Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Finally Read That McCullough Book

I said I would keep posting about books I'm reading, and so here I am. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I haven't read this book before, especially since we borrowed it from my in-laws about five years ago. Last week I finished David McCullough's 1776.

You hear in elementary school about all the sacrifices regular soldiers made during the Revolutionary War, but it doesn't really sink in until you read the stories of individuals. Similarly, I always thought I had an appreciation for George Washington, but there was so much I just didn't know. At one point Washington's personal secretary and close friend totally lost faith in him, and was writing other generals about how inept Washington was. Washington's reaction was so humble and compassionate. Washington didn't have an amazing military mind at all--he was simply one flawed man who was willing to sacrifice for something he believed in. I love stories like this because I'm reminded that we don't have to be "great" before we do great things. Great things happen when we're willing to try our best in spite of having a clear knowledge of all our shortcomings.

On another note, Brynn's new favorite thing to do is play with the keys on the laptop while I'm typing. I'm going to let her write her first blog post:


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fonthill Castle

Now that our move back to Florida is only 2 1/2 months away (Yay!) we're starting to feel like we really need to make sure that we've seen everything we want to see here in the Northeast before we go. I have a feeling that a lot of day trips are in our future. We're also hoping to go to Boston at some point, and I have my heart set on stopping in Rhode Island to see some of the big houses in Newport. Greg wants to take a quick little trip up to Maine after we go to Boston, just so we can say we've been to Maine. And, come on, we might as well drive through Connecticut and New Hampshire and cross those off our list as well, right? In May we are going with Greg's parents to Palmyra, and I'm really excited about that! So, stay tuned, big adventures coming up. 

Well, this past weekend, we had just a little adventure and went to Fonthill Castle. It was only about a half hour drive. In the 1910s an independently wealthy tile maker built himself a castle out of concrete. I mean, that's cool. He was a highly educated man who loved to travel, so the whole interior of the castle is inlaid with tiles from all over the world. There are some Mesopotamian tiles from 2000 BC or something. It's such a weird building to be here in Pennsylvania, but the tour was worth it just to see something so random and unique. 

The tour guide said Brynn won the Perfect Baby award. She's a very happy girl, and she always has a good attitude when we drag her around like this. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016


There is nothing I love better than those first warm, clear rays of sunshine after a long winter. I am definitely not a winter person. MY SOUL NEEDS SUNSHINE. I just drink it up.

This week we've had a string of perfect, bright Spring days. It's about 75 degrees and lovely. Everyday I make sure to take Brynn to the park across the street. I want her to grow up playing outside, breathing clean air, using her imagination...all that good stuff. Sorry for the picture overload, but I just want to remember these sunshiney days we spent when she was just little in Philadelphia.

In this picture you can see how her hair has this beautiful red undertone (like her dad)

We take some toys to play with. 

She will be 7 months soon. Look at that happy girl! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Brynn is (kind of) Crawling!

Sorry the quality is pretty bad on this video...I'm still figuring out how to put videos on the blog. I've never had a reason to do it before. 

But now we have a great reason! Little Brynn is starting to crawl around. I'm not actually sure you can call this crawling... It's more just scootching. She kind of has to figure out how to coordinate her legs and arms at the same time. It's just about the funnest thing ever though. I can't believe she's getting so big (sniff!). 


Now that she's more mobile, I'm going to have to change my Mom Game Plan. Today I left the room while she was playing for like 2 seconds. When I left she was on her back in the middle of her play mat. While I was gone she apparently decided she wanted to play underneath the couch. 

She is pretty dang freakin' cute, if you don't mind my saying so. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Heather Is Reading I turned in one of my final papers for my master's (Master's? too lazy to figure it out) degree and now I have a Spring Break! Woot woot! Anyway, now I have time to work on some other stuffs. One of my New Year's Resolutions (resolutions?) was to read more books for fun. When Brynn was born I felt like I spent my whole life sitting on the couch nursing her. Seriously, feeding a newborn is a totally constant thing (I HAD NO IDEA). I liked doing it, don't get me wrong. But add constant nursing to constant fatigue and me and Greg really got into a bad habit of watching a lot of TV. So in reality my New Year's goal was to watch less, read more. I was very clear with Greg that this was my personal goal and he didn't have to follow suit, but, like a well-trained spouse, he followed suit anyway. (LOVE YOU BABE).

Now we hardly ever watch TV anymore. It's great. Sadly, though, with school and I don't even know what else, I haven't read as much as I've wanted to. BUT, I am going to start a little blog series of sorts about what I'm reading. Once a week maybe? I don't know. But my goal is that if I have some public accountability, I'll be better at reading in my spare time instead of scrolling through the news/twitter/facebook or whatever it is I do.

Here is what I have read so far this year:

^I asked for this book for Christmas, and it was good. Some solid nonfiction every once in awhile is good for the soul, or the brain, or something. I'm really drawn to American social history, especially when it has to do with the WWII time period. I don't know why. We Band of Angels is about female nurses who were sent to a Filipino POW camp under the Japanese occupation. Some parts were a little dry, but a few of the women I just grew to respect so much. And it was a piece of WWII history I'm not very educated about. 

^Lila was so fun to read. I LOVE Marilynne Robinson's Gilead series. If you haven't read it, hop on Amazon and buy it. So good. So beautifully written. She gives you a very close read of a few lovely characters. SERIOUSLY. GO READ IT. 

So I think this book was a Pulitzer Prize winner, or something. Oh yes, I can't see that from the picture I just posted. I wanted to love it more than I actually did love it, if that makes sense. Doerr sees things in a unique way, and that led to thought-provoking passages that I enjoyed. But I felt as if sometimes his desire to be all poignant actually detracted from the story's ability to move forward in a natural way. I grew to really love the characters, but that love wasn't satisfied with the really purposeful ending I was looking for...the ending was good, but almost felt anti-climactic considering all the detail Doerr gave us leading up to it. I don't know. That's just how I felt. 

Here's the book I'm currently working on: 

I'm not very far in, but so far Songs of Willow Frost is kind of a Meh. I don't think it's as well written as the other book I've read from this author, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. But maybe it will get better. 

What are you reading?? I need suggestions.