Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs



Jacob has long heard stories from his crazy grandfather about Miss Peregrine's home, where Jacob's grandfather lived after becoming a war refugee--stories about children who could float on air, create fire in their hands, and lift boulders too heavy for any human to lift. Although Jacob's grandfather also has a set of photographs to support his stories, the entire family seems to agree that the photographs have obviously been doctored, though they can't really imagine why, other than the idea that Jacob's grandfather must have essentially crafted his own world after the terrible events that he experienced during wartime. However, after a horrific family tragedy, 16-year-old Jacob sets off to a remote island to learn more about his grandfather, as well as the mysterious Miss Peregrine who took him in.
...............................................................

It's no secret that I love to read. I read a lot, and the only downside to that fact is that sometimes the books start to feel a little repetitive--the characters, the plots, the dialogue. Sometimes, I feel like I've read them before, even when I haven't. Reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was the first time in a very long time that I felt like I was reading something truly new. Something I hadn't experienced before. You see, Miss Peregrine also uses strange and unusual photographs found at thrift stores and flea markets coupled with beautiful and engaging prose to weave a unique and engaging story.

All that said, there were two downsides to me when it came to reading Miss Peregrine--the first being that I checked it out on my Kindle from the library. While it was still readable on the Kindle, it was sometimes hard to really appreciate the beautiful black and white photos, and especially to read the accompanying text that occasionally went along with them. This might not be a big deal for some people, but I'm a total nerd for black and white photography, and probably would have enjoyed seeing the photographs in hard-copy a bit more. Second, I was initially pretty disappointed when it came to the ending since I didn't realize until several days after I finished that this is actually a series...which I suppose isn't all that bad since I loved the book. That said, I think the second book isn't slated to be released until 2013, and I usually just prefer to wait to read a series until all the books have been released (I've read that Tim Burton may direct a movie adaptation of the book, so perhaps that will tide me over!).

Overall, I found Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children to be really unique and engaging--I was more excited while reading it than I have been about a book in a long time, even though the book skews a bit sci-fi/paranormal, which is not often my genre of preference. Overall, it's definitely worth a read, just consider going with a hard-copy rather than the reader version!

Monday, January 30, 2012

January White

Last week, we planted some basil and chives in a little window planter--I planned to plant some paperwhites, actually, but couldn't find them anywhere. There's no snow here, but I was in desperate need of some green...some life...nevertheless.

I photographed these using my nifty fifty lens and some extension tubes, which tend to give a more "fuzzy" and ethereal look, which I usually don't particularly like, but fit my mood somehow this cold January morning. And then I came across this song, and laughed--because just yes, to all of it...painting the walls a lighter shade of blue and all :)

life0

So let's press undo.
Rearrange the old and call it new-
January white.

Every calendar is playing the same old trick:
A year will disappear, replaced with counterfeit
But we'll never really mind.

'cause if nothing else, we're given a little time
To change the game, a chance to redefine
Everything we are,
In our January white.

life1

This year is a sealed envelope,
A culmination of hopes,
The lottery result that we've been crossing fingers for.

We could paint our walls a lighter shade of blue,
Or we could pack our bags and change the entire view
To January white.

If nothing else, we're given a little time
To change the heart in which we change our minds;
Our hourglasses turn.

This year is a sealed envelope;
With apprehensive hope
We brace for anything.
I swear, I understand that nothing changes that,
The past will be the past,
But the future is brighter than any flashback.

life2

Well, we could let our guards down a little easier this time,
We could trust that when there's joy, there's nothing dark behind.
In spite of history,
Hope is January white.

This year, we're starting over again
Letter openers in hand,
A chance to take a chance.
I swear, I understand that the past will be the past,
And nothing changes that,
But the future is brighter than any flashback.

Song Credit: January White by Sleeping At Last (listen to this song on Song Cloud)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Thoughts


-Last night, after Lizzy finally went to sleep, I curled up with coffee spiked with whipped cream vodka and marshmallows, and watched Top Chef with Justin. I love that Justin watches Top Chef with me, even though it probably isn't in his top 5 list of favorite shows as it is mine. It was an excellent end to a crappy day.

-If you're wondering (and I'm sure you're not), my Top 5 List of Favorite TV Shows are as follows:
(1) Bones, (2) Top Chef, (3) The Closer, (4) Parenthood, (5) Fringe.

-I also now have the three major walls painted in the living room, which means the top of my agenda for today is putting everything BACK where it needs to go. The fourth wall and hallway (along with the floating shelves and such) will have to wait until Justin gets paid again, or possibly our tax return, but I'm okay with that.

-The other day, my sister-in-law Renee was over. Lizzy is very excited that Renee is pregnant and kept pointing to her belly and saying "Baby!" Renee asked Lizzy if she had a baby in her belly, and Lizzy very sternly said, "NO! Married first!" Yes, Lizzy, that is exactly right.

- Speaking of our tax return, we're hoping to use most of the money to put grass in the backyard, as well as to landscape the front a bit, and I'm excited. We have almost a quarter acre, but the backyard has been star thistle and GROSS since we moved in. We'll have to bring in dirt, and it will be a BIG project, but I am so excited at the thought of being able to play outside, in a fenced yard with my sweet girl this summer! I'm also excited about the different things we can do in the front! Of course, some major expense always seems to come up around tax time, so I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much...but that might be a lost cause.

-I made a version of this for dinner a few nights ago, and it was delicious. I'd never eaten orzo before! My version had tomatoes, spinach, chicken, black olives, and I meant to have feta, but apparently I was supposed to use my feta cheese by October 2011, so I nixed that idea and added some very finely grated cheddar instead.


-We've been getting up to do Insanity before Justin goes to work in the mornings. Usually, that means about 6am, but today it meant 5am...groan. Blech. Although, it is nice to be done working out, and sometimes done with Bible Study before Lizzy even wakes up (which fits in nicely with the Hello Mornings challenge that I'm doing and HIGHLY recommend! It's not a fun, easy, or enjoyable thing for me, but it does help me get more done!). I really need to take some before pictures for Insanity, but we're already four days in. Whoops.

-My real-life friend Maren is selling Valentine's Day Cards. They are super cute, AND she'll mail them for you. If you are in need, check her out!


Link up with Sar at Life of Love

Also linking up to:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The One Where I Ramble

The last couple of days have been all-around hard with Lizzy. On Sunday, Lizzy was throwing a temper tantrum at church. I sat her in a time-out, and she promptly dissolved into tears saying, "Belly hurting!" On that particular day, several of our family members happened to be out sick with the stomach flu, so I wasn't entirely sure whether she might be getting it too, or whether she was attempting to get out of her timeout early. I told her that if her belly was hurting, she could get out of her timeout and come sit on my lap, but that she could not go into nursery to play if her belly was hurting. She again said "Belly hurting!' and came to crawl on my lap, and stayed there for the rest of the service. She did seem rather wimpy.

Later that day, we came home and she was playing like usual. She ate like usual, and there wasn't another mention of 'belly hurting' at all. At some point later in the day, she received another time-out...and naturally, the first thing out of her mouth was "Mama! Belly hurting!" Needless to say, she stayed in that time-out.

I also thought that she had her two-year old molars already, but now I'm not so sure--she also keeps sticking her fingers waaaaayyyy back in her mouth and chewing, all the while saying that her mouth hurts and that she wants Motrin. 

Last night, in the car with Ryan and Renee, Lizzy proclaimed that she wanted Motrin. I asked her if her mouth hurt, and she said no. I responded that we only take Motrin when something hurts to make us feel better. She quickly responded, "Mouth hurting!" But she has been rather needy and clingy lately, so despite the fact that I think she's just developed a taste for Motrin, I also don't think she's feeling in tip-top shape.

Anyway, Lizzy was being relatively good this morning and seemed to be feeling okay aside from a bit of a stuffy nose, so we headed to Bible Study. During each session, while the kids are in childcare, the leader gives us ten minutes. She puts on music, and everyone is quiet. We're free to write, read, pray, or just sit with no one touching us. Just last night, I was telling Justin that it is the highlight of my day, and that I was particularly looking forward to it after a rough night last night with Lizzy.

We got into the car, and Lizzy immediately started screaming and crying because she wanted her Bible and it was at home. I debated turning around to go get it, just to have a relatively quiet car ride, but decided that was probably a bad plan in the long run...rewarding negative behavior and all. So we continued on. I figured by the time we got to church, she'd have gotten distracted by the kid songs or something. Only, she didn't. She continued throwing a huge fit, screaming "I WANT BABY JESUS NOW!!!!!"

I put her in a time-out at church, and she continued to scream and cry and kick about how she wanted her Bible...which admittedly is kind of funny. I mean, my kid was sitting in a timeout because she wanted to read about Baby Jesus. I mean, really she was sitting in a timeout because she was screaming, yelling, kicking, not listening, and generally driving me crazy, but you know what I mean. It IS a little funny.

Anyway, after the timeout, we talked and she calmed down, and she asked to come sit with me in the study, which I told her was fine as long as she could be quiet. After a few minutes, she asked to go to nursery, so we went. I came back to the group for discussion. Shortly thereafter, we heard a kid crying, but the nursery is far enough away that we couldn't really tell whose kid it was. One of my friends went to go check on the kids and came back carrying a hysterical Lizzy. So much for the 10 minutes of quiet time.

I tried a number of different things to calm her down, but it just became apparent that it wasn't happening. She was chewing on her fingers again and saying "Ow! Ow!". I asked her if her mouth was hurting, and she said no, but was just crying and seemed miserable. I remembered the pediatrician telling me once that if I think she might be growing/teething/etc, to go ahead and give her a dose of Motrin even if I'm not sure. He said that it isn't going to hurt, but MIGHT help, which in his opinion is worth it if done occasionally. So, I told her we were going to leave and go get some Motrin. We went and got Logan, and I loaded them up in the car.

And y'all? Once they were all buckled in, Lizzy started sing-songing, "Lizzy being naugh-ty, Lizzy being naugh-ty. Lizzy make mama sad! Lizzy being naugh-ty!" And LAUGHING. It became apparent that even if she isn't feeling 100%, I had also just seriously gotten played. I was furious. And also trying not to cry. Because really, we're several days into this tightrope act of her legitimately not feeling good versus using saying that she's not feeling good in order to avoid doing something she doesn't want to do or avoid the consequences of her doing something naughty.

We were invited to my sister-in-laws for lunch, but I called and told her no. We came home, and I rocked Lizzy to sleep for a nap after lunch. I should be painting right now because our living room is still in complete disarray. I'll paint soon. But for now, I'm just tired, and I need a minute.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Big Old (Painting) Mess

Our house is in a state of complete chaos...because I'm painting the living room. We'd picked up a ton of paint samples and taped them up to the wall, moving them around and checking them out in different light. Justin and I had differing favorites, but both also loved a third swatch by Glidden, which I was planning to see if I could have color matched to Behr. I've never used Glidden, but knew I liked Behr, so I figured why mess with a good thing. I had been holding off though because the nearest Home Depot is a bit of a trek from us, and it didn't seem worth it to drive out there just for paint--I'd wait til Justin got paid next, and we were out in that direction.

And then yesterday I was at Wal-Mart and remembered that Better Homes & Gardens has paint now, and it's made by Glidden. I had the swatch in my purse, so I headed to the counter, and sure enough, they could mix me up a gallon. I knew we could probably shuffle a few things around in our budget to make it work to buy one gallon and get started, so I went for it.


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I'm not sure that I love it right now--it's definitely not quite as saturated of a blue as the photos I had for inspiration. But, it was definitely one of our favorites of the swatches when we saw it in all the different types of light and all the different walls (the wall on the right in the photo above seems to always be significantly darker than the rest of the room--probably because we don't have any overhead lights), so I'm pretty sure we'll like it once it's all painted and our stuff is back as usual. It's a lot less dreary and depressing than the gray (which my dad totally warned me about when we painted initially, but I didn't listen), so that's a plus.

Also, the paint is okay. I don't like it as much as Behr--it feels a little thinner, and I feel like I have to stir it more often while I'm painting. But, it's not a bad paint for the price point.


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I've decided that painting when you have to shuffle around furniture, play kitchens, and a gazillion books is 856 times (rough estimate) more difficult than painting an empty house. I can't wait to be finished! In the meantime, I think we'll have a few Dora filled days around here.

PS- I mentioned that I want to do floating shelves on that wall as part of the wall gallery. Before, our floating shelves were espresso. They might still be usable, but got pretty banged up in the garage, so we may end up buying more anyway. If we do, would you buy white, or espresso? Our couches and bookshelves are espresso, but our desk (which the shelves will be above), a bench, the trim, and a few other pieces of furniture in this room are white...and then there's the hutch that is more cherry and doesn't match anything else in the room. Not sure which direction to go, and would love some advice.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Messy Mom Monday, Week 2



I'm back for another edition of Messy Mom Monday...and my house is still messier than I'd like, which I think will probably sufficiently describe it for the next 16+ years. Anyway, today I thought I'd focus not so much on the actual messiness of our house, but another way that moms can be a little bit messy--emotionally and/or mentally:

1) J and I drove over to the city where my parents live on Saturday because I had a photo shoot of a banquet scheduled. So, I got all my stuff together, dragged out a pair of slacks that sort-of fit, and had Justin drop me off....only to realize that the banquet is next Saturday. All our communication clearly states the 28th, but for some reason, I had it in my head that it was the 21st. So that was awkward, showing up to the venue and talking to the front desk person, who clearly thought I was a dumb blonde idiot. And I felt like an idiot. I don't know what I was thinking, but I'm just SO GLAD that I was a week early instead of a week late. Still, at least we got to eat dinner and visit with my fam!

2) I'm still a little bit of a mess regarding the whole mystery bruise experience. Even though they clearly told me that they successfully removed all the skin cancer, any time I have a stomach ache, or get a bruise, or notice that a softball scar I've had since middle school has a bit of a purple-ish tint to it, I still have a hard time not thinking that it's cancer and that I'm going to die. I know it doesn't make sense, but it's just kind of weird and hard to go from months and months of worrying and being terrified, to one day being fine and not having to think about it anymore.

3) I've disabled anonymous comments on this blog. I had been allowing them because my parents, Justin, and a few other real-life friends who don't have blogs of their own comment every once in awhile, and I like hearing from them. However, after I was left a mean and snarky anonymous comment on my last post about Lizzy, I realized that the vast majority of anonymous comments I receive are either spam, or some sort of snarky/mean comment. All my friends and family should still be able to comment through Open ID, so I just see no reason for allowing the anonymous comments any more. ETA--The Open ID thing is a bit trickier than I thought, so I've just decided to enable comment moderation instead, for the time being. We'll see how that goes!

I wish I could say that the mean or negative comments are easy for me to brush off, but they aren't always, even though the support from my husband and others who know us in real life should easily trump one nasty comment. I KNOW it wasn't that big of a deal, but it still hurts a little.. It makes me sad, because I pride myself on being honest here, sharing the good and bad, the messy and otherwise.

It also makes me sad that as far as I can tell from the stats (because even when you post anonymously, it isn't completely anonymous), this wasn't a troll--this was someone who reads and visits fairly regularly. It makes me sad that that person, didn't just sign in and comment something like, 'Hey, when you tell stories about Lizzy talking, do you translate or paraphrase what she's saying? It sounds like she's saying a lot more than most 2 year old kids I know,'...because that's a question I'd be happy to answer.

You don't have to be nice to me, though it does hurt my feelings when you're not. You don't have to agree with me, or with everything that I write. But the messy truth is that I think that if you can't even stand behind the negative remarks you make, you probably already know that you're in the wrong. I really try avoid stooping to the level of the mean comments, but the messy truth is that in my opinion, if you resort to being an anonymous snark, that makes you a sucky person. Or maybe just someone who has some emotional messes yourself. I don't know. But, I do know that I'm willing to admit that I just don't want to deal with the anonymous snark anymore, so I'm not going to.

Thanks for letting me be real--messiness and all :) Have some messes of your own? Link up at Living in the Moment or Dude and Sweets!

{More evidence that I'm a mess mentally sometimes? I definitely just wrote "Licking in the Moment" Heh.}

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lizzy's Spreading Rumors.

This morning, Lizzy saw me reading Katie's post about her sweet little baby #2. She pointed to Katie's belly and asked, "Baby in there?"

I told her yes, Katie has a baby in her belly.

"She married?" Lizzy asked. A few days ago, she asked me when she could have a baby in her belly, and I told her after she got married. Since then, she has been very interested in whether or not various people we know are married, and also who she could marry someday, and when.

"Yes baby, Katie is married."

"Oh. Sure!" Lizzy responded, and then went about playing while I finished up reading Katie's blog, leaving the longest comment ever, and then getting ready to take Lizzy to an assembly at church where the missionary that the school sponsors was coming to speak. Suddenly, I heard Lizzy screaming at the top of her lungs, "MY MAMA HAVING A BABY! YAY! LIZZY BIG SISTER! MY MAMA HAVING A BABY!"

My immediate thoughts were two-fold: (a) this is news to me, and (b) THIS should be really fun to explain over and over again at church...where my mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law all work! Luckily, she quickly moved on to some other topic and the crisis was averted. But seriously...my kid is starting rumors here!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday Thoughts


{one}
I get my stitches out today. FINALLY. They are driving me crazy. Starting yesterday, they started to itch terribly and are getting red and a little painful. Most people I've consulted said it looks like they're just ready to come out rather than that they're infected...I hope the doctor agrees!

{two}
I'm excited to hopefully get back to some real exercise soon. I've been walking on the treadmill with some regularity since I had the stitches, but after years of playing competitive sports, walking just doesn't feel like a "real" workout to me--which is probably something I need to get over. I know intuitively that it should just be about moving my body in some way every day, but I really love to feel that burn and exhaustion of really killing myself.

{three}
I'm starting to get the D&R itch (decorating & renovating for any non-nesties out there). First of all, I definitely want to paint the living room...a light blue sort of like this:


Or maybe this, though the paint color may be a little bright in this one:


I prefer Behr paint (or something that Behr will color match)--any suggestions? I also think I want to re-do our gallery wall to incorporate some floating shelves. My parents got us the most amazing wireless printer for Christmas, but it takes up a big portion of our computer desk (and even though it's wireless, the desk really is the best spot for it in our home). I was thinking that if we incorporated some shelves into our gallery wall, I might be able to find some cute hanging folders and/or boxes, they could help with the stray paper issue we're experiencing!


But as always...it's a juggle between all of the projects that I WANT to do (i.e. build a table, organize our spare room, organize the garage), and having the time and money to do them!

{four}
You may (or may not) have noticed that my blog was blacked out yesterday in protest against SOPA. You may be sick to death about hearing about SOPA (good--have you done something about it?), or you may be wondering why people online are having such a fit about a piece of legislation designed to stop online piracy. Here's the deal--the idea of stopping online piracy and copyright infringement is a good one. However, this particular piece of legislation is pretty poorly written with lots of holes, and the practical application for a good portion of the internet, including bloggers, is SCARY. I'm not suggesting that there shouldn't be a piece of legislation designed to combat piracy (in fact, there's been an alternative piece of legislation drawn up by my own Oregonian senator that, with some tweaks, might be a good alternative), I'm just suggesting that THIS particular piece of legislation is a bad one. This article "Everything you need to know about Congress' online piracy bills in one post" is an excellent recap.

Link up, over at Life of Love

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book Review: What Women Fear by Angie Smith



From the back of the book: In What Women Fear acclaimed writer and speaker Angie Smith admits, "Fear is a major part of my testimony" as she talks openly about significant struggles she has experienced. Giving a voice to the problem, she says, "I truly believe every single one of us struggles with some type of fear, whether it's fear of flying for fear of being 'found out.' Maybe you don't worry about dying, but you get sick thinking about the fact that you might fail." 

Instead of suggesting that those who love the Lord would never fear, Angie blends her own experiences with those of men and women throughout Scripture to help us start dealing more effectively with these true, human emotions.

Over the past few years, I've read quite a few books that approach fear and/or anxiety from a Biblical perspective. Anxiety and fear were something that I dealt with on a near daily basis while pregnant, and so I was desperately looking for a way to calm my mind and experience some peace. Then again, when I found out that I had skin cancer, my library list was filled with books that I hoped would help me through the situation.

Unfortunately, I felt like most of the books I chose essentially said either, 'Because of Jesus we just don't need to be afraid of earthly things' or 'God says not to fear--the end'...which is all well and good, but not so helpful when you're already in the midst of fear and/or anxiety. Thankfully, Angie Smith's book was different--just as the back of the book mentioned, Angie took an approach of saying that we are all going to experience fears, but that there are a lot of great examples in Scripture for how to deal with those fears while we're in the weeds

And more than that....more importantly than that...Angie is real in her writing. I'm going to be blatantly honest here--sometimes when I'm reading books by Christian authors, I don't get a sense of authenticity. Sure, they may share about small difficulties or frustrations, but I do sometimes feel like I'm hearing from the illusion of a person rather than the real person. I know they're probably not perfect people in real life, but sometimes that's how it comes across on the page. It's a lot like what we talked about yesterday for Messy Mom Monday--Angie is willing to share not only what she has together, but also what she doesn't. She's candid about the parts of her life that are a little messy, and that in turn encouraged me (again) that I don't have to be perfect to be a woman after God's own heart.

Overall: 


That said, one caveat that I hate saying, but sincerely hope Angie would understand if for some strange reason she ever came across this review-- if you're unfamiliar with Angie Smith, she has an amazing blog called Bring the Rain that was initially started after she and her husband found out that the daughter that she was pregnant with would not survive. As you might expect, Angie talks about her experience and her story in What Women Fear as well. Angie's writing about her daughter Audrey is beautiful, tragic, inspiring, and absolutely worth reading...but I probably couldn't have read it while I was pregnant. Heck, I couldn't even read fiction about pregnancy loss while I was pregnant, and HATED when I'd be deeply immersed in a book only to discover storyline about pregnancy loss (The Time Traveler's Wife, anyone?!), and often wished that someone would have included some sort of warning so that I could have made a better decision about whether or not to read a particular book at that particular time based on my own mental health. Maybe that's just me, but ever since then, I've tried to include such disclosures about books that I'm reading...so that's what I'm doing here. I hope you all understand.


Disclosure Statement: I paid for What Women Fear out of my own pocket, and did not receive any payment or perks for writing this review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Messy Mom Monday


Brittany and Jess are hosting a new link-up called Messy Mom Monday--getting real about the fact that virtually no moms have it all together all the time, even though it may look like it sometimes. I'm not sure if I've ever told this story before on the blog or not, but not too long after Lizzy was born, I remember looking at some other moms that I knew and thinking, I just don't understand how they do it! Their homes were always spotless. They were always posting on Facebook about their from-scratch cooking, the many novels that they were reading, their great 10 mile run, the hilarious TV they were watching, AND the great Beth Moore studies that they were doing. And here I thought it was a good day if I got a shower.

And then when I was talking with a few of the moms one day, one of them mentioned that they had been hiring a high school girl to come clean their house. Another mentioned that she has her kids go to daycare one day a week, and that's when she does her long runs and cleans the house. Another told me that they just shove everything into their back bedroom anytime someone is coming over. It was like an epiphany to me--they aren't perfect, I just thought they were. It can be a lonely place to think that you're the only person who doesn't have it all together all the time, and that's what I think this link-up is all about...letting ourselves be real once in awhile, and hopefully letting others know that it is okay for them to be real too.

.............................................

Here's my sweet adorable girl this morning...she's on the couch watching Dora while I lay in bed and blog.

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But let's back up and get a fuller picture of the room, no?
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It's amazing what you can hide in photos.

Our laundry situation is out of control right now. I wasn't able to do laundry at all last week and hadn't done much the previous week either, so it was a little outrageous. We made some good progress this weekend, but left two loads on the couch yesterday morning ready to be folded after church...and then didn't end up back home until 10pm. So there they still sit...along with numerous other piles of laundry that need to be washed and sorted through.

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The buffet is still a mess from Lizzy's birthday last week. And the photo that I took to show you? I have no idea what happened there, but it ended up looking like this:

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And our spare bedroom? Oh my GOSH you guys...it has become the dumping ground lately for everything that we don't have a home for anywhere else. We desperately need to add some money in the budget for Rubbermaid containers to get this under control!

But, Justin only has a week or so left on his high-paying job site, and so I'm leery about actually spending that money instead of putting it in savings. I mean, I can always just shut the spare bedroom door.

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Go link up with Jess or Brittany and share your Messy Mom Monday post with us!

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Letter to the Fashion Industry

Dear Fashion Industry,

I'm not a fashion blogger. I'm not a particularly fashionable person. I'm fully aware that this letter of mine will probably fall of deaf ears...but I have to say it anyway:

I am beyond tired of the sizing inconsistencies
in women's clothing.

Fashion Industry

{The first three pairs of jeans are all Gap Long & Lean jeans in various sizes. You can see that the sizing is inconsistent among those three pairs of jeans alone. The back-most pair of jeans is a pair of Old Navy jeans for comparison. According to the sizing charts a size 12 pair of Old Navy jeans should be one inch smaller than the waist measurement of a size 14 Gap jeans, but in reality, they're the same. Just as another point of reference, the 10 longs are the oldest pair--probably from 2006.}

Can I please just say it again? I am beyond tired of the sizing inconsistencies in women's clothing. On several occasions lately, I've ordered the same pair of pants/jeans from the same company in the same size and same style but different colors, and found myself looking at two totally different sized pairs of pants.

Justin does not have this problem. He walks into a store, buys pants with a 33 inch waist, and miracle of all miracles, the waist measures 33 inches. I wish that were the case for women's clothing too--that there was at least some sort of consistency in sizing, both inner-brand and among different brands as well.

I'm tired of having to spend an inordinate amount of time in the dressing room trying on jeans--sometimes several different pairs of the same size because the measurements vary so much from pair to pair--to find a pair that fits. It is getting a little ridiculous.


And why? Some say it's a product of vanity sizing--that manufacturers label their clothes to be smaller than they really are, in hopes that women will buy more pants once they discover that they are a size 2 instead of a size 10. But if that were the case, wouldn't you expect more consistent sizing within one particular store or brand? Because if a woman is elated to be a size 2 rather than a 10, wouldn't it also stand to reason that she would likely be upset to grab a new pair in size 2 one day and discover that they don't fit?

There has got to be a better way. Is it really so crazy to want sizing to return to being a tool or guideline used to quickly select the clothing that is most likely to fit? I know it's not going to be perfect all the time. I don't expect it to be. I know there would probably be some variation from brand to brand..but surely we could aspire to do better than a sizing system that is virtually meaningless.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Because you KNOW we're way overdue for some snippets.


[one]
I'm feeling remarkably less-sore today. In fact, I think that after my allergy shot, I'm going to hit up the grocery store. I have a feeling I may very well regret this decision since it is a bag-your-own type place, but I'm going to do it anyway since I'd rather cuddle on the couch with Justin and watch Bones than go grocery shopping once he's home. Update: I did it. We're done and unpacked, and I'll be useless for the rest of the day. Ouch.

[two]
We've been following a new budget plan this month--it's a cross between Dave Ramsey and You Need A Budget (thank you Laura for the recommendation!). In a nutshell, we used to budget out all our set bills, and then say "okay, we have $XX left for everything else for the rest of the month." But then, when Justin needed new work pants or something, we'd say "Oh, we can't afford that," but then spend that same amount if not more on...I'm not even sure. Random stops at the Dollar Store. Junk. Now, we're budgeting every single penny, and in turn, we're using our money to buy more of the good stuff and less of the junk. Even better, we're actually holding regular money meetings--I'm convinced that communication was/is half the battle.

[three]
My post about how to use your 50mm lens as a makeshift macro was featured on BlogHer--yay! If you missed it the first time, be sure to check it out!

[four]
I'm feeling like I'm in a bit of a book slump again--Divergent, Matched, and Legend all came up for me at the library within the past couple weeks, and although they were all good, I feel like I've been reading nothing but teenage-distopian-love-stories lately. I need something new. Any suggestions?

[five]
Lizzy's at a little bit of a hard stage right now. It's just pouting and whining central. Case in point? The following conversation we just had:
Lizzy: Mama, I want Bible.
Me: Lizzy, we left it in the car. I'll get it for you after I unload the groceries.
Lizzy: Mammmaaaaa! I waaaaaannnnt Bible.
Me: I'll get it when I'm done.
Lizzy: Maaaammmaaaaa! I waaaaannnnntttt Biiiiiibbbbbblllleeeee!
I ignore her while unloading groceries.
Lizzy: Mamaaaaaaaaaa!!!! I waaaaaannnntttt Biiiible! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Bible! Bible! I want Bible! I nneeeeeeeeedddd Bible! I love Jesus! I need Bible! Maaaaaaammmmmaaaa! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Bible! Bible! I waaaaaannnnnnnttttt Bible!
Me: Lizzy, is that the nice way to ask for something?
Lizzy: No. Sorry mama. C'mere. I show you something. I waaaaaaannnnnnnnttttt gum.

You can link up your Thursday Thoughts over at Life of Love!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rest & A Question About Naptime

Today, a lot of the ladies from my mom's group started a new Bible Study (Becoming a Woman of Simplicity by Cynthia Heald). During the video, she commented about how it's not only the trivial that clutters our lives, but the important as well, and that it can be hard to be still...hard to stop. I almost laughed out loud.

See, normally when Lizzy is down for a nap, I run around trying to workout, shower, clean up the house, pay bills, etc. I often long for an excuse to just lay around reading books, browsing the internet, nap, catch up on DVR'ed tv shows, or just generally do nothing. In fact, not too long ago when Beth Anne (who I still think of as Blair, and probably always will) was sick with the flu, I think I told her on Twitter that I would love to be ordered by a doctor to stay in bed and do nothing (though I could do without the flu portion of things).

HA. HA. HA. 

Since Friday, I've pretty much been ordered to do just that--rest.I'm not supposed to pick up Lizzy. I'm not really supposed to do housework...although I've broken that rule a couple of times to do dishes, and definitely hurt afterwards. I'm not supposed to exercise. I'm just supposed to lay here and read, nap, watch TV, and rest.

It's much harder than I thought it would be. For as much as I used to long for a whole week of doing nothing, I really had no idea how restless it would make me! But, I'm trying to be good and follow the rules, because other than the fact that I need to be good to my body and let it heal, I'm also sure that by next week when I'm back to go-go-going, I'll be craving those slow, quiet afternoons to read. And maybe I just need to find some sort of balance between the two--maybe one free pass each week to just read and relax during nap time rather than to achieve and accomplish.We'll see...I need to think on it some more.

I'd also love to hear from other moms--if you're home while your kiddo naps, what do you use that nap time for? Is that your time to clean the house? Is it your time to workout? Is it your time to read or take a nap? Your time to craft? To catch up on blogs? Let me please be very clear that I don't think any of those things are the "right" thing to do--I'm just curious how other moms use that time!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Letter to Lizzy- You're Two!

Lizzy,

Today, you are officially two. Twenty-four months. Two YEARS old. We had family over for your second birthday party on Sunday afternoon, and you had a blast.

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Your dad and I got you a kid-sized baby grand piano as your gift. Even though it was exactly the price that we had budgeted, we really debated about whether or not to get it for you since you already have a number of BIG toys, but this photo totally justified our decision for me. You LOVE it, and it warms my heart to hear you sing Jesus Loves Me and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star into the microphone at the top of your lungs!

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I remember not long after you were born thinking ahead and wondering what our life would be like when you were two. In some ways, it's just as I imagined--you are spunky, talkative, hilarious, and sometimes an exhausting hand-full. You love music and books. You hate sleep. You want to read the story of baby Jesus being born every single night, and want a banana for breakfast every single morning. You desperately want to go to school like your older cousins, and I have to tell you that we're going to "school" when I take you to Toddlers in the Library just to placate you. :)

In other ways, it's a little different--at first, I imagined that we'd have another little baby, or that I'd at least be pregnant by the time you were two. Even though that part of our life isn't as I had originally anticipated, I'm just so stinking happy with where we are now. So blessed. You are the best, sweetest, smartest, most beautiful little girl to your dad and I...and we can't wait to see who you become as you continue to grow. I know you're going to be amazing.

Love you forever and for always,
Mom

Monday, January 9, 2012

{Hopefully} The Last Mystery Bruise Update

So, Justin and I headed up to Portland last Thursday for the Moh's Procedure to remove my weird mystery bruise/skin cancer. I think I mentioned before that I had been terrified that I'd get up to Portland and that they'd tell me that it was everywhere and that they were unable to achieve clear margins--I'm happy to report that was not the case. After two rounds of the procedure, they came out to tell me that they got it all, and then had the plastic surgery fellow come to stitch me back up. The procedure itself wasn't that bad at all--I was completely numb the whole time, and only felt one instance where they cauterized the wound. And the whole OHSU staff was just amazing and incredible.

Afterwards, we headed out to The Cheesecake Factory (thank you Sara!) for our celebratory lunch/dinner...and unfortunately, we were both so hungry and scarfed down the food so fast that the only photo that really turned out was this one:

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Before The Cheesecake Factory, we stopped by Target--I usually start a new prayer journal/blessings journal at the beginning of each calendar year, but I hadn't gotten one yet for 2012. This felt like a good opportunity--my New Year's Eve. In the car, I told Justin that this has been something that I worried and feared about for so long...it almost doesn't feel like it's over. I have to keep reminding myself that I don't have to worry about it anymore.

Later that night, we went out to dinner with my aunt and uncle. I was still stuffed, but enjoyed some French Onion Soup and an apple cider with a shot of cinnamon rum. I hadn't read the instructions that told me not to drink for five days. Whoops.

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Lizzy was doing great with my parents, so we made the decision to stay Friday night as well and head back Saturday morning. We stopped at the outlet malls on the way home as well as Rice Hill--I have to admit though that I wasn't as impressed with it as when I was younger. The prices are kind of outrageous now!

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It was kind of a hard car ride home--I'm really sore. Even though the spot itself isn't that big, I'm sore from my shoulder to my waist. The doctor did say that they went pretty deep, so that may be part of it. This next photo shows my stitches, so if you puke at the sight of stuff like that (MOM), don't look!

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I'm *still* really sore...and I'm not supposed to pick Lizzy up at all for a week, which should pretty much be impossible. Justin fell asleep on the couch this afternoon (Sunday), and I'm already feeling a little overwhelmed about the next week just based on the time that he's been asleep. I guess it just feels like now that we're home, we're jumping right back into everything, but I just don't feel physically ready to do that yet. I'm not ready for the night meetings and nights away from home for Justin--I'm not even sure how I'm going to hold up just during the DAYS while he's at work! At least Monday and Wednesday should be okay during the day--I watch Logan, which is a *blessing* because it means that Logan and Lizzy will play and (hopefully) I'll be able to rest a bit more. Still, it feels kinda obnoxious to be complaining about being sore, tired, or jealous that Justin is napping and I'm not--the major thing is that the skin cancer is gone!

One more little story--the night before the procedure, in my prayer journal I copied down the words to "Blessed Be Your Name" by Tree 63. It was my prayer that whatever the outcome, I'd still be able to claim in my heart that God is good. I sang the song in my head the whole time they did the procedure to calm myself down. And then today when I got to church? Guess what song we sang as our hymn of praise? Blessed Be Your Name. No one (not even Justin) knew that was the song that had been getting me through the last couple of days. Sure did feel like a God-thing to me...


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tall Girl Problems

We're Portland-bound today. My little surgery/procedure is tomorrow morning at 8:45am. A couple of people have asked what they can pray for, and the answer is (a) my sanity and (b) that they're able to achieve clear margins.

It would be SUPER amazing if we went up there and they said that they had got it all on the first shot, but I'm not holding out too much hope for that. I'm pretty stressed about it honestly, but trying not to think about it too much. So, instead, I thought I'd post some of these "tall girl problems" that I found on Pinterest, because they're hilarious and totally true, even though they use my least favorite font in the whole world.









Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Things That Make No Sense--Volume 1


 I've been noticing that with increasing frequency, the Kindle version of books cost more than the paperback version.  Here's a sampling of books that I looked up on Amazon today:


Her Fearful Symmetry (Audrey Niffengger): Paperback $5.42/ Kindle $11.99
The Other Boleyn Girl (Philippa Greggory): Paperback $10.88/ Kindle $12.99
Bossypants (Tina Fey): Paperback $10.87/ Kindle $12.99
The Help (Kathryn Stockett): Paperback $8.99/ Kindle $9.99
One Upon A Time There Was You (Elizabeth Berg): Paperback $10.20/ Kindle $11.99
The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted (Elizabeth Berg): Paperback $10.20/ Kindle $11.99
I Am the Messenger (Marcus Zuzak): Paperback $8.79/ Kindle $9.99
Sarah’s Key (Tatiana de Rosnay): Paperback $8.93/ Kindle $9.99

To me, this makes no sense--there are no printing costs associated with a Kindle version, so what could possibly justify charging more for a digital file than is charged for the paperback version, which requires paper, ink, etc?! I have yet to see a reasonable explanation for this phenomenon, and until I do, I REFUSE to purchase Kindle versions of books that are priced higher than their paperback versions. Take that. But seriously, isn't this a little bit laughable? It just plain old doesn't make sense.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Snippets

- The Ducks won the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1917 (I think) yesterday! Quack Quack! We had some friends and family over to watch the game, and I'm so glad we did. It was just a fun, stress-free day. And I so welcome staying busy this week, because it gives me less time to sit and let my mind wander to our trip to Portland at the end of the week.

-Speaking of the trip to Portland, I had a full-blown anxiety attack on New Year's Eve. It came out of nowhere. We were laying in bed, about to go to sleep, and all of a sudden, my heart was racing and I could hardly breathe. Suddenly, I was absolutely petrified that we'll get up to Portland for the procedure on Friday, and the doctor will tell me that my skin cancer is incredibly advanced, and that I'm like the one person in the world to which it has actually metastasized and that the prognosis is terrible. I have no reason to think this is the case...everything my doctor has told me has indicated and demonstrated that the exact opposite is true. And in my logical part of my brain, I know that. But the unknown is scary, and my brain starts following terrible trains of thought--You're already in an incredibly small percentage of people who have this type of skin cancer. What makes you think you won't be one of the small percentage of those for whom it is deadly?

It makes me mad. Mad that I'm spending the time worrying about it. Mad that I can't get the thought out of my head even though I KNOW worrying about it now won't do anything to prevent or change it if that is in fact the case. Logically, I *know* that it is pointless to worry until/unless I am explicitly given a reason to worry. But sometimes, it's hard not to be a little scared of the unknown. So, on New Years Eve, I just laid in bed singing songs in my head, and eventually fell asleep.

- Before the anxiety attack, the band spent New Year's Eve playing a concert for Celebrate Recovery. It was a ton of fun! Here's a video re-cap (shot with a point and shoot camera, so the quality isn't perfect). The first song in the mash-up is one of the ones that I sing in my head when I start to feel that fear/anxiety creep into my mind. It's called "Give Me Peace" and the chorus goes: Give me peace, I am weary with no rest. Give strength to my weary hands in this mess. Take a listen if you wish--in the second song of the mash-up, you can even hear J sing!




-In fun Portland news though, my former-sort-of-roommate Sara sent J and I a gift certificate for The Cheesecake Factory, which I am REALLY excited about! She and Lisa have been spoiling me rotten these past couple of months! Can you believe I've never eaten at The Cheesecake Factory before? What's good?

What I Read in 2011

I can't believe I read 51 books in 2011. Holy COW. Rocking Lizzy to sleep for her naps has done wonders for my reading time! You know, it's interesting--last year I read only 26 books, but once I identified my favorites, they represented roughly 30% of the total. This year? We're at just about the same percentage. Is that weird or what?! Anyway, my favorites are in bold below. And I'd love it if you'd tell ME your favorite book that you read in 2011!

#1- Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
#2- The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
#3- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
#4- Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels
#5- The Story Jar by Deborah Bedford, Angela Elwell Hunt, and Robin Lee Hatcher
#6- Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
#7-The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
#8- Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo
#9- The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston
#10- The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
#11- The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg
#12-Under the Dome by Stephen King
#13- Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
#14- The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
#15- Posh by Lucy Jackson
#16- Rescue by Anita Shreve
#17- A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz
#18- The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard
#19- Little Bee by Chris Cleave
#20- If I Stay by Gayle Forman
#21- Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld
#22- A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
#23- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
#24- Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
#25- What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
#26- A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
#27-Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
#28-The Kid by Sapphire
#29- Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
#30-The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi Durrow
#31- These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
#32- Room by Emma Donoghue
#33- Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong
#34- Slow Love by Dominique Browning
#35-An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
#36- The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
#37- 31 Days to Clean- Having a Martha House the Mary Way by Sarah Mae
#38-The Bake-Off by Beth Kendrick
#39- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
#40-Food Rules by Michael Pollan
#41 Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
#42- Friendship Bread by Darien Gee
#43-Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
#44-Love at First Bark by Julie Klam
#45- In the Woods by Tana French
#46- The Likeness by Tana French
#47-Faithful Place by Tana French
#48-Little Face by Sophie Hannah
#49-Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
#50- Matched by Allyson Condie
#51- Divergent by Veronica Roth

And here's my list from 2010:

#1- A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
#2- The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve
#3- The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart
#4- The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
#5- Talk Before Sleep By Elizabeth Berg
#6- The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover
#7- Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
#8- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
#9-Island of Lost Girls by Jennifer McMahon
#10- The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
#11- The Next Thing On My List by Jill Smolinski
#12- Blue Shoe by Anne Lamott
#13- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
#14- The Girls by Lori Lansens
#15-Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
#16- Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
#17- Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
#18- A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve
#19- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
#20 The Host by Stephenie Meyer
#21- Never Tell Our Business to Strangers: A Memoir by Jennifer Mascia
#22- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
#23- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
#24- The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
#25- Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon
#26- Hector and the Search For Happiness by Fracois Lelord
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