Friday, November 30, 2012

Gone Girl

After nearly eight weeks of watching my name slowly inch up on my local library's hold list, I finally have it in my hands: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, my book club's January selection.

I don't know where I started on the hold list, but after four weeks of waiting, I checked in to see that I had moved up to #135. Are you kidding me? I had no idea of this book's popularity until then.

Knowing the basic premise of this book, I don't expect an uplifting story or any warm and fuzzy feelings. But, I do hope to get hooked. I am in desperate need of a book I cannot put down--I haven't had one of those since Mason's birth, which is a small part of the reason that I've only read 5-6 books this year instead of my normal 50-60. (Mason's mostly to blame, in all the best ways of course, for my reading less.)

I also hope to fly through this book because the library will only let me keep it for three weeks--books with hold lists can't be renewed. I haven't finished a book in three weeks or less since Mason arrived. We'll see if I can do it this time.

Have you read Gone Girl? Will this book hook me? If not, what book will?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

eagerly anticipating my Christmas present this year

My pathetic iPhone 3
How many of you have had, and regularly used, the same cell phone for more than three years? I got my iPhone soon after our house was broken into, and my previous cell phone was stolen.

My cell phone and I have had a good run, and I've certainly gotten my money's worth out of it. The poor thing barely works anymore, but that's mostly my fault for letting Mason play with it. New apps aren't compatible with the iPhone 3, which makes me feel like I own a dinosaur. I am eagerly anticipating upgrading to the iPhone 5 in a matter of days!

What's on your Christmas list this year?

Monday, November 26, 2012

instant toddler

toddling away
Mason turned one, and someone flipped a switch. In an instant, it seemed, I went from having a baby to chasing around a toddler.

Mason couldn't even walk completely on his own by his first birthday. He took plenty of independent steps then, but we didn't officially classify him as a walker until he was 13 months, when Hurricane Sandy blew through and we were trapped inside for two days. Desperate to get out, he grew brave and started walking running. He hasn't slowed down since then.

By Mason's first birthday, we had survived and even thrived during the various phases one's first year: keeping a detailed eating, napping, and pooping log to share with the pediatrician during the early days; waking Mason up to eat every three hours; middle-of-the-night feedings; sponge baths; caring for his circumcision and umbilical cord wounds; swaddling; teething; and introducing solids. We also celebrated myriad other firsts: holidays, visits, and accomplishments. We survived shots and his first cold, fever, and stomach bug. He survived his first falls when learning to sit, and then eventually to walk. Breastfeeding came and went. And so did my full-time job outside the home.

Even Baby Center immediately changed their language after Mason's first birthday. The weekly update emails went from "your baby" to "your toddler".

How can one year of life contain so much change? My head and heart are still reeling. Many days, I think, "What just happened?" in regards to the past year.

I miss the little baby days. My heart yearns for them. But at the same time, I love each new stage more than the last. Even with Mason's hot temper and constant need for discipline, my boy is such a blast! There's something to be said for a child who can say Mama and give sweet, unsolicited kisses. That simple display of unconditional love makes the all consuming effort in caring for a young child feel less exhausting and cumbersome.

Fellow parents, tell me, will Mason's birthdays always feel like flipping a switch--from baby to toddler to little boy? I can't imagine any other year containing as much change as the first one did.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

happy thanksgiving

My baby, giving thanks on his 1st Thanksgiving, 2011
Happy Thanksgiving, Gentle Readers! Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday.

We're driving to Knoxville, Mason's longest car trip yet, to celebrate the holiday with my in-laws. And guess what? No Cracker Barrel this year!! Yes, Mason will get to consume his first Thanksgiving meal, home cooked. I am thrilled! I hope he shows utmost appreciation to his grandmom for her hard work in the kitchen by devouring every morsel.

What are your plans for the holidays?

Monday, November 19, 2012

movie recs?

Since Mason's birth, I've seen two movies in the theater: the last two Twilight films. Brad and I have not seen a movie in the theater together since our bundle of joy arrived. But fear not! We're taking advantage of both sets of grandparents during Thanksgiving and Christmas visits, and plan to hit the movie theater, just the two of us.

But, what shall we see? With limited time, money, and free babysitters, we must choose wisely!

What movies are on your must-see list this holiday season?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

secret ingredient

Now that fresh cranberries are readily available at the grocery store, I've been adding a handful to my banana bread to spruce it up.

Yummy and pretty!

What's your favorite secret ingredient to make a mundane dish extraordinary?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

the end

The last movie in the Twilight Saga opens later this week, and I can barely believe it.

When the first Twilight movie opened in the fall of 2008, the books were relatively unfamiliar to me. After hearing significant buzz about the movie (which is awful, compared to the books and even the rest of the movies in the series), I jumped on the bandwagon and devoured the books. I read the entire series, including Midnight Sun, twice, back-to-back. Ah, what a glorious summer 2009 was!

New Moon was the first Twilight movie I saw in the theater. I received a boxed set of the books for Christmas that year and devoured them again. I attended the midnight premieres of Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, Part 1, the latter being the only movie I've seen in the theater since Mason arrived.

In preparation for seeing the last movie, Breaking Dawn Part 2, this weekend, I've picked up the first book again. It's been years since I've read Twilight, but I'm finding myself drawn back in--teen angst, first love, sparkly vampires, shoddy writing, and all--and loving this book as much as I did the first time. I'm a sucker for romance, and the rawness of this one gets me every time.

Fellow Twihards, can you believe it's over? Are you seeing the movie later this week?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

life and learning at home

Home Office: Managing the House
Has it really been 12 weeks since I've been unemployed? My blank slate lasted about two days. I now have regular commitments four of five days a week. The weeks roll by even faster than they did when I was in the office full time, if that's even possible.

People keep asking me if I miss working outside the home. I don't. Not even a smidgeon. It baffles me how something that I poured my life into for 12 years, something that I really enjoyed, suddenly ended and yet I don't miss it at all. I kiss Mason's head and praise God each day for providing me a new love and the opportunity to focus on my little family for this time, however long it lasts.

Each season of life brings new lessons. Here's what I'm learning as a stay-at-home-mom:
1. A shower, make up, and wearing something besides yoga pants makes me feel purposeful and productive, even if I haven't been either of those things.
2. Getting up at 5:30 AM, like I used to, is still a good idea most days.
3. Children's moods are real, and are a force to be reckoned with.
4. Play dates, or any commitment or appointment involving children, have about a 50% chance of happening. (See #3.)
5. Spontaneous play dates are welcome surprises!
6. When in doubt, go outside.
7. There will be days when nothing gets done and the schedule is shot. Life will go on. Go to bed and try again tomorrow.
8. Regular, at-home date nights, with the computer/TV off and the phones put away, are a necessity for a marriage in a busy season. Schedule them if you must. (We do!)
9. Young children are demanding, intense, and irrational. Their emotions are raw and unchecked. But the many ways they show their love make every exhausting minute and unglamorous task worth it.
10. Staying at home with Mason is the most demanding job I've ever had, but it's by far my most joyful.  By all means, there are challenges as a SAHM, but they are happy ones.

What lessons are you learning in your current season of life?

Monday, November 5, 2012

running again

Brad and I are running again!

Until three weeks ago, I had run exactly one time since last spring's Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. Sad, I know. But goodbye hot weather. Farewell breastfeeding. Good riddance full-time job outside the home. All of my excuses for not running have vanished. I have an awesome jogging stroller, free time in the early mornings now, and live in a beautiful, running friendly city. It's time to get back out there (even though it does involve getting up at 5:30 AM most mornings--ugh)!

Brad and I each run alone two mornings during the week while the other one cares for Mason. We enjoy Fridays off. On Saturdays when we don't have plans, we take Mason with us on family runs.

I'm not running far, or fast, but starting off a couple days a week with a few minutes alone while getting my blood flowing in the crisp fall air is good for all parts of me: body, heart, mind, and soul.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

new life!

Fern's newest stump has sprouted TWO new growths, and it's only been about two months since her most recent surgery.

Twin sprouts, just as I had hoped! Now, if I can just keep Mason from destroying them . . .