all have something to work and hope for.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
If you enjoy historical fiction, the WWII-era, and the complex emotions woven throughout our collective memory.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Can Celeste Ng just write all the things? Please? This was such a beautiful story to read. (Go read it and “Little Fires Everywhere” now.)

Fierce by Aly Raisman
I’m a sucker for sports memoirs, and Aly’s Fierce met all my expectations. I’m so proud to see the voice she’s found and the courage she’s shown, not only in the last few months surrounding the Larry Nassar trial, but also in her career. She’s an impressive young woman.

Girl at War by Sara Novic
Sara Nović’s Girl at War is an incredibly vivid account of the Balkan Wars of the early 90s. I’ll admit, I know shamefully little about this period of history, and this story gave me some incredible perspective. For as much literature as there is about the Holocaust, it’s easy for us to say “but that was so long ago…” – the same types of things were happening in Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, and the other nations that made up Yugoslavia not even 30 years ago. The same things are happening now in Syria. In Myanmar. We still have so much to learn.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
I decided I wanted to read some Shakespeare that I haven’t read before, and somehow I graduated with an English degree without having finished Macbeth. Done and done. I enjoyed this one, though not as much as King Lear, if we’re picking favorites.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
This book made my heart happy and sad at the same time. It takes place in Alaska and reading it felt like home. But the characters’ experience made my heart ache. It’s a beautiful story about the wilderness and the wildness of Alaska and humanity.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Again, not sure how I have an English degree because I only just read this book. I loved it. A young female protagonist saves her family? Yes please. I so badly want to see the movie now, too.

Number 10 is Leading with the Heart by Mike Kryzewski – one of my favorite coaches and sports minds. I figure March is the perfect time to crack this one open.

I’m well on my way to meeting my goal, but I could always use more suggestions! What books are you currently reading?

Tales of the Boot: Books I’m Reading, Parties I’m Planning

Monday morning, I received the following email-

photo 1-4

Cue my sad face. (Also, I didn’t realize Daily Mile sent these kinds of emails.) I’ve spent two weeks in the boot, and while I am doing some exercise (abs and arms, arms and abs. wash, rinse, repeat.), I’m still supposed to be resting my lower body.

Yesterday, I received this email:

photo 5

I’m excited to try a new arm workout! Good job, Tuesday. I think you’re cute. (Those Tone It Up girls are super duper cute, aren’t they?)

The nice thing about doing a lot of arm exercises are my biceps. It’s always tank top season here so nice biceps are a-okay with me. Plus, my friends leave comments on my instagram pics praising “Dem guns!” and that makes me giggle.

But really, I’m mostly resting. A fun thing about resting is that I have a lot of time to read.

Last week, I finished this-

photo 3-2

And it made me want to read more art caper/historical/love stories so if you have any recommendations in that mishmash of themes and genres, please pass me a note during study hall.

I’m still reading this-

photo 1-18

And today I bought this book, which I’ve been waiting for since December. (Note to book bloggers- please don’t review books and say they’re a STAY UP ALL NIGHT MUST READ OMG if said book isn’t released until six months from now. Thanks.)

photo 4

Another fun thing about resting is that I can’t do chores. Really! I walk so much during the day that I’m supposed to sit at night. Can’t do dishes. It’s very difficult to fold laundry when one leg is elevated. True facts, my friends. So, I’m also watching TV. I haven’t done that (besides the news and Rachel Maddow) since the second season of Glee. J and I have one more episode in season one of House of Cards and then we get to watch all of season two. What should we watch next?

I’m also doing some planning for my middle girl’s birthday party. We’re having a “messy party” which is an appropriate theme for a five year old, or a frat house. It’s so diverse!

Some party crafting.

Some party crafting.

Some things we’ve experimented with so far-

– a shaving cream slide
-several variations of homemade slime (I still can’t get this right)
-squirt gun painting
-silly string war

It’s going to be cray cray (my six year old used this in a sentence last week and then informed me that it meant “crazy.” I think she thinks I’m old.).

Happy Wednesday! What are you reading and watching? Let’s share.

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things…

Girls in Oiselle tanks and white satin sashes,
Taffy that sticks to my teeth, not eyelashes (because that would be weird),
Frigid cold air that does not feel like Spring,
These are a few of my favorite things!

(Okay, not the weather. Florida native here. I had a minor freakout last Sunday morning when Mer told me it was 28 degrees on the boardwalk in Atlantic City.)

It was a wonderful weekend of running and even more laughter, and now I’m home to my most favorite people and a mountain of laundry to fold. (Not a favorite, if you are taking notes.)

Since the AC half was already covered by Mer and Vic, I only want to tell you a tiny bit about my experience, and also share some other things I’m loving right this second:

First, the AC half. I know you are Meridith’s, but if she were willing to share you, we could be sister-wives. (Did I just imply that Mer is married to a race? I guess I did. I’m really tired, you guys.) I only ran once last week because of my shin pain, so I think rest, plus KT Tape, plus the oh-so-forgiving boardwalk helped me achieve a pretty sweet time for this race- I finished in 2 hours, 7 seconds, which is 11 minutes faster than my Princess 2014 time. (Still not a PR for me, blah blah blah. I get so tired of saying that. I get so tired of thinking it. But we runners love to focus on the numbers. Anyway, now that I’m thatclose to a sub-2, I am more than confident that a personal best will happen this fall.) Of course, if I hadn’t been texting my friends while running, I probably could’ve shaved off 8 seconds- but, no regrets.

The best part of this race was seeing our dear friend Anne finish her first half-marathon. The thing about a half-marathon, and running in general, really, is that no one can help you do it. You have to put in the time. You have to do the work. But when you finish? The accomplishment is all yours. Seeing a friend triumph like this is so powerful; for me, it feels as good as it does when I achieve my own goals. I’m lucky to have been there when a few friends crossed that half-marathon finish line for the first time, and the emotional impact hasn’t diminished. I guess I’m a marshmallow. Congrats, Anne!

While in NJ, we went to Target. As one does. Vic and I found these super cheap hoodies on clearance in the men’s section. This kept me so warm, post-race. Bonus- we were matchies.

photo 5-11

I love makeup. A lot. My favorite fun thing right now is this blue mascara from Butter London. I think there are a few other colors- I know there is purple and I’m definitely planning to buy that one. With this, I do a neutral face, and then coat my lashes in blue. It’s very noticeable in the sun and less so indoors and I just love it.

photo 4-12

How excited am I that OVERALLS are in style? Well, I’ll be honest. I’ve been waiting for this moment since 1999. Last Spring, I bought some short-alls because it was way too hot for long ones, but these Madewell overalls made their way into my closet recently and they are the best. More tapered than your 90s overall and I think you are supposed to wear them with cute flats or heels or booties and not birkenstocks (but those are back too, and you can’t see me right now but I’m wearing my EXCITED FACE.)

photo 1-14

I just finished taking another class on Conscious Discipline at my church and I cannot say enough good things about it. We’ve been working on implementing CD in our home for the past few years and it has helped all of us. Without getting too much into it, because this is a running blog, not a parenting blog, and I’m certainly not an expert- CD teaches emotional and social intelligence. You can read more here and here.

This book has finger plays, songs and games to increase your connection to your child- and their connections with each other. I’ve taught the girls a few things that they now do regularly with their brother and us, and we’ve also developed a goodbye ritual that the girls enjoy.

photo 3-14

One more book- The girls and I are currently reading Ramona the Brave. Last summer, we read the first two books in the series, in which Ramona is in preschool and then kindergarten, and now that my oldest will be a first grader soon, we decided to start the next book. I LOVE RAMONA. She’s so sassy and misunderstood and delightful. We still laugh about her singing the “dawnzer” song in kindergarten…you know, the dawnzer lee light.

BABIES. I’ve had more than a few friends have babies recently- three of them in the past three days! My instagram and Facebook feeds are filled with sweet, squishy newborn faces. Thank you, new mamas, for sharing your babies with me. I love seeing them!

Lastly, I love that I’m going to see my chicks in less than three weeks. DC, here we come! I hope you have enough cheese.

Talky! Do you text during races? How do I break myself of this habit? Best thing you’ve bought at Target recently? Overalls are amazing, right? What are you reading? By the way, The Sound of Music is always on my list of favorite things.

Chick Chat: Whatcha Reading?

We’ve mentioned before that we chicks love reading. In fact, most of our friendships were formed while chatting about our favorite writers, words, phrases and fictional characters. (And in a plot twist, we started a fitness blog. Crazy, huh?)

We share books with each other all the time, and today, we’re sharing some of our favorites with you.

What was the last book you read?

I haven’t had much time to read lately, but I did manage to finish Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan. It was good, although I think part of the reason I enjoyed it so much is that it takes place in my local area so I knew a lot of the locations in the book.

Name one book that you wish all of your friends would read.

Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster. Really, anything by Jen Lancaster, but this one is my favorite. The author is frank, and funny, and basically my spirit animal.

Top books on your summer reading list?

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham and From Notting Hill with Love… Actually by Ali McNamara. Both of these fall into my chick lit wheelhouse, and I think they’ll be fab while lounging by the pool. After an energetic swim, bien sur.

The Nonrunner’s Marathon Guide for Women: Get Off Your Butt and On with Your Training by Dawn Dais. This was recommended to me for the laughs, and considering that I’m supposed to be training for my first half, I’m hoping it will have good tips. I may follow this up with Triathalon for the Every Woman: You Can Be a Triathlete. Yes. You. by Meredith Atwood, Bree Wee and Chrissie Wellington because I really want to do a triathalon within the next few years. Stop laughing.

The Last Summer of You and Me by Ann Brashares. I’ve been reading this for over a year. It pick it up, read some, put it down, forget all about it, find it under a pile of laundry, read some more. I really like it, so I’m not exactly sure why I’m not motivated to keep reading, but I am bound and determined to finish it this summer. Which I said last summer. So there’s that.


What was the last book you read?

I’m currently reading Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert, the 2nd book in the Dune series. It’s the kind of book you need to sit down for a week and read all the way through, ignoring every other obligation. Which is why I’m still reading it. I just haven’t had one of those weeks yet!

Name one book that you wish all of your friends would read.

The Four Agreements. This book changed my life. I listen to parts of it every day, especially the part about not taking things personally. (I’m a huge fan of audio books.)

Top books on your summer reading list?

The Gunslinger by Stephen King
Watchmen Graphic Novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Siege and Storm by Leigh Barduga

And so many more!!! You can check out my whole freaking list on Goodreads!

Cam's nightstand, covered in books.

Cam’s nightstand, covered in books.


What was the last book you read?

Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara. It’s a young adult novel and, as the title indicates, quite lovely. Mister Jess always says, “do you think it’s weird that you read the same books as 12-year-old girls?”

No. No, I don’t.

Name one book that you wish all of your friends would read.

In theory I would say The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. However, I don’t think I have a friend who hasn’t read it and loved it and cried over it. It is one of my favorite books of all time and worthy of everyone’s time.

Top books on your summer reading list?

I just started NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, which so far is a pretty fascinating read about child development and how modern strategies for nurturing kids might not be so nurturing after all.

I also have The Book Thief and Me Talk Pretty One Day on my list, but I’ll probably end up reading a number of fluffy YA books!

Jess loves to read in this big, cozy chair.

Jess loves to read in this big, cozy chair.


What was the last book you read?

The last book I read in its entirety was Let The Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger. I started reading Deathless (Catherynne M. Valente) at the recommendation of a friend and the writing was incredibly rich and vivid. But at the time I began reading, I couldn’t totally immerse myself so I plan to pick it up again when I have a few days to throw myself into it. When I read a good book, I become totally engaged, where things like laundry and dishes sort of fall to the wayside. So I need a situation where that’s ideal. (Basically, I need a mom. Or at least for my kids to be at camp.)

Name one book that you wish all of your friends would read.

Just one? Within the past couple of months I read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, which I thought was pretty brilliant. The characters weren’t characters, they were people; as a reader, I really appreciate when authors are able to give their characters so much dimension that I’m worried about their well being after the book is over and I’m out of their world.

I tend to lean toward reading Young Adult books. Not necessarily because that was the best time in my life; it was not. But I suppose it’s when the feelings run rampant and characters are more likely to do things that they wouldn’t as adults. There’s such a fine line between believability and taking it a step too far so when an author is able to find that very delicate balance on the line, I notice and respect it.

Top books on your summer reading list?

Currently I’m reading The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (thanks to Kyle for that rec!). I’m hoping to return to Deathless. And just today, we had to stop at Barnes and Noble for a potty break for Littleberry. Since we were there, I bought Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan.

No e-reader for Mer! (Just kidding, she has one of those too.)

No e-reader for Mer! (Just kidding, she has one of those too.)


What was the last book you read?

Dead Ever After, the final book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, by Charlaine Harris
(I just mailed a pic of this – why? Because I borrowed it from the library a few weeks back and was the FIRST person to borrow/read that copy) that’s never happened to me before… was really excited about it. Book was meh.

Name one book that you wish all of your friends would read.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green (Brooke loaned this to me! Thanks B!)

Top books on your summer reading list?

Inferno by Dan Brown
Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

I just started reading J.K. Rowling’s latest, The Casual Vacancy. So far so good. I borrowed this one from the library too because I love not having to buy new books to enjoy them!

Vic was the first reader to borrow this book from her local library.

Vic was the first reader to borrow this book from her local library.


What was the last book you read?

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan, which made me laugh so hard. I kept taking screen shots of passages to text to my husband until I finally told him he just had to read the entire thing.

Name one book that you wish all of your friends would read.

This is a tough question because I always want my friends to read everything I read. It’s one of the reasons I still buy actual books; so I can loan them. Wonder by R.J. Palacio is a beautiful book that made me want to hug all of the characters by the end. And I’m always bugging people to read the Divergent series because FOUR. The final book will be out this year and the movie is coming and FOUR.

Top books on your summer reading list?

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak and David Sedaris’s new one; Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls. I also picked up the first Harry Potter on audio book so maybe I’ll finally get around to those. (I know. I knowwwwww. We can still be friends, right?)

Some of Brooke's summer reading.

Some of Brooke’s summer reading.

What’s your favorite book? Tell us what’s on your summer reading list! Or you know, flail over Four with Brooke. (or lecture her about reading Harry Potter)