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.

__________________________________________________________

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

IMG_8276 IMG_8277

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.

IMG_8079

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.

IMG_8111

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

IMG_8124

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

IMG_8148

Sibling style on point.

IMG_8153

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

 

Currently: April // 2015

IMG_8143

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

IMG_8008

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?

Sometimes You Need….

IMG_0231

Sometimes you need to have a surprise Friday off from work. To do absolutely nothing but lay in bed and catch up on books and blogs, do five loads of laundry, and eat a crazy amount of popcorn.

Sometimes you need a couple of days removed from #nannylife because even though it fills you with so much joy, it’s nice to remember that you’re actually a young, single, 25 year old in a big city.

Sometimes you need to watch every basketball game you can get your eyes on to remind you of just how damn much you love sports.

Sometimes you need to FaceTime with your parents for two hours while your face sits on a tiny throne they’ve built at the kitchen table while they eat dinner.

Sometimes you need your dad to remind you to share the amazing picture above, of my first onesie and first pair of sneaks, with the world. I really do love it, Pop, sorry it took me a bit to share.

Sometimes you need to eat the entire bag of Mini Cadbury Eggs because, you know, it’s Easter.

And sometimes, you need to take a few weeks waffling back and forth about what to write about on this here blog before you realize–this is my blog, I do what I want.

I’m baaaaack. Full time-ish and ready to go. Missed y’all!

The Stroller Diaries // 52

IMG_7861

IMG_7741

This week is a funny one. There is a good chance this week will be my last normal week with Ladybug and Stink. Starting next week we may add a whole new baby to the mix, cutting back with my time with Stink (cue tears) while his mom is on maternity leave. Then, at some point, little Baby Egg will be thrown in the mix too. I’m basically running my own child care facility at this point. And I dig it.

But man, is it going to be (and already is) hard. We’re dealing with adjusting to new siblings and less one-on-one attention. We’re learning not to push and hit and throw and dump toys on the ground. Oh my word, the dumping of the toys on the ground. I cannot explain why but the sound of a basket of fake food or box of legos cascading to the ground literally makes every muscle in my body tense and my face turn red. I cannot stand it. So, we’re working on controlling our bizarre temper as well as not dumping toys on the ground.

We’re trying to use our walking feet in the library and our gentle hands with, well, everyone. Because lately the cool thing to do seems to be to walk up to another child, get as close to their face as possible, and then throw your entire body weight into theirs. When in the WORLD did that become a thing?! Someone, please tell me.

So it’s hard and it’s frustrating, but it’s still so good. And I’m excited for the new friends to come, and sad to see our old routines go. I’ve already spent a while mourning last summer. Last summer was seriously the best. We were at the park by 8AM, there until 11AM, went home sweaty and dirty and exhausted, napped for hours, went to the splash pads, walked miles and miles together, and just generally had the best time. This summer won’t be like that, we’ll have one or two 6 month olds with us. Schedules have changed. And I’m sure it will still be lovely.

But boy, I miss those long days.

Single Girl Chronicles: The One About Cutting Ties

IMG_7671

As we’ve covered in previous Single Girl posts:

1. I can be quite awkward

and

2. I don’t have a ton of experience when it comes to dating — online or regular in-person dating.

Because of this, one of the great conundrums of this whole getting out there and meeting people thing is how to tell someone you want to stop seeing them after only one or two encounters.

Let me take a step back and acknowledge that the normal, cordial thing to do would be to tell someone to their face or through a phone call. But let me also acknowledge that the world of meeting late at night at a bar or through Tinder/OKCupid is not a normal situation and must be treated as such.

I’ve experienced a couple of different (almost always disastrous) ways of ending things.

First, there is the text message. This is by far my favorite way to end things. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s less awkward for all parties. However, I realize that not everyone finds this to be appropriate. The first time I used this form of communication in this scenario was probably almost two years ago. I had been on a few dates with a guy, the first since a big break up, and had decided he really wasn’t for me. He lived about an hour from me and we had never spoken on the phone. Strictly in person and text message communication. I sent a very polite (or so I thought) text and then dreaded the next ding from my phone. But I was certain that I had chosen the proper form of communication.

False.

Dude freaked out. Like, got really mad at me and called me immature. And I get that texting is not the best way to communicate. But what was my other option?! An awkward phone call when we CLEARLY avoided speaking on the phone?! Or asking him to drive an hour to hang out to only say once he got there sorry, just wanted to politely say I don’t want to date you! It was a lose, lose.

Good news is, recently I had to do the same text message thing and the guy thanked me for being honest and was very polite. So really, it is impossible to tell who prefers what form of communication.

The second form of ending things that I have (shamefully) utilized is the classic….just don’t answer their texts. This is reserved for guys I’ve met at bars and exchanged numbers with and then woke up with a clearly (less alcohol fueled) brain and decided there was actually no reason for us to hang out. This is typically successful and a mutual agreement, as I never hear from them either.

Except in one bizarre, bizarre case. Last year, on my birthday, towards the end of the night (which means around 3AM) a guy started talking to me at the bar. The bar was closing so we quickly exchanged numbers and I headed straight for Jumbo Slice with my peeps. He texted me the next day and I may or may not have Facebook stalked him and determined that I had serious beer goggles on the night before. Deciding that there was no reason to continue this as we DIDN’T KNOW EACH OTHER AT ALL I didn’t answer him.

And then he texted me the next day.

And then the next. This time he said I haven’t heard from you in a few days, is everything okay? Um yes, sir. You haven’t ever heard from me, I’m fine. I still didn’t answer.

A week later, another text. I hope you find someone to make you really happy, you’re a great person and deserve that. Sir, that’s sort of kind but mostly creepy because I DON’T KNOW YOU and we only spoke for 10 minutes max. For all you know I am the worst person ever!! Still didn’t answer him.

It’s now been 10 months. And without fail this guy texts me once a month either asking how I’ve been or just randomly saying hi. Luckily, I haven’t deleted his number so I don’t accidentally say who is this? and start a conversation.

Because at this point, dude, what do you think is going to happen? I’m going to say Oh hello!! I’ve been ignoring your CREEPY texts for almost a year but today, today I have decided I want to date you. WHAT?!?

And you know, I’ve been on the other end of the “don’t answer their texts” situation and it does suck, for about five minutes, and then you realize that you DON’T KNOW THIS PERSON and if they don’t want to know you enough to answer your text, it’s best to cut your losses.

So yes, this is not the most mature tactic but really, I hate talking on the phone, NO ONE TALKS ON THE PHONE ANYMORE, and I see no better way of going about this always awkward situation.

Happy Birthday, Ladybug!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Oh my dear Ladybug. You are two years old! And when I ask you how old you are you say two! and then stare at your fingers, willing them to form the number two but just not sure how you could possibly get them into that position.

You are brilliant. Truly, the most brilliant little girl I’ve ever met. And yes, I’m completely biased and you could just grunt all day long and I would still think this, but really, you’re crazy smart.

You speak in legitimate complete sentences. My favorite recent one was I put on a show! when you jumped on a piece of plywood and started performing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star like you were standing center stage at the Kennedy Center.

Over the last two years I’ve learned that I pretty much know nothing. Had you asked me last year which of my nanny babes would’ve been the most out going I would have said Stink, without hesitation. Same goes for which babe would be the most brave at the playground. But I was oh so wrong.

You are so friendly and so curious that it is impossible for you to be shy. Sure, out going doesn’t always mean talkative when it comes to you, but you will let almost anyone hold your hand or carry you, all the while giving them a quizzical look that clearly conveys Don’t think that I like you yet, I’m just tolerating you until I make my decision. But please continue to cart me around town while I make this decision.

You just learned how to walk on the balance beam at the park, you go down slides like you’re on the Olympic luge team. You love seesaws, to my great chagrin.

You are bright and bold and beautiful and make me so proud all the time.

Bug, I cannot believe how far we’ve come since you were my tiny little Elvis impersonator. I love you with all the love and I hope that we never stop greeting each other with arms wide, running across the room hugs.

2013-04-04 01.32.01

You in the same shirt as the above shot, a year and a half prior!

Last year’s birthday message can be found here!

The Stroller Diaries // 51

This is a special edition of The Stroller Diaries because today I want to announce the arrival of our new nanny family member!!

Stink’s mom had his new baby SISTER yesterday afternoon!!! We didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl until she was born and the suspense nearly KILLED ME. I can’t imagine how impatient their mama felt because I was busting a gut to know.

I wanted to come up with an insect nickname for her since, you know, we’ve got Stink (like a stink bug) and Ladybug. My mom suggested Grasshopper or Flea (Flea nearly made me pee my pants) but I then Stink came up with the best nickname ever.

I have been trying to prep him for the new baby’s arrival, because, let’s be honest, he lives the life of a sometimes spoiled only child (which I certainly don’t help, I dote on that boy like it’s my job…..because it is). We’ve been talking about how the new baby was going to cry a lot and how she will sleep in the crib. And most importantly how we are going to use our gentle hands with the baby. Gentle hands are not our forte.

So, while Stink’s mom was waiting to be induced at the hospital yesterday, I decided to ask him what he thought we should name the baby.

Well, forget the insect theme, Egg it is.

Egg, we cannot wait to meet you and squeeze you (with our gentle hands). And I cannot wait for the chaos that will be this summer when you join our day-to-day group.

Also, stay tuned for ANOTHER potential new baby joining us. Stink is going to go part-time while his mama is on maternity leave (which breaks my heart) so we are on the lookout for a new baby for a few days a week. I’m meeting a four and a half month old and his parents tomorrow! Details and a nickname, maybe breakfast food themed, will come soon!