girls lately

+ Talks nonstop.  My favorite things she says are "Cindewedda" (Cinderella) and "manamelon" (watermelon.)
+ Is the best person to share an oreo with.  She breaks off the cookie (my favorite part) and gives it to me then licks the frosting off and gives the other now-wet cookie to Jilly (who sometimes accepts and sometimes turns up her nose.)
+ While in CA my mother-in-law told me she was so impressed that Mattie knew her colors to which I responded "she does??"  That's right, somehow Mattie has learned all the colors with absolutely no help from her lame-o mother.
+ Is still sweet but very feisty.  She's got a mean foot stomp and is not afraid to use it.  The other day Bryan told her "Did you just say no to me?" and she stomped and said "Yes.  I say NO to you!"  She's not an infrequent visitor to time out.

+ Discovered her summer reading chart while we were unpacking and has been cracking the whip ever since.  She follows me around all day asking what we can do next to get a sticker on her chart.
+ Came up with a new word: cuzzle.  It's a combination between cozy and snuggle and her most favorite thing in the world to do.
+ Is so sensitive.  She spent our last couple days in CA crying because she was going to miss Nana and she totally lost it at the airport.  Sometimes her emotions are a little too much for me but I'm trying to be patient.
+ Has decided that the dress code for her birthday party (in November) will not be "dress up"  but "dress nice."  Her favorite topic of conversation is what everyone in our family will be wearing.


friday five

We're one week into home ownership (the second time around) and so far it's gone pretty well.  I've made 5 trips to Lowes and 3 trips to Ace Hardware so I'd say we're right on schedule.

one | For the most part this past week we've been painting.  Our house isn't super big, but we do have a large-ish front room (living/dining room) that was coral with a side of beige and that was first to go.  Bryan was in charge of the tall wall over the stairs and gave me a 45 minute heart attack while he stood on his makeshift platform and painted.

two | We bought our first lawnmower and edger and blower!  Our backyard has the loveliest landscaping and we're making sure to really enjoy it this first summer because our black thumbs will make sure at least 70% of it doesn't survive to 2016.

three | My mom (who is the best person I know) kept the girls for five days while we started the move in/paint/unpack process.  We were so happy to have these little munchkins back on Wednesday; it has been so fun to watch them explore and fall in love with the new house.  Anytime we leave Mattie says "I wanna go back to MY house."  

four | This house has a pantry (our first!) and an extra fridge/freezer so I went all out at Costco this week in hopes that I won't have to go again for months.  The ladies at checkout told me there was absolutely no way I'd be able to fit everything in one cart so they filled up two carts that I promptly stuffed into one.  Hear me roar.

five | While the girls were gone I felt like my time would be better used getting stuff done than making dinner so we ate out A LOT (and... I kind of loved it.)  But after the girls were back and we had raided Costco I had no more excuses so I made my first real dinner in a month and it actually didn't kill me (shockingly.)  We finished off our first home-cooked meal in our house with ice cream cones in the backyard.  I think we're gonna like it here.


five on friday

ONE | Fourth of July- We were still with all of Bryan's family and had an all-American day of swimming, slurpees, delicious bbq and homemade ice cream, bounce houses at the Oakley festival, and fireworks.  Jilly was especially patriotic and loved to yell "America!!" 

TWO | Eight Years - Bryan and I celebrated our anniversary and were actually together this year!   We took advantage of family to watch our girls and went shopping then ate a delicious dinner and topped the night off with the yummiest cookie ice cream sandwiches (I'm really really hoping Cream makes its way out east soon.)

 THREE | We were sad to see everyone go, but so lucky to get a week with Nana and Papa all to ourselves.  We visited nearly every park in Oakley, went to the Oakland Zoo and Tilden Park, and ate lots of ice cream.  We flew home on Dress Like a Cow Day (poor planning!) so we made pretty lame masks and stopped by cfa for breakfast on our way to the airport, which ended up being an excellent idea because thanks to a delay and 3 hour time change we didn't get home til midnight.

FOUR | We couldn't leave CA without visiting the Schaders.  Lisa is always the hostess with the mostess and took excellent care of us.  The kids loved having a popcorn party and watching Mary Poppins then visiting Happy Hollow.  And I loved some quality time with my besty.  The only damper on the visit was in the middle of the night when I heard Mattie crying and panicked because I couldn't find her; finally I realized she had rolled under the bed and was stuck!  Poor girl, but she recovered quickly.

FIVE | We made it to Baltimore and stayed with friends for a night then drove down to Richmond since we were still homeless.  We had a fun couple days with my family but today is the happiest day because WE GET KEYS TO OUR NEW HOUSE!!


Second Quarter Books

If nothing else, I read some books with beautiful covers this quarter.  But, happily, many of them were also really great books.

13. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough - One of my favorite things about reading is that I can learn so much from a book in the midst of my safe, quiet, and often-monotonous SAHM life.  I've been to Kitty Hawk and seen the memorial, but that's about all I knew about the Wright Brothers, who, of course, are fascinating and admirable people.  I especially loved reading about their parents and their sister Katharine, who gave so much support behind the scenes while the brothers were fulfilling their flying dreams.

14. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - This was not my favorite of hers, but I just really really love Kate Morton's books.  A little mystery + history + love story + British countryside.

15. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling - I will never ever get sick of of re-reading (listening to) Harry Potter books.

16. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan - This is a fictional story of Prince William and Kate Middleton (kind of, it veers off a bit) and I of course loved it.   It's cute and fun and the perfect summer book.  I read this during our week at the cabin and Bryan gave me a hard time that I was wasting time staring at a book when we had the most beautiful surroundings, but I firmly disagreed- time reading this book was definitely not time wasted.

17. The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo - I know a million people who read and loved this book so I was thrilled when I got my hands on a copy.  But after the first 8 pages I texted Lisa and said, "please tell me this gets better."  I found Marie Kondo so annoying and a bit kooky at times.  Plus, her ideas don't work very well when dealing with your kids' stuff, which is definitely a huge part of my clutter.  But I definitely see merit in her method.  I love her idea to ask yourself if each item you own brings you joy- and not just keep things because you feel like you should (something I've been very guilty of.)  While I haven't followed her method perfectly, so far I've gotten rid of 5 trash bags full of stuff and that feels great.

18. The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel - I really loved the premise (behind-the-scenes of the early astronaut's lives, specifically how their wives coped) and I thought the stories were fun and interesting, but this was very hard to follow.  I couldn't keep track of which wife belonged to which astronaut and the author jumped around quite a bit.  I still really enjoyed it (and since reading have been watching the show based on the book.)

19. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty - This was my least favorite of her books- too depressing!  But still a quick and compelling read.  I'd recommend skipping this one and reading What Alice Forgot.

20. The House Girl by Tara Conklin - I really liked the premise, and I love when a book goes back and forth between past and present like this, but it just didn't pan out for me.  It was a little too contrived and unbelievable and there were way too many uninteresting characters.  This was a book club book, and most of us had the same opinion.  We were a little surprised that it was a bestseller, and not surprised at all that it was her first novel.  It could have been so good with just a little more polishing (in my humble opinion ;) )

21, 22, 23. The Selection, The Elite, The One by Kiera Cass -  The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games.  These aren't the most well-written books but have a fun story and were a quick listen for me.

24. The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills - Marja Mills was a reporter from Chicago that came down to Alabama to interview Harper Lee and ended up living next door to the Lee sisters for 18 months.   It was fun to get a peek into Harper (known as Nelle to her friends) Lee's life, especially her personality quirks and daily life in her later years.  Mills told some neat stories, but I felt like the book was disjointed and repeated itself a lot.  I think she was being careful to protect the sisters' privacy, which is great, but it made the book a little disappointing.

25. The Heir by Kiera Cass - I was kind of sick of this series and I probably wouldn't have finished it but I had the audio version and I needed something to distract me from packing 18 million boxes so I kept going.

26. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters - Somewhere I saw this on a booklist and thought I'd give it a try but it was not for me.  I only made it a few chapters before returning it.

First Quarter Books here 

Link Round Up


The Mountains and the Sea

Last week we were together with all of Bryan's brothers and their families.  We spent a few days at a cabin in Arnold, CA where we visited Big Trees State Park, played, swam, fished, and kayaked on the lake, and stopped daily for the most delicious milkshakes I've ever tasted.  Then at the end of the week we spent a day at Santa Cruz and Pizza My Heart.  It was a great week and we can't wait to get the crew all together again.

^ Nana got the girls new sunnies and they were a big hit

^ we have a tree hugger (when she finds her initial carved into a tree)

^ Bryan kept the girls' water bottle on his belt loop and it was the cutest thing ever to me

^ I love how Knox's eyebrows got filled up with sand 

^ You could get a t-shirt + slice of pizza for $6 so of course we couldn't pass it up