Friday, May 12, 2017

What I'm Into: April

I'm so behind on everything on the blog, but I'm finally sharing what I was into in April. It was obviously a very different month since we were in Brooklyn the whole time!

On the Nightstand:
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis- J.D. Vance

I started this and I'm really enjoying it. It's our bookclub book this time, so I'll share more about it next month.

On Their Nightstand: 

Trumpet of the Swan- E.B White

We're still enjoying this one!

On the Shelf:
I'm not even sure what's next.

At the Theater (or from the couch):
No movies this month, but I watched lots (see below).

On the Small Screen:
One great take away from our trip (there were so many) is that cancelling cable a few years back was a really great decision. I knew that, but this was a good reminder. I actually really, really enjoyed having it for a month. It was a fun "vacation perk". But I also wasted SO much time and it's time I really don't have to spare here where I'm trying to keep on top of more things (cleaning, cooking, obligations away from the house). I watched a handful of things that were really interesting, a few things that I enjoyed but were big time sucks (SVU marathons) and a number of things I didn't even get any pleasure out of. We also had the news on a ton in the background and I think that was more mentally draining for me than I realized.

Anderson Cooper 360
I used to watch Anderson all the time when we had cable news and he was my favorite. Honestly, I don't love it as much as I did, but it's still a good show with less spin than some others.

This is just a show on MSNBC about prisons/prisoners. It's documentary style and honestly, I was interested but it was so not well done and I wasted more time on it than I should have.

Law and Order: SVU
Like I said, we caught a couple of marathons. It was fun to see some of the old ones again.

One and Not Done
This is one of those ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries. Y'all I'm SO not even a sports fan but this was fascinating. This one was about basketball coach John Calipari. I think it was just so intriguing because it really analyzed her personality and persona.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
This was another favorite. I just love watching Anthony Bourdain's adventures all over the world and I love the way he narrates them. It's just a beautiful show. It was probably the best use of my time.

In My Ears:
Less than usual since I wasn't in my van, which is where I mostly listen to music.

Around the House: 

As I said, this was different since we were in NYC the whole month. Anyway, I loved our Airbnb. Super bare bones and a little tacky in some places but it was really clean and basically baby-proofed. This is the room the big kids shared- it was so tidy because they each brought like six toys. 

We pulled out the sleeper sofa because Sallie was sick and was content in our room one night. It was such a reminder of our old days in BK when we slept on a pull out couch every night!

In the Kitchen:

Peyton did a clean out the fridge/cabinets project before the trip and sometimes those suck so hard but this time he knocked it out of the park.Yum!

As I mentioned, Peyton found some steaks left by the previous guests at our Airbnb and he was not gonna let those babies go to waste.

In My Closet:

Operation wear real clothes, half way. Minnie got me a new top because I wear cookies old Tri Delt t-shirts​ all the time and "they're like ten years old and have been washed two thousand times". I was sort of having an anxiety day and asked her if it was because she thought it was pathetic for people who went to a Christian college and weren't in a sorority to wear them (my ST t-shirts are too little now). She said of course not but then moved on to my gym shorts (which I realize this is a weird look but she was saying in general). She thinks the "tri-color" looks "dated" and that I should just get some "SOLID color cotton ones like Annie's that are SMALLER". LOLOL. I told her then I might as well just wear my khaki/denim ones and that I feel like those give me wedgies and I *am* pathetic because I sort of miss my maternity shorts and maybe I should just wear dresses every day. Baby steps to dressing like a grown woman.
Or not.   Annie tried to tell us she was going to wear these (size 4/5) pjs when she was seventeen and I decided to try them on to illustrate that they wouldn't fit. Except that they kinda did.

I did a terrible job of documenting (too many experiences and reflections!) but Operation Wear Real Clothes went really well in the city. We got out more and I felt weird wearing t-shirts and gym shorts here for some reason (strange, because ANYTHING goes) even to the park or on an errand (exception: the washateria ^^^). Plus, my closet was so much more functional since I only brought things I really love.
 In Their Closets:

 Oh my gosh, I cannot overstate how much I love Spring colors.

 In her bunny duds for the Easter Celebration. This was one of my absolute favorites from Annie's first winter (I haven't loved a lot from this past Winter but the 12 mo. summer stuff that's coming is some of my favorite of Annie's clothes period.)
Sallie in her very own Peter Rabbit jammies. I try not to make it too much of a habit, because Annie's closet was extensive (excessive?) but sometimes I just need to splurge on her. And anything Beatrix Potter is kinda my jam.

Bunny (and turtle) OOTN. These sweet pjs a friend gave me before she was was born are so precious! 

 He didn't really love his bow tie. I hope it grows on him. I had already decided I was going to start getting him one each Christmas and Easter and start him a little collection for weddings and special occasions.

Annie in her beloved bird dress for the second Easter in a row, this time with pink Chuck's instead of Saltwaters because I had no idea it'd be 82 degrees in New York in April. Truth be told it's more age appropriate and certainly more "Annie" than what I picked and it actually looked cuter on her.

I love it when Annie gets dressed in this fancy lady hat one of Minnie's best friends made her and her jams that legit look vintage inspired circa 1987. 

Sallie sporting her heart jams for the last time and it seemed appropriate to match her.

 These little sneakers are on their last leg (no pun intended), but gosh I still love them.

 Annie was super excited to wear her new bird dress to the museum!

 Love Sister in baby toile. This was one of my favorite outfits for Annie because it functions like pjs but feels like real clothes. Basically the sweetest loungewear ever. AP wore it a ton. Sallie hasn't as much because she started pulling up so much earlier and it's gross to me when she's actually standing up. And also because she's so busy and two piece things just don't stay on her as well. But it's perfect for days where it's cool and she's in the Tula all day because when she wears normal pants they ride up and there's a big gap between them and her socks.

 Sometimes, Annie still wears the sweetest things. I got her and Sallie this outfit when they went in major sale and she loves the floral print (I get away with ALOT with her because "plants" are second only to animals) and pockets. Peyton said it looked to "young" but since she truly doesn't care and even prefers certain stuff as long as it fits her little model, I'm gonna enjoy it just a little while longer.

And on the other side of that coin, Sarah Lamar looks WAY TOO GROWN here. I heard Annie say "Oh Sallie, I love your tortoises." When I asked for clarification (because I certainly referred I to them as turtles when she wore them) she said "Well, they seem to be on land." And Annie may have to just be disappointed because she looks way too big in shorts and I don't think I can take it.
In My Mailbox:

We weren't here! I had quite a few packages when we got back, but I'll share those next month.

In My Cart:
I really didn't buy anything while we were in NYC, which was nice.

Around the Town (and At Home):  

 Well, one of the most eventful things wer certainly our flights. We literally sat in the plane, on the ground, in Jackson, from seven in the morning until close to noon. The flight kept getting pushed back more and more due to horrible weather in Atlanta and we realized that with all the delays there was no guarantee there would be a flight into JFK and we might end up stuck in Atlanta over night. I'm pretty stubborn, especially with Sallie, about car seats, and it would going to mess up our car service booking, too. So, we called Peyton's parents to come get us, got our millions of bags "unchecked", and came home and set back up the Pack N Play. I was really  exhausted. But, I was SO proud of how well the children and they are not kids who are used to sitting in chairs much of the day. And the crew was incredibly lovely and accommodating.

 We finally made it! Enjoying a family stroll to the neighborhood library one of our first days there!

A bit of "jedi training" in Central Park, per Graves's request.

 This one's not scared of much. We had a blast at the TGC Easter celebration. So much fun getting to visit with old friends!

 Brooklyn blooming.

 I got to share my favorite brunch- the blintzes fro Cousin John's- with my favorite baby girl. She's a real big fan of whipped cream and she's real rotten.

 We've hit up SO many parks and gosh, this baby loves a swing.

 Big day back at the Bronx Zoo.

 We came back to our old friends the Southeastern and Woodland Plains Indians. Like many things this month, it felt so familiar and so different. Annie can read herself (and for the most part, understand) the information that's part of the displays. I've read each tiny clothing label and each lengthy explanation of their various abodes to her two or three times at least another lifetime ago when she was five years old and we lived here. This day, I sat back and asked her to report to me the things she found interesting and we discussed them. Here we were talking about how the Indians gradually began incorporating European styles and fabrics into their dress. We were discussing which thing looked original to the Native Americans in style and material and I asked her which ones she liked. She said "I love his hoodie. And I definitely think he used an animal to make it".

Laundry day! We did it three times while we were there and it was MUCH easier than I expected to deal with hauling it all to the laundry mat and such!  

 Grace. The Mockingbird Conference was definitely a highlight from our trip.

 It's certainly been my experience that it is. 

 If you hate sleep anyway, you might as well be at the EpiscoDisco at ten pm. 

I had decided not to go back the last day. But I realized Nicole Cliffe, co-founder of The Toast, was speaking. A friend and I used to message each other links and when I found out it was ending I felt pretty emotional about that, actually. Another relevant factor is that Nicole was not a Christian until recently when "God messed up her happy atheist life", which, for obvious reasons, interests me. It was extremely comforting. She shared how people email her asking "how to convert atheists" and how she tells them that God's going to do it or it won't happen and how one sweet, sincere young man told her he had been debating atheists on Reddit and that wasn't working. She said she doesn't argue with unbelievers because frankly, the story IS nuts. She said that what she did tell people is that she knew where to go when God began prompting her. She knew people who loved Jesus and loved her dearly and would be happy to talk. She said that when people tell you their deepest fears and doubts, work on your face and don't make this horrified expression like when Indiana Jones grabs the wrong chalice. I have no idea what that reference means but it resonated. Sometimes I get the impression that people- kind, well intentioned people- literally seem more distraught over Peyton's disbelief than if he had died. Which I GET and don't fault them for (it can actually an indication of how central faith is to them) but it's also...isolating. It's hard for me to feel like people can/do understand. That is NOT anyone's fault. I was telling a friend that sometimes I feel more comfortable talking to my friends who have (for example) addiction issues or spouses with them because it's easier to relate. But as I've​ said, we all have areas of our lives where there is pain and brokenness. This trip certainly had it's dark moments, but it also had an abundance of rainbows and while it's so counterintuitive in some ways New York is where I feel safest.
 For Annie's special day, she wanted to go to Coney Island. They had so much fun riding the carousel, playing in the sand, eating junk, and strolling on the boardwalk. Annie and I also went on her first little roller coaster ride. It was faster than I expected and she LOVED it. I did, too (Peyton's scared of them!). 

 Babes on the boardwalk. 

 I think we can call it a successful first trip to Coney Island. 

There were Dippin Dots at the zoo the other day but they were $6 for a small and I just couldn't go there. Coney Island has knock off Dippin Dots for $4 and (though absurd) I decided to splurge.

At the Schoolhouse:

 It's​ so interesting to me how Annie's mind works. I FINALLY got Sallie to sleep (Peyton said he thinks she sleeps about ten hours in twenty four on average and I pushed back but I'm starting to think maybe that's not undershooting it) one morning and Graves and Peyton were running errands so I had some time with just Annie while we did school. I didn't rush her as much as I often, regrettably, do. Anyway, she told me that the "ers" have different personalities. "Ur" is mean and burns things, cuts fur off animals, and turns away when people are talking to him. Really the only nice thing he does is going to church. "Ear" is kind and searches for his lost sheep even though he has ninety nine more. He loves the earth and yearns for it to be better and everything is heard by him.❤️"Ir" is more ambiguous and can be good or bad. As I mention often, she's not near as vocal as Graves (Goodnight, who is?!?) so I love it when I really get some time to hear her imaginative, delightful thoughts. 

 In this activity, I read one of the the two words that are next to each other and Graves picked the correct one. He told me another halfway down the page that he didn't need to actually read both words he just knew that "a or whatever says it's long sound when there's an 'e' on the end". I really, really thought he'd more or less internalize all the rules and understand them but not be able to explain them whereas Annie would be the one who could describe why a word works the way it does. Honestly, I'm confident that when she was at this point, she could not have articulated this so well and certainly it wouldn't have occurred to her to save herself the trouble of actually reading the words by just listening for the vowel sound and looking for the silent e. Getting such a great look into how their little minds work is such a delight.

Annie saw the peregrine falcon and immediately said "Look! Like Frightful!" (from My Side of the Mountain- probably one of her very favorite books she's read this year). I'm not like huge Charlotte Mason aficionado (I just need more structure) but I think there's SO much merit in a "living books" approach. Several recent interactions with Annie have really confirmed this for me.

On the Blog:
Honestly, I mostly just tried to keep plugging away at the Weekly Happenings posts and not get more behind on the kids' letters. I did write a couple of reflections on the trip (and I still have one more I need to write).

Belles and Beaux Back in Brooklyn: Reflections on Getting Here and Getting Settled
I shared our initial (eventful) first few days.

Belles and Beaux Back in Brooklyn: Reflections on the First Half of the Month
And then here I reflected on the first two-ish weeks.

On My Heart and Mind:
- Goodness. I feel like we learned so much. I shared it mostly on my What I Learned post and that's basically most what's been on my heart and mind.
- I'm really in disbelief (denial?) that Sallie will be one next month. I just can hardly wrap my head around it. It's been such a sweet, precious year and I've enjoyed it more than I even knew I could.
- I keep really thinking about first and third grade. I feel like it's going to be a big jump for both kids. I'm nervous but I'm also SUPER excited because I feel like third grade is when I think the content really gets interesting.

In My Prayers:
- I'm praying about school and time management and how we'll make it all work.
- I'm really praying about talking to the kids more about Peyton's unbelief. For a long time, it just felt too hard and I didn't think I could do it without getting emotional and also I wanted to figure out how to navigate it without making it too big of a burden to them. But I think we're at the place where I need to talk to them (and pray with them!) about it more.
On the Calendar: 

We have a low key month this month and we needed it sandwiched between our trip and June, which will be full with swim team stuff. We are having the big kids' joint birthday party in a couple of weeks but otherwise

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