Around Here: Week Three {2018}

Surviving... two kid parties + Josh out of town last weekend.  We stuck with healthy eating except for our Saturday Splurge of homemade pizza & dessert.  I was the "best mom ever" and let the twins stay extra late at their friends' party, and they were so grateful.  Wyatt's friends' party was his first ever, and he LOVED it!

Losing... nine pounds total after dropping soda, coffee + creamer, and most sugar & carbs at the start of the new year.

Suffering... with migraines.  Often ten or more a month.  This week my doctor wrote me a prescription for a preventative med.  I will start it once I quit nursing Carly.  I am nervous to try it, but really hopeful that it will be effective.

Celebrating... Wyatt getting his boot off finally!  He is now footloose and fancy free, and it makes me so happy!

Riding... to school & hoping to get back on track with my 100 small things "Workout 3x/Week" goal.

Reading... Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand & Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.  Up next is Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin, Little Soldiers by Lenora Chu, and The Blue Castle by Lucy Montgomery.  I am trying to have three books going at all times- a novel, a self help, & an audio book.  I am also reading Black Beauty aloud to the kids.  If Happier at Home is a book you've thought about reading, please join The Inspired Readers Book Club on Facebook.  Happier at Home is our February book!
I also read the next section (ages 8-10) of my "It's a Boy" book.  It was insightful and let me know what stages of development the boys (twins) are going through and what behaviors are typical at this age. I also really want to read his book Raising Cain, which I heard was good.

Loving... that I'm not the only one reading.  Everywhere I looked this week, I saw kids with their noses stuck in a book.  Jack has a new (huge!) chapter book he is tackling; Logan is working his way through a new series, and Wyatt nearly always reads on his own at some point throughout the day without being told.  Even Carly will get books off the shelf and pretend to read to herself. I love it!

Organizing... every nook & cranny of our house after reading the first few chapters of Happier at Home in preparation for book club next month.  The boys' closet is so lovely now, and the kitchen drawers are far more functional!

Quitting... nursing Carly.  Today was our last day.  I cried a lot Wednesday & Thursday but not today.  Today I felt peace, which is nice.  I just can't believe she is our last baby.  After spending my entire childhood & early adulthood dreaming of babies & pregnancy, it's hard to believe in ten short years, that part of my life is over.

Looking forward... to a weekend away with no children by myself.  I am going to Vancouver this weekend to visit my parents and I am leaving Josh to fend for himself with the kids.  He assures me he will be fine, and I am very much looking forward to the long (quiet) drive, some time with family, and a little time to myself.  I've never left all four kids with him, but he's been so supportive.  He assures me that all will be well, and I should enjoy myself.  So I am pretty pumped.

Happy weekend, friends!



Best Books of 2017

Tabitha wanted to know my favorite reads of 2018. 
So I pulled together a short list of my very favorites, starting with

The best book of 2018:

The best of 2018 has to be, hands down, Inside the O'Briens, which is the story of Joe O'Brien, a Massachusetts police officer who has Huntington's Disease.  Each of Joe's four children has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the disease.  The book follows the family through his disease & the agonizing decision of whether to be tested or not.
(I also highly recommend Genova's other books, 

Honorable mentions include:

The main character's little boy keeps asking for his other mother, has horrible nightmares and refuses to bathe because of memories of being held under water.  But he's only four, and he doesn't have another mother.  Janie attempts to find answers for her son and her story collides with Jerome Anderson who is working on a book about children who remember past lives.  

{Best re-read of the year}
If you haven't read Anne recently, you should. 
I swear she makes me see the world differently.

Book I most highly recommend for mama's of any age.
Kenison reminds us (beautifully) just how fleeting this time with our babes is.

Such a good YA book about depression.

Favorite children's book:

This book is so soothing.  I love the pictures and the words.
Carly does too. 

Favorite Read-Aloud Chapter book:

This book lead to so many amazing conversations with my (nine year old) twins this summer.  We were able to talk about appearances, differences, and compassion.  The conversations came naturally throughout each chapter.  After reading the book, we then saw the movie, which was amazing.  I highly recommend both. 



Books I Read In 2017

In 2016 I read 22 books.
My goal for 2017 was to read 24 books.
In the end I read 67!

Books I Read in 2017:
Truly, Madly, Guilty
The Shack
The Alchemist
What Was Mine
Chasers of the Light
The Memory of Light
Believing God
The Precious One
Silver Bay
The Forgetting Time
The Gift of an Ordinary Day
The Memory of Water
Inside The O'Briens
Britt-Marie Was Here
The Girl on the Train
And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer & Longer
Anne of Green Gables
The Inheritance
Anne of Avonlea
The Here And Now
Anne of the Island
Into the Water
The Mountain Between Us
Bear Town
Dreamland Burning
The Dry
Confessions of a Domestic Failure
The Identicals
Everything Everything
The Island
Eleanor + Park
The Stars Are Fire
The Hate U Give
The Summer I Turned Pretty
It's Not Summer Without You
Small Victories
Love Warrior
The Magician's Assistant
Made To Crave
The Wonder
I Liked My Life
The Boys In The Boat
Yes, Please
The Couple Next Door
The Selection
The Elite
The Heir
The One
The Handmaid's Tale
Winter Street
Winter Stroll
Scream Free Parenting
The Crown
State of Wonder

Children's Books We Read:
The Other Side of the Mountain
Magic Finger
I Survived: The Eruption of Mt. St. Helens
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Stone Fox
The Chocolate Touch
The Whipping Boy
Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus
The Magician's Elephant

Underlined books are books I would HIGHLY recommend.
I've linked those few.
Happy Reading!



Sledding with Cousins

{I love Wyatt's hands up in the air!}

On New Years Day we rounded the kids up and headed back to Wenatchee to meet my sister for some snowy hill sledding with the cousins (and to get the Christmas-present Nerf-guns the twins forgot at their house when we were there with my parents. ...shaking my head... Kids!?! amiright?).  It turned out to be the perfect day.  Grey, but warm with no wind.  Carly lasted in the cold much longer than I thought she would, and we basically let the boys sled until they ran out of steam. I even went down a few times with Wyatt.  What a blast!

It was just a great time, and the drive home was beautiful.  
A wonderful way to start the new year. 



Around Here: Week Two {2018}

(Wrestle on the trampoline where there's no mud?
Where's the fun in that, mom?!?)

milk mustaches 

milk mustaches

Making... Xtra Math a daily habit for the boys.  I can't believe the speed with which they are memorizing addition facts.

Turning... a corner with Logan in terms of his education.  The last year and a half, it's been Josh and I worried, invested, teaching, working, stressing about how Logan is doing in school.  Earlier this week Logan did not do so well on a test he took (an important test) and honestly, he was more upset than either Josh or myself.  He nearly cried when the teacher told him his score, and he immediately told me upon seeing me at parent pick up.  Then he told Josh as soon as he got home.  I could tell this bad test score was really eating him up, which is a new thing.
It's not that I'm glad he's upset. But I am glad he's invested.  I am glad he cares.  I am glad to see that he has liked the feeling of doing well (in class he's been doing so well recently) and doesn't like the feeling of knowing he didn't do his best.  I sure hope this trend continues.

Losing... my Grandpa Harold last weekend.  While we are happy for him, out of pain now, and with so many of his loved ones, we are sad for ourselves to have lost him.

Relishing... the opportunity to dress Carly everyday.  Nearly two years later, I still enjoy it.  Pinks& purples, and sparkles and cute shoes & coats... it's just so fun!

Finishing... Idaho and Winter Storms.  Both were very good, especially Idaho which I could not put down over the last week.  Next up is Winter Solstice (#4 in the Winter Street series by Elin Hildbrand) and Happier at Home, which I am leading in The Inspired Readers Book Club for February.  Please join us on Facebook!

Eating... better than ever.  Not perfect, but better.  No coffee, no soda and no candy.  We indulge on Saturdays (pizza and dessert) and the rest of the week, we are careful to limit sugar and carbohydrate intake.  I've lost seven pounds in ten days which has me stunned.  And the thing is, I'm not starving.  It's awesome.  In addition to the weight loss, after the initial terrible sugar detox, I am now headache free and I am so grateful.

Buying... new hand towels and realizing how much little things can bring me joy and increase my happiness.

Enjoying... my first bouquet of spring tulips, which I bought for myself at the grocery store because I need the reminder of the promise of spring's return. 
Also enjoying Carly being able to join the big boys for bedtime stories with Josh.  She's so sweet perched on Josh's knee, anxiously awaiting the next page turn.

Focusing... on small joys in these dark, grey days of January.  Like the rainbow of bowls that my mom bought me for Christmas.  The bright yellow of the new hand towels I bought.  The warmth of the washcloth I use to clean Carly's face & hands after breakfast.  The feeling those tulips bring into the dining room and house with their crisp leaves and upright blooms.  When I feel that jolt of joy, I am trying to stop for a minute and really relish it.

Grateful... for my mornings.  Indeed I do wake up (very, very) early three times a week, but honestly, it makes our weekday mornings run so smoothly, that it's almost okay. (I will admit that 3:30am is ridiculous, and 5:30 would be far more reasonable... but a job that lets me stay home with my babies is worth a little sacrifice, I guess!) And my early early mornings have me feeling like waking up at 6:15am to jump in the shower after Josh on those other days is a luxury- that's sleeping in! ;)  So overall our mornings start off on the right foot (with me showered and ready for the day before the kids even hit the hallway) and then with our new meal plan, I am making a real breakfast everyday- eggs, usually, and sausage- so we are sitting together to eat, instead of having cereal at staggered intervals throughout the morning.  As much as I am longing for summer (three boys= outside time is a necessity), these dark mornings definitely have a cozy feel to them.

Loving... my kids' empathetic hearts.  Wyatt earned an ice cream sundae at school (which he said should have been called an "ice cream Monday" since that's when they had them.  He loves plays on words, that kid.) and some of his classmates did not.  When I asked him his best and worst at dinner on Monday, he said his "best" was the ice cream sundae.  But he said it was also his worst because he really wished he could have shared his ice cream with his friends.
He confided that his closest friend hadn't earned the treat and that Wyatt really wanted to give him his.  I asked if his friend cried, and Wyatt said, "No! And thank goodness, because then I would have cried!"
Later in the week Wyatt was in trouble for breaking the rules and went into his room for a timeout.  He lay on his bed, crying loudly, when Josh walked by and saw that Carly  had joined him in his timeout, and had her little arm around his back, just laying next to him in his sadness.  What an example of tender empathy.

Feeling... blessed to get real mail from a friend.  You know who you are, and I am so grateful for you.  Reading your words and knowing we are in the trenches together, stretched out across this country though we are, brings me such joy.  And I have to say, both Jack and Wyatt (as they came up behind me reading your card) asked incredulously if that was your real handwriting and then were disbelieving when I said that yes, that was your penmanship.  They both think you're tricking me and it's a computer font.  Haha!  I heart your handwritten notes, my friend!  Be on the lookout for a reply.

Laughing... at my kids interviews.  I found this list of questions posted by my friend Kristina and had so much fun asking each of my boys all the questions.  Some of their answers cracked me up!  Logan said my job was to keep them alive.  Jack said that if he had to live without me he would end up homeless at Winco (our local grocery store) eating hot Cheetohs.  And Wyatt said I annoy him by making him do chores.  (That was a theme throughout all three.)  I really loved to see how in tune with me Jack is, though, knowing what I love to do and what makes me happy.  He's my mini-me.

Also laughing (not very kindly) at Carly as she tried to crawl under the baby gate I set up so she couldn't join Wyatt and his friend as they played down the hall.  She was so upset.  She kept coming to me saying, "Go over! Go over!" She wanted so badly to join those big boys!  #littlesisterlife

Suffering... with so much mud! We have had rain for two weeks and I am so over it. Where is the snow? The snow at least is clean!  Four kids with mud is terrible!!!

Praying... that Wyatt's broken foot is healed.  He has his follow up on Tuesday with the foot specialist and after ten weeks in the cast/boot, we are all ready for him to be done with it! He came home with this today--
"I hope I get my cast off this Tuesday so I can jump and hop and get exercise in PE." 
And that picture? 
It's him int he chair at the doctors office, 
nd the guy with black hair is his foot specialist, Dr. Wu.  
Oh man I love that kid.