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What I was Up To this Month-February

March 3, 2014

February has come and gone, with me just posting twice—in the same week.  That was it.  It was indicative of a full, full February.

We had Curtis’s sister and nieces staying with us for a little over a week.  His brother-in-law came down for the first weekend.  They normally live in California and were Oklahoma City for a work training.  The nieces are the age of my oldest two and it was a wonderful time for the cousins to be together.

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A cousin wrote a play for everyone to act with marionettes that Curtis and his sister used when they were young. John, of course, had the dragon.

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Someone turned seven.  He opted for a lower key birthday this year, which was just fine by me!  Instead of a biggish party, he decided he wanted to go to the Lego Movie with his best friend (and his best friend’s dad).  The four of them (including Curtis) enjoyed the movie.  Afterwards, the friend’s entire family joined us for a pizza and cake birthday dinner.

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We had snow days with no snow and ice.  Just the threat of an icy day was enough to close schools after the fix Atlanta found itself in.

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How we entertain ourselves on (no) snow days—tattoos. John was the boss of the tattoo club, he claimed.

There was also Valentine’s day, in which I received two of my favorite Valentine’s Day cards ever from my two oldest.  We ate seafood stew for supper and indulged in chocolate fondue for dessert.

Books:

Despite all this, I managed to fit in books, mostly before and after our out of town guests were here.  In retrospect, I can’t believe I read seven books.  In no particular order, except for memory:

Proust and the Squid:  The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf.  My middlest is still struggling with reading and we are starting down the possible dyslexia path.  I’m sure there will be more about that in another post.  I loved this book.  It discussed the history of reading–how cultures moved from oral language to highly complex written languages.  From there, it shared how the brain reads–all the different parts of the brain that is involved with learning to read and later reading, including how the brain works varies between different types of languages.  In the last section, which was why I picked this book, Wolf discussed dyslexia–how the dyslexic brain works differently, what dyslexia looks like, and how dyslexia varies across written languages.  This was one of my favorite books of the month.

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.  It was bit of a rabbit trail that led me to this book—articles shared on Facebook from my alma mater (because Gladwell is a Mennonite!!!) and then mention from someone in our small group from church.  I loved this book as well.  The first section didn’t appeal to me as much as the second and third.  However, it was in the second section that Gladwell brought up dyslexia and started me questioning my son’s reading problems (and in fact, it was Gladwell that recommended Proust and the Squid to me).  In the third section, Gladwell challenged to retaliation/retribution versus forgiveness in the case of two parents who had lost children to violent crime.  In this section, Gladwell’s faith is most evident.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  I enjoyed this fiction book.  It didn’t change me or challenge, but was quite enjoyable.

Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner.  This was one of those funny books that I didn’t particularly love when I was reading it.  However, afterwards I kept thinking about some of the things Winner said in her spiritual memoir, especially about Lent as Lent fast approaches.  I gave this book three stars on Goodreads.

God Has a Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  This book couldn’t have been more timely.  February found me exhausted from the hectic schedule (thrown into the above was also a work trip for Curtis).  When I sat down and started reading this book it was comforting.  I checked it out from the library at first, but it quickly made it’s  way to my Amazon shopping cart.  It now is finding a place next to Richard Rohr and Henri Nouwen on my bookshelf.  Hopefully, there will be much more written about this later.

Carry on Warrior by Glennon Melton.  I was a bit ambivalent about this book.  I understand why people love Melton’s writing.  I think it’s really important.  But, for my January/February it didn’t really grab me.  It sometimes didn’t feel very connected and more like a greatest hits from her blog posts.  I love what Melton is doing and creating–a place for people (women in particular) to be fully human.

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffers and Annie Barrows.  I didn’t really like this book.  I know it’s a really popular book, but, no.  This was our book club pick this month, which was the main reason I made it through.  I didn’t like the structure (a variety of letters).  It felt clunky and I had a hard time really getting into it.

TV

This month was spent watching three things–the Olympics, Downton Abbey, and Sherlock.  I was a bit disappointed in Downton Abbey.  The pace was lot slower than usual–I kept waiting for things to happen.  I enjoyed Sherlock, but didn’t find this season quite as enjoyable as the first two.  I liked how they varied their episode structure.  The Olympics….well, I love the Olympics, always.

Movies

We squeezed in The Monuments Men on the last day of the month.  It was a wonderful movie.  It had the right amount of everything (and that’s all I’ll say because I don’t want to ruin any of it).

Food

I made a lot of cake and cupcakes this month–a birthday cake for my mother-in-law at the beginning of the month, strawberry cupcakes for a Valentine’s day party, and another birthday cake at the end of the month for my boy’s seventh.  The best of the three was the last.  I used my mom’s chocolate cake and chocolate icing recipe (and managed not to over bake it this time) and then filled it with Ina Garten’s peanut butter icing.

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In eating out, my girlfriends and I ordered take out this month from a Chinese restaurant this month, Asia Cafe.  It was super yummy.  We got cupcakes from Cupprimo for my son’s actual birthday (because I just couldn’t bake more cupcakes/cakes).  Our small group went out to eat one evening and we had a wonderful, slow meal.  Z’Tejas’s food was good, but the company was even better.  We took Curtis’s sisters family out to lunch after church at Lucy’s Fried Chicken and the weekend Curtis was out of town, I took the kids to Pinthouse Pizza after church for lunch.  I also revisited Michi Ramen by myself after listening to Rachel Held Evans talk (wow!!! That was awesome).  I liked their ramen a lot better this time than the first time I was there.

I’m linking up once again with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2014 10:59 am

    Oooh, I can’t wait to see Monuments Men. It looks so good! And I’m intrigued by your comments about Glennon Melton’s book. I have that one on my to-read list because a) like you said, what she’s doing is important and b) it seems like one of those must-read books for a blogger because a blogger wrote it. However, I’ve noticed that some blogger-written books have that feel – as if it’s simply a collection of blog posts. Also? I love cousin time. 🙂 I’ve been close to my own cousins my whole life and love it when their kids get to play with mine!

    • March 5, 2014 7:06 pm

      You should see The Monuments Men!! However, in my book, if Clooney is in a movie, it’s really hard to go wrong. I’m kinda picky about spiritual memoirs. I’ve come to the realization that I’m not a fan of the memoir genre in general, so a spiritual memoir has to be especially exceptional for me to like (in the same calibre as Barbara Brown Taylor and Madeleine L’Engle. I said I was picky.) 🙂

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