What I’m Into (October/November 2017)

The first time we got the fire going this year (OK fine, by turning on a switch), it was like a long, deep breath exhaled.

My friend Tara and I had lunch the other week, and she told me how grateful she was for the approaching winter season. I hear so many complaints about the frigid temps of winter, so this was a refreshing perspective. “It feels like the year is making you slow down. It’s dark and cold, and you just get a chance, between the warmer seasons that have so many activities, to relax and sit with your family in front of the fire,” she said.

You may have noticed my blog has been a little quieter lately. Or maybe not; with the flurry of information on social media these days, I’m certain no one keeps very close tabs on this page anymore.

It doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about blogging or personal writing; I probably overthink it, actually. But with my kids both in school full-time, the last few months have given me a chance for more self-reflection than I’ve had the last 8 years, and I’ve been sitting in sort of a middle ground, wondering where I’m headed next.

So this past summer and fall, I’ve been living instead of writing about living. And with winter coming, I’m still in the in-between but feeling hopeful and grateful for the moments of living, big and small. Whatever is ahead, the year is exhaling, and for now, I’m going to cherish sitting with my family in front of the fire…

In front of the fire with a Stegosaurus and Curious George on October 31 🙂

Here’s a roundup of some things that have going on in this neck of the woods…

I hit the summer hard with an abundance of light reading – lots of fiction, plenty of YA novels. Which worked well for the warm season. When fall settled in, I drifted into deeper, slower reads, mostly nonfiction.

I just finished I Was Told to Come Alone, written by Souad Mekhennet, a Muslim journalist for the Washington Post. She shares an extremely unique perspective from interviews “behind the lines of the jihad,” and it helped me to understand better many of the world issues today. I also recently completed Evicted, which was a journalistic delve into poverty and eviction in Milwaukee.

Currently, I’m in the middle of Enrique’s Journey and The Longest Road, and next, I’d like to start Just Mercy, which comes highly recommended.

I’ve also been making it a bigger priority to read aloud with the kids. Sometimes during school days, it’s easy to let that slip, but it’s something that we all enjoy so much, and listening to the Read-Aloud Revival Podcast has been a catalyst for prioritizing this!

This story by my friend Ginger is just INCREDIBLE. She shared it with me when it first began and updated me over time, and I couldn’t wait for her to write about it. I know it will – and already has – change many lives.

“We find friendship with the heart; not the eyes. I have found that teaching acceptance, compassion and kindness must be intentional. As a parent, this can be done by not missing out on an opportunity to have your children interact with someone who is different. The more they are exposed to different, the less it becomes a big deal. Children can learn to see ‘different’, and look past the outside and see the heart.” This post by my friend Stacey is absolutely a must-read.

I had the pleasure of being featured on the podcast Orange Socks, which offers support and encouragement to special needs parents across the globe. I think it’s is so important for us to share our stories, to help our fellow parents find hope and not feel isolated, and after browsing the stories on Orange Socks, I felt so uplifted. You can listen to my interview here.

Someone was THRILLED to lose her first tooth!! She’s been dying to lose a tooth for years – thanks to her big brother’s prolific teeth turnover rate. She would ask me for apples and carrots when it got loose, to help the process along, and she finally wiggled it out while on a field trip!

Connor’s Cub Scout troop got to experience our local hospital’s air evacuation team and helicopter landing in our town. All the kids were able to try out the helicopter – and OK, some of the parents may have also jumped at the chance to sit in it too…

In October, for Neonatal Intensive Care Month, I was honored to have the opportunity to team up with my friend and fellow NICU mom Stacy and her nonprofit Triple Heart Foundation. I donated my children’s book That’s How You Know for care packages to the NICU families. It was a surreal feeling to be back on the NICU floor; I hope that we were able to provide a little light into the day of another NICU family with our delivery.

A certain someone in our family has a favorite song: John Deere Green by Joe Diffy. So when we got to ride on a John Deere combine during fall harvest, she was totally thrilled!

May these darker days of winter bring peace and relaxation – and lots of family time in front of the fire!

What I’m Into (May 2017)

Well, THIS IS EXCITING. My book, A Different Beautiful, is currently on sale for JUST $1.99 for the ebook version! Grab for Amazon Kindle here or Barnes & Noble Nook here. This impactful message will inspire your heart, and it’s an easy read that is perfect for summer!

So, Evan and I are currently in the middle of a Whole30 for the month of May. We mostly were intrigued and wanted to try it, and our goals hinged on wanting to feel better in our day-to-day. I also wanted to learn more about food and preparing food. (Goal: ACCOMPLISHED. I feel like I’ve been living in the kitchen for the last 2 weeks.)

Based on feedback we’ve read and heard, we expected to feel a sort of detox at first and experience all different kinds of things as our bodies adjusted to this new way of eating, but we really haven’t felt much different. (Besides totally deprived.) It’s not difficult, but I’ll admit my interest is fading. As we continue, we’re really hoping that we’ll soon experience all of that energy everyone talks about!

I am wanting to dive into all the books right now, so I’m in the middle of a bunch and need to dial it back a bit so I can actually make it through and finish some! I just finished up kid literature Soar by Joan Bauer, which was wonderful! Highly recommend for kids in older elementary or junior high. I’m also in the middle of Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner, Charity Detox (which is a follow up to Toxic Charity, a book I really enjoyed and was challenged by), and Stretch by Scott Sonenshein.

Next up, I plan to read Shanghai Girls, which came highly recommended to me by my aunt.

Brenna continues her Berenstain Bears kick and hardly wants to crack open any other kind of book right now, and Connor is flying through the Notebook of Doom series. I pick up one for him at the library and he’s got it finished by the next day, so now I’m grabbing two at a time!

What’s on your reading list right now? Anything good I need to check out?

“There is nothing wrong with being disabled. But there is something wrong with society’s overall view of disability.” – So much YES to this post from This Little Miggy’s blog about the way the world treats differences.

“She had all these special needs and it became the status quo to shield her, to always be out in front of her delays. The hardest part for me now is not shackling her to them.” This post from Kayla Aimee for TODAY Parents will have you tearfully celebrating by the end. Just beautiful.

Bright shades, purple phone…not sure if she’s five or fifteen!

Indulging in a little batter from our pumpkin muffin baking extravaganza…

Evan and I got a night out with our good friends to see Garth Brooks in concert. Maybe the best concert I’ve ever seen! And such a great time with friends!

Purple and pink nails for summer…

Happy Wednesday – have a wonderful week of sunshine, dirt and laughter!