Saturday, May 25, 2013

Weekend Links - May 25, 2013

News of the week (drumroll please): we closed on the house we were selling! Hooray! Yippee! And all that good stuff.

Which means we are (depending on how you look at it): homeless (this is the joke Philip is telling) or Debt Free (which is how I'm choosing to look at it since our mortgage was our only debt).

Now to find a house large enough for 2 adults and 5 kids, in a decent neighborhood, and for the right (read: low) price. It's kind of overwhelming, this house hunting thing.

And before I forget: Happy Birthday to my baby sister (tomorrow is her big day). I won't tell you how old she is. Teasing folks about getting older is not as fun when you're a whole 7 years older.

On to the links!

Spiritual / Inner Life
Marriage / Parenting
Education / Homeschooling
Pins of the Week:
Have I ever mentioned my intense love for guacamole? This pin made me want to lick the screen. (Fear not, I did not actually do so. Not least because our 2 year old has been known to lick the screen. Gross.)

So, what did you stumble on this week?
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Five Question Friday

1. Do you wake before the alarm or stay in bed until the last possible second?
Last second. I'm one of those crazy folks who would rather set the alarm for the minute I need to get up and then just GET UP ALREADY. My husband, who actually uses the alarm (I get up and go to sleep with the Baby Boy these days), prefers the "set the alarm for an hour early and then hit snooze every nine minutes until he finally gets up" method.

Drives. Me. Nuts.

2. Who should get a baby shower? Is it just the first baby or all babies?
I grew up in Tennessee where they threw a shower for every baby.

Now I live in Ohio and it's One Shower Per Customer Per Lifetime.

Naturally, I'll admit that I prefer the Tennessee way. But, I also appreciate those folks up here who, though they do not throw a shower, still help out the growing family and celebrate each new baby.

Babies are always an occasion for celebrating, even if you don't have a shower.

3. How will you spend Memorial Day?
This is the first year in a long time I won't be spending it with my paternal grandparents and extended family. I am sad about that.

However, my in-laws are coming in for a visit and we get to spend the weekend with them and I am happy about that. We'll probably grill something and play games but I have no idea what our specific plans are.

4. Do you have a Storm/Hurricane/Tornado/Fire plan for your kids, house..?
Well, we did at our other house. We just talked about what we would do here in the rental house this week. We need to spend a little more time on this, honestly.

5. What is your favorite morning drink?
I drink a hot cup of Constant Comment tea every morning. I also usually drink some OJ to take my allergy pill and a vitamin. I'm not sure those are my "favorite" morning drinks ever but they are pretty set routine.

So, what are your plans for the long weekend?
This post is linked to Five Question Friday at My Little Life.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Spiritual Lessons from Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea has been talking to us - serious talks - for several months about salvation, baptism, serving God and such like things.

She has talked to her granddad (also our pastor) about these same things.

On Mother's Day Sunday night, she told our church that God has saved her and that she wants to be obedient to Him in baptism.

This is all, of course, very exciting.

Now a confession for you: I'm a confident mom. I do not second guess our parenting decisions very often. I do not worry about my kids not having their own rooms, or the latest gadgets or really, about a lot of things that other moms seem to worry about.

But I do feel the burden of spiritually raising our children. I'm afraid they just know the "right" answers without truly understanding what they mean. I'm afraid of putting them off too long when they do know what God wants. I'm afraid of raising Christian-ized Hypocrites. But I'm also afraid of raising Couldn't Care Less Rebels.

The Spiritual aspect is the Real Deal, Important part of parenting and it scares me. Which is when I need to realize, yes, I am inadequate. But God is not.

So, anyway, after Sweet Pea's big announcement we were back home and getting ready for bed. She walked by our computer where the digital wallpaper changes and it happened to change to a scene of Egypt.

"Mom, do people in Egypt still worship idols like in the Bible?" Sweet Pea asked me. I explained how Egypt is a Muslim country now. She thought about this for a second - a very brief second.

"I might need to go there when I'm a grown-up," she declared. "I need to tell them about Jesus - they need to know!"

And my mind immediately thought, oh, I hope not. I thought of the dangers, of the political situation, or the reasons why that would be a difficult life for my daughter.

She thought of the people who need to hear about Jesus.

Clearly, spiritual lessons aren't just imparted from parent to child. Sometimes - often? - it works the other way too.

So, please pray for Sweet Pea. Pray that she will follow God's leading in her life. And pray that her mom doesn't get in the way.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Weekend Links - May 18, 2013

Another week, another pushed back house closing. This buyer has had a contract on our house since March 18. We've been expecting a closing ANY DAY NOW for over a month. We hurried to move out of our house and into this rental because we were supposed to be out before May 1. And here we are, still waiting.

If I sound done with it all, it's just because I am.

Miss Lili and I had to make a doctor's visit this week. She has an ear infection (among other symptoms) and I have a sinus infection. Considering I've been fighting this cold or virus or whatever it is since before Baby Boy was born, I'm ready for it to just go away already.

Oh, and tomorrow's my birthday.

But, anyway, on to the links!

Spiritual / Inner Life
Marriage / Parenting
Homeschooling / Education
  • On Pre-reading Your Children's Books from Higher Up and Further In.
  • Age Appropriate Books for the Precocious Reader from Hope is the Word. Many homeschool parents run in to this difficulty. One piece of advice that I heard at a homeschool convention: encourage these young but precocious readers to read biographies (especially of Christians who have lived before us). True life adventures and challenges will inspire them while satisfying their desire for action.
Pins of the Week:
Once again, I didn't spend much time on Pinterest this week. But yet another peanut butter / chocolate dessert caught my eye:

So, what caught your eye this week?
This post is linked up here:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Books of 2013 - April

I was just thinking the other day about how mystery and "easy reads" were going to be dominating my May booklist because that's what I have the brain cells to read right now. (Not to mention the time. A nice slim mystery is easy to hold while nursing a baby. A thick biography, such as the one on Calvin Coolidge I am also reading right now, not so much.)

Anyway, that made me think about my April booklist. And then I realized that I had never shared that with you, what with not having the Internet for a couple of weeks and then, yes, with giving birth. That'll really put a kink in your other plans, let me tell you. (She said with a smile. All in good fun, folks. All in good fun.)

So, anyway, without further ado, here are the books I finished in April:

1. A Daughter's Tale: The Memoir of Winston Churchill's Youngest Child. Nonfiction by Mary Churchill Soames. My review on Goodreads:
Quite enjoyable peek into personal life of the Churchill family from the perspective of the youngest Churchill daughter, Mary. Covers the period of time from her birth until her marriage (two years after the end of WW2).

My only quibble is how she refers to her parents: she jumps around from "Mummie and Papa" to "Winston" and "Clementine" pretty much randomly. She also removes herself from some situations with her siblings (older brother Randolph, older sisters Diana and Sarah) by saying things like "his father was upset" when it would make more sense, in my opinion, to say "Our father was upset".

Still, for History buffs and Churchill fans, this is a great book.
2.Proof of Guilt. Fiction by Charles Todd. Series mystery. My Goodreads review:
Not my favorite in the Ian Rutledge series and I've read them all.

The first chapter is irrelevant to the rest of the book. The ending is unsatisfactory. Rutledge spends the entire book driving from one part of England to another. Markham is not fleshed out - last book he was better than Bowles, this book, he's almost as bad. Makes me wonder if this mother-son writing team has a bit of a tug of war over the characters and plots.

In the end, the bad guy is who you expect. Except for, where, exactly is the character who set all these things in motion? Either I missed it or they didn't tie it up.
3. What the Dead Know. Fiction by Laura Lippman. My Goodreads review:
Gripping. One of those stories that grabbed me and I couldn't put it down. I'm not sure why it's so good - I never really loved any of the main characters. The jumping around in time was sometimes effective and sometimes annoying. I don't like books with a lot of swearing but this one had a lot (what do you expect from hard boiled police officers, I guess).

Still, despite the potential drawbacks, it was one of those stories that stays with me and makes me wonder how the author did that, exactly.
4. Home Front Girl. Nonfiction by Joan Wehlen Morrison. My review on Goodreads:
Interesting memoir of a girl growing up in Chicago during the depression and Second World War. (The diary entries shared cover 1937-1942.) Marked as a "teen" book at my library but this book is an enjoyable read for adults too.

The footnotes are basic, presumably for those teens who wouldn't know that "White Cliffs of Dover" was a popular song during the Second World War, and, therefore, kind of annoying instead of helpful. The content is excellent though and Joan Wehlen sounds like someone you'd have loved to have known if you were contemporaries.
5. A Future Arrived. Fiction by Phillip Rock. Third in the trilogy. My Goodreads review:
Not my favorite book in the trilogy, which surprised me because it's my favorite era and location (1930-1940 Britain) for historical fiction. This one just didn't grab me, maybe because the characters are mostly the younger generation. The beginning is a slow build up but the ending is rushed.
6. How Do You Tuck In a Superhero? Nonfiction by Rachel Balducci. Another blog turned book. This one made me laugh out loud. (And a little bit thankful that my family is four girls / one boy instead of five boys / one girl, which is what the author's family has now). Reminiscent of the books by Jean Kerr (and that is high praise). {Goodreads}

7. River of Darkness. Fiction by Rennie Airth. First in a mystery series. My Goodreads review:
Dark, suspenseful. The author makes an interesting choice to let the reader know who the bad guy is fairly early on in the story. The suspense comes from wondering whether the good guy(s) will catch him and who will be the next victim.

Good characters, although rather more than I like to keep up with when reading the first book in a series. I personally could have done without certain depictions of "intimate" scenes, but otherwise I found myself thoroughly engrossed in this book and had trouble putting it down.

Reminiscent of the Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd, but, in many ways, this book was superior, with fewer authorial errors (such as losing track of the POV).
8. The Mysterious Howling. Fiction by Maryrose Wood. First in a series. Polly and I are both really into this series now. (Of which you will hear more in the May books post.) My Goodreads review:
Great tone, interesting characters, and overall a great set up to a new series for "the sort of reader who is not yet old enough to drive but enjoys taking journeys of the imagination nevertheless", as the dust jacket puts it.
9. Humble Orthodoxy. Nonfiction by Joshua Harris. Received this to review and you can find my review post here.

10. What Angels Fear. Fiction by C.S. Harris. My Goodreads review:
Entertaining, well done for a first in a series. Rather more graphic at times than I prefer. I've seen these books compared to the books about Julian Kestrel by Kate Ross. Other than a similar setting (Regency England), I'm not sure there is much reason to compare them.
11. The Blood Dimmed Tide. Fiction by Rennie Airth. Series mystery. My Goodreads review:
Not quite as tense (or graphic) as the first book in the series. Still quite well done with a lot of tension and well placed red herrings.
12. What a Difference a Mom Makes: The Indelible Imprint a Mom Leaves on her Son's Life. Nonfiction by Kevin Leman. My Goodreads review:
Leman's usual style: funny, practical, and real. This was, fittingly, the last book I finished before our first son was born. Hope I can remember the good advice once all the sleep deprivation clears.
Totals for April: 12
Fiction: 7 (almost all series mysteries)
Nonfiction: 5

So, what did you read in April? No, wait, don't tell me. My stacks (there are two now) are already threatening to topple over on Baby Boy and Me.

Book covers in this post are Amazon affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me but probably won't because Amazon is constantly changing the rules and they haven't had to cut me a payment in many moons now.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Random Monday

We have now, officially, spent an entire week in our new digs, The Rental House. Also known as: The Fun House or The Crooked House because there is no flat surface in this place. The ceiling slopes. The floors slope (different directions).

When we first moved in I asked Philip if this place is going to slide right off the hill on which it is perched. "It hasn't yet," was his less than reassuring answer. Okey-dokey.

My brother-in-law and Philip moved my beloved Expedit shelving unit from one wall to another so I didn't have to look it as it seemed to slide into a hole. (It wasn't sliding. It just looked like it.) As my brother-in-law said, "That wall wasn't made for a grid." I haven't found a wall in this house yet that could be said to be made for a grid. But at least I don't have to look at the Expedit straight on any more.

Other quirky things about this house: the ceiling in our bedroom is lower than in the other rooms. So Philip has repeatedly scraped his hand against the textured ceiling when he gets dressed. Ouch. Not fun for him, I'm sure. That's a perk of being short, I guess: never scrape your hand against a textured ceiling.

The driveway is treacherous. See: house, perched on hillside, for the reason why. My midwife told me not to drive for two weeks but I'm considering telling Philip that she suggested I never drive again if it means having to drive that driveway. OK, I wouldn't really lie about it, but still... I guess I'll be parking at the bottom of the driveway and hauling a baby in a carseat, a toddler, three girls and the multiple baskets of laundry or multiple poorly packed bags of groceries up the hill on my own. Which hardly seems better.

Did I mention no washing machine and dryer? That's pretty crazy with seven of us, let me tell you.

So, what's good about the house? Well, many things, actually. And the best is probably this:
That's the Ohio river. As seen from the balcony on the front of our house. It's amazing. And no, the train tracks don't bother us. We love the trains. (One thing I really love: Miss Lili stopping whatever 2 year old naughtiness she's gotten into and running to the front to look out at whatever train is passing by. "Train, Mama!" It hasn't gotten old yet.)

Our closing is supposed to be tomorrow. We actually have a time and location, which is more than we've had before. But since Philip rearranged his whole schedule (tutoring students and such) to accommodate it, I'm kind of thinking it will get rescheduled again. And did I mention that someone broke into our now vacant house last week? Twice?

Lovely times. But at least Philip got to watch three detectives fingerprint our house. There was talk of warrants and such. CSI: Karen and Philip's House. Watch for it.

OK, enough talk about houses. Now for Baby Boy in Frog pajamas (can we agree that it doesn't get much more "Random" than bright yellow pj's with frogs on them? And you can't even see the little frogs on his tiny feet):

And making grouchy faces that just make me want to kiss him and laugh:
We've had some good times thinking of captions for that one. Let's just say things are a lot funnier when you're ever so slightly sleep deprived.

And then there's the thumb sucking:
He's only managed to get that thumb into his mouth a couple of times. But it's adorable and he's determined to figure this whole "hands & fingers" thing out just so he can do this whenever he wants.

Life is good.

How's your Monday going?
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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Weekend Links - May 11, 2013

First of all: Happy Mother's Day to my mom, my mother-in-law, our grandmas, and my sisters and sister-in-law. You are a fabulous sorority and I'm blessed to be a member.

Second: Happy Mother's Day to you, my fellow moms. And that includes those of you who do not have babies to hold in your arms this Mother's Day. Miscarriage or adoptions that fell through do not mean you are not a mother. You are a mother. Your babies and your love for them is real, even if you don't get to hold them this side of Heaven.

Third: yes, we finally have internet again. What a saga that turned out to be. Ridiculous. Kind of like the whole house selling experience. I've told Philip we have to choose our house carefully because I would really like never to move again. Ever.

Anyway, it's good to be back surfing the 'webs and here are some links for this week:

Spiritual / Inner Life
Marriage / Parenting
Homeschooling / Education
Pins of the Week:
Didn't do a lot of pinning this week but these definitely caught my eye:

So, what caught your eye this week? Do tell - I've missed you all!
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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Baby Boy!

Baby Boy made his entrance May 1, 2013 at 5:06 PM. 7 lbs. 13 oz. (and you have to consider the fact that he was 8 days early).

We're still roughing it in the rental house - no phone or internet. But I hope to be back soon and share more about our new life with this little guy. (Spoiler alert: he's amazing.)

Thanks so much for all your prayers and encouragement during the past months. God has truly blessed us with this fantastic little guy and we are so thankful.