Wednesday, March 27, 2019

March Reads

This was an awesome month in the book department!  I was able to read a bit more than usual this month because I listened to one of them on audio book and the awful stomach virus that hit our household last week allowed for lots of time in bed reading. Without further we go! PS) At the end of this post, I'll put all the books I've read so far in 2019.....with stars by my faves!

As Long As We Both Shall Live by Joann Chaney:
Ya'll know I love a good domestic thriller, but this one fell flat for me. It's basically like the script of a Lifetime movie, so if you want something sort of eyeroll-ishly (made up that word) predictable, this might be your jam. It's about a woman who ends up dead and how the case unravels and provides insights into the main couple's relationship. Honestly, a week or so after I finished this book, I was telling a friend about it and I had a hard time remembering what it was even about. This one has pretty good reviews, so maybe I just wasn't in the mood? If you want domestic suspense, pick up a Liane Moriarty book. She's the master of the genre.

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth: This is the audiobook that I got behind on all my podcasts for! And it was well worth it! This is a great novel about a well to do neighborhood in Australia and the secrets each woman is keeping to protect her household. I honestly didn't see the end coming at all. This one dives into: friendship, Keeping up with the Joneses, eating disorders, husband and wife relationships, adoption, loss, affairs family, fitting in, and most of all, motherhood. This is reminiscent of Desperate Housewives and I really enjoyed it.

If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey: I picked this one up because lots of contemporary Christian non-fiction authors I enjoy (Sophie Hudson, Jen Hatmaker, Shauna Niequist, Melanie Shankle) recommended it. This is the true story of the author's journey to becoming "her best self." This was a fast, entertaining read, but let me say this, it felt so very anti-feminist, that I really struggled in parts. Jamie is SO SO SO hard on herself and much of the book had me wanting to hug her and tell her she's not a horrible person. I sincerely hope young Christian women today do not absolutely beat themselves up (or in Jamie's case, write themselves in a tizzy) over their "sinful worldliness." It made me sad that not only did she feel so rotten about herself, but that she finds it necessary to "confess" in this manner.  This might be the book for you if you are a Duggar daughter perhaps??

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman: This sweeping novel was really great. It takes place in 1950's Canada where there are tensions between the French and English (I honestly never knew this was a thing until this book). It follows the story of a young girl who gets pregnant unexpectedly, is forced to give her daughter up, and their decades long journey to find each other again. This was a wonderful novel that would be perfect for a book club. Sidenote: This book also features a whole segment about how Canadian orphanages were shut down and all the children sent to mental hospitals. This is a real thing in their history and I had no idea....hard to read at some parts, but very moving and eye-opening.

Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanne Elden: This book randomly showed up as an ad on my Facebook page (must be all the teacher pages I follow!) and a novel about modern day education? Right up my alley! Ok, the good: The author taught for 11 years (I have a hard time listening to people wax poetic about education who have spent less than 10 years in front of a classroom) and so she knows her stuff. This book was so accurate! I really liked all the characters and enjoyed how the story followed individual characters and also how the stories were woven together too. There is something so special and unique about teacher friendships so I enjoyed that component. It has a really sweet ending that concludes on a positive note (despite being brutally honest about the realities of being a teacher today). The not so good: It hit too close to home! All of the abbreviations, new initiatives, teacher tropes, student Roxanna Elden spying on me?! Really, though, I enjoy reading as an escape of sorts and at times this one felt like work simply due to the content.

Regrets Only by Erin Duffy: This was one of those books that I just happened on at the library and I am so glad I found it. This novel is deliciously sweet chick lit at its finest. It follows the story of a new mom in the midst of a divorce. She's stuck in her ex-husband's hometown and makes over her life with the help of girlfriends, rediscovering forgotten passions, opening a stationary store, and experiencing a few meltdowns as well (think cutting her ex's hair in a restaurant!). This one is funny and heartfelt and one of the best chick lit novels I've read in a while. Perfect for a spring break getaway!

2019 Books! (I put * by my most fave ones!)
1. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
2. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
3. The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank
4. *Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
5. Happy Teachers Change The World by Thich Nhat Hanh and Katherine Weare
6. The Day I Went Missing by Jennifer Miller
7. *Glow Kids by Kardaras Nicholas
8. Final Girls by Riley Sager
9. *Becoming by Michelle Obama
10. As Long As We Both Shall Live by Joann Chaney
11. *The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
12. If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey
13. *The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman
14. Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanne Elden
15. *Regrets Only by Erin Duffy

Happy reading, friends!
Savor Your Sparkle,

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Hank Life: 15 Months

Hank Grayson is 15 months old and a ton of fun! I like doing these posts occasionally for memories sake. I don't care if no one reads them, this momma never kept a baby book, so Hank's growth and milestones are recorded right here in this space! I know I sound like a broken record, but it. goes. by. so. fast. I mean, how do I have this toddler now?? With each phase that comes around I say it's my new favorite, but this one is especially fun. It's so neat getting to know him as a kid with personality and opinions. I will say, however, this phase is a lot more exhausting. I can get NOTHING done with Hank around. In fact, sometimes I feel like my day "begins" at bedtime, when I can finally tackle some to-do's! Gone are the days of a cooing baby on blanket with a rattle and I could unload the dishwasher, write a bit, grade papers, do my makeup etc. Now it's all eyes and hands on deck to watch this lil man. But for all the exhaustion, he makes me laugh on a daily basis. He's becoming less baby and more little boy and I am so thankful I get to be his mommy.

Hank is down to one nap a day (sometimes he'll do a brief morning one if he's super tired) from about 12:30-2:00. He naps in his crib after lunch. Sometimes it's longer, sometimes it's shorter, but we shoot for this time. This fall Hank will be going to daycare a few days a week and many of them have a similar nap time. He sometimes fusses but he's usually asleep within about ten minutes. He goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 and wakes up around 7:00 (This is a welcome change from his 5 am wake up time this past Fall!!). He absolutely hates going to bed if people are over and wants to be part of the action. I can't really blame him! After bath time (he has a bath about 4 times a week), he drinks his "Meelks" (Milk, that's just what we call it, lol) and watches an episode of Terrific Trucks on daddy's lap. AJ brings him to bed every night after the episode and when his milk is gone. He drinks warmed whole milk in a sippy cup in the morning and before bed.

Hank wears all sorts of clothing sizes, 18-24 months, 24 months, and 2T. The 18 month old onesies and pants were all getting a bit snug, so I packed them away. Most days I'm jealous of his uniform of a T shirt and sweatpants. I was folding his laundry the other day and teared up a bit folding these itty bitty jeans. I never want to forget when he's a big teenager that he once fit his cute lil tush in these!

Hank loves loves loves meal time. He gets that honestly, folks! For breakfast he usually has a waffle or a piece of toast (he loves cinnamon raisin bread). For lunch he usually has fruit (clementines, grapes cut up, applesauce, bananas etc), cheese, crackers, chicken nuggets, scrambled eggs, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, or an uncrustable. For dinner he usually has some form of what we're eating. If that isn't doing it, then he loves yogurt tubes, beans, or any of his lunch time favorites.
 Hank loves to go on stroller walks, read books (touch and feel books are still a major hit), push around his popper, take things out of drawers or containers and put them back again, visiting the Aquarium with friends, balloons, the garbage truck, and seeking the skies for planes. He also loves bath time, giving his moose hugs, and his Paw Patrol Rubble stuffed animal kisses.

We are so thankful for the love and support of our amazing family. Hank loves his days with Grandma (and sometimes Grandpa and Aunt Libby stop by too!). We Facetime nearly everyday with AJ's parents and he loves and adores them too. We love our Little Gym friends and I love chatting with my mommy friends. It truly takes a "Village" to raise a child and I am grateful everyday for Hank's village.

We love this boy to the moon and back!

Savor Your Sparkle,

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Life Lately and Birthday Fun!

Hey there! It's been a minute since I've blogged! I've been: chasing around my toddler (How is he so big now?!), turning 32, herding cats in 1st grade and teaching them to read while I herd, going through spring parent/teacher conferences, working on my math endorsement, praying for spring, trying to hit the gym, getting together with friends, reading, listening to podcasts, watching The Bachelor, cooking, dating my hubby, and tidying after said toddler. But through it all, I've missed writing in this little blog space. So here I am! I have lots of pictures for ya'll!!

 My parents babysat for us last Saturday and we went to dinner at one of our fave spots (The Bohemian) and went to a Jazz game! The Jazz tickets were a Christmas gift from my parents. It was a great game and we had a good time!

I went to "Shark Tank Yoga" at the Aquarium this past week. It was so wonderful! 

I ventured into Ikea last week for a few things and we redid our bedding. I love the spring refresh! I popped some popcorn, poured myself a diet coke, and watched Crazy Rich Asians in bed last weekend. It was a heavenly 90 minutes. 

Speaking of movies, Hank and I watched Peter Rabbit TWICE this past weekend. I absolutely loved it. So cute! I had the past 2 Fridays off and while Parent teacher conferences make for long days, they went well, and it's nice touching base with families, and getting a nice breather when they're done! 
I am so wishing for spring. In fact, last week we made a warm weather dinner of  BBQ chicken and pasta salad. Here up, summer! There was an hour or so of gorgeous sunshine on Saturday and we hurried out for a family walk. Hank is obsessed with swings (he will find a picture of them in one of his book and points at it and gestures wildly) so we got to go out for a bit. 

Since my birthday was Monday, I hit up the spa on Saturday morning for a massage and facial and it was delightful! Then I went and did some shopping for Hank and just knew I had to get my little dude this shirt. Hank is all. about. cheese. Haha! 

I did some major tidying up this weekend and space bagged Hank's too small clothes, and organized closets and drawers. Yay for simplifying! Although, I had to laugh because on this "get rid of it" spree, Hank and I went into Michael's and he was obsessed with this light up baton. We bought it. There's only so much tidying up you can do as a parent, right?!

I had a wonderful birthday thanks to the love of family and friends. We had a fun family dinner followed by Crumbl cookies, presents, and watching Bachelor Colton breaking down crying. Good times. 

Look for a Hank 15th month update, a book post, and some more blog fun coming up. Thanks for reading!

Savor Your Sparkle,