Friday, January 1, 2016

Books 2015

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Vicious by Sara Shepard (16th and final PLL book)
The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst (recommend)
The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain (Recommend, although I quickly forgot the details)
Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst
The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank (fun chic lit)
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (good but sad)
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly (it's mermaids :) )
Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado (Recommend)
Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Okay these are fun)
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (Not her best, but I still liked)
A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott (I learned a lot about Gone With the Wind)
The First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen (just ok)
The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige (still fun, but clearly a middle of a series book)
Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Intense, but recommend)
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica (It's ok, but I liked reading from different perspectives)
The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner (good although it took me a long time to finish) 
The Gold Finch by Donna Tartt (don't recommend)
Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple (Quirky, recommend)
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll (Twisted, enjoyed but not sure I would recommend?)
Paper Towns by John Green
The Vacationers by Emma Straub (It was easy enough to read, I just didn't get much out of it)
You by Caroline Kepnes (Creepy and crude, but couldn't put it down)
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty (Kinda weird and more middle school, but read aloud to Joey :) )
Austenland by Shannon Hale (guilty pleasure type of read)
A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan (recommend)
Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm (pass)
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins (superhero Hart of Dixie)
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriatry (recommend)
The Silk Worm by Robert Galbraith (Grown up and crime drama JK Rowling)
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (see above)
For the Love by Jen Hatmaker (recommend)
Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins (2nd book of superhero Hart of Dixie)
Matchless by Gregory Maguire (slightly less sad than the Match Girl)
The Clasp by Sloane Crosley (pass)
Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer (reverse roles of Twilight)
Dark Tide by Jennifer Donnelly (mermaids)
Summer on East End: Triple Moon by Melissa de la Cruz (very easy read)
Atlantia by Ally Condie (slow start, otherwise pretty good)
After Alice by Gregory Maguire (very true to the original style)
Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton (first of a trilogy)

44 books

Monday, December 7, 2015

Letter to my kids (December 2015 version)

Dear kids,

I'm not sure I can really explain how much you've stretched me over the last year. Sure, I've had to really work on my patience and energy and voice volume, etc., but I really mean I didn't know I could care so much. I feel like the Grinch, who's heart suddenly grew 3 sizes. There's no one I spend more time with, no one else I want to just take a nap so badly, and no one else I miss so much the moment they aren't there. (Okay, I often miss your Daddy too ).
I want so much to remember the little things that we experience each day, that we think we'll never forget, but that I know will someday turn into "oh yeah, remember when Sam would keep his fingers in his mouth all the time?" That's not necessarily one of the things I'm talking about though.
Sam, I love the way that your "I Love You" started out as just "I You". It was like a secret code. One of your go to face these days is this silly scrunch face that kinda looks like disgust, but I think you're trying to show that you're happy (your sister has a scrunch face too, but hers actually looks happy). I love watching you start to try to lead Blake. You love to save her from going down the stairs, or doing something you know she's not supposed to do, like eat dog food. You make her laugh so easily, when you walk silly or splash in the bathtub, or really if you just laugh, she'll join in. Blake, similarly, you start crying anytime Sam starts crying. Our house is so loud sometimes, but I try to think of it as empathy.
Sam, you have a sensitive spirit. You want kisses for anything bumped, your tears come quickly, and sometimes unexpected things scare you. But you've also got a daring streak. I often trust you climbing or exploring because your cautious side keeps you safer. You've recently showed an ocd side. You hate having your hands dirty or sticky. You actually don't like Blake's hands dirty either. I've never heard the word napkin so much. I kinda love that you want your socks off as soon as your shoes are off. I don't blame you, we hardly put socks on your for a good year or so. (oops). I love your sweet voice trying new words, and some recent favorites have been: I'm no stinky! and Where's (whatever)? Right there! I love that you say Amen at the end of books, and you say Bye Bye at the end of a show or if we are leaving something (bye bye playground). 
Sam, you love social play, but you also really like to do your own thing. You're often the kid on the side playing with a toy on your own. You also LOVE to play chase. Nothing makes you giggle more. You love books and you often share your bedtime reading with your sister, who just climbs all over us. You love the bath and shower, it seems to be your happy place. You've mastered the iPad. You might be made of chicken nuggets, but you're still mostly willing to try things.
I still love seeing you and your sister together so very much. Sam, you're not much of a baby kid. It wasn't until Blake started crawling that you really realized she could be a playmate. You guys rough house, make each other laugh, and you get upset over a shared toy. Sam, when you wake up before Blake, you often ask for her and like to find her in her crib. A few times you didn't realize I had already put her in the car, or gotten her out, and you threw a fit thinking we were leaving her behind. Blake, you love watching your brother, and I love your eager hand pushing his door open when we check on him during naptime.

Blake, you're going to be sassy. You've got the sweetest smile with a nose crinkle. Your whole face lights up. You like high fives and silly noises, and you're so close to giving and blowing kisses. You are so interested in people. You watch with staring eyes. You're our Princess, our Little Bit, our Honey Bee, my Koala Bear. You still prefer Mommy, and you've got a touch of social anxiety, but you really do love people. Your Gma and Mimi and Aunt Jenn are favs, I think. You say a few words. Lately you say Bobby all the time. Except to Tricia's boyfriend Bobby. You're a little shy to show off. You like to sing to yourself, often with the word Ragu, and you seem to be good a mimicking words. Your voice is much girlier than Sam's (I realize it should be, but it's still fun). You get a bit possessive, and you already collapse to the floor if you don't get what you want, be it a toy or getting picked up. You love fruit and meat, you've already said no to beans everytime, and you feed the dogs when we aren't looking. You look so much like your Daddy, but in a girlie way. Your Pops loves that you look like a Connelly. I can't walk away from you without you protesting or trilling your R's. You love being jumped with, but not always thrown in the air. Blake, you're so close to walking. You've been able to stand on your own for a while. You kinda refuse to cruise much, but you love walking assisted. It kills me a little. I can't get anything else done when I help you, but I know this stage won't be too long. Rather than taking steps, you'll dive towards us. You started that way with the stairs, but it didn't take much prompting for you to learn how to safely get down the stairs and off sofas. You're an independent little thing. You don't like to be helped if you think you can do sometime on your own. This is starting much earlier than I remember with Sam. You likes better than Sam did at this age, and you still love things with strings. Your two favorite loveys have strings that you get a deathgrip on. You love dolls and stuffed animals, which I am so excited about (Sam could care less). Oh, by the way, you've got to stop having 3AM parties with your Daddy. We'll figure out another date time, I promise.

You guys, I want you to know that I'm doing my best. I know sometimes I might seem mean when I carry you bodily to the car or to your room. I know that those clothespins looked so good to chew on. There will be sometimes that I don't do what you want, and it'll be good for you. There will be other times that I'm wrong, and I'm sorry already. I hope I help you teach you about admitting when you're wrong and forgiveness by example. There will be times when I don't look when you wanted me to, and I'm sorry, your mom gets distracted really early. I compare myself to other moms even when I know that doesn't help. You might compare me too someday. What I want to remember now, for me, and for you, is that God made me your mom, and He made you my kids. We can handle each other. We can help each other grow. My craftiness, or lack there of, is what is just right for you guys. My love, my patience, my wisdom (all God given), is just right. You guys, I know you'll mess up, you'll fall off your path, and I hope and pray my reactions leave you knowing that you're so loved. Always. Every moment. And I pray that I point you to Christ. I pray for you guys every day, sometimes with words, and sometimes with emotion, and I will continue to. I love you more than I can find words for. I feel like I should add in that Daddy feels this way too. I see it in his eyes when he looks at you. You guys are shaping him too. He's becoming more of a leader. He's firm, but loving and gentle with you guys. He's goofy and love playing with you. Sam, he reads to you even more than I do, and he loves that time with you. I hope you keep cuddling for a long time. It makes me fall even more in love with him to see him as your Dad.

I know you'll grow, and I so excited for it. I want to remember this point that we are in. Muppets Christmas Carol because Sam is sick. Blake is chasing the dogs under the table and has managed to take her shirt off. Sam, Blake, I love getting to be your mom.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Books 2014 Part 2


The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott (I would recommend, dramatic era read, although slow at parts)
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Toxic by Sara Shepard
Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis (Read aloud to Sam)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (Read aloud to Sam)
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (very Downton Abby feel to it)
The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis (Read aloud to Sam)
The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (Read aloud to Sam)
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis (Read aloud to Sam)
The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore
Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney
Organizing You by Shannon Upton (Fun planner tips, I would recommend)
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (if you liked his Cloud Atlas, I think you'd like this one too)
The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis (read aloud to Sam)
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (recommend)
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (post apocalyptic, very readable, a little fluffy)
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
The Heiresses by Sara Shepard
Touching Wonder by John Blase
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

23 books

So 26 from before and these 23 make 49, 3 short of my goal of 52, but I'm still happy with all that I read this year!

Monday, November 17, 2014

She's here :)

Our baby girl, Blake Noelle, was born 4 days early on Tuesday, 11 November. Self admittedly, I had a poor attitude leading up to that day. I thought she was going to be earlier, and when she hadn't come by the 7th, I was convinced she'd be late like her brother, like almost induced late. And if she had, it would have been okay and I should have been grateful, but well, I chose to grumble. I'd like to blame hormones, but I wish I had been a bit more mature. Fortunately, my husband is very patient and I learned a lesson or two myself. God is so good and I'm thankful he's sovereign. 
I woke up to contractions at 1:30AM, my parents came to stay with Sam in the middle of the night and I was in a labor and delivery room by 3:25AM. A few hours later, Blake came at 6:02AM weighing 7lb and 10oz and 20.5 inches. I'm so thankful for our story and for our little girl! 
It was so weird to realize I'm not pregnant, that I can bend again, and we've been pinching ourselves that we have "childREN" and "kidS". She's a good sleeper and eater so far (such a different experience than our first week with Sam) and that really has helped with the transition. Now to refresh on newborn care and re-read some of the great parenting books :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Baby watch

We are on the watch for baby girl now. I just reached 38 weeks, and as she's measuring about a week ahead, I'm definitely hoping that she won't be late. I had a friend at MOPS mention that she loved this unknown time, but I find it stressful. I want to have things ready to go any time, but I'm also a doer and I struggle if I don't have some "project" going on. But I also don't want to stress about not having a project finished, so I try not to start too much. Then I'm not sure how far to look ahead. Do I grocery shop for a few days or just take it day to day? 
I've had a more anxiety this pregnancy in general and find my thoughts and emotions snowballing and I have to ask myself "what's the worst that can happen?" and "what's the rush?" etc, and keep trying to cast those cares to our wonderful Lord. I'm so so thankful how healthy we've been and there's not much longer! 

Until then, we'll be here, taking it day by day :) 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Books 2014


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling (read aloud to Sam)
Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman (recommend)
Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp (recommend)
Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos (a re-read)
No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale (Weird and creepy, but I kinda liked it)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling (read aloud to Sam)
Every Day by David Levithan (An interesting idea that I think I enjoyed)
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling (read aloud to Sam)
Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun
The House Girl by Tara Conklin (I think I liked it)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (read aloud to Sam)
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (too me a really long time to read, but pretty good)
A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberley McCreight (thriller, different to read as a parent)
Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (I saw the movie trailer and decided to read it. Really long read and totally not worth it. Don't recommend)
Grimm's Fairy Tales by Wilheim Grimm and Jacob Grimm (read aloud to Sam)
In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen (felt like a very grownup book, I wouldn't necessarily recommend)
The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Fitzgerald (read aloud to Sam)
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay (read aloud to Sam, which was an odd choice)
Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose (don't recommend)
Dorthy Must Die by Danielle Paige (Fun start to a series, easy to read)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (read aloud to Sam)
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (I didn't like as much as her more young adult books, but still easy to read)
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (kept me hooked to find out what happened)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (good read although a little depressing)
Frog Music by Emma Donoghue (I wouldn't recommend, but I struggled with Room too)

26 books so far. I'd kinda like to get in 52 this year, but we'll see what happens :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bright Sadness

It's sunny and beautiful and we are doing a day trip to Greensboro to celebrate a birthday. During this Lent time, our church is doing a Bright Sadness blog with devotionals and I've seen lots of "things to give up" blogs as well. Back in college, my friend Annie and I used to always give up chocolate or sugar. It was really hard for us, but it was nice to have accountability. This time around, I love the idea of giving up being envious, comparing ourselves to others, being a people pleaser, etc. What good ways to focus on being more like Christ.