Monday, December 21, 2015

2015 in Books

I set out the year wanting to read 20 books and I am currently on my 21st and part way through a couple others because I never usually stick with just one book at a time.  It's been so, so good to get back to reading more.  And very fun to keep mixing it up with a variety of books and genres I enjoy.

The reality is that I got through a lot of them by using two different apps: OverDrive to check out audio books from the library and Audible to utilize a free 3 month subscription and then buying some significantly discounted books before canceling my subscription to save money.

Here's what I got through, in no particular order.  Asterisks for my top 5.*

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou*

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity by Nicholas D. Kristof*

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Cry Purple by Christine McDonald

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt

Bittersweet: Thoughts of Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton*

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker*

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud

Why are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum*

Next year I hope to manage to read (or finish or re-read) at least these 15 books.  We will see how I do.

Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Curtis James
Race, Real Estate, and Uneven Development by Kevin Fox Gotham
Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grisom
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Between the World and Me by Ta-Neshisi Coates
Rising Strong by Brene Brown
The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story by Hyeonseo Lee
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith by Sarah Bessey
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of Amerca's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
Some of My Best Friends are Black by Tanner Colby
The Half Was Never Told by Edward E. Baptist
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Monday, December 14, 2015

Evelyn - 7

We are almost 3 months into you being 7, Evelyn, and we are all doing a lot of learning.  Seven has not been easy.  Seven feels different.  Seven has you reading, thinking, exploring, and changing in so many ways.  You growing into a young lady and you heart and head are sometimes a tiny child and sometimes wrestling with big things.  Your dad and I fail you daily.  We don't know what we are doing...a lot.  We love you more than words and want so much for you.  We will all figure this out together.

This last year you have accomplished lots of things.  Reading is starting to click for you.  You love to write letters to grandma and are learning to sound out all the words yourself.  You passed the swimming test at the Y to get to swim at the deep end and go down the slide.  You are doing to start gymnastics classes.  You are doing great in first grade at your new school having made several best friends and a teacher who adores you.

Way back on your birthday I gave you your yearly interview and here is what you had to say.

Who is your best friend?
Stella, Pela, Leila, Havilah, Mia, Nikyla, Jalyse, Sammasia, and Greta

What is your favorite color?

What is your favorite animal?
Dolphins and horses

What is your favorite thing to do?
crafts and gymnastics

What is your favorite thing to wear?
long dresses and shirts and jeans

What is your favorite food?
marshmallows and nectarines

What is your favorite show?
Wild Kratts

What is your favorite thing to do when we go to Iowa?
play with grandma and swim

What is your favorite thing to do with daddy?
wrestle and go on dates

What is your favorite thing to do with mommy?
snuggle and go on dates

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want people to know about you?
I really like to do crafts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Family Photos 2015

I'm obsessed with these.  So glad we got a nice warm afternoon in November to get out and take these!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Weary Soul

I have felt absent from this space.  Mostly due to just not knowing how to put words to what life is for us right now.  It hasn't even felt right to just post photos and updates, which has always been this place's primary purpose.  I don't keep baby books, I don't even know where Evelyn's is that I started for her.  I want to write down my family's memories somewhere that they can one day read them.   Our family's story right now though is one of brokenness.  It's one of hope deferred and sick hearts.

We had another adoption fail.

How is that even possible?  How have we become the major outlier of all the statistics and be living a story that defies reality?  Most days I can't wrap my mind around it.

At some point in this journey I started to feel very much alone.  Our continued effort to adopt doesn't make sense to most; and with good reason.  All signs point to us most likely being done trying.  It's not as easy a conclusion to come to as it may seem.  On one hand, of course it makes sense to just walk away.  Not subject ourselves to more heartache and loss.  But the reality is that I have poured my heart and soul into this effort for years now and to pack up and walk away leaves me with a sense of more grief and loss than I can wrap my head around right now.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Annie - 5 Years Old! (and 6 weeks...)

I try second child.  I try.  Here we go, on your older sister's birthday.  I finally got around to doing your birthday interview.  I love you no less.  I promise.

Who is your best friend?  Brayden and Julia

What's your favorite color?  Turquoise

What's your favorite thing to wear?  My pink fluffy dress.

What's your favorite animal?  A dolphin

What's your favorite thing to do?  Snuggle with mommy and watch movies.

What's your favorite food?  Marshmallows

What's your favorite show?  Bo on the Go

What's your favorite thing to do when we go to Iowa?  Play Barbies!!!

What's your favorite thing to do with daddy?  Go to the Lake of the Ozarks.

What's your favorite thing to do with mommy?  Rest

What do you want to be when you grow up?  A dolphin trainer.

What do you want people to know about you?  That I like to eat cake.  A lot.

Sweet girl, you are 5 and in Kindergarten.  You are such an interesting little human.  You are so different from your big sister in all your own unique ways.  You are intense, passionate, joyful, and dependent.  You like to rely on others to show you love to you by doing things for you.  You aren't big into having lots of close friends, but prefer to do things on your own.  You would rather hang out inside than play outside.  If given the option, a snack and movie is always your top choice.  You won't let mom and dad leave your presence without a hug, kiss, and kissing hand.  You are bright and pick up on math and reading like it comes naturally to you.  You are also graceful and adorable and sometimes your dad and I just look at you with wonder.

Love you so much sweet little lady.