If you were to look back through my archives, you’d notice that many of my Lately recaps begin with some form of rhapsodizing about how quickly the month has gone, how fast time has flown. I’ll spare you that commentary this month, because this April has not flown by; it has draaaaaggggged. I’m not sure why that is, because we’ve kept plenty busy. I think I’m going to blame the puppy-related sleep deprivation. It’s hard to feel like time is flying when you’re surviving on minimal sleep.
Despite the exhaustion, April contained lots of great moments and memories. Here’s a look at some of them.
// READING LATELY //
This month I finished my 75th book of 2018. My Goodreads goal for the year was to read 75 books—apparently I should have challenged myself a little more with that one. (I tend to be more about achievable goals than stretch goals, haha!)
(((So, a funny story about Goodreads: I hadn’t realized I was so close to reaching my goal. One night last week, I started getting several Goodreads notifications that people were liking my 2018 Reading Challenge, which I found random and odd—until I realized that they were liking my goal because I had reached it. Or at least, Goodreads thought I had reached it: I’d been reading this book on my Kindle and had flipped to the back to look at the Reader’s Guide on the last page. Since I’d turned to the end, Kindle assumed I’d finished the book and proceeded to mark the book as Read, then sent that status over to Goodreads, where it became my 75th finished book—even though I hadn’t technically finished it yet. I DID finish the book, but a couple days after Goodreads thought I had.)))
I read a few mediocre books this months, but also some really great ones. A few standouts were this book which is saving my parenting life right now, and this hilarious and relatable memoir. I absolutely loved this book, which checks ALL my boxes by combining the genre of experimental memoir with a new personality framework—all from a Christian perspective.
This book was my pick for this month’s Reading Challenge category (a book about a historical person or event), and it was great. I also read a number of excellent thrillers that are reigniting my passion for this genre. I’ll have full reviews of all of my recent reads in my upcoming Quick Lit posts. For now, here’s a pictorial summary.
// WATCHING LATELY //
Charleston seems to be aging out of nap time, which is a bummer, especially because his moods tell me he still needs to take a nap—it just isn’t happening every day. But a perk to his no-nap days is that he goes to bed earlier, and THAT means that Luke and I have some time to watch a show together in the evening. Our latest big indulgence was The Good Place, a show that had been recommended to us by friends and that I had already wanted to see since I’m a pretty big Kristen Bell fan. We were only able to watch Season 1 since the second season hasn’t made it to Netflix yet, but it was SO good.
The story of a naughty girl who “accidentally” finds herself in Heaven, and must then finagle her way into getting to stay there, is hilarious and surprisingly deep, broaching some interesting philosophical questions. Kristen Bell is just as adorable as I’d hoped she would be, and I loved the rest of the cast, too. The characters are quirky and humorous, and it was fun to see glimpses of their lives on earth in Lost-style flashbacks.
The show doesn’t at all align with Christian theology (or really much of any formal religion that I could discern), so if you haven’t watched yet and think you might want to, just keep that in mind. Still, I would definitely recommend this show to anyone looking for something fun to watch. And after the mind-blowing Season One finale, I am DYING to see Season Two!
My Rating: 4.5 stars.
// LISTENING LATELY //
My friend Lexi snagged free tickets to a Hillsong concert this month and invited me to join her. This was only the second concert I’ve ever attended (the first was the Dixie Chicks in college) and it was such a fun experience! The concert was held at a church, so it sort of felt like a super flashy worship service, but one with REALLY good music and extra special effects (plus a phenomenal message from Hillsong pastor Bryan Houston, who has the most amazing Australian accent).
The concert took place on the eve of the group’s latest album release, and they performed several songs from it. A downside to performing from an unreleased album was that most of the songs were unfamiliar to the audience, but it was fun to be introduced to some new material. I’ve been listening to the album on repeat since attending the concert, and I’ve loved having an image of the actual performance in my head as the songs play. I especially love New Wine, which is great on the album but was even better live. Have you heard it yet? It’s beautifully composed and I just love the lyrics.
// LOVING LATELY //
If you’re a regular reader, or if you know me in real life, you’ve likely picked up on the fact that I’m not big on change. I find what I like (whether that’s beauty products or routines or foods) and I stick with it. But every once in a while, I try something new and am reminded that change isn’t always terrible. Such was the case with my latest face wash purchase. I’d been wanting to switch things up with my facial scrub, and remembered that I had enjoyed St. Ives face wash when I’ve used it in the past. I couldn’t pass up the new coconut and coffee scent; it literally smells like I’ve washed my face in a Venti Coconut Frappuccino. In other words, it smells heavenly. And the thick, grainy scrub leaves my face feeling clean and smooth. The directions recommend using it 3-4 times per week, but I use it every night to wash my face and haven’t experienced any drying or irritation. I’ve still been sticking with my coconut oil/apple cider vinegar face routine, but this scrub (while admittedly less natural than the other products) makes a great addition to my facial-upkeep regimen.
Now here’s something I never thought I’d be including in a list of what I’m loving: running! It all started last month when my gym’s cardio center was closed for a few days for equipment replacement. That week I moved my workout to the gym’s indoor track for some walking, which quickly turned to a mixture of walking and jogging. I enjoyed it so much that even when the cardio center reopened, I started cutting my regular elliptical workout short in order to spend some time on the track. I kept things super easy, running very slowly and walking two laps for every one that I ran. I liked the change in routine (look at that, another instance of a GOOD change!), which provided a nice mental switch and physically felt good.
Unfortunately I’ve had to step away from the running (pun intended) this last week: though I was trying to take things slowly, I must have pushed myself a bit too hard because I started experiencing some knee and foot pain. I’m hoping the pain clears up soon, because I’m eager to get back to the track. I have zero desire to do any actual training, or to push myself in any way; I know from experience that this could be very unhealthy for my addictive personality—I’d either become an obsessive runner, or quickly burn out. However, I’d like to continue to incorporate some gentle jogging into my fitness routine. It could also be something fun to do with Arlo when he gets a little bigger. If you’re a runner and have some tips for how to get started (without getting injured), I’d love your advice!
// LATEST CHARLIE-ISMS //
Do you remember when you were three? I actually have many vivid memories from when I was that age, and it’s strange to think that Charleston might remember a lot of his current stage when he’s an adult. What he probably won’t remember is the hilarious things he says—which is why I am glad that I write them down! From Charleston’s mouth this month. . .
+ After discovering Arlo had pooped in his crate (a theme for our month): “That’s my very FAVORITE color of poop that I always always have!” (Only a three-year-old boy could get so excited about poop.)
+ “Are puppies animals? Because animals are hard and puppies are soft!” (This, after holding a hedgehog and a turtle—both “hard” animals—at a petting zoo.)
+ “I’m wondering if my hair is crumbly today.” (Crumbly=Curly)
+ On a windy day: “Is it cold today? Because the trees are all moving around.”
+ Listening to talk radio in the car: “I love your music Mom! This is really great music!”
+ “Are we going to buy a baby? Why did we buy a pet Arlo and not a pet baby?”
+ Playing with his train set: “The trains will be at the station in a few secs. They have lots and lots of secs to get there.”
+ “What are we going to do on all of the days, until we die?” Me: “I’m not sure buddy, that’s a lot of days.” Charleston: “No, it’s only like two days.”
+ “I’m a doctor. If my friend gets hurt I’m going to tear apart this paper heart and put it on their chest to make them better.” Me: “Oh, is that what a doctor does?” Charleston: “No, but it is what a Charlie Doctor does.”
+ Me: “I love you. I’m the luckiest mom in the world.” Charleston: “No, I love YOU more! And I am the luckiest kid in the world.” (Done while winking at me and pointing at my heart with his index finger. Where does he get this stuff?)
+ Randomly at dinner one night: “I LOVE my family! It’s Mommy and Daddy and Charleston and Arlo. I have the best family ever!” I would agree. 😉
// HAPPENINGS AND HIGHLIGHTS //
Has it really been less than a month since we celebrated Easter? It feels like ages ago! It was definitely a great Easter though. Holidays with kids are so much more fun. On the day before Easter we dyed our Easter eggs (half were hard boiled that we made just to eat, half were confetti eggs that we used in the next day’s egg hunt). Charleston was really into the dying this year and had fun seeing how the colors mixed, or how long we had to leave an egg in the dye to achieve the right hue. It’s amazing how the simplest activities can turn into rich educational experiences, and I love it.
We served at and attended church on Easter Eve. I’ve been taking a break from serving in children’s ministry, but that evening I helped lead the preschool worship and it was good to be back. The service itself was excellent and very well attended, and afterwards we enjoyed the food trucks and petting zoos in the church parking lot. Charleston got to hold a turtle, hedgehog, and bunny—which definitely seemed cool at the time, until the next day when we learned there was a second petting zoo with kangaroos! I was super bummed about missing out on that one.
That night we came home and Charleston put out an Easter basket filled with plastic eggs for the Easter Bunny to hide. We also put out some carrots and water for him to eat, but Charleston was concerned that Mr. Bunny wouldn’t be able to eat the carrots, because when we went to the mall to see the Easter Bunny, his mouth didn’t open up or move. He’s a smart one, that Charleston!
On Easter morning we were up early for an egg hunt at home. Charleston was excited to see that the Easter Bunny had somehow managed to eat those carrots, and had left a basket full of goodies as a “thank you.” Charleston hunted for his plastic eggs and found all twenty-four of them (despite distractions from Arlo, who was barking incessantly in the kitchen, wanting to get in on the egg-hunting action).
That afternoon we drove out to Luke’s parents’ house to celebrate with my in-laws. We introduced Arlo to his puppy cousins (Luke’s parents have a German Shepherd and his sister has two puppy Boston Terriers); the dogs were a handful, but were reasonably well behaved for a first meet-up. We had a barbecue lunch and then did another egg hunt in their large yard, this time with confetti eggs. We learned that organic free-range eggs are very difficult to crack; next year we’re going with the cheap eggs for Easter! Despite some sore heads (due to aggressive egg smashing), we had a great day. Next year, Charleston will be joined in the egg hunt by his baby cousin, who will be almost a year old by then!
This month, Charleston and I made two trips to Sweet Berry Farm to pick strawberries. For the first trip, we drove with our friends Salisa and Bennett, and the next time we met up with our MOPS group. The farm is a bit of a drive, but it’s such a gem and we love going every spring to pick berries and in fall for pumpkins and Harvest activities. Charleston was all about the berry picking this year; he loved finding the perfect berries and adding them to our basket; I think he picked more than me. He even tried a few berries (which is pretty amazing, since he normally loathes strawberries). At the farm, he also rode the train, spent some time with the horses and goats, and went for numerous rounds on the bounce house.
Another MOPS activity this month was a trip to the Austin Zoo. It’s a very small zoo, which makes it perfect for young kids. Charleston hated the bird section (too loud!) but loved seeing the monkeys, learning about their habits and greeting them by name. (There’s nothing cuter than a three-year-old calling out “Hi Sango! I love you!” through the bars of a lion’s cage!) The train was a definite highlight of that trip.
My college room mate, Hilary, was in Austin for a work trip, and I was able to meet up with her for the afternoon! It’s hard to believe we have been friends for nearly sixteen years! I joined Hilary and her mom, aunt, and sisters (who were also in town for the weekend) for a walk through the spectacular Lady Bird Johnson Center, then some window shopping in the SoCo neighborhood. I enjoyed giving them a glimpse of this place I now call home, and of course it was great to catch up with an old friend. It’s amazing how life can change so much, but the minute I am with someone from my past, I am immediately transported to a different time in my life. Being with Hilary (who to this day is one of the sweetest and silliest girls I’ve ever met) felt just like being in college again, if only for a few hours.
And that’s a wrap for this April. Here’s hoping for a lovely (and slightly less frenetic) May! What were some highlights of your month?
I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what we’re into this month. If you’re here from the linkup, thanks so much for stopping by!