So Many Books, So Little Time

I don’t even have words.  I’ve been waiting all week to try to find some, even a few drafts sitting in my to-finish box, but oh, THE WORDS!!!!! are not coming.


Instead, let me tell you about a few books I’ve read recently.  I know.  Words.  How can I read all those words and have nothing to say?  Really, I think I have a lot to say, but my nerves are a bit shot from crazy children and a husband being out of the country.  And let’s not forget that independent of them, I carry around my own sack of issues that I tend to trot out at the least opportune times (i.e. this week, a most inopportune time).

In summary, we’re all crazy, and I read a lot of books.  Can we leave it at that?

Interestingly, it seems like nearly every book I’m reading lately is in some way about grace.  Coincidence?  Hm…


First up, I’ve talked about Breathing Room over here, but I’m mentioning it again over here.  Best book I’ve read all year.  On my short list of best books I’ve read ever.  Worth every penny.  Go.  Buy it.  Breathe deep.

1.  I picked up All Is Grace by Brennan Manning on a whim. Actually, I think Shauna Niequist mentioned it in a recent blog post, and that was the whim.  I read a chunk of it while I was catching a few quiet minutes at the bookstore, and my general rule of thumb is that if I can’t put a book down at the bookstore, it’s probably worthy of coming home with me.  This one was excellent.  I haven’t read anything else by Brennan Manning and think the story might have felt even richer if I had, but it was even fantastic as a stand-alone.

2.  Scary Close was another whim, but I’m so glad I read it.  It’s not technical or dry.  It’s just a story with several super accessible lessons woven in.  I asked Tahd to read this one so we could talk about it.  Enjoyed and would recommend!

3.  Fight Back With Joy was on my list after I streamed some of If:Gathering and heard Margaret Feinberg speak.  I wanted more, more, more of her story, and here it is!  I’m about halfway through it right now, and it’s what saved my tukhus from complete rage and despair Wednesday.  This is another good one!

4.  I can’t remember where I’d heard about Disease Proof, but it came recommended as a research-based method to getting and staying healthy.  Not skinny, but healthy.  I expected to find some innovative approaches to wellness, but I came away disappointed.  It could be because I used to teach health so nothing felt very novel?  Not sure, but the book was quite common-sense to me, and I’d already read about a lot of the research he used to support his action points.  A good choice if you are looking for some simple, practical steps to take to improve your health, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.

5.  When Gabe checked out Hunger Games from the school library, we told him we didn’t want him to read it until we’d had a chance to read it first.  I asked loads of mom friends and got incredibly polarized feedback, but when I read it for myself I felt like it was okay for him.  That, and I really enjoyed it!  I may possibly be the last person to be exposed to that series.  I purposefully stayed away from the movies and any spoilers about it because I’d wanted to read it, but just hadn’t had time.  Glad I finally did.  It was an enjoyable fiction read (and much better written, in my opinion, than Divergent, for what it’s worth).

6.  I tried to read Found by Micha Boyett.  I really wanted to like it, but I didn’t relate early on to her struggle, so it was hard for me to get into it.  Basically, her world was rocked by the way her spiritual life changed when she became a mother.  She felt distance and chaos.  Personally, I’ve found motherhood to heal more parts of my faith than it has caused struggle.  I thought about sticking with the book because I’ve heard great things about it, but I have so many things I currently want to read that I decided not to push through one I wasn’t connecting with at the moment.

I’m currently in the middle of A Wrinkle In Time, Writing Down Your Soul, and Parenting Without Power Struggles.  I’m also listening to The Dance of Anger.  As well, am I the last person in the world to figure out how to hook up my local library account to apps on my phone?  Hooray for borrowing ebooks!  And hooray that they take them away when the borrowing period is over so I don’t accrue late fees!

Not sure I’ll finish all of those before I move on to new things, but up on my soon-to-read list are these titles:

Playing Big, Small Victories, Make It Happen, This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage, Simplify, The Best Yes, On Writing by Stephen King, Love Does, and Surprised By Motherhood.  I need to pick a fiction book or two, also.  Perhaps Wonder, since Gabe has that and I’ve been wanting to read it for a while?

Have you read anything good lately?

17 Years

Of course I’m two days late because of course I overestimated how long it would take me, and of course I had technical difficulties that wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been out of town.  But here–late but predated, with a second song since the first was blocked in 244 countries, and imperfect but done–is a celebration of our 17 years together.  Love you, jetahdin! ;)


March Goals


Welp…once again, better late than never?  I set some goals for February a little late in the game, but I made a little progress, so I’m not horridly upset at being late.  Although, if you ask my husband I’m never horridly upset at being late, so there’s that.  Perhaps we shouldn’t bring that up.  Sore subject.  ;)

Here’s the rundown from February:

1.  Celebrate Valentine’s Day by doing something special || meh – wasn’t the best but I did try

2.  Lose 2 pounds || I think I lost one?

3.  Finish reading 2 books || I finished three!  Hunger Games, Breathing Room, and Nesting Place.  Oh – I guess I also finished Andy Cohen this month, so that’s 4!

4. Drink 10 cups of water every day || Not bad!  Perhaps not as consistent while traveling, but I’m satisfied with my performance on this.

5.  Go to bed by 11:30 at least three times || Uh…once, I think?  Maybe?  I would so benefit from doing this…

6.  Put together the January-a-day photos || I put together Project Life stuff but didn’t specifically do this.  Sort of a potayto-potahto situation, but I technically didn’t do this one.

7.  Take some detail photos || nope.  All kids, all the time.

In (what remains of) March, I hope to:

1.  Lose 2 pounds || I feel like I should run around chanting, “Big money!  Big money!  No whammies!!!” every time I go to get on the scale…

2.  Drink 96 ounces of water every day || surely if I’m drinking this much water, I’ll automatically be eating less chocolate?  As well, this is Dove Coconut Egg season, just in case you’d forgotten.

3.  Take the little kids to the museum || they haven’t been before.  They are going to lose their minds!

4.  Finish February Project Life || I love the idea of this project; my execution is s–l–o–o–o–o–w. I thought it was supposed to be quick and easy, right?  And yet, I spent 3 HOURS on one layout.  Something is wrong with this picture…

5.  Finish my Life Plan class by Donald Miller || started it, it’s great, need to get back to finish it

6.  Continue reading/practicing either The Unexpected Everyday or Emotional Photography || I don’t care which one and I don’t care how many exercises I complete – just keep going

7.  Set up a little renewal corner somewhere || I had this random idea to set up a little corner somewhere in the house with some of my favorite things and things that renew me.  Currently, I have a few books out in the kitchen, but I want to make an intentional small spot that feels like mine and makes me smile.

Maybe I should call these my Mapril goals?  We’ll see…

Whoopie High!!!!!!

I’m still here!  Still kicking around and just can’t get out of my own way enough to form a coherent thought.  Instead, I’ll ramble, because rambling is about all I can summon. Consider yourself warned.

We’re on a trip right now, a road trip for which we pulled Gabe out of school and everything!  It reminds me of old times, except now we have 3 kids and going anywhere is a bit of a fiasco.  There’s a chance we should never come back to Pennsylvania unless we have major cosmetic surgery.  If we don’t, I think they’ll recognize us, and they might not want us back!

Seriously.  You should have seen us leaving the smorgasbord last night.  Smorgasbord is such a good word, and so aptly described the restaurant at which we ate.  Except they were having their anniversary party, and not only did that mean they added a chocolate fountain station to the offerings, they also had hourly drawings for prizes, and I WON ONE!  Exciting, until I realized I’d won a GIANT STUFFED WHOOPIE PIE.  Seriously.  Giant.  Which is totally what every road-tripping family needs, right?


This picture doesn’t do it justice.  Really.  It has dangling arms AND legs.  My children totally fight over it.  A lot.

We were such a scene leaving the restaurant, literally covered in melted chocolate and dragging an enormous stuffed animal.  I think it’s bigger than Jude.  Plus, we left behind SO MUCH FOOD, but it was all under the table.  I even tried to pick it up before we left, but it was a lost cause.  They should probably have taped off our booth with biohazard tape and dealt with it after closing with a ShopVac.

And then, as we left the restaurant, it was decided that the Whoopie Pie’s name was Whoopie High, and my children were sort of shouting about the Whoopie High all the way through.  Because that doesn’t have multiple connotations or anything.

M O R T I F I E D!!!!

Tahd’s okay in situations like this.  He feels like he’s surrounded by strangers, so what does he care if we’re a spectacle (within reason – he does try to keep things to a dullish roar).  I, on the other hand, would much rather keep the peace with strangers.  Which is basically the whole world, so perhaps we can see where some of my anxiety originates, but I digress.  My loved ones have already seen all my warts and idiosyncrasies and love me anyway.  So last night was particularly distressing for me.

I’d like to say tonight was better, but it was basically a repeat of last night, except in more of a dive and without a giant stuffed whoopie pie, but with adults who ordered more food than we realized we ordered and a baby who used a mozzarella stick to wildly “paint” dip all over a quesedilla…and the placemat…and the table.  And then, naturally, there was all the screaming.

The answer to the question you’re probably asking is yes, we left our waitress a big tip.

Also, every day our hotel picks a guest of the day.  You get a sign in the lobby and a sign on your door (hello…locker signs from middle school?), and you get a special parking spot that is no closer than any of the other parking spots, really, but there’s a sign.  I’m totally going for it, except so far it hasn’t happened.  I wonder why?

On Being Done

A funny thing happened in the last month.  I did a flip-flop.

Jude turned 1 in November, and although I’d been on the fence about if I wanted more kids, his first birthday made me absolutely certain of how I wanted the future to unfold.  I couldn’t imagine never celebrating another first birthday, never watching a little one seemingly reach new milestones every day, never having a doctor place a squeaky new baby on my chest and proclaim, “Congratulations!”  I wanted another baby.  I was sure.

I don’t know what changed, but about 6 weeks ago something shifted and I’ve gradually gone completely to the other side.  Another baby?  HA!  Me?  No way!  Please don’t make me go through the drama of a sleepless first year again!  And colic!  Colic is not worth the risk!  Please don’t make me start over!  And, most importantly, please don’t make me do another torturous pregnancy!


 Jude, my favorite little elf

It’s the pregnancy part the has always made me hesitate.  Jude’s pregnancy was far from easy.  And not just hard, but risky.


 In the hospital with a blood pressure headache.  Fun times.

When I developed preeclampsia, I spent a lot of time trying not to panic that I was going to start seizing and leave my children with a vegetable as a mother.  I’m sure that was good for my blood pressure…


Gabe meeting Isla

On the other hand, the wonder of a newborn and the relationships between siblings are the things that have drawn me toward another child.  There’s just nothing like them – no replacement.  I’ve never doubted my feelings about these things.  They’re precisely why I pushed through infertility for so goshdarn long without giving up.


Full hands, happy heart. And Isla got a giant black eye about 5 minutes after this happened.

But I’m 37, and I’d be at least 38 by the time I had another baby, maybe older.  I’d be higher risk due to age and prior medical issues.  We currently fit in a regular rental car – no upgrade to a van or SUV necessary.  Regular hotel rooms still accept us.  A 3-bedroom house, although not ideal, is doable.  Plus the biggie – I have my hands full.

When I think about all of this, I still feel a little pang, so I don’t think I’ve made my peace with a final decision yet.  But I think I’m moving in that direction.

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