Thursday, February 16, 2017

Good Bones
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Saturday 7

1. Our church cancelled services today due to the ice storm that blew through. It was nice to have a slow-paced Sunday morning... but it didn't stop us from getting out in it for a hike this afternoon! We met us with some friends and tramped through the icy snowy forest wonderland for a couple hours. Lovely to be out, but also lovely to come back to our warm home (with the wood fire that I'd loaded up right before we left bellowing out toasty warm air that we could all crowd around. :))

2. School is going well. I can't believe we are well into February already. The big kids are thriving at their charter school up the road from us and the little ones are mostly enjoying homeschool... I think all they actually really like is reading history aloud together, haha. We recently finished The Door in the Wall and The Light at Tern Rock and I have to say, I love the literature that Sonlight has in their curriculum. I think I love the books we read just as much as the kids do! ;)

3. This weekend we head to FL for my family reunion... it will be nice to see all the extended family as well as the sun and sea for a couple days! I love the northeast and all the seasons here... but a little mid-winter break sure is nice too. :)

4. We had a valentine-making party on Friday-- three moms, 9 kids, and lots of paper, stickers, glue, paper doilies and markers! Four hours later I think it was mostly a success. Lots of people will be getting lots of fun homemade valentines so... that's a win, right??

5. What I'm reading: Still plugging along through Swing Time. Finished The Secret Keeper on audible (loved it!) and am about 1/3 into Three Sisters, Three Queens on audible and I'm loving that as well. I've pretty much switched out all my podcast listening time for audible books so that's been fun. Books just take soooooooo long to listen to-- I think Secret Keeper was like 35 hours or something ridiculous! I guess that also means I spend a ridiculous amount of time doing laundry and driving kids places (all the times I listen to books, lol.)

6. I finished a hollyhocks embroidery for Hallie and Tristan requested a Star Wars one so I made him a BB8. It turned out pretty cute. I'm now working on the February #stitchventure challenge (a different color or stitch every day.) I'm not very good at incorporating them all into one design so it's looking more like a sampler than an actual hoop! haha.

7. Yoga is going great! Dan and I have been doing it together every weekend so far this year and today I actually noticed that I am getting marginally more flexible. Yay for small progress! Of course he still cuts up and tries to make me lose my concentration so I laugh and fall over, but it's all good. :)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Saturday 7

1. Will went to "glow night" last night at Sky Zone (a trampoline park) with three friends from school from 8-10. This "teenagers out late doing their own thing" thing is a little weird! But he also worked 7.5 hours today washing dishes at our local cafe. He works hard and plays hard. :)

2. The younger two slept over at a friend's last night so Dan and I were home alone with Hallie for the evening. She and I watched Akeelah and the Bee-- which was really good!

3. This morning after Will left for work Hallie and I went to run errands ... and got manicures while we were at it! Seize the moment, right? We got Dunkin too... it's so much fun having a tween girl to do these things with!

4. Olivia's cheer squad happened to be cheering during Tristan's b-ball game today, which meant we could all be at Upwards for only one game! That doesn't happen often. :)

5. This afternoon after his game, Tristan and 5 neighborhood boys played hockey on the lake for a couple hours. Oh to have the energy of a 10yo boy!!

6. Tonight Dan and I are headed out on a date night. Once again the kids were nagging me about wanting their favorite sitter to come over, so we made it a date.

7. Tomorrow we are headed to church, hitting the slopes for the afternoon and then making our way to two different Super Bowl parties. I'm making two dishes of PW's Spinach Artichoke Dip, which I have not made before, but I hear is good! (Plus it's a PW recipe; how could it be bad. ;)) And just like that, *poof* our weekend will be over. But the sun was out today, and I got to sit and work on the Star Wars embroidery that Tristan requested while listening to my current audible read, Three Sisters, Three Queens ...IN THE SUN (indoors, but who cares!) :)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday 7 x2

1. I didn't get a post up last weekend. I think part of my problem (with consistently posting late) is that the weekends around here are the most unscheduled of all our days. I never know what we are going to be doing on any given weekend and I don't usually spend much time on the computer on the weekends. (Although... that is actually true most days so maybe that's my problem lol.)

2. Last Sunday we took the kids skiing. Thanks to our awesome homeschool ski club that meets every Weds. during Jan. and Feb., the younger two kids are just as good (if not better!) than the older two on the slopes. (I took Tristan down a black diamond for the first time and he did great!) This definitely bodes well for future years of family fun. I decided this year that it would be in my best interest to take lessons while my kids are doing theirs... I'm a self-taught snowboarder and although I've been at it for close to 10 years, my technique is... well, self-taught. ;) It was actually a lot of fun-- it was me and 5 teenagers-- and despite having to put up with the snowball fights and good-natured constant jabbing at each other, I've already improved a lot! Maybe I will be able to keep up with my own kids now. ;)

3. I'm reading a book called Evicted, about the long-term spiral effects on low-income families that evictions can have. Sobering and so outside my box of experience. It's been a great read, along the lines of Just Mercy that I read (& loved) last year. I get so frustrated with Christians who don't care about social justice issues if they don't affect THEM. Not everyone is so blessed to have a "normal" middle-class American life. We ALL have the responsibility to advocate for and look out for those who weren't given the leg up in life that we were.

4. Olivia and Tristan started basketball and cheerleading last week. Their practices are on the same night, 20 min away... two hours apart. (Of course!) But they are loving it, and really, why not add another night of playing mom taxi to my week. ;)

5. Last Sunday we hosted our annual soup cookoff. Seven neighbors brought a crockpot full of soup and everyone else brought desserts, drinks, etc. We had around 40-50 people show up, and after much discussion and a final vote, our neighbor Fred took home the trophy with his excellent Shrimp E'Touffe! (How could you not win with a soup named that. ;)) It was supposed to take place after an neighborhood hockey game on the lake, but thanks to the rain last week, the ice was slush so we just went straight to eating... never a bad thing. ;)

6. Olivia got a lego roller coaster for Christmas and Will is finally building it for her today. I bought a new 30x40 print for the mudroom wall (after the frame finally showed up from amazon!) and it will hopefully get hung today. I'm hoping to make progress on an owl embroidery I'm making for a friend. Today we will have a lazy Saturday (minus the bball/cheer games) because Dan worked 58 hours last week, so I think we all deserve it. ;)

7. That's all for now, folks. :)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Two Week Recap

1. Last week was our first week back to school. It was rough on all of us! Thursday was the first night I had to leave the house for running kids around for evening activities and I was in such a funk about it. Haha. Christmas break should be a monthly occurance!

2. Dan and I have been trying to be better about going on dates. We have gone out twice in the past 3 weeks and it's been so fun. We've decided to go somewhere new each time, and it's been fun researching hole in the wall places that have fun drinks and yummy food. Also the kids keep asking me when their favorite sitter can come back again, so that was kind of a kick in the pants to call her ...and get out the door! ;)

3. New years' resolutions! I love them. I have a bullet journal that I utilize and I am all set going into 2017! I aim for progress, not perfection, and try to set goals that I know are attainable if I actually put effort into it. Like... one of my goals is to workout 3x/week. I know if I aimed for 5 days a week, I would fail, and get discouraged and possibly quit altogether. But 3x/ week I know I can do! Half the battle (for me) of successfully completing goals at the end of the year is setting myself up with realistic goals at the beginning of the year. I'm feeling optimistic and ready to take on the year!

4. Yoga. I decided to (in addition to working out 3x/week) try to do yoga once or twice a week. I am seriously inflexible but I have loved the few yoga classes I've tried! I found some online yoga thing that I can stream to our appleTV. It's sad because I can't do any of the poses well (yet) and my balance is atrocious (this cracks me up, because I can snowboard just fine but I can't hold a yoga pose?! What gives?!) but I'm planning to "harness the power of incremental change over time"  ... progress can't help but follow, right?! I can sometimes talk one of the kids into doing it with me too, which is fun. :)

5. January decluttering! I got the purge bug this year and am doing this one-month declutter challenge.  It's been great so far! I have taken a bunch of stuff to Salvation Army and passed more on to friends... I don't know how STUFF seems to reproduce out of nowhere, but it sure is nice to get stuff thinned out and organized!

6. Homeschool ski club has started up again! This week the big kids had a snow day so we all (plus two friends!) hit the slopes for the day. It wasn't too cold (unlike last weekend when it was about 8* and we were out there!) and the kids had a blast. I'm working on focusing on improving my boarding technique (instead of just trying to keep up with the kids!)... hopefully it will pay off in the long run. ;)

7. Our kids are 7, 10, 11 & 13 right now. They are (mostly ;)) delightful and interesting and fun to be around. The boys and I play card games together ... Hallie and I go for pedicures & have interesting conversations, and Olivia bakes box mix brownies in the kitchen by herself. And our entire family can ski together for a day! This is what I dreamed of before I had a family, and here it is-- I'm smack in the middle of my dream. I thought I would miss the baby stage but I am SO loving this middle stage. I am so entirely grateful for this life and these people.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year (Reading Recap)

In 2015 I read 82 books.
In 2016 I read 60 books.
My goal for 2017 is 75!
I'd like to say this was because I was so busy doing other, more important things, but I think the truth is that I just didn't get sucked into the plot of as many books this year as I did last year. I read a lot of good books but for me to have really high numbers, I need to be reading obsessively-- while I'm stirring a pot of soup, while I'm walking down the driveway to get the kids off the bus-- and that didn't happen much this year. Which is ok! I'm not all about the numbers anyway, I just think it's interesting to note the differences.

Anyway. Here are my top 10 favorite books I read in 2016.

1. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
2. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
3. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
4. Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
5. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi
6. For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
7. The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe
8. The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee
9. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
10. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacquline Woodson.

My family wants me to come make waffles now so I may or may not come back and update this with summaries of why I loved each book. :)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas Week

This has been the first year in a few that we have been home "alone" for Christmas. I have to admit, I was not at all dreading it! I cancelled everything routine on the schedule for the whole week and planned a week-long staycation. It's been fabulous so far (except for a few sick kids... but what can you do.)

The big kids had a half-day Friday so we kicked off Christmas break that afternoon. Saturday night we drove to Philly to have dinner with a bunch of my extended family on my dad's side. It was so nice to catch up with relatives I haven't seen in months! And they have the best old family traditions-- a big family feast, reading the Christmas story, lighting real candles on the tree while listening to Silent Night sung in German by an Austrian opera singer, and of course, caroling. My uncle Fred plays the organ amazingly well and he leads us in singing all our favorites. For someone like me, who adores family & traditions & holiday magic, it is a night simply dripping with goodness.

The past week Dan and I have sat around talking and drinking coffee for several hours.

Hallie spent several hours over 3 days helping neighbor moms out with their babies.

Our boys shoveled our neighbors sidewalks and they & Hallie drove the ATVs all over our yard and woods for hours in the snow.

Olivia had a nasty cough and cracked herself up every time she got to tell someone she had the "coffees". She also watched Alvin & the Chipmunks on repeat. You can imagine how I feel about that. ha!

I cooked & baked a ton! Cookies, muffins, soups, you name it. Somehow it's so much more fun when we have no schedule and I can be in the kitchen when I feel like it, making what I feel like. haha!

I am currently reading 4 books (Swing Time, At First Sight, The Secret Keeper and All the Ugly and Wonderful Things) and I'd really like to finish at least one before the new year. haha. I've been reading a lot this week but really... is there ever enough reading time?!

We watched a bunch of movies this week. We all watched Arthur Christmas, Elf, The Polar Express, and What About Bob. Dan and I watched Sully with the older three. The boys and Dan & two friends watched The Magnificent Seven. The kids watched Storks (on Vid Angel-- before it got taken down last night! Ugh!) We usually watch maybe one movie a week, so this was quite the week for screen time around here. It didn't help that Olivia and Will were both pretty sick and low on energy going into the week, so no one wanted to do too much.

I'm a big NY's resolution girl, so I'll be reviewing my list from last year and making new ones soon... I guess I'll post about that next week. :) I think a grand total of two people read this blog, but... I hope everyone reading this has a blessed year ahead-- with grace to deal with our struggles and mercy for those in our lives who are struggling as well.