- Last week wasn’t the relaxing time I was hoping for. Ironically, though, I think I got the rejuvenation I needed from my annual work retreat, which took place Monday. It’s a full day of working. I never work a full day, so you would think it would wear me out. But it’s strategic planning, and I thrive on that. And I love my coworkers and would hang out with every one of them just for fun…which is basically what the retreat feels like to me. Add to those factors that a full day in a meeting means a full day of my wonderful mother taking care of my kids, and you can see how I might leave work feeling refreshed.
- Noah is 11 months old. He says “Hi”, and mimics the sound and action of my kisses (you know, that exaggerated “mmmm-muah!” sound you make with little ones). He will be walking on his own any day now. Last week he started taking his first steps holding hands, and this week he loves to do it, and balances by himself a few seconds at a time. He has a temper. He gets angry when he is disciplined, and when I set him on the floor and he prefers to be held he slumps right over with his head on the floor between his legs and hollers. It’s ridiculous, and I like it.
- Aria talks nonstop. Like, nonstop. I get overwhelmed by it at least once a day. She speaks in full sentences now, and I love to hear how her mind works. She likes to be a helper, priding herself on “my do it for you!”. She loves to read. Every night she takes a book to bed with her and looks at the pictures until she falls asleep. She is becoming very familiar with her many books in that way, and sometimes she “reads” them to me by narrating what she focuses on in the pictures.
- Last Saturday I took the kids in a pool for the first time. Aria didn’t want to get in at first, and Noah found the water too cold. I helped Noah slowly adjust, and then he happily floated around in a baby floaty for more than an hour. Aria eventually decided it was safe to get in a raft, with her shoes on (they’re waterproof). Then she decided on a more exposed raft. Then the water, with her Puddlejumper and shoes on (they had to come off, though, because it turns out they float) and her uncle holding her. Honestly, I think the appeal of hanging out with Uncle Dave is what got her in the water. She adores him. After lots of going back and forth between me, Dave, and the rafts, she ended up quite comfortable in the water. By the time we got out she was blowing bubbles and letting go of me to float on her own. I was proud of her. Unfortunately, we were all in the water, so I don’t have any pictures.
- The Tony Awards aired Sunday, and Hugh Jackman took the opportunity to remind us all why he is universally loved. His secret? He has no ego. (Okay, yes, the fact he is phenomenally talented and ridiculously good-looking doesn’t hurt.) How many superstars can you name who would agree to do this? And he doesn’t just do it. As with everything else he undertakes, he nails it. (CBS must be keeping a tight reign on YouTube, because theirs is the only video of this I could find, and it’s bad. Sorry about that.)
- This is a week full of anniversaries. Today, of course, is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which is so huge I don’t even know what to say about it. Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of my best friend’s wedding (and there was nothing about it that even faintly resembled that movie). That was a beautiful day, and they’ve had a beautiful marriage. They’ve had tough times and ups-and-downs, of course, but they have grown stronger and closer and more understanding over the years, and I am proud of them. Wednesday was the one year anniversary of my grandfather’s passing. That day is bittersweet, because I am grateful he was released from his ailing body and mind, but I miss him. All this to say I am feeling a bit introspective this week.
- I took most of the week off from work. I worked some extra hours in the last couple months, which enabled me to save up time off. I’ve been feeling worn down, and this week I didn’t have too much pressing on my plate either at work or at home, so I decided to let things go. I did a great job of that – I worked only as much as I had to for my employer, and only as much as I felt like in my house. I’ve recently decided to do a hardcore decluttering, and I did some work as I felt inspired. I went through the drawers in the kitchen, the cabinets in the bathroom, and all the kids’ toys. We have a growing pile of items to sell or give away. I’m pondering holding a garage sale at the end of the month, but I haven’t talked myself into committing yet.
- This week was the beginning of the library’s summer reading programs. I took the kids to the toddler session on Thursday morning, and we had a good time. We sang songs, played some games, and listened to a story. It was all educational, of course. Aria wouldn’t participate–she just wanted to observe. That’s how she learns, and I expect she’ll do it another week or two before she’s willing to join in. Interestingly, the only time she did get involved was to help pick things up when there were activities that made a bit of a mess. I was amused looking around the circle and realizing that, for the most part, it was the moms who were doing all the wild motions and singing the strange songs, while the kids just looked on. Who’s training who here?
- Noah has been sleeping back in our bed for a couple days because he’s having congestion issues at night. I can tell it’s a food reaction, but I’m still searching for to what. His breathing is less labored when he’s against me (which is how we got started with this situation to begin with), so I haven’t tried to put him in his own bed. Overall, though, I think he’s starting to do better with being separated from me in various situations and sleeping in his own bed some. Other Noah news – this week he started walking while holding hands! He sometimes will walk holding just one hand, and he is pushing himself up and standing straight on his own some now, as well. Walking is so close!
- I feel as though I am searching for the rhythm of life for this season (both the literal and the figurative). Even after a week off I find myself feeling worn down and vaguely frustrated with the way our days are going right now. I haven’t figured out what needs to give, but I’m closely observing, thinking, and praying. I trust things will fall into place when they should.
What I’m Reading
Unbroken ~ It’s possible I’m one of the last people in the country to read this book. It is just as good as everyone says. The story is one of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction humdingers, and the protagonist is worthy of a book. And the writing. Oh, the writing. Laura Hillenbrand deserves to be read regardless of her subject matter. If she were writing for cereal boxes I would recommend them as must reads. This book is not for the faint of heart, because the bulk of it chronicles the life of a POW in the pacific during WWII, but it is worth the pain. I became increasingly numb as I read the horrors, injustices, and resulting difficulties. And then, I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t read it, but the protagonist’s life came to an abrupt turning point, and I wept. That soul-deep release sort of crying.
Reinventing Rachel ~ I saw this book recommended by some bloggers, so I gave it a shot. Christian fiction (I genre I rarely read) about a young woman who thinks she has life together because she does all the “right” things, but finds she has no foundation when things fall apart around her. I appreciated aspects of it, and it did keep me reading. I particularly liked the author’s main point about the truth of a relationship with Christ as an already forgiven saint. But, like most books in the genre, the writing was not stunning. It was simplistic, there was too much dialogue, and some of the relationships and plot twists felt unrealistic. I finished it, but I can’t really recommend it.
The Big Moo ~ I read this one for work, and I loved it. The short chapters are thoughts from 33 different business leaders who donated their time for the Seth Godin-led project. It’s thought-provoking and inspiring. Highly recommended.
Below Stairs ~ This memoir of a British kitchenmaid/cook was the catalyst for Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey. The author is relatable and engaging, with a remarkable ability to cut to the core of the dynamics in which she found herself. It’s a brief, easy read. You’ll do yourself a favor by picking this one up.
Currently reading: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage; The Omnivore’s Dilemma; The Search for Significance; Bread & Wine; Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands; The Nesting Place; Desperate; Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day
What I’m Watching
This is usually a fairly long list, but this month I’m enjoying the beautiful weather and my books too much to be invested in television. We’ve watched some season finales (The Good Wife was fantastic. The writing on that show thrills me), but not much else. I did binge-watch nearly half the season of Arrow, which had been accumulating on my DVR, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s not The Good Wife quality, but I don’t expect it to be. It is a fun adventure show with heart. I like those.
I just saw a commercial for Gotham, which is coming to Fox this fall, and I AM EXCITED. Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue are actors I could watch all day.
What I’m Listening To
Nickel Creek, y’all. I went to see them earlier in the month, and I left determined to see them again. Sister and I are currently working on that.
I go in cycles with my listening. Right now I’m on a John Mayer kick. I love his mellow sound, which can disguise the depth of his artistry if you let it lull you. That concept that simplicity is the heart of beauty? Melody, vocals, and guitar-playing combine to that deceptively simple (because it is simple, but it is not easy) place in this song.
Around the Web
Modern Mrs Darcy has a brilliant whimsical idea I fully intend to steal.
This is fascinating. Creativity is never-ending.
I like this idea from We Are THAT Family about teaching your family to stop complaining. My family is too young for it, but I’m going to use it myself.
You know how there’s a day or a week or a month for absolutely everything now? It’s gotten a bit absurd. But I like this one, because it’s helpful to me if people observe it. 😉 The hilarious Roo Ciambriello writes about how you can help with food allergy awareness.
I like this post from Modern Mrs Darcy because I think most of us are either the good kid or the odd one out. What the post reminds me is that we are all of us fallen and in need of loving guidance, whether we seem perfect or anything-but.
Christa Wells has rapidly become one of my favorite songwriters. Her writing is all lyrical wisdom. That includes this blog post about The Songwriting Life.
I’ve just begun reading Haley’s writing at Carrots for Michaelmas, and I enjoy her thoroughly thus far. I particularly appreciated this post about The Definition of Sexy. (And her hubby wrote this insightful post The Scouring of The Scouring of the Shire, which was impressive because I didn’t think there was anything left to say about The Lord of the Rings.)
What I’m Pondering
Shauna and I are working through some of the same ideas. It’s not surprising, since we both seem to have personalities that tend toward excess. Speaking of those ideas, you can buy the “More Love. Less Hustle.” print from Gold Bug Designs. I’m totally getting one.
It’s not just me and Shauna. Check out Slow Your Home’s post about how Doing Nothing is Doing Something.
And another, from The Art of Simple: The Lost Art of Life Pruning. I would approach this a bit differently. The author talks about considering what *I* want more of at the moment. I would approach it from a “what does God want for/from me at the moment” position. The general idea still stands strong.
On the Blog
We got our first family photos this week, and I’m loving the previews we received from the photographer.
I enjoyed writing this fun post about my dream television neighbors. Who would you want to live next to?
You can see what else we’ve been up to this month by checking out my 5 on Friday posts:
The One with the Ups and Downs (in which my 10-month-old starts doing yoga…um, sort of)
The One with the Nickel Creek Concert (in which I go to a Nickel Creek concert…obviously)
The One Where We’re Boring and Loving It (in which we are boring and take terrible pictures)
The One with All the Parenting (in which I accidentally get my two-year-old a caffeinated latte)
The One with the Much Needed Holiday (in which Aria is a bit disturbed by the statue at the cemetery and it makes a cute picture)
- Our holiday weekend was fabulous. It was a mix of so many wonderful things – family, hard work, outdoor cooking and eating, relaxation, long walks, good friends. Highlights included:
Finally starting work on the inside of our house, planting veggies in my planters on the deck, and getting a gate for our deck fence (thanks entirely to Andy’s parents).
Taking a long evening stroll in the country with my best friend of 16+ years. We don’t see each other often now, because we live a couple hours apart, so those times we are together are treasures.
Taking another long evening stroll, on Memorial Day, down to the town cemetery with the kids and my dad. I wasn’t able to visit the cemeteries were my grandparents are this year, but I did get to visit some beloved friends’ graves. It was a lovely evening and a special time of reminiscing and chatting with my dad.
Getting our family pictures taken at a beautiful park by a beautiful lake on a beautiful day.
- Noah has slept in a bed next to me (as in, not in my bed) portions of the last two nights. The first night he wasn’t feeling well, so he didn’t stay long (about 3 hours), because he needed comfort. Last night he stayed for a good 7 hours or more before he moved into our bed. Progress!
- We are spending portions of each day outside now. It’s glorious. Noah and I often go to the deck when he wakes up from his nap, and then Aria joins us when she wakes up. I have managed to get sunburnt already, but the kids are fine. I remember to lotion them up better than I do myself.
- I have been doing a lot of reading this month. I’ve settled into a groove of taking Noah outside and reading on the deck while he plays. It’s not super relaxing, since I have to get up and chase him away from the plants regularly. But then when Aria gets up he plays with her and is content to leave the plants alone. I currently have eight books going – one for a church discussion group, one for book club, two for work, three for personal use/pleasure, and one on my phone for when I’m stuck waiting somewhere. Tomorrow is the last day of the month, which means “What I’m Into”. I’ll fill you in on the reading details then.
- We went to the zoo on Wednesday with Cass and her kids and another good friend (Hannah) and her baby son. It was a gorgeous day to be out. Aria had a couple mishaps, one of which resulted in a skinned knee, and the other of which resulted in slight emotional trauma. She and Claire got in a safari jeep that sits out in the Africa exhibit, and had a gay ol’ time…until Claire got out and a couple other kids started crowding to get in. At that point Aria got a bit terrified. She does that when she loses track of me in a crowd. What was interesting about this time was that a day later she told me the story of how she “rode in the ‘poo bus’ (I think she was trying to say ‘school bus’…), and Claire got out and I got sad.” But then we totally got within a couple well-protected inches of the male lion, and that was SO exciting! More to me than Aria, but still.