Friday, January 17, 2014

Books to read in 2014

When I was in high school and college, I devoured books.  I read them adamantly.  Shakespeare, Chaucer, Austen, Steinbeck, King, Bronte - and that doesn't even begin to touch the books I read just because I love them (cough, Harry Potter 36 times).  

I could sit down with a book, read all day and have it finished before dinner.  The first Twilight - which I read as part of one of my Masters classes, because I have the best job in the world - I read in about 5 non-stop hours.  And if I recall correctly, the second I closed it there was a late-night Barnes and Noble run for the second.

Ahhhh, those were the days...

Two children in, I can't even remember the last time I read a book start to finish without a massive chasm of interruption and tasks to complete until I can't recall the names of the characters, let alone the plot of the story.

Partly, it's because I'm a snob.  I want to read a book that I absolutely fall in love with and can't put down.  These days, I totally judge a book by its cover.  If I'm not convinced I'm going to love it, I instantly decide it's not worth my investment of time.  I used to love going to the library, picking up a book at random and reading it just for the heck of it.  Anymore, that idea seems like a gigantic waste of energy.

But the time has come that I miss reading, and so one of my goals for the year is to do it a little more often.  Because, let's face it, my days of reading are limited again; come August, my brain will be mush and I'll go back to collapsing into bed completely and totally spent - if I'm even that lucky.  

So here's the list.  I'm starting small, they're books I'm pretty sure I can get through - even though they're a far cry from, you know, Shakespeare and Bronte of my days of yore...

No time like the present to start prepping.  I'm seriously hoping the library has this one, since on Amazon it can be mine for the low, low price of $58.99.  Yeah - that's not happening!

One of my greatest goals in parenting.  Whatever else happens, if I raise kids who love God and love each other, mission = accomplished.

'Cause... so cool.  Nuff said.

Sally Clarkson is my hero.  I absolutely adore her wisdom, humor and commitment to raising whole, Godly children.  I read this one, and if you haven't, borrow my copy!  You won't regret it!

Because, well, teen fiction has never failed me before...

So there you have it!  Five books in the next 7 months.  Once upon a time, I would have scoffed at that number, but sadly I'm pretty sure it's close to the same number of books I've read since Leah's been born, if you don't count kids' books.  I get an A in kids books, so that's not nothing... right? 

How about you?  Any suggestions for this outta-the-game-gal?  Any books you're dying to read?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

We interrupt your regularly scheduled crazy to bring you: Extra Crazy.

Things have gotten a little Alice down the rabbit hole at my house recently.

In fact, it's kind of a wonder that I haven't already had an enormous hole dug under my garage to fill with one of those overlarge doomsday bunker types, complete with dozens of jugs of water and 300 cans of spam.  In fact, to listen to the news, we're pretty sure the Zombie apocalypse will be breaking out any day now.

Everybody is sick.  Sick, sick, sick.

As far as I'm concerned, the entire world is breaking out in mysterious fever, and green snot flows rampant in the streets.  If you haven't heard, you'll probably want to panic now.

In our house, Logan was the first to go down with a fever and a cough.  He was lucky; he got antibiotics on account of an ear infection.  Unfortunately, he took me down pretty quickly after that, and I get no assistance.

I have to admit, I've been sick during the first trimester of each of my pregnancies.  To the advice of no one, I got H1N1 with Leah after being told sagely by every doctor and several random bystanders, just don't get H1N1!  Whatever you do!  Otherwise the space-time continuum will collapse and the world as we know it will be over! (As if any teacher is capable of "just not getting" whatever her snotty little students have.  I'll get right on that.  For the record?  A little Tamiflu and everything was fine, poo-poo to those catastrophic H1N1-is-the-end-of-the-world predictions.)

With Logan, I had the stomach flu, which was exactly as fun as you'd imagine.  It's okay, it's just morning sickness.  On steroids.    

Second to the stomach flu, though, this was was the worst.  I didn't have a fever, but I felt absolutely miserable.  I could hardly get out of bed and walk downstairs, it was rough.

Just as I thought we were in the clear, Miss Leah got it too.  First the cough.  Then the fever.  And then things really started going south.  When we took her to the doctor, they were unsure about the possibility that it might have turned into pneumonia.  She had two nights where she couldn't sleep at all because her cough was so persistent and miserable; by the third night, I watched her sleep and her labored breath, interrupted by violent coughing spasms and decided she was really in big trouble.

We're lucky that there's a Children's Hospital just a few miles from our house.  We brought her in, which is a blessing and a curse all in one.  Because, once you get into the hospital, it's not always easy to get out again.

It has been so hard to watch my sweet little girl sit in that big hospital bed and have to endure all kinds of things that are weird and uncomfortable.  It's definitely a reality check: how do people endure this long-term?  How do you get through it when it's something much more serious than slightly low oxygen levels?

So, even though we've been here for two nights and Leah is getting anxious and frustrated with the situation, even though Logan has been at home without Mommy, Daddy or Sissy and I haven't seen much of him in two days, I have to say that I'm grateful for all this craziness. Grateful that we live in a time when fixing these "simple" ailments is easy and not a potential death sentence.  Grateful especially that this is the first time in nearly four years that we've been to the hospital, and that we'll get to leave in a short amount of time.

All of this has been a bit surreal.  I certainly appreciate how lucky we are to be able to go back to our reality, rather than having this be our reality.

And maybe that doomsday bunker isn't such a bad idea after all.  Spam, though... that's never going to be a winner.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

First trimester: The pie chart edition


What have I been up to for the first week of 2014?  Well, I'm so glad you asked!  

I've been a little incapacitated, but I thought that some super-nerdy charting action would make up for it.  And so, I present to you...

Ta-Da!  As experienced by yours truly, the first trimester, divided out all accurate and geeky-like. 

I mean, sure, I could also tell you about the memory loss.  Like that time when I was at Chipotle (see the red category above, only this time hubby wasn't available) ordering my much-dreamed about carnitas burrito with black beans, rice, verde and corn salsa, lettuce, cheese and... and my mind drew a complete and total blank.  I could see it in front of me, but where once there was a word that defined it, there were now only several little dust bunnies.  And they were pointing and laughing, just for good measure. 

You know, that green stuff...

Whatsitcalledagain?  That green stuff that's not salsa.  It's kinda thick.  It's made from avocados (hey, that's a pretty good word! I'm not totally crazy!)

Luckily, as the impatient mouthbreather behind me began inching closer, invading my personal space - HEY! Back off, dude, you're not going to make me move any faster by sighing and breathing on me.  That's right, I smell that Coors Light at 4:37 in the afternoon, take it down a notch! - my pathetic look and wild pointing must have done the talking for me.

"Guacamole?" says the lady behind the counter as I shoot her a relieved look and nod furiously.  YES!  Guacamole!  Thank God there's a word for it in someone else's brain!

Or, I might add that the crying isn't limited to commercials.  Or TV, for that matter.  It could be the neighbor children playing outside; a song on the radio; a comment from my sweet Leah.  Sheer exhaustion.  Casey making a run because I asked for something (red category again).  Yellow category, for sure.  Heck, the green category has been at fault more than once if I'm being totally honest.

Or, really, the waterworks can begin for no apparent reason at all, which of course makes me look even more like a mental patient than I already feel, particularly when you add my very intense new-found love of sweatpants and lying horizontally on the couch.  At 10:00 in the morning.  ...  Aaaaand maybe also at 3:30 in the afternoon.  Really, name a time throughout the day and I'll probably find a way to make it horizontal-in-sweatpants o'clock (see also: big blue category above).

In the past, I would have ended with some comment about gratitude and how worth it this all is.  I haven't changed my tune, exactly, it's just much harder to feel that way with two little ones running around, what with their needing to be fed and have attention paid to them, and the fact that they're not nearly as excited about sweatpants or being ignored while I lay horizontally.

It's weird, really... almost as if they're not all that impressed that Mommy's growing a human.

So we've been really lucky that Casey has been home - up until this week, anyway - and that he's not afraid to pay it forward by single-parenting.  I'm awfully lucky to have that husband of mine.

I'm lucky too because I know that in just a few short weeks, most of this craziness will go away.  Maybe not the pointing helplessly because I've randomly blanked on a word, but certainly the sweatpants and need to be horizontal, at least for a while...

Yes, in a few short weeks, I'll forget again all the reasons I'm currently stocking up that no one in their right mind would ever go down this road another time.  That baby will start to move in my belly, and true love will again be upon me.

Actually, even as I think about that soon-to-be moment, I've decided that maybe the first trimester's really not so bad after all...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years has changed a bit

For all the years I've known Casey, there has been New Years breakfast.

The tradition began when I was a freshman in college.  We hadn't even officially begun dating yet (though we would, only a few hours later - which made it shortly past midnight, brand-newly January 2, 2003) and we were still in that awkward "hanging out" phase of life.  We spent our first New Years watching 2002 come to an end as I was introduced to a menagerie of friends and acquaintances, and the next day we went with many of those who would ultimately become "our group" to Ihop for some good old fashioned, greasy New Years day breakfast.

Though many things have changed, the tradition stuck.  Oh how I wish I had a photo of us on that day all those years ago, it would be absolutely priceless.  Too bad we'd had a wee bit too much Koolaid the night before for anything with a flash to have sounded like a good idea.  I do believe it was the first time I'd ever met Jessica, and that situation sure turned out pretty okay...

Fast forward twelve New Years breakfasts:

Ihop simply no longer holds us!

This year, "our group" included 5 babies who did not exist at this time last year.  At last year's Ihop table, there were only 4 little ones; this year we had 9.

So we moved it to a house where the little ones could run around and cry and make a ruckus without it troubling any college coeds who'd partaken in too much Koolaid the night before.

Despite the ups and downs we experienced in our relationship through the years, Casey and I have never missed a New Years breakfast.  And though some have come and gone from year to year, overwhelmingly neither have those folks up there.

It is pretty incredible to think that all those years have turned strangers into best friends, seen boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, turned girlfriends into wives and wives into mothers.  The evolution has been pretty amazing so far, and we feel incredibly lucky and blessed to call them friends.

And then, of course, there's these faces:

The oldest will be 10 in March, followed by Leah (4 in March), James (2.5), Logan (16 mo), Nicholas (8 mo), Lauren (6 mo), Piper (4 mo), Theo (4 mo) and Greg (3 mo).  Which, of course, is not remotely the order in which they're sitting on this couch, but we'll work on it.

It's a pretty great way to begin 2014. We can't wait for many more!

I changed my font at