System Status: January 2016

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best place in a dam site (ahumbleplace.com)

I posted a small update last week, so I won’t add much here. In summary, though, 2016 has gotten off to a bit of a rough start. I feel like the last two years, we’ve been through a gauntlet of sorts and I’d be okay if we could end that now. But then, it’s really all relative. My rough start could be someone else’s reprieve and vice-versa. Perspective is hard sometimes, and comparing your supposed misfortunes to those of others to keep you upbeat isn’t exactly a positive way to go through life. But sometimes, it really does help me keep in mind how truly comfortable and good my life is.

We’re still bumbling along with our curriculum, having both good and bad weeks. This week has been a bad one as I’m trying to get ready for C’s second birthday tea party on Saturday (which I’m totally unprepared for). All those cliches you hear before you have kids about the days being long, but the years being short, and they go by so fast, and cherish these moments, etc. are wildly true when you’re in the thick of parenting tiny people.

I hate that.

Do I seem grumpy? I don’t mean to be. I think I’m tired. What else is new? 🙂

Anyway, on to this month.

In the end of January I’m into….

Books.

I decided to join one of many bandwagons and give myself a goal of 30 books this year, thinking that’s how many I read last year, only to discover that it was actually 33….so I upped my goal. I’m nothing if not a sucker for adding goals that I don’t really need in my life right now. 🙂 Goodreads says I’m one book ahead of schedule which I’ll take. It’s nice to be ahead in something!

In January, I finished The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. This was long, but entertaining and makes me want to read her other books. The ending was sad, but I don’t honestly know how it could’ve ended any other way.

I also finished The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. I find that after I read long and/or sad novels, I need a little fluff thrown in there; something that I know isn’t going to end with people dying or children getting sick or any of the things my HSP side has a hard time consuming. Sarah Addison Allen is one of my “fluff” authors and this book most definitely delivered. There was romance and personal growth and chivalry and lots of talk of sugar. I think this one was one of my favorites of hers that I’ve read.

The Storied life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin was next and I loved this one. I think part of it had to do with the fact that so many of the books referred to were ones that I had read. The story was beautiful and I loved the characters.

I’m currently reading The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon (I don’t know if I’m going to make it through this one), The Divine Hours (Volume Two): Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime: A Manual for Prayer by Phyllis Tickle, Your Two Year Old by Louise Bates Ames, and Home Education by Charlotte Mason. With B, I’m reading Among the Night People by Clara Dillingham Pierson (free on Gutenberg!).

If you’d like to follow along with my book-reading adventures, you can find me on Goodreads or check out my Pinterest book board.

TV.

Dowton makes the week better (ahumbleplace.com)

Downton makes Mondays my favorite night of the week. I wait until it’s on the Roku PBS app on Mondays so I can pause it if C wakes up. It’s even better when I have dessert. 🙂

We did watch the Sherlock Christmas special earlier this month and loved it! until the end, which was pretty rushed. I’ll be glad when the normal Sherlock shows are back…..next winter. 😐

Aside from that, the regular shows are starting back up after their winter hiatus… Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Goldbergs, and The Middle (Sue is one of my all-time favorite TV characters ever – possibly because I look just like her and am just as socially awkward, though not even half as nice) are among our favorites. I think we mainly like these because they’re not very serial, thus don’t require much brain power to watch. 🙂

Movies.

The Martian. I found this to be a little cheesy at parts (“I’m going to have to science the s**t out of this”), but I did like it overall. It was suspenseful but not overly so, which I can’t seem to handle (I still haven’t seen Gravity).

Internets.

I Had a Hard Birth. “I had to get eight months past room 5 to learn none of that is true. Grief doesn’t negate gratitude. We’ve never been asked to celebrate suffering, and illness, and babies taken from their mothers. God doesn’t expect us to root for that. Jesus wept, after all. Surely He doesn’t mind me crying a bit every time I see a Facebook post of a newborn placed bloody and wailing on their mother’s chest.” (I can so relate…)

Seven reasons to ban the Lord’s Prayer. “This is a prayer said by billions of people every day in every language on the planet. In every single moment in time, someone is praying these words. They are the first words of prayer we learn as children and the last words we say at the moment of death. The Lord’s Prayer is powerful for a reason. These words shape lives and families and communities and whole societies.” (I especially love how he breaks down each part of the Lord’s Prayer and emphasizes why they’re all important.)

How one mom’s extraordinary love transforms the short lives of hospice babies. “For years, I had wanted to care for babies who had a life-limiting prognosis like Charlie or a terminal diagnosis like Emmalynn. What a gift it is to be a part of these babies’ lives, to have the ability to ease their suffering, to cherish and love them even though they aren’t able to give anything tangible back or even smile in return for our efforts.” (I want to be like this woman when I grow up.)

Come Clean – Free Cleaning Calendar for February 2016. I used the January calendar and now LOVE this system. At first I didn’t think it was enough…as if my daily cleaning task list needs to be a mile long, but once I started doing it, I realized that the beauty of this routine is that it’s not a lot. Which means I actually do it. And once I start doing it, the tasks become easier and quicker to do each week, so then I’m able to be more thorough and add more the next week. I’m hooked.

Be Brave, Mama. “But this side of the story is about me, and it’s about you. It’s about the brave face you put on while you’re crumbling inside. It’s about doing the best you can with what you have at that particular moment. It’s about the strength you don’t know you have until you realize there is no alternative. Because when it comes to our children, what else can we choose but to be brave?”

The Lonely Death of George Bell. “You learn whatever material stuff you have you should use it and share it. Share yourself. People die with nobody to talk to.”

Bird Sightings.

bushtit...one of the more unfortunate bird kingdom names (ahumbleplace.com)

We passed the 1-year mark of having our feeders out on January 1st. I think it took us something like 3 weeks last year to get our first bird, which is funny considering how many we get on a daily basis now. We still have our regulars: finches, chickadees, sparrows, gold finches, red-winged blackbirds, and the occasional nuthatch and downy woodpecker (we actually rescued Roma back in November when she hurt her wing, but haven’t heard from the rehabilitator since, so we’re not sure she made it). To that list we’ve added bushtits….one of the more unfortunate names in the bird kingdom. 🙂 They’re very cute, though!

Favorite Instagram.

these boots were made for walking (ahumbleplace.com)
I suspect C had a good time testing out her new bogs this week during our hike. #shelovessnow #shelovestorunaway #sheisgrowinguptoofast

And there you have the state of the Reb. 🙂

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6 Comments

  1. It’s easy to be tired when the days are long and the years are short. Give yourself plenty of grace. 🙂 I’ve wanted to add some Phyllis Tickle onto my reading list but haven’t picked up on books yet. I’ve heard her speak (online) a few times and find her SO insightful. A tragic loss that she’s gone.

    Downton is one of my faves too. But have you seen this week’s show yet? Oh my! If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean. ha.

    1. I hadn’t even thought to look for Phyllis Tickle talks online! Thank you for the tip! I was sad she died too… I actually started the Divine Hours just after her death last fall.

      This week’s Downton! The ending was…..surprising? To say the least. 🙂 They never fail to shock!

  2. Did you read The Martian as well? I enjoyed the movie, but the book was even better for having more space to detail the experience. The movie felt a bit rushed compared to the ordeals presented in the book. I mean, of course. Such are the natural limits of a two hour time frame. But still.

    I’m looking forward to the next Sherlock as well; such a long wait!

    1. I haven’t read The Martian, but we looked up the differences between the movie and the book after we watched it and it was interesting to see the artistic license (the explosion on the potato “farm” was particularly interesting). I always get sad when movies leave out details that I think were pertinent to the book. But you’re right…there’s only so much you can fit.

      Three years for the Sherlock wait! Far too long!

  3. You’ve mentioned so many things I love. 🙂 I read Wife, Maid and Mistress last fall – I had mixed feelings about it, but when you get the end, everything falls into place. It’s a bit rough and wasn’t my favorite mystery ever, but…keep going. And I agree about the Sherlock episode – it still left me a bit confused at the end, and I wish they’d just get on with a regular season! (love, love, love your blog design, but the way 🙂

    1. I just finished The Wife, The Maid, and the Mistress last night and you’re right – it was tied together in a way that made sense. 🙂 I looked up Sally Lou Ritz just for fun and it turns out that her granddaughter actually emailed the author after the book came out to let her know that the story she had come up with for her wasn’t that far from the truth, which I was glad for. I guess she was an official missing person from the 1930 on and no one ever found her until recently (she died in 2000).

      Thank you for the comment about the blog design! I have a tendency of changing it a lot… 🙂

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