Five on Friday

ONE | We're soaking up Fall as much as we can.  This week we had pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin snickerdoodlespumpkin cake, pumpkin donuts, and apple cider.  We went on a walk and crunched leaves, went to two Halloween parties (more on those later), finally got our heat fixed (!!!), and had chili for the first time this season.  November is exciting because it's birthday central for us, but this October has been a really great one.

TWO | Mattie filled up her potty chart so she got to choose a prize at the dollar store.  And thus this mermaid Barbie joined our family and her head fell off 2 minutes later.  Luckily it's easy to pop back on and Mattie is so, so proud.

THREE | This is what I get for reading my girls the book Sophie's Squash.   Don't think we'll be eating this squash as she's nestled snuggly in bed right now.

FOUR | Jilly saw the commercial for spooky pancakes at IHOP and begged and begged for us to make some.  As usual, Bryan is the breakfast champion.  Not only did they look cute but they were also delicious.

FIVE | As an early birthday present for Jilly we went to see Disney on Ice and boy was it a hit.  The girls loved getting dressed up and the show was so magical.  Mattie danced like crazy and screamed every time a new character came out and I looked over at the end of "Let it Go" to see Jilly wiping away tears. 


Third Quarter Books

Since we moved into our new house this quarter most of these books are either A. about home decor or B. books I listened to while painting/unpacking/organizing/decorating our new house.  

27. Dead Wake by Erik Larson - I've never met an Erik Larson book I didn't love.  His research is thorough and his writing is excellent.  I'm pretty sure he could turn any event into a fascinating book.  This one is about the sinking of the Lusitania and America's entrance to WWI.  While it is much less violent than some of his others, it still is tough to read about the many lives that were lost.

28. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - This was an excellent book, but I think I did myself a disservice by listening to it rather than reading a physical copy.  I didn't realize that there were flashbacks mixed in with the story until I was many chapters in so I know I missed a lot.  But, we had a really great book club discussion and I would highly recommend this to anyone.

29. The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - There is no shortage of WWII stories, but this one is truly unique and so well done.  Ada has been kept inside for all of her 9 years because her mother is embarrassed by Ada's club foot.  When Ada and her brother Jamie move to the countryside to escape the London bombings her life is completely changed.

30. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes - This was very, very fun to listen to.  There were so many fun little stories about the making of the movie, and I loved how they had anecdotes and interviews from so many of the actors in the movie.  I listened to this while painting my family room and since I now spend a lot of time in my family room I think of the book all the time.

31. Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide by Gabrielle Stanley Blair - I loved this book because it was design from a mom's perspective and how to make your house easier/happier for your family.  Some of her ideas I agreed with and some I didn't, but I did appreciate that they all seemed realistic and aimed for a family-friendly home.

32. 41 by George W. Bush - I loved this biography of George H.W. Bush by George W. Bush.  I had to keep reminding myself that it was very unbiased, but I totally drank the kool-aid and am a big Bush fan.  I  loved reading about such a unique and successful family.

33. Young House Love by John and Sherry Petersik - If you haven't heard of Young House Love, you should go to their blog right now (younghouselove.com).  They're taking a break now, but they're an awesome couple who live in Richmond (all people from Richmond are awesome.)  They started a blog to show their house projects and it eventually became full time for them.  They're funny and very like-able, so I loved their behind-the-scenes commentary in their book.  I also filled my copy (that I have since had to return to the library) with post-it notes marking projects I wanted to do.  Some I did, and some I'll have to do next time I borrow the book.

34. Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner - I hadn't read a "thriller" in so long so I really got into this one and read it quickly.  A family of 3 vanishes from their Boston home and we follow their story from their perspective as well as the detectives on the case.  Beware there is some violence and language, this is not my typical book but I did really enjoy it.

35. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell - This was a re-read for book club and it was just as excellent as the first time I read it.  I had to miss book club, and I was so sad to have missed the discussion.

36. The Nesting Place: It doesn't have to be Perfect to be Beautiful by Myquillen Smith - This was another really great design book.  I love her philosophy to do what you can with what you have and stop waiting for perfection.  It's thanks to Myquillen's motivation that I finally have pictures on my wall.

37. A Mother's Book of Secrets by Linda Eyre and Shawni Eyre Portier - I'll take any parenting advice I can get.  I feel like the Eyre's are sometimes a little extreme and impractical (their system to reward their NINE children for chores/practicing instruments/doing homework that involved various pegs and post it notes and getting a parent to sign off nightly had my head spinning.)  But they are an amazing family and I found it fascinating to get a glimpse of how they do it all.

38. My Life in France by Julia Child -   I enjoyed reading the book and thought it was super interesting, but I found Julia Child so annoying.  I thought she was overly critical of other people (especially her dad) and just kind of rude and condescending at times.  But I do think her story is fascinating and I really wish she'd come cook for me.

39. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler - My mom told me about this book and before I read it she kept saying how weird it was and I didn't know what she meant until I finished- it is weird.  I still am not really sure what the point of the book was.  But, I did enjoy it while reading and loved that it took place in Baltimore and I knew so many of the places they mentioned (this is why my mom recommended it.)

40. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee - This was about as I expected it would be- disappointing because it was no To Kill A Mockingbird.  But, there were a few parts (most especially the flashback scene when the children re-enact a revival meeting) that were really fantastic.  Most of the book felt a little bit like a rough draft that needed a little more love and editing.

41. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - This was good, but it took me a long time to get into (I had to start it twice before finally finishing) and then I thought the end was quite depressing.  But there was a time in the middle when I was way into they story and couldn't stop listening.

First quarter, Second quarter


Friday Five

ONE | Last Friday Bryan and I toured the cemetery where Edgar Allen Poe was buried.  It was fascinating and just a little creepy, the perfect October date night.  

 TWO | My friend Emilee is fighting breast cancer and this week we got our pink shirts to support her.  

THREE | Jilly is a budding photographer.  She loves making little scenes then taking a million pictures on my phone.  

FOUR | On Wednesday while Jilly was at preschool Mattie and I ran to Costco.  She fell asleep on the way home and since there wasn't much time before pickup I let her nap in her car seat while I unloaded the groceries then enjoyed some peace in the car listening to Ann Romney's book In This Together (which I love.)  It was not a bad afternoon.

FIVE | Oh, the leaves.  I can't get enough.  We love how the trees line our street and make a leaf canopy and now that those leaves are exploding with color we love our street even more.


Roomy Reunion

11 years ago this fall I moved onto the 6th floor of S Hall and met some amazing girls who are still some of my very best friends.  I was thrilled when Lisa booked a flight to come visit and then we convinced Britney to drive out from Ohio.  It was so fun to spend a few days with these girls I love and admire so much.  And Bryan didn't mind their visit either, he walked in one night to a happy house with someone making dinner, someone doing dishes, and someone playing with the girls and said, "wow, I can see how sister wives would be appealing."  My other favorite quote of the weekend was when our neighbor saw that Bryan had a house full of females.  He said, "Man, I know you don't drink, but these are the times that beer was made for."  I'm glad to report that Bryan didn't ever turn to to the bottle.

Britney and Lisa got in late Saturday afternoon and we went out for a delicious sushi dinner and spent the rest of the night catching up.  Sunday was our primary program so they put up with me running around crazy in the morning then in the afternoon Lisa was so nice to take family pictures for us.

On Monday we went down to the Inner Harbor.  It was a beautiful day and we had a great time walking around and eating at Shake Shack (come visit me and there's a 99% chance I'll take you there.)  Then we said goodbye to Britney, who had to head back for a work meeting.  That afternoon my girls snuggled with Lisa and made her read them 8,000 books.  On Tuesday morning we took Lisa on a little hike at a nearby park then had to drop her off at the airport.  We're so lucky to have had Lisa and Britney visit and we're counting down the days til we get to see them again!


Friday Five in the Fall

Fall in Maryland is absolutely magical.  The weather is perfect, the trees are magnificent, and I'll take many many more weeks like this one please because I know we'll shortly be staring down a long, cold winter.

ONE | My family came to visit last weekend!  We had a great time with them at Weber's Farm and then met Katie and Neal for dinner. 

TWO | Jilly started ballet again.  I realized at the last minute that she needed new ballet shoes so it was a mad scramble the morning of her first class to find some (ballet shoes were sold out everywhere!) but we did and she was ready to go with time to spare.

THREE | After reading Room on the Broom I let the girls watch the movie but apparently it was too scary for my little fraidy cats (am I a terrible mom for taking this picture?)  Luckily the story ends happily.

FOUR | Jilly's preschool class had a field trip this week.  We learned about the farm from Farmer Wayne, fed the baby goats, got lost in the corn maze, had relay races, and got to pick a pumpkin.  It was so much fun, and preschoolers are hilarious.

FIVE | We went apple picking for the second time this season.  It was my friend Jenni's birthday so I made muffins that the kids enjoyed on my front porch before we left.  The drive up to Pennsylvania was incredible and the orchard was so beautiful.  We picked (and ate!) lots and lots of apples and Jilly convinced all the kids to play her favorite game Family and I convinced my friends to take a jumping picture, and I was super grateful to have a van to fill up with friends.


A good day

If there's one thing I've learned as a mother it's that there are good days and bad days (and good moments and bad moments.)  We need the bad to appreciate the good, but sometimes it's nice to just forget the bad and only think about the good.  Today was a day that turned out quite good.

Some highlights:

+ Jilly reading Mattie princess stories while I got ready this morning

+ Reading almost all of a Magic Tree House book to Jilly (she wanted to save the last chapter for tomorrow.)

+ Surviving a quick trip to Walmart

+ Dropping off and picking up Jilly from preschool on time (on Friday I was 2 minutes late to pick her up and she was the very last kid in the room and a little teary-eyed.  #momfail)

+ Washing and folding all the laundry

+ Being able to help a friend who needed a babysitter at the last minute

+ Taking a scooter ride to the park and enjoying the most gorgeous weather

+ Making dinner even though Bryan was working late (he worked late Thursday and Friday so I didn't make real dinners, we went out on Saturday, and were invited to a friend's house for dinner Sunday, so it was about time I turned on my oven.)

+ The girls turning a box into a rocket while I made dinner

+ Playing a game and having pudding for family night

+ Putting the girls to bed and watching You've Got Mail (a tiny perk of Bryan working late is getting full control of the tv)

Nearly perfect days like this don't come often so I'm going to hold on tight to this one.