all the things

Currently: April 2021

Currently reading:

This month, I finished The House of Silk and Moriarty, both by Anthony Horowitz, both Sherlock Holmes-themed novels. Currently I’m reading A Study in Scarlet Women – also a Sherlock Holmes adaptation! I’m on a Holmes kick at the moment. Prior to these, I read Too Good To Be True by Carola Lovering, which was a great page turner.

Currently listening to:

A lot of podcasts! I’ve been trying to zero in and get caught up on my favorites – Pod Save America, The Girl Next Door, The Mom Hour, and NPR Politics.

Currently watching:

I got on a kick of watching old episodes of How I Met Your Mother, and it’s been delightful. Enough time has passed that they feel new and extraordinarily hilarious. I also have been watching a few episodes of This Is Us – I think I stopped watching that show, last time around, at the beginning of the second season, and after it was recommended by another thousand people, I decided to give it another try.

Currently the boys are:

They like to pack up their backpacks and pretend they’re going to school or on a trip. They also are really into drawing and writing – they each have a “writing book” that they like to bring with them wherever we go. (THAT is a true sign of my influence!)

Currently grateful for:

SPRING! Warm weather, the spring equinox, and spring break!

Currently looking forward to:

I am getting so excited for our summer road trip and for lazy summer days at the new swim club we joined.

Happy April!

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all the things

Currently: March 2021

Currently reading:

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas – contains many of my favorite fiction elements, including a mysterious school, lots of suspense, and an intriguing main character. I finished Moonflower Murders recently, the sequel to Anthony Horowitz’s Magpie Murders, and it was fantastic.

Currently listening to:

So many audiobooks! I have a million on my phone right now, and I’ve been switching around according to my mood between Save The Cat Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody, Screenwise by Devorah Heitner, Living In Flow by Sky Nelson-Isaacs, and You, Your Child, and School by Sir Ken Robinson.

Currently watching:

Not much, really. Our only true family movie night (everyone snuggled up together watching) was for the Brandy/Whitney Houston version of Cinderella, which was nostalgic bliss for me. The boys spent the new few days dressing up as princesses following our viewing and it was delightful.

Currently the boys are:

Really into playing out scenes from their fave movie Onward and loving all forms of indoor messy sensory play – oobleck, rainbow rice, play dough, cloud dough, etc. Edgar has been super into riding his “pedal bike.” We’ve also gone sledding a few times and that has been great fun for all!

Currently grateful for:

The snow in all its gorgeousness, and the creeping approach of spring!

Currently looking forward to:

Did I mention spring? So excited for warmer weather, spring break, a great month of writing, and a summer road trip we’ve been planning, Stay tuned!

Happy March!

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all the things

Currently: February 2021

Currently reading:

So far in 2021, I’ve finished ten books that, no joke, were all awesome. The biggest surprise for me was The Brave Learner, a book I purchased on a whim after hearing it recommended by Erica Ladd on The Girl Next Door podcast. It’s actually a book about homeschooling and education – not something I’ve ever been particularly interested in – but it was perfect for this moment in my life. I devoured it at every opportunity. Currently, I’m reading Tuesday Mooney Talks To Ghosts by Kate Racculia and The Call of the Wild + Free by Ainsley Arment.

Currently listening to:

The audiobook version of Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria?, which is a great read; hoping to finish it this month! I’m also listening to Amber Ruffin’s book You’ll Never Believe What Happened To Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism, which is a great listen; I’m sure it would be great in print as well, but I love Amber and her sister Lacey’s delivery a lot.

Currently watching:

We watched the new movie Soul with the boys and I loved it so much! We also watched Onward, which I didn’t know anything about, and Edgar is pretty obsessed. (Mostly because one of the main features of the movie is a van named Guinevere.) It’s often cold and gray, and by the end of the day, I am wiped. So a family movie night has been a delightful end of the day activity.

Currently the boys are:

Alternating between loving life, bickering, and screaming at the top of their lungs. Right now, while they’re playing, they like to tell me that they’re making a show or a movie, which is pretty adorable.

Currently grateful for:

A bit of renewed energy and creativity related to kid activities. My sister’s COVID rooftop wedding on January 22!

Currently looking forward to:

It’s really starting to feel possible to start making plans for post-COVID life. I received my first vaccine shot last week, as a licensed social worker and a school employee, and I’m really optimistic about things moving forward. Feeling really hopeful for spring, in general, and working hard to stay positive through these cold winter months indoors!

Happy February!

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all the things

Currently: January 2021

Inspired by Kelsey Wharton’s blog Rising*Shining, I am trying out something new this year.

There are a few posts I like to write regularly. During 2020, I wrote a gratitude post at the end of each month – real simply, just 5 things I was grateful for that month. In the fall of 2020, I started writing a brief post with a monthly mantra as well – just a simple intention I set at the beginning of each month.

I’m not sure if I’ll stick with this new monthly post, but here’s what I’m trying out – basically, a monthly post summarizing all the things I’m currently up to. What I’m currently reading, listening to, and watching – maybe what the boys are up to or what household tasks are on my list.

Currently reading:

I finished Anxious People earlier this month and loved it. My Christmas Eve book was The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and I have been loving it oh-so-much.

Currently listening to:

So many episodes of The Mom Hour podcast, almost exclusively.

Currently watching:

Nothing really. Old episodes of Community when I’m falling asleep at night. Also watched Aladdin this week with the boys and they are newly obsessed with Abu!

Currently writing:

Just trying to get back in the routine of blogging regularly. Planning to dive into fiction a little more this month! A wisp of a fun idea has been floating in the back of my mind.

Currently the boys are:

Loving all their Christmas toys. Santa filled their stockings and brought them an electric train. Nana brought them a race track table, and Grandma and Papa sent some Toy Story toys and binoculars that they went crazy over.

Currently grateful for:

A trip to the bookstore (the Ivy in Baltimore) with Edgar! I had to pick up a birthday book I’d ordered, and I brought a masked Edgar with me. He’s been to school but pretty much nowhere else for the past nine months, and it was a lovely trip. He was allowed to buy one book, and he chose Construction Site, Mission: Demolition because he loves a series as much as I do.

Currently looking forward to:

Finishing this blog post so I can read a little more of Addie LaRue before the kids wake up!

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all the things

Merry 2.0

I love Christmas. And this year, I am leaning in to the joy and festivity of the holidays more than ever before.

There are family traditions that just won’t happen this year. The one that makes me the saddest is not getting to New York to visit friends and family and spend a day in the city. We won’t see the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center this year, and that’s a huge hole in my holiday merry. Yet we are happy and healthy and incredibly blessed, and I’m so happy to be enjoying the holidays after such a strange and difficult year.

This year, I’ve felt moved to celebrate the holiday season in ways I haven’t previously, in the following ways:

After much careful negotiating with Tamara, she agreed to get our Christmas tree the weekend before Thanksgiving. We did not decorate it until the day after Thanksgiving. (Well, some of us actually started stringing the lights immediately after the kids went to bed on Thursday.) Edgar likes to tell people, “It was a Thanksgiving tree, and now it’s a Christmas tree.” I was so grateful to spend the day after Thanksgiving unpacking Christmas ornaments and decorating the house. We don’t do a ton of decorating – I love Christmas, but I don’t love having a ton of stuff, especially when the stuff only comes out once a year! But what we have is sweet and festive. Jo Jo was excited to play with a small stuffed Santa, everyone put on Santa hats, and Edgar definitely thinks “ornament” means “toy that I can play with that goes back on the tree when I’m done.”

We started working on a holiday-themed playlist on the morning after Thanksgiving. This is my first year with an Alexa at Christmastime – it was a gift from my brother last year. I’ve been surprised at how much I love it. The first songs we added were our classic faves – Holly Jolly Christmas, The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, Wonderful Christmastime. Then I started googling and making requests and discovering new titles I’d never heard before. My current fave is Sleigh Ride by TLC, Jo Jo likes anything Rudolph, and Edgar is into I’m The Grinch by Tyler the Creator.

Never in my life have I attempted to put up outdoor Christmas lights on a house. My dad always did it at my childhood home, and I loved it. But as an adult? I’ve never thought it worth the trouble. I’ve just appreciated the lights and efforts of others. But this year, in a year that’s been low on merriment, when we have fewer commitments outside of the home, when we have a four-year-old asking when we’re going to put up our own light display, we went for it. I climbed on the roof and there are now twinkly colored lights hanging from the gutter along the front of our house. I’m also making notes about adding inflatables to our display for next year. WHO AM I?

The sweetest Advent calendar ever. Tamara and I went back and forth about having an Advent calendar. We contemplated a candy-based one (too many sweets) and a cotton ball Santa Claus beard (we did this last year, the kids weren’t that into it), and we almost abandoned the idea altogether. Thankfully, we ended up making one, and it’s awesome. We cut out a cardboard tree (lots of cardboard boxes available right now!), and Edgar painted it with green glitter paint. Every day, the boys each get an “ornament” (most made by crafty Tamara) and they have to glue their ornament on the number(s) for that day. (We included two of every number, so both boys get to glue an ornament each day.) I love our Advent calendar because it’s festive and really seems to help with the passage of time; we keep explaining to Edgar that the closer we get to Christmas, the more ornaments will be on the Advent tree. This has NOT stopped him from checking his stocking every morning to see if Santa paid him an early visit.

We actually sent Christmas cards this year! This is my first year ever sending a large number of Christmas cards. I have never thought of this as a Have To of the holiday season, and many years, I just would not have had the time to do it. This year, thanks to Postcards To Voters, I knew I could do an efficient job of writing, addressing, and mailing cards if I wanted to do it. And you know what? I did want to do it. I miss My People so much this year, and I just wanted to reach out and be in touch in some small way. The photos we took were adorable and I was so happy to send them out to a small group of family and friends.

The return of the Night Night Fairy! A year or so ago, Edgar was getting really fussy at bedtime, so we started getting visits from the Night Night Fairy. We never caught a glimpse of her, but every night she would deliver pajamas and a book to read on Edgar’s bed. That delightful surprise brought a little fun to our otherwise bummer bedtime routine, and really helped us behaviorally. This year for the holidays, I really wanted to do a sort of Advent calendar of books – for every night of December, we’d have a Christmas/holiday/winter-themed book to read at bedtime. But I didn’t want the book to be a wrapped gift, as I’ve seen done elsewhere – I didn’t want to set up an expectation of receiving a present or a brand-new book every day of the month. So I set aside all the books we own that fit the Christmas/winter/holiday theme – it was probably about 10-15 books – and then did a bunch of requests from the library for more. Now every night at bedtime, we look inside a little Santa bag and we find the boys’ pajamas for the night and a holiday/winter book to read. It is lovely and merry.

Many evenings, we’ve taken nighttime Christmas light walks – just short strolls around the neighborhood to check out the holiday displays. We’ve taken a couple of drives, too, but I especially love the walks – it’s a little extra exercise right after dinner, it gets us outside, and it’s an enjoyable activity we can do at the time of day when I am just spent, creativity-wise, and don’t have any more Mom tricks up my sleeve. The boys love it, because it feels extra-special to them to be outside in the dark, and we are often pleasantly surprised whenever a new house puts up their display.

EVERYTHING ELSE MISCELLANEOUSLY MERRY. We are here for all of it this year. Cinnamon applesauce ornaments, salt dough ornaments, a Santa with a cotton ball beard, a snowman shapes activity. Stringing jingle bells and felted ornaments and popcorn and cranberries. ALL OF IT.

Merry whatever to you and yours. Cheers to doing anything and everything you can to bring a smile to your face as we close out this *unprecedented* year!

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