Feb 14, 2017

On Valentine's Day

"Love is not an adventure. It has the taste of the whole of man. It carries man's entire weight; the weight of his plight. It cannot be experienced as a single moment. The whole of man's eternity passes through it. That is why, it can be found in God's dimensions, as only He is eternal."
~The Jeweler's Shop


Happy St. Valentine's Day!

 Also, Cora does a pretty legit impression of me with Valentine's chocolate. ;)


Feb 9, 2017

Little Extras for that Winter Life

...or post-Christmas months at any rate. December is superb; it's winter in between then and spring that lacks that rosy hue for me! Here are some bright spots of late: 

Weekly applesauce bread (with golden raisins!)- this is a recipe that I make strictly in the fall/ winter solely because the ingredients just have that cinnamon-y-goes-with-cold-weather taste. I've been making it just about every week and it's a nice pairing with morning coffee. :)

Spotting daffodil shoots creeping up in our yard.
 Of course we just had snow today but at least there's a visual of things to come!

A quote Dwija posted by Ven. Fulton Sheen about offering up three things every day, combined with embracing the concept I read here: "It will never be easier to do than right now" (or something to that effect- can't find the exact post!). I am terrible about offering things up or even thinking about offering things up! Somehow having those two quotes come to the forefront of my mind, when I really don't feel like going down to the basement for a carton of milk offers a boost to just do it. And later, I'm happy that those tasks are completed!

A line-up of several books I really want to read. I love finishing a good book knowing there are more I'm eager to dive into- Truly Madly Guilty, As I Remember, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton are a few I look forward to cracking open soon.

Taking time for small self-care measures like a ten-minute face mask, finally removing that ghastly toenail polish, or cleaning make-up brushes...for the first time ever.

A break from the daily routine. Lately motherhood has been feel so hard- just all the time hard. Long days, interrupted sleep, and early mornings snowballed to the point where all I could see was the difficult or monotonous. Tim was working from home this afternoon and suggested I take Evie somewhere after picking her up from school, so we went to a new coffee shop and sipped hot beverages while sharing a brownie. Oh my goodness, being in that coffee shop with my five-year-old made all the difference in my week. We watched the snow blow around outside. We talked. She got powdered sugar all over her top and chocolate around her mouth. I was able to see beyond diapers and duties and sippy cups. I was able to enjoy watching her look around and gallop down the sidewalk afterwards. I feel like taking breaks is such an obvious thing but often gets shoved down the list of important things.
 That's all for now- happy (almost) weekend!

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's What's saving my life right now linkup.

Feb 7, 2017

Reads for the Rest of 2016


Taking a look back on what I read in the last months of 2016, there were some books I really liked and a few I wasn't too keen on. There was also a good amount of easy, fluffy reading- just the thing for picking up and putting down during newborn nursing sessions. :)
I always have a difficult time adequately describing what I liked or didn't like about a book, so I'll only go into some them...
  • On the Other Side of Fear: How I Found Peace- written by Hallie and just so good!
  •  Finding Father Christmas & Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne
  • First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
  • Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley
     
The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
I really wanted to love this book but a few things about it didn't jive with me. First off, I couldn't grasp what time period this took place in. At the beginning I thought it was maybe early 1900s but then was thrown off when a computer was mentioned; for the rest of the book I had a difficult time visualizing the setting. Also, I wish the author had chosen to give "The Man in the Armchair" a name. Finally, what this Goodreads reviewer said: "The ideas portrayed by the characters about happiness and truth and beauty, while I happen to agree with all of them, were heavy-handed and off-putting". It just wasn't my favorite but I know a lot of people love it!

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld
Okay, I really enjoy watching different movie adaptations of P&P and other Austen novels but I did not like this book at all. The author equated modern retelling with adding pretty much everything morally controversial, and the Bennet parents are, of course, conservatives (ridiculous, racist, backwards, unenlightened...). The character of Lydia is the one who becomes the hero in the end because of her scandal- although not a scandal to those who are "morally enlightened", and the character of Elizabeth hardly has any redeeming qualities or an ounce of likeability throughout the story. I was not a fan!
 
Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist
This is one I wouldn't mind re-visiting again, as I really liked everything she had to say and would like her words to saturate a bit more. Maybe when the library request queue whittles itself down. :)

A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny's Story by Brenda Ashford
This was a fun and interesting memoir that I picked this up at the suggestion of a friend. It's written by a woman who was a British Nanny for over 60 years! Such a unique and fascinating life.

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson
Overall I thought this was a good read but here's what I found sadly ironic: the author makes it a point to show how far society has come in its treatment of the mentally and physically disabled, and she highlights the Foundations and legislation championed along by members of the Kennedy family (because of Rosemary)...but then how many babies are aborted each year because of disability diagnoses? And what about laws coming into effect that allow and push for euthanasia and physician assisted suicide? Sadly, as a society, we haven't made great strides all-around in terms of acceptance for the suffering and disabled.

Feb 3, 2017

Books of Yore, More Thrifting, and Personality Discoveries

Joining Kelly for Seven Quick Takes this week!

-1-
Recently, as I was getting my yearly dose of White Christmas watching, an exchange I hadn't made note of before caught my attention:

"Tell me, brainstorm, what do you think would be a novelty up here in Vermont?"
"Who knows?"
"Maybe we can dig up a Democrat?"

And I had to laugh because that very much isn't the case anymore.

And then days later I was reading this book about a former logging area in Maine, and this line jumped out at me:

"He was a individualist- a Democrat in the state of Maine."

(The book was written in '48.) Yep, times have definitely changed!

-2-
And speaking of that book, which was a former library book- check out these regulations:
Two cents a day fine! And can you imagine mailing in renewal requests?
-3-
A little over a year ago I was on the thrifting hunt for a dressy-ish wool coat but came up empty-handed. Well, I was so very happy to come across this inexpensive vintage coat last week at a thrift store! I figure it to be from somewhere between 1964-1973 based on one of the inside tags. Waiting and searching can feel fruitless but when you eventually find something you like, it makes thrifting worth it. :)

-4- 
For Christmas we were given a really nice set of the Narnia books. I was thinking they would be great to read to the girls down the road, however Audrey kept begging us to read her "The Golden Chair" (visions of frilly princesses on sparkly thrones, no doubt), so one day before naptime I grabbed The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, figuring I'd have her asking me to read something else before I finished page one...but she liked it! Tim was the one who read most of the book to the girls and this week they finished the last bit.
I'm not sure if the girls are ready to delve into the rest of the series but I'm glad they enjoyed the start!

-5-
 Have you tried out Jen's saint generator? I got Saint Adelaide, which is pretty neat since she's Heidi's patron saint. :)

-6-
 I recently read an article at Verily about ambiverts (which I had previously never heard of), and suddenly my life made sense! Every time I've taken tests like Myers-Briggs or the Temperament tests I get varying results. (Pretty sure I don't have multiple personalities...) I used to half-jokingly wonder "which personality type is the one where you can't pin-point which one you are?", and I relate to traits of different behaviors. As the article explains, "An ambivert, meanwhile, has a particular percentage of tendencies towards introversion as well as extroversion." Definitely something interesting that I'd like to read more about.

-7-
And sliding into the seventh take is Cora with her seven month photo. She has six teeth, rolls hither, thither, and yon when put down, loves her bouncer- until she wants out, and does not prefer solids at all. She's a jolly ol' girl and is also in the grab everything stage- the other day she grabbed my face and tried to bite my nose!

I always love the gummy smiles, but when I see the little emerging teeth I love them just as well! (Just not the actual teething phase. ;)
Have a great weekend, and if you're not wild about either of the Super Bowl teams, enjoy some good game food. ;)
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