A Very Autumn in California Weekend

The mornings may feel cool and fall-like, but the day screams summertime. We kept the summer fun going this weekend with lots of grilling, dining al fresco and pool time.

However, we started the weekend with a very autumn-in-California activity: grape harvest.

wine grapes

My dad has a backyard vineyard, so every year I bring Reece over to “help” pick a few grapes. Mostly it’s to get cute pictures. :)

Reece grape harvest 2011

Harvest 2011 with 17-month-old Reece

Emme has yet to participate since we were in France last year and this year she was spending the night at my in laws’ . There weren’t a lot of grapes because of the drought, so by the time we got over there in the morning, they were done picking. I still got a couple of cute pictures, though.

Reece grape harvest 2014

overlooking the backyard vineyard

Saturday it was back to summer again with a pool day and grilled dinner with friends. Might as well take advantage of the weather instead of being sad it doesn’t feel like fall yet. It only took me a little more than a decade to accept that California fall isn’t in full swing until November.

We also spent lots of time with Reece on the bike. He’s been riding his pedal bike for awhile, but always nervous of falling and only comfortable with lots of space, just riding down the block in the middle of the street.

This week something clicked. One day we were at a park and he was not comfortable riding on the narrow trail there, but the very next day he was riding all over the place, on the narrow sidewalk, starting on his own and everything. It was so fun to watch him take off like that. Now we can’t stop him and he can go for miles.

stroller run and bike ride to Starbucks

Riding/jogging to Starbucks for treats to celebrate–3 miles total.

Good timing too, since he’ll be ready for a bigger bike by the time Christmas is here.

His legs were tired after the Starbucks run, but we pushed on to the further away park at his request and had some more fun over there.

Reece and Emme playing at the park

What was risky about this venture was that I had no snacks with me. My kids are hungry all the freaking time, so I was a bit nervous about not having any provisions for the ride home once they were done playing at the park.

Emme playing with sand at the parkI expected both to be screaming all the way home, carrying the bike and maybe even Reece while pushing the stroller. It actually worked out surprisingly well and there were no tempter tantrums or complaints about having to ride the bike home. It’s always amazing to me when things actually work out as I hoped.

Reece looking contemplative at the parkFamily friends were in town, so we ended with a delicious-as-always dinner at our friends’ Italian restaurant Terún, which recently featured in the New York Times (the eggplant polpette and house-made cavatelli were winners with the kids). Perfect way to end the weekend!

How did you enjoy your weekend?

What’s the weather been like where you live?

Linking up for Marvelous in my Monday.

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This Week in Workouts: Nearing Pilates Certification

Let me tell you, the road to earning a Pilates certification has not been easy. I have all my teaching hours completed and now I’m trying to take all the Pilates classes I can to satisfy that requirement and finally test out. Except that I haven’t been able to figure out how to actually do that yet, which is frustrating.

None of this process has been straightforward and I’ll be sure to write a post about it once I’m official so that hopefully others looking for information on how to get their Pilates certification will have it all nicely laid out for them.

In the meantime, I feel burned out on Pilates and completely unbalanced in my workouts since this much Pilates is not what I need to stay in my best shape. I also had more off days than usual due to our activities this week, so even though I was out of my workout funk from the week before, I wasn’t able to take advantage of it.

Here’s what this week looked like:

Monday: Take Pilates & teach Pilates
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: Take Pilates, 20 min treadmill HIIT, teach Pilates
Thursday: OFF
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Lift Heavy Arm Workout plus weighted lunges and rowing machine intervals (3000 meters)
Sunday: 3-mile stroller push run with Reece riding his pedal bike

jogging stroller run with bike

I maybe possibly could’ve fit in a little something on my off days this week, but they were days when I actually got dressed in regular clothes for various things. Since that’s so rare, it’s really difficult for me to change into workout clothes and wash off my makeup in the middle of the day. I think all of you out there who workout on your lunch break are pretty awesome. Does it get easier when you do it all the time?

This week will probably look pretty similar since I’m still taking all the Pilates class I can. I’ll power through, squeezing in other workouts when I can, and look forward to getting back to my usual mix once my Pilates certification is complete. Almost there!

How do you mix up your routine so you don’t get burned out?

Any other Pilates instructors out there feel like this process is more complicated than it needs to be?

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Ellie's Bookshelf

The Books That Stick With Us

You may have seen that post going around on Facebook about listing 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. You list your 10 and then tag 10 of your friends to list theirs. A good friend tagged me in her post, so it’s my turn to play this game.

I thought it would make a good blog post so I could talk a bit about each book. Also because it’s fun to see what books make it on others’ lists and to see which ones I share in common with others. Plus, it’s a good way to get some ideas for books to read in the future…you know when I actually have time to read.

They don’t have to be your favorite books and you’re not supposed to overthink it or try to pick the “right” books. I tried to pick ones that had me thinking about them long after I finished reading or defined a certain period of my life somehow.

There are some books on this list that I may not have even thought of had I not seen them on someone else’s list, but after I saw them, knew they had to be on mine too because of the memory they triggered.

Here’s my list, in the approximate order in which they were read.

Christopher Pike anything – I used to LOVE scary books and movies, but now I avoid them like the plague! I remember friends reading juicy excerpts from Christopher Pike books in the back of the elementary school bus and thinking back, they were not exactly age appropriate. Just looking at the images of books on Amazon brings back so many memories of reading through everything he wrote, even his few adult novels.

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews – Can I get an amen? Anyone who read this book in junior high knows why it’s listed here. One Amazon review calls it “one of the best trashy novels ever written” and I agree, even though I’m not exactly an expert on trashy novels. This one sucked me in to the world of V.C. Andrews for a long time after. Exhilarating and scandalous reading for the tween.

An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott- I found an old copy of this book at my grandparents’ house when we were cleaning it out after they moved into a nursing home. It was partly the story that I loved and also reading it from such a old, hardcover book that was half the fun.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – Moving along from the raunchy reading of my young adulthood, I fell in love with this book which is a retelling of the Biblical story of Hosea, about a man who is led by God to marry a prostitute. It’s a beautifully written book that I have purchased a few times as a gift for others.

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt – The graphic description of a life of poverty in Ireland stuck with me long after I finished this memoir.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – I got lost in these books, imagined what it would be like to live in the House of Gryffindor, dreamed about what it would be like to write children’s tales so beautifully.

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller – This book opened my eyes.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – This one weighed on my mind long after I was done with it. The details of the murder, the impact on the family, the search for answers.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I was caught off guard by this series because I started reading it without knowing anything about it, just that the movie was coming out soon and I wanted to read it first. I read it in one day, staying up late to finish it, which I hadn’t done since before I had kids.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – So much was interesting about this book–Paris in the 20s, getting an up close look at Ernest Hemingway and other famed names of the time, passion and betrayal. It was a timely read right before Midnight in Paris came out in the theaters.

There are others I could add to the list (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series comes to mind), but I’ll stick with an unedited list of the first 10 that came to mind.

Now you tell me, with just a list or in detail, what are your top 10 books that have stuck with you? 

I tag Confessions of a College Mom, Rachel Toalson, The Healthy Doctor, Super Smart Mama, My Healthy Happy Home, Climb Out Of the Cubicle, Troublesome Tots, Pilates Happy Hour, Run Stroller Run, Skinny Chick Blog. Don’t worry, I won’t hold you guys to it! I definitely don’t expect anyone to write a full blog post about it, but feel free to comment!

I look forward to reading everyone’s answers, whether I tagged you or not! I’ll also tag 10 friends on Facebook to keep the game going over there as well.

This post contains affiliate links.

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