Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Reading List Review

For my last post in 2010 I am leaving you with a review of all the books I read this year. Enjoy!

1. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell- Nonfiction. I am an outlier for sure. My goal for 2011 is to read Blink and Tipping Point by the same author.

2. Super Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner- Nonfiction. Very thoughtful, very hilarious, very true, very good.

3. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger- Fiction. My favorite fiction read of 2010. Given to me by Sally when I was 2,000 months pregnant with Connor. I'm really glad she knows me so well.

4. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown- Fiction. Anything he writes is a winner in my book. Also, I like the way the covers of his books feel.

5. The Land of Mango Sunsets by Dorothea Benton Frank- Fiction. I read it this summer. You could have 1 brain cell and still read this book in about a day. Very easy reading. I recommend you read it on the beach.

6. Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot- Nonfiction. This is the story of the life of Jim Elliot. Powerful and life-changing. If you ever start to feel sorry for yourself, read this book. It will keep things in perspective. It convicted me big time of my selfishness.

7. A Scarlet Cord by Deborah Raney- Fiction. I think I liked it but I honestly can't remember even a tiny little thing about it. I know I was in a book club that discussed the book. I know I was still nursing Connor when I read it. Yep, that explains it. Have no clue what it was about. But I don't finish books I hate so I bet I liked it.

8. Crazy Love by Frances Chan- Nonfiction. So, so very good. I read it in two hours at a water park this summer. Quick read but full of good-to-go-back-to-and-think-about paragraphs.

9. What to Look For in a Classroom...and Other Essays by Alfie Kohn- Nonfiction. Alfie is my favorite author for educators. I highly recommend you read this book in a book club with your absolute favorite principal and your absolute favorite literacy coach. It will be really fun and deep and thought-provoking and you'll disagree a lot because you're all three really different and also you're all three almost identical so you'll agree a whole bunch, too. It'll be perfect.

I started Same Kind of Different As Me by Denver Moore and Ron Hall but I didn't finish it because EDU 459 happened. And EDU 459 required me to read 13 books. From September thru December.

I'm going to list the titles and put a star next to the titles that you absolutely must read.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Family Friendly Communication Early Childhood Programs
Six Simple Ways to Assess Children
Spotlight on Young Children and Play
By the Ages
Transition Time
Infant Toddler Environmental Rating Scale
Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale
The Right Stuff for Chidren Birth to 8
Classroom Routines That Really Work
Meeting the Challenge
Class Meetings
Early Learning Environments That Work

Good news is the class is over and now I've got an additional area of certification under my belt. Woohoo!

I didn't get a chance to finish Same Kind of Different As Me.

I also started but didn't get a chance to finish:

The Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers

Well-Behaved Child by John Rosemond (don't think I'll finish it)

Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner (yes, I'm 12.)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Every single year I say I'm going to read it. And I start it. And I can't finish it. I don't really want to read it except that it's Melissa's favorite book and she's that favorite principal I mentioned earlier and I want to be like her when I grow up so I think she'll respect me more and stuff if she knows I've read it. Maybe 2011 will be my year. We'll see.)

I have loads and loads of titles written down for 2011. And I can't wait! As soon as I press "publish post" on this blog entry, I'm using my Christmas money to order myself a Kindle. Never thought I'd cave. I love real books too much. But it will be so nice to keep my Kindle in my pocketbook and have a "book" with me wherever I go.

Happy New Year and Happy Reading! Oh, and please comment with your reading goals for 2011. I love to know what people are reading!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

She's really smart.

Reagan has tattled on Landon about a billion times this week. It usually sounds like this:

"Mommy, Landon stepped on my pink princess slippers."


"Mommy, Landon looked at me with a face like a grown-up."


"Mommy, Landon called me a purple stinky face."

I've told her to stop tattling on Landon. And this morning I told her that if she tattles on Landon one more time, the results will not be pretty.

Fifteen minutes later, she walked up to me and said,

"Mommy, someone pinched my face. It wasn't you. And it wasn't Connor."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Disneyworld, Part 3

Dedicated to Connor Man.

Connor Man's favorite things about Disneyworld:

1. Getting his first ever haircut!
2. Pointing at everything and saying, "uh" (in a grunting noise....that's the only sound he makes, remember? Because I don't teach him stuff. Like words.)
3. Being held by his daddy.
4. Getting lucky a couple of times and sneaking out of his stroller.
5. Gaining 3 lbs.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm an onion.

Onions have layers. I'm an onion. (And I've also watched "Shrek" too many times.)

I'm a main character in a play tomorrow night and the next night and the next night. I was telling someone the other day, who I thought knew me pretty well, about how I throw up and have diarrhea and break out in a rash all over my chest and neck and get all clammy when I have to stand on a stage in front of people. She thought I was kidding. I was not.

I am not shy. I am very talkative. But talking or singing in front of people makes me sick. But I still do it. Because people tell me that's one of my gifts so I believe them. Then I use the bathroom a whole bunch, put on a turtleneck, dry my hands and get on with it.

Anyway, that conversation with my friend got me thinking about other things that don't really match my personality.

Like the fact that I'm an introvert. I am outgoing but I NEED time by myself to re-energize. My husband is the opposite. He's not crazy talkative. (He's not shy, either. Just not as ridiculous as I am.) But he's the biggest extrovert, besides my brother, I've ever known. He NEEDS time with friends.

I don't like roller coasters. At all. That's weird because I think I'm a fun person, in general. But people who don't like roller coasters are stereotypically not fun, right?

I'm really girlie. I'm all about some big earrings, the color pink, heels, and make-up. But there are a ton of girlie things I don't do. You couldn't pay me a billion dollars to attend a cheerleading competition (Sorry, Cortney.) I use zero hair products. I can't remember the last time I wore hose or tights. If I wear a dress, it's kind of a big deal. But I'm trying to do better in that area. Two weeks ago, I bought a curling iron and I've noticed people saying things like, "Your hair looks so pretty" which I'm pretty sure translates into, "Wow. You fixed your hair. Way to be a grown up!"

I'm a big, fat Vidalia onion.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Disneyworld, Part 2

Part 2 is all about our 3-year-old, Reagan. She is obsessed with princesses. So you can imagine how excited she was to meet Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Ariel. We ate dinner in Cinderella's castle one evening and the following morning, we had breakfast in a castle in Akershus, a Norwegian castle in Epcot. Yummy and princess-y perfection!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Disneyworld, Part 1

I thought and thought about how to organize these Disney posts. Part of me wanted to organize them by restaurant because one of my favorite hobbies is eating. Part of me wanted to organize them by theme park because that just seemed normal. But I decided to land on organizing them by kiddo.

Today's post is dedicated to our five-year-old, Landon. He's the man. This was a huge year for Landon because he was tall enough to ride every single ride except Rockin' Roller Coaster. Landon LOVES roller coasters. Which is a HUUUUUGE answer to prayer. I am big, fat baby when it comes to amusement park rides. The Carousel is about as adventurous as I get. Well, my hubby loves rides so before we had children I prayed that the Lord would give us at least one child who loves rides as much Nathan does and he granted that prayer big time!

This was Landon's first year being able to ride Space Mountain. He conquered it with Nathan and my parents. While they conquered that ride, I conquered chasing around my 15-month-old who can now walk and thought trying to get lost in Disneyworld would be a really neat idea.

Expedition Everest got a BIG thumbs up from Landon and Nathan. Of course, I've never ridden it but from what I hear it's awesome and there's a yeti who tries to scare you and it goes fast and backwards. All of those things (being scared, going fast, going backwards) make me throw up but apparently they make Landon really happy and want to ride it again and again and again. Literally. I think they rode it three more times.

Here they are faking like they're scared. Or maybe making fun of me. I'm not sure.

The one on the left= ridiculously cute. The one on the right= ridiculously handsome.

In the background you can see Tower of Terror. It drops you a whole bunch of feet and is way dark and way scary. Landon LOVED it. His face doesn't show it. I think I took that picture right after I said, "No, you can't have more candy" for the billionth time.

Friday, December 10, 2010

15 months old

Monday, I took Connor Man to the doctor for his 15-month well visit. Well visits for Connor Man typically sound like this:

Nurse: How's he doing?

Me: Awesome. Eating like a champ. I'm SURE he's gained weight.

The nurse weighs him.

Nurse: He weighs almost nothing. He's in the 3rd percentile for weight.

Me: Okey doke.

Doctor: How has he been feeling?

Me: Great. He's the man. He's super healthy.

Doctor checks his ears.

Doctor: He has a double ear infection.

Me: Awesome.

BUUUUUUT this time his well-visit sounded like this:

Nurse: How's he doing?

Me: Awesome. Eating like a champ. But I say that every single time and he still doesn't gain weight. So I'm sure he hasn't gained weight this time either but I've done all I know to do. So there.

The nurse weighs him.

Nurse: Oh.My.Word. He has gone from the 3rd percentile to the 27th percentile. Look at his chart! You are an amazing mom. I want to be just like you when I have children one day. And also you're really skinny. (or something like that....I can't remember every single word she said.)

Doctor: How's he been feeling?

Me: Great. So, I'm sure his ears are infected.

Doctor: His ears look clear as a bell!

ISN'T THAT INCREDIBLE? Connor Man gained three lbs. in three weeks! AND he didn't have an ear infection! I gave him a huge high five.

Then the well-visit took a turn for the worse and sounded like this:

Doctor: What words can he say in addition to "Mama" and "Dada"?

Me: He can't say any words in addition to "Mama" and "Dada". Also, he can't say "Mama" and "Dada".

Doctor: Have you tried teaching him those words?

Me: No.

Doctor: What body parts does he know?

Me: None.

Doctor: Have you tried teaching him body parts?

Me: Nope. Hasn't crossed my mind. I didn't realize I was supposed to teach body parts to a newborn.

Doctor: He's not a newborn. He's 15-months-old.

Me: I can't hear you because my hands are over my ears but I'm pretty sure you just told me what a handsome newborn I have.

Doctor: No, I did not. I told you that you need to grow up and realize that your baby is no longer a newborn. He's a toddler who can walk and stuff. And it's time you teach him stuff. Like words. And body parts.

Me: I see your lips moving but all I hear is blah, blah, blah. So I'll just assume you repeated how wonderful my teeny, tiny, just-born baby is. Good day, doctor.

Monday, December 6, 2010

25 Days of Christmas

I know. I know. You want to see pictures of our trip to Disneyworld. I promise I will be back soon to post all about our magical trip. But, for now, I'm going to stick with our plans for the 25 days of Christmas. Just a little something each day for our family to enjoy.

Days 1-4: Disneyworld

Day 5: Living Christmas Story at Union Methodist Church

Day 6: Take a green bath. (the kids. not me.)

Day 7: Eat Christmas shaped sandwiches for supper.

Day 8: Make Christmas cards with kids

Day 9: Deacons Christmas Banquet; kiddos get time with Miss Stacey!

Day 10: Ezell family Christmas in Boiling Springs

Day 11: Christmas with Nathan's side of the family

Day 12: Sunday School Christmas party at the Savages

Day 13: Christmas books "Read-a-Thon" under the Christmas tree in our pajamas!

Day 14: Buy gifts for Adopt-a-Family

Day 15: Landon's children's musical at church; dress rehearsal for adult cantata

Day 16: Drive around and look at Christmas lights. Maybe grab a peppermint/chocolate chip milkshake at Chick-fil-A if I've lost the weight I gained in Disneyworld.

Day 17: Opening night of "That's the Good News" our adult cantata at church that Nathan and I are the main characters in. Yikes. I've never been a main character before. I will be sweaty and splotchy and in the bathroom probably all the live-long day.

Day 18: Night 2 of "That's the Good News"- hopefully less sweating and less going to the bathroom; hot chocolate drinking with kiddos that morning and going to a precious one-year-old's first birthday party that afternoon

Day 19: Final Night of "That's the Good News"; Christmas dessert afterwards with kiddos to celebrate Mommy no longer sweating and being all splotchy.

Day 20: Supper Club with the Soongs and Church's...Christmas style!

Day 21: Christmas Movie Night in the den in our pajamas with popcorn and a billion blankets.

Day 22: Baking Christmas cookies

Day 23: Saluda Shoals Park, Santa visit, roasting marshmallows; opening presents with the kids and Nathan

Day 24: Family day at the house, New Heights Christmas Eve Service with my parents, back home to read Christmas story with the kids

Day 25: Happy Birthday, Jesus! Christmas morning at our house with breakfast casserole and then head to Boiling Springs for a few days!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Don't Put Me Down.

Each day that I bring Reagan home from preschool, she falls asleep in the car.
And when I pull in the garage, she awakens just enough to whisper, "Don't put me down."
She wants me to carry her from the car to her bedroom for her nap.

And each day that's what I do. I never put her down. But still, she reminds me, "Don't put me down." I think she knows I'm going to stick to my word.

I think she knows I'm not going to put her down. But she's in the habit of relying on me. She's in the habit of calling to me for help. And so I let her. And I never ask her to stop asking me to not put her down. I just keep carrying her in, never putting her down.

This week has been very hard. I am tired. There is a long road ahead for my family.

And this week I so perfectly understand Reagan's never-ending "Don't put me down."

Because this week, I've been saying those same words over and over again. And each time, I hear the same response:

I will never put you down.

You are mine.
My unfailing love surrounds you.
I am your refuge and strength.

Friday, November 5, 2010

This Week...

1. Connor decided to start walking more than just a few steps.

2. Reagan decided to cut her own hair. And I decided to act calm on the outside but call 911....I mean Belk Salon and make an appointment ASAP. Pictures soon....

3. Landon decided to exaggerate things I say. I say, "No, you can't play video games." He hears, "I'm never letting you play video games for the rest of your life." So he says to me, "You never let me play video games!!!" (in a crazy loud voice) And then we have the billionth conversation about how we shouldn't overly generalize mommy and exaggerate mommy and say things in a rude voice to mommy and then I say things like, "I WAS IN LABOR FOR 52 HOURS WITH YOU AND YOU'RE THE REASON I HAVE STRETCH MARKS A MILE LONG!!!!!" (Not really. That would be ridiculous. I'm not a meanie. But my heart thinks that stuff on the inside because I'm a huge sinner working every second on patience with my strong-willed child.)

4. Connor decided he can't stand mashed potatoes which is weird because he eats everything. EVERYTHING. Except mashed potatoes.

5. Reagan decided that when she grows up she wants to be a mommy.

6. Landon decided that he needs snuggle time with mommy every morning before getting dressed. And I love his decision! (If you know Landon, you know that physical touch has never been a big love language for him....even as a baby...he's always, always needed his own space and he never enjoyed being rocked or held for very long. So I'm loving his new little need for some morning-mommy-snuggle-time.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Please forgive me. Here's some deliciousness to help.

I wonder if only people that like me read my blog or if some people that don't like me also read it.

Like the boy that asked me to go with him to homecoming when we were in fifth grade and I thought boys were gross so I wrote "NO" as big as I could on the note he passed to me and he never spoke to me again. Even in 12th grade when I started to think boys were kinda cool. He still never spoke to me.

Or the cashier at Taco Bell who messes up my order every.single.time. And the last time she messed up I lost my patience with her and maybe I talked bad about her really loud to the stranger next to me on purpose to hurt her feelings.

Or the 19-year-old girl in my graduate class who thinks college is dumb and dislikes learning very much and thought I was a huge nerd for asking that she at least try a tiny tad bit to do something for our presentation we were creating together.

Or the driver of the car behind me last night as I drove 15 miles per hour on Wessinger Road because deer are everywhere near our house and I'm terrified I'll hit one so I drove crazy slow and he honked and got all sweaty and mad at me and I smiled and waved at him and kept on going my sweet little 15 miles per hour.

If any of those people are reading my blog right now, please keep reading. Because I have a recipe for you that will make you like me. Or maybe you're somebody that secretly dislikes me and I'm in the dark about it. I hope this recipe sends you back to my side.

So without further adieu, I present to you Pumpkin Hallelujah.

1 15oz. can pumpkin
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
12 oz. evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 c. melted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix all of that deliciousness together except for the cake mix and butter.
Spray a big 'ole glass casserole with cooking spray.
Pour the batter in there.
Sprinkle the ENTIRE dry cake mix (I'm for real.) on top of the batter.
Drizzle the melted butter on top of all of that.
Bake 50-55 minutes at 350.

And I PROMISE you (Jeremy, lady-at-Taco-Bell, Connie, man-behind-me-last-night, and the rest of you I don't know about) will like me.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween Party and Lessons Learned

Our friends, Michelle and Brian Crocker hosted a Halloween party at their clubhouse a couple of weekends ago and we had loads of fun. I also learned a

1. Dressing like a referee, while cute in theory since it matched our family theme, did nothing to raise my self-esteem.

2. Dressing like a referee AND standing next to Workout Barbie might be one of the most depressing things I've ever done.

3. Connor Man is

4. Mixing mayonnaise, cheese, and onions together sounds gross, but if you bake it all together and dip crackers in it, it is amazing. It won the "Best Food of the Evening" award. I should have definitely made more.

5. If you eat 12 meatballs, 2 turkey sandwiches, 3 peanut butter cookies, 10 crackers with cheese dip, 10 crackers with chicken salad, and drink 3 cups of punch, AND you had surgery less than 48 hours before all of that, you'll want to leave the party early and you'll go home and you'll throw up.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Family Update: No Pictures

Here's what our little family has been up to lately:

1. Landon is continuing to love kindergarten. Nathan and I attended our parent/teacher conference last week and got great feedback from his teacher. She has gotten to know Landon very well. She talked about how much she loves Landon and truly enjoys teaching him. She talked about his natural leadership abilities. She spoke about how he is growing as a reader and writer. She said he is making a big difference in the class. Nathan and I walked out on cloud nine. Mainly because we were thrilled that she is getting to know Landon the way we see him and that he is staying true to who he is.

2. Reagan and Landon are playing soccer every Saturday. Reagan typically stands on the opposite side of the field from the rest of her teammates while talking to her imaginary friend "Benny" or pretending to be Cinderella. Sometimes (like 5% of the time) she looks at the ball, then yells across the field to ask me what the snack is. Ah. 3-year-old soccer. Good times. Landon, on the other hand, is on the 5-year-old team and those games get intense. He is really strong on defense and is such a great team player. His teammates and coach have been together for 4 seasons now and it is evident as they work so well together as a team.

3. Last Wednesday, I had some surgery because surgery is my new favorite hobby. I had some kidney stones blasted and it went even better than expected. I don't handle anesthesia well AT ALL which is annoying since I have surgery about every other week. But this time the Lord gave me huge, huge, HUGE grace and I did not throw up one single time. Hooray! AND the surgery was free because I'd met my out-of-pocket maximum for the year!

4. We are leaving for Disneyworld in a few weeks and getting soooooo excited.

5. USC beat Alabama on Saturday so every day since then that's all we've talked about. And we've been screaming and high five-ing a whole bunch. All day long. Landon's teacher is a big Clemson fan so I taught Landon to read all the headlines from Sunday's newspaper about how USC is the best team ever so he could take them to school today and read them to her. I also taught him to read the headline that said, "Tumbling Tigers" with a picture of a Clemson player literally upside down after a terrible play against UNC.

6. Connor is walking! He's taking about 8 steps at a time before falling down. He is so proud of himself and is the cutest beginning walker I've ever seen.

7. I'm taking a graduate course that requires 17 papers this semester. But I'm almost half-way there. I'm one of the oldest ones in there. Last night, one of my classmates and I were working together and after I asked her a question she answered, "Yes, ma'am." Awesome.

8. Nathan continues to be the man. Last night he decided not to play basketball with the guys because he wanted to spend the evening with me. (If you know him at all, you know that Monday-Night-Basketball-With-The-Guys is something he DOES NOT miss unless I'm in labor. So last night was a big deal. I think he loves me. :)

And that's our family update!