Summer Is For Reading!

Sometimes, I miss the feel of a book.  I miss actually turning pages, and smelling the “new book smell” the first time I crack it open.  But I read a lot.  A LOT.  And I truly do think (cue Kindle commercial) that the greatest thing about my Kindle is that I take an entire bookshelf with me without an extra suitcase.  As I prepare for vacations, or spend naptime on the deck in the sunshine with a book, I’m always needing suggestions for my next book to read.  With that in mind, these are a few books I really enjoyed last summer that you should look into if you haven’t read them yet.

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Her Fearful Symmetry (Audrey Niffenegger)

I had read The Time Traveler’s Wife years ago, long before the movie came out, and loved it, so when I heard that the author had another book out, I was excited to read it.  The book immediately captured my attention and I couldn’t put it down.  It was thought-provoking, and different than anything I’d ever read.  About two sets of twins and some inexplicable connections between them, it bordered on a fantasy novel but was too realistic (read: “normal”) to really fall into that category.  It’s a riveting read that you’ll plow right through!

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Lizzy Gardner Series (T. R. Ragan)

Originally, I only downloaded these books onto my Kindle because I had been reading the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich, and they were cheap “suggested reads” from Amazon.  Abducted, Dead Weight and A Dark Mind are the three books in the series.  I enjoyed them just as much as the Plum novels- easy reads, enveloping stories and interesting characters.  Great mysteries, interesting female lead, and there’s always a twist.  Great for a vacation read!

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Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomanical, Self-Centered Smart Ass, or, Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office (Jen Lancaster)

The title says it all: a witty, cynical, and hilarious memoir.  Jen goes from a high-paying, successful job to unemployment in the blink of an eye, but her lifestyle has a hard time catching up.  I literally laughed out loud several times while reading this book, and also read passages aloud to Hubby so he could laugh with me.  Everything about her writing style is fabulous, but should be taken with a grain of salt.  She’s overbearing and brutally honest, but enjoyable.

So what are some suggestions for me?  I need some riveting summer reads!

Mom Fail #294838

It’s high time I posted some #momfail humor!  First, a little background info… I have an amazing mother-in-law, Anne.  My hubby and I are blessed with great in-laws that get along with us and get along together. (It makes holidays and birthdays MUCH easier that way.)

Anyway, one afternoon Anne came over to our house to help us get our laundry under control. (Laundry is our #1 parenting plight. In a family of 4 clotheshorses, we are constantly drowning in either dirty or clean-but-not-yet-folded clothes.) Anne and I were sitting in the floor of EK’s bedroom, folding her clothes and stuffing them into drawers.  Hubby was cleaning the kitchen, with J in his bouncy seat in the floor.  EK was running around the house, bringing toys from one room into another and back again.  Anne was being her sweet, encouraging self, and telling me what a good job parenting Hubby and I were doing (oh, just wait).  She was saying how compassionate and obedient EK is, and all sorts of other sweet things about Hubby and me.

After a few very productive minutes of chatting and folding, I realize it’s too quiet.  Parents of toddlers, I’m sure you’re all cringing right now because you know what that means.  All of a sudden, I hear a huge thud – like a noggin hitting the floor – and EK cries out.  I rush to the hallway, and see her lying on the floor… the wet floor.  Now, my first thought is a spilled glass of water; Hubby and I are sometimes bad about leaving our water glasses within reach.  I scoop her up to my chest and comfort her, ask her where she hurts, etc.  Upon inspection, I realize that there are little pieces of wet, white stuff on her clothes and on the floor.  Then I follow the trail… to the bathroom… and to the toilet.  And then I gasp.  I manage to maintain calm (sort of).  I assess the toilet situation as way too full to flush (the better part of a roll of toilet paper was inside), so I call on Hubby to take care of the bathroom.  I take off EK’s clothes.  I take off my clothes (because I’ve been clutching her sniffling self to my chest, and am now covered in toilet water).  I look down the hallway, and see a trail of water and mushy toilet paper leading to the kitchen.  Where in the kitchen, you ask? Why, with my then 3-month-old son in his bouncy seat, of course.  Hubby says, “I saw her playing with him, but didn’t realize she was wet!”  Codswallop, in my opinion (forgive me that HP reference).  After we are showered, floors are cleaned, and naps are in progress, I have a good laugh with Anne.  There I had been, glowing with pride as my success as mother is praised, as my toddler played in the toilet, trailed the water all over the house, and then slipped in it.  It felt like an epic #momfail, but then again, everyone is fine and we have a hilarious story to tell.

I want to hear about your most recent #momfail too!

Father’s Day

I am blessed with an amazing father. He is kind, loving, supportive, hard-working and loves to party. The combination of the last two attributes are the way in which I am most like him… and I am glad to have both. He is an awesome dad who worked hard to give his kids everything without giving us a sense of entitlement. That is one of the biggest things I hope to instill in my own children. There is a big grey area between not wanting for things, and having excess and no appreciation for it. At times, my childish and immature self may have felt slighted or even angry at having less than I wanted, having to work and behave and study for what I got, but now I look back and know it was 100% for my benefit. He worked hard to give me a private education for which I am incredibly grateful. He was firm but forgiving when I wrecked not one, but two cars during the first few years of driving. He was maybe sad but excited to drop me off at college two states away, and even more sad yet excited to marry me off to a man from the same faraway place.

The man who made a new home for me is the most loving, incredible and Godly man I know. He is encouraging, loving and strong for both me and our children. He is a doting, adoring father, the very image of God as I see him parent our kids. I can’t wait to keep learning from him about unconditional love and forgiveness as we raise our kids together, and also in the way that he treats me. He is truly an awesome human.

There are other wonderful fathers in my life for whom I am thankful. Two grandfathers whom are already in heaven, but loved me dearly. A father-in-law who raised the amazing man that is my husband and contributes to the spoiling of both me and my children. Several pastors who have fathered me through different stages in my life, and now several more pastors who parent alongside me. Men who I have known since boyhood that are now husbands and fathers. Men who I have only known as fathers. Men who are about to become fathers and their excitement is unparalleled. These are the men who should be honored today. Thank a dad. Give him a hug, a high five, a wave. Even if he isn’t yours.

Do you have some dads in your life that you’re thankful for? What makes them great?

My father and my daughter on her 2nd birthday

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My Graddy and me, circa 1981
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My husband and son
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My father-in-law, my son and my niece
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First Ever Friday Finds!

I’ve always liked checking out “Friday Finds” from other blogs, so here’s my first one ever!  I haven’t figured out a layout I love, but I didn’t want that to stop me, so here’s a simply laid out FF.  Happy Friday the 13th!

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Angel Blue Ahhh Shark! Robeez,  $15.99 on Zulily

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Malta Bib Statement Necklace by Stella & Dot,  $118 on StellaDot.com/whitneyhsu (Choose me as your Stylist!)
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Sharing Isn’t Caring

Before you read my (rant-type) post here, go read this article: Why I Don’t Make My Son Share

 

The principle here is that forcing kids to share their toys, etc with other kids may not be instilling niceness in them.  It may be instilling a sense of entitlement.  Instead of forcing kids to give up what they’re playing with, or to let another kid have a turn, they should be able to play with a toy until they’re finished playing with it.  I have witnessed stories like the ones the author shares.  I might have even been one of those moms (hopefully not as rude) asking for her daughter to be able to have a turn.  However, I know that if Ella Kate wants to play with something another kid has, I don’t ask the kid to give it up.  If they can play together, I might suggest that.  But I just don’t think I would take a toy from another kid just because “It’s Ella Kate’s turn.”

How do you feel about this method?  Are you a share mom?  How would you feel if your child’s preschool had the same policy?

Your Best Is Good Enough

You know who is an expert? Not me. Oh LORD, it ain’t me. Not for one minute on any subject at any time. You know who else is an expert? Not you. Not her. Not them. No one. There isn’t a single person who knows all the ins and outs of every situation. Not a friend, not a family member, not a parent, not even a spouse knows how you feel, how you think, or exactly how you tick. When I have a question about how to handle my toddler, or how to soothe my teething infant, or how to finally let go of some frustration I’ve been clinging to for a few days, want to know who I ask?  My mom. My best friend. My hubby. All of the above and more. I ask every mom, every wife, everyone I trust. They all have a different answer to my question. I ask them to pray for me, to pray with me. And beyond that, I let my “Mama Bear” instinct (yeah, you know what I’m talking about) take over and hope for the best. All I can do is my best. There isn’t any more. My best is good enough; it MUST be good enough. And then I praise the Lord – because He fills in the gap where my best falls short.

When I think of that post going around Facebook right now about the woman who left her son in the car while she went in the store to buy headphones, my heart hurts. Not because I agree or disagree with her choice.  Not because I would or would not have done the same thing. My heart hurts because I know she did her best. Her best was clearly different than the videotaping bystander’s best. But you know whose best that kid needed? His own mom’s. The woman whose best has been given to him, I’d bet all my money, since day one.

I really get teary when I think of the “I Support You” movement that is happening among moms. You know, the breastfeeding-till-age-5 moms holding handwritten signs that say, “Formula feeding mom: I support you!” and vice versa. Finally, we all get it. Your best is the healthiest thing! Your best will nourish your baby!  I truly think that movement has been a long time coming, and much needed among the often dramatic and pushy collective of mothers.

So, to all of you – moms, wives, sisters, daughters, colleagues, strangers, and friends – be encouraged. Do your best, because your best isn’t shameful. Your best isn’t lacking. Your best is awesome. Your best is beautiful in the eyes of your Maker.

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Here is my best. Ella Kate and Joseph are the best I have ever done, or could ever do.

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