Friday, June 30, 2017

Quick Summer Reading Recap!

I'm already like 5? weeks into summer! So sad. I don't get to read as much during the school year, but I've knocked out a few so far. I always am listening to an audio book in the car, reading a fiction book (which I usually read really quickly) and a non-fiction book (which usually takes me forever). 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017)

Summary: Starr, a 16 year old, lives in the "ghetto" of Chicago and is with her friend when they get pulled over and he is wrongfully shot. The book explores how Starr reacts, conflicting feelings about race (she attends a 99% all white private school in the suburbs which adds an interesting layer to the story), her boyfriend, gangs, changing family dynamics, etc.
My take: Interesting story with a valuable perspective to such a hot-button topic in society today, but it has WAY too much language for me to feel comfortable recommending it to a 9th grader. (I'd say 11th grade+).

Girls on the Edge by Leonard Sax (2010) -- per Hannah's rec

Summary: Sax shares the four issues plaguing girls in today's society: sexual identity, the "cyberbubble," obsessions, and environmental toxins. He uses a mixture of real stories from patients he's had over the years and backs his qualitative observations up with studies and quantitative data.
My take: Such a great read! I couldn't stop talking to other people about random little facts and insights he shared about girls in today's culture. If you have a daughter or work with teens (or younger) girls, I would highly recommend this book!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)

Summary: Wade Watts is a teenager living in 2044 world that is much different than today's. Most people "live" in the OASIS, a virtual reality video game that is much better than his real life. The billionaire that created the game dies, but leaves behind an "easter egg" with a series of clues and whoever finds it first--- will inherit those billions of dollars. Wade Watts gets close, but then the evil corporation steps in and things get messy.
My take: There are a LOT of 80s and video game references that was interesting, but could feel long and dragged out if you're not into that. Trying to figure out who to trust and what would happen in the end kept me engaged, plus I found his explanations about life in 2044 to be fascinating.

Also read:
Here's to Us by Elin Hilderbrand (typical beach chick lit read)
Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand (yep, typical beach chick lit read)
A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller (mystery/thriller... didn't love it)

Currently reading:
A Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (audio)
Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon (non-fiction)
Ghost by Jason Reynolds (fiction)

Tried to read but gave up:
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda (I listened to this... and all but the last two CDs, but then I just lost interest)
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (2nd time trying this... just nope.)
The Woman in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck (just couldn't get into it since it's historical fiction...)
We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson (This author Skyped my YA Lit grad class, but masturbating was mentioned like once every other page for the first 5 chapters, so I bailed because I wouldn't recommend it to my students.)

What are YOU reading???

Monday, June 19, 2017

New Deck!

Condition of old deck: peeling paint, rotting boards, yuck

The stairs didn't actually touch the ground on the right-hand side.... 
See giant bird nest that darn bird built 2x, so I just stopped knocking it down.

After 2 workers worked an 13 hour day, we have a new deck! Yay! I even requested a gate so Luke can play on his water table outside alone for a little bit and I don't have to check every two seconds that he hasn't run into the yard and to the front. 

Luke was so entertained!

We still have to decide on a stain, but SO MUCH better =)  Let's just say the guy made more today than I make in an entire month, so apparently I went into the wrong business. But, I have NO IDEA how to build a deck, nor do I want to, so I am just glad it's the first project -mostly- done!

Looking for new cushions for those chairs... any suggestions where to look?

Love the gate!!

Unfortunately, the deck people didn't really clean anything up, so there's dirt and saw dust everywhere, the landscaping stones are scattered around, and they didn't move any of the furniture or grill back up there.... and we need to sand a few places down that are ridiculously sharp and splintery, but it was "cheap" as far as decks are concerned, so I guess we get what we pay for in that regard.

Aaaand some progress pictures on the rest of our house =)

New trim boards and siding, caulked and ready for paint
Some rough paint job for now... it's dark gray and will have white trim. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Norah's 1st Birthday!

Norah turned ONE a month ago already. She's a delight!

Here are some pictures from her party =)
I was pretty proud of her month picture banner, but she has barely changed at all since month one!

"Under the Sea" theme, so I made everything have stupid pun names
My mom made delicious cake balls!

Add caption
She loved the cake! Ha! And she had about 3 headband changes throughout thanks to my sister. 

Some more about Norah:
She loves fruit, ham, hamburger, noodles, cheese, and graham crackers. (And uses a fork really well!)

She still has a bottle before nap and bedtime (with just whole milk). No more formula! Yay!

She is walking everywhere and climbing on everything.

Norah still takes two naps, usually totaling 2-3 hours and sleeps from 6:30pm to 6:30am.

Her hair is still too short for any sort of ponytail.

She weighs 24.8 lbs (94%) and is 28.5 inches tall (10%), which translates into size 5 diapers, 18-24mo clothes, and size 3 shoes.

We love her =)

Friday, June 9, 2017

7 QTs

Just to pop in during nap time...
A random picture of Norah from her 1st birthday last month. 

1. For the last few months I've been reflecting on what is motivating -or discouraging- for me in terms of food, heath, fitness, etc. I think I'm kind of weird about a lot of it... but a few things I have discovered: if I buy sweet treats like cookies or ice cream, I will eat all of it in a few days. I have little will power over sugary goodness. But otherwise, I always get at least 2 servings of fruits and 2 servings of veggies in each day (which I think is pretty good?).

2. Along the same "health" line, Jazzercise had free classes in May. I went 22x. I love the feeling of "cheating the system." It's normally $70 a month, so I took total advantage of it! And I just joined for June, July, and August as a teacher special. Surprisingly-- I've been going at 5:30am at least 2x a week and it's so energizing! I love that I can workout, shower, and drink at least part of my coffee before anyone else is awake. It seriously makes the rest of my day so much better.

3. One other thing... I started drinking 32oz of water each day in May. I have always been told you should drink HALF your body weight in oz (which would be like 80oz for me...) and I hate water. I never drink it. But I figured I could commit to ONE of my giant Methodist water jugs each day. And humbly, I will admit that I honestly felt better. In fact, I noticed a big enough difference that I'm now drinking 32-64oz a day... I know. I'm awesome. My body loves me for it.

4. Home Improvements... ugh. They finally started today! But by the end of July we will have mostly new siding, 2 new windows, a new deck, new basement carpet + tile, painted wainscoting in the basement, painted house, and new sinks in the kitchen and 2 bathrooms. I am going to be SO GLAD when it's all over. (And since Scott and I are NOT handy, the only thing we are doing is painting the wainscoting and doing some peel-n-stick vinyl. Ha.)

5. Iced coffee... yum. I've just been throwing some ice cubes in my now-cold-coffee around 11am and calling it good.

6. Never go to UNO for any degree related to education. It's a joke and a complete waste of money. So disappointing.

7. Any suggestions for awesome things to do or see in Waco or Dallas? Scott and I are going (for 6 whole days with no kids!) in July. I have a few restaurants (and obviously Magnolia) on the list, but otherwise we haven't planned much.

Thanks for reading my random thoughts for the day! =)

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