7.21.2022

summer days



Friends! It's me!

I had sort of quietly decided to put my blogging days behind me. I don't have much to write about these days and people don't engage with blogs much anymore, and I've put my creative energies in other directions. However, I did kind of miss it and figured I'd write about what we've been up to. Maybe I'll do this every so often. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll blog 5 days a week like I used to (HOW?!). 

I thought we were going to have a super low-key summer. Not much to do. Probably a lot of boredom. Ha! That has not been in the case, and honestly I can't even point to a specific reason. We've just constantly had little





things to do and places to be, and the days have been flying by.

We started June with a ballet recital, and I think we were all ready for ballet to end for the year. Two weeks later we went to California for a week to visit family. Our travel days were nightmares (more on that later), but the trip itself was perfect. We stayed with my grandma, my aunts and uncles came to visit, one of my cousins surprised us, and another cousin played babysitter all week for us (shout out Adrianna! We love and miss you endlessly!). We went to beaches, visited some old favorite places, saw lots of relatives I hadn't seen since in over a decade, and even got to see a rocket launch from the air force base where my grandpa and mom used to work. I got to play piano with my grandma which was incredibly special. I brought home more stacks of her old sheet music, something I will never have enough of. I’ve been happy to be home, but my heart has been aching a bit after leaving my homeland, as it always does. It had been a long 7 years since I’d been and who knows when we’ll go back.

On the way home from CA, we had a run in with the world's NASTIEST gate agent. She wouldn't let us have our gate checked luggage with zero explanation--as in she took the suitcases away from me on the jet bridge, put them outside, and locked the door-- and when I continued to demand why she had ripped my child's suitcase (with some heirlooms in it) from me without an explanation, she called security on me and I had to leave or be arrested. She told me repeatedly she didn't care what happened to me or my bags. It was truly the most insane situation I've ever experienced and I'm still in shock. Our bags didn't make it home, and it took the airline awhile to find them because someone had switched the tags on our bags with someone else's. I couldn't make this situation up if I tried. I'm almost positive this gate agent hid our bags out of spite. If you're wondering why she hated us so much, just know that I am too. Even all three flight attendants stood with us in total shock and defended us. Our bags finally showed up at home, and it's a good thing that was a really awesome trip, because I have no desire to ever fly again. 

When we got back, it took me TWO FULL WEEKS to de-jet lag myself. This is traveling in your 30s/with small kids. It used to take me 1-2 days. Now it's 1-2 business weeks.

We finally wrapped up 1st grade around the 4th of July. We still had a few lessons left, but I started the school year on empty and I could not do another day. The beauty of homeschool, right? Our school year was one of hobbling through after a long and stressful move and lots of sickness. We did a deep dive into Bible history this year, studied lots of art, did an orchestra study, pounded some phonics and addition/subtraction, spent a ton of time outside, and did some science projects. Overall I think it was incredibly successful even though I didn't think I was going to make it through a few times. We did BSF, ballet, Awana, and a co-op on the side. The co-op fizzled halfway through the year (though it gave us some friends), and I had determined to wait to join another until my youngest was in school.

Heh.

As these things go, I felt pretty good about not doing another co-op. There are a lot of options around, but they're intense and expensive and hard to get into and not what I'm up for right now. A mom in my Charlotte Mason book club decided to start a new co-op with likeminded moms, and I more or less got roped in. After doing a planning meeting with the moms, I'm excited about it. I think it will be a really good option this year and I can continue to teach hymn & folk songs in a capacity that shouldn't leave me stressed out. She's wanting us all to become friends and support each other with school, and I'm really hoping it turns out that way! 


Next year we're studying American History. I am so excited about it. American History is a favorite subject of mine, and I'm adding in some extra science since I think that's something we need this year. I've given my brain a break for a few weeks, and now I'm starting to slowly get ready for next school year. I cannot believe my oldest will be in 2nd grade. I remember 2nd grade so clearly! With the way things are going these days, I am incredibly grateful to be homeschooling. I don’t want to have regrets of these fleeting years, and I’ll never regret spending this much solid time with my girls and knowing exactly what they’re being taught and letting them learn at their own speed. 

When our co-op stopped meeting halfway through the year, I joined the mom's group that meets at my church which is basically MOPS but not MOPS. I had been resistant at first because I had a bad MOPS experience years ago, but this turned out to be my favorite thing. As someone who tends to run from anything social, I was so excited for every other Friday morning so I could go. This year I'm handling all the publicity--the website and social media and newsletters and such, and I'm excited about it. It's been a learning curve, but thankfully I'm friends with the moms in charge so I can pester them with questions. I was working on the website this morning, and it took me back to early blog days and made me want to blog again. Which is a long way to explain why I'm spending this precious afternoon nap time writing instead of reading or eating my secret candy stash. Or…napping  


This week has been full of swim lessons and play dates. Next week is looking to be the same, and then my in-laws are visiting. And then it will be AUGUST. Which means Christmas is tomorrow. Happy New Year!

It's been a really good summer so far. It started a bit rocky, but now that I'm getting a vision for next school year and feeling more and more settled and rooted here, I'm feeling good. We met another homeschool family up the street which is just an answer to prayer. G spends her days playing with the kids who live behind us. There have been water gun fights, hours on the trampoline, mud pies, tree climbing, swinging, gardening, unlimited popsicles, etc. I think my girls are having the best summer ever. So are the rabbits, who have eaten all my zinnias and sunflowers. It has NOT been the best gardening summer ever. I have been having an excellent reading summer, however. I decided to only read really engrossing novels (and a few nonfiction if they suck me in), and I've had my nose in a book more than ever. I've been trying to go on daily walks (when it's not 100 and humid) and listening to Pod Meets World, which is a podcast hosted by Eric, Shawn, and Topanga of Boy Meets World. It was my FAVORITE show growing up and seriously this podcast is like a weird balm to the soul. I'm about to start knitting and crocheting again because FALL IS COMING. I've almost decided to teach myself macrame. James and I are usually busy practicing our respective instruments for church. Life is full and basically I’m just doing my best to enjoy my kiddos as much as I can these days. 

What’s new with you? What’s the best book you’ve read lately? Did you watch the new season of Stranger Things and why was the best scene of the season Eddie playing electric guitar on the roof?

5.09.2022

currently, may ed.


reading: Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson. I just finished The Gown and loved it, so I'm reading this one and it's good so far. I'm also reading Broken Bread, and it's kind of about the theology behind different diets and why none of it works. I'm LOVING it. 

drinking: a cold brew coffee

feeling: rested after the weekend. I got away for much of Saturday. I slept only a few hours at most that night and was out the door for soundcheck at church as my kids were getting out of bed, but I came home and slept all afternoon, woke up for dinner, and went back to bed. I needed that rest SO BADLY. I've been running on fumes for weeks and finally hit a wall. 

annoyed: with the music in this coffee shop. Usually it's cringey worship music, but today they are, no joke, playing an elevator music rendition of Take Me Home, Country Roads.

Update: They are now playing Gangsta's Paradise elevator music style. I'm dying. It's so bad I'm actually kind of into it.

cooking: we've been eating breakfast burritos a lot lately for dinner. My friend gave us eggs from her chickens and I've been putting them to good use.

watching: there's not a lot of great shows out there to watch right now, but we've been watching Expedition Bigfoot and I just love it so much. They will never find anything, but I watch for that .0000003% chance Sir Sasquatch himself makes an appearance. YOU NEVER KNOW.

buying: all the flower pots and flowers and seeds!! It's finally above freezing at night! In fact, we went from 40s/50s as a high to 90s. Too much too fast, but at least it's time to garden. I also found some vintage pyrex bowls in a vintage shop on Saturday, and I'm just living my best elderly life over here. I'm going to try starting my sunflower seeds this year instead of just planting them and having the chipmunks dig up the seeds. Why I'm just thinking to do this, I don't know. 

Speaking of being elderly. A new friend asked me about my hobbies recently. I always clam up because what are my hobbies anyway? I told her I play piano, I read a lot, I garden, sometimes I do puzzles. I knit occasionally. Then I made a self-deprecating I'm-such-an-old-lady joke and she was like "yeah, the knitting kinda sent you over the top there."

listening: We've been doing a lot of Sovereign Grace songs at church, so I'm listening to them a lot more and enjoying it. It's hard to find good worship music, ya'll. I got to play piano for this song yesterday, and it's been stuck in my head for days as I've been working on it and I love it. The lyrics! May it encourage you too.

thinking about: my mom fails over the past week. James never ever gets pictures or videos of me with the kids unless I specifically ask, but he just so happened to get a video of C going down the slide and her sliding through my hands as I tried to catch her and failed. It was actually pretty hilarious. I also forgot to play tooth fairy TWICE this week. T-W-I-C-E. She knows the tooth fairy and I are the same person, but I still tried to convince her the tooth fairy was away at a tooth fairy convention.

loving: the lilac bushes in my yard, that my peony bushes are budding, rocking chairs on the front porch, coming home from church yesterday to find that James and the girls spent the morning before church cleaning the house, that most of our commitments have ended for the school year, little girls in saltwater sandals, pushing school back a few hours to spend a beautiful morning gardening with my girls, french toast for dinner.

not loving: walking out of a mother's day celebration to a demonic pro-choice protest (my absolute fave part is that it was put on by the local communist group, and some were holding signs advocating for limited government LOLOLOL). Imagine spending mothers day advocating for the right to violently murder and dismember your children.

It's such a beautiful day! I just bought tickets for my oldest daughter's ballet recital in a few weeks and we have our last BSF class tonight, which I'm both sad and relieved about. Happy May!

5.02.2022

march & april book report


My reading has stalled a bit this spring, so I'm combining the last two months of books. I've been reading through multiple books at once instead of only one book, like I did for YEARS. I was a hardcore reading monogamist until I realized I'll never get through my ever-growing stack of nonfiction until I start reading a bit of a few each morning so I can jump from one topic to another and stay interested. I have designated stacks of books and reading times throughout the day and don't you dare mess with them. I'm equally stressed out but also loving having different books to jump into. In this phase of life, I can read nonfiction first thing in the morning, but that's it. Any other time of the day it needs to be an engrossing novel or my brain starts doing Mambo No. 5. 

Passport to Heaven: The True Story of a Zealous Mormon Missionary Who Discovers the Jesus He Never Knew by Micah Wilder--5 stars: A woman in my BSF group loaned me this book when I mentioned I've always had a fascination with Mormonism, and I couldn't put it down. It was engrossing and powerful, and I ended it nearly in tears. Micah was as zealous a Mormon as one could be, and on his mission in Florida he met several Christians who shared the gospel with him. After many series of events, he realized he had been ignoring the Jesus of the Bible, and his world was completely rocked as his beliefs changed and he was excommunicated from the church. I HIGHLY recommend this!! The gospel is so powerful, and what a great reminder this was! His mom also put out a book too that I realized I had read years ago. I don't remember specifics other than thinking it was really interesting. 

For fans of: religious memoirs, anything religious/cultish, inspiration, Educated by Tara Westover

Rated: G

Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict--2 stars: This book was such a bummer. It's historical fiction based on the life of Clementine, the wife of Winston Churchill. Parts of the book dragged, parts were interesting. I found her completely unlikeable. She was so absorbed in herself and admitted she was a terrible mother and more or less abandoned her children. My heart ached reading about the ways she despised her responsibility as a mother. I really enjoyed the parts about WWII, especially how she stared the men down and forced them to listen to her ideas to help improve the lives of housewives. She came into her own and did some good things, and her life could not have been easy, but I struggle to respect her.

For fans of: The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, WWII-era England, historical fiction, kid-bashing, the tension between being a housewife and also wanting to take over the world

Phantastes by George MacDonald--1 star: This is apparently a book that greatly influenced C.S. Lewis and his writings. It was mentioned a bunch in Once Upon a Wardrobe as an engrossing and amazing book. A lot of people love this book. It's a classic! A friend of mine was reading it, so I thought I'd try it. Ya'll---I HATED IT. Hated it so much. And I'll be honest, I think I hated it because I had no freaking clue what was happening. I was so confused. It was like reading an organic chemistry textbook in Russian. Something about fairies and love and a room and flowers. A statue? I was completely lost. I tried really hard and there was just a giant disconnect. I need a smarter person to explain it to me like I'm 5. I struggle with the fairytale genre anyway, and this was just bizarre. This would be a good time to remind everyone I studied literature in college. Take that as you will. I will also remind you that I nearly failed my Shakespeare class and spent the night before the final sobbing in my professor's office. I'm good at other books!

For fans of: Alice in Wonderland, fairies tripping acid and crying in the woods or something 

Rated: W for Weird 

Finlay Donovan Knocks Em Dead by Elle Cosimano--4 stars: This was the sequel to Finlay Donovan is Killing It (which I LOVED). To recap, Finlay is an author and yet accidentally wound up as a hitman after a random woman heard her explain the plot of her book to her editor and mistook her as doing murder-for-hire. An honest mistake. In this book, Finlay is still kind of in the underworld doing murdery things against her will, but this time she sees a tip about her ex-husband. Someone has a hit out on him, and she's trying to get to the bottom of it and save his life. It was genuinely entertaining, once again. A few crude scenes and some language, but it's just such a wild concept and just thrillerish enough to make you stay up too late reading. Also funny!

For fans of: true crime shows, Bravo shows, wondering what it would be like if Bravo put our True Crime shows

Rated: PG-13 for some adultish content, nothing graphic. 

For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay--4.5 stars: I read this not to long ago and yet I'm ashamed that I'm struggling to remember what was in it. It's basically a book of homeschool and motherhood encouragement and ideas based on the Charlotte Mason philosophy. I really enjoyed it, but as you can see, my brain has been doing the Cha Cha Slide while I read nonfiction lately.

For fans of: those cozy/peaceful/idyllic homeschooling instagram accounts that make you feel like you're doing something wrong yet give you something to aspire to, Charlotte Mason and her cult following, raising a Christian family

Rated: G

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn--4.5 stars: I had decided to quit Kate Quinn after the last two books I read of hers made me feel bleh. This one was recommended to me, and the plot looked interesting, so I gave it a try and BOY am I glad I did. This book was fantastic. Three very different women wind up lodging together and working at Bletchley Park during WWII, decoding the German Enigma. One of them was based on the real life wartime girlfriend of Prince Phillip (I didn't realize she had been real until a late night google search after I finished the book). The book follows the dynamics of their friendships, their relationship with others, and treachery. My one complaint is that they made the Christian mom the villain in the book. That woman was no Christian, and it's disheartening to see vile people portrayed as such. Other than that, I couldn't put the book down. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll scream, you'll cheer.

For fans of: The Alice Network, The Nightingale, a rollercoaster of emotions, The Secret Keeper

Rated: PG-13 for some adultishness

The London House by Katherine Reay--3 stars: Caroline suddenly gets a visit from her old college friend, a journalist, who happens to have found some information about her family. She finds out the aunt she was named after and told died in childhood actually lived a thrilling life and was written out of family history. She goes on a hunt to discover what happened and maybe ~find herself~ along the way. I've read a lot of Reay's books and genuinely enjoy them, but this was probably my least favorite so far. I had a hard time getting into the story and just didn't really care what happened. There were a lot of similar elements to The Rose Code, but it was much less engrossing. This was also the first book with a dual timeline that annoyed me. I usually don't mind the bouncing around, but the past was written through letters, which I also usually enjoy, but I was so bored. The last half was better than the first, but still not great. Parts of it also felt a little too unbelievable.

For fans of: historical fiction, WWII, sister relationships, dysfunctional families, any other WWII novel with strong female leads

Rated: G

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman--3.5 stars: Lilian is a young widow with two kids. She works as an illustrator and signs up for a gardening class to help her work on a book about vegetables. She and her kids and sister take the class and make friends with an unlikely group of people. There's friendship, secrets, family drama, love, and lots of plants. It was like a Hallmark Movie but rated PG-13 at least. This book cracked me up. Granted, the humor was often quite crude, but I found myself LOLing quite a bit. It was very entertaining and made me want to go weed my garden. One of those books that's great to escape into after a long day.

For fans of: Anxious People by Frederik Backman, crude Hallmark movies, healing and growth, gardening, wondering how a starving artist affords a decent house and yard in Southern California

Rated: PG-13

And that's it for now. Will I make a dent in the 7 books I'm reading and finish any in May? Only time will tell. I'm currently halfway through The Gown, a novel about the making of Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown, and really loving it.

4.11.2022

stories from the last few weeks






I have prepped for/celebrated 3 birthdays in 3.5 weeks with homeschooling, church commitments, other birthday parties, multiple doctor appointments, and illness sandwiched in between. Also, Easter is this weekend.

I am LE TIRED.

We just went over 2 weeks with a commitment every single day, often more than one a day. For someone who spent most of winter at home, my head is spinning. 

+ The end of last week was just awful. Friday was the fever pitch and I didn't think we were going to make it. Due to a defect with our model van, the battery doesn't hold a charge for more than a few days unless it's driven A LOT. We usually hook it up to a trickle charge in the garage which solves that problem. I was preoccupied with Easter & birthday plans and drove over it and destroyed it. The court in Ohio that I battled for months to excuse me from jury duty a year ago sent me a notice HERE trying to summon me again. By Friday night, which I spent scrubbing a spilled jar full of molasses out of my pantry (another story for another day), we were hanging by a thread and ordered take out for dinner when the kids were in bed. James, who has been sick with a sinus infection and dealing with nerve pain all week, got food poisoning. Poor guy has never been so miserable, and then he had to get up and play drums for both services at church Sunday. 

+ We need to talk about online shopping. I hate adult Old Navy clothes, but we're going on vacation in a few months and I need shorts. This isn't a want but a true need. I tried on some shorts in the store a few weeks ago. I found a pair that fit. Were they my favorite pair of shorts ever? No, but they fit and were fairly comfortable. I can't be too picky right now as the baby and pandemic weight is finally budging. The sign out front said the entire store was (up to) 50% off. That "up to" was in very tiny print but I knew that meant something from last season was 50% off and the rest of the store was maybe $.50 off. The shorts rack had a 30% off sign. I'll take it! I went to the register to pay, and they rang up full price. I asked if there was a mistake, siting the sign, the employee said nope, they must be full price. I am not about to pay $40 for shorts I don't even love from Old Navy, the Walmart of clothing stores, a place no one should ever buy anything full price, so I didn't get them. 

I looked online and they were $10. TEN DOLLARS. And sold out, obviously. But a $30 difference online v. in store? I did some hunting and ordered 4 other pairs to try on for slightly more than that one pair of shorts would've cost me in the store. A week later the package came, and they sent me one pair of BABY PAJAMAS. Granted, they were cute, but a 6-9 month sleeper is not going to get me through summer. I called, and they won't refund me until they receive the pajamas back. I sent them back. They got lost in the mail. The lady on the phone went to reorder my original order, except that most of it was sold out now. 

I had ordered the girls a few spring things a few weeks before from Old Navy and that order was lost in the mail for many weeks. 

Target also sent me the wrong order the day before the Old Navy fiasco. I must be on some multi-corporate list meant to see how far I can be pushed before I snap or just start knitting us all clothing. The plus side is, I sent Target a picture and they immediately refunded me.

This is all a very first world problem. But stores have nothing in stock anymore, so online ordering is what we have. I could write a dissertation on this.

+ I am so birthday-ed out. My birthday was not the best day I've ever had, but that's fine. Gracie's was a loooong day of festivities, starting with a morning at the trampoline park with friends and ending with cake and presents with our family and grandparents. The next week we had another birthday party for a friend, who just happens to be the family we bought our house from. We were playing with some of their outdoor toys that I remember seeing lying around when we looked at our house last summer. Life is very funny sometimes. Yesterday was Clara's birthday. We had a little family party, and she had the best day. I am so worn out today that I declared a movie day. We skipped school and had a picnic lunch in the living room. There were no rules. I had zero guilt. I NEEDED a day off. 

+ My parents gave me a new record player for Christmas since my old one broke in our move. James got me a record player cabinet for my birthday. What we didn't realize is that it needed a stereo amp & speakers to play, so my dad brought over his 1980s amp and speakers, and I've been playing his old college records through the amp and speakers I remember listening to music to as a kid. I love it. It feels very vintage even though it's from my childhood. 

+ Our co-op went on a field trip to a one-room schoolhouse from 1900. The kids even dressed in period-clothes they had on hand, and the teacher did an hour and a half of lessons the way they would've been done back then. It was such a great experience! I loved every second of it.

+ James and I are both on the worship team at church now. We have a large church with multiple musicians for each instrument, so we rotate and don’t have to play too often. It’s a long series of events that brought me here, but I haven’t played for others or with a band in over a decade, though I still play at home. I had an audition a few months ago that I bombed (in my opinion) since I had to sight read and my nerves took over, so the fact that the worship leader saw my true ability through that is nothing short of the mercy of the Lord. I played at church for the first time earlier in the month, and it went better than I could’ve imagined despite my intense nerves (clearly the Holy Spirit playing through me!). I couldn’t believe I had an opportunity to serve this way again, and I was so full of joy for days after. I thought my piano days were behind me, and God very kindly gave them back to me. I had some really tricky music to learn the week before, so James sat with his guitar and worked through it with me for hours after work. We haven’t played music together like that since college and it was so nice to connect on that level again. We were in a worship band together in college, and we were so burned out from years of schlepping instruments and rehearsals that I didn’t think either of us would ever play again.

The year we came for Christmas and got covid in the year of Satan 2020, we live streamed Christmas Eve service. I was drooling over the grand piano and silently wishing I could play it, but assumed I was way too out of practice even if we went to this church. I thought about that moment last Sunday as I played that exact piano and just couldn’t get over the kindness of the Lord. I have had so many of those moments in the last year. 

+ I was eating breakfast this morning, fighting fatigue and my 2 year old trying to sample my toast, in a crummy mood, but realizing how sweet things are right now. I have the family I always dreamed of, friends, involved in things I love, and celebrating my healthy, beautiful, wild girls growing a year older. It is hard and exhausting but so wonderful. 

It is a good life, even though I went to finish dinner tonight and discovered that the frozen rice Kroger gave us is somehow covered in mold, the 2 year old cried because I had to wash her crib sheet, and when I picked up my 7yo from dance she informed me that she’s outgrown both her tap and ballet shoes with one month of classes left for the year. 

Me this week  

3.28.2022

live blog from the coffee shop



I started this live blog 2 weeks ago and wrote about the really terrible day I was having. I never could finish it because I wound up having a terrible week, and everything was just so terrible it all blurred together and I couldn't even remember all the ridiculous things that happened. None of it was actually that terrible. It just FELT terrible because it was my birthday week and I wanted everything to be ~amazing~ and while there were good moments, it was not an amazing week.

Here we are, two weeks later. It's no longer my birthday eve but my oldest daughter's birthday eve and I'm not as emotional as I should be. Maybe because the other day she chopped off a hunk of hair, and when I asked if she thought cutting her hair would be the right choice, she said "Well yeah, it was in my way and now it's not." Six has been a wild ride. I'm not ready for 7. Maybe 7 will bring more awareness that cutting our own bangs is not a wise choice, but I'm 33 and still cut my own bangs, so those are just apple pie in the sky hopes.

Back to the coffee shop. There's a man sitting in my regular seat, and he's breathing SO HEAVILY. I literally cannot focus on anything but his breathing. I'm a good 10 feet away and it sounds like he's in a deep sleep. 

I ran into a friend at Walmart today in the baking aisle, because in Mom of the Year fashion, I realized I forgot ingredients for the birthday cake and birthday candles. We chatted by the flours and I was like yep, I have friends and I'm a cool person. As I was in line ordering my small hot latte just a bit ago, a woman from my BSF group who I adore walked in. She saw me and gave me a big hug. She sat down with me for a few minutes, and she seemed so genuinely happy to see me. Two people in one day! Just call me Miss Popular! I can't go anywhere without seeing 2 of the 3 people I know! 

As we were chatting, I mentioned something about my daughter and her face fell. "Oh! Oh no....oh! You're Michelle. I had you confused with someone from *insert some social function she goes to every Tuesday*, but she doesn't have kids. You look just like her. Well, it's good to see you too." She was decidedly LESS excited to see me than my twin. 

Maybe she thought I was doing the heavy breathing instead of the guy next to me. In that case, I can't blame her.

I went to Iowa with my mom last weekend, and while we were en route I got an email from someone detailing her extravagant trip to Switzerland that she's about to embark on. Oh yeah? Well I'm going to Iowa, on an unseasonably cold spring day. She doesn't know what she's missing.

We really did have the best day. We went back to my favorite little cafe in all the world. I had a bacon and tomato quiche, mushroom soup (I HATE mushrooms and yet this was the best soup I've ever had), a honey vanilla latte, and blackberry bread pudding. I was almost in tears it was all so delicious. They play Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holliday, etc., and they leave their Christmas decorations up all year.

Take that, Switzerland.

We also went back to a used bookstore I found 4 years ago. Once again I found a treasure trove of vintage classics, and this time I found a box in a back corner full of vintage sheet music. One from WWI in perfect condition, for $2!! I was literally coming unglued I was so excited. I broke a sweat. Literally dripping in sweat from pure joy and ferociously flipping through piano music. 




I don't mean to wax poetic like all moms do, but this time 7 years ago I was stuffing my face with Krispy Kreme donuts between contractions and getting ready to leave for the hospital after 12 hours of raging back labor. I look back on that day so fondly, my last day before becoming a parent. In seven years we've moved twice, once to a new state, had another baby, started homeschooling, and a million other things. Clara turns 2 in less than 2 weeks, so this is the hardest time of year for my emotions. I know I said I wasn't feeling that emotional but I take it all back. 

To celebrate, I'm making James wrap all of her birthday presents. I brought her into the world, he can figure out how to wrap her huge dragon toy for me.