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    Born to Run by Christopher McDougall - (K) Humorous and thorough history and science behind ultrarunners and long-distance running
    Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela - (K) An autobiography covering his childhood, years as a freedom fighter and incarceration. Inspiring and informative
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - (K&T) A mystery set in Barcelona involving an old book, a failed writer and murder
    Lush Life by Richard Price - A Lower East Side tale of cops, drugs and drinking
    The Chinese by Jesper Becker - (K&T) Modern history of my peeps, from the cultural revolution to the many failed economic and social attempts to move the country forward
    Setting the Table by Danny Meyer - A "how-to" on hospitality and business acumen by the restaurateur behind such NY institutions as the Shake Shack and Union Square Grill
    The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama - Obama lays out what is wrong with the current government and how, vaguely, to change it.

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Easter break

We made the most out of it. One week with Easter egg hunt, the Jacobys, Guildford pool, LEGOland, Snakes and Ladders, Hampton castle with friends and a weekend in Wales for my race. Busy but fun times!


Rhys telling Isaac not to cry

These words sound very familiar…we’ve been telling R not to cry so much during this very whiny phase of his…

Jacobys in da house

It was only a week, but we did so much with the Jacobys. Only they can just come straight from the airport and drive another hour to go to the farm. Kids got along so so well…

Little teen

Rhys woke up really early to use the bathroom. Ella woke up shortly after and stands at his room door (they’re sharing a bedroom since jacobys are here) staring at him: “hurry up Rhys!”

Rhys: “But I’m found wee wee.”

Ella: “I know. You’re wasting my time!”

Then last night in Wales we had a fire alarm go off at 2am. Surprisingly, Ella just wakes up and says very loudly as she starts walking out of the room: “we have a fire alarm at school and some children cried.” That morning I asked her if some of the kids really cried during the fire drill. She looked at me and said “no.” I asked her if she just made it up. She smiled and said “yes.”

Yesterday morning at the race, Tim tells Ella and Rhys that they’re doing to walk me to the start line. It was raining, so Ella says very matter-of-factly: “you can go, I’m going to stay here.”


Lot of days when Ella queues up to get into the classroom, Rhys gives her big hug and kiss on the mouth. The other day Ella was standing right behind hurricane Alize. When Alize saw Rhys she was like ewww no kiss! So Ella then starts avoiding Rhys’s hugs and kiss. Rhys, in turn, starts trying to kiss her wherever he can get his mouth on. When he finally kissed her arm, he celebrates with a dance: oh yeah, oh yeah,8 for Ella, oh yeah…

Sledding adventure

When Tim got sick in Austria, I decided I’d take the kids sledding in the Elfa mountain, something the hotel had told tim would be fun.

And of course, when they say it takes 5 min to walk to the gondola, that means it’ll take you 20-25 min. After getting there, I paid for a sled rental and asked for a round trip gondola ride. You mean “up,” the guy clarified. I said no, “hin und zurück.” The guy corrected again, but when I ignored him, he reciprocated and ignored me right back.

So up we went to the top of the mountain. We got off and I asked an attendant where the sledding hill was. He said I could go right by the gondola hill (super steep) or walk down to the track. So we follows the sledding sign, and I noticed that only adults were carrying sleds, some of them wearing goggles and helmets.

I saw the start of the track and since I couldn’t see the end of it, assumed that it stopped just after the switchback. I released the kids down the hill and ran along side them. That soon became we even running after them, which in turn became me screaming and shouting to Ella to throw herself to the side to stop the sled!

Ella did exactly that, though she claimed she couldn’t hear me and that she came up with the idea of throwing herself off to the side to stop the sled, but the important part was that it did stop.

So I asked a passing family if the track was steep all the way down, and I finally understood that one is supposed to sled all the way down (all 8 km down, I later found out). The lady also hinted that it was not a good idea to take two kids down one sled by myself.

It was then that an older Austrian man passed by and again I asked him about the track. Sensing my desperation, he offered to take one of the kids with him down the steepest hundred meters. We stopped at a pit stop and he offered to take down another kid. Then, he told me how to really brake and wished me good luck. With no other choice, I put Rhys in the front, backpack in top of him and Ella on my back. We sledded down and started to have fun. I was scared and couldn’t really brake very well, but of course I never told the kids. Instead, I just prayed we made it down safely.

There was laughter and fun until our first crash when Rhys fell down and re-emerged with his face all covered in snow. From that point on, he no longer asked me to go faster; instead, he asked me why we weren’t slowing down.

There was another crash, this time on a band, when a German woman with her daughter repeated scheisse, scheisse, and Rhys and the girl were crying. We lingered there a bit but we had to continue.

It wasn’t much longer until we reached the bottom (I didn’t know that then) and had to walk another mile (me pulling the kids on the sled half the way). It turned out, we had taken a wrong turn because we should have finished by the gondola.

I later found out that the hotel people had told tim that sledding on the Elfa was dangerous. Later that week, when we stopped at a skialm and I told some German folks I had sledded down that hill with my kids, the first word out of the man wearing lederhosen was “gefährlich” or “dangerous.”

The littlest

There’s been some drama amidst the girls, with Charlotte and Isla becoming very cliquey and not letting anybody else (except for Mia, sometimes) play with them.

When we asked Ella why she thought they didn’t let her play, she convincingly declared: it’s because I’m small. I’m small and that’s the only reason why I can’t play!

Then in the car, she told Avery: Avery, I think it’s Isla because before she came, Charlotte used to really love me…