Friday, Friday

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I’m cleaning up days of dishes from the counter and every available surface in the kitchen. It’s Friday, and I think I’ve lost a whole week. I want to clean up this week, sweep it into the dustpan, move on.

Last Friday morning Joshua threw up all over me, before we ever left to take Libbie to school. I was wary of putting him in the van in case it happened again. So Mr. V took Joshua to class. And trying to drive off campus, my car kept shifting into neutral by itself. Then some warning lights came on. I looked in the manual, which said, “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT DRIVING THE CAR OVER 30!!!”

So we borrowed a car to take Libbie to school, shifting car seats and bookbags. We were good and late. Come back, have our van towed, try to figure out a rental. We rent a sedan, knowing that it won’t fit all three of our car seats but thinking we’d have the van back Monday at the latest. We will make it work.

They don’t even look at our van on Friday, of course, despite up-and-down promises.

Saturday David throws up.

Sunday everyone seems fine and we think we are out of the woods. Libbie’s Sunday School teacher comes to pick her up so we can all go to church. (Bless her.) Monday David has a little playdate while I take Libbie to school. (More car seat shifting.)

And then Monday, David takes a three-hour nap in the middle of the day, which neverevereverever happens. Then Joshua throws up, all over my new Keen shoes. Then Libbie.

So Tuesday we’re all at home, even though they all feel fine, now, of course. Keeping germs to ourselves. David probably could have gone to school, but I don’t want to spread sickness to anyone else if I can help it.

Wednesday, I think, finally! We finally get our car back and have room for all the children. I finally have a day where Libbie and David are both at school. And I finally get hit with the bug myself. ARGGGGHHHH.

And then Thursday, I feel better, but I have MOPS, dropping off Operation Christmas Child boxes, picking up David and our carpool buddy, reading books, helping with homework, doing dinner, a coughing toddler who obviously isn’t feeling well YET AGAIN in my bed.

It’s Friday again. Everything is a terrible mess. But there is some quiet now as Joshua sleeps and David plays, the dishwasher runs and the students outside are on the verge of evacuating for Thanksgiving break.

I’m so looking forward to the next week: doing water aerobics again, helping Libbie learn about Neptune, worshiping with our church, traveling and spending time with family for Thanksgiving, having Mr. V home, helping in Libbie’s class to make space posters.

So that covers why it’s been quiet around this small home on the web this week. I hope your week has been filled with much better things and much less sickness! Stay tuned for Saturday Linky Love and the launch of my e-book devotional, Parenting Parables, on Monday!

 

Saturday Linky Love

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After quite the day yesterday, I really just wanted to sleep all day today. But since I have three kids, you know that’s not happening. We’ve tried to have a chill day, though, except for a birthday party this afternoon. Hope you’re having a nice weekend.

Here is some good stuff for you to snuggle down and devour this weekend.

Reading offline: Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry and still working slowly through Chasing God by Angie Smith.

So, what did you read that was great this week? Link up here. You can grab the code for the button in the sidebar, if you want. Please link back here and add the PERMALINK to your post, not your home page.

Staying when You Want to Go

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stayingwhenyouwanttogo

I’ve been pretty stuck to my bed and the couch since Saturday morning. My back has flared up again (for the millionth time in the last 3 years), and it’s hard to sit up in the car, walk around when I have to be carrying Joshua, or even wash dishes or do laundry.

I’m generally not an inactive person. I like to be out and about. I barely watch TV anymore, because I can’t sit still long enough to do so. And when I do, I’m thinking, “What else should I be doing right now?” I’m not sure that’s a good thing, but it’s the truth.

It’s so hard to stay put when all I want to do is clean the maelstrom that is our apartment, since Joshua is actually asleep. But I know for healing, I can’t be crouching down all over the floor or hunched over the sink. It just doesn’t help.

I’ve heard many a time that it’s much harder to stay put in a struggling marriage than leave. Our marriage has never been at a point that rocky, so I can’t attest to that. But I’ve learned marriage isn’t the only place where that adage fits.

It can be really hard to stay when you want to go.

For us, it’s our church. The last two years have been really rocky for our community of faith. It’s a traditional church trying to exist in 2014 and finding out what that means. And there have been many, many times where Mr. V and I asked each other, “Is it time for us to go?” Many of our friends have left the church, including one of my best friends and my mentor.

But we never felt peace about going. And somewhere in there, we made the decision to stay for the storm. To hold on and do our part to help the change. We took over our Sunday School class as teachers. I went back to help with David’s Wednesday-night class. I’m trying to make it to sing in the choir most weeks, although at this point in our lives the kids’ bedtime definitely has to be a higher priority than choir practice.

It’s not fun to feel like you’re one of the few left to fill the open slots. But we feel that is God’s plan for us right now. It’s been super hard to see how much our church in Nashville is thriving and growing. But we are convinced God is working through our ministers and they want the best for the church and our community.

It doesn’t make it not hard.

Sometimes I feel the same way in our home life, too. I don’t mind being home, but I love being out and doing things. With small ones, though, you need to be home for naptime. No matter how David fights it, he needs some downtime in his room. Sometimes I have to be home just to get lunches made and sheets washed and my sanity intact. I don’t like it. I find it easier to get wrapped up in the go here-here-here, maybe because there I get some social interaction with someone who doesn’t start screaming when they don’t like what I say.

But I stay. It’s hard sometimes. I want the flexibility I had before kids.

But I need to stay. I could go, but I believe in staying there’s going to be a blessing. Whether it’s the quiet of a nap or the honing of leadership skills or just the knowledge that I did what God told me to do.

Library Finds for the Little Ones

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We own a lot of books. Really, we do. Especially kids’ books. But you know what? When I tell the kids to grab a book to read, they almost always go for the library basket.

Not only are the library books free, they rotate frequently, making them just like a shiny new toy each week. My kids love digging through the basket and seeing the gems they and Mommy picked out for the week.

Sometimes I try to do a theme – like two weeks ago I reserved a bunch of pumpkin books – and sometimes I do look for new and recommended books.* But often I just walk through the easy reader shelves, pulling out titles that look interesting and throwing them in my heavy canvas bag to check out. The kids are usually allowed to pick two or three books each. (Unfortunately Libbie doesn’t usually get to come now that she’s in school, but she picks out a school library book and a couple classroom books, too.)

Since I am always looking for fabulous new reads for my kids, I thought I’d share some of the ones we’ve checked out lately that have turned out to be winners!

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis – This book has won several awards, and I saw one plastered on the front of the copy I picked out of the library shelves. I loved how the book itself feels like a cardboard box; on the back it even says, “This side up.” Really cute little line drawings, and my kids loved filling in the rest of what the bunny might be saying.

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White – This is one I reserved for our pumpkin week. It’s about an elderly woman who hates pumpkins, due to the fact that her family ate only pumpkins for a long time during the Depression. She ends up with a yard full, though … and has to figure out the best way to dispose of the behemoths. Very sweet story about community.

I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn – A cute tale of a girl’s dress that she outgrows – which then gets turned into a shirt, a tank top, a skirt, a scarf … and so on. There was one line about how she stopped wearing the skirt because her friend told her skirts weren’t cool anymore that bothered me. But in general, I liked the different fonts, the pretty pictures, and the message about reusing what we have and love.

I’m Dirty! by Kate & Jim McMullan – Nothing appeals to a 3-year-old boy like mud and construction vehicles. David loved this one.

Silly Doggy! by Adam Stower – Lily wakes up and finds the perfect pet in her backyard … a dog! A BIG “dog.” We love a book that gets laughs, and Lily’s ignorance is pretty funny.

Snuggle Wuggle by Jonathan London – This is Joshua’s favorite book in the entire world. (He is 19 months.) I have no idea why. But all we have to do is say Snuggle Wuggle and he will go find the book and insist we read it. Eleven or twelve times. He is an animal lover, so maybe that’s why, or it’s just the simple language and rhyming words.

______

*Speaking of looking up recommendations, I saw GoodReads’ 2014 book voting going on. They have a section for picture books, so I went ahead and requested several of those from the library, too. This week we were able to get The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak (from The Office) and Sparky! by Jenny Offill. Both are very funny, although the humor in Sparky! is more subtle. (My kids were basically rolling around on the floor hysterical reading The Book with No Pictures. And Ba-doongy-face is now part of our family vocabulary.) Both are winners in my book, and I look forward to checking out the rest of the contenders in the 2014 picture book category. [They’ve taken down the nominees right now, but the semifinals start Monday so you should be able to see them then, I think.]

Your turn: what children’s book should we check out from the library this week? My kids are 6, 3, and 1 1/2.

Saturday Linky Love

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Last week I went TOTALLY blank on Linky Love, y’all. About mid-afternoon on Saturday, Mr. V said, “Hey, are you going to do Linky Love?” It had not even crossed my mind. I am such a stellar, professional blogger, yes?

So here are two good weeks of links for you to read!

Reading offline: I just finished Falling into Place by Amy Zhang. An easy read, but very psychological and pretty scary about a teen who tries to commit suicide. I have several from the library to read next: One Plus One by JoJo Moyes, Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry, and The Blessings of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel to listen to.

So, what did you read that was great this week? Link up here. You can grab the code for the button in the sidebar, if you want. Please link back here and add the PERMALINK to your post, not your home page.

Booking It: October 2014

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Y’all, seriously. I am looking at what I read in the beginning of October and I can’t even remember it. I know the years are short, but apparently the months are not. Some of this seems like months and MONTHS ago!

Anyway, here’s what I finished in October.

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty (not to be confused with Liane Moriarty … which I definitely was at first) – I listened to the audiobook in my car and was thrilled to find it was read by Elizabeth McGovern aka Cora from Downton Abbey. I adore her voice, and she was perfect for this 20s novel.

In general, I enjoyed parts 1 and 2 of this novel. I did find Cora a little unbearably uptight, but I think that was intended. I have no idea how much of this is historically accurate, and I don’t guess that matters, either. Cora is the typical uptight 20s woman; Louise is the typical flapper. But they are both deeper characters somewhere.

I felt most of part 3 was kind of unnecessary and dragged out. I would have been satisfied if it had ended much earlier.

Quitter by Jon Acuff – Let’s forget the fact that I got this from Mr. Acuff when he spoke at Blissdom in February 2012, OK? (Which is about the time I started writing that devotional I keep talking about that I swear is COMING SOON.)

You would think that a book about “not quitting your day job” while you work on your dream wouldn’t speak much to a stay-at-home-mom. But I would say, of all people, we really can’t quit our day jobs! Jon had so much to share that was encouraging and laugh-out-loud funny, of course. Really appreciated his wisdom and insight and go-getter-spirit.

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – After starting this in August and having my library e-book loan run out, I had to wait until October to get my hands on a copy again. I had to reread the first 50 pages, because I couldn’t remember a lick of it.

After hearing so much hoopla about this short novel, I was hoping for more. I loved the literary references and AJ’s synopses of short stories. While the plot was interesting, the melodrama of the characters was just a bit much. This one is all about bragging to yourself, “Oooh, I’ve read that one!” Tons of literary name-dropping.

Courting Cate by Leslie Gould – [Free for Kindle right now!] I can’t lie; I love some good Amish fiction. This is my first book by Leslie Gould writing solo. I’ll admit I had wondered if Mindy Starns Clark was pulling all the weight in the Women of Lancaster County series, but obviously Gould is also an excellent writer.

While the story was fairly predictable given that she was basing it on The Taming of the Shrew, I found myself pretty captured by Gould’s characters and enjoyed the book quickly!

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce #1) – When Anne kept recommending this series, I thought it must be about some snooty Italian lady. What kind of name is Flavia de Luce? But when I actually read a synopsis and saw the books are about a 10-year-old sleuth in 1950s England, I decided to request the first one from the library.

Flavia is a simply delightful character. I am just shy of the end of book #2, and how quickly I picked up the sequel should tell you something. I’m constantly amazed a modern-day Canadian man could write so poignantly from a young British girl’s point-of-view. Flavia is hilarious, and her obsession with poison and chemistry is something else. If you like a good mystery, these are well worth your time.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – I think Moriarty did a divine job with an interesting concept – what if you couldn’t remember the last 10 years of your life, and you woke up not knowing your own children or that you were divorcing your husband? What if all those places that had turned hard were soft again with expectation and youth?

I am kind of sad I could only read this for the first time once. It’s a great page-turner I would recommend to many.

Sushi for One? by Camy Tang – Way back in the day, I used to read a lot of Christian chicklit. Now my tastes are different, but I’d had this book on my to-read list since it came out in 2009. I think it’s out-of-print, so the library can’t get it. When it finally came down to $2.99 for Kindle, I decide to snatch it up and finally read it.

First, I hate the cover. Does anyone like covers with real people on them? It doesn’t let you imagine the characters well. But I really liked Tang’s little novel about Asian-American culture through the eyes of Lex, a volleyball player and sports enthusiast with an incredibly overbearing grandmother. I have no idea if it rings true for actual Asian-Americans, although I would guess yes since Camy is one herself. In any way, it’s a sweet story with a punch of romance, ESPN, and God.

Have you read anything good lately? Tell me about it!

Linked up with Booking It at Life as MOM and Twitterature at Modern Mrs. Darcy.