Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On my Kindle: Where's you Go, Bernadette

I finally finished this book that was for a book group way back in February. I had high hopes for this book as so many people were singing its praises.

The author wrote for Mad about You, SNL, and arrested development. I mean, how could it not be good right?

I am not always a fan of funny books, so that may be a big factor, but I really wasn't a fan of this book.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette  is about a family who lives in Seattle. The dad works at Microsoft, the daughter (Bee) attends a private school there, and Bee's mom Bernadette used to be an award winning architect but now is just a bit crazy. The book is written mostly through collected letters, reports and correspondences. Every time I picked it up it took me a little while to get back into the style used.

Overall it was interesting in the beginning but I lost interest about halfway through and then the ending left more to be desired. I also did not find it particularly funny. I'm not sure if the author was looking for laughs, but I just struggled to get through it (especially the second half).

This book has won a lot of attention, and based on the amazon and goodreads review many liked it a lot, I was not one of those people but a book with that much attention is always worth a read!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

book group and sisters

Today I spent my morning (and into afternoon..) sitting around the living room of a dear friend sipping mimosas and talking about a book full of truth.

We have done book clubs sporadically in the past, usually when spring fever hits and we need a break from our houses full of cooped up kids. This one was a smaller group of women, but man did it fill my heart.

There was brunch, coffee, mimosas...all good components to any book group. We sat around the dining table catching up with life.

And then there we were spread in the living room. On couches, chairs, the floor. knitting, scrolling through kindle highlights, snapping pictures for instagram. And we actually talked about the book for a good amount of time!

These truth-tellers, these women who know me so well, these women who know me through all different facets of my life so far were all there to talk about life and for that I am so very thankful!

I'm starting to look ahead to the coming month and the packing, figuring out the future, and the saying goodbye of my current life is starting to weigh down. Realizing that these people who I can tell anything to, who know me so easily will be ones I see only every so often. No more easy books groups, last minute brunches sipping coffee late into the babies' naps and so for now I am soaking that up. Dreaming of finding this again some day in the future with new women I have yet to meet.

I still have a month to enjoy this, soak it in, laugh and cry with the women I know as friends and sisters.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

On My Kindle: The Paris Wife

I started this book on the plane to California last week. And I almost finished it on just the ride there.
It is a beautiful story of Paris in the 1920s and Ernest Hemingway's love and relationship with his first wife Hadley. It has all the glitz and romanticism I would expect in Paris in general but even more so in the 1920s.
I found myself totally engrossed in the writing of this book. The way author Paula McLain weaved words and made the reader feel like they were right there was amazing. I found myself falling for Hem right along with Hadley. I even found myself googling more about him, her and all of there famous writer friends throughout the week.

It is the kind of story that you hope is all true, that this historical fiction all happened just like it is written! I had a hard time getting the story out of my head when I wasn't reading the book. And I LOVE stories like that.

I didn't like the end, in all honesty, but I don't really know how you could. I was true to biography from what I can tell, and I'm glad the author left it how it was. It was a bit unsettling, but in the best kind of way.

This romantic story was engrossing, beautiful, brutal and real. I can see how it was named one of the best book of 2013, and I wish McLain would write more about Hadley and what happened later in life! For now I am left wanting to read all of these authors and wanting to go to Paris to go to the places described in the book and meet the young Hemingway and Hadley so much in love.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Just my 11 cents

Sleeping has not come easy in our house lately, mainly the middle. For example, each night for the past month we put them down between 6:30 and 7 because that seems to be the magic time for most of them.

But if the middle has napped at all that day, she usually stays up playing (or coming up and down the steps, or waking the other 2 up...) until 9:30 or 10. Often we find that she has taken the kindle from our room into her bed and proceeds to watch the little mermaid or Bubble Guppies until we come up to bed or see it on the monitor.

little sneak.

So 9:00 pm on Wednesday night.

She had a big day Wednesday going to the doc and finding out she had a double ear infection, a strange belly rash, red throat and pnuemonia. All while taking antibiotics for a sinus infection the week before. So stronger meds it was.

I figured it would be a good sleep night, but at 9:02 on Wednesday night we hear her thump thump thumping down the stairs while crying a sad cry.

Luke met her at the bottom of the steps.

*whimpering* "I'm sooorryyy.*sniff*..I swallowed the money..*whimper, sniff*..and I know we need it to buy things..*lip quiver*.."

While Luke and I tried to contain our giggles at what she just said, I gave her some water. Then as Luke took her back up to bed, I figured I should call my mom to find out what to do (a usual go to. but I also just had to share the story with someone). She suggested I put in a call with the on call Dr. just to make sure.

And here's the thing. I HATE calling the after hours number. You know that Doctor doesn't really want to talk to over protective parents. And if its not bad enough to go to the ER, can't it just wait until morning? I always feel like a crazy parent waiting for whoever is on call to pick up.

Luckily this night is was my favorite Doc at the practice, and he was very nice. And to further cement this opinion I have of him, he felt really bad breaking it to me that she should really head to the ER to get xrays and make sure the coins got all the way to the stomach, not stuck in her little esophagus. 

It was my turn for middle of the night trips (ugh. even the fact that we have turns because it happens often enough) so off we went.

When we got there Sophie charmed the nurses and doctors as usual. They didn't even seem surprised that she had done this..I guess it happens often enough.

She told me that Annabelle who was sitting on her bed jumped off, the money was near her mouth and it "popped right in an I just swallowed it down."

just popped right in, eh kid?

I texted Uncle Matt, who lives across the street from the ER, when we got there. He even came over an kept us company so it was nice to catch up.

She got xrays. The Nurse said, "Hey, I remember you" from her 3 am bit of croup last month. And all hospital personnel took to calling her the piggie bank.

We were home within 2 and half hours, which may be a record. And she fell right to sleep even after the lollypop that the pa insisted she eat at 10:45 at night without asking her mama.

For these past couple of days I have now had the lovely (and stinky..) task of poking around her poo trying to make sure that both coins come out. We are watching carefully for signs of obstruction, and that would make the whole ordeal much worse. But so far it has been just another milestone of parenting.

We found the dime. Still waiting on the penny.

And now we are officially 11 cents poorer.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lenten Fasting.

I recently read the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker (and blogged about it Here). It challenged me in ways I haven't felt before-and just happened to be right before Lent.

So I decided to take on some of these challenges as part of my lenten disciplines, as well as set up a related project in my congregation named, "Giving up our extra so others can have enough"

I have committed to only wearing 20 items of clothing for Lent.

I have committed to taking time to reduce stress each and everyday through personal devotions, extended prayer time and exercising 6x/week.

I have committed to only spending at seven places throughout Lent in order to give away the money that I threw away at restaurants and shops on things I don't need.

Lastly, I have committed to giving away at least 1/3 of my possessions (and knowing I'm going to pack up and move in 2 months means that I hope to give away even more).

So far I have actually enjoyed not having to pick out my clothes (I closed my closet and have the items I can wear in a pile to pick from), I did have to spend outside of the seven but it was planned ahead based on needs we had and won't have to happen again.

The extended time of prayer has centered me, the devotions have made me think. The time in the gym is something that I'm starting to truly crave to calm myself and have some time out of the house.

I can't wait to see how I'm changed, how I can see God working in my life, through this time of lent.

What are you doing to be more intentional these next couple of weeks?

Friday, February 21, 2014

On My Kindle: Seven

(in full disclosure, I bought this book in paper form..not on my kindle.)

I picked this up on a whim while at the Christian Bookstore looking for some Lent stuff. I had seen it around the bloggosphere but thought (without having actually looked into it) that I may not agree with the theology of it, or that it was another "how to" type of book.

So I grabbed it feeling lately like my personal spiritual disciplines are struggling a bit lately.

I pulled it out of the bag in the parking lot after the purchase to read the back. Sounded good so I opened it to see what the first page looks like.

Friends I sat there for 30 minutes and read the first couple dozen pages. I. Couldn't. stop.

She writes it like a blog, and shes hilarious. So really two of my favorite things-amusing blogs put together in this little gem.

I continued over the next 2 days to devour this book even though I really didn't have time for a couldn't-put-it-down type of book.

Jen Hatmaker embarked on a seven month experiment in which each month she would concentrate on one aspect of "too much" stuff and write a blog/journal/real time entries about how it was going and what this meant to her faith.

She continues her hilarity throughout, but man does she have some great theological insights. The facts she uses were eye opening and I felt like I was going through this with her.

In the end she describes who would likely be her reader...and pretty much described me to a tee. Comfortable, always having "wants" when really I want for nothing, always feeling under pressure to have the best/new/biggest, but knowing that I really only need less. Less clutter, less stuff, less busyness. 

This book is one that was comforting (I'm not alone), but uncomfortable (because I have to admit, she was really spot on about everything).

This changed my life and I wish I could forget it all just so that I could read it again discovering it all over for the first time.

As I was struggling to think about Lent and floundering in budget planning, stress, and being on the verge of packing everything up to move to an unknown location...this book came at the perfect time.

It has inspired my lenten practice for this year as well as a huge project for my congregation to undertake for Lent...More on that later.

But seriously, go out and buy this book (its a good one to have on your shelf), it'll change your life.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

kids and social media

So I follow a few "mom bloggers" on social media, specifically instagram.

Every once in a while they post a picture of their kid doing something cute with a dreamy filter and someone in the comments feels like it is a little over board...writes about it...and then I follow the 235 comment thread with mean words like "hater" "unfollow" and "troll".

While usually I just think maybe all of these people have a little too much time on their hands, one such thread came through a favorite blogger just a couple of days ago when she posted a pic of her kid asleep.

The choice words for this commenters disdain was "exploitation." This got me thinking..is this child exploitation??

When I inevitably post pics of my kids doing various things that I find cute or hilarious without their consent, is that exploitation?

They have no say in what I'm posting. And these pictures will be around forever. We've all heard it said over and over that you can never truly delete a digital photograph. But Exploitation??

But then I remembered last year when I saw someone else post that a stranger had lifted her picture of her sick kid and his dad and used it (in a fake account) to raise money for their "Chronically ill and dying child." Ugh. Mine and all other compassionate human beings' stomachs just churned.

I have a surprising amount of friends who have lately been posting pictures of their kids in the tub. They're cute. We all have done it with the strategically placed wash cloth, but still, is that exploitation? Should we really be doing that?

This all hit a little close to home when about three months ago we had one of those conversations with our kid, one that I hope no mom ever really has to go through. While telling us what went on in her day when she was out of our care, she said a few things that sent up red flags.

Oh who am I kidding, there wasn't just a red flag or too, it was like when you're looking at a stadium and everyone holds up those signs to produce a collective picture..you know those times? Only it was like the whole stadium in unison, all 10,000 people held up those signs to form one humongous red flag. And I had butterflies in my stomach that felt like they were made of rocks.

There were so so many panicked phone calls to friends, and social worker parents, and friends' social worker parents, followed by super hard and super hard awkward conversations. Guys, those two weeks were HARD.

In the end I am fully confident that it wasn't bad and there there were unknown bad choices made and generational gaps, but man can I easily conjure up some of those rock butterflies just by thinking of that first conversation in the car.

And so coming from that I have a hard time seeing kids in bathtubs on unprotected instagrams/twitter/facebook. Maybe it IS exploitation. Maybe in 14 years when our babies have become teenagers and they find one of these pictures they will be more mad than when we talk about whether Santa is real or not.

So in a way, while it can also be the new-age embarrassing baby book for new boyfriends, I think that it is a bit of exploitation. And who are we to decide for our future kids what the world sees?

There is an inherent risk to posting pictures too, that I don't think I could have appreciated until a couple of months ago, and for myself it is a risk I will continue to take. But there is a bit of caution that surrounds it now. Exploitation isn't my thing.

So I want to hear from you...Do you think that taking pics of the more vulnerable moments and putting them out for the world to see is exploitation?