Wednesday, January 02, 2019

2019 Books

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny (8)

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (8)

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas (8)

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (6)

I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown (9)

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (8)

Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken (7)

In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken (8)

The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken (8)

Bring: The Last Beholder by Megan Beam and Erin Hicks (7)

Gather: The Last Beholder by Megan Beam and Erin Hicks (7)

Ember Rising by S.D. Smith (with the boys) (8)

The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson (6)

Educated by Tara Westover (8)

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley (8)

The Selection by Kiera Cass (7)

The Elite by Kiera Cass (7)

The One by Kiera Cass (7)

The Heir by Kiera Cass (6)

The Crown by Kiera Cass (6)

Happily Ever After (novellas) by Kiera Cass (6)

Red Queen (reread) by Victoria Aveyard (7)

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (7)

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (8)

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (with Ethan)

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard (7)

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard (7)

Shameless: A Sexual Reformation by Nadia Bolz-Weber (8)

Inheritance: A Memoir by Dani Shapiro (6)

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (8)

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (8)

The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer (with boys)

The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan (with Ethan)

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (7)

Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness (7)

A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa (7)

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (7)

North of Normal by Cea Sunrise Person (7)

Dangerous Territory by Amy Peterson (8)

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery (8)

Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery (8)

Emily's Quest by L.M. Montgomery (8)

Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I've Loved by Kate Bowler (8)

The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms by Chris Colfer (with the boys)

The Naked Now by Richard Rohr (7)

The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett (7)

Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor (8)

The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman (7)

Longbourn by Jo Baker (7)

Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (7)

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (7)

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan (7)

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (6)

An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor (7)

Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale (7)

Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale (7)

Everything We Give by Kerry Lonsdale (7)

The River by Peter Heller (7)

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry (6)

The Good Widow by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke (6)

My Glory Was I Had Such Friends by Amy Silverstein (6)

Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson (7)

The Land of Stories: An Author's Odyssey by Chris Colfer (with boys)

The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary (7)

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (7)

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali (8)

A Better Man by Louise Penny (8)

The Land of Stories: Worlds Collide by Christ Colfer (with boys)

Monday, January 01, 2018

2018 Books

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny (8)

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown (8)

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith (7)

Still Me by Jojo Moyes (8)

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid (8)

Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (8)

Church of the Small Things by Melanie Shankle (8)

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith (7)

Happy Again (novella) by Jennifer E. Smith (6)

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum (7)

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (7)

Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James (8)

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (7)

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (8)

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (8)

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (8)

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (8)

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (6)

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas (7)

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller (6)

Circe by Madeline Miller (8)

As Good As True by Cheryl Reid (6)

Drop the Stones by Carlos A. Rodriguez (8)

Paris for One by Jojo Moyes (7)

The Third Reconstruction by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II (8)

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam (7)

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (7)

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway (7)

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (7)

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (8)

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (8)

Inspired by Rachel Held Evans (9)

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan (8)

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (with the boys) (8)

The Very Worst Missionary by Jamie Wright (8)

Belleweather by Susanna Kearsley (7)

Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me by Ian Morgan Cron (7)

Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams (7)

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (7)

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (8)

I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel (8)

Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George (with the boys) (8)

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (8)

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (8)

Learning to Speak God From Scratch by Jonathan Merritt (7)

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen (8)

September by Rosamunde Pilcher (8)

The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile (9)

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton (8)

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (8)

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien (8) (with the boys)

The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle (7)

Windfallen by Jojo Moyes (6)

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult (7)

The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer (with the boys) (8)

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by RicK Riordan (with Ethan)

The Wondering Years by Knox McCoy (7)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (with the boys) (8)

Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah (7)

Glass Houses by Louise Penny (8)

Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard (6)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bullet Journaling

This post is not about how or why I Bullet Journal...because I don't actually bullet journal at all. (Can I use that as a verb? I don't know, but I'm leaving it.) BUT, I feel like it's something I would be very much into if I started. Let's just look at the things a Bullet Journal does:

  • Organize 
  • Keep Records
  • Make Lists
  • Be Creative about all of those things

^ ^ ^ That is literally a checklist of all my favorite things. So why don't I bullet journal? (Yet.)

My problem with bullet journaling is NOT that it's everywhere. It feels like everyone is doing it. That sometimes deters people from trying things because they don't want to go along with the flow of popular culture. That is not me. I am not worried about doing something that everyone else is doing...IF I like it. 

My problem is that I feel like if I get started with will be my new time suck. Sure, there would (could) be a payoff that's much greater than wasting time on Facebook, but it will still suck time out of my day. Where is that time going to come from?  Also, I will be perfectionist about every page. I know you can make it as simple or as complex (and creative/colorful) as you want. But perfectionists and those who love a good design on a page find that difficult. 

I also feel like I just got on board with digitizing everything in my life. Once upon a time, I swore up and down that I'd never stop using my little black book (my planner). And I did. I keep every list, note, record, calendar item, etc. on my phone. And it syncs perfectly with my home computer, so I am a happy, organized person. And now everyone is going back to paper? What is happening?

This post could also end up being like my wariness of the Kindle before I embraced that completely. I recently whittled down my collection of real books to only the ones that I love, love, love so much that I could never part with them. It's not that I don't love and appreciate physical books anymore, but I just love the convenience and efficiency of reading (almost) exclusively on my Kindle. Apparently, I did sort of see that coming.

So, I may end up bullet journaling in 2017. Or starting in 2018. Who knows? Because just look at all this loveliness I rounded up on Pinterest:

 photo Bullet Journal Pinterest Board_zpsjzpfmgno.jpg

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Harry Potter Library Event

We are getting our mileage out of the boys' Harry Potter costumes. Not only do they play with them at home with regularity, they used them to dress up for a Harry Potter event at our library last Thursday. My friend, Christina, had told me about the event, but what really sold it were the posters on the end caps at the library itself. Ethan spotted one on our last trip and asked if we could go. Our friends went as well.

Logan chose to wear his new Quiddich robes that the boys got for Christmas. And crocs for both of my boys. Sigh. Shoes are simply not something I will choose to argue with them about...unless a special pair is required for a certain activity. 

 photo DX0A4532_zpsujfwb0mn.jpg

The library had several activities set up for the kids to do. One was a scavenger hunt - they had to go find things like a broomstick, etc. And mark it off their list. 

 photo DX0A4518_zpsneu3adbh.jpg

Give this child a checklist and he is a happy camper. He is my son for sure. 

 photo DX0A4522_zpsuidala0g.jpg

They also had Professor Trelawney handing out fortunes to the kids. 

 photo DX0A4528_zpsehqdvo6h.jpg

 photo DX0A4530_zpsbqztejzc.jpg

Inside another room there were several tables with activities. There was also a Butterbeer station. The younger boys decided to give it a try. Looks like Brennan was not a fan! 

 photo DX0A4546_zpsc8df8ip1.jpg

And Logan wasn't either! Haha! At least they gave it a try - the big boys didn't even want to do that. 

 photo DX0A4547_zps0avx7wtl.jpg

The younger boys also designed and colored their own crests. Logan did a section for each of the Hogwarts houses. 

 photo DX0A4555_zps5jk9xype.jpg

They all made their way back to the tables and played with some blocks at one point. I think some of the activities were too crowded and they just wanted to play with each other anyway. 

 photo DX0A4562_zpsi9vixpje.jpg

Christina took a photo of the boys and me for us. The boys barely stopped playing and running around long enough to do this. 

 photo DX0A4572_zpsvhwo6oic.jpg

 photo DX0A4575_zpsozj3ibgy.jpg

While you're in the library, you might as well have a look at some books...

 photo DX0A4578_zps6mtiv7wd.jpg

 photo DX0A4588_zpssa26ocsn.jpg

They cannot resist playing with an iPad. Christina and I (thankfully) had the presence of mind to check what they had done on the iPad and we deleted three videos they had made. 

 photo DX0A4611_zpscjqutpmb.jpg

In all honestly, this was a wild night. The event started at 6:30 on a weeknight. That's right about when we winding down for the night on a school night. Logan is usually in bed around 7:15 and Ethan has lights out at 8. And this time of night is not known as their best time of the day, especially after a full day of school. Friends and fun activities keep them from melting down completely, but they only amp up the craziness factor. So, while Christina and I were struggling to keep these four from feeding on each other's energy and going totally rogue in the middle of the library, we did all have fun. 

There were quite a few people at the event, which added to the chaos. At least our children were not the only crazy ones. And ours were not the loudest and rowdiest either!

 photo DX0A4604_zpsfm74coit.jpg

Monday, January 02, 2017

2017 Goals

 photo welcome 2017_zpsxvzgsgbh.jpg

Yesterday, January 1, I decided I didn't really want to write down any goals this year. And today, January 2 - my birthday - I decided I did want to. I like having my birthday at the beginning of the's like a new year for me in several ways. 

First, I always like to read last year's goals and see how I did:

I could have done better on catching up with photos and photo books, but I did ok. I did read...63 or so books. The boys did learn new life skills. We traveled. I was actually active more than I have been in the past 6 years. So, check. I did reorganize the whole house. Slowly, but I got it done. I did not really write more. And I did get IN more photos, but not as many as I could have. 


Although I could pretty much copy and paste last year's goals almost exactly, I'm going to simplify this year and really focus on 1-3 things I really want to accomplish. I'm leaving out the things that I feel like I've already made a regular part of my routine now (hello, reading).

1. Catch Up on Photo Editing and Photo Books. This is #1 for a reason. I really, really, really, want to do it. I want to be all caught up, get them all organized, and complete more books. This is my year. 

2. Continue being Active. Like I said above, I actually did pretty well with this in 2016. I'm making it a goal for 2017 because it's really easy for me to let this drop...and I don't want to. 

And...that's it, I think. I'm really narrowing it down this year so I can FOCUS on these two. Let's go, 2017!

2017 Books

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (9)

Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher (6)

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (8)

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken (8)

Out of Africa: Saga 2 by Ian A. Fair

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (with the boys) (8)

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (reread) (10)

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (7)

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum (8)

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (7)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (reread for me/with the boys)

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny (8)

Executing Grace by Shane Claiborne (7)

The Black Star of Kingston by S.D. Smith (with the boys)

The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories by Rudyard Kipling (with the boys)

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning (7)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (reread)

Tuesdays at the Castle  by Jessica Day George (with the boys) (8)

The Course of Love by Alain De Botton (7)

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel (8)

At Home In The World by Tsh Oxenreider (9)

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (8)

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley (7)

All is Grace by Brennan Manning (6)

When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde (8)

Winnie the Pooh Volume 1 by A.A. Milne (with the boys) (8)

A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (7)

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny (8)

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham (8)

How The Light Gets In by Louise Penny (8)

Evicted by Matthew Desmond (8)

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankel (7)

Henry Huggins by by Beverly Cleary (with the boys) (8)

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee (7)

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (7)

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley (7)

Of Mess and Moxie by Jenn Hatmaker (7)

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory (7)

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (6)

Cashelmara by Susan Howatch (8)

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (6)

Every Last Word by Tamara Island Stone (8)

Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton (8)

The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson (7)

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner (8)

The Polygamist's Daughter by Anna LeBaron (8)

The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien (reread - with the boys)

Roger and Amy's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (7)

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley (7)

The Midwife's Revolt by Jodi Daynard (8)

Reading People by Anne Bogel (7)

Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill (7)

The Moffats by Eleanor Estes (audiobook with the boys)

What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan (7)

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman (9)

The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer (7)

Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller (8)

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny (8)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas with the Fairs: 2016

After everyone left our house from breakfast, we cleaned up - the house and ourselves - and then headed over to Mimi and Pop's house for a little more Christmas. My aunt Pam had brought her Bingo game stuff and everyone had contributed to the prize table. And everyone played! It was so fun. The boys especially loved it.

 photo DX0A3658_zps7iupj1mo.jpg

We used dry beans to mark our bingo cards. The boys had already opened their stocking stuff at Mimi's house...and Elliot the Dragon (from Pete's Dragon) was one of the surprises inside!

 photo DX0A3656_zps5vfwwfre.jpg

 photo DX0A3655_zpszrxptezs.jpg

Lunch was super-easy, which we've come to love. We have our traditional meal of curried meat pies, toppings, and a salad. It's so nice to spend Christmas actually enjoying family and the day rather than slaving over a meal in the kitchen! The clean-up for this meal is quick and easy too. 

 photo DX0A3660_zpsf0drkht9.jpg

Kevin brought over some of his cider and juices to mix in. Tasty!

 photo DX0A3662_zpspaft0ts1.jpg

There were two small Lego sets as prizes for bingo. They were Ethan's first two choices when he won. He gave one to Logan. Logan's first two prize choices were bags of chocolate gold coins!

 photo DX0A3663_zpsofc3qljm.jpg

Before long, it was time for presents! The boys took the part of the elves and delivered all the packages. 

 photo DX0A3667_zpstzxhq1dx.jpg

With a smile!

 photo DX0A3677_zpsbo4x7v63.jpg

One of the first ones Ethan opened had money inside! 

 photo DX0A3681_zpsmnozfzvf.jpg

Logan got his very own bow and arrow set. And this thing is amazing - now that we've played with it some. It's so fast and goes really far! Let's see if we can be careful not to "misplace" the arrows.

 photo DX0A3688_zpsj47ve4md.jpg

This hovering soccer puck is really fun too! You just turn it on and place it on a hard floor like wood and kick it around. Aunt Pam and Uncle Steve got those for the boys. 

 photo DX0A3691_zpssny3yy34.jpg

Mimi and Pop got Ethan a real, flying Millennium Falcon! It is so cool. Ethan tore into the box immediately. 

 photo DX0A3698_zpswdkjpnbu.jpg

And Logan got a flying X-Wing. Awesome!

 photo DX0A3709_zpsqcch4laq.jpg

We stayed for a while at Mimi and Pop's house but spent the late afternoon and evening back home playing with all our new toys. 

 photo DX0A3732_zpsvdxlb6am.jpg

Everyone in our family loves BB-8. When we got back home from the Fair Christmas, they were all charged and ready to go. You control his movements using an app on the iPad. It could not have been easier to get them synced and to start playing. 

 photo DX0A3738_zpso9xwybs9.jpg

Duke is the only one of us that is not sure about the BB-8 robots...he barks at them any time they move! In his defense, he is not used to having something move like that down on his level. And BB-8 makes his little beeping/talking noises too. Haha! Duke will just have to get used to him!

 photo DX0A3750_zpsnlah7pqq.jpg

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas at Home: 2016

After coming home from Nonnie and Papaw's house on Christmas Eve, the boys changed into their Christmas PJs and picked out some of their cut-out sugar cookies for Santa.

 photo DX0A3524_zpsnsjr1asn.jpg

 photo DX0A3526_zpsfxk8upsx.jpg

We poured a small glass of milk (it's a wonder I even had milk since we never buy it any more.) And the boys carried it all into the living room to set out for Santa. 

 photo DX0A3528_zpsvujftvrq.jpg

Unfortunately, as soon as we set down the cookies on the coffee table, Duke came up to eat them. 

 photo DX0A3531_zpskgkv8tdg.jpg

So we moved everything back in to the kitchen and set it on the island. Ethan wrote Santa a quick note to let him know where his goodies were and left it on the coffee table. 

 photo DX0A3536_zpsmlgzinkm.jpg

And Santa came! The boys each asked for a BB8 robot. Ethan also asked for the Battle of Hoth Star Wars Lego set and a Nick Wilde (from Zootopia) plush toy. Logan also asked for remote control tanks and a military helicopter.

 photo DX0A3537_zpsfsa15o9g.jpg

I did not get one un-blurry photo of them coming into the room on Christmas morning. Mimi and Pop were there right before 7am so the boys could come down and see what Santa brought them. 

 photo DX0A3540_zpsjma2jyue.jpg

It's funny to see what they picked up first. Logan went straight for the BB8 robot. More on him later - he's fun. But we had to set them both up to charge for a while and we didn't really get to play with them until later on Christmas Day. 

 photo DX0A3544_zpsvlkxoirf.jpg

Ethan, on the other hand, went straight for his stuffed animals! He was so thrilled to see Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Chip from Beauty and the Beast too. He did not specifically ask for those, but Santa brought them anyway. 

 photo DX0A3547_zps4pb1dcqo.jpg

They dug into their stockings too. Logan is not disappointed by this treat...he's actually just surprised that there are Kit Kat Santas! 

 photo DX0A3555_zpsgcdbasaa.jpg

Santa knows we like Mickey!

 photo DX0A3559_zpsnm3ya4dk.jpg

That is one giant Lego set. And he has been patiently waiting for Santa to bring it to him. 

 photo DX0A3564_zpsxanjhb2z.jpg

Logan loved his helicopter and tanks too. For some reason he is really into military stuff right now. 

 photo DX0A3569_zps3bhqihcl.jpg

After the boys had explored all that Santa brought them, they started passing out the boxes under the tree.

 photo DX0A3565_zps2ogxovfa.jpg

The boys picked out presents for each other again this year.

 photo DX0A3570_zpssnwxros5.jpg

Ethan got Logan an Army truck, which Logan thought was so cool. He said, "Thanks, Ethan!" when he opened it. 

 photo DX0A3577_zpsfwx4bozp.jpg

For some reason I missed getting a photo of what Logan picked out for was an Ewok stuffed animal that Ethan has had his eye on for a long time. He was so excited to see it!

And then came a couple of presents from mom and dad...the Hogwarts Express with Harry, Ron, and Hermione POP vinyl figures. 

 photo DX0A3578_zpswy0mlzav.jpg

And Quiddich robes and goggles. They were totally surprised by both of these gifts and were really excited.

 photo DX0A3584_zpsn3ja6omh.jpg

 photo DX0A3591_zpscqj7earo.jpg

 photo DX0A3594_zpsdpzblvyo.jpg

Ready to hop on their brooms and play Quiddich!

 photo DX0A3595_zpstdeagto8.jpg

Next Casey and I opened our gifts from the boys and each other. Logan is laughing here because those are Star Wars underwear for daddy. He also got some socks and a Dumbledore POP vinyl figure from the boys. I got him a special razor handle and shaving cream from The Art of Shaving. 

 photo DX0A3600_zpsfbmxvcpa.jpg

The boys got me two necklaces from Kendra Scott and Casey got me a Michael Kors purse. I love how they like to watch us open gifts too.

 photo DX0A3611_zpsagplkblp.jpg

After we cleaned up the wrapping paper mess, the adults headed to the kitchen to put the final touches on our breakfast, and the boys played with the remote control tanks. 

 photo DX0A3637_zpsedamj0te.jpg

The tanks had surprisingly loud sound effects and I was wondering why Santa thought that would be okay. I guess he didn't know how loud they would be. 

 photo DX0A3639_zpsjynrt4qw.jpg

Before everyone showed up for breakfast, we took a quick family photo. I'm wearing those two necklaces from the boys! And I have no idea why, but I don't have a single photo of breakfast. I guess I was too busy enjoying our traditional fare: sausage balls, coffee cake, fruit, and an egg bake. Plus mimosas from Pop! It was a good morning...but our Christmas Day was not over yet!

 photo DX0A3645_zpsfhgtnoie.jpg