Running on Empty

Last March I completed my first half-marathon. It was simple, thankfully—a fresh morning race alongside the Columbia River with ample wildlife and enough other runners to keep it interesting. The next day I pinpointed a few other upcoming races to keep me motivated to stay fit, but to my great disappointment, I haven’t run since that half-marathon. Not once.

It’s not because I don’t enjoy running. Distance running has always been an enjoyable challenge for me, and even more so now that I can listen to podcasts and audiobooks along the way. Learning AND getting time alone? My INTJ brain type thrives on this!

But . . .

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3 Short Bedtime Questions that Help Me Understand My Children

Every parenting book and magazine seems to point out the importance of having a bedtime routine to help children prepare to sleep, but my favorite part of our children's bedtime routine is the part that helps me understand who they are and what they value. You see, I ask the same three simple questions every night, but hearing their unique and changing answers has taught me quite a lot about their interests, perceptions, and personalities. It's also helped me understand some of the tough emotional situations that I couldn't untangle during the day. Here's what I ask (in French, but also included here in English):

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5 Brief Lessons Learned for Planning a Family Trip Abroad

Here's a short summary of the top lessons I learned for taking our family abroad. So many parents would love to take their children abroad but haven't yet made it happen, so I thought I'd share the basic tips that I learned during this first stay overseas. I learned one of these tips the hard way, but thankfully you won't have to!

1. Open a separate savings account for the trip. We did this about eighteen months before we left on our trip, and the separate savings account was essential in helping us to be financially savvy and to visualize our progress towards our overseas stay. It was so encouraging to make our planned monthly deposits to this account.

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Life in Lyon: Settling in as a Family

Bonjour, mes amis, from Lyon! it's been seven years since I was last in this city. It's wonderful to be back and to see Lyon looking vibrant with its squares and monuments restored. Because it's August, many residents are on vacation and tourists have taken their place, but still, the city just shines with its lovely architecture and views. Maybe it also shimmers because of the heat--It was 35-39 degrees Celcius all last week (95-102 degrees F) until a weekend thunderstorm rolled in and brought relief.

My husband ran the 100m dash this last week in the World Masters track meet--I'm so proud of him, and impressed that he ran it in 11.74 seconds despite the scorching heat! He'll long jump this week as well. The Masters' meets are open to non-professional adult athletes age 35 or older with an official mark to submit. Participants compete against others in a five-year age range. A few days ago, for example, I watched a a group of 85-90 year old women from around the world run the 100m, and they looked amazingly fit. It's so inspiring!


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Tips for Choosing Family Lodging in Paris

We're certainly not the only family headed to France soon--an article in The Wall Street Journal last week announced that Europe is bracing for record numbers of visitors this summer, largely due to the favorable dollar/euro exchange rate. Nonetheless, I think Audrey Hepburn would agree that even when traveling as a family during the height of tourist season, Paris is always a good idea. Over the past five years, the amount of home and apartment rentals online has grown exponentially, making it simpler to find an affordable and accommodating space for your family. Here's what you should know if you're looking for family lodging in Paris:

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