Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Books Read (2016)

Richmond view, just to the right is the landing strip at YVR

 This month felt dry for me in a lot of ways. I think a lot of my downtime was taken up with things, stuff, and events. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't put something on my list if I didn't want it to be there, it just so happened that moreso for me in January than December, everything started happening that first week and hasn't stopped! I'm writing this on Tues, Jan. 26, in prepartation for the 31st, and this last week of the month is still just bursting at the seams. When I look back at my list, though, I'm reminded that I did take a lot of time-in bits and spurts-to get into some deep and a few academic books this month, and for that I'm grateful. Here's what I read in January:

*Satisfy My Thirsty Soul by Linda Dillow - I finished this in January, but read the bulk of it in December in preparation for my church's women's bible study. I'm going through it now a second time, week by week, in order to help faciliate a table, and I'm enjoying it more so in a week-by-week measure than I did the book in one big gulp. It's about what worship looks like in an individual and ordinary life. I don't know that I'd pick up another one of her books, but the thoughtful questions and practices in the back of the book meant for study are what makes this book richer.

*The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd - This book was fantastic, and there were times when I couldn't put it down (also, times when I could that felt a bit too 'filler' for me). It's the story of a rich white girl who grows up in luxury in the South, and the slave girl she's gifted at her 11th birthday. The turn of events in this story are at times surprising, and the intermixing of the voices (you only hear from 2 characters within the framework) was an excellent sylistic choice by Kidd. The story is loosely based on 2 sisters from long ago, and reading the notes in the back of the book are just as enjoyable as the story itself. I'd recommend this book to a lot of people; anyone who likes fiction. 

*The Summer of the Great-Grandmother by Madeline L'Engle (Crosswicks #2) - This book was bittersweet, not only because of L'Engle's torn writing, but because how things are unfolding in my own family regarding my grandmother and her caregivers, her children. This book needs to be read with a box of tissues, and if you love truthful writing that carves it's niche in quiet, you'll love the Crosswicks series, part of L'Engle's memoirs from her time at her country home in Conneticut. This particular entry of the Crosswicks series, is about her own mother, her mother's life, influence, death, and memory. 

*The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey - This nonfiction read is about how our current parenting philopsophies of never letting our children fail is actually cripping them, adding stress and entitlement, and what we can do about it as parents, educators, and advocates.  We are overparenting, exhausting ourselves and inadvertently telling our kids 'they can't' by our behaviors, and we need to stop. I was recommended this book by a friend, and I really liked it, though I don't know that I'm the target audience for this book, as I am definitely part of the choir that already touts this information (i.e. your kid keep forgetting their lunch? a day of not having that lunch will be the #1 reminder from then on...). A lot of studies broken down to bits and enjoyable to read, I'd recommend this book to a parent who feels completely undone by the parenting responsibilities of their school-age child, and maybe highlight the appropriate chore list for junior...

*The Gift of Dyslexia by Ron Davis - This book is two things: an entry level guide walking the reader through dyslexic symptoms one by one in detailed fashion, and two, a solution manual to help with those symptoms through the Ron Davis program. I only read the first half, the informational half, because I didn't want to do all the exercises with my child. I am doing a lot of research on dyslexia currently because although it's been in the back of my mind for close to three years, this year is the first time a professional has said, 'yes, this might be why xyz happen, let's take a closer look and remedy it'. I found myself nodding my head to quite a bit of it, but I don't know that this is the best dyslexic book out there. It's written in an odd way, in my opinion, and although informative, I feel like I still need more information. 
 
*Money Making Mom by Crystal Paine - I've read all of Crystal's books and they are very accessible with great ideas and anecdotes interspersed throughout. This one focuses on creating your own business and the steps one has to take to do it. There's an entire chapter devoted to living generously, too, which is something maybe not every entrepreuner takes into account. Paine's story is pretty amazing and I feel she has some great practical advice, but in a lot of ways it does feel like chasing after the American dream with very little balance, rest, and downtime outside of making the money you either need or want. I have mixed feelings about this one, mostly because Paine is a Christian and her book feels very 'strive-y' and 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps-y' (yes, made those up right now) and not very much 'resting in God's grace for your daily bread(y). Just my opinion, though. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

16 in 2016: Hike the Abby Grind with the Family

Our badges of honor (i.e. very dirty bums)

Although it's been an extremely quiet month over here on the blog, I've been involved with a lot of behind the scenes work with school and church, and I'm proud to say that I've sneaked in a few bits  of my 16 in 2016 list!

Our family hiked the Abby Grind a few weeks back on a warm day that made for excellent mud, as you can see. The entire hike is called The Sumas Mountain Hike, and it's a long one, but a small version of that is locally known as the Grind because it's straight up the entire way.

 Although we all had warm enough clothing, we did not have the one item that we would have really benefitted from--shoe chains. Over 3/4 of the hike was completely covered in snow, ice, and muddy slush, and it was laughable just how ridiculous we probably looked slipping and sliding up and down the mountain. We will definitely be investing in these for all three of us (Stefan has some but for whatever reason didn't have them in the car) before we attempt another winter hike.

I love hiking in the winter for a few reasons. It's the perfect temperature (for me) when I am exercising, to be surrounded by cold, crisp air. Fifty degrees was always my favorite temperature to run in, because although I'm sweating with exertion, I don't feel hot. Let's not even talk about Nebraska summers and going back inside to escape the humidity before 10AM.  I also love finding snow up here in the mountains, because there is rarely-if ever- any snow in the lowermainland. It's just too mild to collect and stay, which is why it's always rainy. Finding and playing in the snow is something my kids remember from their earliest days and it helps me remember that it IS winter and there ARE seasonal changes out here.

This is a great hike for kids but I wouldn't take them if it's their first time hiking, or if they've never done a solid 5K. It's not a long hike by any means, but it's consistently steep and unexperienced kid hikers will wilt about 25 minutes in. We had to stop a few times on the way up for rests for them, but they did great and enjoyed the view and the snacks up top.

On the way down...we basically slid on our butts nearly the entire time. Well, maybe not Stefan, being as he's good at everything, but it made my smug black little heart happy when even he fell a few times. The photo above shows just how much we were on our tail ends, and if you look closely at my entire right side that I'm pointing toward the camera, you can see wet mud from butt to ankle. I took a slip and landed in probably the soppiest mud on the whole trail. Figures! We had fun, nonetheless, but realized that if we're going to continue being serious hikers with our kids, we need to invest in the right equipment.


Other 2016 List items I'm currently working on:

*I bought 1 cute houseplant, and have given Stefan an idea/photo (sort of, note quite) of what I want to have in my house (it includes a bit of carpentry, and two more plants)

*I'm just finishing up Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, as a read aloud to the kids. This is our second book in the Little House series! I'm hoping to have the collection read to them by the beginning of the summer.

*currently in the planning stages of a summer vacation with family to Banff National Park and Calgary, AB!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A New List for a New Year // 16 in 2016


 The 30 ft. pool at Lynn Canyon

The list that I've tried to come up with has been a little harder than in years past but as I let it sit and brew for a bit, I had plenty of fresh ideas. The yearly lists (you can see 15 in 2015, my 29 before 30  birthday list here, and 28 before 29 here) help me focus on small/big, personal/family/friend, and creative/mental goals I have in any given year. Sometimes they are silly and sometimes I get them done before even writing them down, as you'll see below. They are just things I want to try, things I want to do, or things I want to enjoy with others. Some are big Bucket/Lifetime goals (1 below!) but most are pretty small things that niggle the back of my mind and writing them down helps me attain them quicker than forgetting about it 3 times. 

16 in 2016

1) get a dog! (this didn't happen for various reasons last year, this year we're still considering it)

2) make 'sweet treat' hair clips for the girls*

3) make and can homemade jam

4) go to Banff  National Park and explore Calgary

5) read the "Little House" series to the kids

6) find a GOOD summer farmer's market (I miss the seasonal farmer's market and realized I had put very little thought and effort into finding one I like that is nearby...not this year!)

7) Hike the Abby Grind with the family

8) take the canoe to a new-to-us local lake

9) Family Date: The Secret Lives of Pets at the theater

10) make everyone's X-mas gifts again**

11) knit a hat for 25,000 Tuques

12) bake/cook 5 pinterest recipes: (Apple Pretzel Tart, Flourless Samosas, pineapple salad, mexican corn, peach cupcakes)

13) explore the Island with friends!

14) see the Northern Lights+

15) buy more hanging houseplants

16) 1 picnic per month: June / July / August / September

*this is the only item aside from getting a dog that I'm keeping for this year from last. I didn't get to it, but I think it still sounds fun/doable

**I got off the bandwagon the past few years. I want/need to plan ahead because I hate procrastinating and this past Christmas was stressful because I spent more money than ever before, had literally no plan, and didn't make anything. Never again!

+ Actual lifetime bucket list item!


Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 Book List

Thrift store scores and library books

Every year I find immense joy in curating a good yearly book list. Resolutions? Nah. I'll just stick with books. 2015 proved to have a fairly easy list (with more then 30 tacked on in my journal) and I read a good 80% of them. A few I looked for but couldn't find locally, and two I just recently found at the thrift store! I write a small list for the beginning of the year--around 30 books--because I almost always find tons of books throughout the year I want to read and add to the list. I end up reading about 60 books a year, and 30 is a good jumping off point. Here's the list!

*Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
*Stiff by Mary Roach
*All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
*What Alice Forgot Liane Moriarty
*Essentialism by Greg McKeown
*Imagine Childhood by Sarah Olmsted (H)
*Satisfy My Thirsty Soul by Linda Dillow - Bible study book
*Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
*Being Mortal by Atul Guwande
*Lila by Marilynne Robinson
*The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
*The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
*Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Sally Clarkson (1/2 way through) (H)
*The Summer of the Great-Grandmother (Crosswicks #2) by Madeline L'Engle
*Tender at the Bone by Ruth Riechl
*The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
*Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
*Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel
*The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey (H/P)
*Scary Close by Donald Miller
*An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler
*Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw by Will Ferguson
*Things That Are by Amy Leach
*Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
*At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier
*Shadows of the Workhouse (Call the Midwife #2) by Jennifer Worth
*Quite A Year for Plums by Bailey White
*The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
*Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson (H/P)
*Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide (H)
*The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah

Of course I've already got a few more in my queue on pinterest, another way I love to keep track of books, but for now, these are the ones I'm really excited to read. The ones with an "H" behind them means they are for homeschool research. "P" is for parenting. 

Now, more importantly, what are you most excited to read in 2016?