February Reading Round-Up: My Book Picks This Month

As most of you know, I’m an avid reader.  I love a good novel and I’m not ashamed to admit that I stay up late many nights to find out what happens to a favorite character.  And, I also love authors and so every so often, I round up my favorite reads and share them with you.  Here’s what I read this month: Flight of the Earls by Michael K. ReynoldsJust in time for St. Patrick’s Day, this debut Irish Novel takes you from the great potato famine in rural Ireland to the great sea ports of the Irish coast to New York City at the heights of immigration.  Michael’s strong-but-flawed characters and easy-to-read style had me not only staying up late to read, but also looking up countless historical facts online because I wanted to know more about the time period he writes about. The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow by Olivia NewportI was chatting with the girls at my MOPS table the other day about books and one of my friends asked about our go-to authors. And Olivia Newport immediately came to my mind.  In just a short time, she has broken onto the Christian historical fiction scene as one to watch– I have been absolutely amazed by each of her releases and this one is no exception.  Think Downton Abbey meets turn-of-the-century Chicago all wrapped up with characters that you’d love to invite to your house for coffee.  I highly recommend this series as well as any of Olivia’s other books. My Stubborn Heart by Becky WadeMy friend Katie Ganshert recommended this to me when I hit...

Confession: I Wear Mismatched Socks

I wear mismatched socks.  Every day. And I’m not talking about a white sock that’s a little bit dingier than my other white sock, but I mix stripes and stars, hot pink and red, athletic and ruffled. Oh, and my kids do, too. It wasn’t always this way.  I’m pretty sure up until about five years ago, my socks always matched.  And the mere thought of dressing my son in one blue sock and one hot pink ruffled sock felt downright horrifying.  But that was before I quit sorting socks.  I just couldn’t take it.  I couldn’t take the searching, the organizing, the matching, the digging in the bottom of the dryer to see if maybe just maybe one of the socks got lost in that tiny crack in the back.  And don’t even get me started on the “missing sock” pile that slowly overtook an entire laundry basket and eventually started falling out onto the floor. I gave up. Now, when I pull a load out of the dryer, I just load every sock I see into a heap into the dresser drawer.  And when it comes time to get dressed, my kids have been instructed to grab two socks, without looking at color, shape or size. One red, one brown?  Go for it. One of Will’s, one of Joey’s?  If you can get it on, it’s shoe-worthy. Daddy’s dressy black socks used over your shin guards at soccer practice?  Sure!  Just put them back before daddy notices. Now, I know that the obvious solution would be to buy boring old jumbo-sized packs of plain white socks for...

A Trio of Oatmeals

I asked Joey what he wanted for breakfast a few weeks ago and he said “a trio of oatmeals– one with brown sugar and butter, one with cranberries and almonds and one with chocolate chips.”  And, after banning my husband from watching the Food Network with him, I figured it was a pretty cute idea.  And so, we had a trio of oatmeals for breakfast. I even did the chocolate chip one. I felt pretty proud of my brilliant parenting. My kids all ate THREE whole bowls of oatmeal that morning. And talked about how cool their mom was all day. Smooth mommy move, eh? Not so much. Because now I’m getting requests for trios of everything. A trio of PB & J’s for Joey’s lunch– one with honey, one with cherry jam and one with grape jelly. A trio of tacos for dinner– one chicken, one shrimp, one beef. A trio of ice cream sundaes for dessert. A trio of games at game time for goodness sake. And so, I’m putting my foot down.  I admitted to my kids that I completely lost my marbles on oatmeal day and that now and in the foreseeable future, there will be no more trios of anything.  No way, now how.  In our household, I’ve learned the value of setting our expectations very, very low.  Which means I have to erase this trio idea completely from their minds.  Until one day, I surprise them with a trio of pancakes one Saturday...

Free Potty Training Advice from a Potty Training Failure

I am not good at potty training.  At all. If you’ve read my books, you already probably know about my long and sordid history with potty training.  And, if you haven’t read my books, you can get a good glimpse of my last potty training experience by reading this post.   Let’s just say my daughter is five and a half and I’m still recovering. And so I decided long ago that I’m not potty training Will. I figure that since I clearly haven’t caught onto concepts like “potty signals” and “patience” after two failed potty training attempts, then I’m clearly not a good candidate for the task.  It’s only fair—both for Will’s sake and my own—that I recuse myself from the entire process. Originally, I thought that the obvious candidate for my replacement was Kate.  That girl has some natural mothering instincts.  She has the whole hand-on-her-hip-and-swivel-your-finger thing down.  And she’s not above bribery.  And she’s actually pretty patient when it comes to sitting on the bathroom floor for hours on ending reading potty stories seventeen times in a row. But I had to take her off the job last week when she got the idea that Will might be ready to potty train right now.  And before I could even gather myself enough to pay attention, she had him sitting on her old potty, diaper off and was explaining to him that if he just let a little dribble come out, he’d get a chocolate chip.   He actually peed in the potty!  On his own.  And as visions of gas station bathrooms danced through my head, I realized...
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