Category Archives: Lovely Reads

Book Recommendations

Hey Friends I have a couple of books I wanted to share with you if you are looking for something to occupy your time in the evenings when you realize summer TV is really the absolute worse (mindy project please come back soon!!).  Ironically these two books are both memoirs and I can’t praise them enough!

The first book is Until I Say Good – bye, by Susan Spencer-Wendel.  Guys, this book is so moving and a book you will have on your mind for a long time after you are done reading it.  It’s about this women who was diagnosed with ALS or also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  I am amazed by this woman’s attitude to this terminal disease, her love and support from her husband, her adventurous heart and lastly her love and understanding she has towards her children when they don’t fully understand her mother won’t be with them much longer.

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The second book is Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan.  This book will make you look at your mom in a new light and really make you appreciate your mom that much more.  After college the author traveled around the world and while in Australia needed to make some extra money and decided to take a nanny gig.  As she watches these kids she realizes all the things that bothered her about her mother started to understand why she did some of those things.  In fact as she continued in life, got married and had kids of her own her love for her mom grows and she realizes she adopted a lot of traits her mom did in raising her kids.  It’s an evolution of an relationship that I could really relate to.  If you want something quick and easy to read this book is for you!

You don’t need to be mom to love these books, but if you are one it will touch your heart even more.  Please let me know if you read these books, I’d love to discu

 

 

New Favorite Type of Book

I know that it’s been mentioned before how much I love food in previous posts, but in case you missed it and don’t know that side of me, food is pretty big deal.  And it’s more than just me loving to eat it’s an emotional fun thing for me.  I hope in a good way anyways…I also may have a slight addiction and though I’m still breastfeeding I’m going to hate it when I can no longer use that as my excuse to eating so much.

I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant and though it required me to eat VERY healthy, I truly was an emotional wreck.  Sure it helped me not gain hardly any weight, but I would have traded all of that to eat some foods I loved so much.  It’s like food warms my heart.  Some may get this and others won’t, my husband for example eats mainly for survival which I still can’t wrap my head around.  The nice thing about this is he’s very open to what we have and if I’m craving something he’s usually game.

I’m the person that studies menus online before going to the restaurant because I’m so excited to see what they have and it gives me time to think about what I’m going to order.  When I wake up it doesn’t take me too long to think about what I’m having for every meal.  To go back to my gestational diabetes, I had an appointment with my dietician where I remember calling CJ and about to burst into tears about how I was so upset about things were going and that they wanted to put me on a Metformin.  The following day my water broke, so if that tells you how stressed I was.  Lets just hope I handle things better the second time around.

But it’s even more than me just liking food, I love that food can bring you back to time you had it with family or friends.  Or that a certain type of food brings back a special memory.  Eating mussels and sopping up the wine sauce with bread will always make me think of dates with my guy.  Sushi is something I was first introduced to by my dear friend and we have had countless times eating it together since.  My mom’s french toast is my favorite and I look forward to it every time I go home.  But most importantly food brings your favorite people together to catch up, talk and make memories while nourishing your body.

With all that being said, I have a new love for books that include personal stories about their lives and the story behind a recipe they are sharing.  A recipe is a recipe, but when it comes with a story the food sounds much more delicious to me and obviously it’s much more special.  One of my biggest hopes is to pass the love for food onto my kids and make memories making food together and of course the conversations we have around the table.  Here are a three books I have read in the past that involve the author’s personal story to the food and recipes they share.  These are my absolute favorite books to read recently and I highly recommend them!

bread

Bread and Wine spoke close to my heart because it talks about not only the love for food, but the spiritual and emotional connection food allows people to share when around the table.  I actually met Shauna at a book reading and she’s pretty awesome.

homemade life

Without sounding cliche, the book A Homemade Life is also sooo good!  Krystal actually recommended this to me and so glad she did!  The author Molly Wizenberg has a blog called Orangette which I love following.  Molly has such a cool and hilarious personality that shines through in her writing to the point where I would love to hunt her down and beg her to be my friend.  I also have made a lot of her recipes and it seems she only posts recipes that are exceptional.

pasta

This last book, The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken was the first book I read that involved a personal story with recipes and it was probably 7 years ago which is pretty amazing since I have a hard time remembering things a week ago.

I can’t say enough good things about these three books and hope you give them a try.  If you have any books you have read similar to this style please let me know because I’m dying to read more like it!

 

Books are for Reading?

Meanwhile as my poor Kindle gathers dust...

Meanwhile as my poor Kindle gathers dust…

We are almost through November! When did THAT happen?? Fall passed too quickly. All of those beautiful fall leaves were swept away in a recent wind storm and winter has taken hold of Seattle in its meanfisted grip for the next six months. The weather these last two days has been near freezing and I have long broken out the down jacket on my early morning walks with Miles. I am now midway through my 23rd week of pregnancy and Baby Girl is kicking like crazy, which feels both bizarre and amazing.

Nick started his night float rotation last week and so he works evenings Sun- Wed and is off Thurs through Sat. This will be his schedule until the end of the year. While we miss him in the evenings, I’ve been using the time to snuggle with Miles, to cook whatever I want (mostly concoctions only I would love such as hardboiled eggs with rice and soy sauce SO GOOD), research baby stuff for the registry, sit in bemused silence while feeling the little alien inside me kick, and catch up on reading actual books, and not just online articles. In the last few weeks, I’ve barreled through the The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, and Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple and have enjoyed escaping into their stories for a little while.

Here are my thoughts:

The Angel’s Game- nonfiction, historical suspense set in Barcelona. If you loved Shadow of the Wind (one of my absolute favorites), this prequel isn’t as good, but the story is still compelling and it is always a thrill to visit the Forgotten Cemetery of Books again.

The Language of Flowers- Missy mentioned this one in a previous post! I loved this elegant story about a woman who struggled through the foster care system growing up and has a unique skill for communicating through flowers. Did you know that dahlias convey dignity, and daffodils signal new beginnings?

The Beautiful Ruins- a story that is both a travelogue (set in the Amalfi Coast of Italy), and a fictionalized account of Old Hollywood? I’m in.

Where’d You Go Bernadette?- Once I got used to the haphazard narrative and characters and settled into the book, it was a fun read. Plus, it was set in Seattle so a lot of details made me laugh out loud. Like the character complaining about the overabundance of five-way intersections around here. Girl, don’t even get me started on the city’s ridiculous road system.

Why was finishing these books such a big deal? I have a confession. I collect books. I love seeing them filling up my shelves and house but am a little ashamed to say how proud I am when I can actually SIT for a few hours these days and finish one. I used to read voraciously: on car trips, in class, at the library, under the bed covers until 3am some days to the point where my eyesight suffered growing up, but my attention span has really diminished lately. This may be in part a side effect to all the multitasking we are required to do nowadays and yes, also because of the introduction of smartphones and tablets into our lives.  Why do just one thing, reading a book for example, when you can get THREE things done at the same time like catching up on the news and online shopping and banking?

That sounds terrible so I am making a conscious effort to enjoy these precious last few months of freedom before I’m completely and wholly occupied with taking care of a little human being for the next 18 years. Plus, I think people are just so much more interesting when they’re well-read.

What books are on your reading list these days? Throw them at me. I think the next ones on my list will be Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, the Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes based upon other people’s recommendations. I hope to continue this reading streak through the holidays and into the new year. Fingers crossed!

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Some Perspective

I came across this op-ed piece in the New York Times this morning and thought it was a lovely read.

Hopefully it will give us soon-to-be parents perspective in the years to come.

The full text is below. Have a great weekend everyone!

The Passion of Parenting

By

I’ve been a single dad for 13 years. As with most single parents — and indeed with most parents — it hasn’t always been easy.

People sometimes say that parenting is the toughest job you’ll ever love. But I believe that parenting is sometimes so tough — and exhausting — that you don’t always remember to slow down enough to love it. Sometimes the love is registered in retrospect.

We jockey to give our children the best without giving them so much that they can’t appreciate what they have. We try to encourage them without coddling them. We lavish gifts upon them while simultaneously trying to nurture grit within them.

Parents walk a thin line between oppositional forces, never knowing if we are truly getting it right, judging ourselves and being judged by others.

And we are inundated by studies and books and advice: do this or that if you want your child to succeed and not spend his or her 20s on your sofa.

I try to tune most of it out. When I feel overwhelmed, I call my mother. She always seems to know what to say. I guess that’s why they call it “mother’s wit.”

When my three children were younger, and the strain of taking care of them seemed as though it would overwhelm me, my mother would tell me what an elderly babysitter once told her when she too felt overwhelmed: “Baby, one day they’ll be able to get themselves a cup of water.”

It was a simple way of saying that children grow up and become more self-reliant and eventually they set out on their own to chart their own course. You won’t always have to wait on them hand and foot.

She told me to remember that the more people a child has who truly loves him or her, the happier that child will be. So I work hard to maintain and expand their circles of love.

She taught me that parenting was a lot like giving a hug: It’s all about love and pressure and there is no one way to do it.

She taught me that sometimes you have to make time for yourself so that you will have energy to give to your children. Allow them to have a pizza night every now and then. An occasional treat won’t hurt them, but working yourself to a frazzle will surely hurt you. Rest.

She taught me that you must allow yourself time to find stillness and so you can be moved by it. Sometimes we are so busy that we forget why we’re busy. We have so many things on our list of priorities that we lose sight of what’s really important.

And she taught me that my children are not truly mine. They don’t belong to me; they’ve simply been entrusted to me. They are a gift life gave to me, but one that I must one day give back to life. They must grow up and go away and that is as it should be.

But as the time with my children in my home draws to a close — my oldest is away at college and my twins are 16-year-old high school juniors — I’m beginning to feel the pains in my chest that all parents feel when their children move away.

I thought that this would be a celebratory time, a time when I would relish the idea of getting back to me, of working late without worry and taking last-minute weekend jaunts.

But I don’t. Letting go is hard for me to do. I must let go, but my heart feels hollow. I can’t imagine me without them.

Lately there are times that I find myself just staring at my children, that kind of look that says, “I see you, really see you, and I love you with an all-consuming love, the kind of love that envelops you and sustains me.” It’s the kind of look that invariably draws from my children a “What? What are you looking at?” They speak the words through the slightest smile, a barely registered one, the kind of smile a teenager manages when they know that they are loved, but feel that they are too old for hugs or tears.

Life gave them to me. I’m preparing myself, as best I can, to give them back to life.

 

Lovely Reads

I don’t know if we ever mentioned this but Krystal and I were part of a Book Club back when we lived in Chicago.  We often didn’t talk about the book much longer then 10 minutes, but what made these nights were the wonderful ladies and the delicious food.  So yeah, these were some of the best nights!  I miss them!!!  Now having Nola I don’t have as much time to read, but still try to make a point of having a book around in case I ever have a chance to read some.

If you are interested I wanted to share two books with you.  The first book is called The Language of Flowers and is a great summer read and based in San Francisco!  Here’s a brief summary of the book:

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

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The second book I want to suggest is a children’s book of course, wink, wink.  We read a lot of books to Nola throughout the day, and there are so many great ones out there and not so great one’s too.  The book, You Are My I Love You, is so sweet and expresses the love you have for your child in such a great way.  My favorite part of the book is, “I am your finish line; you are my race.  I am your praying hands; you are my saying grace.”

  you are my i love you

Hope you like these books as much I as I do!  If you have read a great book recently I’m always looking for my next book to read so please let me know!