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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.
    **

The Great River Race

Was looking through the events at forsanityssake and immediately recognize it because connected the couple from Ham told me about it. The Great River Rade is a marathon boat race that starts in London and ends in Richmond. Nancy came along.

We visited the tiny Richmond farmers market, where we got treats, sat outside listening to a live band while the kids danced and watched the boats go by. The highlights however, was a little petting zoo they set up in the corner. Ella spent at least half an hour holding “her bunny.” Every time one of the keepers came, there she was, sitting still and holding and cuddling with her bunny. The keeper looked at me and said “every time I come to see if she’s ok, she’s just ok holding her bunny.”

 https://youtu.be/pPqdh_EMh64  
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

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First Day of School

I’ve been both anxious and excited for Ella to start school. So ok, the excited part is mostly for me. 

I actually took her to see her school last Friday after dropping Rhys off. I was surprised when she told somebody at Sunday roast that she was going to go to Rainbow. That was a good sign!

On Monday we dropped Rhys off (by the way, he’s doing better, sleeping two hours while there and according to his key worker Sharan, giving the teachers lots of cuddle), we walked over to her school, even though she insisted that she was not going to school. We waited with the other parents outside and I met Barbara, who of course was an American mom! When the doors opened, Ella went right in with the other kids and started playing some Lego-type blocks. Her key worker, Debbie, came by and we chatted a bit about Ella. After five min or so, Debbie whispered: “she seems ok, I think you can go.” Ella told me she wanted to paint, and when as we stood by the easel, I kissed her good bye and told her I’d come back for her and we would have a special lunch to celebrate. Without even looking up, she said “goodbye, mommy” and I left.

When I came to pick her up, she was absolutely glowing, so happy like I haven’t seen her in a while. She skipped all the way to the restaurant, where we had a special lunch of fish and chips and ice cream sundae!

 https://youtu.be/lcqcAz67Wro  
    
    
   

Ham, horses and cows 

My friend Juliana told us about the Ham Polo Club by her house, where they keep lots of horses that she secretly feeds when visiting with her daughter Patty. So we made plans to go with her oh Thursday. 

I had told Ella that we were going to see horses with Tia Ju and Patty. Ju had to cancel because her daughter was sick, and I told Ella we would save it for another day. She would have none of it, so since didn’t really nap much (was poopy), I decided to take my chances, say a prayer and hop on a bus to Ham.

From the bus, I saw the breautiful path that cut through Petershan Medows, and once we got there we walked around a bit to fine the polo club. We did find the stable and Ella immediately got the carrots and apples we had packed in anticipation of feeding the horses. It was, as it turns out, Rhys, who enjoyed the whole experience the most. Without any hesitation or fear, he went from horse to horse, giving them a piece of carrot or a slice of apple. Ella froze at times and asked me to come get me from the other side of the stable. Luckily for us, the caretaker was Argentinian and very friendly. He let us feed all the horses and even told us each of their names.

All in all the kids had a grand time, and since they were in a good mood, I took the risk again and decided to take the pathway through the meadows in the hopes of seeing some cows. Asked for directions from an older couples. They were just so nice and told me all about the path, how the cows are only there during spring and summer and even helped me get my stroller down to the meadow despite hinting a few times that my stroller would not make it through the retouch terrain. 

We finally took the bus back and went to Micky D’s, a magical place where we go to after magical days.

http://youtu.be/6bJ9BrhKG_A