Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Seven Books of December

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I talked about it after I read The Year of Living Danishly, and my mom saved an article from the KC Star recently about "hygge." It's even been in the NY Times lately. Hunkering down at home and practicing the art of hygge like the Danish has made for some excellent nights of reading, movie watching, and plenty of football and basketball watching. Here are books that kept me company during the cold short days of December.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett is a quiet novel with the right amount of family drama that is exceptionally well done. I loved watching how she developed the characters, and the start is a little bit tricky, but she ties it together nicely about half way through the book and makes it impossible to put it down. Highly highly recommend.

Helping Children Succeed is a quick read and follow-up to Paul Tough's last book How Children Succeed. It's actually available online here and is often on sale for only $1.99 on the Kindle app. While I felt like my friends who are parents enjoyed the last one, this book seems to speak more specifically to educators. We're actually reading it as a staff this semester, and the first half of the book is heavy. He really dives into environmental effects on young brains, and it's a tough read. The second half of the book we will read much slower and really study it together at school because there are some really big ideas about how to help our students be successful.
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Mom and I were reading a few books off a "mock Newbery list," and she highly recommended What Elephants Know. It's set in the Borderlands of Nepal, and I learned plenty about elephants, life in the jungle, and a corner of the world I don't know much about at all! It was really well done and good for fourth through sixth graders.

El Deafo is an easy to read graphic novel that tells the author Cece Bell's story of losing her hearing as a young child and growing up deaf. I cried when she can't hear anymore at four-years-old, and I appreciated this really accessible story about what it is like to be different and also the same as your classmates. And the bunnies are wonderfully drawn.
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Sometimes we try to pick a Christmas story for December book club and find it to be overly cheesy. We got very lucky this year with My True Love Gave to Me, and we would highly recommend it. Kate declared it the best Christmas book we've read in our ten years of book club. While we didn't love all twelve holiday stories equally, we had some real favorites. The collection of young adult authors is top-notch including Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han and Devid Levithan, all authors I read regularly. Highly highly recommend for your December enjoyment in 2017.

Everything Everything was on sale because Nicola Yoon has a new book that recently came out. She regularly appears on lists of authors to read in connection with the "We Need Diverse Books" movement. Kate and I also really enjoyed this YA story about a teenager who has a serious illness and cannot leave her house, a problem further complicated by the cute boy who moves in next door. BONUS: read it now and see the movie in May!

Tell Me Three Things is another YA novel I snagged on sale and enjoyed. It's a story about grief, fitting in and falling in love with someone you've never met. It's like You've Got Mail for young readers. I really liked it, but I might have liked Everything Everything more. I've had fun chatting with friends who also picked up this one to read.

2016 was a banner year for reading with 59 books completed. I sat around a lot last year feeding a baby. I think I spent more hours in my rocking chair than at my computer screen at home, and I will miss the extra excuses to read books in 2017 as Rebecca gets bigger! Though I suspect I will not miss reading in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Rebecca Claire || Eleven Months

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Rebecca is eleven months old today! We got to spend a lot of time together over the four day weekend, and this is the most up-to-date post I've ever written about what our little nugget is up to. She crawls everywhere and pulls up on everything, though she has not climbed up any of the stairs thankfully. Rebecca spends most of her time pulling toys out of her baskets and tupperwares out of "her" kitchen drawer. She also loves moving items from the coffee table to the ground and back onto the coffee table. She figured out how to push her toys on wheels around, and she still puts everything in her mouth. I like to think this is giving her a healthy immune system at daycare! Her favorite book the past month is one from her great aunt LaVonne about Sophie the giraffe and her friends with huge flaps to lift.
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While she won't say any of them on command, I think Becca's got three words in her vocabulary that seem to make sense. A couple weeks ago I walked in to get her first thing in the morning, and she started saying the cutest "Beh" noise for Belle who was accompanying me. She's done it several times since so I make sure Belle always comes with me for morning wake-up! It's so sweet to see them greet each other.

Two nights ago, I walked in at four am to be greeted by her standing in her crib wailing sadly, "Mama! Mama!" so I know she knows who I am. She also does a good job with dadadada, which we're 100% sure is Kip. Becca talks about a lot of other stuff during the day, sways to any music, and claps quite a bit! She just added a cute little backwards wave, but so far has only been doing it on the changing table at bedtime. 
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Our adventurous eater likes spicy food as beans from chili were a recent favorite. All fruit and most vegetables are devoured in her high chair, and we're still really grateful she'll try it all. We added salmon, tilapia, and even bites of fried chicken from Rye this month! She still nurses several times a day (and once or twice at night. I know, Mama is still tired). Sleep is pretty solid unless one of those pesky teeth is breaking through. Rebecca had a few very sad nights in the past month, but she will also let Kip calm her down in the middle of the night which is nice for everybody. Speaking of teeth, Rebecca added even more and is now at 8 - though one is a bottom left molar hidden in the back which makes her grin lopsided and adorable. No weight update, but she's obviously growing. Still in size four diapers, she's reaching the end of her 12-18 month clothes very quickly.

It's time to begin the countdown to her first birthday. These photos are practically impossible to take, but necessary to get all the way to one year! You can see how Becca Bear has grown and changed each month by clicking on the "Rebecca Monthly" label on the blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The First Week of the New Year

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Rebecca wishes all of you a much belated Happy New Year! She rang in 2017 in style with her normal 6:15 bedtime, and we didn't make it till midnight either. We were up and at church on New Year's Day at 9 am just like any other Sunday. Rebecca wore her new purple and gray dress from aunt Lu and crawled around Kids COR pulling up on everything.
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She might be waving in this photo or reaching for me. Or dancing. It's tough to say with our busy baby. Kip said whenever he has her in his arms and leaving her room, she gestures downstairs with her arm outstretched like she is saying, "Go this way, Daddy!"

I did not want to be the mom who talks about teething all the time. But, you see, that was before I had this precious sweet child. Now I talk about teething all the time. After about three months of only two teeth, she decided to get a whole lot more in rapid succession. You can see the addition of top teeth in these photos, and Rebecca continued to work hard on teeth during the first week of the new year. Thankfully they only seem to bother her at night, but it does mean we've had a lot of really rough nights.
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One the last day of break, Becca and I bundled up to run a couple of errands and go on a quick walk. It was definitely chilly so she needed her bear suit. It cracked me up how tolerant she was of the whole get-up! She didn't mind so long as she could still get into everything and explore the stuff on top of the coffee table!
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As for new year's resolutions, we only made a few. And by "we," I mean that I made them for the Lynch family. They were pretty simple resolutions and definitely attainable, including finding primary care doctors and setting a couple of new financial goals.

I also resolved that we should take more pictures. Kip was in shock with this resolution, and as a reader of this blog, you might be too! But most of our photos lately are of Becca by herself. We went through all the holidays without many photos with aunts and uncles and grandparents. Not cool. So my goal for 2017 is to make sure we capture our little bear with more of the people that love her so much, included Kip and myself.