Tuesday, June 27, 2017

There's a Hairbrush on the Kitchen Counter

There's a hairbrush on my kitchen counter and some earrings on top of the washing machine. 

There's a bikini on the bathroom floor and, when I fold laundry, figuring out which underwear belongs to whom is the closest thing to trigonometry I've done since high school.

There are never any socks in my drawer because they keep "borrowing" mine, but if I ever need a pony tail holder, there are about a billion on the floor of my minivan. I sometimes borrow their jewelry, so maybe we're almost even.

My Target shopping list includes deodorant, nail polish, tampons, and conditioner - but, they aren't all for me. 

While I'm at Target, I'll pass the baby/toddler girls' clothing section and contemplate buying some cute, ruffled outfit for my nieces while I reminisce about the time when my girls were once that small. I'll remember that bikini on the floor and the "I'm not entirely comfortable with the length (or lack of length) of those shorts" shorts I recently, hesitantly bought. I'll sigh and head toward the grocery section to replenish the pantry again because they already ate everything I bought yesterday.

One minute, someone will roll her eyes at me, annoyed by my very existence. The next moment I'll get a spontaneous, unrequested but extremely cherished embrace. Sometimes, they ignore me, locked in their bedrooms. Other times, they all need a piece of me RIGHT NOW!

This is being a mom to three tween/teen girls.

Her: Can you braid my hair?
Me: Sure. Can you braid mine? 

Her: Does this shirt match these shorts?
Me: Yes, but those shorts are too short!

Me: Do these shoes look okay with this skirt?
Her: Yes. Hey  - what size are those shoes? Do you think they would fit me?

Me: Have you combed your hair today?
Her: No. I'll just put it up in the car.

Her: Do yo have any new razors?
Me: Yeah. In the bathroom cabinets where the pads are. {Said nonchalantly as if everyone knows where that is - because, mostly, they do.)

Her: {Hugging me} How tall are you, again?
Me: 5'7" and did you grow three inches overnight?

This is being a mom to three tween/teen girls.
I "call" them to dinner by texting them  - me downstairs and them in their rooms upstairs or down the hall watching tv. 

They arrange outings with friends via text and, then, ask me for permission - and transportation and money.

They discuss Youtube videos and tag me in photos on Instagram. They know all the words to songs that are sung by "Chainsmokers" and Ed Sheeran. They are quick to "google" facts and they keep the weather forecast at their fingertips. Their devices are always at the ready and I struggle to keep it all in check without stifling their social acuity.

This is being a mom to three tween/teen girls.
From a distance, I watch them walk together and wonder when they became young women instead of little girls. I must have blinked. Wasn't it just yesterday that they were toddling around the house?

"Are they twins?" others ask. "No,"I say. "Just sisters." So similar, yet so different. 

Three daughters - so similar, yet so different from one another. Headstrong, determined, self-assured, and independent. Free spirited, silly, unabashed, and inquisitive. Self conscious, compassionate, tender hearted, and faithful. 

This is being a mom to three tween/teen girls. Some parts are fun and some parts are trying. Mostly, I'm just figuring it out as we go along. I'm sure glad these three girls  are along for the ride beside me. They give me grace when I mess up, smiles that brighten my days, and love that is beyond words.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Summer Reads 2017

Things I hate about summer: hot, humid temperatures; wearing bathing suits; bugs; hearing "I'm hungry" six million times a day; hearing "I'm bored" and "What can we DO today?" 8 billion times a day; and arguing with my kids about he need to wear sunscreen.

Things I love about summer: sleeping in; NOT packing lunches; lazy days when we don't have to be anywhere for any particular reason or at any particular time; family time; vacations; letting my husband grill dinner so I don't have to cook it; evening thunderstorms; and lots of time to READ!!! 

Now, I will admit upfront that I haven't yet read all the books on my list of books to read for 2017. So, why would I add an entirely new list of books to read for the summer? Well, because . . SUMMER!!! It's the best time for reading in my opinion! Plus, the last two books I started from my first list, just didn't' live up to my expectations, so I need to re-energize my desire to read. One way to do that is with some new books to try out! So, after reading some other lists, perusing my Goodreads recommendations, and a tiny bit of research, here are some books I look forward to reading over the summer. 

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck is a historical fiction novel about a woman named Marianne von Lingenfels. Marianne's husband, a resistor, died int he failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. After the war, Marianne returns to the castle that belonged to her husband's ancestors where she works to keep the promise she made to him to find and protect the wives of his fellow resistors. The women who come together to form this makeshift family must reconcile their pasts and overcome their challenges. Goodreads compares this one to The Nightingale and The Light Between Oceans which are two of my favorite books, so this one is a must-read for me!

One More Day by Kelly Simmons tells the story of every mother's worst nightmare - becoming the mother of the child who disappeared. But, then her sone returns -for just 24 hours before he disappears again. After that, the rumors and suspicions start to fly. When - IF - the crime is solved, what secrets will be revealed? 

 In My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Beckman, Elsa is an unusual seven year old whose best friend is her 77 year old grandmother - who is crazy. But, Elsa loves her grandmother's fairy tales about make believe lands and faraway kingdoms where everyone is different. When her grandmother dies and leaves behind letters apologizing to all the people she has wronged, Elsa is sent on an all new kind of journey. 

The Last Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Moyes is one I was hesitant to put on the list. I loved Me Before You, but the sequel was a grand disappointment. I'm holding out hope that this one will redeem Moyes. In 1960, Jennifer wakes up in the hospital not remembering anything. Then, she finds a letter asking her to leave her husband. The letter is signed, "B." Forty-three years later, Ellie, a journalist, discovers that same letter in the newspaper's archives sets out on a journey to discover the story behind the letter. 

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain is one I've considered putting on my lists before, but it never quite made the cut. I learned it would be the read for a book club this fall, so I thought I would finally add it to the list. In this novel, Ive Hart loses her parents and is left to care for her aging grandmother, her mentally ill sister, and her nephew while managing her own epilepsy. The county's newest social worker, Jane, is drawn in by the Hart family, but soon discovers dark secrets hidden on the small farm. 

What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan is another book about a missing child. This time, Rachel Jenner loses her eight year old son, Ben, after he runs ahead of her in a park. As the investigation unfurls everyone is a suspect including Rachel's newly married ex-husband, her seemingly perfect sister, and, of course, Rachel herself. As the clues come together, Rachel realizes that, sometimes, the real dangers are not strangers, but the ones we trust the most. 

The Stories We Tell by Patti Callahan Henry is the story of Eve and Cooper Morrison - Savannah's power couple. They have money, success, and what seems like a perfect marriage, but things are not always what they seem. They have challenges including Eve's sister who is staying with them and their own rebellious daughter. Then, after a car accident and different versions of what really happened, Eve has to sort out the truth and figure out what to do about it. 

Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn proves that appearances are deceiving in this novel about domestic violence and the power of a mother's love. Jillian seems to have it all, but the story is very different when the doors are closed. After nine years she has suffered in silence in an effort to protect her two children, but, eventually, she find herself fleeing - with no money and no plan. I the finds her, her will surely kill her and take the children.

Have you read any of these? What books are on your list for summer reading?

Linking up with Finish the Sentence Friday hosted by Kristi at Finding Ninee. This week's prompt was , "things I love and hate about summer . . . "


Monday, June 5, 2017

Currently (June)

Originally, I set out to write a "Currently" post every month in 2017, but after the first three, it began to feel monotonous and seemed that not much changed month to month. I decided that maybe writing one every couple of months would make more sense. My last one was in March and the beginning of June feels like a good time to share what's currently happening in life. 

So, currently, I'm  . . . . .  

Anticipating summer break! My oldest daughter finished her school year just before Memorial Day. My other two, however go trough June 7 (three more days!!!) and, y'all, I am SO DONE! I have ALL the symptoms of parental end-of-school-year-itis. I am ready to spend some lazy days sleeping in, sitting by the pool, NOT packing lunches, and NOT arguing about homework or bedtimes! 

Looking forward to Punta Cana!! Partially because my husband travel so much for work, my girls always want to travel and see new places. Recently, they have been desperately wanting to go somewhere outside the US, so, a few months ago, we got their passports and began thinking about a summer vacation. Of course, one wanted a beach, one did not want just a beach, and one didn't care. We were trying to figure in travel times, time changes, budget, and keeping everyone happy. Finally, we settled on an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic where there is a beautiful beach, but also lots of other things to do. 
I'm already there in my mind!

Reading The  Zookeepers Wife. It was one of the books I had on my lis of Books to Read in 2017. It's the fourth book from the list I've picked up. I read The Mountain Between Us and The Secret Life of Violet Grant. After those, I bought Small Great Things by Jodi Piccoult which had gotten rave reviews. However, I just couldn't get in to it. I read the first section of the book, then, put it on my nightstand and haven't picked it up since. I recently downloaded The Zookeeper's Wife on my iPad and, so far, it is not nearly as engaging as I had anticipated. The narrative skips around and I just finished a painfully slow chapter about some German zookeeper and reverse genetic engineering.  Plus, I remembered how much I dislike reading on a screen - I need to feel the pages between my fingers. I'm about ready to give up oaths one, too and move on to . . . . 

Compiling my list of books to read for the Summer!! Yes, I've only made a 4-book dent in my list of 10 books to read for the year, but summer reading is different, right?? It doesn't mean I'm giving up completely on my original list either, but there can never be too many books waiting to be read and the summer is the best time to read them (at least for me!). Look for that list soon and tell me what's on you summer reading list in the comments! 

Listening to pop music. My kids have recently declared their disdain for the country music I usually listen to and the novelty of show tunes has worn off. So, I've recently become quite familiar with Ed Sheeran, Chainsmokers, and someone named Alessia Cara. Perhaps more familiar than I intended to becasue, while I actually do enjoy most of their music, it seem that opt radio stations have a repertoire of about 6 songs, so anytime I tune in and hear that same 6 songs over and over and over again. 

Planning Vacation Bible School. It is one of my favorite parts of my job, but also one of the ones that takes the most work! Ours isn't until mid-July, but we try to get as much done as possible before people scatter for summer. It's been pretty all-consuming lately!

Feeling excited about the "This is Us" Facebook discussion group I am co-hosting! It is also through work and discussion will be faith based, but it gives me a great excuse to re-watch some of the episodes. Better yet - the group is open to anyone! First set of questions based on the pilot episode will go up tomorrow. If anyone is interested in joining, click the image HERE 😊 

It's probably only taken me about an hour to write this post, but that hour was split up over three days and so many interruptions I lost count. The last one involved an 8:30pm urgent need for a yellow shirt to wear the next day for field day and the panicked believe that one could not participate if not wearing the appropriately colored shirt assigned to each grade level. Also? As I finally finish this just after 9:30pm on Sunday nigh, I have absolutely no idea what might end up in their lunch boxes tomorrow since I never made it to the grocery store this over the weekend! Seriously y'all, summer cannot get here fast enough! 

What's happening in your life currently?
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