what i’ve been reading (part 2)

It’s been a while since I’ve shared what I’ve been reading. Partly because I haven’t been reading much!

october
I left off in September and got a lot of suggestions of other books to read. One kept coming up: Me Before YouIt was available at the library, so I picked it up. I don’t think I put it down until I finished. So, so good. Of course, it doesn’t help that it takes place in a little English village and I love anything English, but the story would have been just as good anywhere. I love the way JoJo Moyes writes. It feels like I’m there. This book will rip your heart out (kind of in a good way), but I still recommend it!

november
I had heard good things about This is Where I Leave Youand was looking forward to checking out the movie after finishing the book. I tried, but I just couldn’t hang with it. Maybe a little too cynical for my taste? I may try to pick it up again in a few months, but November just wasn’t the time. I was getting ready for the end of my class. Jesse was in Taiwan for almost two weeks. And the holiday season was starting. No book for November.

december
No book for December either. I think after class I wanted to veg out for a while. The holiday season is busy anyway.

january
That brings us to January! I was feeling rested after the chaos of a busy few months, and was ready to read again! I received a few books for Christmas that I had been hoping to check out. One of which was The Girl You Left BehindIt’s also by JoJo Moyes. I really think I liked this better than Me Before You. I finished this one in about a week (thank you nap time!). This book left me crying because I just felt so happy. I hope this is made into a movie, because A) I think it’d be beautiful and B) I’d love to see this story play out. I have a list of people interested in borrowing it already. I mean – it’s so good.

So now, I get to pick what’s next! I do have a couple of books in mind, but February is a shorter month and I’ll be working for Valentine’s Day. I think I’ll do Paper Towns next. John Green’s books tend to be quicker reads, and it’s coming out as a movie this year!

As always I’d love suggestions!

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what i’ve been reading.

One of my goals is to read a book a month. I started reading a lot more sometime this spring/early summer and have really enjoyed it. It’s been a really nice way to wind down at the end of the day, and not feel completely lazy by vegging out in front of the tv, though, I do that a lot, too. Gotta watch my programs! I thought I’d post what I’m reading each month and do a little review. If you have a book suggestion, I’d love to hear it!

May – In April/May I started reading Divergent, by Veronica Roth. There was a lot of hooplah comparing Divergent to The Hunger Games. I read the Hunger Games trilogy within 3 weeks a couple of years ago and loved it! So, I figured I’d give Divergent a try. I really enjoyed the first book. It was a super quick read. It felt a little more girly to me – kind of love story heavy, but enjoyable for sure. I wish I had as much grit and strength as Tris. I was eager to read the second book, and picked it up at a used book store shortly after finishing the first.

June – In June a couple of friends and I headed to a resort in San Antonio for quick trip. We planned to spend all day on the lazy river and at the pool. So, I picked up a couple of books to read while soaking up the sun. I already had Insurgent, so I packed that up and I ordered The Fault in Our Stars and Sparkly Green Earrings. The only problem with The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, was that I couldn’t put it down. I read half of it the day it came in the mail – before I even left for my trip. I warned my friends that if they woke up to me sobbing, it was just the book I was reading and they shouldn’t worry. And sob I did. I don’t think the book is overhyped at all. So go get it and read it now. I still haven’t seen the movie. Some friends and I agreed we’d watch it once we could rent it, so we could ugly cry in the comfort of someone’s home.

I started Insurgent, the second book in the Divergent series on that trip. A little slower to get into, but still pretty good. Until the end. The book just wrapped up so quickly that I got kind of confused – like what the heck just happened? I will say most of my reading takes place right before I fall asleep, so sometimes my comprehension is a little hazy, but I finished the book feeling a little lost.

July – I kept going with the Divergent trilogy by reading Allegiant. Womp Womp. I wanted it to be so good! But the third book was just so weird. The point of view changes a bit. And the story was just a little wonky. I was invested, though, after reading the first two books, so I kept reading. Part of me thinks maybe the author was in a hurry to knock out the rest of the series, so the story was rushed, but I don’t know. Overall I enjoyed the series and I would recommend it… just with a little disclaimer – you may be a little disappointed in the end.

August – In August I went back to John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars. I had seen some buzz about Looking For Alaska. It really took me a couple of days to get interested in the book. I’m glad I pushed through, though. Looking For Alaska is grittier than TFIOS. The characters are dealing with a different type of struggle. I would for sure recommend this book. I think the rights have been picked up (or whatever the lingo is) to make a film. I’m eager for this to come out!

September – September was rough. I really didn’t think I was going to accomplish my goal this month. I started out pumped to read a classic. I had a copy of A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. I tried. I really tried, but it just wasn’t happening. Something about his writing style was tough for me. So halfway through the month I switched to Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle. This book had been recommended a couple of times by different friends. And it was on the recommended shelf at a Barnes and Noble. So I gave it a try. Surely it was easier to follow than A Farewell to Arms. It was a super quick and easy read. At first, I wasn’t sold. It was just a little all over the place for me. But as I read more, I felt like the author was my kindred spirit. The book is a memoir about motherhood and I think our mothering styles are pretty similar. Her openness and honesty were encouraging to me. I finished the last chapter this afternoon and cried as I read her words about hoping to protect her child from all the hurt and pain she’ll experience, but her job as a mom is to point her to Jesus. This morning as I was spending time with the Lord, and praying over Henry, I was thinking about the same exact thing. Her words were a great encouragement to me.

The best part about my reading goal in September was when I remembered the library has books. Dumb, I know! On a recent trip to Half Price Books I was checking out some of the books I’ve been wanting to read. While I was looking at the prices it dawned on me – I have a library card!

I think my next read is Landline by Rainbow Rowell. I started reading it on Jesse’s birthday. I took him to the Half Price Books mothership in Dallas so he could look at woodworking books. While he was looking at a massive stack of books I picked Landline up. I really enjoyed what I read, so I’d love to finish it.

Any book recommendations? Preferably none by Ernest Hemingway 🙂

school! (30 by 30ish update)

I’m kind of kicking butt on this list, y’all! An update on that later, but first, I want to share about one bucket list item in particular – I’m a college student again!

For a few years I’ve really wanted to go back to school. I graduated from Ouachita (the best place on earth) in 2007. I loved college – like I still get pretty jealous of the incoming freshmen every year. But I was 18 when I went to OBU and had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. While I’m so grateful for my time there and how God used it to shape me, I didn’t walk away with a clear, defined vision of what I wanted to do with my degree. And that’s totally okay.

I want to work again (eventually). And the more I thought about what I wanted to do, the more I thought about how school would be really helpful in achieving those goals. If I’m afraid I might fail at something, I just don’t try. And that’s not what I want to teach Henry, so I thought the best way to show him that letting your fear hinder you from your goals isn’t a good idea was for me to not let my fear hinder my goals.

So, after talking to Jesse and my parents about it – I just did it! I went to the community college down the street, applied, and signed up for a class! I’m taking college algebra this semester and am really loving it. The advisor suggested I sign up for an integrated class (college prep and college algebra) that goes at a slower pace. I mean, I know it was a good suggestion, but my pride wanted to shout “I took AP in high school!”. But let’s be real, it’s been 14 years since I was in algebra. Putting me in the integrated class was so nice of her.

I’m just over two weeks in. It feels so good to be challenged like this! Of course, I couldn’t even think about this if Jesse wasn’t so encouraging. Or if I didn’t have the support of my mom and dad. And if I didn’t have really generous friends who have offered to watch Henry while I’m in class.

I guess the biggest thing I’ve learned from this 30 by 30ish item is that there’s never a perfect time to do something. Just go out on a limb and give it a go! If we wait for the money, time, and whatever else to do something that could be really good, we’ll never do it! And I think that is the bigger picture of this list for me. I can do more than just sit. I can live intentionally to the glory of the Lord. Just gotta open myself up to let him use me.

my first quiz!

my first quiz!

30 by 30 (ish)

I love birthdays! Mine was in July – the big 2-9. I really had a good day. 

30 by 30 lists are pretty popular now, and I’ve been thinking about doing one for a while. Of course, time and resources are limited in this season of my life, but I’ve been thinking about things that I can do. I want to challenge myself in areas that I struggle in. My goal with this list is to stretch myself by practicing discipline, being generous, and stepping outside of my comfort zone. Of course there are a couple of fun things, but for the most part I want to be intentional with what I try to achieve in less than 11 months. So, I’ve decided to not add items that don’t necessarily mean anything just to get 30 items. Some things on the list look easy, but I’ve thought about each one and really feel like I’ll be challenged!

I struggle with discontentment often. And turning 29 has made me think a lot about what I thought life would be like, where I’d be, and what I’d be doing. If you know me well, you know that what God had in store for me wasn’t exactly what I dreamed about. I dreamed about moving somewhere new, living an adventure, doing big things. Our pastor often reminds us that we are where we are (job, neighborhood, city) because God has specifically placed us there for his glory – the greatest adventure there is. So, that’s the goal (in a round about way) of this list – that I would be mindful of how I spend my time and engage those around me, that I don’t have to go far to do big things. I’m learning to have a faithful presence here in the ‘burbs.

So here is my list:

  • Learn to sew.
  • Build and upholster an ottoman. 
  • Raise $1000 for The Stewpot.  
  • Plant and maintain at least one veggie. 
  • Donate blood. 
  • Buy a gift off a random baby registry. 
  • Pay for a stranger’s meal. 
  • Learn about wine and host a wine tasting party. 
  • Go somewhere new with Jesse. 
  • Go back to school. 
  • Meet a neighbor! And have them over for dinner. 
  • Read a book a month (preferably a classic). 
  • Get Copper Grain going.

Not a long list at all! I’m excited to start crossing things off!

11 months.

Month 11 was marked by laughter and joy! Not a lot of sleep, but lots of fun and giggles. 

Henry’s personality is strong. He’s independent. He’s curious. He’s so smart. He tinkers with everything – lifts things, turns things, presses thing – all to figure out how it all works. That part of him is Jesse clear as day. And he’s friendly and outgoing. He loves to watch people and make them laugh. He’s also feisty. He wants what he wants when he wants it. And that comes from me. 

Month 11 brought another tooth, so we’re up to four. Oh how I wish I could take a picture. He has the two center bottom teeth and two top teeth, but not the center ones. We call them his fangs. It’s so cute, but he won’t let us get a picture of it. He stands and takes a step or two occasionally. If he’s in front of us he just lunges instead of trying to walk.

This is a good gig – getting to be his mom. I can’t believe we’re so close to a year! I guess I thought I would feel different – like I was a professional or something. I’m not. I thought this would be easy – you other moms make it look like a breeze. It just hasn’t been for me, though. A lot of it is battling my selfishness. But I’ve been learning that where I’m weak the Lord is strong and he sustains me. 

 

 

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10 months.

Welp – like every month, I’m late posting what’s new here with Henry. Honestly, the 10th month was hard. At first I thought it wasn’t worth celebrating, but I was so wrong. 

It’s all kind of a blur. Only a couple of weeks after Henry and I got over the flu in January, Jesse and I caught a stomach bug. I always go back and forth on which is worse – the flu or a bug, but they’re both horrible. They both wipe you out and make you feel miserable. Jesse and I were confident that we got sick because we ate something bad. Hopeful that Henry was in the clear, we went about our day as usual. And then I got a message from a friend saying her son was throwing up after a play date at our house. And not long after Henry threw up. Henry had not been acting like himself that week – fussy and needy. I knew something wasn’t right, so I had already made an appointment for him that evening. We found out what we kind of already knew – stomach bug. We received instructions to keep him hydrated. He woke up with a 103 fever that night. The next day he wasn’t any better so we went back to the doctor, only to hear that everything was still checking out okay and we should keep doing what we had been. That night he woke up a little after midnight with a 104.4 fever and threw up. Green. Green throw up. That’s not normal – especially when he hadn’t eaten anything! The doctor told us we could go to the ER or we could wait till the morning, but he needed x-rays. His fever broke and he was resting, so we waited till the morning. I was secretly hoping he’d be better and we wouldn’t need to go. But the fever was back, so after a sleepless night we went to the hospital and got x-rays and then went to our pediatrician. The x-rays were clear. She ran some tests and he had the flu. Again. And the start of an ear infection. And he was cutting teeth on the top. And he had the stomach bug. All in a matter of days. That’s like hitting a cycle or something, but not as exciting. 

It was just a hard week. And it always takes us a while to get back into our rhythm. Y’all – I want to avoid anything difficult and find the easy way out, but when you’re caring for a little human you just can’t. All I could do was pray and ask for help. I look back at that week and where I usually would have felt overwhelmed and cried, I made it through with strength and endurance. When I knew I was sick and Henry was getting sick I asked the Lord for those things. I needed strength, physically, because after throwing up I felt weak. And I needed endurance, because it was going to take a while for Henry to feel better and he needed my care. And joy – because let’s be honest, when I haven’t slept I get cranky and selfish. The Lord provided all those things. Our little family made it through. I didn’t get all “woe is me”, Jesse and I didn’t get cranky and mad at each other, and by the end of that weekend Henry was back to normal! When Henry woke up with a 104.4 fever, I sent a text out to my home group girls and another friend. One friend was up with her little babe and able to pray. One friend had just randomly woken up a few minutes before I sent the text. And another friend was up and praying just as his fever was breaking. I’m confident that the Lord had them up to pray over Henry at those times. 

So as hard as month 10 was, I can look back and rejoice at how the Lord worked and taught us more about himself. He really does sustain us. He is enough. And He is good. 

Henry is so great. And every day I’m just so blown away by how cute and sweet and precious he is. He’s strong willed and stubborn and funny and determined. He stands on his own – each day he gets a little better. He loves to feed himself. He loves to flirt with ladies at the store. And he loves to stand in the Target shopping cart. I don’t love that. 

We’re almost done with month 11. I can’t even believe it. I’ve been trying to process all the things I’ve learned the past year, and it’s a lot! Hopefully I’ll be able to process it all and write it down, so that I can go back and remember how kind God has been to us. 

9 months.

If I were a good blogger I would have posted a fancy Christmas update, but you know – I’ve got dishes to do and diapers to change. So I’ll just lump Christmas and the New Year into Henry’s 9 month post. 

 

The week before Christmas Henry had a nasty smoker’s cough. We went to the doctor two days in a row, but nothing! So we felt grateful that he didn’t have any infection, but at the same time frustrated because there was no answer or solution to make his cough and runny nose go away. But lo and behold – it was just a tooth! His very first tooth!

 

Henry felt loads better by the time Christmas came. Christmas always feels rushed, but we had a great time with our families. And it just felt a little bit magical again. Jesse and I had lots of good discussion about how we want to have fun at Christmas with Henry – presents and Santa and watching our favorite holiday cartoons, but in all of that pointing back to Jesus and why we celebrate. 

 

Then the New Year came around. And that celebration just looked different for us this year. First of all, can we agree that New Year’s Eve never quite lives up to the hype? Or is that just my experience? I used to always feel amped up thinking I’m going to have some epic, life-changing celebration and it’s always just kind of so-so. Last year some friends hosted a pajama party. We had breakfast for dinner and just hung out – and it was the best NYE celebration so far. That’s so much more my speed anyway – no frill or fuss. We continued the pj party tradition this year at our house because there were a lot of babies and kids in the mix. People showed up around 6:30 and left by 9:30. We went to bed by midnight and woke up in 2014. 

The new year brought another first – the flu. Henry started coughing again and we could see another tooth, so we thought “Teething. We got this.” And then I started feeling sick. Henry woke up one night with a 102 fever. It was gone by the morning, but I woke up feeling awful. We both went to the doctor that day. He tested positive for strain A (swine flu, what up?!) and I tested negative. You can add the flu, flu vaccine, and treatment of the flu to the long, silly list of debates concerning how you raise your children. If you and your baby have been prescribed Tamiflu, just do yourself a favor and don’t google it! I got so freaked out, but finally found peace after remembering A) We really love our pediatrician. We trust him and the entire office. B) God is in control. And he is good. That gave me freedom to give Henry the medicine without worry. And Jesse and I still feel grateful we gave Henry the flu vaccine. We know that his bout with it could have been so much worse had he not received it. 

Our little guy is still rocking it out in the 75th percentile for just about everything. We’re just waiting for him to take off on his own walking. He’ll stand for a couple of seconds at a time. We practice walking around the house while I hold onto his fingers. He thinks “No” is funny. He picks up puffs, yogis, and toast to eat with his fingers. He loves to roll over when I’m changing a poopy diaper and drag his foot through it. He makes the cutest face when we’re outside and the wind blows. Basically he’s awesome. 

God has been so faithful to our little family the past 9 months. We’re excited for the new year and what it holds for us. What we can say after a year of unmet expectations, loss, and lots of change is that the Lord has seen us through it all. He has written an even sweeter story for us than we could have ever written for ourselves. 

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Henry with the Olympic torch!

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8 months.

 

 

 

There’s something about saying “8 months” that is tough and emotional for this momma. There’s only one more single digit month. Then we hit double digits. Then we hit ONE YEAR. And that just doesn’t seem possible.

 

Henry is nonstop and all boy. He’s constantly on the go and into everything. He is absolutely fearless. The thing I love most about my sweet boy is how friendly he is. While pregnant I prayed many things over Henry (at the time “Baby M” or “it”). One of the things I kept asking for was that Henry would have a genuine love for people – to serve and care for them, and to just be friendly! So far, his personality is just that – very friendly. He smiles and giggles at everyone. So far, he hasn’t met a stranger. My hope is that his smile turns into a kind and generous heart towards others.

 

We were iced in for a few days. I thought I might go nuts, but honestly it wasn’t that bad! I’m home most days so it didn’t feel that different. The bonus was lots of time just the three of us. It was too cold for Jesse to work in the garage, so some of his projects were put on hold. We had lots of good family time. 

 

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Jesse and I were supposed to stay at The Adolphus. We left that morning to have lunch in Dallas and then went to the Perot Museum. We checked into the hotel that afternoon and eventually got a phone call that Henry had been throwing up nonstop. We had to checkout less than two hours later and headed home to take Henry to the ER because he was dehydrated. *We didn’t have to stay because people prayed for the little badger, and almost immediately he started perking up and kept water down. But I must say, I officially feel like a mom because I wasn’t worried about the money or our missed stay at The Adolphus – I was just worried that Henry was alright. 

 

This month has been a special one for me as a mom. The Lord has been gracious to answer my prayer for restored joy. You know those girls/ladies/women who say things like “I just didn’t know I could love someone so much. Being a mom is the greatest thing in the world. Etc. Etc. Etc.” I don’t know that I’m that mom. And if I have said those things – I was honestly probably just trying to save face and make you think that I was more awesome than I am. I do feel an incredible amount of love for this kid. And I know that I’d do anything for him, but can I just be honest? There have been several days where I just feel stuck in a rut. I’m a doer. I’m a check it off the list kind of girl. And I’ve found that it’s tough to check things off when you’re taking care of a baby. You change a diaper, just to do it again in a couple of hours (sometimes in a couple of minutes). You wake up, feed, play, nap, feed, play nap, repeat, repeat, repeat, every. single. day. My heart felt weary. I felt like I wasn’t being productive. I felt like I wasn’t me. Something felt off. I’m confident that the Lord has called me to stay at home and raise this little boy. I felt like I traded in big, good, exciting things for something not so exciting and not so good. I know that’s not true, but it’s where my heart was. In the processing of all my emotions and thoughts, the Lord gave me joy. And I think he increased my perspective – that the everyday little things are working towards a big, great thing. I still say this is the most stretching and sanctifying season of life so far. I feel like everyday the Lord is gracious to show me more of his goodness. 

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saying he doesn’t like his diaper changed really is an understatement. it takes two people. TWO PEOPLE.

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happy thanksgiving from henry!

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checking out the ice.

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scaling the loveseat and checking out all the pressies.

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sippy cup champ.

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presents!

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henry loves the toilet paper.

 

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helping me pay the bills.

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8 whole months with this guy.

 

7 months.

We are closer to Henry’s first birthday than we are his birth day. I just can’t get over how new and old it feels at the same time.

The 7th month has been just as fun as the 6th – watching him crawl around and his personality develop even more. He is curious and on the move all the time. He has no fear. None at all. He doesn’t quite get that just because it’s there and you can grab it doesn’t mean it’s sturdy and safe (curtains for example. or pillows on the couch.) The dog bowls and Jesse’s records are still his favorite spots to crawl. And he’s started this weird, but really funny, thing where he bucks like a horse. I can’t imagine it’s easy on his knees. And he started eating food. Peas, green beans, and sweet potatoes are what he likes so far. Bananas and apples not so much. Who doesn’t like apples?!

The helmet is now gone! And I miss it. Not the smell or the cleaning or the driving to Dallas for 10 minute appointments. But he rocked it, and the helmet made his face look so young. Taking the helmet off makes his sweet little face look so much more mature. The benefit of no helmet? Better snuggles! He’s only had two bumps sans helmet. Only one of those was tear worthy. So, we’re doing pretty well!

Here are some pictures from the past month. Enjoy! Clearly getting a good monthly shot is proving to be more and more difficult as he gets older. We tried two separate times last week!

 

 

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