Monday, July 29, 2013

Lia Sophia on Hold for Now

Ok, so I've mentioned my interest in starting selling Lia Sophia.  I got the new catalog and while I like a lot of the new pieces, I'm not that excited about the current starter set.

There are a couple of smaller pieces that I like, but the bulk of it I can't see myself wearing.  I figure this matters in case I fail miserably and am left with the jewelry.  The starter set costs $149 for $1000 worth of jewelry but if I only want pieces totaling less than $149, not worth it.

Also if I really wanted to make a go of it, I'd need to be starting now to get my first five weeks off to a good start.  Since training for my half takes up most of my kidfree time right now, I think it's time to put the plan on pause.

Depending on how much I like the next  new catalog I may consider it come February, but next fall would be better when Little Man will be in Kindergarten.  I'll have a lot more kid free time and could even offer daytime parties in some cases.

Until then I will continue to follow a couple of advisors who seem successful selling online and will get one of them to include me in one of their Facebook parties so I can see how that really works.  I'm still skeptical that the online option actually works, but at the same time I can see how it work for people like me who can't always get out due to husband/kid schedules.

I did order a couple of new pieces from the new catalog and will hold off on the rest until I get some awesome offer.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Birth Order Book

I bought this book for my husband as he has always been fascinated by family dynamics.  He's an only child and his parents aren't very close to their siblings for various reasons and I think that is why.

He doesn't read often but really enjoyed this book.  He spent most of the time reading it psychoanalyzing the rest of us and after quoting and summarizing large sections insisted that I should read it too. Before I even started reading it, I knew our kids fit the stereotypes for their birth order.  While this book is not meant as a parenting book, it can certainly be read as one.  The author encourages you to find out the birth order of the people you are close with (either professionally or personally) arguing that knowing their birth order will help you understand why they are the way the are, and then can help you relate to them.  Obviously that works with parenting as well.

His tips for our little family of 5
1.  It's ok to treat each child differently.  What works for one may not work for the others.  Also just because one child gets something (in terms of material stuff or privileges doesn't all need to get the same)
2.  Make as much time as possible for one on one time with your children.
3.  The middle child often feels squeezed or neglected between the oldest (who is often an ambitious conscientious child) and the baby of the family (who gets attention due to probably needing more help.  The middle child often feels they can't measure up to older sibling but also gets frustrated that the younger sibling gets away with things they can't.  Tip number 2 is especially true of child #2.  They really crave they attention that the other siblings get, and I have been trying to do more for my Little Hugger.  She's a sweet loving little girl, and I know when she acts out it's because she feels ignored.
4. Treat the baby of the family the same way you treated the firstborn at that age.  Meaning, don't let them get away with things just because they are the baby.  Give them responsibilities that are age appropriate so the older ones don't feel they are doing all the work, but also to teach the youngest that he needs to help out too.
5.  Make sure to take time to read to the youngest.  Story time at bedtime was a nightly occurence with our firstborn, and fairly regular with our second.  Unfortunately nighttime routines take longer and we often skip bedtime stories to try to get everyone to bed on time.  When that happens I do make more of an effort to read to him in the daytime when his sisters are at school, and to their credit they often read to him in the car.

None of the above tips are earthshattering and I could probably have come up with them all myself, but sometimes it helps to get a reminder

It was an interesting read although I have to say that while most of the people I know fit their birth order type right on, I don't feel that there is a very accurate portrayal of the second born of a two child family - me.  I don't fit the regular baby mold, and am in many ways (but not all) a first born type even though I'm only 2 1/2 years younger than my sister.

Friday, July 26, 2013

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

I never made it through Devil in the White City so didn't have high hopes for this one.  Still since the book takes place in pre WWII Germany I figured I'd give it a try.  I've always been fascinated with that time frame, specifically Germany and wondered how Hitler was allowed to rise to power and while this book stops in 1937, it does help explain it.

This is a non-fiction book but reads like fiction.  Larson weaves the story based largely on accounts of the people who lived during this time - his main sources seemingly their personal diaries.  William Dodd is a history professor at the University of Chicago when he is offered the position of US ambassador to Germany in 1933.  He is an unlikely choice for many reasons and initially reluctant to go, as he sees the tension building in Germany with Hitler gaining power.  At the time Hitler is the Chancellor of Germany and there is still a President - Hindenburg - in power.  However, Hindenburg is elderly and ill, and is recuperating for much of the Hitler's early rise.  Jewish leaders and rabbis in the US had already received accounts of discrimination against the Jews, and some Jews were emigrating from Germany even in the early 1930s.

Despite all the tension, and hoping for an easy pre-retirement to work on his book Dodd decides to accept the offer.  He moves to Berlin with his wife, Mattie, and two grown children - Bill and Martha.  One funny thing about this book is that Dodd's wife is hardly ever mentioned.  I guess she was for the most part busy playing the non-interfering role of an ambassador's wife.  She plans dinner parties and occasionally they travel together but for the most part the book focuses on Dodd and Martha's experiences in Berlin.  Martha was a young recent divorcee and certainly enjoyed a fresh start in a new city.  While she knew the behavior that was expected of an ambassador's daughter, she ignored the rules and lived life on her own terms.  At first she sided with the Nazis being a young idealist not seeming to understand what all the fuss was about.  She was seduced by their uniforms and in some cases the men in the higher ranks.  She played the international field - along with the Germans, she also had a long lasting relationship with a young married Soviet diplomat and others.  While the State Department was certainly aware of her actions no one ever managed to rein her in.  I think both sides were hoping to gain information through her relationships.

The surprising part of this account to me was what was portrayed as the "Jewish problem" in the book.  Of course we all know the gruesome details of the Holocaust, but what surprised me was how long the Americans allowed the Germans to discriminate against the Jews as the US was also anti-Semitic.  Obviously the US did not go to the extremes that the Nazis eventually did, but Washington certainly was dominated by WASPs at the time, and Jews were not welcome in most circles.  During Dodd's first meeting with Hitler Dodd sympathizes with Hitler on the Jewish problem, but quickly learned that the problem was being dealt with in very different ways on opposite sides of the Atlantic.  To his credit, Dodd does his best to keep the State Department and FDR apprised of developments within Germany hoping to spur a US reaction, but much of it falls upon deaf ears for a variety of reasons.

I'm not sure that I can say that I enjoyed the book, given all I learned, but I do enjoy learning by reading.  Two different things.  Again, this read like a fictional work, and while I glossed over Martha's parts in the book, her experiences definitely made this book that much more real and enjoyable to me. There were times when I read of precursors to Hitler's rise to absolute power that I wanted to cry and needed to throw the book down and walk away, but I appreciate the details that were included in the hopes that they are not repeated.

About 6 months ago my 9 year old daughter started hearing bits and pieces about the Holocaust and ordered the Diary of Anne Frank through Scholastic Books.  I paid for it, but advised her that she should probably read it with us.  At the same time, her siblings are way too young to be having this read aloud to them.  I think I need to reread it, and then let her read it.  At the end of each night she could mark how far she got, so I can keep up with where she is and answer any questions she may have along the way.

Prepping for my next race

In August I'm running my longest race so far - 11.5 miles the Fort 2 Base.  I'll be earning my first medal 

I recently read about a killer hill around mile 8 (or 9?) so decided to include repeats on our local sledding hill in my run this morning.  It started raining just as I started. 

If you had told me a year ago that I'd be running hills in the rain, I'd have thought you were crazy.  If you had said I would think it was fun, I'd have said you were insane.  What a difference a year makes - that was awesome!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

This is a fun comedy of errors.  Lottie's boyfriend, Richard, asks her to lunch at a nice restaurant because he has to ask her a question - she hears big question and assumes he's going to propose.  She is devastated to find out that his question was not a proposal but something much less interesting.  On top of that he is moving to San Francisco.

Lottie returns to her office to find a message from a guy named Ben.  The name doesn't ring any bells, but she returns the call.  Once she hears his voice she recognizes him as her gap year boyfriend who she hasn't spoken to in years. 

Once reunited they pick up pretty much where they left off and decide to get married, and go back to the Greek island where they met
.  Lottie's sister Fliss does everything she can to stop the wedding and every time she thinks she has the problem solved someone else steps in and messes it all up again.

As with most of Sophie Kinsella's books there aren't a whole lot of surprises when it comes to the ending but the plot twists along the way are fun.  Definitely a fun read.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Frontier Days - 10k Stampede

The weekend we came back from our trip I ran another 10k.  My goal this time was to run it in an hour and I just managed - official time 1:00.08

The course wound around the residential neighborhoods of Arlington Heights.  A similar route to my previous 10k but not exactly the same (although the start and finish were in the same places).

I had a couple of strategies to keep me on pace and I'm glad they worked
1.  Be closer to the front of the pack at the starting line (but not so far up I'd get stampeded by the faster runners)
2.  Use Endomondo to help me know how far ahead/behind I was at each mile compared to my previous time. 
3.  Stay towards the side of the course for the turns to help shave off a little time
4.   Drink my Nuun along the way, but use the water from the water stations to dump on my head and stay cool. 
5.  Now that I knew where the finish line really was I was better able to speed up at the finish (without running out of gas too early).

I would love to finish in a sub hour time for the next one and am trying to find one for after my half - maybe the Monster Dash?  I figure it'll be a good one as it'll be pretty much the same course as my half just shorter.

These races are fun and definitely help keep me motivated but I'm really looking forward to the next one when I get my first medal.  I know the sense of accomplishment is a reward in itself but a little bling to show off would be cool too

Friday, July 5, 2013

My Runnerversary

Yes I made up the word but someone out there coined the word blogaversary so why can't I make up a word?

Anyway a year ago I decided to start running again.  I got a good pair of sneakers and hit the pavement.  It was tough in the beginning.  Back then it took me 38:57 minutes to run 3.15 miles going back and forth between running and walking.  Now I am consistently running the same distance in under 30, have run a few races and have 3 more coming up.  A friend of mine started running in January and says I inspired her to start.  In the past year I have logged over 300 miles (which may not seem like much to you hard core runners out there but I will admit I slacked off in the Chicago winters.

According to Endomondo these are my stats for the past year (note I ran 2 x 4 mile runs in Europe which I didn't have GPS for so that 299.89 should be more like 307.

After my 10k this weekend, I plan on celebrating my runnerversary with a new pair of sneakers all the above miles were on the original pair I bought last July and I'm can tell it's time to replace them