Sunday, February 22, 2015

28 Days of Play

Today I have the pleasure of participating in Rachel Cedar's 28 Days of Play series. For the month of February and into March, parents are sharing their thoughts on the subject of play. I've been reading along and there have been such wonderful insights and revelations about the way we as parents approach play with our children. It's truly an honor to lend my words to this series, and join the other moms and dads who are opening up about this complicated and full topic. 


 "I had an entirely different essay in the works. One filled with neat and tidy truths about how my family and I bring play into our lives. But the thing is that the neat and tidy truths don’t always give you the full story. The messy, won’t stop tugging at you truth, that’s where the beauty lies."


Comments are closed here, but I'd love to read your thoughts over on the You Plus Two Parenting blog! Thank you for running such a beautiful series, Rachel! And a big thank you to Lindsey for connecting me with the project. Click on over and join me!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

celebrating together

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Yesterday we spent two hours in the woods across the river from our house. After we passed the sledding hill we didn't catch site of another human being for our entire adventure. The crunch and swish of our snowshoes kept us all company, as did little sibling squabbles and the occasional snowball hitting someones back...

The air was crisp and the sky grey, but the snow... the snow was brilliant. It took a long time for my eyes to adjust to all that white. The landscape looked like one gigantic white sheet - my depth perception was lost and more than once I stared until I could finally squint and see where the hill raised to meet the sky, where the inclines started and stopped.

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Shortly after we started out it dawned on me and I shouted up ahead to Lucas, "Do you know what day it is?" He turned his head back towards me and smiled, "Yes." "Eleven years!" I yelled and threw my hands up into the air. 

Eleven years ago, yesterday, we went on our first date. During February, the month of love, we fell head over heels for each other. It was fast and hard, and we've been together ever since that first night when we ate at Finz, strolled around Salem and looked at ice sculptures. He was the first man who asked if he could kiss me as we said goodbye. I think it was that moment that I knew. I say I knew the night I met him, and I mean that, but on our first date, I really really knew. I cannot imagine life without him. He's my tall dark and handsome man, and even though real life isn't all romance and rainbows all the time, we've got it as good as anyone could ever hope or dream. 

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Some years we remember our dating anniversary way in advance and plan for a night out. This year was not one of those years. Last minute we decided to make reservations for our favorite local restaurant. We ate and dined and gazed into each others eyes and reminisced about these last eleven years. We even walked to a little cafe for coffee and dessert after dinner. And most amazingly? We were a party of four. The kids came along on a date night that started after we'd normally eat dinner, and they were kind and thoughtful and participated in dinner conversation {"Bleck, love???" might have been the rudest comment that came from the peanut gallery, which isn't half bad!} and savored dessert and even thanked us for taking them along. Seriously. We've got it made with these two.

Yes, we like our date nights. And yes, going out just the two of us is necessary sometimes for the sake of everything that is good and holy. But how incredible is it to be able to enjoy a date night with your kids along to witness the love you have for each other, and to know when a special occasion comes that they are included? There may have been a few more trips to the restroom than normal, but last night was a good reminder that just because we have little ones and might not always plan for a sitter... that doesn't mean that we can't all enjoy a night out. The celebration of relationship milestones is really a celebration for the whole family. If it weren't for that first date, none of this would exist.

So we celebrated. Together. And then after a day of fresh air and exercise, an evening of good food and smiles and decadent desserts, the two of us fell into each others arms. Just like nearly every night of the last eleven years. Drunk on our life... happy, and better together than apart.


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Sunday, February 1, 2015

January's book pile...

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You all know I love books. I love smelling them, fresh from the library or the Amazon box. I love holding them, the weight of pages filling my hands or sitting on my lap. I love thinking about the work and pride that went into each one. And I love reading... 

So, since I've enjoyed posts for years on what other people are reading. I've been so inspired by lists of books... from Lindsey to Kristen, Virginia and Kara to Danielle and Faith... just to name a few...  I thought I'd go ahead and start a monthly list of what I've read....

January's book pile...

1. The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World.
by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett and Amanda Pressner

My writing buddy Les decided to start a book club, and this was the first book. I'll admit, I had a hard time getting into this book. It's a non fiction account of three friends journeying around the world, told in the three distinct voices of the authors. Once I got into the rhythm of each story teller the story flowed better, and I couldn't put it down! This book is a great one to read in the winter months, though make sure you're ready to deal with some major wander lust.

2. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel
by Gabrielle Zevin

I can't say enough good things about this sweet story. It's about a bookseller who has had his life turned upside down, and what happens to have it turned back upright and a bunch of twists along the way. It's a beautiful story, filled with nods to the literary world. It's a quick, feel good read that left me in tears.

3. The Ship of Brides: A Novel
by JoJo Moyes

I've read most of Moyes novels, and this one is in my top three. The Ship of Brides takes place after World War II, on an aircraft carrier. Hundreds of Australian war brides are making their way to England, and the story follows four of them on their journey. As always, expect the unexpected in the story. I find that it takes a few chapters for me to get into any of Moyes books, but once I get there I am in it, and can't put down the book until the ending where everything is tied together masterfully.

4. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
by K.M. Weiland

I'd seen this book around Instagram, pictured by other writers, for months. At a point where I needed some guidance on where to go with my novel, I finally picked up this book. Weiland sheds much light on the benefits of outlining, breaking down misconceptions that those of us who haven't used outlines before might make.... like that outlines stifle creativity and are boring {ahem....} She gives straight forward tips and hints to use to create your own outlining process. Because of this book I've been able to think about my novel in new ways, and don't feel nearly as overwhelmed as I did just a few weeks ago.

5. Windfallen
by JoJo Moyes

This Moyes second novel, and I loved seeing how her writing has changed over the years. Her newer books are more succinct, but this story has beautiful scenery and landscape details that her later books haven't included as much {possibly because of the location... this takes place in a seaside villiage} Another story filled with complex characters and interwoven stories.

6. Time of My Life: A Novel
by Allison Winn Scotch

I've had several of the authors books on my list for quite some time, but I finally requested them from the library. Time of My Life is a quick, entertaining read. The story line is something that I think we all think about from time to time - it all hinges on the question of "what if?" The main character gets a glimpse of what life could have been like if she had made a few different choices... and leaves the reader asking their own what if questions! A nice, enjoyable read for a snow day.

7. Free to Learn: Five Ideas for a Joyful Unschooling Life
by Pam Laricchia

After spending some time on Laricchia's blog I decided to take the plunge and buy all three of her books. I started with this one because it was her first book. She dives into the five "paradigm-changing" ideas about learning and living that she has found while on her family's journey of unschooling. Generally I shy away from labels and whatnot, but as of late I've realized that the way my family lives and learns alligns most with the unschooling principals. Unschooling, to me, is homeschooling without the curriculum, it's learning along side children, helping and guiding, not necessarily teaching. Now that my children are both reading I am more confident in the way that we spend our days, not guided by a curriculum, but by interests and curiosity. All that being said, I enjoyed Laricchia's book, and found myself nodding along as I read. Her writing is clear and concise, and she does a beautiful job of explaining unschooling without the severity that some radical unschoolers possess. {We are far from radical unschoolers... and I still hesitate to use a label of unschooling.... or any label at all. We do what works for us, and adjust as necessary... which I believe is the whole point of homeschooling in general!}A great read to add to the bookshelf for any homeschooling/unschooling family.

8. The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel
by JoJo Moyes

Yup. Another one by Moyes! At points this felt a bit like An Affair to Remember, but Moyes added her signature twists and turns and this ended up being another one of my favorites. One of the loveliest parts of this book was the idea of love letters... the power in letters and how we don't write them like we used to. Now it's all texts and emails. Remember what it felt like to get hand written notes, to see the penmanship of your loved one? I can still picture the handwritten notes and letters shared in high school, I bet I could pick out and identify friends and old boyfriends handwriting in a heartbeat. As with all of Moyes books, I read this in not quite two days. Her writing is easy to read and is utterly captivating.

9. The Theory of Opposites
by Allison Winn Scotch

As with Time of My Life, this story revolves around the idea of fate and destiny, and how much control we have over what happens in our life. Another enjoyable, quick read, though very similar to her other work. What I did find interesting was this is one of the few books I've read that deals with the impact social  media has on our lives - Facebook and texting in particular. I makes me wonder what dating would have been like if Facebook had been part of the equation {I joined facebook after the kids were born!} and what dating in the digital age is like now. I'm kind of thankful that Lucas and I were together before the days of FB stalking and public relationship status buttons!



There you have it, January's book pile. I'm excited for February, and all of the books on my shelf... the ones pictured above but not listed are the first to be read this month.What are you all reading? I'd love some suggestions!


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