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Showing posts from December, 2018

top (30!!) books of 2018

It wasn't easy. I didn't think I was going to make my goal. I read less than last year. But 150 books is still a whole lotta books! In 2017 I read 185 books. So birthing a baby, caring for the sweet one, homeschooling a first grader and keeping up on life in general equals 35 fewer books read. It's like a complicated math problem: If Angela can read x amount of pages in x amount of hours, but has a new baby and is teaching one child first grade and running a household how many fewer books will she read in 2018? The answer is  ....... 35!! Yes, I read fast. Yes, I don't watch much TV. But even if you only read one book this year, well done. Next year, aim for two. Reading is good for you and your kids need to see you off your phone and away from the TV with printed material in your hands. (Yes you can read on a screen, but why?) Since 2016 I've tracked my reading in a little blue and white striped notebook. If I love a title it gets an asterisk next

tell me it's normal (on learning to let go)

Harper had a cranial-sacral therapy appointment this morning. Typically newborns benefit the most from CST, but Harper has a good sized lump on the back of her head her doctor wanted checked. A lump. On her head. That'll put the fear in you. It's been months and she hasn't died or shown any other symptoms so the fear hasn't been too overwhelming, but there was a need to know if I should put the worry into overdrive.  Every time I take one of my children to the doctor I want to be told their symptoms are normal and they'll live. If God would allow me to see into the future I would only want to know my kids would out live me. I don't care about anything else. If I knew the world would go in the expected order for my three living children I could release at least 94% of the fear and anxiety that rushed in when Charlotte died and I felt to my core the sudden shock of knowing a river can unexpectedly run backwards. Harper is fine. She has a lumpy bumpy h

the day after / more flu

There is so much laundry on my bed you can't actually see the bed. Instead of folding it I made the kids have a quiet time while I ate my last Christmas treat - Panera cinnamon roll - with a hot cup of tea. Taking a moment to sit and enjoy food is one thing I've gleaned from cutting cane sugar from our daily diets. I don't want to stand at the counter eating chocolate bars because my kids stress me out. I want to find meaning in food and have treats truly be special. It's a really hard, slow learning process. This morning we ran a ton of errands - bank, library, three grocery stores (including Costco). Then I got an incoming round 2 text from Jon. Are you kidding me?! He's currently sleeping off his second flu bout on the couch - still can't see the bed - while I follow the kids around and remind them to wash their hands every five seconds. I will cry if we all get it a second time. Our Christmas was good. We went the minimal presents / big experience rou

how are we doing?

By we I mean all of us - the one writing, the ones reading. We're less than two days from Christmas. Everything is busy. The lists are so long. We made it through Bennett's choir weekend at church. He did so well and had a great time. I thought that would take a huge load off, but I'm still struggling. Our holidays are casual, but I'm still full of clean, wrap, snip, snap energy that is wiping out everyone around me. I'm not even trying to do that much. With the flu knocking us out followed by Jonathan's minor surgery I figure just getting the basics done is enough. But the basics are hard to accomplish with a clingy baby and I'm so grumpy. What is with that? I can read all the - just be calm, give them your joyful presence, they will remember your love and serenity more than traditions - advice posts and articles, but I can't seem to internalize it. I'm still on edge and snippy snappy. Are you feeling it too? Maybe it's the happy fa

let me tell you a funny story

I'm writing this from the rocker in the baby's room, which is usually where I am this time of night.  I've been writing more because I've decided to just do that: write. No pictures. Minimal effort. No attempts to have a curated blog. Just my words usually written on my phone while holding the baby or standing in the kitchen waiting on dinner to finish in the oven. Are you ready for the funny story? After days of broth, smoothies and rice I got bold and served tacos for dinner. B and I are regretting that decision as our bellies ache and poor Jonathan has the belly ache plus minor surgery recovery. Oh yeah, he had minor surgery scheduled the day after getting over the flu. We are having so much fun here. B is scheduled to perform at church with the choir Saturday and Sunday and I'm just like, "Jesus, do You want us there? We're going to need major improvements ASAP over here if the answer is yes." Just before coming in to soothe Harper,


Jonathan awarded me the title yesterday, but I might have lost it at 6 a.m. this morning when I complained loudly about my lack of sleep while folding laundry. Jonathan came home from work yesterday and went for the best flu position: the flat on the bathroom floor miserable moaning heap. "This is so bad! I don't know how you did this!" he called out. "You're Supermom!!" Christmas is in 5 days and I'm not sure whose presents are under which pile of dirty laundry in our bedroom, but I made it through a morning with 3 sick kids and a terrible flu so I'll take the title.  B can't seem to get his feet under him. He's back asleep after an hour of floor moaning this morning - he gets it from his dad.  Ainsleigh was the least affected and is now the most bored. She got up at 4:15 this morning and I marched out to the living room with the baby I'd been trying to settle since 3:30 am and said, "Go. back. to. bed. now." That

be still: this is not what I had in mind

When I said I wanted us to slow down this week and focus on the meaning of the season I did not mean we should all get the stomach flu so that we could do nothing but lie very still. Gracious it's been a rough couple days. Jonathan escaped the flu, but he got stuck with clean up duties, which is also awful. He came home midday yesterday because I could not manage all the kids being ill plus me.  Thankfully I made a big batch of soup on Sunday so we've had rich, healthy broth to sip on ... Oh wait, that's me. The kids just moan and ask for chips. This is not how I planned the days before Christmas to go. We're missing rehearsals and preschool parties. We're not finishing the homeschool lessons I wanted to knock out before taking time off. We're not enjoying the activities I hoped to squeeze in before the big day. The kids watched something like 8 hours of TV yesterday. I don't think they've ever watched that much TV. There was too much vomiting f

when life hurts

Ainsleigh fell out of the minivan at preschool pick- up today. I was talking to a friend, she was messing around with Bennett, and boom! Smack flat on her stomach in the parking lot. I'm so glad her face is okay. She came up off the ground screaming and I thought for sure we'd need plastic surgery, but her knees bore the brunt of the fall.  We came home, the day churned along. I did the mom thing while thinking about the conversation from preschool and loss and how broken this world is. Then I was prepping cinnamon rolls in the kitchen with Jonathan after dinner when he told me something that left me feeling like Ainsleigh this morning - flat on the ground, shocked at what happened. We mixed dough in separate bowls - his without wheat flour, mine with - and talked in code with Ainsleigh between us. Then we sat down for devotions and lifted the hurting up to God because the pain we heard of today is so far beyond our ability to console the only thing left to do was lift i

one of the hardest things I've done

* I'm writing this just after finishing a Ghirardelli square so take everything I write with a grain of salt (or sugar). * We dropped off the neighbor gifts this afternoon and two dogs came racing out of one house and after my kids. Second time this week those dogs have been after my babies! Next year we'll drop their gift in their mailbox! Doing the neighbor gifts run is a great reminder of how socially awkward I am. Thankfully the kids do most of the talking now! So I had one chocolate square out of two giant Costco packages. That, my friends, is a big deal. One of my biggest accomplishments this year - if not the biggest - is cutting out added cane sugar. When Jon proposed the idea in the spring I didn't think he could possibly be serious. I reluctantly agreed and then realized there was sugar in my bread, crackers and vitamins. I also had quite the chocolate habit going to help me get through the day. I was 2 lbs from my goal weight and 2 months postpartum so I


We live in a town unevenly divided by a bridge. We live on the West side, a small section of the city with fewer resources, which means we spend a lot of time crossing the bridge. Today I went back and forth - zip, zip, zip - trying to get things done. Ains to preschool, shopping and chatting with a friend, home to drop off the fussy baby, preschool pick- up, home for lunch, ice skating outing ... Zip, zip, zip. I crossed the bridge six times today! Last night we sat on or near the bridge for twenty- five minutes trying to get to Ainsleigh's school program. There was a 4 car wreck in the middle of the bridge, which meant us east-bounders were hardly moving. (In our town there is a bridge heading east as well as one heading west. There's a lot of controversy about whether or not a third bridge should be built, but most days I can dash back and forth without issue.) I like how close we are to downtown, our church, the library. This afternoon we took the kids ice sk

you're a good mom

This morning I woke up and gathered the kids in the living room to apologize (see previous post). Near the Christmas tree we have a table with our devotions and advent things. The last couple years the advent countdown box has been full of fun. Behind each door I had something: a verse, early gift days, treat days, giving days ... This year B filled some of the boxes when he realized Mama was too tired to do more than a few. So we have delightful slips of paper that read, "hot choklit and marshmellow" sprinkled throughout. We also have an advent box full of family activities from our church on the table. I tell you, we are drowning in Jesus over here, really pursuing the meaning of the season, but that's good! It's how it should be. A couple nights ago we made a prayer chain from our church provided box and placed it on the tree. As I prepared to launch into my apology this morning Ainsleigh said, "Wait, I have something for you!" as she rushed to the


I saw something on Facebook about three kids being the most stressful number to have.  Yep. Feeling it. Writing up a quick review and update post a couple days ago reminded me of how much I used to love writing here. I stopped writing because the kids are older and I want to protect their privacy, but also because my readership is so low I thought continuing was pointless. When I first wrote here no one read or visited. Then Charlotte died and my blog became my lifeline. My primary readers were fellow loss warriors. (And family members who were too scared to ask how I was because shoot I was fiercely guarded in real life then and liable to be mean and cranky.) Now I don't really care about numbers or readership. I just want to write. There was a time I thought I would be a blogger. Get paid, maybe.  Really grow this platform. I've since discovered that was my plan not God's, but I didn't know that back then so I kept striving for something that was never goin

christmas letter (and a brick builder's bible giveaway!)

It's been an age hasn't it? Homeschooling a first grader plus having a preschooler and a baby means I have very little time to do the basic housekeeping things, much less the things I love like blogging. B is 7 now! Ains 5! and Miss Harper 9 months. They are busy, busy, busy kids full of life and joy. For those who have followed me since Charlotte was born you've watched these babies grow up. Now that the bigs are beyond toddlerhood I am writing less about them online because so much of their story is not mine to tell. I am writing this blog post because I have a great book to giveaway, but before I do that I thought it'd be fun to do a small update. B likes parkour, reading (he is almost as obsessed as his mama) studying history and playing games. Ains likes going to preschool, reading, puzzles and games. Both kids love playing outdoors and running around with friends. Harper crawled at 7 months and now at 9 months is very close to walking. It'll b