Monday, July 18, 2016

Books I Read: June

I slacked off on my reading goal for this year in May and June. I only read 1 book in May and two books in June. I really wanted to get back into reading so for this month (July) I have already read my 3 books and I am working on my 4th right now. I feel that I am finally back into reading again. Sometimes I just get in these ruts, but with my new work schedule I have a lot more time to read and I am finding that most of my chores are done while Claire is awake so during nap time I get to read then to.
First book I read in June:
Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz

On a bitter December day in 1785, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of master blacksmith Liege Lee in York, Pennsylvania. Just months from becoming a master blacksmith himself, Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship and move west. But Liege soon discovers that Silas is a prodigious worker and craftsman and endeavors to keep him in York. Silas becomes interested in both of Liege's daughters, the gentle and faith-filled Eden and the clever and high-spirited Elspeth. When he chooses one, will the other's jealousy destroy their love?

In this sweeping family saga set in western Pennsylvania, one man's choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. "Love's Reckoning" is the first entry in The Ballantyne Legacy, a rich, multi-layered historical quartet from talented writer Laura Frantz, beginning in the late 1700s and following the Ballantyne family through the end of the Civil War. (synopsis from good reads)

This book was interesting. I love reading historical romance novels, and this definitely fit that bill. There were a few things I didn't like, the fact that Eden's sister never came to terms with the mistakes she made or owned up to them. That is one of my biggest pet peeves I guess we could call it, when people don't take responsibility for their actions and shove all the blame and hard work onto someone else. Eden seemed to be completely opposite of that which was a good thing, it made her character much more redeemable in my mind. Silas was a great leading man for this novel as well. He complimented Eden and together they made the situation they were in the best they could. The book was rather dark, reminding me of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre but had a happy ending still.  If you like historical romance you'll enjoy this book. I give it 3.5 stars. 

The last book I read for June:
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas―“The Butterflies.”

In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters―Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and the survivor, Dedé―speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from hair ribbons and secret crushes to gunrunning and prison torture, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under Trujillo’s rule. Through the art and magic of Julia Alvarez’s imagination, the martyred Butterflies live again in this novel of courage and love, and the human cost of political oppression. (synopsis from Amazon)

I love this book! It's a great book into what life was like for the Dominican Republican's during the time of Trujillo's reign. I read this one as part of a book club I am in with the girls in my neighborhood. Dede is written in third person. Minerva and Patria (her sisters) are written in 1st person and Maria Teresa (the baby) is written in a journal/diary format. I find that interesting with all the styles of writing you get to really experience the characters. I loved the history of this book. Learning about the Dominican Republic culture, how education was valued, how women were treated, how people married their cousins (usually 2nd cousins, which rarely happens here in America), the food people ate, what they did for jobs, how important the church was to the people (the Catholic church was/is a big deal), are a few of the things that I loved to read about.
I loved Dede, she seemed to be the sister that I connected with most. Maria teresa was 9 when the book starts out so I kind of skimmed over a lot of her stuff. Patria got married young (16) and had kids right away. I was still in high school at 16, so I didn't really connect with Patria either. Minerva went off to school and then to college and beside Dede I think she was the one with whom I could identify with. I don't know if I would make the same decisions that they did and luckily I wont have to be in the situation that they were in.
The other cool thing about this book is that my sister is serving her mission in the Dominican Republic and she says the Mirabel sisters are a big deal there. She even went to the museum about them.
Highly recommend this book if you are into historical fiction.

Stay tuned for books I read in July coming in about 3 weeks, also I am going to be investing in kindle soon and I am so excited. I have been using the Overdrive app (online library access) to get books for on the go and having a kindle will be so helpful.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Claire's 10 month update!

I am finally writing this post! I thought I was going to a few weeks ago but of course life got busy and it wasn't a priority. I am glad to be writing it because I love having this blog as a journal of our lives. Claire turned 10 months old on June 22, exactly two weeks ago. I took her ten month pictures and I can't believe how much she moves around these days. It was a little hard to get a good pic.

Ha ha ha her face!

Claire has grown a lot since I posted about her 9 month update here.

7 lbs 8 oz
19 inches long
Two Week Appointment:
8 lbs 8 oz 75%
20 inches long 75%
Two Month Appointment:
12 lbs 4 oz 75%
 21 inches long 75%
Four Month Appointment:
  16lbs 5oz  75%
25 inches long 75%
Six Month Appointment 
19 lbs 75%
27.5 inches long 95%
Nine Month Appointment
20lbs 3 oz 75%
28.5 inches long 75%
10 Month checkup (not appointment but more on this later)
20 lbx 6 oz
28.5 inches long
Wears 9 month clothing but they are getting a little small for her so she has been into 12 month clothes more lately. I have purchased a lot more clothes in that size and will probably start putting away all her 6-9 month and 9 month stuff in the next couple of weeks. 
 Sleeps 9:15 to 8:00. Usually only wakes up once for a quick diaper change and bottle around 5:00 am. After that goes right back down for a few more hours. 
Naps for 3 hours now. She only takes one nap now a days since she is sleeping through the night. 
Eats more and more "adult" food these days. Pretty much anything off our plates she nibbles on during meal times. She gets mad to if you don't share with her. 
Whistles. I have no idea where she learned this from. I mean it's an actual whistle. My sister made a joke this morning saying that Claire whistles better then she ever will.  
Crawls on her hands and knees now. She used to army crawl and depending on how far she goes she sometimes still does that. I guess it just depends on her mood but I've noticed she crawls on her knees a lot more now. 
Dances. It's the cutest thing in the world. 
Claps her hands. 
Waves to everyone all the time. 
Says pup pup for puppies and Ba for birds. She has distinguished that any animal on the ground is a pup pup and any animal in the sky is a Ba. We are working on the fact that there are different species so she isn't calling a horse a pup pup for the rest of her life. 
Says uh-oh when she drops something. Even if she drops that something on purpose. 
Says hey. 
Points to things. 
Has two more teeth on top. 
Walks along walls, in her walker, pushing something, etc. She basically loves standing and walking as long as she is holding onto something. Any day now I am waiting for her to figure out how to actually walk. 

She grows so much week to week. Sometimes our family doesn't get to see her for a few days and every time they do they all say oh she's grown again. It's so fun watching her soak in the world around her. She's figured out how to basically get into anything that mom and dad don't want her to get into so that's been fun. 
I started a new job at our local community center. I am loving it and it has been helping me with my separation anxiety I was having. I am a lot more relaxed about leaving her now and working has helped with that a lot. I don't know how long I will be able to continue working, especially since my husband is headed back to school to get his bachelor's degree in August (He is an electrician right now but he says he doesn't want to do this for the rest of his life which I am fine with). I have loved working so we will see how it goes when that starts up. We are also trying for our second baby right now. We want them to be about two years apart so now is the time to try in case it takes us a few months to get pregnant. 
We were planning on moving to a bigger house but we are thinking of staying in our current apartment until Zack is finished with school to save money. Hopefully our landlord will let us do that, we have been here 3 years already and she said that is the longest anyone has stuck around. If we stay we are going to get a storage unit and move some stuff into storage so that we can have more space for another baby. 
So there you have it for some quick updates on us and Claire. We sure do love her a lot.