Thursday, January 31, 2019

Question for my readers

I've been thinking about making a move to be a bit more academic in my life. If I wrote about some of my professional stuff (i.e. psychopaths, murderers, the criminal justice system) would that be interesting to you? Or would I be better off starting a different blog for those things? On one hand, this is my space and that topic is part of my Venn diagram, but on the other hand, murderous parents or pontifications on serial killers may not fit with my current "vibe" 

So I'm not sure? Let me know what you think! 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Tiny Dancer 2019

Averson had her dance performance this weekend, and for all my moaning and "cool mom" posturing, I could REALLY get into this dance mom shit. My bun game is on point right now, and I've perfected the tiny cat-eye. It really is just the cutest thing. This year, Averson was on "Dance Team" so her participation grew exponentially. The show was two hours long and she had four costume changes. She also had a solo including lift that I wasn't expecting, so there's no video. There's also no evidence of my audible gasp from the audience. 

Right after this number the curtain closed and Averson was on the wrong side of it. She adorably scrambled to find her way back in and it was maybe my favorite part of the whole show. Hers, notsomuch. I snuck backstage during intermission and as soon as she saw me she burst into tears that she'd messed up the performance and thought everyone was laughing at her. After a cuddle (mindful of the hair and make-up) and a granola bar she pulled herself back together and finished out the show like a champ. 

She's the one on the right
The lift! (recreated for posterity)

Sunday, January 27, 2019

I disappeared into my bean bag chair!

Whew! That was quite the radio silence run! It feels like I've been busy, but not necessarily with blog-worthy things. Also there was this whole drama at work that ended with me sobbing in a parking lot about a bunch of stuff that I don't need to air to the interwebs, and before you know it your silly review of a chair sits alone for way too long. So what have we been up to?

Some ducks visited our pond pool, reigniting my motivation to get the damn thing fixed for real

I bought a cool vintage light fixture to replace my not-cool vintage light fixture. Now I need to paint every damn wall in this house. But isn't it pretty?! The bulbs are Edison bulbs, but that doesn't really translate in the picture. 

As part of our commitment to our word of 2019 "Invest," C and I have committed to quasi-regular date nights. We had our first one at a fancy restaurant downtown. I took no pictures except of my meatloaf. It was one RIDICULOUSLY good. 

Eli got his boot off and got cleared to go back to wrestling. He's far more thrilled than he looks, and we're thrilled that he can start burning off that energy (and attitude) again.

C bought me the best pencils ever, in response to the above referenced drama at work. 

I took my new bag (and my girls) to see Mary Poppins Returns. The soundtrack's been on repeat ever since. 

It rained for eleventy million days and the natives got restless

And I went on a work trip and forgot to pack my grown-up pants. I've never been so grateful to have not packed my poop emoji socks. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

An ode to a bean bag (totally unsolicited review of Cordaroy chairs)

One of the things that made me fall in love with this house, blue carpet aside, is this amazing loft area. It really is the most perfect little space and it has amazing light. I knew that I wanted to create some kind of hang out space there but not necessarily a "play room." I have an armchair that we got in grad school (from Pier I, so fancy!) but other than that and the computer desk, we didn't have anything else that would fit. 

My first thought was a sleeper loveseat. That would solve two issues; it would give us a cozy reading spot AND would provide an extra bed for when we have guests. However, once I started researching I realized that if I wanted a sturdy, attractive sleeper sofa, it was going to be both pricey and heavy. Heavy was really the deterrent, since we were going to have to get it up the stairs and we're not as young or naive as we used to be.

Enter the Cordaroy!  I remembered seeing it on Shark Tank and on a whim decided to look it up. If you're not familiar, the chair is bean bag shaped but filled with foam pieces, and when you take the cover off they unfold to a bed. You can get anything from pillow sized footstools to a double king couch size. The cover I wanted  (Chenille in Espresso) just happened to be on sale, so all in we got a queen size bag with cover for $250.  Plus free shipping and a lifetime guarantee. I figured that even if it didn't live up to they hype it wasn't as big of a commitment as a couch. You guys. I love this beanbag chair SO MUCH. As in, I insist on showing it to people when they come over. "Welcome to our new house! I'll give you the tour, but first come see our cool chair!"

I am not at all being compensated for this review (but if they need an ambassador I'm 100% offering!), but this really is one of my favorite purchases maybe ever. This chair is seriously amazing. The cover is thick and soft, AND machine washable. The chair is super cozy, but also easy to get out of which is one of my complaints about most beanbag chairs. They offer to send more foam (for free!) if you need it, but you can see how high I sit on it as is. I think more foam would be overkill. I've napped on it with Averson and we both fit cozily. It's held up its shape to all of my heathens jumping on it. It has about the same footprint as the chair, but weighs much less so we're able to bring it downstairs for movie night. AND, the bed is awesome too! When it first arrived, the bed was about as thick as a moving blanket and I thought maybe I'd made a terrible and expensive mistake. However, once it fluffed back up it's really thick! I'd say it's probably about 16 inches high. The kids all slept on it over Christmas and it worked out great. The foam pieces do shift, so after a couple nights there were valleys and mountains but we flipped it a couple times and it all redistributed back. The company is pretty honest about the bed, saying that it's not as comfortable as a regular mattress but significantly better than an air mattress. I'd agree with that, and the added bonus is that it's not cold or bouncy like an air mattress either. And it literally takes me and C less than five minutes to get it back into the cover when the guests leave.

We've been trying to figure out what furniture to put in our as-yet-unfurnished second living room and I'm seriously considering doing the double king couch with a couple of poufs, maybe in a leather-like cover. If you need a spare bed in your house, and want a cozy seating option as well, I seriously cannot recommend Cordaroy enough. 

Do you have a Cordaroy, specifically one of the bigger ones? Do you love it as much as I do? Or do you have another product that you love so much and want to shout from the rooftops/interwebs? 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

What I Read: 2018

In 2017 I gave myself a goal of 52 books, and managed to end the year with 55. This year I set a goal of 60 books this year, and managed to end 2018 at 74. (There is a part of me that's really debating trying to cram one more in today so that it's a good 75, but it's probably not going to happen. Alas...) As always, I don't count kid books or books I read for work. I also had many DNF (did not finish) books. I have wholeheartedly embraced Gretchen Rubin's advice and I don't suffer through books anymore. If it's not interesting, I don't finish it.

I really leaned toward the creepy this year, so many of my books have a twisted quality to them. My favorites that will give you nightmares: The Last Mrs. Parrish. SUCH an interesting plot and so creepy. You never really knew who to root for. I loved it. The Hunger. Woah. This was a weird one. It's the Donner party reimagined with a supernatural bent and it was super weird and interesting. 

Best Non-Fiction: I'll be Gone in the Dark. OMG. OMG so much. This case took place very close to where I live and he was arrested literally miles from my house. I LOVE a good crime story and this one was phenomenal. He was so evil and so smart about it. The author was brilliant in her investigation. Read this book, even if you have to sleep with the lights on for a month.

Best Fiction that probably won't give you the heebie jeebies: The Great Alone. I read this book early in the year and I still think of it often. The Hate U Give. I don't need to talk anyone into this one. I will say though that this was one of a couple books that Eli and I both read this year and he loved it as much as I did. If you've got a tween/teen, I highly recommend this as a joint read. State of Wonder. This was a great story on it's own, but it's also one of the few that I keep reflecting back on because of the underlying themes.

Best Memoirs: I typically don't enjoy memoirs, so I was surprised to see how many were on my list for this year. Most of them were "eh" but a couple stood out for me. We are Never Meeting in Real Life. This book is HILARIOUS. Like, laugh out loud and then desperately try to find someone to read the passage to hilarious. This caused some issues because most of the funniest excerpts are decidedly not family friendly. After the first time you try to censor a finger-banging passage so your husband knows why you're laughing like a maniac, you learn just to text him a picture of the paragraph. Meet the Frugalwoods. I liked this one because it wasn't as self-aggrandizing as some memoirs are, especially if the content is about life satisfaction and finances. The Frugalwoods are a couple that became famous for their blog as they were trying to buy a homestead and essentially retire in their thirties. She acknowledges that many of their choices are unconventional but it's written in a way that I found more inspiring than preachy. If "stop being a financial idiot" is on your resolution list (like it is mine. Again.) you might check this out.

I really wanted to like these books more than I did: The Future Home of the Living God. Maybe I wasn't in the right space, but this one didn't live up to the hype for me. Same with Little Fires Everywhere. Sure, it was good but I didn't think it was Earth shatteringly wonderful. Ghosted. One hundred percent "eh." If I'd started this one earlier in the year I probably wouldn't have finished it. Us Against You. Oh man. I guess they can't all be winners. I'll still read everything Fredrik Backman writes, but this one didn't do it for me. If you're just starting on his canon, don't start here. The Outsider. I think maybe I overdosed on weird AF storylines, because this one just didn't do it for me. It was weird and interesting, but not nearly as good as some of the other ones I read this year.

These are the books that I wanted to love, and couldn't even get through. Girl, Wash Your Face. I so wanted to embrace this and love it, but it just seemed like if someone wrote a book about all the inspirational memes people post on Facebook. Children of Blood and Bone. I think maybe I'll try this one again next year. It was a dense read and I just never really found my pace with it.

So that's my 2018! I'm still debating my goal for 2019, but I think I might shoot for 100. So help me out; What are you guys reading? Any goals for next year, or books you can't wait to get your hands on? I've been stalking my hold for Michelle Obama's Becoming (221 out of 650!) but other than that, 2019 is a pretty blank slate for me. I still haven't read It or Anne of Green Gables, so maybe those?