Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. The girls had their first gymnastics classes on Monday. They had been eagerly (and impatiently) awaiting them, so we were all excited for them to get started.
Waiting for class to start
When it was time for them to get started, they had opposite reactions. Lucy ran right out there and joined her class. Lena clung to me crying that her belly hurt. The poor kid wants to do stuff so badly, but when it comes down to it, the anxiety overwhelms her. I gave her a Tums and pushed her out on the floor. She sat with her class crying for about 30 seconds until they started stretching. Then she was fine the rest of the time.
I am a terrible photographer and did not get many pictures.
Lucy's class started on the floor, doing a series of exercises that Lucy can't do without help (handstand, bridge, etc.), so she kind of stood around aimlessly unless the teacher was there to help her. I could see her confidence slipping and could tell she wasn't enjoying it. But then they switched to bars and vault and she loved it.
They both can't wait to go back next week.

2. One day this week I went to slip on my flip-flops but noticed how awful my feet were looking - dry and cracked, my toenail polish was flaking off, etc - so I put on closed-toe flats instead. That night as I was slathering miracle foot cream on my feet I thought, "What kind of world is this that even our feet have to be beautiful?!" I can't keep up. Fortunately, Lena painted my toenails for me, so at least I have that problem solved. ;-)
How do you like that bunion? No amount of miracle foot cream is going to get rid of that bad boy. #31goingon85

3. I read an article this week about "The Mental Load." It had kind of a ridiculous feminist bent, so I'm not going to share it here, but I thought the premise was interesting. Maintaining a household and kids is more than just making meals, doing laundry, and sweeping the floor. It's constant thinking. It's "When was the last time the kids had dentist appointments?" or "Does Lucy have gym shoes that fit?" or "What am I going to do about Lena's anxiety?" It's making sure I have food in the fridge for school lunches and remembering to mail the car loan because they won't let me set up online payments and keeping all the books separate (Cedar Springs library books, Kent City library books, school AR books, school library books). And I know that women have been doing this for centuries and it's nothing new or noteworthy. But it sure makes me thankful that I'm able to be a stay at home mom. Because all this stuff is a job to itself, and having a job outside of the home on top of that has got to be overwhelming!!

4. Yesterday was a bad depression day for me. Well, more like a depressed evening. Weekends are always hard for me. I start out the week gung-ho and ready to get stuff done. I cook and clean and run errands like a boss. But by Friday, I just want a break. I don't want to take care of any more dirty dishes. I don't want to pick any more goldfish crumbs out of the carpet. I don't want to fold any more laundry. I don't want to break up any more fights or wipe any more noses. I don't want to refill any more stinkin' drinks! I just want to sit on the couch and read my book and I want everyone to leave me alone! Why am I so selfish? Why is this so hard for me when moms have been doing this for thousands of years?

5. I read three more books this week, so I only have one more to meet my goal for the year. I've been thinking that after I read that last one, I might need to take a reading hiatus. Devouring books definitely contributes to my depression. As noted above, I just want to read uninterrupted and I'm unkind to my kids as a result. Plus, I have no self control, so I stay up til all hours of the night to finish my book and don't get enough sleep - which is a known contributor to depression. Boo.

6. I've got nothing else. Except pictures.
Snuggling Tuesday morning while the girls were at school.

This is Levi's "cheese" face. Whenever he sees me taking a picture, he crouches down and squints his eyes like this. Lol.

She makes me feel tan . . .

When Mommy has a headache and just wants to lay on the couch for a while . . .

Making his cheese face at me trying to get me to smile so he can take my picture.

He spent 20 minutes taking the bubble wand in and out of the bubbles. 

Lucy is such a pleasant child. Her answer to the bottom one is "do nothing."

We got to see Justin's sister Kaley while she's in town for a few days! She's moving from Chicago to NYC, so we don't see her much. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

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I requested to review this book in June because nothing else that was available interested me. I wasn't overly thrilled to read this one either, as is obvious since I just remembered I had it. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I liked it so much more than I expected!

At first, I was annoyed that it was going to be another one of those stories - you know, where the rich heiress is sick of society's games and just wants to marry for love. Been there, done that. So many times. But this story was so much more layered than that. There were love triangles that kept me guessing, mystery, and heart-wrenching emotions.

And Tenley's story, set in modern times, was equally well done. Sometimes in past/present novels, I favor one storyline over the other. But in this one, I loved them both and was eager to find out what happened in each.

The characters were well-rounded and believable. I felt for them and rooted for them. And discovering the connection between past and present characters was mysterious and fulfilling. My heart broke for Birdie (and I'm secretly annoyed at Hauck for saddling her with so much hardship), but rejoiced at the redemptive endings for each storyline.

Thank you, Booklookbloggers for the free copy and chance to review. Sorry it took me so long to get around to it . . .

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

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The strength of this book lies in its legal elements. Dylan obviously has experience as a lawyer, but she did an amazing job of dumbing down the jargon for those of us whose only knowledge of the legal system comes from fictional TV shows. It was educating without being dry and I felt like I understood what was going on every step of the way. The story was compelling and the mystery elements kept me guessing. I read it all in one sitting to see how it would resolve.

However, I felt like the romance and relationships were a little stagnant. There was zero chemistry between the love interests and even the friendships were cliched and one dimensional. Of course Kate happens to have two friends who are lawyers and Landon has two male friends as well. I can't imagine where that might lead . . .

Overall I enjoyed the story. I give it 3.5/5 stars.

I received this book for free from Baker Book House in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. Quick camping recap: It was pretty much what I expected. We all "slept" in the tent on the first night. Levi woke up after a couple hours crying inconsolably and ended up on the air mattress with Justin and me for the rest of the night. Lucy woke up crying inconsolably for no apparent reason. And I was freezing. The second night, Levi and I went to a family member's house down the road and slept in their basement. It was so much better. During the day, Levi just wanted to run. We had a group site, and everyone helped watch out for him, but I felt like I couldn't take my eyes off him. It rained for about an hour one evening, but our tent stayed nice and dry. Overall, it was a great time. I'll never enjoy cooking outside or trekking to the bathroom or trying to keep my kids away from the fire, but I love spending time with family, swimming in the heated pool, and watching my kids enjoy everything.

2. Levi had his 18 month check-up this week. He weighs 22 lbs (20th percentile) and is 30.5" tall (3rd percentile). We left with a referral to an ENT because of his recurring ear infections (I think he has another one already if pulling on his ears and waking up 6 times last night is any indication), which means he'll probably need tubes. I know tube insertion is no big deal and it'll probably be better for him in the long run since apparently he can't have Amoxicillin anymore!

3. I haven't been keeping you very updated on the books I've been reading. Probably because I haven't been devouring them with my usual gusto. Recently, I've read The Thorn Keeper and The Thorn Healer by Pepper Basham. Loved them both. And this week I read The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green. That one was amazing as well. I'm up to 71 books read for this year. My goal is 75 so it's pretty safe to say that I'm going to make it. (It's also safe to say that I need to get a life . . . and more sleep.)

4. I spent most of this week getting ready for the baby shower my sister and I threw today for our nephew and his girlfriend. Our great-niece is due in less than a month!!! I've always wanted to throw a book-themed shower and never had an excuse until now. So with much help from Pinterest and my own creative juices, we put together a fun bookish shower.

The food was appetizer-ish and largely planned based on children's books with food in the titles. Haha.
2 different kinds of meatballs. (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs)

Fruit (The Very Hungry Caterpillar)

Dyed deviled eggs (Green Eggs and Ham)

Rolls. I don't know why I didn't take the towel off for the picture! Lol. (Trucks Roll)

Veggie Pizza (Pete's a Pizza and How Many Veggies?)
Pigs in a Blanket (The Three Little Pigs)

Pink Lemonade (Pinkalicious and the Pink Drink)

Donuts - with binkies for fun. Haha. (If You Give a Dog a Donut)

And Strawberry Shortcake (whatever Strawberry Shortcake books I could find on the girls' shelves)
Decorations were pretty easy thanks to my obsession with children's books. Anything specific that I didn't own I got from the library or borrowed from fellow mom-friends. And I did buy a couple from a thrift store with the purpose of tearing them apart.
I'm so proud of this book-page wreath. Pinterest win!

I also cut triangles out of old book pages for the banner.
Roo's Best Gift at the gift table.
More books on the fireplace.
I also put potty books in the bathroom, but forgot to get a picture.

We played two games. One where I took quotes from children's books and guests had to guess what book they were from. And another one called "Name that Disney Baby." One point for naming the movie, one point for naming the baby.

The prize for the book quote game was this awesome mug from Michael's:
I should've taken a picture with something next to it so you can see how huge it is. It is way bigger than an ordinary mug.

And "Bookworm" gummy worms of course!
We had a great turn-out (lots more people not pictured here) and a great time!

Getting my teacher face on during the game.
5. We actually chose a terrible day to host the shower because our town's festival was today and our neighboring town (where the shower was held) was hosting a Gus Macker tournament so streets were blocked off and the whole town was craziness. Also, Justin was playing in an alumni soccer game this morning at our high school alma mater (where the girls currently go). Lucy wanted to watch soccer, but the game started an hour before the shower, and I had to be there early to set up. So we shuffled her around to do both. Then Lena wanted to go to the church carnival that was taking place before the shower ended. So we shuffled her around from the shower to the carnival. Poor Levi was stuck with me the whole time. Like I said before, I think he has another ear infection because he was not his usual happy self. He clung to me and cried much of the day. I really don't want to take him to Urgent Care again. Whyyyyy do these things always happen on the weekend??

6. To close out our day of craziness, Justin and I left the kids with my parents and went on a hot date. We had a gift card to Chili's and decided to go to a different location than usual - the one on the lakeshore instead of in Grand Rapids. We stuffed ourselves to the brim then headed to the beach to watch the sunset. I have lived 40 minutes from "the big lake" all 31.75 years of my life and I don't think I've ever watched the sun set over it. Shameful! We finally remedied that tonight. It was beautiful.

Selfie or it didn't happen

Part of our reason for going out tonight was to celebrate a big piece of news for our family: Justin got a new job! After 7 years with his current company, the opportunity arose to try something new and he took it. He'll be starting an apprenticeship with a local Tool and Die company on Monday. This is something totally different for him, so prayers are appreciated for a smooth transition, but I have every confidence that he'll excel!

7. A few more pics:
A better picture from the football game last week.

I gave Levi this book to look at while we were shopping and he seriously stared at the pages like this for the longest time. I bought him the book because he was so cute!

Lena made a bunch of different crafts then brought them to me one by one and told me to take her picture. Haha.

Trying to get a picture of his adorable shoes.

Lena did my hair one day. I was surprised by how good it looked! (Like the flower crown? Haha.)

Friday, September 1, 2017

The "Saturday" 7

What a week.

1. The girls started school this week. Lucy started on Monday. She's been so excited and counting down the days. I love her small school where she knows everyone. She has the same class every year so there's no anxiety about making friends or who to play with at recess.
2nd Grade. Where has the time gone?

2. Lena only has school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so her first day was Tuesday. I was a little worried about how she'd do at drop off. She was excited but nervous leading up to the first day, and I wasn't sure if the anxiety would overtake her when it came down to me leaving her there. But she did great! She marched right in, sat down at her desk, and got to work. I remember leaving Lucy on her first day of Kindergarten with a pit in my stomach. But I didn't feel that way with Lena. I knew she'd be fine. Second kid? Haha. 

Walking in to school

Walking out of school together. 
3. I asked Lena if she made any friends at school and she said, "Yes. The girl at my table." She didn't remember her name (but I knew it was Ruth). Lena said, "Do you know how we became friends? She said, 'Wanna be my friend?' and I said, 'Yes,' so now we're friends!" Haha. Love it.

4. On Tuesday after Levi's nap I noticed he had weird little bumps all over his legs and arms. They looked like mosquito bites, but there were way too many of them to be from bugs. At first I was worried about chicken pox, but after some googling and facebook advice I started to realize it could be a reaction to the Amoxicillin he was on for his ear infection. I called the phone nurse and she agreed that it was just a side effect of the medicine and as long as he wasn't having trouble breathing or breaking out in hives to continue the medication and wait out the rash. But Wednesday morning, he woke up looking like this:

At first, he was acting normal, but eventually the rash got worse and he started to itch. We couldn't get in at our regular doctor's office, so we had to go to a different location farther away. Our appointment was at 1:20 (naptime), so I figured Levi would sleep during the drive, but he was awake and crying the whole 30 minutes. The doctor said he was having a reaction to the Amoxicillin, and while she was hesitant to declare it an allergy, she did suggest we avoid meds in the Penicillin family in the future. She told me to give him Benadryl for his comfort, and wrote a prescription for a steroid since the rash was so out of control. Levi was miserable most of the evening, despite Benadryl and an oatmeal bath. And the paperwork that came with the steroid said common side effects include restlessness and sleeplessness, so I was dreading bedtime. But he slept all night without making a peep and woke up looking so much better! What an ordeal. I've never had a kid break out in a rash like that before. Hopefully I never will again!

5. I don't watch the news, so I get information about the world via facebook. This week, with the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey, I realized that there is a predictable timeline of social media shares related to disasters:
1. Change your profile pic to declare "Praying for [insert country/state affected]"
2. If you don't believe in prayer, declare that you're sending good thoughts and vibes.
3. Start sharing pictures of the devastation.
4. Start sharing pictures of people performing heroic tasks
5. Accuse someone of not responding correctly/quickly
Not condoning his actions, just pointing out that there's always someone . . .
See also, this hilarious babylonbee article: Joel Osteen Sails Luxury Yacht Through Houston to Pass Out Copies of "Your Best Life Now"
5. Remind Americans that our natural disasters are nothing compared to those in other areas of the world and we're selfish, entitled Americans because we don't change our profile picture for third world countries.
6. Plead to give money.
7. Warn that the organizations we give our money to don't actually use it to help victims.
8. And pretty soon will come the accusations that we've forgotten about the victims after the disaster subsides. 

6. I've been so busy this week getting ready for camping and rushing rash-boy to the doctor that I didn't really have time to appreciate only having one kid on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But I will say it was pretty nice to grocery shop with only Levi on Tuesday and pack alllll day yesterday with only one kid who needed supervision/attention. I got so much done! But I still have tons more to do and we're supposed to leave in 2 hours, so I'm off. We're supposed to have beautiful weather this weekend (if not a touch cold overnight), so as long as the bears stay away and Levi sleeps it should be a pretty good trip!

7. I only took one picture that wasn't school or rash related this week!

My nephew, Tayton, is playing soccer and kicking for the football team this year. Yesterday, he had back to back soccer/football games at home, so we spent the evening watching him play. (Yay, sports!) He's number 10 (on the field) kicking in the picture above. It was actually a great night for both sports. Tayton scored 2 goals in the soccer game (and his team won 3-1) and our football team smeared the other team, so Tayton got to kick 8 (I think?) field goals. He made most of them and it was fun to watch. But it's probably the only football game we'll see this year. Football is too long for my kids (and me, if we're being honest). And too cold. One game is enough. Haha.
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