February Book Report

IMG_7300

The ever growing list of books I want to read. Highlighted books have been completed, circled titles are next on the list. As you can see, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Another month has passed and another two books are in the can! Nothing compared to the binge reading that was January (13 books is kind of insane). But I read two really good books and I’m excited to tell y’all about them.

First up, a book Leah has been recommending to me for, well, forever: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Holy moly, me oh my. This book is a big-un, that’s for sure. Over 500 pages puts it in the kind of insane length category, but luckily all of my training with the seven Harry Potter books means that I’m not in anyway afraid of a good chunk of pages. And you know what? This book needed over 500 pages, and I would have read more. The quickest summary I can possibly give you is from the Amazon page: a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. 

And that’s the best way I think this book can be described because to give more of a description would give away part of the beauty of the book. Doerr does an amazing job of weaving the different characters in the story together and it’s almost like you’re reading a beautiful song.

Leah also did a review of the book, here, if you want to read more. But really, all I can do is urge you to read it for yourself. I can’t imagine anyone not loving it.

And the second book I read this month is a literal classic that has just never crossed my path before: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I know, I know, I can’t believe I’ve never read it! But it wasn’t assigned in my high school classes and I just never sought it out. But after the news that Harper Lee was going to release a sequel to her first and only novel, I felt like it was time.

I will say that I went into the book a little apprehensive since the last time I read a classic, The Great Gatsby, I truly hated it. But! To Kill a Mockingbird was much, much more enjoyable for me than Gatsby was.

I thought it was a bit slow in the beginning but once the story picked up I was definitely drawn into Scout and Jem’s lives. I really didn’t want it to end so I look forward to reading Lee’s follow up!

And that’s all for this month’s book report. I started Bloom by Kelle Hampton earlier this week so look for that review, and more, next month!

 

Happy Birthday, Stinker!

2013-08-01 12.41.53

588 days ago I started working as a nanny for two four month olds. A little girl with hair to rival Elvis and a little boy with the chunkiest thighs I had ever seen. Today, that little boy turns two years old. His thighs have thinned out and he’s almost as tall as my hips. He came running into my arms this morning when I walked into his house yelling “Emmy!!” and we squeezed each other so tightly I thought one of us might pop.

The last 588 days have been crazy, difficult, beautiful, hilarious, fun, and insane. I have figured out how to feed babies and toddlers, how to rock a baby to sleep and how to stand my ground while I let them cry it out. I’ve learned how to change diapers at record speed and how to best entertain babies in the car (hint, Shake It Off solves everything). I’ve learned how to be patient and kind, how to be firm and loving, and how to have fun in the most mundane situations.

But more importantly, Stink has learned how to sit up, crawl, and then walk. He has learned how to drink milk, be spoon fed, and now feed himself. He’s learned how to babble, giggle, form words, and now how to form full sentences. He’s the smartest little boy I know, I’m almost certain he’s a genius.

I get teary eyed just thinking about leaving this little dude at the end of the summer. He’s one of my two favorite people in the world and I’m so proud of him everyday.

Happy birthday, Stink. Thank you for loving me even when I stink at this whole nanny thing and for being such a fun little boy to adventure with. I love you with all the love. IMG_7157Last year’s birthday post can be found here, and a whole series of posts on my nanny babies right here!

 

The Stroller Diaries // 49

IMG_6641

I’m having trouble writing pretty much anything for the blog and I’m not sure why. But while I try to figure out that little road block, I do have some stories to share about Ladybug and Stink, so that I don’t forget how amazing they are at this almost two year old phase.

Today Stink and I were sitting in the pack-n-play together, because yes, I sometimes climb in the pack-n-play to try and hide and they always follow me. Anywho. He was standing beside me staring intently at his truck trying to figure out where the exhaust pipe was and he just looked so serious and focused. So naturally, my first instinct was to get really close to his ear and growl really loudly like a lion. Anyone that knows my mother will understand where I get this instinct. As you can imagine, it scared him half to death, he fell down on his bottom and just looked up at me like why……why would you ever do that. I was too busy laughing so hard I was crying and didn’t have time to comfort him before he finally caught on to the hilarity of it all and started giggling with me. It was a highlight of the day.

Until that is, a few minutes later when he was running and somehow tripped, fell to the ground, and got rug burn on his chin. (That’s not the good part, just wait for it). He came running to me, pretty much inconsolable, and I scooped him up real quick to cuddle him. Ladybug can running over and started rubbing his back fast and furious and saying “it ok, it ok, shhhh, shhhhh, it ok.” Then she would lean in and say “group hug, group hug” so she could get a good snuggle in. And after he finally calmed down a bit she asked “I kiss it? I kiss it?” and proceeded to kiss him and say “all bedder.”

And then I melted into a pile of mush.

Other highlights from this age include:

- both of them yelling “are you?? arrrrrreeeeee you????” when we are looking for a toy or pacifier (obviously this is their version of where are you?)

- Ladybug saying “scuse me” to any and everything in her path, including dogs, toys, trash piles, and snow.

- Stink saying “bye bye” to every. single. object. in every room we leave. Bye bye, trucks! Bye bye, train! Bye, bye light!

- This is a long one. The babies and I FaceTime with my parents fairly often and my mom and dad are just as in love with them as I am (although Dad totally favors Ladybug). We have taught them how to say David and Vickie (which is more like Bickie to them). It was pretty easy, except Stink has a cousin named David who’s brother is named Calvin. So whenever we are discussing my David he always says “and Calvin!” This morning, we were reading the children’s Bible and got to the story of David and Goliath.

Ladybug: Who is that? (pointing to David in the book)

Me: That’s David!

Ladybug: (points to a man standing behind David) and Bickie!

Stink: (points to another man standing behind him) and Calvin!

Apparently David, Bickie, and Calvin are all close buds and never leave each others sides.

Next week tune in for an especially sappy post as Stink turns TWO YEARS OLD on Monday. Hold me.

Thursday Photo Dump

I was organizing my iPhoto the other day and realized I have quite a few photos that haven’t been shared here, and I don’t want to deprive you of the all these fun snapshots from the last three months.

So, we’re off!

IMG_6419

My mom came to visit and braided Ladybug’s hair!

IMG_6054

It snowed.

IMG_6367

We went to the park. Once or twice. Not nearly enough.

DSC_0993

Matching shirts at Christmas. #cheers.

DSC_0995

On Easter, we play blindfolded Easter Egg Hunt. On Christmas, a blindfolded version of Hollywood Game Night.

IMG_6890

The sun is still up (even if it’s just a tiny bit) by the time I’m home from work. Also, I love my neighborhood.

IMG_6641

Right before they yell: 3…..2…..1….PASTA!!!!!!!! Which translates to blast off.

IMG_6011

Kobe Bear keeping watch.

IMG_6768

A hungover Harry Potter version of myself.

OVER AND OUT.

The Stroller Diaries // 48

IMG_6809

I’m writing this post over the weekend, so when you read this on Wednesday, things may be completely insane. Want to know why?

Ladybug is being potty trained this weekend. Lord, help us all. I’m not ready, terrified, dreading it, completely unhappy that it is occurring. Mostly because I really don’t hate changing diapers that much but I do hate cleaning up messes on the floor. Or couch. Or highchair. Or crib. TOO MANY PLACES TO HAVE ACCIDENTS.

So, I’m hoping that when I arrived at work on Tuesday morning things were great, she magically is the first baby ever to completely take to this whole potty training thing without a problem. And so by the time you’re reading this today, I hope we have adjusted to it and are not skipping a beat.

If not, I’ll be back next week to complain about it all.

IMG_6819

Pray for us.

Project DC Apartment, Part 2

Alright, it’s taken me six months to write this post, and I have a plethora of excuses as to why, but it’s finally here and let’s just focus on how great that is, alright? Alright.

Before we begin, check out my empty apartment here and my just-moved-in apartment here. We are now in an awkward more lived in still not fully decorated phase. The biggest issue with getting this post together is the lack of time to take pictures. When I wake up, it’s dark. When I get home from work, it’s dark. So Saturday mornings are my only time to take pictures and I just keep forgetting. Forgive me for the terrible quality of these. Come daylight savings maybe I’ll considering taking better pictures. Maybe.

Anywho, first up, per tradition, is my kitchen! It looks the same as it did 6 months ago. What you can’t see is that the cabinets are much better organized. And lucky for you, you can’t smell the mystery smell that is coming from my fridge (and no, it’s not due to any food I have in there or my lack of cleaning skills–something is seriously wrong in there.)

DSC_1020

Next is the living room. I added a rug!!!!! And I love love love it (so does Kate, so much so that she might order it for her apartment too). I finally hung the posters above my couch but I now hate the colored one in the middle and need to replace it. The pillows on my couch desperately need to be replaced.

DSC_1010

I’m very happy with how my bookcase is styled, it’s always a highlight of my apartment.

DSC_1016

DSC_1017

DSC_1019

And then this! The picture wall! That took me four hundred years to complete and that I don’t really love. You can’t tell here but the tape is peeling off of most of them–basements create weird environments that are always too moist or too dry–tape doesn’t like it very much. But, it is a good conversation starter and it makes me happy, so it’s staying.

DSC_1012

Also, the thought of having to take them all down and peel the tape off of them makes me want to cry, so, there’s that.

DSC_1013

On to my bedroom. It looks the same as well. A few extra things added to my dresser, I still don’t love the way it’s styled. My favorite prints taped the wall because it was taking me too long to buy frames for them. I’m in desperate need of a floor length mirror and a rug in here. Woe is me, right?

IMG_5956

Aren’t those twinkle lights the best?

DSC_1026

DSC_1023

So, that’s that! I love this little apartment. In a dream world I would be a mile closer to the metro (which would be right on top of the metro) and would have a bathtub. But really, I’ve got no complaints. I’m a very lucky girl to live in such a cute little place.

P.S. Claire, this post was pretty much just for you, you’re welcome!

Currently // February 2015

IMG_6904

appreciating the three day weekend I just enjoyed.

eating lots of bacon and scrambled eggs.

watching The Walking Dead, the best part of TV in the winter.

loving my new Madewell purse.

planning the numerous wedding events I’m partaking in this year.

walking to the post office to mail care packages.

enjoying my last few free weeks before the craziness of spring and summer.

ordering this weird foot thing A Cup of Jo recommended, I’m fascinated.

wanting Daylight Savings to hurry up and get here.

buying the world’s best leather jacket.

playing Motown records on my new Crosley (thanks, Alex!)

drinking OJ with pulp, by accident, and not enjoying it.

marveling at the fact that my nanny babies will be two in less than a month. TWO!??!

working overtime to save up for our trip to the Dominican Republic this summer!

applying for teaching jobs for next year.

looking forward to meeting Becky and Nate’s new baby girl next month!

listening to the Gilmore Guys podcast all. the. time.

wishing teleportation was a really thing.

remembering what this month looked like in 2014.

January Book Report

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Hello, peeps! It’s been a while since I let you know what I’ve been reading. And I’ve been reading a lot! My nanny families were gracious enough to gift me a Kindle for Christmas this year and it’s meant that I’ve been POWERING through books. Like, I’m slightly out of control. So, since I don’t have many actual hardcover books to photograph and share, and since I’ve got so many books I want to report on, this year we are going to do monthly book reports to share them all at once.

Let’s start with what was clearly a little trash reading over Christmas break (as you can see if you read the page on the Kindle).

I started and read all the Rose Gardner mystery books that are out right now. Which would be….8 of them. I read them all in a week. They are super quick, super fluffy mysteries that all revolve around a young woman, Rose, who has the ability to sometimes, sort of, see the future. Let’s be honest, I was in it for the love story, and it delivered all the fluff I was looking for. Start with Twenty Eight and a Half Wishes and prepare to not be able to stop yourself.

I followed those up with a couple of other Rainbow Rowell books. As you know, I love love LOVED Eleanor and Park, so I figured the rest of Rowell’s books would be hits too. I read Fangirl and Attachments very quickly and really liked both.

Attachments was a bit light, it didn’t have as developed of a storyline as I would have liked, but it was still good. It focuses on a guy who is hired to read all the office email and make sure that no one is using their computer for personal reasons. He starts reading the email of one of the women in the office and obviously falls in love with her, even though he has no idea who she is. A love story ensues, it’s cute.

Fangirl was about a girl in her first year of college who is struggling to adjust. She writes fan fiction about a series of books about a boy wizard (a knock off version of Harry Potter). The book chronicles her relationships with her twin sister, dad, roommate, and duh, a love interest. A really sweet book and also interesting if you’re like me and have never delved into the deep internet world that is fan fiction. Crazy stuff.

Next I switched back to hard cover books to read the one my aunt and uncle gifted me for Christmas, This Is Where I Leave You. I LOVED it. It was sad, hilarious, heart warming, and sometimes startlingly real. It follows a man and his family during the seven days they spend sitting shiva for their recently deceased father. I’m usually more of a happy-go-lucky book girl, and this is certainly not that, but it was still great. Mom and I watched the movie when she was in town and we liked it, but it wasn’t as good as the book (are they ever?)

I followed this read up with rereading a high school favorite–Sloppy Firsts–I needed more fluff to read, school was overwhelming me at this time. Not worth the reread, not nearly as good as 15 year old Emily thought it was.

And the last full book I finished was Yes Please by Amy Poehler. If I had to pick a favorite book for the month this would be it, hands down. Amy covers the most hilarious topics and still manages to pack the book with great pieces of advice and stories from “inside Hollywood.” She maintains just the right amount of humility and grace throughout the entire novel and I loved it. If I had to rate the “funny and inspirational women that are kicking ass” books that I’ve read so far I would put Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling tied for first with Tina Fey‘s book in second. I’m going to read Lena Dunham’s shortly and I’ll place that somewhere in the rankings for you.

IMG_6571

So that was January! 13 books this month, whoa. Don’t ever expect this many again, those 8 over the holidays were a fluke.

I just started All the Light We Cannot See, so tune back in at the end of February for my thoughts on that and any others I manage to pick up!

 

Single Girl Chronicles: The One with OKCupid

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I debated whether to go funny or serious for this first real installment of the Single Girl Chronicles and finally landed on funny, because who doesn’t love a good story about me acting like a goof? If you’re new here, check out my introduction to this series of posts right over here. Otherwise, get comfy and prepare to giggle a bit.

I should start by saying, I’ve been moaning about how I didn’t think I was old enough to need to try online dating for….a while. I would joke about my singleness and then turn to Leah and say I’m not desperate enough for online dating yet, right??! Is it that bad?!?! And she would assure me that no, I didn’t have to try online dating….but I could, if I wanted. I continued to avoid the idea but then one day in June I decided, why the hell not.

So, I signed up for the free dating site, OKCupid. It’s your standard dating site, upload a few pictures, write a little bio about yourself, answer some standard questions (do you smoke, how tall are you, etc.) Then, there are hundreds and hundreds (probably thousands) of random questions you can answer if you’d like. Things as simple and frivolous as What would you rather be doing on a Friday night? or as serious as Do you think homosexuality is a sin? 

These questions were my downfall. When you view someone’s profile you also get to view their answers to the questions you’ve both answered. Which means you can fall down a rabbit hole and find out really bizarre information about someone.

I mean, do I really need to know how often a guy bathes or showers right away? Or how important it is to them that we be able to have philosophical conversations together? All interesting things to know, for sure, but it is so much information up front that a semi-judgemental person (like myself…..) might make a decision about what type of person this guy is based on questions from a website. And that doesn’t seem fair.

All that to say, it took me a while to finally answer a guy’s message and decide to get drinks with him. I was very, very nervous. Nervous isn’t even the word, I had worked myself into a real tizzy about the whole situation. I told my friends about it right before I headed to the bar for drinks–you know, incase of a kidnapping.

And then I arrived early. The number one most flustering thing for me on these dates is having to walk into a restaurant and locate a person I’ve never met before. The initial uhh, hi! Are you so-and-so? I’m Emily! Nice to meet you! Do you hug? Do you shake hands? Do you wave? It’s awful.

Since this was my first encounter with the whole thing, I arrived early and decided to just hang out on the corner across from the bar. I had a few minutes to kill and really didn’t want to get there first.

So there I am, just facing an abandoned building and texting Leah frantically about how I was definitely, 100% going to throw up (spoiler alert, I didn’t). And the next thing I know….I see the guy I’m supposed to be meeting walking towards me.

Let’s all take a minute to think about how a normal person would handle this situation. I’m going to guess that most of you would have made eye contact and greeted him. That is probably the normal thing to do. Instead, I turned even further towards the brick wall I was standing at and let him walk right past me. Because I am awkward. And there is no chance he wouldn’t have seen me, no chance.

After essentially spying on him as he walked into the bar, I finally entered and went through the awkward greeting. It wasn’t too bad. He looked like his picture (although to be honest, those were clearly REALLY good pictures of him) and didn’t seem like a serial killer.

Another side note, most people that read this probably know that I hate most beer. I hated all beer until about a year ago and I’m slowly trying to widen my horizons because liquor is expensive and gets you drunk too quickly.

The waitress came and handed us a drink menu. At this point I was still so nervous that everything was happening in a really fast blur. I glanced at the menu and realized we were definitely at a hipster bar and I didn’t recognize one single thing on the menu.

So, I did the logical thing and picked the first drink I saw. Which turned out to be the world’s darkest beer. We’re talking, darker than black coffee. And thick. And like nothing I had ever drank before.

But! I was a trooper and I drank the whole thing, plus one more. Turns out it was a very potent beer because I’d been way too nervous to eat before this meeting and by the time I got up to leave the beer hit me hard. Oops.

The date went fine, he was nice, we had a lot in common. But there wasn’t really any “spark.” Ugh, that is the worst phrase ever, isn’t it? But I can’t think of a better way to describe it. It just felt kind of, blah. We texted for a few days after but eventually just stopped speaking (the awkward way you “end” these online dating exchanges is a whole other post in and of itself.)

But all in all, aside from slightly stalking and drinking gross, potent beer, it went well! I had survived! And a certain adrenaline rush comes from meeting new people and trying new things, so I was happy with the way it had gone. A little nervous to try it again, but not totally against it.

Until next time!

The Stroller Diaries // 47

IMG_6563

This picture is from last week at the library. Ladybug loves, I mean LOVES, the Pigeon. In case you don’t know, the Pigeon is from a series of Mo Willems books. He is a crazy pigeon that hates taking baths and loves to drive buses. And seriously, Ladybug is enthralled by him. When we saw this stuffed animal at the library she started to shake and squeal, similar to a teenage girl at a One Direction concert. I’ve never seen anything like it.

She proceeded to carry him around in a chokehold for the rest of the day and now every time I mention going to the library for story time on Thursday she excitedly exclaims Pigeon?!?! Pigeon?!?!? 

I may or may not have to buy her this pigeon for her second birthday. Which is in less than two months. Holy moly, when did that happen?!

Her deep love for this series of books is especially heartwarming to me because I’ve always been a fan of a good series. I hate when a good book ends so knowing that there are more books to come about my favorite characters is always so exciting. As a little girl I loved the Boxcar Children, the Babysitters Club, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and of course, Harry Potter.

Is it too soon to start reading Harry Potter to my babes? Not kidding, when they were smaller, like 4-7 months, I would read aloud my Harry Potter books to them. It was a win-win. They learned new and important vocabulary like Expecto Patronum and I got in my reading time for the day. But nowadays I don’t think they would have the patience to sit through even one paragraph. Silly two year olds.