Wednesday, April 25, 2018

What's Up Wednesday: April 2018

It's What's Up Wednesday time again. I haven't done one of these in awhile but it's a fun way to fill you in on some of life's recent happenings.

image from here

What we're eating this week... About a month ago I posted about how I've been menu planning for at least seven years and how I still do it by hand. (You can read more of that post here.) Well I've been using my new menu planning pad for two months now and I'm still not used to it. However, this week we've been good about following the plan, although last night we had grilled cheese and tomato soup instead of eggs on toast. Oh well.
And while I usually plan a month at a time, it looks like I ran out of energy halfway through. Oops.

What I'm reminiscing about... Summer. We haven't really had Spring yet and I'm already ready for afternoons of reading by the pool and wearing shorts. Also, I'm ready for a break from the school routine.

What I'm loving... I LOVED having two days of warm sunny weather earlier this week. I read a couple of books outside, the kids played, laundry hung on the line -- it was completely glorious!

Basking in the sun and reading -- perfection!

What we've been up to... Just the usual -- school, work, getting ready for Rachel's dance performance, practicing ball with Sam, laundry, cooking, dishes, reading - ha! It's really not been all that exciting around here.
You can't tell it's the usual by looking at our calendar though, which looks pretty full.

What I'm dreading... Bluey hasn't been very active lately. He's mostly been hanging out at the bottom of his bowl and I'm very worried that he's going to die. I know he's "just a fish" but I've been a little stressed about this lately. I've also been Googling "Do beta fish get depressed?" If any of you know of a fish psychologist, I might be interested...
Don't die Bluey :(

What I'm working on... I'm not working on much of anything right now. Ha! I finished our travel photo books for Kenya and our Disney Cruise. Laundry is caught up. I feel pretty on top of life right now. (And now that I've written that, everything will fall apart around here!)

What I'm excited about... Sam is signed up for Junior 3 Pitch this spring and out of thirteen kids on his team, SEVEN of them are from his school. I'm just excited to watch Sam and all his friends play ball together!
 Sam during his first season of t-ball when he knew absolutely no one on his team.

What I'm watching/reading... Thanks to our local radio station playing a lot of hockey games lately (our local team made the playoffs - yay?!), we've been watching a lot of Blue Jays baseball. I've also been watching a lot of Sam playing/practicing baseball.

In the past four days I've read three very different books featuring death -- They Both Die At the End, Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, and Columbine. They are all very good books but I've been thinking a lot about death in different forms lately.
They Both Die at the End Spoiler Alert: The Hero DiesColumbine
images from here, here, and here

What I'm listening to... As I'm writing this I'm listening to the Blue Jays beating Boston on the radio. It's the top of the sixth and the Jays are winning 3-0. I hope they can hold on! The Jays have been playing so well this season; it's been so exciting!

What I'm wearing... NOT MY WINTER JACKET!!! Whoooo hoooo!!! I'm trying to figure out if it's too early to wash all the winter gear and put the snow boots away...

What I'm doing this weekend... Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon! Whooo hoooo!!! I participated in my first ever Readathon in April 2015 and now I have found two which each happen twice a year so now I participate in a readathon every three months which is the best!!! (For me, that is, Dave might not agree! Ha!)
Me reading during my first ever Dewey's.

What I'm looking forward to next month... My birthday is happening! We're going to a Jays game to celebrate Mother's Day! And our friends are having a fun dinner to celebrate ten years of marriage so the kids are staying with Dave's parents overnight and Dave and I are having a night out. Yay!

What else is new... Rachel is starting soccer at the school through our neighbourhood association in May and Dave is coaching Sam's Junior 3-pitch team so we're going to be a family divided by sports over the next few months. It should be interesting...

Thursday, April 19, 2018

#tbt: Jays Home Game In Detroit

So way back in July, we road tripped with some friends to a Jays game in Detroit. We left on Saturday morning and got home late Sunday night. We had no idea what we were going to do in Detroit, but after we got to our hotel, we realized we were a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Detroit river front. And that there was an amazing riverfront walk.
If we had known the river walk had built in fountains, we would have brought bathing suits. However it was hot enough that we dried off fairly quickly and the cold water felt soooo good!
It was fun to do this trip with Jen and Will. Two other friends joined us but they were shopping while the rest of us explored the riverfront.
I love posing with all of us on oversized chairs! Although I really need to learn how to sit on these things in a skirt :)
Sam, Will, and Rachel on the big chair.
It was so fun to look across the Detroit River and see Canada, Windsor, specifically. Can you tell Rachel was hot?!
I wish we had had more time to explore Detroit. They have a cool transit system called The People Mover which ran a circuit of Downtown Detroit. We rode it once for fun as there was a stop near our hotel.
The next morning we had breakfast at a local Starbucks and then meandered slowly over to the stadium. We found some neat places to get pictures.
The QLine is another of Detroit's transit systems.
We entered the stadium quite early and Rachel and I rushed to the field to get autographs. Rachel was right in front and Danny Barnes patiently signed all the things our group handed over -- three hats, my autograph book, and a baseball card.
We enjoyed riding the Tiger Carousel.
And Sam showed off his pitching skills.
We got a family picture with this tiger.

The game was good but it went into extra innings which sadly, the Jays lost in the 11th. Sigh. However we had a really good time and would love to head to Detroit again. With all the Jays fans coming across the border, it was hard to tell if we were playing at the Skydome or in Detroit -- the cheering was just as loud for both teams!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Maybe Writing About It Will Make It Happen

I don't know about you, but where I live, it feels like spring might not ever appear. I'm so ready to ditch the winter jackets, the ice scrapers, and the snow shovels. Bring on the shoes without socks, long evenings outside, and the trampoline. Although I can't write about actual spring activities because those haven't happened yet, Bekah posted a quiz about spring so I can at least tell you about my favourite parts of this illusive season.

And let me tell you, after our ice storm this past weekend, and three whole days of all of us being stuck in the house, I am more than ready for actual spring weather.

1. What three colors remind you most of spring? Spring colours to me are the light green of the grass as it first starts to grow, yellow for daffodils, and light blue for the shoes I wear without socks.

2. What is the first thing you add to your wardrobe in spring? Shoes I can wear without socks. I don't need to buy any for this spring but I am excited to wear them.

3. What is the first wardrobe item you ditch in spring?
Besides all my winter outerwear, it's socks. Are you sensing a theme here?!?!

4. Who mows the grass where you live?
Normally it's mostly Dave but last summer, we actually paid someone to do it. With Dave's sciatica, I just couldn't handle one more thing. However, I don't mind mowing the lawn so I do it sometimes.

5. What's spring like where you live?
Right now -- cold, icy, snowy, grey. Ha! Normally, it's lovely. We get about three months of beautiful weather, with some rain, but it doesn't get too hot. The daffodils and tulips (which I fear may all have been killed off this past weekend with our ice) bloom for ages and it's just lovely.

6. What's your favorite thing about spring? 
The fact that my birthday is in spring. And that baseball starts again -- both professional ball and Sam's local league (which is about the exact opposite of professional - ha!). I also like that everyone starts walking more and we run into all kinds of people on our local paths as we head out on errands or to go to Starbucks.

7. Are you a spring cleaner?
In my mind -- yes! In reality -- sort of! You would think that three days of being inside this past weekend would have gotten me into a spring cleaning frenzy but you would be wrong.

8. Are you a baseball fan?
Yes! Yes! And, just in case you missed it, YES!!! We love baseball around here. In fact, I decided to create a blog label for it (All About That Base(Ball) -- click here to see all the posts), and it appears I have written about 46 posts which mention baseball in one form or another.

9. Tulips or daffodils?
Do I have to choose? I love them all. In winter, I mostly buy tulips though. Daffodils are carried in stores for a much shorter time and don't last as long.

10. Favorite outdoor spring activity?
Cheering Sam on in baseball, or cheering on the Jays, and just sitting outside and reading in the sun while the kids play. Oh, and hanging laundry outside again!

11. Flowers in the ground or pots?
Both! Last year I didn't actually plant any flowers in pots because we were gone a lot but this year I will be feeling all the pot love again.

12. Favorite bird?
Blue Jays, of course! :) Honestly, though, I don't have a favourite bird, but I do like seeing all the ducklings which appear in our city in the spring.

13. Car wash or wash vehicles at home?
Bekah's response to this was: "Well, Jesus washes my car with the rain, and that's not one of the choices, is it? LOL!" which is pretty much my answer too! Our car gets cleaned whenever it rains. Otherwise, we sometimes (once in a looong while) drive it through the car wash.

14. When do you pull out your sandals?
Ever since I discovered shoes without socks, I rarely wear sandals. However, I do switch from my slippers to indoor flipflops as soon as it gets too hot in my slippers so let's say, once it hits 20C (68F) outside, or somewhere around then. Let's just say that since it's currently lows of -1 to -4C (25-30F) overnight, my flipflops won't be making an appearance any time soon.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Photo Of The Day -- April 1 - 9, 2018

April 1, 2018 -- Our Easter wasn't particularly warm and Sam was excited to wear his new Blue Jays jersey, so the kids were dressed a little unconventionally this year. Plus this was after they had gotten lots of chocolate Easter eggs, but before we'd had lunch, so they were feeling silly.

April 2, 2018 -- Easter Monday was a school holiday. My parents took the kids for the day but before the kids left, they were enjoying playing games together.

April 3, 2018 -- I loved the bright colours of these tulips. I should really get a tripod for pictures I take on "manual mode" though. :)

April 4, 2018 -- Yeah, about that tripod... This picture looked clearer on the very small camera screen. Anyways, a little reading before bed.

April 5, 2018 -- Rachel had some questions about the Easter story. She and I were talking about it and she was referring to things she had read (on her own) in her story bible to back up her questions. It was a very amazing parenting moment. (And I asked her to pose for this picture after our conversation was over so I could capture the memory.)

April 6, 2018 -- This was probably a memorable snow at the time but, after this past weekend's ice storm, it honestly doesn't seem like a big deal and I can't actually remember why I wanted this picture to capture this day.

April 7, 2018 -- I woke up this day to the news that a junior hockey team from Saskatchewan (my home province) had been in a bad accident. And then I found out that not only did one of my cousins and her family live in the small town affected, but that they were billeting one of the players. I was too distracted by the news, and the other happenings of the day, to take a picture.

April 8, 2018 -- Dave and I did our taxes this day, Rachel dropped a watermelon on the floor at the grocery store, we watched a Blue Jays game, and I was still thinking about the Humboldt Broncos accident. Therefore, I have no pictures from this day either.

April 9, 2018 -- To show support for Humboldt, people across Canada, and around the world, put their #sticksoutforhumboldt. A kind neighbour loaned us a few of his old ones so that we could participate.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Reading All The Books

For about a year and a half now, I have been posting collages of every single book I've read over the past week or two and writing brief reviews on Instagram. You can find those posts under the hashtag "natashareadsonfridays" here.

These past two weeks I read too many good books to write reviews on Instragram so I decided to write a whole blog post instead.
I read this book because it came up on my library's homepage of recommendations and who hasn't been interested in hygge recently? Well, I have determined that hygge includes too many candles and not enough fresh flowers for me to really cultivate it! However, this was a fun, quick book to read.
I saw this book on someone's Instragram during the 24in48 readathon. Although they were reading it as a textbook, it immediately intrigued me. This book made me think of the various libraries I have worked at (four), volunteered at (three), called home (at least four or five), or visited (countless). It made me reconsider going back to school for my Library Sciences degree. It made me cry -- more than once.

If you are a lover of libraries like I am, you should read this. If you hate libraries, you should read this to learn why you should love them. If you are indifferent to libraries, you should read this to learn why you should become passionate about them.

I can't remember where I saw this book recommended but I enjoyed it. It drew me in and made me want to visit France. And the Delaware shore. In short, it's about a woman who tragically lost her husband, the effects of that loss on her daughter, and what came after.
This book is similar to The Last Mrs Parrish, Behind Closed Doors, Gone Girl, etc. I feel like these kinds of books are really popular right now and creating a new genre. I liked this one (as much as you can like these kinds of books), so if you're looking for an easy read that will keep you up at night, read this. (Note to readers who appreciate this kind of warning (ahem... Emily): A baby dies. That is not a spoiler.)
I read this book because my book club is reading it this month. I only finished this book because my book club is reading it this month. (I feel like it's easier to justify disliking a book if you've actually finished it.) It's a selection of personal essays. Samantha Irby has had a hard life and reflects on it with dark humour. I don't think I appreciate dark humour. Sometimes life is not funny and trying to find humour in it isn't appropriate. Plus, there is a lot of swearing in this book. So much so that I found it distracting, and that sort of stuff doesn't usually bother me. If you've read this book and feel differently, let me know. I'd love to hear another point of view.
I feel like this is the "it" book right now. Everyone's reading it and talking about it. It's about adoption, but it's about the potentially dark side of adoption. Let me preface this by saying, I'm a big fan of adoption. I am adopted. It was not an "open adoption." Because of this I've always had mixed feelings on open adoption. But let me say, open adoption would completely negate all the issues in this book (I think).

The hardest part of this book is that it is based on facts. Things that actually happened. While the families involved are fictional, the premise is not. This book is like Lilac Girls in that I spent a few hours online after I finished it, researching the back story of this novel.

I had this book out of the library three times before I finally got around to reading it. And then I read it in two days. This book is good. This book is hard. This book is powerful. You should read this book but be warned that it deals with some really ugly facts of life.

So that's what I've been reading the past two weeks. Can you see why I needed more than an Instagram post to sum up these books?!?!?!