Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blogger Book Club- March

March has come and nearly gone! Crazy.

I've joined a blogger book month club over on http://sarahohm.com/, which I'm very excited about. I've enjoyed peeping around everyone's blog and reading about their book selections. So how it goes is every month there is a theme, you choose a book based on the theme and read it (obviously) and then blog about it! Easy. Fun. Yay!

This month's theme was a biography of someone you've been meaning to learn more about. I struggled for a hot minute about what I wanted to read and then chose-

Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts On Life Unarmed (Glennon Doyle Melton)

I would like to start off by saying that I have been reading Glennon's blog for a few years and I love her. I adore her. She is raw and unbridled and honest and strong and crazy and messy and beautiful and she inspires me and lights a fire under my ass when I read her words. It all started with Don't Carpe Diem. The first thing I ever read from her. And I was hooked. The idea of Kairos and God's time even inspired my blog name.

Carry On, Warrior is everything I ever expected from her. I laughed out loud and I also cried quite a few times. It made me feel so good and it broke my heart. Glennon would probably feel weird about me saying I admire her, but I do and reading this only heightened my adoration and love. I love that she's not perfect and she talks so openly about it.

This book reads almost like a diary, which makes since as she's a blogger and a lot of it is blurbs from that. Memories of her days as an alcoholic, of her eating disorder and recovery, her unexpected pregnancy, life as a mother, her marriage struggles, thoughts on life and love and mess and beauty and pain and struggle and the highs. It's honestly just refreshing sometimes to hear someone talk about how hard everything is. It's all beautiful and great and we love it, but it's hard. Glennon never shies away from that.

I loved this book. I don't know if you can tell. Definitely recommend.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekend Happenings

This weekend was a busy one. Enjoyably busy.

Friday night we bundled the kids up (thanks for bailing on us, Spring warmth!) and headed off to the movies to see Home. It was the CUTEST. Definitely recommend. The kids loved it and laughed out loud. Alice said 'that movie had me laughing all day!'. So I mean obviously it was great, right?

Saturday was a lot of driving, lunch with the in-laws and a park play date with the niece and library time and then we met up with my sister to shop at Once Upon A Child and get frozen yogurt. Oliver poured his yogurt all the way to the top so next time he has to hand over that cup and let us pour it for him, heh. We did some beach trip shopping and got bathing suits and sandals.

Sunday was my favorite day. A lazy morning, then some cleaning and then we got our errands out of the way before heading off for a long walk in the swamp. We love the swamp. It was so pretty. We've had a lot of rain so the water levels were pretty high and everything is so green.

While he was picking up rocks and pinecones to throw in a pond, Ollie found a little turtle! He picked it up to throw, thinking it was a rock, and realized in time that it was a living thing. Thankfully! How cute is it! It squished into its shell and watched us with bitty eyes. We put him on the ground so he'd feel happier and the kids waited very impatiently for him to move or do something. He wasn't buying it and stayed hidden. He was SO CUTE.

And that was our weekend. We have a lot of cleaning and readying to do for Easter stuff in just a few days! I'm excited to get baskets together for the kids and play some Easter games and go for a big neighborhood Easter egg hunt on Saturday. And then of course there is family time Eastery goodness that we're hosting on Sunday. Lots to look forward to.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dear Daughter - We Are All In It Together

One of the reasons for this blog is to leave a little piece of myself for always. I am just not great at journaling in real life and since I am better at this blogging thing, I am leaving bits of my life in the internet universe. I like to think that my family will have that one day.

So in honor of leaving bits of me behind, I want to start Dear Daughter. Little letters to Alice Mayhem to help her along in life and give her some of my voice if ever she needs it.


Dear Alice,

Today has been beautiful. It is a perfect Spring day. Warm and breezy and the bluest sky hanging over us, not a cloud to be found. We walked with Daddy to the library today and I wish I'd had the camera because you are always so beautiful and wild and you actually frolicked. We walked past a field and you giggled loudly as you ran into it and spread your arms wide and ran through the dandelions and purple flowers and new Spring grass and you laughed for the joy of it. You have caught Spring fever. You said 'I LOVE the library!' and we hurried on toward our destination so that you could pick out your own books, something you love to do.

At the library, the ladies fell in love with you, just like everyone else who meets you. It's not just me that thinks you light up the world, my Mae Flower. A sweet lady gave you candy and you were SO happy! I watched the ladies behind the desk, with their laughing and talking back and forth and it was so nice. So today, what I want to say to you is this- don't compete with other women. I worry that the world will teach that you need to have more than other girls and you have to be the prettiest, the smartest, the one with the trendiest shoes, the best hair... the list goes on. We compete to be the best at everything and in a world that is tearing women and girls down and teaching them that not only are they not their best selves because something stupid like a dress size, but their fellow females are also not what they should be, I want you to know that we are all in this together.

Don't let anyone tell you to compete with girls. There's a difference, darling, between friendly competition in a sport or game and the bitter, lonely, angry competing of society. You will see the difference one day. You will see how we smile at each other but our eyes have fire in them. We say mean things in a sugary voices. Honey, you don't have to do that. You don't have to! I promise. We can all win! Isn't that wonderful? We can ALL WIN. My grass can be green and so can my neighbor's. We're all just trying to get by.

That's not to say that mean girls won't cross your path. We'll talk about them later. What you need to know now is that no one can make you bitter or ugly inside. You are in charge of your heart and your voice and you control what you put into the world. So put good things! If you are putting out goodness, then you will receive goodness. The universe works on supply and demand. If you are supplying good things, the universe will always supply you with good in return.

I hope that you have so many female friends because that relationship between girls is special and unique and you will crave it one day. There are so many women who say 'I can't be friends with other girls' and I think they just say that because we are taught to be jealous of each other and no one wants to feel that way, do they? You have more courage and confidence in your little toe than most people ever get to experience in a lifetime. Keep that, hold tight to it, and when you are older you won't feel the need to be jealous. Even when the world tells you that you have to be this way or that way and you have to think these things about your fellow women, you can look it right in the eyeball and say 'no thank you!'.

Today you love other little girls. You follow older girls around at the park. You love your Mama. You love your aunts and your cousin and your Grandma's. We are a tribe of women and we will raise each other up, darling. So when it's your turn to be a leader, keep doing that raising. Remember these 2 rules about being a girl- We Are All In It Together and Good For Her, Not For Me. You cannot go wrong having your own tribe of women to love and support you. There's nothing like it.

I love you dearly, my little beastie.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday Wanderings - WIPs and Spring

It has been such a lovely week so far. I've been in high spirits, the weather has been amazing (of course it's all cloudy and chilly today but oh well) and I've been so productive around the house.

Spring is here! The weather is finally back to warmth and I feel happy and comfortable again. The flowers are out, the garden is in the works. Ahhh Spring.

Our azalea bushes are about to burst into bloom.

I have a pot of bright, gorgeous pansies that make me smile.

We also have marigolds, snapdragons, and violets. I have plans of many more flowers. I am going to fill this house and this yard with flowers this year.

I spent yesterday morning raking out the garden bed and planting some peas. I'm so excited to see their little green heads poking out the ground soon and watch them climb the fence in the back yard. We're getting cucumber seeds next week and about 10 more tomato plants. It's going to be lovely.

Now for WIPs. Exciting stuff!

On top of making my niece-to-be a blanket I'm also making her a mouse lovey. I've got all the pieces worked up, just have to weave in the ends and sew it all together.

Alice's blanket is nearing the finish line! I've finished the length of it and am onto the border now. I'm planning on a lot of gold in the border with some singe crochet rows of the red and blue. I am all out of the Caron Simply Soft in Bone so I'll have to wait until I can go shopping this week for that but it's exciting to be so nearly done.

Still working on Ollie's blanket. Still about 30 squares behind. I'll catch up eventually!

Today I am working on an order for some white mittens. After that's done I'll put my energy into granny squares for the first born for the rest of this week and get all caught up on that. Hoping for some nice weather this weekend so we can spend plenty of time soaking up this Springy goodness before the hot weather settles in. Not long now till we'll all be melting our faces off.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Hello Spring!

This is absolutely my favorite time of the year. Spring wakes me up. I'm my most dreary and dry skinned and grumpy in the winter and then Spring shows up and the trees bloom overnight and the rain brings the daffodils out and birds are chirping all day and it's like a yummy, long stretch. I love the smells, the rain, the flowers, the tree blossoms, the warmth. Windows open, sunlight streaming in or the pitter pat of rain outside, dreaming of the beach soon. It has always been funny to me that my name is April. Was it fate that my parents named me that and I turned out to be just the kind of person who comes the most alive in Spring?

We welcomed Spring with some dirt cupcakes. I highly recommend them. Alice is obsessed with these solely for the gummy worms. I don't think she has even tried the cupcake. She just looooves that they have gummy worms. So much so that I have given her all of mine off of my cupcakes. She is asking if she can have worm cupcakes for her birthday so we might have to make that happen.

I used my favorite new frosting recipe. It's amazing and easy. It is literally just a small package of any flavor instant pudding and 2 cups of whipping cream. You just mix it until it's stiff. So easy! So yummy! It's like a delicious mousse. It's not very sweet so I add a couple of tablespoons of sugar sometimes. Mmmm.

I can't believe it's nearing the end of March. Wasn't it just Christmas? In just 3 weeks we'll be making a trip to the beach to celebrate Alice Mae's 4th birthday with Husband's family. We'll have Easter before that! Husband and I were joking that we have to be lazy these next couple of weekends because after this we don't have any free weekends for months. Between birthdays, baby showers, babies and wedding stuff, our plates are full. I'm going to be extra lazy this weekend now that I have the excuse. Bring on Saturday and my day to sleep in!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

February Makes and WIPs

Other than working on blankets for my littles, February was not filled with a lot of crocheting. Much less than January for sure. The only things I really finished up were some Harry Potter Gryffindor house gloves, some 11th Doctor inspired gloves and that gorgeous round ripple baby blanket. Pretty cute stuff though!


Not a lot of WIPs this week, either. Just blankets. As usual!

I'm still around the same place with both kiddo blankets as my last update. I have to catch up on Ollie's, and Alice's hasn't been picked up this month yet. I have so many baby blankets to make. People have to stop getting pregnant so that my fingers get a break. I started a lovely little blanket for my niece-to-be and I'm so excited about it.

Size I hook
Caron Simply Soft in Soft Pink
I chained 92, single crocheted in the 2nd chain from hook and each chain across (91 stitches), chained 2 and turned, then sc, hdc, dc altogether in the first chain, skip 2 stitches, sc hdc dc in the next stitch. Do this all the way across and end with a single crochet on the last stitch. Chain 2, turn, do it all over again until you get the length you want. The width is easily adjustable by just changing your starting chain. You just need a multiple of 3 plus 2. So say you wanted a smaller baby blanket for the car seat. You could chain 60 + 2 = 62 and blammo. Easy peasy, right? I love this stitch. It's so textured. I used it making a little wallet type thing last week and was just like YES this is the perfect feminine stitch for my baby blanket.
My plans for this blanket are to make a fairly large one, one that can be used for the baby for a good while. I'm going to add a navy blue border because their nursery colors are pink and navy blue. I think the combination will be beautiful.
No plans for any other makes right now. Just trying to get through what I have! Blankets are a lot of work. I think today I'll pick up Alice's blanket and try to have it done by the end of the month so that April will be more free for crafting endeavors.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Randoms - Weekend Review

This weekend was nice and blah. All at once.

Blah first. More car problems. I swear, this car is the worst. I have pretty consistent panic attacks about it. I have extreme (I mean like EXTREME all caps necessary) anxiety about even just trivial stuff, so car problems really work me up. So now is more car stuff to figure out and I am just ughhhh. It sucks.

But the good stuff! Kind of blah and good mixed together- my bff came up on Friday evening and we spent some quality time while Miss Mae napped. We had plans for a girls night out and were taking Alice Mae to see Cinderella but the tickets sold out while we were in line! How lame! Alice had gotten dressed up and everything. I even crocheted her a crown. She ended up being fine because we walked across the street and got frozen yogurt. Which Alice calls 'Elsa yogurt' because she is the cutest thing that has ever existed.

Saturday we had some time at home which was mostly boring and tired, haha. Then we packed up and went back to that theater at 3 to watch Cinderella only to find that it was sold out AGAIN. Husband went ahead and bought tickets for the 6pm showing so that we didn't have to worry about it again. Note to self- buy tickets online from now on. We spent some time shopping and eating dinner at our favorite Mexican place and then husband dropped me and the princess off at the theater and we had some good ole Mama/daughter time. The movie wasn't a huge hit with Alice Mae. She loved the fairy godmother (Alice, even having never seen Cinderella in any other form before this night, loves to go around with magic wands and turn things into other things with a wave and a bippity boppity boo!) and I think the happy ending pleased her but she was mostly squirmy. She LOVED the Frozen short just before the movie started, though. When asked 'Alice, what was your favorite part of the movie?' she will pipe up 'the Frozen part!'.

Sunday we had plans but had to cancel them because of car issues. So we stayed home and I put husband to work helping me with yard work. We bought some marigolds and snap dragons and lovely sand colored rocks for our front flower bed that has been horribly unattended for the nearly 2 years we've lived here. I'll have to get photos later but it looks really nice right now. We just have to work on the back part of the bed, which we will need to get more rocks for.

We have some more fun gardening stuff going on though.

My potted green onions and kale are growing big and strong. The lettuce- not so much. Something has been nibbling it! So I am working on that. But we also started our tomato plant buying. Some purple tomatoes and yellow ones. Purple varieties are my favorite ever. I am going to probably plant this beauties today. We plan on buying quite a few more tomato plants but I had to snatch these guys up before they were sold out.

Today we're hopefully getting the car fixed. I'm in a state of pure anxiety at this point, waiting to hear. Being positive is not the easiest for me. Fingers crossed though. Something easy, something fixable, hopefully something that will actually fix it long term.

It's a really lovely Monday though. A nice chill to the air, bright sunshine. Hoping this week will be lovely and productive.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

All the Blankets

I didn't do a WIPs Wednesday because I had a lazy day with husband. So here it is, one day late. It's all blankets all the time.

First of all, I finished the custom round ripple blanket and I really enjoy how it turned out. It took me a little longer than I expected because of needing more yarn but it's so pink and feminine and pretty. I'm calling it Pink Punch.

Alice's blanket, which needs to be done by April 25th as her birthday is the 26th, is coming along really well. This is the most recent picture I have of it but it's actually about a quarter of the way from finished now. So close! I had to put it aside for a week while I made the round ripple but I'll get started on it again in a few days.

Before I can start working on Al's blanket again I have to catch up with the first born's blanket. I'm 2 weeks behind. Womp womp. I just have to bang out 20 squares before Sunday and I'll be on track again. This blanket feels never ending. Thank goodness for setting goals and making a chart. I really need it to keep me motivated.

I'm not sure what I'll hook up next. I'd like to start working on some comicon things but I am waiting on the official paperwork and I don't want to get too ahead of myself before that comes in. We did find out that my BFF is having a baby BOY!!! so I'm thinking up some boyish ideas for her. A monster blanket, an elephant lovey, some soft scratch mittens, oh my. After that pink blanket, my hands need a little rest though, so it's Netflix binge watching for me. I ain't even mad.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Weekend Adventures- Little Vacation

This was the best weekend in ages. We went out of town, just a couple of hours up into North Carolina, and spent the night in a hotel. The kids have never stayed in a hotel before so it was very exciting. They also had no idea the fun we had planned so it was all secreted and adventurous! Alice kept saying 'we are having an adventure!'.

Friday we spent all day chilling out in the hotel, which we chose for the pool. We had the whole thing to ourselves for about an hour which was just the best time. It was so fun and the kids had a blast.

We swam, went out for frozen yogurt (or Alice calls it 'Elsa yogurt', can you tell she's Frozen obsessed???), watched movies in bed and slept very very very little. 

On Saturday we went to the North Carolina Zoo which is HUGE and mountainous and beautiful.

 There was a polar bear and seals!

And cuteness between me and my main squeeze.

Ollie really loved the underground viewing areas for the polar bear and seals. The polar bear wasn't doing much but the seals were hams. They were so fat! Like fierce sausage squeezed very tightly into a seal sweater. Watching them swim right by us was so cool. Ollie and I hung out down there for ages. I think they are my spirit animal. Except for the eating penguins part.

We spent about 4 hours here, walking and watching and oohing and ahhing. Ten out of ten, would definitely go again. Especially in the summer. Apparently November through April a lot of their exhibits are closed and the animals put away somewhere warm and their food vendors are closed, which was lame and we didn't know about this until we got there. But I hate to think of trekking those hills in the heat. Ugh. The weather was really quite perfect for this adventure. It was nippy but not too cold. With all the walking you started to feel toasty very quick.


My favorite parts were the rhinos (husband claims them as his own personal spirit animal) and the chimpanzees. OH MY GOD. The chimps were amazing. The enclosure was huge and you were in a glass house so you could see all around it everywhere. It was beautiful. I could have stayed all day.

A lovely adventure with my littles! I adored it, they adored it, enjoyment was had by everyone!

After a HUGE lunch (we walked for 4 hours with no food vendors, after all) we visited the Pisgah covered bridge. It's definitely worth the stop if you ever go through Asheboro. The bridge is cool, there's an adorable creek running beneath it that also runs off into the woods and there is a trail through the woods that was really fun and beautiful to walk through. The kids got a lot of energy out. We found trees that had been used for name carving for years and years and were so gorgeous you could cry. So much history. So many loves proclaimed and etched forever.

It was the most excellent weekend. We're back home and in our groove now. I think another weekend like that is due soon though. Before it gets too hot. Maybe we can go the other way next time. Georgia sounds nice.

I'll just leave with this photo because it is the most precious moment caught by Husband on camera and my heart can't even take how beautiful it is.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wednesday Wonderings

Hump day! I'm so excited for the weekend. We'll be heading off to a little vacation night on Friday and I'm SO THRILLED for the mini vacation. I have to start packing.

Random ramblings today. I won't be on again until next week but I have some random things I want to post and remember.

Last night husband surprised me with a birthday gift. My birthday isn't until June but he couldn't hold onto the surprise any longer! He ordered an autographed copy of Cary Elwes' book for me. WESTLEY TOUCHED THESE PAGES. I could fan girl to death. I legit cried. I have loved The Princess Bride since I was a kid and then I read the book at 12 and loved THAT too and I also love Cary Elwes so really, this is the most perfect of perfect gifts I've ever received. Husband gets all the husband awards.

I'm working hard on a custom round ripple blanket order. It's in 3 different shades of pinks and I am digging the femininity of it.

Size I hook
Loops and Threads Impeccable in Rich Orchid
Caron Simply Soft in Watermelon
Caron Simply Soft in Soft Pink
I turn 28 in June and I started thinking about making a bucket list. Thirty before thirty. So I did!

There are some things I've wanted to do for years and years (ride in a hot air balloon, get my eyebrows done, learn to play the ukulele, go on a boat ride in the ocean), some things I have always been scared of but want to try (bikini wax OUCH, jump off something), some things just for fun (dye my hair, go to DC with the family, concerts, belly dancing, sleep under the stars) but all of it is for the memory of it. I plan on keeping a scrapbook or journal about it and blogging about some of the bigger things, of course. I love lists! I love bucket lists! It's going to be fun.
That's it for me this week. I'm going to bang out some more of this blanket and read a whole lot of Harry Potter until we get to head out of here and go make some memories on Friday. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

February Reads

February was a good reading month. A lot of old favorites. And golly, I sure do love and appreciate libraries. I've been using the hell out of all 3 of our regulars.

My reading this month-

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling)
In Harry's second year at Hogwarts, someone- or something- starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Harry's muggle born hating rival, Draco Malfoy? Loveable Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or the one that everyone at Hogwarts seems to most suspect- Harry himself.
I'm so happy to be back in the Potterverse. It has been years since I've read them (although back when I was a teen I read each of them at least 3 or 4 times between reading them myself and reading them aloud to my siblings). I feel like I am enjoy diving back into this world more than I even imagined I would. Chamber is a good one but I'm excited for Prisoner of Azkaban because it's my very favorite.

The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
The post-apocalyptic North American nation of Panem is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. A rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol years ago resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The 'tributes' are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor as victor. The story follows 16 year old Katniss, who volunteers for the Games after her relative is chosen as District 12's female tribute.

Another re-read. And again, I am enjoying it even more this time around and there's a lot I'd forgotten so it's still exciting.

Or Give Me Death (Ann Rinaldi)
Patrick Henry, the famous statesman, has a secret: He keeps his wife in the cellar. Slowly losing her mind, Sarah Henry has become a danger to herself and her children. But daughter Anne has a secret of her own: She knows which child will inherit their mother's madness.
Not a re-read! I didn't really enjoy it that much though. I loved Ann Rinaldi  as a teen and this is one that I never got around to so I was excited to find it in our tiny (I mean tiny) library. But after about 20ish pages I knew it wasn't going to drag me in. I DID enjoy the last half of the book much more than the first because I think the character that narrated that half was better/more interesting/less annoying and what have you. But yeah. Just kind of meh for me.
Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins)
To save spoilers I won't give much about the book. The story of Katniss continues and she is tested even more than before.
I really love this series. I think pretty much everyone does. It's obviously hugely popular. I don't have anything productive to add. I am glad I decided to read the series again and I enjoy it just as much if not more than the first time.
The Subtle knife (Philip Pullman)
A world where Specters stalk the streets and steal souls and angels share the sky, the 2nd book of His Dark Materials continues to follow Lyra and her gang while also adding Will, a desperate boy on the run.
His Dark Materials is one of those magical series from my childhood. I remember crying SO MUCH in the last 2 books. I think I've aged and become cynical and grumpy because I haven't cried once yet but maybe the 3rd book will get me. I can't remember ANYTHING that happens except kind of how it ends so we'll see! It should all be a surprise at least.
It was really slow going at first for me in The Subtle Knife. I was worried I just wasn't into the series anymore because The Golden Compass was kind of slow for the first half too. After about a fourth of the book though it started to build for me and I was getting more and more into it and once it had ended I was attached to it. It was a breathless ending. One of those ignore-everything-else-while-you-read-for-hours sort of days so that I could finish the book and find out what happens. I'm anxious to start the last one but I have 1 Harry Potter book to get through and Mockingjay before I will let myself get it from the library.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling)
Harry Potter is 13 now and in his 3rd year of the wizarding school Hogwarts. A maniacal murderer has escaped from the prison of Azkaban and Dementors are now swooping around Hogwarts in pursuit of the criminal. Harry is presumed safest at Hogwarts but, as always, shenanigans happen.
This is one of my favorite Potter books! I was excited to get to this one. Spoilers if you've never read them (I mean, what have you been doing all these years?!) but Sirius and Lupin are 2 of my very favorite characters throughout. Even knowing how it all is going to end, I just love them so much. Remus Lupin is the kind, fatherly, loving, gentle soul that this series has been needing for Harry.
 I just loooove this book! I love that the characters are really starting to develop and you can feel how the 3 amigos are growing up a little and getting little crushes and such. I love the storyline and the twist with the Time-Turner and I love-hate the dementors and that bit of darkness and learning more about Harry's Dad and his past and learning more about why Snape is so insufferable. It's just SO GOOD. It's so good.
 Reading has slowed down quite a bit now. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is no joke. That sucker is almost 800 pages! It might be the only book on my reading list this month, haha!