Tuesday, May 3, 2016

You Made Me a Mother

Do you remember seeing this little video that came out a couple of years ago?

My oldest will turn 6 this month, and my youngest will be 4 this summer. I often forget what it was like to be an expectant mother, especially the very first time around. Every so often I come across photos of my big belly, or of the girls as newborns, and try to remember what it was like...

The video was recently adapted into a children's picture book, called You Made Me a Mother by Laurenne Sala. I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review, and let me tell you -- it gave me "all the feels".

The illustrator is one of my favorites -- Robin Preiss Glasser (famous for Fancy Nancy). The book is very simple, only a sentence or two on each page. It leaves a lot of story open for imagination, and reminiscing about our own motherhood stories.

I'll admit, the book was not that exciting for my kids -- but I think ultimately the target audience is mothers themselves. :) I'd consider it along the same lines as Love You Forever, which is a best-selling book that appeals much more to mothers than to their children.

With Mother's Day coming up next weekend, this book would be super cute as a gift (Amazon has fast shipping, and I've seen it on the shelf at Barnes & Noble!). And could you imagine the ooo's and ahhh's if this book was given as a baby shower gift, or to a brand-new mother?

Here are some additional links to connect with the book and the author:

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Quick Lit: April 2016

#raisingreaders  #bookworm  #librarylove  :) 

My 2016 Goodreads goal is 36 books -- 3 books a month -- after not quite making that goal last year.

(This doesn't count the books I read to/with my kids -- I try to post a few times a month what my kids are reading too, click here to read those reviews)

I'm already at 20 books completed, so I'm ahead of schedule. But this month was my smallest stack yet, especially since one of the books was only 62 pages long...

Monday, April 25, 2016

Korea: Part Two

We're finishing up our second and last month in Korea in the Reading Together Family Exploration Book Club! (Click here for more book club posts. This world traveling thing is fun!!)

Click here to read my Part One post about two other neat Korean kids books.


This month, after looking through Sheila's list of Korean picture books, I requested a stack of them from the library. Some were a little too long and historical for my kids, but we spent the month reading and reading three of them: Peach Heaven, The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale, and Bee-Bim Bop.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

One year.

It seems like just yesterday, yet it feels like so long ago. One year ago yesterday was my last day working at the library. 

I looked back on my blog to see what kinds of things I was thinking about, and here are a few posts I wrote this time last year about the transition:

It really has been a good year. There were lots of uncertainties at first, but now I feel very confident that it was the right decision to make. I'm very content and satisfied with life. 

Here are some highlights, and things I've noticed from the last year...

I still work at my church eight hours a week doing communications stuff (printing bulletins, managing the website, etc), and Ellie is in preschool during those hours. It's a great fit for my gifts and talents, doing so many tech-y things and design work. 

I joined the direct-sales world when I started with Usborne Books & More (that one-year anniversary is coming up soon!). I went into it thinking to supplement our income a bit, but our budget actually hasn't needed it, so I've been able to use those profits toward fun things like coffee shop visits with friends, supporting other friends' direct sales businesses, and of course buying more Usborne books. 

I haven't had to rearrange my schedule when one of my girls has to stay home sick. Abby has only missed one day this year, but Ellie has had a handful of fevers. There have been a few times when Ellie has fallen asleep on me on the couch in the afternoon, and I've been able to just stay with her and not worry about missing work or finding different daycare. 

I've found a good weekly rhythm. My hours at the library were spread throughout the week, and even week-to-week was often different. We would get up at different times, sometimes rushing out the door early and sometimes not until afternoon. Grocery shopping would happen whenever there was a spare hour or two. Dinner would get thrown together quickly at 5:30. Now that I have more space to breathe during the week, I feel more in control of my schedule instead of letting my schedule control me.

We haven't been able to save as much money. When I did work at the library, my husband and I were able to look at our finances each month and keep a tight budget, putting anything extra into an auto fund or general savings. We don't often do that anymore, but because we had saved before, we were able to get repairs done on our cars this winter and buy a new-to-us car with cash. Our general savings account hasn't budged, up or down, but it's sitting ready for us to make a down payment on a new house in a year or two.

I've gone on field trips with Abby that would have otherwise been scheduled on storytime days. Wednesday seems to be a popular field trip day for her school, and I missed the first few when she was in preschool. I might not be able to do other parent-involved activities during the year because we live so far away from the school, but the quarterly field trip is doable.

Ellie is still clingy, but I can give in to it instead of pushing her away. One of the final factors in deciding to leave the library was having so many nights of my then-two-year-old clinging to me at bedtime and crying "Don't leave, I need you..." I would have to hold her hand while she fell asleep. There are still times when she is shy and doesn't want to leave me to go to preschool or her MOPS class, but I think that is just her cautious personality. Once she has a couple minutes to warm up, she lets go without even saying goodbye.

My house is still messy, I don't blog as much as I'd like, and I didn't complete my reading goal last year. Just because I have an extra 22 hours a week that I didn't have available before, doesn't mean my home life is perfectly put together. :)

I'm grateful for my time at the library, and maybe will go back someday, but for this season of my life I am right where I need to be. 

I think it might be time to change my blog's tagline. :) 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Quick Lit: March 2016

I don't often enjoy a reading lunch, but when I do it's
because of a very very addicting book series!! :)

My 2016 Goodreads goal is 36 books -- 3 books a month -- after not quite making that goal last year.

(This doesn't count the books I read to/with my kids -- I try to post a few times a month what my kids are reading too, click here to read those reviews)

I'm already at 16 books completed -- 6 just in this month -- and one of those was 800+ pages!! (though one was also less than 200 pages) We'll see if this accelerated pace continues...

Monday, March 28, 2016

Korea: Part One

After reading books about the Arctic in January and February, we've moved on to Korea in the Reading Together Family Exploration Book Club.

This is a culture I'm not familiar with at all, other than knowing where on a map to find it, and knowing a few people who were adopted from there.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Lion's Tales: March edition

I've been quiet around the blog-o-sphere the last few weeks, and it just means our family has been doing lots of things and I've still been doing lots of reading! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you've seen that those have been updated a lot more frequently. :)

Here are some of the highlights of the last few weeks. Look for a March reading recap next week!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

My First Trunk Club Experience

We interrupt your regular scheduled book-ish posts for something different! :)

Let me start off by saying I am NOT a fashionista. Up until the last month or two, my daily wardrobe when I wasn't working or going to church has been jeans and an old t-shirt. Work or church would up my t-shirt to something a little bit nicer and occasionally khakis instead of jeans.

With kids at home, I don't have the time or desire to go shopping for myself. And the few times that I do, it's only down the street to the local Goodwill to see if they have a pair of jeans in my size.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sugar Fast 2016 Update

I was looking at the calendar last night and realized I'm over halfway done with my sugar fast -- 3.5 weeks in, 3 weeks to go!

Overall it's going better than I expected. There are definitely some moments where it's SO hard to say no to something sweet -- donuts at church on Sunday, sneaking a bite of the girls' morning cereal, every night scooping ice cream for Rocky.

I didn't even allow myself to share in the snow ice cream
I made for my family on last Tuesday's snow day!