Jun 17, 2019

Reads of 2018

Don't mind me- just going to slip this in in the six month of 2019.:)



Really enjoyed:

Surprise me- one of the better of Sophie Kinsella's for me.
On the Banks of Plum Creek
By the Shores of Silver Lake
I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life
An Exorcist Tells His Story- Such a good read; scary to think that some bishops don't feel it's important to appoint exorcists in their dioceses, though!
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike- very thorough/ long but neat to get the back story.
At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe
One Beautiful Dream- loved it!
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer- SO good and I am extremely glad I saw Ashley's remark about choosing not to read it at night- I read this only during naptime. I couldn't stop thinking about it for weeks- can definitely see how people get caught up in amateur detective work for unsolved cases!
Scalia Speaks- I dog-eared so many pages of this (and then had to return it to the library...). He is just SO GOOD! I love how his speeches don't preach to the choir at all.
Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction
Crazy Rich Asians
The Ear of the Heart: An Actress' Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows- this was a long but enjoyable read. It concerns the conversion and then entrance into religious life for actress Dolores Hart, but the book in it's entirety is a memoir of her whole life.
Building the Benedict Option- I had heard Leah speak at one of the blog conferences I attended and especially enjoyed her writing style here.

Liked:

When Life Gives You Lululemons- I felt a bit too racy in parts + language, but entertaining chick lit.
Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends- I kind of had to laugh when I read a one or two star review of this based on the content- you know, like people living however they want and with dark and sad histories eventually turning their lives to Christ. If it was between the two, I'd recommend Deathbed Conversions, but still like this one.
The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe
Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships
Kind is the New Classy: The Power of Living Graciously- nothing really new under the sun here, but I just really like Candace Cameron Bure and love that she lives her faith in Hollywood.
The Queen of Hearts- I loved the medical bent of this book and enjoyed the overall story *but* too much sexual content for my taste. Like reading it on a plane between two guys and praying neither looks over my shoulder and reads what's on the page, too much.
Little Beach Street Bakery- kinda slow in parts, didn't love one of the main characters but enjoyed the setting.
The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide- haha, written for aspiring actors but interesting to read the ins and outs of getting your foot in the door anyway.
Anne's House of Dreams-  a good one; Anne of the Island is still my favorite.
How My Book Became a Movie: A True Story
The Perfect Couple- pretty good beach read type murder mystery book, wasn't satisfied with the ending.
Bless Me Father for I Have Kids
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine- I struggled through this one!
The Grace of Enough: Pursing Less and Living More in a Throwaway Culture
The Dinner List
Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life


Meh:

The Clockmaker's Daughter- This book makes me truly believe that Kate Morton writes ridiculously long books for the sake of writing long books. The ending really annoyed me and felt very "Atonement".
The Blue Bistro- I didn't find any of the characters likeable in this, *and* it really bothers me when Catholic characters are painted as devout...and then have such twisted, messed up morals.
Auntie Poldie and the Sicilian Lions- loved the setting but the main character really bugged me! (A+ for the cover art, though!)
Sunset Lullaby

That's a wrap for last year- looking forward to some good summer fiction!

May 28, 2019

Life Lately {May}

May has been busy and feels like it flew by, but when I think back on the beginning it seems like so long ago.

The girls had their school Race for Education on the 2nd. Thankfully the weather was warm- Evie and Audrey ran hard while Heidi much preferred the chalk that was offered in the pre-K section. :)




Anyone have an idea what kind of flowers these are?
 The next day I took the girls to our parish festival. Tim headed up the Silent Auction this year and was super busy in the days leading up to and of the festival; my mom and sister helped me out a lot while we were there!




The week before Evie's First Communion her class wore their outfits to school to participate in the May Crowning.
I think every mother held her breath that half day hoping the outfits would stay pristine for the next week. Aside from a few pencil marks, we were good.:)


For Mother's Day Tim hired house cleaners as a gift. The only other time we've had that done was when our Realtor had our houses cleaned when we moved- seriously SUCH a great gift! I could not get over what a thorough job the ladies did and simultaneously felt like writing an apology note for all the supremely neglected areas they tackled. 

I also ordered this Miraculous Medal ring for myself.:)


On the 18th Evie received her 1st Holy Communion!


She wore the same veil one of my sister's and I wore- we were laughing because it has an elastic chin strap which we didn't remember at all!







We celebrated her special day afterwards with some family at our house. 



Earlier in the week I had ordered a cake from a new bakery downtown in the spirit of supporting small businesses. Well, it totaled over $45. For a cake! Oof. It was a very nice cake and three layers but looking back I should've just gone with cupcakes or something. 


The girls were introduced to the messy delight of packing peanuts



Cora's season of 'bottoms optional' has arrived.
Yesterday spent the day at a local winery with family. I didn't get any pictures but it was such a great day! We unloaded everything at two picnic tables and enjoyed wine (of course) and good food while the kids had lots of room to run and play. 

Enjoy the last days of May.:)

May 8, 2019

For Mrs. O

Before my family moved to where my parents now live, we had next door neighbors who moved from Germany. We lived in a cul-de-sac in a smallish neighborhood, so many of the kids play ran wild together and we knew a lot of the families who lived there. The O's were very friendly and many of us neighbors got to know them and their son. Mrs. O made THE best fudge and I'm sad I never got her recipe! Her mom came to visit once or twice and I remember taking her to mass with us and watching her silently cry during the mass. She gave me a small cross which I wore on my First Communion and still have today.

For my First Communion Mrs. O gave me a silver sugar spoon and pie server and told me she had received them for her First Communion. Well, eventually, much to everyone's disappointment they had to move back to Germany. They had given birth to another son while in the USA and we all hoped they would be able to move back someday when that son was older, but it wasn't meant to be. Our families kept in touch for a time via snail mail but over time lost contact, although we still talked about them from time to time.

Fast forward several years to the birth of social media- several of my siblings and I friended the O's older son, and then over time several of us got off of Facebook. Then this past late summer, through my sister still on FB, the O's son phoned my parents and had a good chat with my mom. Unfortunately she found out that his mom was dying of a chronic illness, and then we got the news in October that she passed away. I want to cry every time I think about the fact that maybe we'd never have known about her passing. In this day and age of being so instantly connected it's still easy to lose touch. I can honestly say I don't think I'd have the gumption to ask someone for a phone number and make a phone call to long ago friends. 


Very soon we'll be celebrating Evie's First Communion and it means SO much to me that we'll be using the same silver that Mrs. O had once been gifted. I'll always remember her and her kindness.
God rest the soul of this good-hearted lady.

Apr 30, 2019

Easter Joy

On Good Friday we headed down to the Basilica in DC since they were having veneration of relics from Christ's passion. I had no idea there were so many relics related to His passion! Unfortunately the line wasn't very long but no one was enforcing the "take a brief moment and then move to the pews" rules, so the line was barely moving. (Dearest people: when there is a line behind you, that is not the time for ALL of the piety!) After a good ten minutes with little progress and all kids ready to not be in line we made our exit and headed to the Franciscan Monastery. 

The new dome- the artist originally said would be impossible to ever have a mosaic there and then ended up completing it!
Every year I love seeing what's different and what's the same about the Monastery. One bittersweet difference I noticed was that the the sign for the Poor Clares down the street was gone. I did some Googling and the last five nuns went some to a nursing home and some to their original convent in OH. Their story is really neat to read, though! Another order now resides in that house, but it's sad to hear of "eras" coming to an end. 





It was so endearing observing Heidi color in her Lenten calendar every day of her own accord. She wanted to do blue, red, and green just like her teacher was doing. :)





On Easter we made sure to arrive to mass 30 minutes early (unlike last year when I kept assuring Tim our usual arrival time was fine...this year our parish held TWO masses in the 9 and 11 o'clock hours and it was still really crowded!)- the girls were troopers, and I'm so glad we didn't feel rushed or crammed in. 

Haha, the doctor I see for my thyroid and who the girls have seen a few times sat right behind us and offered to take our picture after mass- I didn't even know he was a parishioner and it was one of those awkward "Does he recognize us? Do I say anything? Do I apologize for the exploits of the toddler?" moments!




After mass we headed to my sister's for brunch and an egg hunt. Even through Holy Saturday the weather for Easter kept looking chilly with possible rain but it ended up sunny and wonderfully warm in the early afternoon!




After a short afternoon food coma rest at home we went to my parents' house for dinner with just them and Tim's brother + fiancee. 

It was a great Easter and we're still happily celebrating!
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