Two Spring Break Reads

20820994I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson is happy, sad, bright, dark, beautiful, and depressing all in one. Although the story is intriguing, the writing is what kept me going back for more. I’ll be reading more Jandy Nelson novels soon!

Goodreads Summary: Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Please read this book, and let’s get coffee afterwards to discuss its beauty!

12262741The second book I read over break was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. You probably recognize the title because the movie came out just a few months ago and stars Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl. It’s a nonfiction book about a 22-year-old woman who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail through California and Oregon to the border of Washington.

The book documents what led her to challenge herself with this goal and the struggles of hiking more than 1,000 miles alone. I enjoyed her story, and I can’t wait for the movie to come out on DVD.


Desert Life

IMG_0680IIMG_0737f I ever relocate to a warmer climate, the Phoenix area is my first choice. I love the mountain views, the dry heat, and the cloudless sky. Until then, I’ll just plan to vacation there at least once a year.

Tracie and I spent two days by the Biltmore pools. We didn’t even mind running into students in our swimsuits since it meant enjoying the gorgeous views of the resort while people watching. The NFL Annual Meeting was taking place at the resort, and we often felt like we were in the presence of superstars, but we had no idea who any of them were.

Our evenings included trying new restaurants with the only requirement being outdoor seating. Since almost everywhere offers tables outside, this was never a problem. Our favorite IMG_0701place was Blanco Tacos + Tequila in Scottsdale. All I can say is, I’ll be back!


Total Relaxation

I have so much to say about my spring break trip, but one word takes care of it: Relaxing.

We were lucky enough to stay with my cousin Michele and her husband, Tim, in Paradise Valley. I’m in love with the concept of floor to ceiling windows rather than walls, especially when your kitchen has this view.



I read the book I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson while lounging by the pool. It’s the best book I’ve read this year. More on that later!

Tracie and I made relaxing a priority, but there was still plenty of time for exploring. From three different shopping centers to eating every meal outside, we covered Phoenix, Paradise Valley, and Scottsdale. By the end of the trip, I wasn’t even using GPS anymore. Victory!

More highlights soon…

Lucky Enough


The new flag in the front of our house helped me inform the neighbors that I’m Irish. The green on green waving among the dead grass and melting snow added a fresh reminder for March.

I wasn’t feeling great on St. Patrick’s Day (please get me to Spring Break!), but we did make it downtown for a Guinness toast to another year of Irish blessings.

Spring Fever

IMG_0656Spring fever hit last week. My students were extra squirrelly, and I even found myself racing out of the building after the final bell. Everyone wanted to feel the sunshine and embrace the warmth. With temperatures in the 60s, I made running outside a priority. By Thursday, I remembered how much harder the pavement is than the treadmill. Ouch! I wasn’t even putting in a lot of miles, just going out more often for the fresh air benefit.

Saturday morning’s run was slow and stiff. Recovery time included coffee dates, shopping, and catching up on DVR shows. We even moved our patio and deck furniture out, and I was able to finish my book outside yesterday afternoon. The day had me dreaming of summer.

Temperatures are going to cool down again, so I have no regrets of running outside while mother nature was on my side. Thankfully, spring break is only six days away and Arizona’s lows will be higher than Iowa’s highs.