Currently: May // 2015

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looking forward to my trip to the DR in 32 days!!!!

appreciating an easier work week this week.

eating PB&J for lunch.

watching Friends, I’m on Season 6, shockingly I had never seen most of them!

loving all the one on one time I’m getting with Ladybug this month.

planning how the heck I’m going to get through this first summer class.

thankful that I’ve gotten two job interviews this month. Fingers crossed.

walking with Ladybug strapped to my back. Working out those shoulders.

enjoying all the watermelon.

ordering Aloha packets each month, because the need for vegetables and nutrients is REAL.

wanting a longer break from school.

reading a novel a week for this summer class. First up, Michael J. Fox’s memoir.

drinking all the water, as always.

working on slowly learning how to do a headstand. Check back with me next May.

listening to Kelsea Ballerini’s new album.

celebrating Leah and Austen‘s second anniversary today!!

traveling every weekend between now and July 10th. Seriously.

remembering what this month looked like last year.

April Book Report

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I’m trying to crank out last month’s book report before this month ends, so here’s a quick overview of the few books I read last month.

(Thank the Lord for Goodreads. If they weren’t keeping track of what I was reading I don’t think I’d be able to remember.)

In fact, I only read two books in April! My slacking off was real.

First up was Still Alice. And it blew me away. The best word to describe it is devastating. If you don’t know the story (it was just made into a movie that Julianne Moore won Best Actress for), it’s about a 50 year old professor at Harvard who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. The book is written from her perspective which gives it a really interesting voice, as Alice begins to forget things or repeat conversations you begin to read those conversations again and again in the book.

As you can imagine, there is no happy ending, as there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. However, I think the book brings great awareness to how devastating this disease can be, especially when it is early onset. I was deeply moved by it, but like I said, it’s can be very upsetting at times.

The second book I finished in April was a chick lit novel, another in the series I started over my Christmas vacation. Ripple of Secrets: A Rose Gardner Mystery Novella to be exact. It was exactly what I expected from it and I can’t wait to read the next book that came out in late April.

This month I’ve been trudging through Not That Kind of Girl (I don’t love it), and finished up Design Mom’s book (it was amazing). Reviews of those two and hopefully one or two more to come at the end of the month! And watch out, I’m going to the Dominican Republic in June and plan to read at least 10 books that week.

 

This and That, Here and There

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This jigsaw puzzle was nearly the death of me at Pop Castle last month. Starting a puzzle with no guarantee that all the pieces are in the box is literal torture. It may or may not have been violently disassembled out of drunken frustration.

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That was an exceptionally good make up day followed by an exceptionally good night out. You really can’t go wrong with karaoke.

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Here are the two cutest human beings on the planet. We have had such a wonderful two days together and I’m hoping to continue my “world’s best nanny” streak with a trip to see the air show on the Mall today.

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There really is no better perk to graduate school (other than the higher pay scale) than making really, really good friends. A night out on a beautiful patio with delicious drinks and food was just what I needed after a week of being attacked by pollen.

The Stroller Diaries // 54

IMG_9161Y’all. It has been quite the week. In the last four days alone we’ve had birthdays, sicknesses, allergy attacks, giggles, tears, exhaustion, bumps, bruises, and spider bites. I’m beat. This week has been a beast.

But today? Oh today has been beautiful. We started the day by turning our clothes inside out for some Mother’s Day crafting. Stink and Bug did a very impressive job painting pots for their mamas and I’m hoping they are equally as excited to help me plant flowers in them after their naps. Then we heading to the park, with a pit stop for bagels, where we swung so high and touched the sky for almost an hour. Next, we proceeded to the hardware store to purchase our flowers, at which point Stink ran out of my sight behind all the sharp gardening tools and I had a mild panic attack. But after finding him and wiping the sweat off my brow we hopped back in the stroller to head home.

Lunch and snacks and cuddles and then it was straight upstairs for naps. And I was blessed with a glorious two hours to clean, do yoga, paint my nails, and finish painting our pots.

It’s been a really marvelous day. And boy, did I need it.

Here’s to more summer days with my favorite two year olds. I love you guys more and more each day.

But please, stop pushing each other.

 

May Goals // 2015

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Oh, hey there! Did you think I’d quit on you?

If I’m being totally honest, the thought crossed my mind. Something about this space just hasn’t appealed to me at all over the last month or so. I’m busy with school, travel, work, trying to find a new job for the fall, attempting to be healthy, sleeping, and squeezing in friend time where I can. It’s been a lot, and not a lot that I wanted to talk about. And then there’s what’s going on in the world. We’ve got more police brutality (will it ever stop?), earthquakes in Nepal, a presidential election that is starting much earlier than anyone wants, and just general gloominess.

There’s been a lot going on, and not much that I felt I could put into words.

But at the same time, the thought of leaving this space hurts my heart a lot. So, I’m back. I don’t imagine I’ll be here very much throughout the summer–I’m traveling all but four weekends between now and Labor Day–but I am going to try to update 2-3 times a week. And, I’m going to suck it up and shell out the cash required to keep my domain name going. If I’m paying for it, I better keep up with it, right?

So, after all that, let’s get into the one series that I’ve managed to keep going for 2+ years.

First, a review of April’s goals:

April Goals

– Read 3 new books Nope, didn’t happen. I only got two new books completed but I have started three others. Book review for April coming next month. 

Finish out spring semester strong (i.e. DO ALL YOUR READING, EMILY) Ok, so maybe I didn’t do all my reading, but I did finish the semester with all As, bringing my graduate school record to all As all the time! Boom!!

Paint the canvas I bought for above my bed Done, but I hate it so much that I just took it back down. Whoops.

Complete the yoga challenge I’m doing and reward myself with a new mat HECK YEAH.

– Buy new trash cans Do you know how expensive trash cans are?

Attend sunrise Easter service at the Lincoln Memorial with Alex this weekend We went and it was beautiful!

Go to Happy Hour once a week with my peeps I think I did this every week but one, so I’m calling it a win.

Book a hotel for Katie’s upcoming bachelorette party! Bach party starts tomorrow!!!

And now, some goals for my favorite month!!!

May Goals

– Celebrate turning 25 with my friends on Tuesday and my family next weekend, write a post here about it

– Do 30 minutes of yoga every weekday

– Drink a kale smoothie for breakfast every weekday

– Print, assemble, and mail Taylor’s bachelorette party invites

– Have an excellent attitude about all the travel I have coming up this summer. It’s lots and lots of really fun things but it’s also a lot of time in the car. If I go into it with a bad attitude it’s not going to be any fun, so I’m going to look at one week at a time and enjoy each one. First up next weekend, Gracie graduates from UNC and it’s Mother’s Day!

Here is the part where I should insert a joke about N’Sync and how “it’s gonna be MAY,” but I’ve never really thought that was funny and I prefer to celebrate the start of May with a countdown to my birthday.

4 DAYS PEOPLE, 4 DAYS.

March Book Report

Hey yo! Three more books crossed off my never ending list! Technically I didn’t finish one of them until the first week of April, but, who is really counting, right?

This month’s books were as follows:

Bloom by Kelle Hampton

Kelle writes the blog Enjoy the Small Things about her life with her family in Florida. One of her daughters, Nella, has down syndrome and Kelle has been incredibly open about her journey with her daughter. Bloom chronicles the first year of Nella’s life and so beautifully explains how down syndrome has changed everything in their family’s life. I loved this book so much, Kelle tells beautiful and honest stories. She is especially wonderful at paying tribute to the people in her life who helped her through a difficult time. The book has beautiful pictures throughout but I read it on my Kindle so I’m sure they’re even better in a full color, real book!

All in all, as far as bloggers turned authors go, Kelle did an amazing job and I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys memoirs!

Hey Natalie Jean by Natalie Holbrook

Another blogger turned author here! Natalie writes at Hey Natalie Jean (or what I still prefer to refer to as Nat the Fat Rat) and has what I think we can all agree is the cutest child in the world. Seriously. This book was a collection of essays about motherhood, style, family, city living, and beauty. The book was a true reflection of the blog, but I wouldn’t say that I was blown away by it. For some reason it just didn’t seem incredibly well done, I wasn’t impressed by the quality of both the content and the actual physical book itself. It’s designed to be a coffee table book but there are other definitely other books I would put out first. I’d give it a B- overall, but Huck (her son) still gets an A++ as the most adorable kid ever.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This was the only novel I read this month and I found it through Jacqui. I saw it on her desk when I was visiting Boston in September and immediately put it on my reading list. Here is the Amazon summary:

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland. 

The summary is a bit misleading because while the story does begin and end with Ifemelu and Obinze’s love story, 85% of the book focuses on their lives apart. It was still really interesting and thought provoking, but wasn’t what I expected. First and foremost I would describe Americanah as thought provoking. Ifemelu’s struggle with having to deal with race for the first time in her life was explained very well. It was really interesting to see myself reacting negatively to outside views about white people in America and then to take a step back and examine why I was having that reaction. The book helped to give me another white privilege reality check, which I think we all need as often as possible.

Overall, I thought Americanah was well written, very intelligent, and that the story flowed nicely. I do wish that Ifemelu and Obinze would have reunited more than 50 pages before the end of the book as it felt like we spent a long time investing in two characters and then barely got to see the reward. It was a dense read and definitely not a poolside book, if only because delving so deeply into a completely foreign culture can be challenging and requires a large amount of focus. It took me almost all of March to read this, whereas I read the other two books this month in a two nights each.

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This month I’ve already started reading Still Alice and have Design Mom, Not That Kind of Girl, and The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing on my bedside table and library wait list!

Yearlong Total: 10 books completed

The Stroller Diaries // 53

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Things we love lately:

– All the flowers, Stink especially loves to smell all the flowers. And not just the real flowers but also the flowers painted on my phone case. Duh.

– Walking on anything that could possibly be considered a balance beam. Ladybug especially loves this. Stink prefers to get his gymnastic practice in with somersaults on the couch.

– Listening to “the wagon song,” more commonly known as Little Red Wagon by Miranda Lambert. Ladybug looooooves to do her own version of a two step.

– Painting and coloring with crayons, every time Ladybug finishes a drawing she yells “I MADE IT, EMMY, I MADE IT.”

– Cuddling, Stink loves the cuddling. Probably because he has been sick for going on two weeks now. Wamp. Fevers, be gone!!

Siblings and Bunnies

Alex came to visit me a little bit ago over Easter weekend and we had a great brother sister trip.

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We carried a ridiculously huge bunny rabbit around with us for most of the weekend. His name is Bartholomew and most of the tourists in town almost broke their neck trying to catch a glimpse of this silly bunny.

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We went to sunrise service at the Lincoln Memorial. It was so freaking beautiful.

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And A LOT of people were there. Note to self: get there earlier, bring more blankets.

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Sibling style on point.

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And then we had a delicious Easter brunch. Because when the Harden siblings eat, they only eat potatoes. That’s it.

 

Currently: April // 2015

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appreciating all the casual looking off in the distance pictures Alex took of me in my favorite skirt.

making kale smoothies again in my brand new, fancy blender!

watching Empire. Alex introduced me and I can’t stop, I’m obsessed. The music is SO ON POINT.

loving this Spring playlist from Em for Marvelous.

planning my busy, busy summer. I think we’re looking at two free weekends in the city.

walking to our new nanny baby James’ house on Mondays and Tuesdays.

enjoying this week off from classes.

buying a new planner from Elise!

singing EmmyLou from First Aid Kit–nonstop.

drinking water and water and more water.

marveling at how different 6 month olds and 2 year olds are, I had completely forgotten.

waiting to find a job for next year, cross all your fingers for me.

celebrating Rich and Katie’s birthdays this month!

looking forward to going to the Dominican Republic in less than 70 days!

listening to the Invisibilia podcast–these two are my favorites so far.

wishing I could see my far away friends more often.

remembering what this month looked like in 2014.

Aprils Goals // 2015

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Still having trouble coming up with things to write, still refusing to skip these monthly posts.

March Goals 

Do at least ten minutes of yoga every morning. I started this at the end of last month and I do it pretty consistently Mon-Thurs but the struggle is REAL on the weekends. I’m doing AWESOME at this. I haven’t managed it every single day but I’m pretty consistent.

Finish the invites for Taylor’s bachelorette party–I’m almost done already and I’m OBSESSED WITH THEM. Finished and sitting on my computer desktop waiting for May when they need to be printed and mailed!

– Read four new books (already got one in the bag, woo!) Well, three is still good, but I didn’t make it to four.

– Try a new church this Sunday

– Spend five days each week not eating any sweets–so far I’ve got three days in the bag this week. Huge joke.

– Run outside starting next week–daylight savings combined with warmer weather means I can finally hit the pavement again. Happened twice.

So, all in all, not the most productive month I’ve ever had. But it was still a really good one. I got more day-to-day stuff done than usual and less big, overall projects.

Here’s to more productivity and warmth in the coming month!

April Goals

– Read 3 new books

– Finish out spring semester strong (i.e. DO ALL YOUR READING, EMILY)

– Paint the canvas I bought for above my bed

– Complete the yoga challenge I’m doing and reward myself with a new mat

– Buy new trash cans

– Attend sunrise Easter service at the Lincoln Memorial with Alex this weekend

– Go to Happy Hour once a week with my peeps

– Book a hotel for Katie’s upcoming bachelorette party!

Let’s do it, and let’s do it in short sleeves and sandals, please, Mother Nature?