cora jane // 13 months

12 January 2018

12 January 2018

things I want to remember right now
the way she grabs both my shoulders to plant a kiss on my lips
her adorable bounce-dance that happens whenever music comes on
the near-constant stream of babble and noises she makes when playing
how deep her belly laugh is when she's tickled
her pudgy cheeks stuffed full of crackers
the little fountain ponytail that defines her personality
the lean in and snuggle she does every time I sing her lullaby
the perfect posture and concerned face she gets when she's concentrating hard on something
her laugh of surprise when she opens books and there's still pictures there
her love of PB&J
the way she'll crawl amazingly fast towards you and then stop a foot away, flop on her belly, and just cheesy smile up at you until you respond
the way she says Sherry (Tee-ee!) and kitten (it-en!) and MAMAMAMA
how she crawls to Kate's bedroom door and bangs on it whenever Kate's in timeout
her tentative steps, holding on fiercely to my hands and then begrudgingly letting go, always ending in a belly laugh when she falls
her sweet baby smell that is fading, and I miss already
the love I can see in her eyes when she looks at any of us
eventually I will write up a formal post about our newly-minted one year old, but until then, we love you darling girl. keep us joyful as you always are.

2017 in books

04 January 2018

04 January 2018
I have a bunch of end-of-the-year/beginning-of-the-year posts brewing, but we've been hit with a nasty stomach bug and work is crazy for me right now so I haven't gotten them all out as I wanted to. I planned to spend break blogging and reading but actually very little of those got done, so I'm playing catch up.

I absolutely love seeing what everyone has read over the span of a year, and looking at my own read list reminds me to be a little more deliberate about what I pick up. I only have a certain amount of years to read and time to read in those years, so I like to pretend to be more cultured by assessing how and what I've read and trying to put some educational/classics in there instead of just what's hot at the moment.

Let's be honest, if I could quit my job and just read 24/7, I would 100% do that. Reading is my favorite past-time. This year I read 34 books when my goal was 30, which is just a little over 2 books a month although that's not how my reading patterns go. Usually, I'll read 4 books in the span of 2 weeks and then take some time off, rinse and repeat.

This year my goal is 50 books, and I think without the newborn fog of last year, I can do it. I wish I had time to read more than that but bills gotta get paid and children have to eat, so some things fall by the wayside.

Anyway, onto the books!

No, you can't click the images to link to each book because I am L-A-Z-Y and also I don't know how to do that.

I do have my top 5 books for you, which I know you're dying to hear!
Affiliate Amazon links included below. See my sidebar for details.

Here we gooooo!!!

f i v e
Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

Guys, this sci-fi series has stayed with me for a long time after reading it, and even as someone obsessed with space, that doesn't happen with sci-fi for me very often. This book (and its successors) is incredible. Full of action, realistic space travel, human stories, emotional tugs -- you name it and it's got it. Seriously crazy good. I read the next one in the series soon after, and have been purposely putting off getting the third because I just can't imagine them staying amazing (but book 2 was awesome, so I have no reason to doubt!).

f o u r
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

I saw this YA series talked about on a couple Tumblrs I follow, and I thought everyone was exaggerating with how much they liked it. (I'm a realist when it comes to book expectations.) But I say this with full honesty: this series has the best developed and most compelling character development I've ever read in anything, ever. I picked the first one in the series to place here because you can't read them out of order, but I think book 3 is my favorite. ANYWAY. Read them. Now.

t h r e e
Girls on the Edge by Dr. Leonard Sax

I'm placing this one high on the list because of how much it has made me think throughout the year, how much it makes me intentionally parent our two girls. I plan to reread it plenty of times throughout my parenting career because it felt so relevant, if that gives you any indication. Smart, thought-provoking, with actual tips on how to do things instead of just lofty goals with no direction. If you have girls, or teach girls, or are involved with teens in any regard I definitely would put this at the top of my to-read list.

t w o
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

I rented this on a whim on my Kindle back in the spring and finished it in about 24 hours, and have thought about it almost every week since then - no exaggeration. It's about death and how our culture handles it, but isn't as depressing as that blurb makes it sound. Just a solid, emotional, though-provoking book that I think everyone should read. (Also who am I, two non-fiction books in my top 5?)

And finally...

o n e
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

My all-time favorite book of the year award goes to this stunning masterpiece of a book. I'm convinced it will go down in history as a classic, and if you jump on the train and read it now you'll be way ahead. It's a fantasy series (sort of? I mean, fantasy is so wide-ranging of a category that it's a little unfair to classify it in one thing but I digress) but it's got the best storytelling I've encountered in a very, very long while. I felt as immersed in it as I did when reading the Harry Potters for the first time. Dramatic and great world-building and you won't want to put it down, trust me. (Also, too big of a book to buy the mass market paperback. Your hands will hurt. Splurge and get the regular paperback.)

Okay tell me! What are your top books for this year? Did you read any of the ones I did? Dish, please!

Merry Christmas!

22 December 2017

22 December 2017

It's a couple days early, but I wanted to make sure and wish every person that bothers to read my little blog a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! There will probably be some blog silence around here til 2018 but I will definitely have a year-in-review post coming as well as my top books (I read more than my goal!) post so stay tuned for those. I know so many people will just be clamoring for more posts, but I think I'm going to try a little social media break and spend some time just focusing on Christmas while we spend time with family. At least, I'm going to try. :)

Since most people have gotten our Christmas card, I can finally put this cute photo on the blogosphere and show you how great this rather impromptu photo shoot turned out. In the daily hustle and exhausting mess of parenthood, I have a hard time stepping back and appreciating Kitty and Cora's very existence. But I really am grateful for them. It's hard to believe that last Christmas, Cora was just a tiny squish and we had just entered the world of two-kids-parenting. Now it seems like she's always been here.

I'm mostly ready for Christmas -- I have all our presents wrapped except for the girls', which I'm going to do tonight. I think we only have one gift that hasn't been purchased yet - and I am blaming David 100% because it's on his side of the family and I've been asking him for literal weeks to help me come up with an idea, and nada. He gets a bigger pass than normal because of the whole cancer thing, I guess (;)) but I had 99% of our Christmas shopping done before Advent started, so I was pretty on top of everything else.

This evening we're going to try and finish up the fireplace (yay!!! post coming soon when we finish) since it's our last free time until 2018, and tomorrow starts all the celebrations. I hope you and yours enjoy your time, and your celebrations are peaceful and joyous all around.

Thank you all for being here, and cheers to another year gone by!

Holiday feels

19 December 2017

19 December 2017

Wow. Less than one week til Christmas and I'm feeling like we just started. Is that normal once you have kids? The holiday season just flies by and soon it's another year gone and you feel like you missed it all? That's been the theme of this year, at least.

Work is slow for me this time of year, and actually the company I freelance for is closed from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day, so I get a nice little forced break. I'd probably try to take it off if it wasn't, but it's nice to be forced to take vacation. We've been doing little excursions every day to get out of the house in my free time, even if it's just to Target/Costco/the library. I'm kind of itching for Cora to drop her morning nap so we can do a little bit more in the mornings before she's hella cranky and tired, but if she's like Kate she's going to hold onto it until she's 2, so we'll see.

We've been slowly plugging away at the fireplace installation, in little bits of time and energy we find every other day or so. Of course, as per all of our house projects, 99% of the work is done by David while I make annoying changes throughout the process and try to wrangle the children away from the work zone. We've got a very classy Christmas tree+couch+shut door combination doing a lot of the blocking work right now, but they still have to be somewhat entertained and fed, etc. etc., while projects go on, so someone has to do that.

Plus as you can probably imagine, we're not quite at the speed of home projects as pre-cancer-days, which is 100% acceptable. And by we I still mean David. :) He's doing great but tires quickly, so we're taking it slow. Plenty of time to make changes to our design which he just loves.

We're ready to prime and paint next, so that is one of my actual jobs -- picking out a color, at least. If you've got any dark gray paint recommendations that doesn't read blue in any lighting, hmu. I'm buying a gazillion samples this time because my last 3 gray paint attempts were somewhat failures, so I'm playing it safe.

Christmas in Omaha is not complete (apparently!) without a visit to Mulhall's to see the reindeer and admire their incredibly gorgeous and beautifully styled Christmas wonderland. We took plenty of photos and the girls loved running around (Kate) and trying to pull everything off the table or display (Cora).

I'm trying to come up with a few simple Christmasy/Advent things we can do in the next few days for Kate to celebrate. She helped David make cookies last night (with SO much concentration, it's adorable) and I think we'll watch the free Nutcracker ballet on Amazon after naps today. She's getting into the spirit of Christmas more and more, and I love watching it - but it has somewhat devolved into saying she wants everything she sees at Target "for Cwismas, Mama!" so we need to work on that.

I hope your holidays are joyous and simple, and you eat lots of delicious food (the most important part of practically any Christmas celebration). I'm praying for you!

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