Sunday, February 22, 2015

Review: The Perfect Score Project

I don't write these very often...probably because I don't complete an entire book very often.  And I have never, ever posted a list of the books I've read in an entire year because the list would be embarrassingly small.  But I just finished a book that I LOVED, and had to share it.  It's called "The Perfect Score Project" by Debbie Stier.  The author took the SAT a total of SEVEN times in one year!  She was trying to help her son navigate the SAT, and found the best way was to go through the learning process with him.  The book is half manual of what to do (and even more helpful:  what not to do) and the other half her own story of the emotional ups and downs of prepping for the test.  The funny thing is that I felt like I was reading a novel.  I loved it so much that I was looking forward to middle-of-the-night feedings with Chaim, just so I could read the book more!  And even though I have never skipped to the end of the book to find out how it ended, I had to with this book.  I had to know if Debbie found that "perfect score".  Don't worry...I won't spoil it for you.  But the book is about so much more than just the "perfect score"--it's about learning and building family relationships.  And for that reason, I'm writing this review.  Because I think if it's going to help a parent and teenager have a good experience together, it's worth sharing. 

Happy Reading!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


I made it on the treadmill twice this week.  It wasn't an amazing workout by any means--I walked for 20 minutes.  Slow.  As in a 20-minute mile pace.   That's right, if you've done the math, you've realized it took me 20 minutes to walk ONE mile.  And by the end, I was completely exhausted.  This getting into shape post-baby is hard.  Chaim is 5 months old, and I think walking up and down the stairs to do laundry should constitute my workout for the day.  It doesn't, I know, but it feels like it should. 

Once upon a time, pre-Chaim, I was running all the time.  One day, it just clicked in my mind that I wanted to be healthier.  Diabetes runs in my family, and suddenly I was terrified of not being able to walk with both legs in my future.  Suddenly I had willpower to say "no" to brownies, ice cream, cake--anything!  Sure, I had the occasional treat, but I was a driven woman.  I hopped on that treadmill almost everyday, went trail running whenever I could, and loved it.  It felt so good to have energy and be healthy.  I ran a half-marathon in Huntsville, and could even walk the next day! 

That's me in the gray pants:

Hooray!  I get my hug from Scottie, who had cheered for me with the kiddos.


My friend Katie had run the 5K that day, too!  She did so great!

And the cutest part--they let all the kids run a "mini race" around the block.  They all wore the "Number 1", since they were all going to win!  They made the race this very big deal for the kids, which Noel loved!

 That's Noel on the other side of me.  I had already changed clothes, but still wanted to run with her.  Halfway around the block, I was regretting my decision.  That block was harder than the entire half-marathon!

Her prize was orange juice...the kid couldn't have been happier!

Me and Candace Bahm--who ran the race with me.  Go Us!

So, that was in September 2013. 
And now, I've got to figure out how to find that same fire to run again.  I don't have any answers right now.  I thought they would come as I was writing this, but they didn't.  So, I'll get on that treadmill again this week, and just keep going.  Because sometimes, as I am learning, I just have to start. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Something's Gotta Give

Last Tuesday, a student sat at my kitchen table working on a college application for three hours while I cooked dinner, bathed the kids, and frequently sat down to answer her questions.  On Thursday night, I stayed up until midnight editing an essay on Google Docs for another student while I munched on mini oreos to stay awake (as if I need an excuse to eat mini oreos...)  Saturday night?  Much the same.  They were frantically trying to finish essays for the big February 1st deadline of college scholarships, and my normal rule of "plan ahead" that I preach to my students got tossed out the window.  It was brutal for all of us, and things like housework and cooking fell by the sidelines. 

One day, there was a brief window where Chaim was napping, the girls were playing happily by themselves (awesome),

and I had finished editing the morning crop of essays.  I fished the cleaning bucket out of the closet and headed to the bathroom.  When I pulled out a few rags, I discovered a plastic bag that had three cans of Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup!  The same three cans that had mysteriously disappeared earlier in the week when I had tried to make broccoli cheese soup.  I don't know how those cans ended up in the cleaning bucket--if I knew that, I would be a rational, organized person.  As it is, I'm running around from task to task, finding cans of food in the cleaning bucket!  Alas, at that point, I took the cans to the kitchen, dumped them in the crockpot with the broccoli and onions, and frankly forgot about my earlier pursuit to clean the bathroom.

Chaim woke up, the girls wanted to play outside, and the hours rushed by marked only by diaper changes and mini-discussions on why hitting your sister may not be the best option.  Finally, we sat down to eat yummy soup for dinner and everything seemed fine.  It was only when I went to the bathroom to brush the girls' teeth before bedtime, that I re-discovered the cleaning bucket.  And so I did the normal, clear-headed thing any mom would do.  I brushed the girls' teeth, put them to bed, and left the cleaning for another day.  Because when all is said and done, something's gotta give.  Apparently in my life, that 'something' alternates between the cleaning bucket, cheddar and broccoli soup, and my memory.