If the last two years are any indication, having a kid really does make it harder to find time to read. This is the second year in which I only made it halfway to my goal of reading one book a week. Having said that, I am very thankful I have still been able to average about one book every other week.
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner was my 25th book to read this year. I actually read this book in 2008 after I saw it mentioned on the reality TV show Beauty and the Geek. I really enjoyed the book the first time (giving it 5 stars on Goodreads) and still found it interesting five years later. I find Levitt's way of thinking to be fascinating. At the time of reading this book, I also happened to be house hunting. I kept wishing that there was a formula I could use to determine what house was best suited to my family and what that house would be worth. If only house hunting was that easy...
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell was also a repeat book for me. I love the way Gladwell outlines his books and his quirky way of coming to conclusions for every day events. His writing and research has a lot of similarities to that of economist Steven D. Levitt. Three years ago I gave The Tipping Point 5 stars on Goodreads and that rating still holds for me.
Finally, over the course of the past year I have been reading the book, The Story. The congregation we worship with has been following this telling of many of the great Biblical stories through a series of year-long sermons that I have enjoyed immensely. Listening to these weekly sermons while simultaneously reading this book has been a great way to get back into the stories of the Bible that I have grown up knowing. I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Monday, December 30, 2013
Our last night together in our house.
We officially moved out of our house the weekend before Christmas but we didn't close on selling the house until Saturday. And today we received the official confirmation from the relo company that our part of selling the house is done. Yahoo! Here are a few pictures of our last day at the house as a family.
Jack's choice for his last breakfast at the house was peanut butter from the jar.
Jack had fun with his birthday train while the house was packed up.
Jack is practicing with the tape measure while his Daddy
works on adding a rail to the stairs on the front of our house.
Watching his Daddy work on the steps.
Daniel working on adding the necessary stair rail so that we can close on the house on time.
Our last time riding our four wheeler on our property.
Packed up. Everything will be in storage through February 20.
Hopefully we will find a house by then!
Our last family photo at our Hollywood house.
Sad to say goodbye, but looking forward to our next phase of life
in whatever home we end up buying.
Friday, December 27, 2013
Up until Christmas Eve, there had been no time to do any of the traditions that we normally would do. And even though life still isn't exactly normal, we were finally able to squeeze in some of those traditions that make Christmas special for our family.
On the eve of Christmas Eve, we met up with Daniel's mom and sisters for dinner at Germantown Cafe in East Nashville to celebrate his mom's birthday. It was freezing out, but Jack had fun walking up and down the street looking at the Christmas lights, first with Daniel, then with his Nana, and finally with Aunt Amy.
Amy was only able to convince him to come back inside the restaurant with the promise of cake. We didn't have cake, but we did order a slice of Key Lime Pie for Regina. The pie turned out to be a good substitute for Jack. I think he ate more than half of the pie slice that we got to share!
On Christmas Eve we gathered with Daniel's extended family for brunch and visiting. Jack was spoiled with several great presents from our family.
A Thomas the train from his Nana; a gardening set that included a push mower from his Great Grandmother;
a toddler laptop from his Great Aunt Trine and Uncle Corey; books from his Aunt Amy; overalls and a ballcap from cousins Chris and Jessica.
My favorite moment was when Jack opened his lawnmower and said, "Turn it on." Sorry buddy, all toys do not turn on.
Another sweet thing is that Jack started taking pictures with my camera. He insists on taking "one more" and wants you to "smile" while he points the camera at the ground or straight at the ceiling.
That night we ordered pizza from Mozzarella's in Hermitage. My brother Mark spent the night with us and enjoyed watching Jack open his Christmas Eve gifts of new pajamas and a new game. After we put Jack to bed, I made my decadent hot chocolate.
I accidentally tripled the amount of sugar and while the hot chocolate was really good, we all started to feel really bad after half a mug. Lesson learned, don't triple your sugar!
On Christmas morning we all slept in. I'm kind of glad we can still sleep in. I think in a year or two, things will change and Jack will be jumping on us to get us out of bed. While everyone stirred, I made my families traditional Sausage and Biscuit Pinwheels.
Jack enjoyed breakfast and didn't even realize there were more presents under the tree.
When we brought him into the living room, he was happy to open more presents. Since our stockings are packed, I filled gift bags with goodies for all of us.
Jack's gift bag had an annual Christmas ornament that I picked out for him. This year I chose a train and he was delighted with it. In his eyes it is another toy train to play with.
As for presents, we gave him a game to play and something to wear (pajamas) on Christmas Eve, something you want (toy truck), something you need (puzzles), something to build (blocks) and something to read (a new book).
We don't give as many presents as some and probably more presents than others. This is what is working for us right now and it fit into a reasonable budget, which we were happy with.
After presents, Jack had fun building with his new blocks – especially when we set up the train set from his Nana. He loved building tunnels for his train to go through.
After he tired of playing, we turned on The Polar Express and Mark and I started cooking our Christmas meal.
While the food cooked, we Skyped my parents in Arkansas.
Daniel's mom showed up just as our food was ready to eat and we enjoyed a small intimate dinner. After dinner, Daniel's sister Amy swung by for a visit and then Jack, tired with excitement had to take a nap. Regina and Amy headed out to see a movie and we let Jack rest.
Daniel's sister Emily showed up right after Jack's nap. This was perfect timing as we had time to start making our Christmas cookies before dinner.
Jack had a blast with me and Emily in the kitchen, mixing the batter. Once it was ready to chill for two hours, we decided to head out to Sakura Japanese Restaurant for our traditional Hibachi Christmas dinner.
We have been going for Hibachi ever since Jack was born – typically with Emily and Daniel's dad. His dad was in Chattanooga this year for Christmas, so we couldn't meet up with him, but we carried on the tradition anyway.
Overall Jack enjoyed it, but he really got scared when our chef lit the table on fire. I had to take him outside to calm him down. Once he got over his fear, he had a good time.
After dinner, we went back to the house to finish our cookies. Jack enjoyed helping Emily put sprinkles on the cookies.
He was disappointed when we put the sprinkles up, but was happy to get to eat the cookies. Overall, our Christmas was a success.
I hope you had a Merry Christmas. I am thankful that we had several days to spend with loved ones and to bring a little joy back into our lives. It was a much needed reprieve from all of the craziness of having to move over the holidays!
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