Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Swimming Lessons

I recently finished Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller.  It was a page turner.  I would sit down and suddenly be 50 pages farther.  The book is written where one chapter is set in the present and the next chapter is written in letter form and tells the story of the past.  It was a good format.  I got so frustrated with the characters in a good way!

Ingrid meets Gil when she is in his college class.  He is much older than her and even though she has aspirations of this feminist lifestyle she is going to lead, she falls in love and becomes the wife of the fledgling author who isn't very feminist.

The book opens with Gil many years later who thinks he sees his missing/dead wife.  Because Ingrid disappears.  She leaves one day for a swim and doesn't return.  But as the reader learns, she's left letters.  Letters that are stuffed into the many books that Gil has in their house.  This "sighting" causes a severe injury to Gil and the return of his daughter Flora to the family home.

The book quickly captures the reader into the mystery of what has become of Ingrid and the inner workings of this eccentric family.  The characters grapple with the idea of is it better to know the truth or is it better to just wonder.  This is a theme throughout the book.

It was our book club pick for the month and I can't wait to discuss it.

Description: Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage. 

Would you want to know the truth about a loved ones disappearance or would you rather wonder and have open possibilities?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Since it's been about 5 weeks since I posted one of these, I thought it was time to try it again!

Reading: Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg.  I read another book of hers awhile ago and liked it, and got this from the used book sale many moons ago.  It's a story about a bunch of townspeople in Elmwood Springs, Missouri and it begins in the 1940s.  So interesting, but not much plot! Also, this is the 2nd book in a 4 part series.  I've only read this one and the first book I read was book 4.  So, in my opinion you don't really need to read them in order.  But this is my experience with just these two books!

Loving:  my kid.  She cracks me up.  She has such a great sense of humor and doesn't fully get it yet, but man does she crack me up!

Feeling: ready for summer! Not so ready for my kids bday.  She turns 8 soon, and I do not have any idea of what to get her for her bday.  She literally has everything she wants which is made evident every year when people ask her what she wants for her bday/Christmas and she has zero ideas.  Yeah... so far I have a book that I bought months ago, and pjs that were on sale months ago.  Thinking about getting her some softball stuff she doesn't have yet.  But also looking at the local theatre to see if they have any shows she and I could maybe attend this summer.

Anticipating: my 20 week ultrasound.  I'm nervous.  We know it's a girl already because of genetic testing.  We also know that all those tests were negative.  But it wasn't for everything.  And, I just feel like I need some more reassurance.  The news with the daily taking away of women's control of their bodies everywhere doesn't help, when I'm worried about what I may or may not find out.  Let me tell you, I've always been pro-choice, but going through pregnancy/having a child has made me more adamant.  This will be my last pregnancy regardless, so I best be getting on the sterilization train, before even more of my freaking rights get taken away by people who just want to control a woman.  

Grateful: that I have such a sweet child.  She made me a book for Mother's Day at school that is just so sweet.  It made me tear up, because even at my worst, she sees my best.

Working: on clearing more space on my bookshelf.  I moved the one I'm keeping for myself downstairs, but I have more books than what the bookshelf holds.  So my 'job' has been reading books I know I won't want to keep after I read.  Most I got at 'fill a bag' day at the library over the last few years.   I also have to finish reorganizing the office, but I've been at a standstill for a bit because the daunting task of emptying my desk just isn't appealing ha!

Listening: to lots of podcasts! I've recently listened to the first season of Up and Vanished that I liked and Over My Dead Body.  I'm on waaay long back episodes of Matrimoney and The Girl Next Door Podcast. 
Watching: the last few episodes of The Big Bang Theory and The Code.  I'm excited for new Southern Charm!!

Wishing: a meal planning/making fairy

What are you reading and listening to currently?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Library Haul Kid Edition

While, I am on a self imposed library break, as I finish off the books on my bookshelf to clear room for the new child's books, I keep hitting it up for the child.  She has really become reading obsessed this year and I'm loving it.  We are keep tracking of her books on goodreads and of the books we can remember she's read, she's already completed 69! Of course some of these are super short, but whatever, she's reading every single day and loving it.  I also like that she lets me bring home books from the library and she'll give them a shot.  She's like me, in the sense that she likes series, so I just keep picking up the next in the series of the books she likes.  I am always looking for new series for her, so if you have any suggestions I'm all ears!

Series that she's read or is currently reading and enjoying - The Little House Series, Tales from Maple Ridge, Dear America, Elephant & Piggie, Mercy Watson, The American Girl books,  Lola Levine, Blast from the Past, Sophie Mouse, Dog Man, Captain Underpants, and Amelia Bedelia. 

Here is what I grabbed for her yesterday.

She also LOVES unicorns.  However, she hasn't gotten super into any of the unicorn series I've tried so far, so if you know a good one let me know!

Her interests include history, strong leaders, and anything about Martin Luther King Jr., that she can read.  My mom got her the illustrated version from Usborne of Anne of Green Gables and I am hoping that I can entice her with that this summer.  I own that whole series, but I think it may still be a bit too hard for her if she attempted it on her own.  I realllllly want her to be interested in Harry Potter with me, but when we tried 2 years ago she wasn't a fan, and she claims she doesn't really care.  Argh!

What books are you reading from the library? Any series that you loved as a child?

Friday, May 10, 2019


All week long, I have felt that it was a day ahead.  Needless to say this week has been busy, filled with activities and exhausting.  The weekend is also full of plans.  I'm hoping that my pregnant tired old lady self can handle it.

My favorite picture from the week:  

I accompanied the kiddo on a field trip on Monday.  We learned about plants and the different ecosystems.

The high of my week was the kiddo's softball game.  She got 3 hits! And what she was especially excited about was that she did not get out any times! She also did a great job fielding.  She has been steadily getting better at batting and I'm proud of her.  She enjoys playing.  She's not in loooove with it, but I'm glad it's a team sport she can enjoy.  

The low of my week was exhaustion.  I'm good for about half day adventures or things and that's about it.  I think part of it is that the weather is poopy and that contributes to my let's just lay under this blanket and read.

The book I’m reading is I just started Standing in the Rainbow  by Flannie Flagg.  Her books always crack me up.  I'm only on page 11 and don't have much to say about it yet, because when I tried starting it last night I started falling asleep! I read The Girls of August by Anne River Siddons in one day yesterday.  It was a good beach read.  The end was a bit hurried.  

 The best money I spent was at Posh Peanut! They are having a sale and markdown this weekend and I got a crib sheet, swaddle, and headband.  Now I need to stay away because I also want a nightgown but I think that I went crazy enough!

My plans this weekend include going down state for a cousin's wedding.  Hoping to have a good sober time.  I'm sure I will end up annoyed at everyone.  Then spending Mothers Day annoyed and disappointed like all other holidays/birthdays.  Woo woo. ;)

What was the high of your week? What are you reading?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Baby's Bookshelf

I have a well documented book hoarding problem.  I love books.  I love having them in my house.  I love buying, borrowing, talking, looking, dreaming about books.  In the process of making room for our new child, I've had to combine two bookshelves.  This was a tragic undertaking.  I had to completely empty one bookshelf and merge in into an already full bookshelf.  So I've been utilizing operation read the book and donate.  I'm still over capacity currently.  I'll get there.

Yesterday, I finally had cleared the bookshelf I'm going to use in the child's room.  Sorry second child but you are starting out with a smaller bookcase than your older sister and it's a hand me down from my childhood. 

The seven year old and I had gone through her books a few weeks ago because I also had her on operation downgrade the books because I needed more room in her extra closet her in her room.  We pulled out all the board books that I had not donated, sold, or given away. 

A picture of the top shelf so far..

There are a few more I want to add in or replace copies of our old ones that had to be eliminated.

Here are a few that I want to get the child...

Hello Animals!  This looks like a cute board book and we do not have any black and white books.

Hello, Farm!  We do not have any of the indestructible books and I think we got rid of all of our farm books!  This one looks cute.

Dream Big, Little One I really want to add this to her collection! It contains a plethora of African American women role models.  I love strong women books for my little women!

The Going To bed Book! I love Sandra Boynton books! I thought we had this one but it may have been destroyed! My seven year olds absolute favorite was But Not the Hippopotamus

Little Blue Truck This is another that I thought we had already, but we apparently no longer do.  I have fond memories of reading this when I was a nanny to the kids over and over again.  They loved it.

There are obviously oodles more that I want to add but these are just a few that I think would be great additions to to our shelf.

What are some must haves on your children's bookshelves? Favorites to read over and over again? Favorite to gift?

Friday, May 3, 2019


I swear weeks fly by me! I can't believe we are headed into another weekend.  We ended up with no softball this week besides Saturday due to weather, but we have practice this weekend and two games next week.  I've double checked my calendar today, because there was nothing written in it and I was for sure I was forgetting something!

My favorite picture from the week:

Check out that pre-game swagger ! We also went through various layers on Saturday at the ball field.

The high of my week was getting a dress in mail for a wedding I have next weekend and it fitting.  I just need a pair of shoes now, which is turning into a difficult challenge.  I do not want buckles and I want a tan color with hardly any heel.  This is apparently almost impossible to find.

The low of my week was stupid cancer in the lives of two of my people.

Meal plan for the week was  
Monday - I went out for book club and my family had leftover pizza
Tuesday -  Baked Chicken Thighs and Baked Potatoes
Wednesday -  Baked Potato, eggs, toast, and sausage
Thursday -  Spaghetti, broccoli, and garlic bread
Friday -  Homemade tomato soup and homemade bread

What I’m listening to podcasts! So many back logged old episodes.

What I’m watching Big Bang Theory and The Neighborhood...

What I’m reading: Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck and I am really enjoying it!

My plans for the weekend watching the Kentucky Derby! Hopefully, hitting up the first weekend of our Farmers Market.  Maybe hitting up the opening of a local cider place we like.  Sunday we have softball practice and our nephew's 3rd bday party.

What are you listening to? What are you reading?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

April Reads

April was a month where I completely was clearing off my shelves.  Heck, our book club book was a kindle book that I'd owned for a few months that I hadn't read yet either! Anyone else have a huge amount of kindle books for just in case moments? I will download books that are free or on sale but I rarely read kindle books.  Whoops.

I read two different Dorothea Benton Frank books, Shem Creek and Pawley's Island.  Her Lowcountry series is a favorite of mine that I read way out of order but they just put me in a summer / beachy mood! My favorite of the two was probably Pawley's Island.

Knit Two by Kate Jacobs, is the sequel to Friday Night Knitting Club.  I almost want to re-read Friday Night Knitting Club because I read it over a decade ago and it was a brand new world of characters as I read it! Funny, how fast the years can go by.  I love the characters.  I love the strong group of women.  And I'd recommend the series if you haven't gotten around to it.

Sister's First by Jenna Bush Hagar and Barbara Pierce Bush is written in sections by the Bush twins.  It's a sweet book.  It touches on the closeness of their family and memories from growing up.  As we discussed it at book club, we thought it was disingenuous that there wasn't any mention of a big fight or disagreement, because how in the world could have be sisters in their later 30s and not have tale to tell? I wasn't a huge fan of the flow of the book (it had none) but the stories shared were nice.

Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen is also a book about sisters, but fiction! Two sisters in NYC who live very different lives.  One of their lives blows up, the other learns how strong she is, and there is a lot of character growth.  However, it was a book I could easily sit down and did often.  The very last part of the book picked up and held my attention but, overall it was just okay.  I've been disappointed more than not with her books which is sad, because the ones I like are awesome!

So after four full months of the year, I've read 24 of the 52 books I've set as my goal.  Last year I read 4 books in April, as opposed to this years 5 and I had 23 of 52 completed at this point.  It appears I'm on track if last years numbers are any indication.  I do know that I better have more read by September, because that month might be a slow one for me!

the books I got for the kiddo from the library recently

The kiddo and I are reading a Dear America book together.  West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi.  Which we both are enjoying!  We take turns reading.  It's a good time together.  She has been keeping track of her books on her own goodreads account this year and has already read 55 books.  I'm so proud of her.  Lately she has been enjoying Dog Man and the American Girl books.

What did you read in April? What are you currently reading?