My Kids Are Bigger Now

When I last left you all in 2017, I had a 4-year-old and 1-year-old. They looked like this:

img_3997

Well, they’ve grown up a bunch and are so much different now! Let me share a bit.

Evan

acs_0761

Evan is 6.5 and in first grade. He’s come a long way since I announced his birth on this blog! He is a very bright child and full of energy. He has some developmental challenges (mostly in the social-emotional area) so life is often busy with things other kids don’t really have to worry about, like social skills classes and therapies of sort, ON TOP OF the normal kid things he does. He started karate in the fall and has really taken to it, earning his yellow, orange, and now junior blue belt in that short amount of time. It’s a good fit for him (a lot of adults in the room to keep him focused, little waiting, lots of action) and we love his dojo, which is teaching respect and compassion alongside karate (think more Mr. Miagi and less Cobra Kai). He is currently playing basketball at the Y and has played on a few different soccer teams. He wants to do everything (like his mama) so it’s more a matter of finding the right balance with him than figuring out what he wants to do. He loves math, Pokemon, video games, and is becoming a big board/card game fan, with Exploding Kittens and Sushi Go being his current faves. He’s learning to be a great reader and, while we still love reading to him, it’s so exciting to have him read to us now.

Kai

img_8853

Kai is 3.5. My super chill baby/toddler has morphed into a somewhat challenging threenager, but he’s still mostly the happiest kid on the planet. He is actually at the elementary school already in the Pre-K 3 room. Y’ALL, one drop off is AMAZING. He will do VPK there next year as well. He loves to draw, play teacher, and follow his big brother around. He is super sweet and caring. His combination of cheeks and hair and charm mean that everyone has probably not said no to him enough in life and now we are facing those consequences. But he greets me every morning with an enthusiastic “good morning, mommy” so I’ll keep him around.  It’s really fun now that he’s a real kid enjoying adventures with us and not  just along for the ride. He’s also come a long way since his birth announcement here.

Us

img_7154

Life is busy. We are tired. But I am hoping to be able to carve out some time to start posting here again, so we have plenty of time to catch up.

January 2019: Books Read

Hello. How have the last two years treated you? Mind if I jump back in here with a review of my January 2019 books without actually explaining my very long absence? No? Awesome. Let’s get started.

***

I finished four books in January: three audio and one print. My goal this year was just to read two books per month so I’m well ahead of my desired pace.

Image result for under the never sky

Under the Never Sky | Veronica Rossi | audio | 3 stars

Aria lives in a dome, where humans have been perfected and most people spend their time in virtual worlds. Perry lives on the outside, where survival is threatened by ether storms and tribal wars. Their worlds unexpectedly collide and they find themselves unlikely allies.

This one was…fine. I’ve read a lot of dystopian literature and it still felt unique. It had a lot of adventure and I really liked Aria and Perry, as well as many of the secondary characters. I was not blown away, but I was intrigued enough to prioritize this one over some podcasts.

Unfortunately, I did not feel like the narrator fit the book at all. I almost switched to print, but decided to power through and if I continue with the series, I will likely switch to print. The story is told from two points of view, one 17 year old girl and one 18 year old boy. But Bernadette Dunne has a very mature voice and it just didn’t work for me. I also would have preferred two narrators for the two voices, but I know some people like the consistency of one narrator.

Image result for every heart a doorway

Every Hear a Doorway | Seanan McGuire | audio | 5 stars

This was recommended to me by my sister in law (hey, my brother got married while I was away – let’s catch up some time). She and I have VERY similar reading taste and I always listen to her recommendations. I also have loved everything I’ve read by Mira Grant, which is Seanan McGuire’s pen name, so this was an easy sell.

I am not sure I can describe this story and do it justice. Nancy arrives at a boarding school after spending years in an alternate world she found through a doorway, Narnia-style. All of the other children have also returned from alternate worlds through other doors. Then one student dies which threatens the whole school.

Cynthia Hopkins was a fantastic narrator. I couldn’t stop listening.  The story was delightfully dark. I did speed it up a bit (sorry, narrators – a girl only has so much time in life) but I finished this one over the course of two days. I already have the second book downloaded and waiting for me on overdrive.

Image result for the immortalists

The Immortalists | Chloe Benjamin | print | 3 stars 

The story follows 4 siblings through their lives after a psychic tells them what day they will die. As these siblings face hardships and challenges, it is hard to tell if they are facing the inevitable or if they are shaping their own lives.

This book and I had a tough relationship. I adored Simon’s story. ADORED it. I wish the whole book had been Simon’s story. Because the other three just couldn’t keep my attention after his story was finished.  I think I started this book in October and only just finished it in late January. It’s hard to read a book over that length of time and come away with a rave review. But I do know that others have loved this book.

Image result for what if it's us

What If It’s Us | Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera | audio | 5 stars

This is the story of Arthur and Ben, who stumble upon each other in the post office one day and find themselves suddenly wrapped up in a charming and complicated love story.

If I could just read Becky Albertalli for the rest of my life, I think I’d be happy. I was probably grinning most of the time I was listening to this one. It’s just a great guy meets guy, big city story which deals with the pain of ending relationships, the balancing act of new romantic relationships with old friendships, and the challenges navigating discrepancies in wealth and life paths while still being hilarious and heartwarming and utterly lovable. I also love that one of the main characters has ADHD and it’s just casually referenced a few times without being the thing that defines him.

This audio was fantastic. I got my two separate narrators for the two separate viewpoints, like I prefer and with two high quality voice actors who fit their characters perfectly. I also loved Noah Galvin in Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. He also replaced Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hanson for a few months which makes all of the Dear Evan Hanson references in the book even sweeter. Froy Gutierrez is new to me but I hope to hear much more from him in the future.

***

How is your reading life going in 2019? Any stand outs so far?

And, yes. This my first blog post in two years. I am also updating the book lists. Let’s see what happens, okay?

January/February Books

Time for a check-in? (How are you? Me, I am slowly losing my mind, as evidenced by the fact that I named this post “January/March Books” and only caught it when I was changing the name of the permalink.)

So far this year, I’ve finished four books (I’m counting the March trilogy as one). I swear I read another audiobook but I can’t seem to place it if I did (I probably didn’t – my attention span prefers podcasts these days).

The Serpent King

The Serpent King was recommended to me by a bunch of people, but I finally got around to reading it when it was the Forever YA book club pick last month. None of these people adequately prepared me for what I was going to experience.

This book destroyed me. It completely wrecked me. I was uncontrollably sobbing in my bed for at least 70 pages of this thing. Y’all need to warn me about this. But keep sending me these kinds of recommendations. It reminds me that I do still love reading.

The Winner’s Crime

This is the second in the series. I am still intrigued enough to keep going but this one failed to hold my interest as well as the first. Middle books are hard to talk about…

Scrappy Little Nobody

Ben and I listened to this one on the long drive back from Michigan on New Year’s Day. We like listening to books like this on drives like that. Now that E is older, we usually reserve it for when he is sleeping or firmly entrenched in a show on his tablet. We both like Anna Kendrick and enjoyed her self-deprecating approach to storytelling in this book.

March

So this book turned out to be timely. I started reading it the weekend I traveled to DC for the Women’s March and I finished it during black history month (all while our democracy is being pushed to its limits). This was inspiring and should be read by everyone.

***

What is your favorite read so far this year?

…Hi?

*peeks out*

Hi, guys. Um, it’s been awhile.

2016 sort of got away from me. I won’t lament the year like so many have done. It wasn’t terrible for me personally. Sure, I’m a bit terrified for the future of our apparently-fragile republic and saddened over the passing of a few too many public figures, but neither of those are why I stopped blogging.

I just got busy.

Around the same time that I had Kai, I am pretty sure the world started spinning faster and the hours in the day actually shortened. Life with one kid wasn’t easy, but I still seemed to find time to do the things I loved. But life with two kids? Nope. I wake up, I drop off kids, I go to work, I pick up kids, I pick up toys, and suddenly it is time for bed so I can rest up and do it all again the next day. And weekends aren’t any better.  I don’t even want to know what happens when you have a third baby. Do parents of 3+ kids even sleep? I doubt it.

Well, I like sleep. So I gave up on the blog. And, honestly, it seemed silly to keep up the guise of a book blog when I was barely reading (see previous paragraph). And it felt good to let myself off the hook and not feel guilty about not blogging.

But I miss it.

I miss having a place to share my thoughts. Twitter is fine, but 140 characters only gets you so far and everyone just wants me to call my congressman (spoiler: Gus Bilirakis is never going to do what I want). Instagram is still my favorite form of social media, but it’s hard to get out more than a sentence or two. Facebook is still basically the worst, so that’s out. It was always my blog where I could say what I wanted, when I wanted, and sometimes people listened without trying to get their own agenda out in front of mine.

So I am going to see what happens if I let myself give this another try. I will talk about books if I ever find myself reading them.I might share some photos if I ever pick up my camera again. I may talk about politics (y’all should really call your representatives) or work (oh, btw, I just started a new law firm), and I will most definitely talk about my kids.

I don’t know if anyone is still reading this thing or if anyone even noticed that I was gone. But I hope to reconnect with some old friends and try to find my voice again. We’ll see what happens.

The Sunday Salon [5.1.16]: What I’ve Been Reading

My “book blog” has not discussed books in two months, so I figured I’d at least pop on by and let you all know what I’ve been reading. Frankly, I’ve not done much reading at all in the two months since I posted my February recap (which seemed so promising). In March, I decided to do a daily yoga challenge so my daily reading resolution went right out the window (apparently I cannot accomplish two daily commitments at a time) and then it stayed away in April when life suddenly felt even busier than usual.

I’ve been reading my current print book (Illuminae) for at least two months (I know I’ve renewed it twice from the library) and I am only on page 200. I got through a few audiobooks but then I gave up on those in favor of podcasts the last few weeks because (a) I haven’t bothered to move any from itunes to my phone and (b) my brain is too tired for a full book.

So, since you last saw me, I have finished three audiobooks and two comic books:

An Ember in the Ashes | Sabaa Tahir | audio | 4 stars

This was the Forever YA book club book in February. I wasn’t sure about it when I first read the description but I ended up really liking it. I was a bit disappointed to learn it is the first in a series but I will definitely be reading on.

After You | Jojo Moyes | audio | 4 stars

I read Me Before You in print but I knew I’d get to the follow-up sooner in audio so I switched to that medium. I didn’t really think that I needed a follow-up but Jojo Moyes sucked me back into Louisa’s world and made me see that I did.

Who’s ready for the movie?

Descender (Vol. 1) | Jeff Lemire | print | 4.5 stars

Many thanks to SuziQOregon for the recommendation on this oneIt was just what I needed to feel like I accomplished something while being thoroughly entertained. I am eagerly anticipating volume 2 in a few weeks.

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming | Joshilyn Jackson | audio | 4 stars

The latest in my quest to read everything Joshilyn Jackson has written did not leave me disappointed. I highly recommend reading Jackson’s books in audio as she reads them herself and makes for a wonderful southern storyteller.

Ms. Marvel: Generation Why (Vol. 2) | G. Willow Wilson & Jacob Wyatt/Adrian Alphona | print | 3.5 stars

I am still trying to figure out if I like comics but this one keeps me entertained enough to keep going. 

*****

What have YOU all been reading? Let me live vicariously through you until my kids are in college and/or I win the lottery.

The Sunday Salon.com

A Day in the Life: Weekend Edition

I love when Trish hosts these Days in the Life blogger events. Check out everyone’s posts here.  I’ve done this three times before, but all during the week. So here is what a random Saturday looks like. It’s still pretty exhausting.
MARCH 12
AM
12:36 – Feed Kai. Tried to skip the dream feed before I went to bed. Nope. I think I’d been asleep for less than an hour.
5:00 – Send Ben in to calm Kai. Temporarily works.
5:30 – Feed Kai.
6:40 – Realize that Ben must have gotten up with Evan a few minutes ago. Bask in the opportunity to sleep in.
6:42 – get in an argument with Gatsby about whose pillow it really is anyway. Ruin the pillow case in the process. Think about how we could really use some new sheets.
6:43 – Hear Kai crying. Sigh. Get up. Hand the baby to Ben. Go brush my teeth. Check Facebook/Instgram. Linger upstairs.
6:52 – Ben tells me I can go back to sleep but I’m awake now. Realize we have no tea. Tell Ben we need diaper cream (teething, ugh). Throw Ben a diaper so he can change Kai. Lay down on couch. Watch Disney Jr. I’m starving but too lazy to go into the kitchen.
7:15 – Grab a banana and some orange juice.
7:20 – Play blocks with Kai. I build. He destroys.
7:38 – Clip Kai’s nails after he scratches me for the 17th time this morning.
7:50 – Diffuse some essential oils to try to wake up.
7:53 – Ben leaves to go do some work. The kids eat Cheerios. I try to figure out what to do with our morning.
8:03 – Evan suddenly realizes he has an unfinished art project from school and requires a green crayon immediately to finish it.
8:07 – Get the kids fruit. Put on music. (The hand clapping and foot stomping Songza station).
8:20 – Get Kai dressed. This might be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
8:25 – Play Candyland with Evan while Kai wanders the house making a mess
8:37 – Help E into a Superman cape. Put my own superman cape on. Race through house. Get yelled at for dancing instead of running.
8:45 – Sit down to make to do list of weekend chores. Evan asks to make his own. He says his chores are going to bed, eating dinner, and listening to mommy and daddy. It’s adorable.
8:55 – Move E to kitchen table because dry erase markers and the couch don’t mix well.
8:58 – Nurse Kai. Think of that Army saying about doing more things before 9am than most people do in a day.
9:10 – play with Kai on the floor while E whines that I won’t play with him
9:20 – Change Kai’s diaper.
9:25 – Color with Evan who is still using the dry erase board/markers
9:32 – I’m starving. Try to find some actual breakfast. Eat Cheerios with chia seeds and almond milk. I’m still hungry.
9:40 – Ben comes home.
9:50 – Ben and Evan leave to run errands. I try to put Kai down for a nap in the swing (I don’t have the energy for a crib nap attempt). This kid is TIRED.
9:55 – Remember that I need to get a move on my audio book for book club next week. Open computer to load discs but get interrupted because Kai is NOT HAPPY with the current plan.
9:57 – Nurse Kai to calm him down and get him to sleep. You’d think the kid had never eaten before the way he is acting. He nursed an hour ago.
10:08 – Snuggle with a sleeping Kai for a minute.
10:10 – Transfer sleeping child to the crib. Lol. Just kidding. Baby is now awake and standing in the crib. Leave him there anyway.
10:15 – Kai is wide awake in his crib. But not crying. So I eat burnt toast with Nutella and watch an episode of Fuller House. I was going to clean my car out during this nap but it’s been an unproductive day. I may as well keep the theme going.
10:27 – Kai is lying down. Maybe he’ll sleep.
10:28 – Nope. Standing back up.
10:37 – He’s lying down again.
10:38 – Just kidding. It’s now getting to the point that I might not actually want him to nap.
10:47 – Go get Kai. Why are weekend naps so hard???
10:50 – Watch Gilmore Girls and play. No screentime before 2. Ha. #secondbaby
11:10 – Change Kai’s diaper. Get dressed for yoga.
11:20 – Leave the house
11:30 – Baby and Me Yoga!
PM
12:30 – Nurse Kai at the end of class, chat with my friends for a few minutes, head home.
12:55 – Kai falls asleep in the car. Stick his car seat in the swing.
1:00 – Shower. Get dressed.
1:20 – E is in his room for some quiet time and Kai is asleep so I grab an apple and some peanut butter and crackers for a quick lunch. I am in desperate need of some caffeine.
1:25 – Kai wakes up. This kid does not want to sleep today. Change him and get the kids ready to leave the house.
1:35 – Head to a birthday party.
2-4 – Birthday party

4:10 – Head to the supervisor of elections to vote.
4:25 – Vote! #imwithher

4:30 – Head home. Discuss dinner plans. We are excellent meal planners during the workweek. Not so much on the weekend.
5:00 – arrive home and sit in the car for ten minutes while the boys nap.

5:20 – Nurse Kai.
5:30 – Decide to go out to dinner. We pick Sweet Tomatoes. No waiting and Evan can eat whatever he wants. Kai is so cute we had to talk to a lot of people. That bald guy in the background there came up to our table and rapped for us. Seriously.

6:40 – Head home.
6:56 – Home. Play for a few minutes.
7:05 – Bath for both boys, gather laundry, I get Kai ready while Ben gets E to bed, nurse Kai, read him a story, put him down
7:30 – Pick up, laundry, and sweep while Ben does dishes
7:50 – Mess around on my phone for 20 minutes.
8:15 – Switch laundry, Watch House of Cards with some tea. Research potential new shampoos for the entire second episode.
10:04 – Realize we need to change the clocks forward and go to bed because it’s essentially 11pm. I haven’t accomplished anything on my to do list.