Friday, November 27, 2015

Seven Quick Takes vol. 133

Joining the lovely Kelly, who has all your Black Friday shopping needs covered!


Happy Friday and Happy day after Thanksgiving to my American friends! 
I'm always grateful on American Thanksgiving for not having to deal with the giant amounts of work, food, stress, family, and cooking less than a month away from Christmas. I'm a Thanksgiving Grinch and I like that way - I'm also Canadian so we have a lovely, low-key Thanksgiving in October which makes plenty of down time between seeing family again, eating pie again, and worrying about shopping. But if you had turkey yesterday, then I hope it was great. 


In surprising news the husband and I escaped for a few days this past week to Arizona and it was marvellous. We'd planned it out a month or two ago and then sort of stopped thinking about it thinking it was so far away and got caught up in life, then a week or two ago we got really excited at a prospect of a couple days away together and a bit of a trip. It takes a bit of coordination to get all the stars to align babysitting-wise, work-wise, money-wise, but we both always feel like it was really worth it once we're there and have ploughed through the worry and anxiety of leaving the kids. Because I always do get that gripping fear and guilt for a few days before I leave. You can't avoid mom guilt. 


A lovely, dreamlike vacation to me is really just a hotel and the prospect of food I don't have to cook. It feels so luxurious not worrying about when to eat, just choosing to walk into a coffee shop and sit down for more than five minutes, and sleeping as late as we want. We meandered around at our leisure, didn't rush anywhere, enjoyed doing things the kids would have tantrumed about, it was wonderful!


We did manage to go to the Arizona Cardinals game last Sunday night which was a total hit with my husband. The game was really good, the stadium was monstrous and crazy, the margarita I got at the stadium surprisingly strong. We had a lot of fun! 


We officially take back any previous sarcastic comments regarding snowbirds who winter in Arizona because the weather was perfect. Cloudless skies, no wind or bugs, blissfully warm in November! I loved the desert plants and kinda freaked out over the saguaro cacti. Not quite Spanish Moss levels of freak out, but still, I just loved seeing them. It's just so much fun seeing a whole new landscape-especially when ours is covered in snow for the next five months or so.


Advent. It's here. I'm not ready. But I'm ok with that. It's really not Advent we're getting ready for, it's Christmas and that's why we have 4 weeks of Advent. I wish I had new things to say about Advent but I feel like everything that needs to be said has been said. Even my old Advent posts have started getting hits this week as people look forward to the season. 
It's really a time the Church gives us to embrace silence, waiting, and preparation. And all those things can happen in small, undramatic, daily ways - not in big things that require a lot of work, effort, and drama. I'm going to try and refocus on my own prayer and I know that the kids are already looking forward to our small traditions of lighting the Advent wreath with some prayers, songs, and readings randomly interspersed over the four weeks. I am in no way prepping. I know that over the course of four weeks I'll turn over my heart and see where it lands at Christmas. 


But since we're already speaking of Advent and St. Nick's day is about a week away, I've gotten on the ball this year and have already ordered received the kids St. Nick Christmas books. Ignatius Press sent me a couple of advance copies of their delightful Maite Roche board books, one about the Our Father and one with glorious Christmas illustrations and they are delightful. They are really perfect little board books for the 2 and over set, but I have no complaints taking in the beautiful illustrations myself. The simple prose is a perfect introduction to prayer and Christmas, and the size of the books are great for taking to Mass. Highly recommended!

Well, I'm off to take some kids to see Santa at our small town light-up, celebrate a certain 7 year old's birthday, and dig through the storage room at some point in hopes of finding the advent wreath. Oh! Btw, because you all were wondering, I found advent candles at a dollar store so I'm now just hoping they don't really stink -- fingers crossed. 

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What I've Been Reading Lately

Here's some of what I've been reading lately-- some bestsellers, some mysteries, some good, some not so good...

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

This is the second novel written by one of the authors of the highly enjoyable The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It chronicles the family of a young girl in rural Virginia during the Depression and the arrival of a young woman who is writing a local history of the area. This is one of those books where I liked the writing, I liked the story well-enough, I liked the characters -- but for some reason something is missing from making this book really good. I feel this book could have used a good dose of editing, and adding a little more polish to the plot to get it to that next level.

Still Life by Louise Penny

The first novel in Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series, Still Life is a well crafted detective novel that brings to life a whole community of great characters. I also like Penny's main character as he seems to be a gentle and intelligent man who both understands the goodness and evil in people and how both qualities come to the surface in subtle ways. The writing is well done which is essential in good detective fiction, because no matter how clever a plot a whodunnit needs to be enjoyable in all ways to make a good book. I'm already reading the second in the series.

(Amazon wouldn't let me link to the original hardcover edition which has a much better cover. I hate movie-promo book covers. End rant.)

The Martian by Andy Weir

So I am the first to admit I do not like science fiction. Science fiction of any kind and I'm out. But this book has been so highly recommended from more than a few sources who I really trust that I thought I'd give it a shot. I thought the book would be decent, but what I didn't expect was how much I would enjoy it. I was laughing, I was completely sucked into the story and had no idea how Mark Watney would figure out the next crazy thing that would happen to him on Mars, and I mostly kept up with the science. It's not a perfect book, but for a first effort the story line is a good one and the writing definitely pulls you along without letting the intricate science take away from the drama and excitement. We just watched the movie this weekend are really enjoyed it, but the movie did leave out some great scenes from the book.

On Track for Murder by Stephen Childs

This is a historic mystery which takes place in Australia near the end of the nineteenth century. The mystery revolves around a young British woman named Abigail, whose father is murdered shortly after her arrival with her brother to Australia. Abigail's mentally disabled brother is blamed for the murder and Abigail teams up with the handsome local constable to get to the bottom of what happened to her father. The plot is well constructed and I enjoyed the setting, but what was lacking in this book was good characterization. I really wanted Abigail to be more interesting, more likeable, and, well, have more of a personality.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

I finally read it! And now I can finally say that it really wasn't that great. I definitely got more laughs out of this book than advice and maybe it's just because since we live in such a small house we've learned over the last couple years that we just don't have the room for "stuff". My husband has an allergy to clutter so he is almost constantly cleaning out what accumulates, so I guess I don't really have to deal with this problem too much. I definitely am not thanking my purse every evening, or worrying about how claustrophobic my socks feel since reading the book. I think my personality just does not respond well to so much woo-woo, but if it helps/helped you clean up then I guess it's a good book...for you.

Well, that a wrap for this week. I conveniently have five books here so I'm going to link up with the wonderful Ashley for Five Faves, head on over to find great stuff! And Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit.

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I miss blogs

I know this title is a bit silly because blogs are still around, blogs are going strong, blogs are making millions of clicks and a couple of dollars around the world -- it's not like they've disappeared or been outlawed. Aren't I being a touch dramatic?

But I have to admit that I miss the way blogging used to be. I miss the giant blogs who no longer publish, I miss the way we used to publish with abandon about the minutiae of our daily lives without regard for click bait or share-ability. I miss photos of our kids. I miss posts about dinner. I miss hearing about our latest thrift store finds. I miss the almost daily publishing. I miss the linking up with frivolity.

Times have changed. We've all grown a little older, and our children have grown by leaps and bounds. We're not in the house as much. We don't have as much useless time floating around while little ones nap. We're busy, we're driving, we're teaching, we're moved on. We've gotten new platforms, we've written books, we've succeeded.

We know blogs are very professional now, that images matter, shares matter, that voices are innumerable, that everything has been said before. And maybe we've already said everything we think we have to say. Maybe we've already written our napping manifestos and taken our stand on the Facebook controversy of the day and just don't feel like we need to say anything more. Maybe we're burnt out of "creating content". Maybe we're just done.

It's also completely natural to want to move on. To find different interests that take up our precious free time, or maybe need a break from the noise of the internet world in general.

I get that. It's totally understandable. Every one of these reasons are valid and appropriate.

And yet, I still miss it. The way blogging used to be; the oversharing and dark pictures. The random check-ins and posts consisting of stream of consciousness updates. Publishing more often with friendly posts or venting about bad days.

I think it's that these simple, more frequent posts felt a little more ordinary and friendly somehow. It bound us moms together and brought us closer. At least I felt so close and inspired by reading of the daily lives of women just like me. I know that Facebook and Instagram still make this a reality, yet somehow still not the same.

I'm the first to admit I don't like change and probably could use some more in real life friends. I've also grown attached to blogs I read with loyalty because they've really meant a lot to me. I know things changing isn't wrong or bad at all, but I thought I'd just say that I do miss the blogging days of old.

Most importantly I want to thank those of you who've shared, and documented, and posted away over the last years, whether you had a giant following or not, for letting me see a slice of your life. What we write and share matters and does really touch other people on the great expanse of the interwebs. To those of us still posting regularly, if less often - me most definitely included, thanks for keeping a great thing going and doing what you want, how you want.

Our little niche of Catholic mom blogs is a beautiful thing, I'm so glad it's here.

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Friday, November 6, 2015

Seven Quick Takes vol. 132

Making myself blog for Kelly.


Where has the time gone? Oh, probably sucked into the vacuum that is the week before and the week after Halloween. I really feel like Halloween always zaps it out of me. I think because it's the big whammy of a child's birthday and getting things in gear to have 5 different kids dressed in five different costumes and out the door to do all the trick or treating but also having to fit in all the birthday things so that the Halloween baby doesn't feel like he's just born on a secular holiday. Anyway! Long story short, I was catching up till Thursday and am finally feeling back on track today. It actually makes for a short feeling week now come to think of it....or maybe not....


Gratuitous Halloween Picture of my kids!

Gemma was a princess but not Elsa. She wanted to be her own princess and since she got that insanely extravagant costume from her grandma she could do whatever she wanted in my book. Dominic was a storm trooper and it basically made all his dreams come true. Luke was Wolverine but didn't feel like wearing the mask. Max was a Ninja Turtle. And Nora just wore a princess dress from out of the dress-up box. They were all really wonderfully easy about costumes and I don't think they even understand that they could demand complicated homemade ones from their mother, so I'm going to enjoy this innocence for as long as possible because I know homemade costumes are a comin'.


As I mentioned earlier Luke is my Halloween baby and celebrated his 6th birthday. It's official that my babies are now legit kids. And the time has flown and I do. not. understand. it.

Luke is a wonderful boy and I love every ounce of his inquiring, mischievous, self and he is such a caring and generous guy. If that's what happens to middle children then I guess I can blame some of my personality faults on being an oldest child, because his ability to give and be kind is really awesome. He was worth all that labor on a Halloween afternoon, and he may one day learn how I cursed trick or treaters while pushing him out. (TMI? Home birth, Halloween, me. It was really a recipe for cursing.)


We also did something outrageous and had a birthday party for the boys at a hockey game on Sunday. It was a minor league game but the team puts together these birthday party packages and it just seemed too good for my husband to resist. I can't complain because I loved that I didn't have to clean up anything or cook anything and I think the kids had fun. Probably would have had more fun if they were older, but it was great. 


But that also means another year, and another year with no official All Saints Day party or saint dressing up or anything. Our parish has no other kids who regularly attend so there was nothing going there, and I really didn't hear anything from my friends who live further afield, either that or we just weren't invited! Basically, another year where Halloween greatly outshines All Saints Day, which is unfortunate. I really just wish there was more celebration generally for a day that is really important on the liturgical calendar. But I think I'd have to go back a couple centuries to a Catholic country for that to happen...


I really love pyjamas. It's a happy byproduct of stay-at-home-mothering that I can fulfill my dreams of wearing pyjamas as much as possible. Anyway! I just bought this pair from Old Navy and they're the dreamiest. I love em and they're on sale, but the sizes left are scare. But I love them.


When we will make the abolition of daylight savings time an election issue? How long must we suffer under this oppression? When will we rise up against the evil minds who think this arbitrary time change necessary?
I'm beginning to think wineries may be behind the perpetuation of this injustice because wine intake for me definitely went up this week. Or coffee growers. Or Starbucks...geez, this conspiracy really does make people a lot of money...

Hope you all have a weekend that's enjoyed in the scare hours of sunlight now left to us.

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...