January 30, 2023

January books.

I set my goal for 50 books this year. That's roughly one a week. Since I read, generally, more than one book at a time, some weeks I don't finish any and some weeks I'll finish three. If you follow me on Goodreads or on my book highlights on Instagram, you may notice this. In January, I read 5 books and started a 6th. 


1. Faithfully Different by Natasha Crain (audio from Audible)

This was a fantastic read on apologetics. I really do like her writing and her podcast/interview presence. Highly recommend as a way to educate yourself on why Christianity is different and set apart from other religions. 


2. Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro (hardcover from BOTM)

This was a good book. It's literary fiction and pretty short at 220 pages. It was just really sad. There was a lot of pandemic-filler toward the end which was annoying but it time-jumped from the 1970s to present day. My only complaint was that there were no headings or labels about when something was happening, so you had to put it together in your head. That's happening in the book I'm reading now too and it just takes some effort. The end didn't blow me away and I just felt depressed after reading it. 


3. All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham (hardcover from BOTM)

I feel that we've hit a wall with the thriller genre. This one had every trope and plot point available on the thriller bingo card. She packed everything possible into this book. She did the same with A Flicker in the Dark, though, so I'm not shocked. I found it hard to emphasize with the main character because she was so over-the-top. 

It was okay. Lots of triggers, if you're worried about that kind of thing. Very timely when it comes to current events in many ways so just proceed with caution. 

4. Dark Corners by Megan Goldin (ARC from Netgalley, release date August 2023)

Ugh. This book. I did a whole series of videos on Instagram about why I didn't like it. I find Rachel Krall to be insufferable. There is no other word for it. And because the main character is so hard to be around as a reader, I was annoyed by the whole book. I don't even think Megan Goldin is a bad writer. I find this series to just be terrible because this Sarah Koenig/Ashley Flowers hybrid she's created as her lead is just terrible. I could go into all the nit-picky things I didn't enjoy or just didn't make sense but I won't. Bottom line: if you liked The Night Swim, you'll probably at least feel the pull to read this follow-up. I really liked her book Stay Awake, which was released in August 2022. 

5. Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez (paperback)

This was kind of a sweet, good story. A little deeper than typical rom-com books but not so much so that you take the problems of the characters too seriously. It's not really a spoiler to say that there was a bit too much of a happy little bow tied around the end. I kind of predicted the ending from about 1/3 of the way in. Very Hallmark movie-ish, if you ask me. (And that's my rom-com for the year. I read maybe 1 every 6 months. The fact that I finished it actually makes it worthy of 3 stars. My cousin sent me this one for Christmas and it was on my TBR and my library holds list so I did think it sounded like a good story.)

Currently reading:

January 27, 2023

Friday Favorites, 1/27

1. Some baby favorites I wanted to mention:

Boon bath mat. I bought this years ago for Wells. It didn't quite work in our tub back then, so I gave it to my parents and Wells used it there every time we visited. Then, when I went home for Thanksgiving, I used it in the tub for Sutton and it worked out great. I brought it back to Missouri with me and now we use it every day. Cannot recommend enough. 

Vtech baby monitor. I know you all love your $300 baby monitors but I have no idea why. I got this Vtech one back around the 6 month mark and it's been a game-changer for keeping an eye on a more mobile baby in the crib. I would recommend this $50 monitor to anyone. It has every bell and whistle and works so well. Holds a charge all day and night too!

Kozy Couch. I got this for Sutton and Wells for Christmas. We already have a Nugget and, the politics of Nugget aside, it is probably the best thing I ever bought for Wells. It has served as an ottoman in our living room and a place to easily change a baby and a place for tummy time too (before baby can roll, obviously). This time, I grabbed a Kozy Couch to add to it. Again, super impressed with the quality. I cannot recommend it enough! 

2. Time has gotten away from me here and I decided I needed to make some muffins for Sutton. I used to do this sort of thing for baby Wells all the time. I put banana, applesauce, and shredded carrot and zucchini in them. When I mentioned to Wells that I was going to make muffins, he begged for two days to help. Finally, I got out all of the ingredients and he decided he didn't want to help after all. Then he decided he didn't want to eat any. Sutton won't eat them either. 

Scott says they're good. 

I also tried to make waffles last weekend and Wells proclaimed that he hated waffles, which was new information to me. Sutton wouldn't touch them. 

This is why I don't bake much anymore. 

3. 


I'm having a hard time remembering what day it is this week. I took everyone to the playground on Sunday(?) because Scott was away for the weekend. Weekends are LONG when you're the adult in charge. But it was nice weather and everyone (Scout and Wells) was well-behaved.

4. Who's watching The Bachelor? Anyone? I am dipping back in after almost two years away. Mostly because I need a break from true crime so the recap podcasts pass the time when I'm just around the house. My favorite Bachelor podcasts (taking all politics out of the equation) are Bachelor Party, Here to Make Friends/Love to See It, and I Hate Green Beans. 


5. First, if you want a good laugh, I put some books on hold this week:

LOLOLOLOLOLihatethisplace





I am over Wells' obsession with Youtube. It's like crack for kids. You cannot change my mind on this. It used to be that he just liked to watch kids play with toys. Now, he's discovered video games being played, which is the Most Boring Thing in the World. It's like waiting for your turn with the Super Nintendo but your turn never arrives. 
Anyway, he just watches it on the tv, not on a tablet or anything, but holy cow it's annoying. 
Since he is on my account, his Sonic and Paw Patrol videos are mixed in with my true crime and Pilates videos and it's quite the combination up there on the tv screen. 


January 26, 2023

Subscriptions I'm not keeping in 2023

side note: "subscription"i hate is the local library. i'm #529 in line for a current popular book.

1. Peloton.

I haven't used it much in the last couple of months. Truly, there's so much there that it can be overwhelming. I was in a really good strength-training routine last fall but I never want to actually do it. Same with the bike. I love the Cody Rigsby rides but I am bored to tears by biking. I could never motivate myself to go to spin classes at the gym either. I did it, but I hated it. So, since I haven't been using it anyway, I just canceled it. 

2. Daily Wire. 

I've been a DW subscriber since 2019 but it's just not worth it because I don't use the membership. Initially, it gave me an extra hour of content every day and a tumbler and I liked giving them my support. But when I look at "do I actually use it?", I don't now so it's not worth the $100+ a year. So I let that go this month.

3. Subscribe/save on Amazon. 

There is nothing I need so badly on Amazon that I need to get an automated delivery lol. Plus, the one singular thing I truly did want to S&S on multiple times in the past year (formula!) kept getting canceled because of the formula shortage. 

Also, throw Kindle Unlimited under this umbrella: I canceled that last fall. I read just about everything I wanted to last summer from this feature. If I really want a KU book, I'll pay $2-3 for it.

4. Audible.

Perhaps also under the Amazon category...I just don't enjoy audiobooks anymore. I never thought I'd say that, but it's true. 

5. Book of the month

This is on the chopping block. I ended up skipping a lot a months in 2022 because nothing looked good to me. I rarely get BOTM books that I simply cannot put down. That hasn't happened in awhile. In January, they offered me a free pick for my birthday and every single book was completely unappealing. Obviously the offer was only good for January so I just skipped again. 

What about you? Are you cleaning out your subscriptions too? 

January 24, 2023

10 (TEN) months of Sutton.


I cannot. 

What they say is true in two ways: it goes a lot faster the second time. 

Plus: the first child gets all of your attention all of the time but you have no idea what you're doing. The second child gets nowhere near the same amount of focus but she benefits greatly from you having done it before. It's not so much constant trial and error. For this reason, I don't worry about Sutton. I just enjoy her. I took her to a playgroup last week and I wasn't even comparing her to any other babies. I've moved so slowly with her, never forcing her into the next stage. I noticed she was attempting to crawl up the three steps into the living room the other day...I just let her give up on her own and crawl away. I've absolutely made her into this easygoing and methodical child by completely babying her. She can just stay a baby as far as I'm concerned. 

That being said, I packed up the bottle warmer yesterday. She usually just drinks her formula cold or room temperature now. At first I thought I was jumping the gun (she's only 10 months!) but then I think I remember that we packed it up at 5 months with Wells. Just because we were moving and that seemed like a hassle? Or we packed it and got it back out at some point but it didn't really matter? Wells' first year is still a bit of a blur. 

I did order a baby calendar for her yesterday. I figure almost a year in is the perfect time, right? A friend sent me this one for Wells when he was born and it was so simple and easy to pull out to jot things down. His is completely finished and packed away for him. I'll spend some time putting her calendar together before her first birthday. This is where the blog posts I've written and the date/time stamps on Google photos come in handy!

loves to carefully examine things with her fingers

+I caught Sutton standing for the first time yesterday (1/23). She'd pulled herself up onto the balance board (it was upside down), started yelling in fear because she didn't know how to get down, and I didn't have my phone on me to take a picture. I foresee a lot of her getting stuck standing in her crib at night in the future now. 

+Sutton really started crawling around December 30-31. She never really army crawled, scooted, or dragged herself before that. She would roll if she wanted to get somewhere. But around 9.5 months, she just picked herself up onto all fours and started going. She is quick too. Head down and determined. Right now, she's really into pulling up onto her knees so she hasn't started standing on her own yet. She does a lot of down-dog poses because she's trying to push up without holding onto anything. Someone asked me when Sutton was less than 9 months if she was walking and that made me feel bad because she wasn't even crawling. However, Wells didn't start toddling until 11-12 months and didn't really take off walking until 14 months. She's much more determined and independent in general than he ever was, so I'm sure she'll be fine. 

+She is the complete opposite of Wells. She loves having her teeth brushed and she loves taking a bath. Two things he still fights me on every day. Again with the second child thing, this poor baby didn't get a book read to her until she was 6 or 7 months old. Now she knows we read a book after her nighttime bottle and then we brush her teeth. When Scott found out I was reading to her at night, he was like really? and I was like The last thing the pediatrician said at her TWO WEEK appointment was to read to her every day. (I'm completely serious. Clearly, I didn't listen.)

One night, I was exhausted so I tried to put her down without a book. She yelled and yelled and then I pulled her out and we read Where's the Hen? and that was exactly what she had wanted. 

loves, loves, loves to chew on shoes

+Sutton has 8-10 teeth. They are all at a different stage of "in", so I rarely get a complete count. 

+She loves to eat, she loves her bottles, she loves her water cups. 

+She is a happy, happy baby. She is also getting to be pretty sneaky. She loves to pull the loose trim off the walls and goes for the dog water a lot. 




Basically, we absolutely adore her. (all of us ^^)



January 20, 2023

Friday Favorites, 1/20

1. This post is super late today because instead of writing it on Thursday nights, I tend to put random things together with my snippets of time on Friday. Why? Because I've been watching Yellowstone until 11pm every night. Like 9-11pm is for Yellowstone. Seasons 1-4 are on Peacock and then I am contemplating buying season 5 from Amazon. The sooner I finish the binge, the sooner I move on, right? I don't think Scott likes it as much as I do, so he just tolerates it. 

2. 


Jett is such a ridiculously patient dog. He is unflinchingly loyal. 

3. 

This garbage truck plus all the matchbox and hot wheels have brought nothing but joy to Sutton this week. It is widely preferred to all the baby toys. It was a birthday gift for Wells two years ago. You may remember, I carried it into multiple hotel rooms and tucked it into bed. 

4. A true favorite is when you just stop caring and go hard on Twitter. It is the Year of Our Lord 2023, ma'am:



And then there's this: What in the name of civil rights is THIS?



5. 









I don't have fabric scissors but I do have My Scissors. Scott left them in the garage after he used them to cut the raffia and camo burlap (or whatever) for his duck blind. 

Going on week 3 of avoiding a phone call




























Happy to live in District 3!


Bonus: Sutton is 10 months this week. Her monthly post is coming next week. I did Wells' 4.5 year post on Tuesday. If you're wondering why I write these, still, it's because I don't do baby books very well lol. 


In case you missed it, here's some podcasts I've been listening to lately!


January 19, 2023

Listening lately.

 My note-taking mode of choice is the screenshot. I often take a screenshot of podcasts I'm listening to if I want to share something about them or recommend them. (for real, what did we even do before the screenshot?) 

Usually, I forget. Sometimes I post as a story on Instagram. Here's a round-up if you want some recommendations!

Note: no links here but just search the episode number or reference the date. They're all very recent. 



I rarely listen to WSIRN these days. Okay, I don't listen to it at all. But I saw an Instagram post about someone giving a book 0 stars and I was intrigued so I went and listened to a few recent episodes. 
(Spoiler: The book was Watership Down. Haven't read it but the movie was....odd.)
Anne's best books were none of my favorites. I stopped listening long ago because I realized back in like 2018 that I was starting to hate reading because I didn't like literary fiction and memoir and that's all she ever recommends. 
This passed the time while I cleaned up the kitchen though. 


This episode with Taylor Dukes sent me down the toxic load rabbit hole (hey, Watership Down connection).
Future post coming on some changes I'm making. 



This is a very recent and ongoing investigation. GW does a great job of covering current cases. 


I don't listen to this every week or even every month. But she posted about it on Instagram and I'm in a stage of getting one kid to eat what I serve him and introducing another kid to foods. I found this episode extremely valuable. 



Another rabbit hole. I know way too much about this case. If you go to The Prosecutors and their spin-off podcast Legal Briefs, you'll find this. 



This is a good episode. It's a new podcast and shorter form. I wish they were bringing their speaking tour to Missouri.


Guys, Prince Harry is a hack. He's entitled, narcissistic, and out for himself. When Ben Shapiro spends 30 minutes ripping apart Spare, you know it's relevant to the cultural moment we live in.

What have you been listening to lately?

January 17, 2023

4.5 Years of Wells.

I am convinced that as soon as a boy turns 3, you become unable to take a good picture of him because he just cheeses at the camera. Like, no discernible facial features. We've been at that stage with Wells for like a year and a half now. Here's a rare normal smile:

dressed himself on this day

Wells is shockingly smart. I feel a lot of peace in knowing that he'll be ready for kindergarten in the fall. From the minute I found out he was a boy way back in March 2018, I was hesitant; a boy born in July is always incredibly iffy when it comes to school. Should we start him at 5 or wait til he's 6? Then, I knew it'd depend on him. This is seriously something I thought about at least monthly for a very long time. Once he made it through most of PreK-3 last year, I figured he'd be just fine in kindergarten at age 5. This year he is doing PreK-4 and I think two years of preschool have made all the difference in the world. Highly, highly recommend that strategy! Put your boys in preschool at 3 to see how they do. 


But back to the smart part: he's always reading out numbers and letters when we're out driving and walking and shopping. He counts to 100 or 120 aloud all the time. He likes to build his Legos and play by himself quietly. Sometimes he likes books but he's not a superfan of reading; I can tell he wants to read and be read to, but he doesn't enjoy the process or something. I recently taught him how to play checkers and now we play checkers before bed instead of reading a book. He likes to cut and paste and scribble, but he does not (does not) like to color at all. He used to love to paint, but he's just not a fan now. I'm hoping he grows back into that. 

I spend most of my time just reinforcing life skills like change your clothes, wash your hands, put your shoes away, etc. I set out his clothes every night and he knows where they are for preschool in the morning. Same with brushing teeth. He's learned how to do that on his own too. 


Wells' favorite movie seems to be The Lion King. He watches it a lot.

Wells, like me, is very routine-oriented and task-driven. If something is amiss, he lets me know. He needs his vitamin every day, he lets me know if I forgot to give him something or do something I mentioned in passing hours before...memory like an elephant, that one. 

He is the sweetest as soon as he gets up in the morning and right before he goes to bed at night. He does not (does not) nap. He goes and goes from 6am-ish to whatever time we allow him to stay up until. During the week, I try to make sure he's in bed by 8pm. He's just that type and doesn't require a lot of sleep, I guess. 

He is a true first-born rule follower, but he likes to create his own rules. He's a negotiator and I often refer to him as an "unruly politician". I heard that from somewhere and it describes Wells perfectly. 

put his mittens on by himself

Wells LOVES people. He can make a friend anywhere. I attribute this to the fact that I took him everywhere with me for his first two years. He smiled and talked to everyone from the seat of a shopping cart and the highchair at restaurants. He never has toys or our phones when we're out and about. He's always looking for someone to talk to instead. 

Wells loves:

Fairlife protein milk, jelly toast (no butter) and eggs, Legos, Youtube, and playing with friends. He likes Paw Patrol and Spidey and His Amazing Friends. He told me yesterday that he "hates PJ Masks" when I offered him a PJ Masks band-aid. 

Wells doesn't like:

Going to sleep at night. Baths. (he tells me this every single day)

^^ That has been Wells since day one. He's never liked either of those.

Wells has his own personality and is completely his own little person. I tell him all the time that he's my little baby Wells and he tells me no, he's not. However, his greatest aspiration right now is for him to be "big enough" for me to allow him to watch Power Rangers.

January 13, 2023

Friday Things 1/13


1. Oh, Friday the 13th. I hate these.

2. I know I posted that I would like to and/or wouldn't mind homeschooling next year, but Scott wants Wells in school. Of course, he was also surprised to learn that kindergarten is next year :)  He wants Wells to ride the bus which, ohmygosh, right? (I'm kind of kidding here. Scott and I both went to public school and we both rode buses and we're still here.)

Scott would also like me to get out and about more often and Wells being in school all day could make that feasible. I wouldn't *not* like to work again at some point here too but daycare for a baby isn't worth it right now for many reasons (my nerves for one). 

All that to say, I find it hard to make friends when all the moms around here are using the wrong grammar in their Facebook posts and then my interests don't always align with theirs:



3. I am busy catching up on Yellowstone. I think I just started season 4. I watch 1-2 episodes every night and I can't get enough. 

4. I've mentioned this before, but Cody Rigsby rides on the Peloton app are the only thing I use my bike for (it's similar to this...I wouldn't turn down a Peloton but I'm not asking for one either). I did the *Nsync one last night and it was the first time I'd done real cardio in almost 2 months. I felt that. 

5. I am hunting down swimming lessons for Sutton. They just don't exist here and it makes me so sad. I found a few options that are both an hour away, which I would do if it's once a week or so, but it appears they are in the evenings or on Saturday mornings. Maybe there's a couple during the day too. This is another reason why going to school would be good for Wells (don't tell Scott I said that). I would be able to do things like this with Sutton. She loves water SO MUCH. She is never happier than when she's in the bathtub. 

6. Speaking of lessons, I signed Wells up for soccer this week. It's in March and April. I almost signed him up last year but decided he was way too little for organized sports. It starts at age 3 here. At almost 5, he should be able to handle it better. 

7. I downloaded the PragerU app for kids and it's a fantastic option. It's free too. It's like a better version of BrainPop. 



8. I didn't actually look for memes this week, so here's some Instagram stories that I posted. 




Kate wins, always





ICYMI: