Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Regency Reading: Author Julie Klassen

Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books. Sometimes I wish I hadn't read it just so I could read it anew, if that makes any sense. I even read Jane Austen fan fiction because I can't get enough. Here's what I love about it: the misunderstanding, witty dialogue, longing, love, a strong female main character, and a happy ending. That's probably my favorite formula for any story.

Last year, one of my Facebook friends mentioned that the Kindle version of author Julie Klassen's book The Girl in the Gatehouse was on sale at Amazon. She went on to say that if you like Pride & Prejudice, you would probably like this book. I downloaded it, then promptly forgot about it.

Image via Amazon

About a week ago, I read it and LOVED IT! If you love Regency novels, I think you would enjoy this. I've now read a second book of Ms. Klassen's called The Secret of Pembrooke Park, and I stayed up until 2 am finishing it. It has a mystery element about it that I had to solve!

Ms. Klassen is a Christian author, and there is a thread of redemption throughout both of these works--complementary to the storyline. For me, these were a great example of how we are in the world, but not of the world. I guess what I'm saying is: this is not cheesy Christian romance fiction. As a Christian reading it, the mentions of faith in Christ and walking in the ways of the Lord seemed a natural fit, i.e. "for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."

Amazon one-click may get me into trouble because I can't wait to start downloading more of her titles. Definitely add these to your summer reading list!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hi and Hello!

I can't believe it's been more than 2 months since I last posted! I'm not even sure where to start, so I thought today, while I have a few minutes to myself, I'll dive right in.

Since it snowed, it has now warmed up, and the heavens have opened up with rain and rain and more rain. The last time I remember it raining this much was June of 2008, when construction was finishing up on our house. It rained every single day that month. We needed it so badly!

We've settled into a good routine at home this spring, getting out to play some, "makin' projects" (my kids' description) at the kitchen table, and also going to school Tuesday/Thursday. Next week is the last week of school, so we'll be needing to find our groove again those days of the week. Swim lessons and the like all start up the following week!

In other news, I'm leading crafts at VBS. If you're Southern Baptist, you'll probably recognize Lifeway's theme Journey Off the Map for this year. I just turned my supply list in earlier this week, a few days early, so that was a big check off of my to do list. I'm also heading to camp with our middle and high school students. It's at the beach, so a swimsuit shopping post will probably follow this soon. Good times.

One of many things in our packed summer is my cousin Tyler marrying the lovely Cari. My little guy will be a ring bearer in the wedding, so I'm prepping him as much as possible to wrap his mind around walking down the aisle and standing up with the groomsmen. Occasionally I'll remind him of it, like one evening earlier this week our conversation went down like this:
Me: Do you remember what you are going to be at Cari and Tyler's wedding?
Him: Yes! I'm going to be the ringmaster!

Ringmaster, indeed. It was precious.

I hope you have a great rest of your week!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cold Days in North Texas

We've been a little stir-crazy with the up and down weather we're having here in North Texas lately. Last week it iced at the beginning of the week, thawed out, then snowed on Friday. By Saturday, that was ice too. We took advantage of the beautiful powder snow to get out and play a little after Friday naps.

It was so cold!

We have a great hill in our neighborhood, and people come out in droves during weather like this for sledding. So, we thought we'd join the fun. The kids were terrified when I tried to send them down the hill to where their dad was waiting to catch them. I mean, serious #momfail on that one. They cried, begging me to carry them (physically, in my arms) all the way home. Nevermind that I was pulling them in our red wagon. We were quite a sight. Next time we'll make sure they understand a little better before we start pushing them down a hill on a box lid.

Since we only see this kind of weather a few times a year, I don't really have the best clothes/equipment for them to be out in the weather. I've not been able to find good gloves for their tiny hands, and I think that would've made all the difference for them to enjoy playing in it. Or maybe they are just summer kids, like me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Ladybug Goes to School

I officially have two preschoolers in my house. Our little ladybug started school with everyone else two weeks ago! From her 6th day of life outside the womb, she has accompanied me to drop off and pick up her brother. Sometime back in fall, she began to cry to stay at school too. She was so ready to be there and had absolutely no fear.

Right before Christmas we started talking it up quite a bit and visited her new classroom the last school day before Christmas. She knew her teachers' names, and she was ready. When I came home with her school gear, she insisted on carrying around her "pink packpack."

Playing in her pink kitchen with her "pink packpack"

On her first day, she demanded to carry it in herself, just like her brother does. It was way too heavy, and immediately she fell backwards. But she still insisted! So I carried it by the handle at the neck with the straps over her shoulders. When she got to her classroom, she stood at the door until they let her in. I had asked her to come with me to Jack's room first (right around the corner), but no. She didn't cry or fuss about it--she just stood and looked at her teachers like "isn't this where I'm supposed to be?" After I signed her in, she walked right through the door, and that was that. I love her confidence.

Needless to say, she's having a great time. She told us all about it on her way home and even named her friends she played with. She's even sleeping on her nap mat like a champ. I can already tell she's learning and becoming even more social than she already was. She's growing up so fast!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sick Day

I'm sitting on the opposite end of the couch from an almost two-year-old, strawberry blonde who kept me up most of the night last night. She ran fever, and as much as she's fever free now, she still doesn't feel good. I can tell because she's actually sitting still. She's propped up on a pillow with her favorite blanket and baby watching "Let It Go" i.e. Frozen.

Photo by Hailey Erickson

That is definitely her hand on her hip.

As I crawled into her eventual big girl bed last night around 12:45 and tucked her in beside me, I ran through our schedule for today, noting who I needed to call, and what would need to change about the day. There are many benefits to being home with my kids during this season, but as a former working mom, this is the biggest burden that has been lifted. I can stay home with my little sick ones without my work obligations hanging over my head. The war between being present for my sick child, yet keeping my responsibilities at work on track was enormous. I didn't give myself any grace from my own high performance expectations.

All that to say: I don't take for granted one second that I'm here with this little lady without much more than a text to my Tuesday morning Bible study group to say I won't make it.

Wherever you are today in your journey of motherhood, I pray on this Tuesday you find much grace and peace from the Great Giver, our Lord Jesus. He is everything.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Christmas Morning

This was the year of our little man's first bicycle (with helmet) and our little lady's pink kitchen.

We've had mostly windy, nasty, or way too cold weather since Christmas Day, so we can't wait until it clears up for some outdoor riding days, but until then, we'd love to high five Santa for the kitchen because it has proven to keep both kids busy for a long time.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Christmas 2014 In Summary

Like everyone else, we had a full December. And the time I would normally spend blogging about it went to watching the Gilmore Girls while the kids napped. True confession right there.

Per my 4th year of parenting MO, I waited longer than I could have to take the kids to see Santa. I wrote a little about that here, but below I've included what I think is my favorite Santa picture of all time. If you've never taken the kids to see the NorthPark Center Santa, in 2012 I gave more details about the process of getting a number and standing in line. It hasn't changed since then.

Could they be having more opposite experiences?

My parents took us on a carriage ride through the Christmas lights out of Highland Park Village. It's really magical. My dad had to go out of town for work unexpectedly after our reservation was made, so that's why he's not there. Here was our experience last year. We had supper at Mi Cocina and bundled up under the blankets for almost an hour ride.

Jack was a shepherd in his school Christmas program. He sang and tried not to smile for my pictures the entire time.

This last pic was taken on Christmas Eve in our church Welcome Center before I had to carry Annabelle out of the service after screaming during O Holy Night, then again during the next soloist. This was also before we let Jack blow out the candle, which he did so well that he also sent all the melted wax flying onto his and Brad's pants and shoes. As I was googling "how do I get wax out of clothes" on the way home Christmas eve, I laughed it off/consoled myself thinking that this is probably the biggest night of the year for those search terms.

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