April Reading

As spring blossomed, I heeded the call to be outdoors this month (allergies be damned, ha). We spent several weekends at the lake, adjusting the dock and cleaning up after the flooding, and just enjoying some longer evenings spent with friends, riding bikes and playing in our neighborhood.

I had running on the brain, with the half marathon, and read a couple of cookbooks about running nutrition and whole foods- Run Fast/ Eat Slow and Nourishing Meals.

I also listened to Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli on my walks. It was narrated by John Ritter, a voice I adore. Stargirl is a girl who is misunderstood, who marches quite literally to the beat of her own drum. I loved it and can’t wait to enjoy this one again with my soon-to-be-middle-schooler.

I’ve been wanting to read When Breath Becomes Air for awhile now. Being so popular when it came out, it was hard to pick up at the library. And in forgetting to reserve it online, completely forgot about the book. A couple of months ago, when reading yet another glowing review, I finally pulled the trigger and got on the wait list at the library. Of course, the advantage in waiting is that the library has many, many copies now and the wait was not long. The book was hopeful, and sad, and lovely, and just everything I wanted it to be. (Well maybe not, I knew the ending, but if I didn’t- I would hope for some magical cure, happy-ending optimist that I am.) The medical jargon was a little over my head, but broken down enough that I got the gist of what was happening to Paul. I certainly read it more with the focus of Lucy and how she must feel to navigate this journey, rather than Paul. A true must-read, as many reviews have advertised.

I also read Running by Cara Hoffman. I had mixed feelings about this one. The story is centralized around a young girl orphaned very young, and raised unconventionally. She ends up hustling for money and squatting around Europe. Parts of the story were shocking, and seemed to amount to a miserable existence. Just when you think the abandonment and hopelessness would triumph, hope peeked around the corner and you realized that she was living the life she wanted. So maybe as an observer, I just don’t understand the appeal of the lifestyle, and that’s why I was a bit distracted and uninterested as a reader.

Have you read anything wonderful lately?

 

Summer Reading Plan

With the school year ending, I’m not going to lie- I am very excited to see the end of the reading log for the kiddos. We love to read! However, the requirement to log in a certain amount of time a day truly steals the joy.

So this summer, the reading plan is very loose. I am taking them to the library on Fridays, to let them pick anything they want. They have their own library card, and I let them usually choose 5-10 books. And together (bedtimes and car trips mainly) we will try to read a few chapter books.

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These are some of the ones I’m looking forward to sharing this summer:

The Boxcar Children

The Courage of Sarah Noble

Red, White, and Blue

Hattie & Hudson (not chapters but so beautiful)

Bellyache

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And for me-

The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a dark, dark wood, in thriller preparation for The Lying Game (coming out July 25!)

More of the Outlander series

Pure, White, and Deadly 

Always and forever, Lara Jean 

Echo

And some other new releases that I heard about on Bookpage: How to Fall in Love with Anyone: A Memoir in Essays and Mrs. Fletcher: A Novel

Do you like to make a plan for yourself and your kiddos?

10 Thoughts on the end of Elementary School

At the middle school meet and greet, just about everyone who spoke said the words “Don’t worry, you’ll make it through this.” Worried, check.

Worried about exposure. Is my baby ready for middle school in the smartphone/ social media age? Am I?

Worried about discipline. Am I ready to hand over the reins and let the relationship be mostly teacher/student? For this will require discipline for myself as well.

And while the weight of middle school is threatening, we have the joy that is SUMMER VACATION already upon us. (pool! beach! sleep! relaxed art projects! no reading log!)

She brought me a list of chores she thinks she can do to earn some extra spending cash this summer. (She thinks cleaning a bathroom is worth $10. We’ll see.)

She sleeps past 8 o’clock most days now, craves it, and getting those extra hours was a joy that I remember as well.

Think of what I can do with those extra 2 hours between gym time and work time when I don’t have to be waking, feeding, and ushering to school!

The 5th Grade Walk. The teachers line the halls and cheer as the 5th graders parade out to the parking lot on the last walk out of the school. Tears, thankfulness, relief that my youngest has a few more years at that school.

This is the last year my girls will be at the same school. Logistics nightmare will be our reality this fall.

Need to live in the moment. Have I bought enough sunscreen?

 

 

 

 

Minimalism

Minimalism is so buzzy these days, from instagram to several of the blogs I follow and books I have been reading. Certainly it’s not a new idea, but it is new to me. New because college and for several years after, I moved around every year or two and I just didn’t have time to collect THE STUFF. But with kids, and staying in the same place now for a bit, I have accumulated so much STUFF. So much that the house that we bought and thought we would never fill, is filled to the brim. That’s where this minimalism game I found comes into play, and I decided to play it this month. So for every day of May, I will give, donate or throw away that day’s date of items (May 1 is 1 item, May 2 is 2 items, etc). I decided to start with a list of where THE STUFF accumulates to give myself a jump start on this culling process.

  1. change jar to the bank
  2. coats
  3. ratty dog toys
  4. old computer equipment
  5. winter gear
  6. playdoh/ junk cabinet
  7. old holiday decor
  8. wrapping paper
  9. yarn
  10. hats
  11. baby blankets
  12. the freezer
  13. junk drawer
  14. socks that don’t have matches
  15. art supplies
  16. kids’ bathroom
  17. cups
  18. books
  19. clothing- me
  20. clothing- my husband
  21. clothing- the kids
  22. toys
  23. office junk
  24. my bathroom cabinet
  25. the hairbow box
  26. grocery store bags
  27. the pantry
  28. more toys
  29. laundry room storage
  30. the garage
  31. the garage (so messy it deserves two days)

It’s so exciting to think I will be almost 500 items lighter as of June 1st! Have you tried anything like this before?

New Beginnings

Currently:

Intro to Middle School 101- We are feeling left out already and middle school doesn’t start until next year. Our daughter has had multiple briefings and tours of the school, and decisions have had to be made based on information they have given her alone. But Parent Night is finally this week! Which, I assume, is to tell us that we need to butt out. I’m not ready!!

Unicorn sleepover party planning- So in an effort to feel more “in control” we are pouring our energy into planning the best 11th birthday ever. So far, that means the parents will be banished to the bonus room while the 11-year-olds have the run of the place.

Listening to Star Girl, by Jerry Spinelli & narrated by John Ritter. Ah, a comforting voice. Come and knock on my door, friend 🙂

Struggling to reduce sugar, wheat & dairy. It makes me feel so much better! So why do I struggle? Two words- Easter Candy.

Search for the best new kicks for the half marathon. I am currently running in Brooks Adrenaline. I need support, but also love cushioning, and run wider than narrow. (Basically, I’m an elephant.) Thinking about Asics Gel-Cumulus or New Balance 1080. Any recommendations?

Coming off Church Retreat High. We had a lovely weekend in Montreat, North Carolina with our church family, learning to pray and watch for God to “Break In” our every day lives. Our youngest is on such a high, we caught her pretend-play teaching the children’s message to her stuffies, mimicking the youth pastor at the end “Let us go to God in prayer, repeat after me…” So cute!

Cheers to new beginnings!

Snapshots

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(Clockwise) Early morning run around Downtown Nashville, Wildfire damage around the Bud Ogle cabin area in the Great Smoky Mountains, Daffodils blooming in Metcalf Bottoms, Hyacinths coming up around our local library and park