Monday, November 18, 2019

Monday Moods

Another weekend in the books, another week on the horizon. Let's do this!


Here are my Monday moods.

Things I Love:

1.  Date nights.  We used to only go on date nights occasionally.  Babysitters are expensive and it just seemed like a lot.  Nowadays we are going weekly.  We have two teen daughters who alternate babysitting.  We pay them a small amount and they make dinner and hang out with their siblings.  My husband and I can go out and have a nice meal and a real conversation and come home to happy kids.  The only problem is that the kids are never in bed when we get home...but as long as they're all smiling, I'll take it!

#relatable

2.  Reading "fun" books.  I love classics, but after finishing a big, serious book, I really love curling up with a book that does not take too much brainpower.  This weekend was full of "fun" reading and it was good.  

3.  An hour of cleaning.  On weekends, I usually sit with my book, thinking about how the house is getting dirtier and I'm the only one who will clean it up.  This weekend when that thought popped into my mind I called my family around and instituted one hour of cleaning.  It is amazing how much 6 people can get done in one hour.  I need to remember this and do it every weekend.  After, we all went back to doing our own things, but the house was cleaner and today I don't feel like there is more for me to do than is humanly possible.  

Things I Don't Love:

1.  Super healthy baking recipes.  I often get suckered into trying these and I really want to like them.  But they are just rarely good.  The ingredients are expensive and the odds that I will use them again before they expire are small.  Healthy recipes are one thing, but I think I will be avoiding super healthy baked goods for a while.  

and tastes like chicken feed too.

2.  Working on Saturday.  I had the bright idea to schedule classes early on Saturday morning.  This is good because it means the house is quiet.  But waking up so early messes with my sleep routine and means I will hit a hard stop around 1pm.  I have learned my lessons and will not be teaching before 6am on Saturdays going forward.  

3.  The smell of curry days after you made it.  The other night I made a delicious curry.  It. was. so. good.  But now, days later, every time I walk into the house I'm greeted by a wall of smell: curry.  I'm burning candles and leaving the windows open (despite the cold weather) but I just can't seem to be free from the curry.  Any suggestions?    

Those are my Monday moods.  This week I'm looking to finish Kingdom of the Blind, Here and Now and Then, and Forest World.  What are you reading/feeling this week?

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Reading Recap: October Edition

I thought October would be the month that I only read one book.  I started like 50, but couldn't seem to actually finish any.  But then I got focused and determined and October turned out to be a pretty good month for reading.  I even spent time reading on Halloween thanks to crappy weather and only 20 minutes of trick-or-treating.  


Here's what I read:


Ask Again, Yes has been everywhere.  And I get it.  It's a well-written novel about two families.  It has nuanced themes like young love, duty, and mental health.  But for me, I didn't love it.  I only kind of liked it.  When I give a book four or five stars it's usually because I highlighted it to death.  I like it when a book has beautiful writing or insightful writing.  This book was good technically, but I felt like there weren't any parts where I stopped to say, "Wow."  I'm glad I checked it off my list for fomo reasons and also because it was a Book of the Month pick sitting on my shelf, but it's not a book I will come back to.


This was another book that I didn't love.  I listened to it on audio and maybe that was a mistake.  Snark is good but this was so over the top that I kept rolling my eyes.  No one I know talks or acts like Jen, the protagonist.  Her emails to the class were pretty funny but not enough to save this book.  When I read the description I was like, "Oooh, Bridget Jones for moms."  But that was not what this was.  Maybe if you can suspend disbelief and not be annoyed by a *highly* dramatized version of what being a class mom means you would enjoy Class Mom.  An aside: I have four kids in school and never have I ever attended a party thrown for all the parents of the class without the kids also being present--among social circles, yes, but not THE WHOLE CLASS.


My fifth-grade daughter is doing Battle of the Books through our local library.  I am coaching her team and this is one of the books we are reading.  Be warned, this will be a common theme in upcoming reading recaps.  Reading while writing questions to quiz your team with is a drag, but the story and illustrations in this book totally made up for it.  I immediately bought the next one and preordered the third.  If you have a middle-grade reader, Moxie McCoy and her brother Milton are so fun.  I got serious Ramona Quimby/Ruby Redfort vibes and those are two of my favorite middle-grade heroines so I call that winning.  The Real McCoys is not didactic, but you come away with a very warm feeling towards family and the world. 


Another meh book for me this month.  What is up with that?!?!?  The story jumped around a lot and the romance was more than a little cringey (the protagonist and his girlfriend love shagging beneath a picture of her grandmother, they spoke to each other like no couple I've ever heard). I didn't feel invested in any of the characters.  The best part of the book was learning about how books are passed down through the years and getting a little peek into the rare books world.  However, there were a couple of long passages about bookbinding that were too much.  The level of detail made my eyes start to water a little.  But, for years I've thought about reading this book so I'm glad to have done it and know: it's not my cup of tea. 


THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD!  I listened to it so basically Michelle Obama is my new BFF.  I loved hearing about her family, the way she grew up, and her take on motherhood and working.  She talks about living in the White House and all that entails when you're also trying to raise a family.  Becoming gives an insider's view of what it's like to be watched by the world when you really didn't want that life.  Michelle was real and raw and funny.  Regardless of your political views, this book is a delight from start to finish.  


So that's what I read in October.  What did you read?  What's on your radar for this month?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Monday Moods

Well, it's Wednesday so that should pretty much tell you all you need to know about my Monday.  

cheers!

Let's get to it...

Things I Love

1.  Finishing big, long books that are also classics and are also wonderful.  Last weekend I finished East of Eden and I'm still riding that high.

2.  Having dinner in the oven at 9am.  I love doubling recipes and slow cooking things.  Tonight it's pulled pork and I cannot wait.  Already I've over planned the hours of 4-7pm since I won't have to do much to get a meal for six people on the table.  

basically...

3.  Reading my son's writing.  My son is 8 and in 3rd grade.  This is the first year that he kind of likes reading and writing.  The papers and stories he brings home from school show his sense of humor and developing skill and I look forward to each one.  He invited me to visit his classroom next week and also asked for a ham sandwich from Subway.  He wrote a story that began with this line: I walked out of a bank with a million dollars.  Wait, let me go back.  I am here for this.  

Things I Don't Love

1.  My to-do list.  It feels like we are entering that time of year of holidays and parties and gifts and menus.  I have about five to-do lists going every day and I'm only ever able to get a few things done off of each one which leaves me feeling like I got nothing done.  Add to this Nanowrimo pressure and I'm just super fun to be around these days...

2.  Incompetence.  Piggybacking off of my number one thing I don't love this week, is the fact that I've been noticing the incompetence of my family members (most notably, my children) when it comes to living life.  I don't think I should have to tell a 15-year-old to wear a coat when it is 18 degrees out.  It is unreasonable for me to be smelling the breath of four kids EVERY MORNING when this is a skill we've been working on since they were one.  If only they would do the things that normal human beings do so I can get back to my to-do list I think I would experience a deep and lasting joy.

My kids when I ask them to brush their teeth after they wake up

3.  Required reading.  I'm in a few groups where we read books and discuss them.  I'm coaching my daughter's Battle of the Books team.  All of this is required reading and it really brings me down.  When I get time to read it is usually extra, so I want to read something fun or of my own choosing.  Required reading makes me feel like I'm in a straight jacket and I've sacrificed my free time.  This feeling comes and goes though because I do like discussing and usually post discussion, I'm grateful for the reading.  ***see number 1: "I'm just super fun to be around these days." 

Those are my Monday...or Wednesday...moods.  What are you feeling this week?  

Monday, November 4, 2019

Monday Moods

Here we are again, after another full weekend.  Are you enjoying the quiet or dreading the rush of the week?  I think I fall into both categories.


Things I Love
1.  NaNoWriMo.  I've been trying to be more intentional about my writing but it's always the first thing that gets pushed aside.  This month I'm writing with a specific word goal every day to participate in National Novel Writing Month.  I'll be curious to see if there is a dip in my reading (although it hasn't been that great over the last few months anyway).  Logging my word count means I have some serious accountability and already I'm noticing how I can squeeze writing in if it's important to me.  Which it is.  

2.  Coloring pages.  I used to love coloring so much when I was a little kid and then I bought a ton of adult coloring books which were too detailed and I gave up fast.  I started subscribing to Rad + Happy's monthly coloring pages and they are a perfect in-between.  I love that they are seasonal and I can print as many as I want.  While I'm on long phone calls or helping kids with homework, I can be v. zen thanks to the way coloring calms me.  


3.  Dance Cardio.  I love to change my workouts regularly based on weather/time/mood.  Today I did a dance cardio dvd and was surprised by how good I felt after.  My body and mind were refreshed and I feel like a million bucks.  You might not know this but I'm a sneaky good dancer and have always loved dancing as a form of exercise.  Yay for a new season of fresh workouts!


Things I Don't Love
1.  Blisters.  I wore new rain books the other day and they gave me two terrible blisters on my Achilles tendon.  Now every time I put on shoes I wince and tear up.  Ugh.  

2.  Rain on Halloween.  It was a dark and stormy night...which makes for a good novel, but not good trick-or-treating.  My two youngest kids were really sad.  We let them go out for half an hour (despite a tornado warning...now that's parenting on the edge).  We spent money and time creating clever costumes and then they were only able to knock on a few doors and the school Halloween parade was canceled.  Oh, well onto the next holiday!

3.  Having 6 activities on Monday night.  I love my quiet Monday mornings.  I'm super productive and happy while the kids are at school.  But tonight we have six after school activities and I'm nervous about it.  I'm thinking something will have to fall away because I love my sanity. 

What are your Monday Moods?  

Monday, October 28, 2019

Monday Moods



It's Monday and I'm running around here like a boy with a bag of bread being chased by a flock of chickens (see gif below).  This weekend I confused volleyball tournament times and that made me feel like I need to recalibrate and actually read my emails thoroughly again.  Today was full of logistics and I'm ready for bed.  *sigh*  

Image result for running through life gif


Things I Love
1.  The trees.  I don't know if I'm looking around more or this year has been extra great but the foliage around these parts has been spectacular.  I love watching the gradual progression.  A little orange here and there, a little more, boom--the most vibrant orange I've ever seen.  I think I might be annoying my friends and family a little but I don't care--HAVE YOU SEEN THE TREES?

2.  American Eagle.  When we went back to school shopping in September I got a few sweaters and long sleeve t-shirts too.  I put them away and thought, "Future Noelle will thank me."  And now, I would like to thank Past Noelle for getting those tops.  They are soft and pretty and I love them.  Next month I will head back to the mall to do Christmas shopping and you can bet I will hit AE hard.  It's not just for teens, but also for the moms of teens.

3.  Going out for dinner on Monday night.  Tonight we had a bunch of activities and emotions were running high so we went out for burgers.  My kids burned popcorn and it smelled gross in the house.  Leaving for a few hours to regroup and let someone else cook was just what I needed to close out this Monday on a good note.  Goodnight, well, almost.  



Things I Don't Love
1.  Cheap candy.  I mean, I'm loving it and eating it.  But then I get these terrible breakouts on my chin.  I give the candy up for a while and the breakouts go away so then I think, "hmmm, maybe this time..."  But alas, every single time I eat cheap candy my skin revolts.  You can clearly see this vicious cycle will not end until Easter when the last of the candy gets tossed out.

2.  Taking Ruby for walks.  This season may be the most difficult to walk our 95-pound dog.  She loves chasing cars and squirrels and has nearly taken my arm off more than a dozen times.  If she's not trying to attack a defenseless woodland creature, then she's freaking out over the leaves that swirl in the wind.  It's like she can't figure out what strange magic makes the leaves fly around and she is OUT.  She lunges for the door to get back inside where she can be safe from these fallish ghosts trying to haunt her.  If you have any dog walking tips please pass them along.  I'm sick of having to reek of icyhot because my shoulders are wrecked every day.


3.  My kids burning popcorn in the microwave and leaving the kitchen a mess after baking.  I try to be pretty laid back with my kids.  They all love cooking and baking so I try to facilitate that.  But during these busy weeks, it seems like they make a mess and leave it just to spite me.  This weekend they tried to make popcorn in the microwave and burned it.  This is not a fun smell.  I'm revoking everyone's kitchen privileges until after Christmas.  Ain't nobody got time for that.  

Yay!  I got this post done before midnight on Monday!  #winning right?  Leave a comment with your Monday moods, dog training tips, and anything else you want to tell me.  

Friday, October 25, 2019

#goals



I'm starting a recurring post called #goals because I've got lots of goals floating around in my head, but writing them down here and then checking in with them will give me some accountability to hopefully see them through. 


Image result for goals gif

I've broken my goals into three categories.  Reading, writing, and personal.  These are the three main sections of my life and within each group, I can be more specific about what I want to change. 

*deep breath* Here I go:

Reading Goals

I'll be honest with you, I've gotten a little lazy about reading in my spare moments.  I've kind of been overloaded with the kids' stuff and when my brain feels like it's handling too much at once, I reach for a screen.  Reading East of Eden has taken me waaaaaay longer than I ever imagined.  I love the book, but I also love scrolling twitter. 



My first reading goal is to finish East of Eden by Friday, November 8. 

The other aspect of my reading life that seems a little out of whack lately is reading things other people suggest/required for a book club.  Nothing makes me drag my feet more than reading a book I don't really like, but I need to read for a group.  I am an adult, I know what I like to read, I should read that and ignore reading peer pressure. 

My second reading goal is to be selective about the books I read in November and chose books I want to read not books that I should read for a group or conversation.  And not join so many reading groups. 



Writing goals

I'm digging into writing these days.  It's not always easy, but my brain and emotions always feel better after I've done it.  Every single thing I've ever read about writing says it's crucial to do it daily.  I get easily distracted with books, life, carpools, etc...but I know this is something that is very important to me.  I can sneak in a half-hour of editing or adding to a story before bed if I make it a priority. 

My first writing goal is to write every day for a half-hour or more. 
hmm, this feels on brand

Professional development is hard to come by in such a solitary task as writing, but I've listened to podcasts and read books that have really helped me.  There are online classes I'd love to explore, but first, I want to reread some of my favorite writing books. 


My second writing goal is to read a book about writing each month until January (and then reevaluate). 


Personal goals

Daily exercise and time outside both help keep my anxiety in check.  This fall, there's no reason I can't get outside for a few brisk walks each week.  My schedule changes each week so I can't really be strict about which days I go walking, but maybe that flexibility will keep me from getting so easily frustrated when I mess up. 

My first personal goal is to walk at least three times per week, outside, if the weather permits.



My closet has been a source of fear and loathing.  I started cleaning it one Saturday and stopped thinking I could just finish it on Sunday.  I never did.  The space has become so overrun with stray clothes, shoes, bags, and weird things my kids throw in there that I tremble in fear every time I have to go in there.  I literally have to lunge across a huge pile of discarded shirts and pants to get into it.  I avoid putting away laundry and getting clothes from in there (there are plenty of options in the pile on the threshold).  It's not a good scene.

My second personal goal is to CLEAN MY CLOSET already!!!  (But really, I'm giving myself until November 8...like East of Eden...because Rome wasn't built in a day and I am the queen of procrastinators). 

So, six goals to work on.  It seems like a lot, but I actually feel really good.  They are all completely doable, I think.  I'll check back in re: #goals soon.


I can do anything!!!
What are your goals or your goal catagories or do you think I've just given myself waaaaay too many goals?  Leave a comment and tell me what you think and what you want to get done in the next few weeks. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Monday Moods

This weekend we had guests and did a million things so this Monday I am dragging.


Image result for gif dragging

I have a nice big cup of coffee and a quiet house.  Without further ado...here are my Monday moods.  

Things I Love

1.  Visiting the monuments in DC.  This weekend we had perfect weather and my brother and his family were visiting so we decided to head into DC.  I was struck with gratitude and reverence while we were standing at Lincoln's feet and reading the names on the Vietnam memorial.  If you haven't been, you should go.  
a quiet moment at the WWII memorial

2.  This tea.  It is my favorite thing on chilly afternoons.  Sometimes cinnamon is too strong for me, but this has a nice balance. And, it goes great with a good book.  

3.  East of Eden.  I'm making a big push to finish this in the next couple of weeks.  I put sticky tags to mark the number of pages I need to read each day.  The story is so good that I'm reaching for it when I have a few moments instead of my phone and that makes me very happy.  

Things I Don't Love

1.  Making lunch.  My breakfast game is strong and at dinner, I come correct, but lunch always feels like too much.  I've been doing protein smoothies and that's helped but on weekends I never know what to feed my family for the middle meal and wind up serving a hodgepodge of food.  

2.  Messy rooms.  We did a lot of organizing last spring and now it's all fallen apart.  Every time I walk into a room or closet I feel like I'm going to be buried alive.  I guess it's time to focus and get to work.  I know I'll feel better after, but finding the time for so many projects is daunting.  



3.  Not finishing books.  I have a ton of books I've started and can't finish.  Why do 350 pages feel insurmountable in some books and not enough in others?  Right now, I've only finished one book for this month and that is AGGRAVATING me.  I have the potential to finish four more before November rolls around because I'm more than halfway done with those books but it just feels like they will NEVER END.  Sorry for the caps but I am struggling with this.  #booknerdproblems

Ahhh, now that I've gotten all that off my chest I feel free as a bird and ready to go outside and enjoy some sunny weather with Ruby...but maybe I should try and finish of these books piled on my coffee table first.  


why would I read all these books I've started when I can ski in place while wearing a birdfeeder hat inside?  

Don't forget to head over to this post and enter my giveaway and leave a comment here with your Monday moods.