Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Letter to Becca: Eight Months

Wow kiddo, I'm really behind on writing monthly letters to you--my last one was at five months! This is probably one-part exhaustion and one-part denial that you're actually eight months old already. It still feels like you should be a newborn, even though the truth of the matter is that you're rapidly approaching toddler stage instead.
Becca-1 Becca-4
At this point, you're about two weeks away from the nine month mark, and just in the last few days, you've really been busy. Over the past weekend, you had two teeth pop through (bringing the total to three), you have been going crazy with "talking", and you took your first few steps, for a popsicle (of course). I thought that Lizzy walked super early, but here you are, trumping her by about a month. Terrifying. But I'm also actually looking forward to the walking, because for a little while at least, it will slow you down! You crawl like a spider monkey, and are SUPER fast. You've also started figuring out how to climb things (including stairs), which accounts for the bruise near your eye in this month's photos.
Becca-6 Becca-5 Becca-7
Lately, you've been either FULL of smiles, or a whining and crying mess. You typically want to be held (by me, only) for most of the day. We've all started calling you a koala because you just cling to my side all the time. You LOVE your big sister so much, and still just light up whenever she walks into the room. Lizzy is a very strong personality, and I was worried for awhile that she'd always dominate the room and leave you in the shadows...but the more I watch, the more I see that you'll be just fine. You already don't hesitate to scream at her if she does something that you don't like (such as picking you up), and sometimes I even watch you get this glimmer in your eye and then reach out and pull her hair. Needless to say, gentle is a big theme this month. Becca-2 Becca-3 Dare I say it, but sleep is also *finally* improving a little bit this month, which is a huge relief. For the most part, you've been napping once per day, though I'm still working on getting you into the crib instead of in my arms. And you've only been waking up once a night! And now I need to go find some wood to knock on. Sweet girl, we love you so much and we can't wait to see what the next month holds!
Love Forever and For Always,

Monday, July 22, 2013

Beauty in the Mundane- Volume 1

I've been trying to make an effort to bring out my "real" camera more often. To capture a few minutes of our day a couple times a week, without worrying too much about whether the living room is clean, or whether hair is brushed, or whether the photos are perfectly edited. To just capture some parts of our life, as it is right now. Here's a few minutes of last Saturday morning:

Lizzy-2 Lizzy-3 Lizzy-4 Lizzy-5 Lizzy-6 Lizzy-7 Lizzy-8 Lizzy-9 Lizzy-10 Lizzy-11 Lizzy-12 Lizzy-13

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What to Remember

I've been meaning to carve out some time to hop on and write a few blog posts. I think that with the infrequency of my posting lately coupled with the overall drop in blog writing and reading due to Instagram, I may be writing only to myself. And that's okay with me.

The other day (actually, I think it may have been a few months ago by now), Justin made a comment about how he was glad that I'd written all the Letters to Lizzy on this blog because he couldn't remember all the little details without them. I'm glad that I wrote them too, and have been meaning to catch up on Becca's letters for the same reason. But the point is, that in not having the time to blog lately, there are little things that I'm afraid might be slipping through the cracks of my mind, forgotten.

So here's what I want to remember right now:

-We've had a CRAZY busy few weeks, as is typical for us in the summer. Well, actually it seems like that's pretty typical for us all year round!I feel like we have been so incredibly busy, but I'm also not entirely sure with what.
-We've been taking Lizzy to swimming lessons for about seven months now, and she's starting to swim on her own for short distances without any sort of floaties!
-Becca has been a bit of a bear this month. We've started calling her our little koala, because she wants to be held and CLINGS to me 24 hours a day. She's currently getting three teeth all at once, which is no fun... but she is also really developing her own personality and starting to play with us, which definitely *is* fun.

-We got to week six or seven of Couch to 5k, and then we've had 100+ degree temperatures since then, and it just isn't happening anymore, which makes me sad. Especially since that was the one form of exercise that was actually working for us, as it didn't depend on both girls being asleep. I'm not really sure what to do now.

-All last week, Lizzy called Vacation Bible School the "DMV."

-I'm totally craving some sort of predictable schedule, or rhythm to our days.

-I love cooking...WHEN children are not screaming or clamoring to come into the kitchen/be picked up/have a snack/screaming/etc.

-I haven't read a really amazing book in awhile. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

-My parents are in Switzerland and my sister is in Denmark. I'm so thankful for Skype, which has allowed us to video chat with both of them!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Review: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

From the back of the book: During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother. Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.

I'm a fan of Kate Morton. I've read several of her other books, and was excited to read The Secret Keeper as well. I finished the book quite awhile ago, but was putting off reviewing it because I wasn't entirely sure what to say about it. 

See, it took me months to read The Secret Keeper. MONTHS. For me, that's pretty unheard of--usually, when I'm reading a good book, I carry it around with me in my diaper bag, sneaking at least a page or two at every possible opportunity. When I'm reading a good book, every spare minute is devoted to that book. And usually, if I'm not into a book in that way, I never finish it. The Secret Keeper was different, in that I really enjoyed the book, and could find myself completely immersed in Laurel and Dorothy's world, but then I could also put the book down and literally not touch it for a month, not really thinking about it either. Can a book like that still be a "good" read? I'm not sure..

After a bit of space and time, I think that the main issue is that there was a LOT of superfluous material in the book. Beautiful and thoughtful descriptions of places, and contemplative thoughts about characters--they were superb writing, but really did nothing to advance the plot. The descriptions didn't really build a basis for a character's later actions. They didn't really foreshadow twists to the mystery. They were just there. I have no problem with books that essentially act as character studies, but in this case, half the book felt like a character study and half the book felt like a mystery, and I'm not sure that those two genres meshed particularly well. I mean, I could sit down and read for a half an hour, and walk away realizing that I knew no more about the mystery at hand or any of the characters involved than I did before. I knew about how a field glowed at a particular hour, or how Dorothy felt in a fur coat. And because The Secret Keeper is essentially a mystery, I found myself just wanting to skip sections to get back to the real action, rather than enjoying the (rather long) detours. I suppose that when I read a mystery, I like it to be a page-turner. Something that I can hardly bear to put down. And The Secret Keeper? I just wasn't quite like that for me.

Despite figuring out the "twist" ending pretty early on, I'd say that The Secret Keeper is still worth a look, especially if you're a Kate Morton fan. As always, the writing was beautiful, the book was resolved well, and the characters were interesting, just don't expect a fast-moving mystery! 

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