Monday, August 31, 2015

Collaboreads: August

Anne Lamott Imperfect Birds

I first learned about #Collaboreads from Kristin's blog and the bookworm in me rejoiced.
Finding new books to read is a never-ending quest for me so this link up is pure gold.  Here is the criteria:

A theme for the month is chosen
Pick your book
Read.  You get a whole month!
Review your book and link up with Amber and Rachel

August's book theme was "set in the summertime" and Anne Lamott's Imperfect Birds fit the bill. 

Here is the Goodreads synopsis:
"Rosie Ferguson is seventeen and ready to enjoy the summer before her senior year of high school. She's intelligent-she aced AP physics; athletic-a former state-ranked tennis doubles champion; and beautiful. She is, in short, everything her mother, Elizabeth, hoped she could be. The family's move to Landsdale, with stepfather James in tow, hadn't been as bumpy as Elizabeth feared. 

But as the school year draws to a close, there are disturbing signs that the life Rosie claims to be leading is a sham, and that Elizabeth's hopes for her daughter to remain immune from the pull of the darker impulses of drugs and alcohol are dashed. Slowly and against their will, Elizabeth and James are forced to confront the fact that Rosie has been lying to them-and that her deceptions will have profound consequences."

This was a page-turner for me. The mundane details of every day life intrigues me. Add in being a mom to two daughter's, coupled with remembering my high school days made this feel like a recounting of a friend's life over coffee (which is really weird because I don't drink coffee. I kid, I kid ;)
It was mind-blowing to think high schoolers these days live such fast lives but then looking at the World, it isn't far-fetched.  Just sad. And scary.

I related to both mother, Elizabeth and daughter Rosie, though in a much lesser extent. Minor characters were fully realized; even if I did not like them, I still wished them the best.
I kept rooting for Rosie and she kept disappointing, but by the end I still wanted more, so I think that's a sign of a good book!  And!  I did not know this but this is the third book in a series all about the Ferguson Family and I will get to read more!

The mother-daughter relationship, the coming-of-age summer, the profound outcome of personal choices reminds me of Jodi Piccoult's Song's of the Humpback Whale. Just grittier and less romantic.

The cover did not catch my eye, I handled this book twice on different occasions before checking it out. I am a Lamott fan (Bird by Bird, Junior year AP English) so I should have known it would be good. Layout and font were easy on the eyes, no complaints.

5 out of 5
I would definitely recommend this book!  I'm one of those annoying readers who likes everything to end neatly, wrapped in a bow with complete closure. I didn't get that here but it was worth that internal struggle. Plus, I got to imagine my own happy ending so I wasn't too disappointed.

Linking up with Amber and Rachel.
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Man behind the Beard

It has finally come to fruition! After months of reading Elizabeth's Guy behind the Blog interviews with Seth and then Beth's interviews with Russ, I managed to ply Brian into doing it too!  I'll let his answers show how enthusiastic he was about the whole thing.

1) Share a funny wedding story with us - it could be from your own or one you attended. 

Brian: I don't have one.
Me: We always talk about Aaron's toast.
Brian: Yeah that was funny. What else was funny? Your opera music (it was a CD playing classical music and then Opera singing came out of nowhere.) Those special people we didn't invite. (Yes, we had wedding crashers, of the worst kind)

2) On the topic of love, who was your childhood crush?

Brian: Micheal Jackson, I'm just kidding, I don't know. What does that mean?
Me: You know, a celebrity or a girl in your class you liked.
Brian: Oh, not really. Not until high school.

3a) What is your top love language?

Brian: Huh? What are those?
After I described the 5 Love Languages (which he did know because we did our premarital counseling on them)
Brian: Physical touch (but he actually said something I wont repeat here. Ha! x)

3b) What is your significant other's love language? 

Brian:  Your phone and your blog, haha. 
Let it be known I gave him a big ole eye roll, "Really?"
Brian: Uh, acts of service? (that's better)

4) How did you meet your significant other? 

Brian: I don't know, Spanish class?
Me: Wow.
Brian: (with a sheepish grin) What?! I don't even remember those days.

5) If you're engaged or married, how did you propose?

Me: Don't say, "you don't know."
Brian:  I don't remember! I just asked you in your room (after a very nice dinner on the Big Sur Coast). Cus you made me. (He's totally joking, he had the ring for 6 months before I started dropping hints ;)
Me: Any details? Like were you nervous?
Brian: Well yeah, I was!  This is dumb, this is like security questions on a secure website. Get some better questions next time.

And there you have it straight from the bearded man's mouth. I may or may not participate again lol (I'm sure you're thanking me already ;)

Linking up with Betsy.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Where I'm at Wednesday: End of Summer

August, where did you go?

I announced some big news on Monday about staying home another year with my babies. Having that privilege will never not be an honor.

I had the pleasure of guesting at Courtney's blog, Sweet Turtle Soup.

I have read 3 books this past month and I have surpassed my Goodreads goal!  Next year I'll have to up the number, apparently.  The only thing is, I don't want to feel consumed by reaching a goal; enjoy the book for readings' sake and not to check off a box. Does that make sense?  Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott and The Matchmaker by Elin Hildebrand.  Reeeallly late on reading Tuesdays with Morrie.  And this was my first Hildebrand novel!  Loved it!  But the character's names in this story were atrocious (in my opinion.)

I have been wearing transitional pieces and am loving the cooler weather!  Raise your hand if you're ready for boots, scarves and PSL right about now!

Eating all the soup; my house got the back-to-school bug (which is completely ironic because no one is in school) so its been homemade chicken soup, split pea soup and lentil soup.  Here's hoping I don't get sick (because mom's can't get sick anyway, am I right?)

Kinsey's been watching Home and oh my goodness, so good!  Stephanie recommended it a couple of weeks ago and now I know why.  Gets me weepy in the same place every time.  And it's also funny (hello, Jim Parson's and Steve Martin.)

We started PreK homeschool this week and it's going so-so.  I'm sure I'll be writing a post about this, so I'll spare details.  Let's just say it's a short and sweet 10 minutes of wrestling of the minds.

Here's to September! The heralding in of Fall.  And boy, do I have some fun things in the works come Fall!

Linking up with Shay, Sheaffer and Mel.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Why I support California SB 277

I'm not one to do controversial or push my views and beliefs on anyone, but being a Californian, a mother, an Early Childhood Education student and teacher, and a pro-vaccine woman, I feel like sharing my heart today. (Plus, this IS my blog and I do what I want here ;)

Senate Bill 277 or "SB-277"  is the public health initiative enforcing vaccines to be up to date on any/ every child before being able to be enrolled in any school in California.  It would  "eliminate the exemption from existing specified immunization requirements based upon personal beliefs" (from SB-277 public health: vaccinations, online) and is causing quite the stir in vaccine by choice circles

Before I even had my babies, I was going to school as an ECE student to become a Preschool teacher.  One of my required courses was a Health and Safety class and we covered vaccinations.  Now, my feelings prior to that class and before having children was very different from how I feel now, as in, the exact opposite.  Well, the pictures I saw in that class have stuck with me to this day.  Children walking on their hands, their bodies ravaged by Polio.  Children covered head to toe with a red rash from the Mumps and Measles. Gah.  It makes me want to cry just thinking about it.  And that's when my opinion about vaccinations changed.  Why would you deny your children good health?  Why would you let diseases that were nearly eradicated (this is you, Whopping Cough) come back?  Why would you knowingly put other children at risk?  

I have taught Preschool since 2006.  I have cared for dozens of children every year since then.  I do not know how many of those children were vaccinated or not, but I do know I had a couple come down with Whopping Cough the year it hit California hard (2009) and was so confused because I hadn't even heard of Pertussis prior to that.   

Come 2011, I and my newborn daughter were given the Pertussis vaccine at discharge and I in turn had both sides of our families vaccinated. I was not going to play around with a disease if the baby I grew in my womb, labored for 12 hours with and pushed out of my vagina needed to be protected against it within 2 days of her entering the world.  Brielana also received the vaccine at 2 days old.  

Both of my daughters are also up to date on their vaccines. I stick to the vaccination schedule but 3 shots is the most I do in one visit because more than that seems mean. I did push back the age of when Kinsey received her first MMR vaccine (from 18 months to 2 years old) with her Doctor's consent. But with Brielana there was that scary outbreak of Measles at Disneyland (which actually postponed a trip there in February because at the time Brielana was not yet old enough to receive the MMR shot) she got hers at 18 months. 

I take health seriously, especially when it comes to my babies.  I am their advocate.  I am charged with caring for their every need.    

I am for SB 277.

Linking up with Beth.
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Monday, August 24, 2015

Blessed beyond measure

It is the first day of school. Alarm goes off at 5a. Shower, dress, eat, go. Arrive at 8a to greet the students. A new year, new faces. Routines, to be predictable. Learning, exploring, laughing. Another school year.

And I am not a part of it.  No more, "Teacher Whitney."

I have been given the greatest blessing of spending another year at home with my babies. This is all I have ever wanted. And to be able to do it is overwhelming.

Our savings account does not hold three times the rent. Our bank account is often in the double digits. Our splurges are few and far between, but we lack for nothing. We may not own our house, but we own both our cars outright.

I get to start and end my days with my family. Wake up time is 8a or later. I know the morning lineup of cartoons on the television and the times Brielana goes down for naps. I know Kinsey's cranky time kicks in around 3p or 4p, so a quiet activity helps to ease the strain.  All these little details I missed out on when Kinsey was a baby, because I returned to work when she was 2 months old.  I appreciate those idiosyncrasies that much more.

We dress late in the morning, sometimes get on each others last nerve, but love each other regardless. And then we get to do it all over again the next day. I know our days won't always look like this so I want to treasure it as they are now; life with a 4.5 year old and 1 year old, life at home.

In this season, it is where I am exactly supposed to be.  And I am forever grateful for Brian who supports me being at home and for God for providing for us in all seasons.  Amen.

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