what i've been reading lately

I have not done this since January. Which is just ridiculous. But what that also means is that this list is quite extensive and so therefore this post could be quite nuts. I counted and well... 32 books. So I'm going to have to break it down into sections here. And I'll keep my comments very short. Ha!

I found a few new authors I love! Kristin Hannah and Sandra Brown. Totally different types of authors to be sure! From Kristin I read, The Great AloneBetween Sisters, and Mystic Lake. All three I loved! I am always left wanting to know more and they always end too soon. As far as Sandra's go I feel like she has herself a successful book writing recipe there. From what I can gather. These are page turners and I always read them so quickly! Mean Streak and Lethal were the two I have read so far and I plan on more! I have read Grisham before but it's been a bit. I read Camino Island and The Rooster Bar, both good as you can expect.

During the summer I read a lot of what I would call "beachy" reads. Meaning sort of mindless and light. Fun? So if those are your types of books may I recommend:
Still Me - JoJo Meyers
The Hating Game - Sally Thorne
Love & Gelato - Jenna Evans Welch
Beautiful Day - Elin Hildebrand

I read a few historical fiction books and I just love those. These all were WWII themed and as we know, that's my favorite part of history to read about. Fiction or otherwise.
Beneath a Scarlet Sky - Mark Sullivan (This was about a side of WWII I rarely read about, the Italian side. In the alps.)
Secrets of a Charmed Life - Susan Meissner (Loved this one, about two sisters and The Blitz)
Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter (also in Italy. jumps from the past to present and somewhere in between)

These are books I felt like I had to read just because of the author.... All were good.
The Chemist - Stephenie Meyer 
Origin - Dan Brown
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall - Diana Gabaldon (love me some Jamie!)
Varina - Charles Frazier
Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery (just for old time's sake)

I read two dystopian society type books and both were good. 
When She Woke - Hillary Jordan (the future where your skin is dyed to match your crime and no prison)
100 - Kass Morgan (delinquent kids sent to earth to see if it is inhabitable, also a show)

And ones that I just can't seem to categorize...
Wonder - R.J. Palacio (loved! cried! watched the movie! will read again!)
Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng (family dynamics, prejudices, stereotypes. worth a read)
An American Marriage - Tayari Jones
Sweetbitter - Stephanie Danler (also a show and I like that better I think, about being a server in new york)

I wouldn't recommend these necessarily and I'll just leave it at that.... To each their own!
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet - Becky Chambers (it was just a lot. if you're into aliens then you'd probably love it!)
Shape of Water - Vanessa Taylor (weird)
Capital Gaines - Chip Gaines (you know I wanted to love this, I did! just felt very self-helpy to me)
Seinfeldia - Jennifer Armstrong (wasn't as interesting as I thought it would be)
Homegoing - Ya'a Gyasi (super important story but super heavy and I got confused)
The Princess Diarist - Carrie Fisher (although I did learn some interesting gossip)

So. Any book suggestions for me? I'm all ears (eyes)!





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the thing about amber bottles

Has anyone else noticed something happening lately on Instagram and home decor blogs and even at Target? It's all about the vintage amber glass bottles. Apparently.

I saw it first on Liz Marie's blog and as you may know I find her to be just the very best and I thought, oh that's fun! And then I started seeing amber bottles pop up in my Instagram feed. Allll over my feed. And then I went to Target and wouldn't you know it, Joanna also has a few things (this vase or these canisters) in her collection as well! So you know she probably was the one that started the trend  in the first place and now I am just obsessed with it. As things go when Joanna is involved.

groundhog day

I very much feel that this season in life is just one biiiiig hamster’s wheel. Every day (or week) the same activities return once more and we are just sort of doing the motions of life. Rinse. Repeat. Or in our case it’s: get the kids out the door (fed, dressed, with clean teeth), fold the laundry, empty the dishwasher, try and find something to occupy the morning, pack the lunches, do the homework, prep for tomorrow, dinner, some sort of extra-curricular activity, bedtime routines. Rinse. Repeat. 

It’s a lot. And it feels a lot more because all of this happens in the 45 minutes before they leave... and then these quiet hours when the kids are away life sort of pauses for a bit and I'm a little lost and then it jump starts the second they are home. Which is what it is and all of that. Nothing to be done about it. They are healthy! Thriving! The things need to be done and why dwell on it? Because I am a Master. Dweller. That’s why. It’s also hard for me to not always be planning. What comes next? Am I ready for tomorrow? Do I have something to do with myself every single day they are away? So on. Probably perpetuating the Groundhog Day type feel I got going on.

I have been looking through old photos of Letty and David lately.... and they almost seem unrecognizable compared to the Letty and David of today. Where did her curls go? When did her curls go? Where are my round-cheeked soft little dimpled innocent children? When did they become these thinner, taller versions of themselves? With adult teeth???? You blink and you miss it and I’m just so thankful I have this blog. To help me remember. To document. And to relive those moments where my hamster wheel life style got in the way... 

Normally when they do their homework I’m off doing some other task. Prepping lunches or signing paperwork of my own.... Returning emails, etc.  Not paying attention, not in the moment. But yesterday I just watched them. David who has been really working on his handwriting and it’s impressive how smart he is! Have I mentioned how smart he is?? Letty working so hard to get through her books she brought home. She works harder at that task than I have ever had to work for anything. Except maybe to get her? Which is interesting.  But focus on the now, Laur. Today.

currently

It's been a hot minute since I did one of these so... yes, let's!

On the chalkboard: I didn't go too nuts with this wall as I typically do... The chalkboard in the kid's playroom however.... I have too many chalkboards to keep count of. It might be a problem.

dom's first two days...

Ah! My last one! Officially a school kid! Feelings! Coming out my eyeballs! 

Our first day was Tuesday and it was a shorter day, one where I didn't even have to leave him. A thank God! We got to do a scavenger hunt around the classroom and he enjoyed checking out all the new toys.... He especially loved the urinal which I mean, boys right? But it was good. A little slow transition for him (and for me, that too).

fall decor

It's time. I mean honestly I decorated last week after the kids went back to school. I gathered all my stuff up and laid it all out and then contemplated just burning the lot of it and walking away. I didn't know where to start and I have some new things I didn't have last year and so I was just like, meh! But! Dom was super excited about all of this. So he wanted to start in his room. Which isn't too crazy, just hanging up orange twinkle lights. But it was enough to get me going and knock this decorating stuff out.

my harrison is one!

Oh earlier this week my sweet sweet, smiley, big-cheeked, adorable, barrel of laughs nephew turned one! How!? He was just born! Time, you know how I feel about you! And over the weekend we all got together to celebrate our little Wild One!

and to my youngest...

Oh today is the day. My very last child will be having the very last first day of preschool. If you can follow that train of thought. This will be the last bandaid that will be torn off. From today on all of my little birdies are now school-aged birdies. Leaving my nest, and me, behind. Only for a little. I hear some of you saying, but he's only three! And yes, I hear you. But he is almost four and could you imagine sending him next year as an almost five year old to school for the first time? I cannot. So we made the call. Two mornings a week for a few hours. Just to dip his tiny big toe into the world of school.

the family that bowls together!

Gets made fun of by their Poppop together! 

Last Friday it was dreary and rainy and surprise of all surprises, we had no plans! So my brother-in-law suggested: bowling! I had wanted to do this over the summer but it was just one of those things that sort of got lost in the chaos. We decided to have dinner first and then - bowling! My parents met us for the bowling portion where my father, having been a veteran of a bowling league himself, looked on in dismay at the lack of bowling skill that his offspring possessed...

our labor day

This long weekend was just sort of an odd one. If you're from the area then you know that our Friday was just absolutely bananas with tons and tons of rain (almost 10 inches in a matter of hours) and subsequent flooding.... people being stranded and roads being closed and water conservation notices and so on and so forth. It was something else! The whole weekend just felt a bit off after that. But we still hit up Hersheypark with friends Friday because only a few miles away not much was happening as far as precipitation... Saturday was low key, I had a breakfast and shopping date with a friend and then we had ice cream at a summer joint with my parents. Sunday Letty had a play date (can we still call it that at eight? Maybe she was just at a friend's?) and we finally made it to the pool before celebrating my brother's birthday. And then came the actual day of Labor Day. With our patriotic wear! What else!

final day of summer vacation pool party

The final month of summer is tough. The final week of summer is tougher. And that final summer day? The one where you have to have all your ducks in a row and the bags and lunches packed and outfits chosen and alarms set? That one is just the worst. So I thought, why not throw a big giant pool party with my family? Eat too much food, drink the drinks, and hopefully get my mind of the morning. And guess what? Great success!

the etown fair!

Happy Labor Day all! I hope everyone can just enjoy this one last hooray of summer! Even if school did start last week. Rude. Ahem.

But before that nasty school bit starts there is always the Elizabethtown Fair! It's arrival marks the end of summer and has since I was in school myself, just a few years ago. Wink wink. I used to go for the food but I am trying to be good (aren't we all) and so we just went for the animals and then ate lunch at a more appropriate venue. Where the vegetables aren't hand dipped in grease and fried...

apple picking season has begun

I pick all the fruit in all the land. Even what is typically thought of as a fall fruit before it is even said fall. I wanted the big kids to get the chance to pick apples because as you well know, once school starts those weekends just get so darn chock full of activities and so... apple picking cannot be missed!

packing it all in

Our final two weeks of summer involved a whole lot of me trying to cross everything off our summer bucket list. With a vengeance. I was frantic to not miss a thing and just make sure that every last summer day was full of tons of fun things! And we almost made it. Sure the weather put a bit of a hindrance on a few of the plans but I feel pretty good about it all.... And so in our final two weeks of summer we...

/had a night swim/made s'mores/got back to school haircuts/visited hersheypark at night/went to the new playground at long's park/got ice cream at pineview dairy/had a swim with our fitzgerald's/discovered alcoholic slushees/had our final birthday celebration/covered uncle mark in hair chalk/had a sleepover/got ice cream at son's/got ice cream at fox meadows/david learned how to ride his bike with no training wheels/went to the bike trail/swam/went to amos herr park/got slushees/snorkeled with friends/added a slide to the pool/went to tj rockwells/letty had a few birthday parties, one that was a sleepover/
All that to say.... last few weeks of August? You exhausted me. But I sure wouldn't change a thing!




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to my big kids...

This morning, after what feels like the shortest summer vacation on record, the big kids will don their new backpacks and bound out of the van and walk into their school... and it’s all too soon. August is really the Sunday of the Summer I think. The whole month I’ve been eyeing (more like side-eyeing) today’s date on the calendar and dreading it’s inevitable arrival. I know all the rational things... David needs to be challenged... Letty needs the help of her superhero team... Routine is good for them... This is real life and unavoidable... The kids are healthy and growing and if my biggest problem is that school starts well, aren’t I just so lucky and blessed? And yes. All of that. But I still pout. I still throw myself a pity party. And I’m sure I’ll be crying big huge silly tears as I drive away from their school this morning. It’s my thing. I love my kids. And I want them with me. All the time. Even if they drive me crazy, they are mine. 


cruising: grand cayman

I can't even tell you how many times we have been to Grand Cayman. Lots, to say the least. And just like all our other stops it sure has changed. We were here last shortly after Katrina and well, things needed a bit of work. But now! Wow! The place is gorgeous. Of course we had an excursion booked but that didn't leave till a bit later in the day, so we spent the morning walking around the ship and checking out all the towel animals they had on display. We also took the kids into the Frankenstein Bar, a bar we all danced at the last time we were on this ship.... Ah memories....