Friday, February 27, 2015

What I'm Into: February

January! The start of something new! 

On the Nightstand:

I upped my reading game (a bit) this month. 

Reflections for Ragamuffins: Daily Devotions by Brennan Manning 
I've been reading this most mornings and it continues to bless.

Immersion Bible Study: Mathew- J. Ellsworth Kalas
I've been taking it slow becuase I want to really immerse myself in the gospel (pun intended) but I've been doing it more regularly.

Whose Bible Is It?: A Short History of the Scriptures- Jaroslav Pelikan
I meant to finish this book this month. Of course I didn't. I sort of underestimated the depth of it. It's definitely designed for a lay reader, but it's not a quick read. Anyway, I'm enjoying it. I've made it through the half about the Old Testament and I feel like I learned SO much that I didn't know about its formation.

A Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature- Roger Sutton
I'm about halfway through this one, too, and I've loved it so much. It's been really interesting to analyze chlildren's books a bit.

"an alphabet book is only as good as it's weakest link, aka the x page". I'm a huge nerd, clearly.

The Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today (and Every Day)- Ethan Richardson, Sean Norris
I added this devotion this month and I've enjoyed it so much. It's not your typical devotion in that it's very honest and reminds you of Grace over and over again. I think starting my day with Brennan and ending it with these guys is really helpful. There's freedom to fail (which I will) and the reminder of the unconditional love of God when I do. [There's a February book sale still going on, so I linked to the website directly instead of to Amazon.]

On Their Nightstand: 

Dinosaurs: The Worlds Most Terrifying Creatures- Veronica Ross

I got this pretty advanced (and really graphic) dino book a long time ago and gave it to them back in October. It's totally fueled their obsession. We finally finished it- Annie wanted to read the whole book and I read three pages a day (so much detail!) for months. Then for awhile she insisted she and Bud pick out their favorites each day to reread. We're slowly stepping back in favor of other things, which is good because I might have made it their Lenten sacrifice. LOL. Anyway, the other day she said she wanted to be a "cold weather dinosaur". I said okay not realizing she was referring to a specific one. When she asked us what it was P and I were like "wooly mammoth??" And she looked at us like "no, fools" and said "um, it's not a creature after the dinosaurs". Well, we found him today. There's snow in the picture, his name is "cryro" something, and he lived in Anartica. This is so intense.

We also hit up the library and got some good finds.

My favorites...
Doo-Wop Pop- Roni Schotter
Well, first of all this book has a beat. Which I love. We've been jumping into poetry some and this is a little different angle. I loved it because it was so fun and creative. The pictures are lovely. And the story is beautiful- it's about a group of shy children who really don't know each other, but then "Doo-Wop Pop", the school custodian, takes them under his wings and helps them spread theirs.  

Yesterday I Had the Blues- Jeron Ashford Frame
Another really creative book. The little boy narrator describes his emotions by linking them to colors. The book flows so well and the imagery is amazing. I love books on feelings that aren't pretentious and overdone. 

Just Us Women- Jeannette Caines 
This is just a sweet story about a little girl and her aunt going on a road trip. I loved the simple details and the realistic illustrations. It just seemed like such a wonderful story about something both sort of mundane and extremely important. 

We took one more dip into the world of poetry this month and this book is a WINNER. I'd get my hands on a copy for the illustrations alone. But I also loved the content. It's a book of short poems, agonized thematically around the seasons. I love the rhythms in life and more and more, I'm learning we were made to be seasonal people. I've always gravitated toward books that orientate themselves around the seasons and I think will go on my list of favorites. 

Sarah, Plain and Tall- Patricia MacLachlan
 I forgot what a tear jerker the first chapter is. Cried in front of my kids, but that's no big deal here. Per usual, graves was concerned and empathetic. Annie told me that "it doesn't really bother her" when characters' mommas die in the books we read. G Train and I are both going to need a Xanax when we get to Bridge to Terabithia. I've loved this one so much, though. It's been my favorite chapter book to reread in quite awhile. It's so simple, yet beautifully written. 

On the Shelf:
One Writer's Beginnings- Eudora Welty
Mal and I both keep pushing it back. But it's HAPPENING. 

At the Theater (or from the couch):
Not much. I did forget to mention a movie we watched back in January...

Kings of Summer
So "coming of age dramas" are totally my jam. It's pretty much my favorite genre, period. Peyton wasn't super impressed, but I really enjoyed it. Boys in the woods, facing their fears and themselves. Tangled up with romantic issues and trying to find their identities and escape the grasp of their parents. LOVED IT. 

We also spent time watching...
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
I just love that "silly ol' bear". And I love hearing my children say "oh, bother!" There's something to me about Winnie the Pooh that is sweet and innocent and charming and classic in a way almost nothing else is. 

The kids were (re)watching it recently and I heard some whimpering. I went in to check and poor Graves had big tears glistening in his eyes. Because Rabbit had told Tigger he could never bounce again. For a moment I just soaked up his sweet sensitivity and cuddled him. But then I thought about how often our culture tells little boys like my Graves to "Stop!Bouncing!" Being honest, I have a little bit of that control freak Rabbit (and anxiety ridden Piglet and and chronically depressed Eyore) in me- I wish I could just be Kanga. It was a good reminder that stifling his bouncy spirit would be just as bad as stifling his sensitive one. And I needed it- especially during the long, dreary Winter days that bring out the Rabbit, Piglet AND Eyore sides of my temperament.

On the Small Screen:
Peyton took the kids to the museum one day when I had a headache and I watched some of The West Wing. I've realized I'll probably finish it in like three years. And that's probably for the best because I think I'll be really sad when I do. I guess Peyton got bitten by the bug since it's about to end, but we streamed a couple of episodes of Parks and Recreation on Netflix. It's not my favorite show ever or anything, but it is pretty darn funny. Speaking of funny, good grief, this SNL skit literally had me crying:

In My Ears:
I didn't make a playlist this month. Frankly, I was kind of shocked. The month got away from me and honestly, I was still enjoying January's. I was thinking of just going ahead and making March's, but I may skip it, too because I have an old one I cultivated for Lent awhile back and I still love it. When I combine that with January's, which is also really worshipful, I think it will be the perfect soundtrack and I don't really want to mess with it. 

I did however, introduce Graves to a some Bruce videos (he's been listening to The Boss since his infancy). 

He told me that Bruce and Stevie were pirates and then rocked out with his mouseophone. 

Around the House:

February chalk courtesy of Bruce. I hope all three of my sweethearts always know there will never be a time I won't wait if they fall behind. 

surrounding myself with good words is everything

In the Kitchen:

So, I took the plunge and made my own pesto. My friend Carrie has been telling me for YEARS how easy it is. When one of your best friends tells you something's that easy, you should trust her. But it's tough when she's got a bit of a foodie in her and you're, well, whatever the antonym of a foodie is (with the exception of enjoying consuming and appreciating food other people make). Anyway, HOMEMADE! PESTO! Which will be even easier when we get back home to my normal food processor instead of having to use the mini one we brought. Maybe I'll even let Carrie help me take a few more baby steps toward real food. Oh, and also, apparently this is a "Winter pesto" because it uses parsley and walnuts. I found the recipe here and I think it's delicious! 

And, in the area that's decidedly not real food...these are amazing. I always like the holiday ones (pumpkins, eggs, ect.) because they are soft and smooth on the edges instead of having the hard ridges like the cups (which I love and would take an day). Bonus with these is they are nice and thick so extra PB! 

As are frosted animal crackers. Particularly if they are pink and white and coordinate with your elephant mug which encompasses ALL THE WHIMSY. Basically, I'm seven years old. It's the little things, y'all. 

In My Closet:
So, I love mixing patterns...on other people. Or if it's a top from the Anthro where they've already mixed it for me. I get nervous trying to do it myself, though. Well, I'm taking baby steps with that, too. This top (that I wear ALL THE TIME) has the tiniest little print and this scarf is just plain stripes. And the brown/tan color in them  is exactly the same. And they both match this perfect hat Minnie gave me that happens to be a tiny bit fanciful but basically low profile all at the same time. I feel like it came together really well and I'm going to try to be more creative in the future. 

In Their Closets:

For some reason, I think his rain cloud warm ups look so cute tucked in his snow boots. If you had told me two years ago that I'd be taking my little boy in public in sweat pants and a solid long sleeve t-shirt from Urban Outfitter I'd of stroked out. But it's all fair trade and he seems so much more warm and cozy than he did in his paper thin gingham pants last year. Priorities had to be adjusted (notice I did NOT say changed). And plus, he's even more Mick's "Bud" in this get up. (Mickey wears warm up pants in May in Mississippi, y'all. He wears his warm up suit from October to May. It's his uniform.)

I also like snow boots with leggings and dresses. She never even had a pair of boots (except rain boots) until last year. Also: look how proud she is! This is her first real book she's read all by herself!

When the windchill is negative ten, you lay down the bishop and pick up the sweater dress.

Oh and you pair snow boots with a jon jon. (Wish the lighting was better. My mother in law had actually bought this outfit for Graves and gave it to him when we were home in October. Y'all. I'm SO glad she did. Almost all of his Winter church clothes are too short. He wears this basically every other week. 

I shared about my overall love at the beginning of Winter, but I have got to go there again. These corduroy overalls have gotten so much wear up here. She wears them constantly as it's too cold for leggings and we STILL haven't boarded the denim train (I know, I'm absurd). I bought them and a navy pair years ago for $4.99 each at TJ Maxx (I was a buy ahead freak back in the day). They may be my best kid clothes purchase ever. At the time Annie was probably eighteen months old and I thought the granny print was a little dorky, the colors a little drab, and the construction (i.e. legit OskKosh overalls) a little masculine. But i couldn't pass up that steal. I envisioned her wearing them to paint or something. Now I consider them so sweet and girly and decidedly not grown up like so many things on the market for little people her age. They are some of my favorite things ever 

So we learned the hard way that the lady bug slip-ons really aren't the greatest for ice and snow. Shocking, right? However, these SmartWool socks my SIL gave her a few years ago (they seem to grow with her!) are amazing!

See what I mean? This was a different Sunday. Thankfully, he loves his "race car jon jon". 

 Awhile back, I saw him walking up to me from a distance after Sunday school and he looked like such a baby. He also looked super fluffy, I'm sure because of his leggings under this ensemble. It doesn't seem like he's big enough to be FOUR soon. (It was so much more apparent seeing him in motion.) This little squirt is so special and I'll let him take his babyness completely when he's ready, but I'm going to cherish every minute until he does.

In My Mailbox:
Not much at all. I actually ordered a few prints to hang up in our house when we move back home, but I had them sent to my parent's house because it just seemed pointless to have them shipped here and then need to pack them up for the move home in two months. 

In My Cart:

I got this stuff awhile back, but it's was all still in the box. My in laws actually got the dinosaur set and then I ordered the knight costume and the little magnetic "make a face" toy for Annie. They've both been big hits. Poor Graves- we have TONS of girl dress up stuff and while we've never put our foot down about him wearing a tutu, it's been fun to see how much he enjoys having his own little bit of dress up clothes. Of course, the sword is the best part. Annie likes to make different people with her face magnets during Graves's rest time and I like it because it's a simple, creative toy and helps balance the time she spends on the iPad or iPhone. 

Around the City:

Just like pretty much everybody in America, we've been more confined this month than usual. With temperatures in the single digits and windchills that are negative numbers, I just can't make myself get out much. 

So we've been pulling out all the tricks...

We have made it to the Children's Museum several times this month- I think three. That's a record, but it was the last month we had before our membership ran out and the kids LOVE it. It's been nice on these cold days.
We headed over there one Saturday (which we try never to do because it's pretty wild and chaotic on the weekends) for some special Chinese New Year programs. The kids had fun and Annie got to lead the parade at the museum! 

That was actually on Valentine's Day and we "went out to eat" afterwards. You know you're a redneck when you live in New York City and you're eating this on Valentine's Day. #CrownHeightstasteslikeDixie#myValentinedoesntpaymuseumfoodprices

Sir Graves in his new get up

On the Blog:
I wrote a few things that were important to me...
A Frosting in the Northeast- What I sort of intended to be a picture post turned into a big processing post. I'm realizing so much how hard living here has been in some ways and at the same times I'm coming to terms with the fact that leaving sort of breaks my heart.
On Routines: Steps Simplified and Anxieties Eased- There's nothing super deep here. I started out writing about some of our specific routines here, something I've been meaning to do for awhile, mostly for posterity's sake. I ended up sort of sharing and analyzing my overall feelings toward routines and the safety they seem to bring. It's one I know I'll enjoy stumbling back onto in the future. 
The Spirit of Individualism and the Spirit of Community (and How Switching Mindsets Takes Alot of Humility)- This was my favorite from the month. I've had a lot of thoughts rolling around about all this and it took me awhile, but I really wanted to discuss community, especially in regards to my faith, and how it's sometimes a struggle, but really always worth it. 

On My Heart:
- I wrote here last month: "It's been a heavy month. And somehow I wonder if they won't all be until we get home and get settled. It's a tension I know won't leave, even though there are so many joyful moments. Because there are so many joyful moments, really." And boy did that prove true. Last Sunday I experienced a bittersweet milestone. It was the first time a really happy day was much, much harder than a bad one. I had been so ready to get back to Mississippi all week and then Sunday got here and was not. I sobbed on the priest's shoulder. Which apparently what they do then is anoint you with olive oil and pray a really beautiful prayer over you about having your wounds united with Christ's wounds. Which made it better. But also quite a bit worse. 
- I think so often how tired I am. And it's not really a physical tiredness. It's just being emotionally depleted at the end of each day. I think some of it has to do with specific things, but ALOT of it has to do with Winter. People here have been so encouraging that it's totally normal to feel this way. This Winter has been so hard on me and I've kind of beat myself up over it. Like why am I not big enough for this? Why is everyone else functioning normally and I feel like I'm losing my mind. But recently people all over the country experienced some bad weather. And as awful as this sounds, it was sort of helpful for me. I saw so many people talking about their snow days and all they've done to keep their kids entertained and I realized that's been my everyday as far as when Peyton's working. I saw a ton of people say "It took fifteen minutes, twenty minutes, half an hour" to get ready and then their kids lasted five. And I reminded myself of the ordeal it is just to get enough clothes on to walk three blocks to the train (Graves has literally leggings, pants, and snow pants this week because temperatures are painful cold). And I cried a little bit, because hey, I'm doing okay. We're surviving. 
- I feel like I'm so much more impatient with the children because of my intense emotions over leaving and all the down feelings that come with Winter. But they are so sweet and so forgiving and I know that God shows Himself through them to me every day.

In My Prayers:
- I'm trying to pray that I can let go of needing to have all the answers and just rest in God's grace.
- I'm trying to pray for clarity abut what our lives at home will look like.
- I'm (still) trying to pray for patience during these long Winter months.
[I say trying because too often, this is a spiritual discipline that I don't prioritize.]
On the Calendar: 

March is going to be a fun month. Hopefully it will warm up a little. Regardless, my sister and brother in law are coming to visit and we could not be more excited! 

What I'm Into

1 comment:

Mallory Pickering said...

I love this. I want to read several of the things you listed now.