Friday, December 30, 2016

5 on Friday

Christmas break is almost over, which means I am about to head into my toughest semester.  I will be student teaching 5 days a week and then going to three night classes...whew!  But it's only 4 months.  I can do anything for 4 months, right?

I want to post about Christmas down south (and maybe catch up on Thanksgiving and the fall!), but I'll start with my favorite...5 on Friday!

O     N     E

I know I have mentioned this before once or twice (okay, fine, like every time I post), but I am obsessed with Modern Mrs. Darcy's What Should I Read Next podcast.  Besides just getting a slew of new book suggestions, I have also learned a lot about myself by her book descriptions.  I realized that I like realistic fiction.  It can have a touch of mysticism or fantasy (L'Engle, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Tana French), but I don't really want or need a thriller.  I like plots that are slow and beautiful.

I think that preference pours over into my choice of movies and television shows.  One of my favorite shows is Gilmore Girls.  While the talking is fast paced, the plot isn't.  It even verges on the mundane, at times, but the characters and their development is so captivating.

Enter in my new favorite show:  This Is Us.

Oh, ya'll, this show is incredible.  I was talking about how good it is with another girl, and, when someone else asked what it was about, we just really couldn't give an answer or explain.  It's just the story of a family, but it is told so beautifully.  I guess there are some exciting plot things that happen, but what's more interesting is how everyone responds to those events and to each other.

T     W     O

I am a huge Christmas money hoarder.  My birthday is in July, and it is not uncommon for me to still have Christmas money left over by the time it rolls around.

This year, though, I have already spent some!  I have been reading about FabFitFun for a couple of months, and I really wanted to try a box.

They just came out with the Editor's Box.  I went with this option, because I could actually see what I was going to get.  

I got my box in yesterday, and I love it!  My favorite item is definitely my blanket scarf.

T     H     R     E     E

This has been the Christmas break of sickness.  I had a short bout of either the flu or the flu-like virus.  Bech had the stomach bug.  And now Jack has walking pneumonia.

I knew he wasn't feeling sick when he disappeared one afternoon and I found him asleep on Narnia (more on that in a later post!) at 4:45.  I tried to wake him up for dinner, but he wanted to sleep.  He slept from 4:45 until 7 the next morning!

He's on antibiotics, and he moved up from a nebulizer to an inhaler.  He's on the mend and will hopefully be better for school next Tuesday!

F     O     U     R

Jack has flown a TON in his short life, and Gil has already flown a bunch too.  But, other than one trip to San Diego, Jack didn't fly from 10 months until 3 1/2.  That age is just SO tough to fly with!  And of course, that's right where we are with Gil.  Gil doesn't want to sit in our lap or a seat...he just wants to move!

A friend (thanks, Ashley!) recently mentioned that they bought a plane ticket for their (then) almost two year old and brought his car seat on the plane.  Well, Gil is now over two so this was his first flight with his own seat.  We decided to do the same.  

Y'all.  GAME CHANGER.  Gil is an incredible car traveler and does great in his car seat.  The same was true for flying.  He fussed a little, and we had to stop him from kicking the seat in front of him.  But other than that, he did pretty well.  The car seat made a ton of difference.  Until he's a little older, I think we will always fly with our car seat.

Head's up, though, you do need to double check that your seat is aircraft approved.  Only one flight attendant asked me, but I was glad I had googled the night before where exactly that approval was located on the car seat.

F     I     V     E

Everyone's doing it, so I decided to make a best nine collage of my 2016 instagram pictures.  

I always get so tickled at these things, because Bech gets the most likes!  With the exception of the second picture and the last picture, Bech is in every one.  Well done, Bech, well done.

Do y'all find that to be the case?  That people like a picture more when you or your spouse is in it?

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  We have some fun plans for NYE that I am excited for!


Thursday, December 8, 2016

5 on Friday

Whew, long time no blog.  I've been keeping my book posts up to date because they are a great resource to look back on.  In the craziness of this semester, the blog has fallen by the wayside.  But I am writing this post on a Thursday, and, as of right now, I only have one more assignment due!  I'm taking a Praxis test next week too, but it's the ELA one (and, thanks to my incredible ELA content professor, I feel VERY well prepared!).

So I am celebrating by posting, and it's my favorite type of post...5 on Friday!

O     N     E

As I just mentioned, I am almost done with this semester.  It has been so hard, but I have also loved it.  One thing that has helped me get through this semester is the wonderful people I get to learn with and from!

This is one of my classes at a local Pho restaurant.  Seriously, I have an incredible cohort.  There are 8 of us doing the middle level MAT, and I think each of my fellow classmates is pretty incredible.  I am so thankful for all of our group texts and social events.

T     W     O

It's December, which, in Vermont, means SNOW!

Last year, we had a really mild winter.  I was sort of thankful for that.  It's nice to not be totally frozen all winter.  But I missed the snow!  I am glad that we have already gotten some snow here.  It's snowing a little today, and we have snow on the forecast for this weekend and next week.  Vermont is just magical looking all covered with snow.

Plus, it never hurts to have a white Christmas!

T     H     R     E     E

A couple of days before Thanksgiving, Bech and I had a cocktail party for some church friends.  Bech made rosemary gimlets, and I laid out a cheese board (complete with baked brie!).  Friends brought more appetizers and drinks (and no kids!).

We had the BEST time.  We have a great group of church friends, but we haven't gotten to spend a lot of time all together this fall.  The guys do guys nights, and the girls do girls nights (which is almost always just an excuse to drink margaritas and eat nachos together #nachoaveragechurch).  It was wonderful to just spend time all together.

Plus, the baked brie did not hurt.

F     O     U     R

I am almost completely done with my Christmas shopping!  Woohoo!

I know Christmas shopping is stressful for some people, but I really enjoy it.  The only part that is stressful is paying for it all.  This year, though, I tutored a girl for the PSAT this fall, and put all of that money aside so that I could pay for most of the Christmas presents.  It worked out really well.

And it's perfect timing, because we head to Mississippi a week from Saturday.  We are all SO excited.  I am extra excited because this is Gil's first flight to have his own seat.  I am going to bring his car seat with us and have him sit in it during the flight.  Has anyone else ever done that?  Any tips?

F     I     V     E

I've written before about my love for Advent.  I love this season right before Christmas. 

Last year, we read through this book (by Ann Voskamp) together, and we are doing it again this year.  I love this book so much.  There have been a few nights where I am holding back tears as I read the final paragraph.  I can tell a huge difference in Jack's comprehension and engagement with the book this year.  He is listening and is talking about it afterward.  

If you are looking for a way to prepare for Christmas with your kids, I would highly suggest this book!

There we go.  Five very random things!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November Books

Another month, another list of books.  I have really enjoyed doing these post, because I can go back and see what I read each month (and can make recommendations to others!).

The Blackthorn Key

The Blackthorn Key is on the DCF list of books, a Vermont award for children's literature.  A classmate read it for an assignment and loved it, so I decided to give it a try.

It was really good!  It's about an orphaned apothecary apprentice who gets caught up in a string of murders in London.  The book is full of chemistry, codes, and mystery.  Maybe not what most adults would want to read (unless they teach ELA), but I would definitely suggest it for middle schoolers!

The Mysterious St. Benedict Society

I needed to pick a book for class (and I could pick whatever book I wanted).  I asked for suggestions on Facebook and got some amazing ones.  And then I saw this in the library and caved.  I had been wanting to read it for some time now, so I figured this was a good excuse!

The main character, Reynie, is an orphan (this is the month of orphaned main characters!) who joins up with three other exceptional kids under the care of Mr. Benedict.  The kids are sent on a mission to figure out what is going on at the Institute. 

This book was a really fun read.  It reminded me a lot of A Series of Unfortunate Events, although not quite as clever.  I think a child who enjoyed puzzles and clues would really enjoy reading this book.  Here is my book companion I made for class (in case you decide to read the book).

Emily of New Moon

I am a HUGE Anne of Green Gables fan.  Goodness, I even named my son after Gilbert Blythe!  But for some reason, I have never read beyond the Anne series.  Recently, I heard a guest on What Should I Read Next talk about the Emily of New Moon series.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved this series.  It was like seeing an old friend again.  I read these three on my kindle and I just could NOT stop reading.  

Emily is a little like Anne.  She's an orphan, living on PEI, and she loves to write.  But she is different than Anne, still feisty, still a touch dramatic, but maybe more of a realist.  I still think Anne-girl is my favorite, but Emily is now a close second.

Emily Climbs

The second book in the Emily series is a lot like Anne's second book.  Emily goes to the high school in a neighboring town.  

Emily's Quest

And the series finishes up with this book.  I will say, I enjoy the Anne/Gilbert story a little more than what goes on in this book, but I did still love it.

Seriously, if you are an Anne fan and you haven't read these books, please do!  You will thank me...

Boy in the Moon

This is another book for school.  Ian Brown chronicles what it is like raising his son Walker, who has a severe disability.  This book is raw and real and a really beautiful read (look at that alliteration!).  It is non-fiction, but it reads like a narrative, so I enjoyed it.  I loved this book.

The Marvels

Oh, this book!  This book was my second favorite this month, after the Emily series, of course.  It was written by the author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

What is amazing about this book is that the first half is only pictures, but somehow, you get a whole story out of the pictures.  And then there is 200 pages of a story, which happens 90 years later.  This book is so beautifully done, and the story is captivating.  I literally didn't put this book down while I was reading it.

Rum and Razors

Another Murder She Wrote mystery to close out the month.  Okay, so this book isn't going to win any awards, but it sure was a fun, light read.  

So that's what November looked like.  December will involve lots of traveling and family, so who knows how much reading I will get done!