Thursday, May 31, 2012

the first husband

Have you ever finally gotten something you'd wanted for a long time only to realize you weren't sure if it was what you truly wanted?  The last book I read for BlogHer's Book Club was The First Husband by Laura Dave.  It's a story about Annie and Nick as well as a story about Annie and Griffin and it'a also a story about finding out what really makes you happy, even when it's not how you thought it would be.

At times I thought the story was straight out of a chaotic family scene in a movie like My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Meet the Fockers and I can definitely see this book becoming the next romantic comedy.  It was a short and sweet read and one I'd recommend you put on your list.  Read more here.

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own. 


Friday, May 25, 2012

check list

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disney World
9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London 
77. Broken a bone
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Plenty of these I don't even want to cross off, but it's still fun to look at how many I have done.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

thirty one months

Dear Joshua,

Yesterday you turned thirty one months old.  You are closer now to three years old than you are to two.  I can hardly remember being able to hold you easily in the crook of my arm and I can already picture you as a  ten or twelve year old boy.

The other night you were sitting there being the opposite of your usual self and you were patiently listening to Julianna read some stories to you.  I looked in on the two of you when it had been too quiet for some time.  I saw her reading and handing you a silly band every time you would stay seated and be still.  Then I heard her say, "Josh, do I need to take a band?" as you got up on your knees and started wiggling.  It was the sweetest act of pretend play I had seen in some time.  Of course, I know where Julianna got her ideas from but she managed to get you to behave a lot more effectively than your father and I can lately.

This month you've managed to give the best talkers in this family a run for their money with all of the talking you've done.  It is nonstop from the second I pick you up from school until the second you fall asleep at night.

You don't recognize letters like your sister could at this age, but you're getting close.  Sometimes in the car you'll ask me what a number is on a sign or whatever you see out the window.

You still sleep well at night and take decent afternoon naps.  You still eat like a bird and you still scream about the sun in your eyes during more than half of our car rides.  You still wear 24 month clothes.

When we went strawberry picking a few weeks ago you enjoyed saying you were strong enough to help carry the bucket and when Daddy caught a stray baseball at the Dash game last weekend right away you just wanted to throw it.  When we went bowling for your cousin's birthday party you longed to hold the bowling ball and roll it all by yourself.  You find a stick in the yard and immediately you want to hold it like a weapon.  You beg for Superman pajamas.  You are my boy.

You've started asking about ghosts in your room and a lot of times at night you'll make me verify that there aren't any robots or ghosts or monsters around and that they aren't real.  Everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, ends with the question "Why?"

I was thinking earlier about how it seems like you're not having many "firsts" anymore, but then I realized that you are still having "firsts" they're just a little different than they used to be when you were a baby and I can enjoy that.  Besides, there are some firsts that I don't even want to think about just yet.  After all, you are my baby no matter how much you want to be my big boy.

I love you little blonde haired, brown eyed boy.  And I love your slobbery wet kisses too!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday morning blues

We just had a fabulous weekend and I am so sad that it's over.  I can taste summer.  I only have 13 days left with students and I don't think I have ever been this ready to get out of school.

Friday night after chasing butterflies in the yard my mom, sister, and the kids and I went out to dinner at Chili's with the intention of getting queso and molten lava cake.  It ended up that we ordered normal meals and no apps or desserts but it was yummy nevertheless.  Then we ended up getting froyo with Dad and Jonathan and watched Josh gorge himself on frozen yogurt after not eating his dinner. (typical)

Saturday we helped with a car show for our friends who are moving to Africa as missionaries.  It couldn't have been a more beautiful day for a car show and it was nice spending time with friends.  Julianna loved helping judge the cars and giving out trophies.

Sunday afternoon we went to the Dash game and watched our first baseball game of the season.  The weather was perfect and we got there in time to hear my brother-in-law play a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem with the Ardmore Brass Band.  We stayed for the entire game.  Joshua missed a nap and wasn't too unbearable so I consider that a pretty nice miracle.  Plus, near the end of the game Jonathan caught a ball that flew into the stands and both kids had a great time fighting over who would get to hold it.  (Jonathan and I were just afraid Josh would decide to throw it, but thankfully he didn't.)

After the game we had a fantastic dinner at my most favorite restaurant ever.  The meal was as perfect as usual and both kids behaved well and ate well which always makes dinner out more enjoyable.

Now, I'm working for the weekend again.  How are you folks? Did you have a good weekend too?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mmmmmm... Froyo

Julianna couldn't finish all her yogurt so Josh took care of it for her.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

where she went


When BlogHer and Penguin Publishing sent me Where She Went and I saw that it was the second book in a series I just had to check with the library to get If I Stay and read it first.  It was a decent book (and a very short read), but I was anxious to finish it as it wasn't as all-consuming as some of the more recent books I'd read.

The first book was narrated by a high school senior named Mia and the second in the series was narrated by her boyfriend Adam from the first book.  The change in perspective and the fact that this second book takes place several years in the future is refreshing.  I also liked the second book better in that it switched back and forth between present time and flashbacks at chapter changes.  I don't want to spoil anything about the book so I won't say much more except to say that it's hard to read a book when the simple fact that it has a sequel gives away the dramatic ending (yet in a way it really doesn't give away the ending which also makes it easy to want to quickly start in on the second book).

Check out the Book Club over at BlogHer to see what everyone else is saying about Where She Went.

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

the shape of things

Josh was being his usual weekday morning whiny self on the way to yesterday.  He asked for more milk right as we got into the car.  I told him that he had finished his milk and that he could get some more when he got to school.  He screamed, "I don't like square milks! I like circle milks!"

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

laugh much?

Help! I need a joke to put in Julianna's lunch box tomorrow.  Know any good ones?

Monday, May 14, 2012

the things my kids say

Josh calls Lucky Charms "Chunky Charms" and the first time it took me a good two minutes and asking at least ten times to figure out what he was saying.

He also says, "Mom, your legs are SKAT-chee!" and it takes him about ten seconds to get the last word out as he carefully tries to pronounce it.

And of course, there's still his set of "hunk beds." I've mentioned this before, but I just might die of sadness when he stops saying that.

Julianna, out of the blue in the car this weekend declared, "I know what I want to do this summer! I want to lay on the beach and eat watermelon!"

And another day recently in the car I told Julianna that it was a wonder she had any friends with the way she talked to people.  She replied very seriously, "Chillax, Mom!  I have tons of friends!"

These are things I want to remember.

Friday, May 11, 2012

links i love

  • Information about the awesome places The Hunger Games was filmed.
  • Why can't some place around here do this?  It sounds AWESOME! Basically it's a running club where you meet once a week at a restaurant/pub and go run with a group.  Then you get rewards (running gear and food/beer discounts) based on your number of runs with the group.  Marvelous idea!

  • This recipe, found on Pinterest, is delish. I will definitely make it again soon.
  • This site and these kids... it's heart-wrenching to think some days that I've had such a bad day and my kids are being such brats and then remember these kids with cancer and thank God that my child isn't throwing up from chemo or fighting me about going back to the hospital for a scan.
  • Julianna will be attending this camp this summer.  She is very excited which I find perplexing because she always talks about how she isn't good at throwing or catching or doing activities without getting hurt. But I gave her the choice of several camps and that's the one she chose.  I think it's going to be a good one too!
  • Another cool find from Pinterest: I'm going to try to do this sometime this weekend.
  • Congratulations, Lucy!

Can you give me another link to love this week?

Pin It

Friday, May 4, 2012


One of the things Julianna had been asking for for quite a while was a butterfly garden and then I saw a Groupon for one and bought it immediately.  The problem was that it was the middle of the winter and you can't order butterflies and expect them to survive in the middle of the winter.  So I waited and ordered them for her birthday.

When they came we eagerly opened the package and watched the teensy little caterpillars (or as she used to say, cater-pitters) crawl around the cup.

We kept them for a little over a week, checking on them every day.

Most of the time multiple times a day.

On Easter Sunday morning they started building their cocoons.  Before long there were four chrysallids hanging from the top of the cup.  We thought the one last caterpillar was dead.  (The instructions said they guaranteed 3 of the 5 would survive.)

We were wrong.  He was just a late bloomer and he got his act together a couple of days later.  Then we pinned the tissue paper from the top of the cup inside of the net butterfly cage as directed.  They hung out there for a while, working some magic behind the scenes.

After another 9 days (this Tuesday) we came home from school to find a butterfly had "hatched" from it's chrysallis.  When we woke up Wednesday morning the second one had come out.

Jonathan mixed up some sugar water (as the instructions said to do) and placed it on the center of a rose we cut from the yard and stuck it down in the bottom of the butterfly habitat.

We decided to take them to Julianna's class and the teacher had already OK'd it.  Wednesday morning on the way to school the third came out.  Mind you, it's less than five minutes up the street to her school and Josh, Jules, and I saw the entire butterfly birth on our way.  Josh called Jonathan excitedly after it happened.

At school that day Julianna said the fourth butterfly hatched and after lunch the kids in her Kindergarten class set those four butterflies free.  The following day the last one hatched (I feel funny writing "hatch" but I don't know the proper term) and they set him free as well.

It's been well worth the $10 plus $5 shipping to share this experience with my kids.  The timing was absolutely perfect for both Julianna's birthday and for Easter and I got to have a couple of good conversations at bedtime with Jules about the similarities between a butterfly's transformation and the death and resurrection of Christ.  Perhaps we'll do it again in a few years.

Have you ever ordered any live animals or insects?

There's a local butterfly farm near us, but we've never visited.  Have you ever gone to such a place?  I've always thought it was kind of expensive since it costs about $7/person.  Is it worth it?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

you have no idea

I read this book recently called You Have No Idea written by Vanessa Williams and her mother Helen Williams.  It was sent to me for Blog Her Book Club and it was exactly the type of book I usually avoid: celebrity autobiography.  The fact that I never really cared for Vanessa Williams set my expectations pretty low but for whatever reason, this book captivated me from the first chapter.

With most autobiographies I just want to read the beginning and the end and I long for someone to just tear out the middle few hundred pages.  I didn't have that feeling with this book though.  I found it to be just the right length and read every word of it without wanting to skim.

Both Vanessa and her mother were entertaining and I found them easy to relate to.  I learned a lot about Vanessa's life that I wouldn't have otherwise known and much to my surprise it was pretty interesting.  The pictures scattered throughout were nice too.

I was curious as to why they never mentioned the song that I most associate with Vanessa Williams ("Colors of the Wind" from Pocohontas) but maybe they weren't permitted by Disney or something.  Anyway, a very good read for an autobiography. I'd recommend it.


This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

thirty months

Dear Joshua,

I completely missed your twenty-nine month letter.  And then last week I sorta missed your thirty month letter.  See, at first I was so wrapped up in your sister's sixth birthday that I forgot to post to you.  This makes me sad, mostly because I know that it's going to be a fact of life for you, living in your sister's shadow, and that as the youngest child you'll occasionally be left behind.  The thing is though, I believe you're already accustomed to it.

You constantly run behind Julianna.  You jump up on the hearth right after she jumps down and runs off.  You fly through the kitchen to the back door just as she takes off out into the yard.  You scramble to get your shoes off and meet your sister in the living room after school anxiously straining to see what she's already gotten into.  And perhaps the cutest thing you do is lengthen your neck at least two inches to try to see whatever she's looking at out the car window so that you don't miss out of the action outside.

Then last week I sat down to finish this letter and I just got so frustrated with the way you'd been behaving lately that I didn't want to force myself to think of nice things to say about you.  So I just didn't do it.  I was single-parenting for three nights in a row that week and you were unbearable.  You're just a typical 2.5 year old boy, but sometimes I just want to strangle you.  Then you bit your sister's thigh and the resulting mark is still there almost two weeks later so that should indicate how hard you chomped down.  It wasn't very nice to say the least, and when you act that way very few of us want to be around you.

Despite all this, it still amazes me how quickly time is going by and how much you're learning every day.  You can completely go to the bathroom all by yourself now and even though we still help you most of the time, it's nice to know that you can do it.  You've actually demonstrated more responsibility this month in that you run in from the garage every day and put your jacket and shoes up right where they belong.  You learned how to correctly pronounce your sister's name this month and it makes me incredibly sad even though I knew the day would come eventually.  You recognize all kinds of buildings (pointing out "the ham store" where we got our Christmas ham still every day 4 months later) and you already know the way to some of the places we go regularly.  Also, you can do puzzles in a couple of seconds on my phone and you say the Lord's prayer every day.

Things I want to remember from this thirtieth month include the fact that you sleep with your blanket directly on top of your face, you still can't seem to grown long enough legs to wear 2T pants or really ride the tricycle, your giggle is infectious, and how you're still so very tactile.  You rub my skin when we're sitting together on the couch, you paw at my shirt when I'm carrying you, you love to rub the satin edge on your BaBa (which is called blanket now instead).  I also wish I could record your excitement when I give you something that you're looking forward to like chocolate milk and you exclaim, "Oh! Thanks, Mom!"

Josh, you're a sweetheart and a booger.  You both aggravate me and make me beam with pride.  I love you to no end.  Yesterday in the car you asked me why daddy and I had babies; you wanted to know why we had a Joshua and a Jules (your words).  It was such a powerful question for a two year old.  The best, most simple answer I could give was that we love you.

Yes we do, Buddy.  We love you.


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