Thursday, January 15, 2015

Best of 2014 Books

So I know it's already nearly 2 weeks into 2014 but back before the New Year ended I asked on my Facebook page what books were my readers favorites of the year. Getting lost in a book has always been one of my favorite things to do and something I'm hoping to do more of this year. Here are the best books of 2014 according to the Wine in Mom Community.

Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad - Sarah of Thank You Honey

A Storm of Swords - Rachel- Can't Google Everything

The Book Thief - Farrah of The Three Under

The Goldfinch: A Novel - Marci of Vegging at the Shore

The Polar Express - Jessica of Mommy University (who only has time to read children's books)

The Fault in Our Stars - Reesa of Momma Lew

 My friend Shell puts together this awesome list of Keepers and Stinkers every year, and there are a lot of great books on her list.

As for me I fell short of my reading goals in 2014 but the books that I did read really resonated with me. Here are three of my favorites and instead of giving you a summary I'm giving you a quote from the book, like a little teaser.

The Interestings: A Novel

"But clearly life took people and shook them around until finally they were unrecognizable even to those who had once known them well. Still, there was power in having known someone."

  The Shoemaker's Wife: A Novel

"Don't marry a padrone, Ciro. Pick a quiet girl who likes to take care of you. An ambitious woman will kill you. There's always something that needs to be done. They keep lists. They make you a list. They want more, more, more and trust me more, more, more leads to an ulcer"

Attachments: A Novel

"Excruciating and wonderful it feels good to want something that bad. I thought about him the way you think about dinner when you haven't eaten for a day and a half. like you'd sell your soul for it"

 Honorable Mention goes to The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel , because while I didn't love this book it really stuck with me and contained one of my favorite quotes.

"I'm going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one in the whole wide world". 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

We're In This Together

We're in this together, I think, as we pile car seats and bags and snacks into the mini van. And the sound of I can't hear the DVD, and pull the screen down and turn on the movie fill our ears. And we laugh because that's all we can do and someone shouts, "we will have fun". As if that is our mantra for these years. As if those words will make it so.

"We will have fun" as we venture out forcing our kids away from their Ipads and Disney Jr and a lazy Sunday in their jammies. Because that's what life and this parenting thing is about the pursuit of fun, taking the opportunity to make memories, filling your Facebook news feed with happiness.

We're in this together: parenting and friendship

We're in this together. When the work days are long and the kids are cranky and you're out of wine. And I will bring a bottle to your house and we will order dinner and the kids will run amuck, while we turn an idle eye and silently cheers and sing Taylor Swift under our breathes. Because deep in our souls we are still young and reckless.

And when life gets crazy I will cook your family dinner and invite you into my home and I will pour the wine or the whiskey or whatever life calls for because I know you have and will do the same.

We're in this together. When I show up at your house in sweatpants, Uggs and not a stitch of make-up. And upon arrival your laundry is unfolded in your living room and neither of us will care that we've let each other see that side, the parts that aren't always going the way we planned, the unprettiness that life with children can be.

You will bring the fresh baked cookies that you posted on Facebook to our play date at the park, and when the children eat half of them I won't care. But when I get home I'll devour what's left crumbs and all while hiding from my son and text you to tell you how wonderful they were.

And if you see that I posted a bit of grumpiness on Facebook you will send wine or cookies or both. You will invite me into your home, and I'll leave feeling a million times better.

When I complain about how badly dinner went or how my son refuses anything but macaroni and cheese, and when I admit that I yelled or lost my temper you will just listen. You will nod and without judgement or explanation say that this too shall pass.

We set no expectations for each other. And if I haven't heard from you in awhile, I know it's not because you're mad or avoiding me but that this business of having a family, of raising children, of keeping the laundry flowing and the bellies full is hard work.

We are in this together when you have fallen, when things haven't gone as planned and I'll wait for you to be ready to talk about it or not talk about it. And when you are ready there will be no judgement just wine.

And when your days are joyous, your kids have been well behaved or achieved something or just simply made you smile, I will listen and understand and know what a big deal it is. And I won't think you a braggart or admonish you for talking about your children all the time.

We are in this together, through the thick and thin, these years of mess and chaos and sometimes speechless wonderment. The days when our hearts burst with joy from the amazingness that having children can be and on the days when we our hearts are heavy and worn down from how hard all this can be, we are in this together. We are in this together, no matter where the journey takes us or what life throws at us. I'll hold your kids hands and you will hold mine, we will navigate motherhood together, I'll have your back and you have mine.


Monday, January 12, 2015

How to Shake Off The Winter Blues

This post contains affiliate links for products I love and think that you too will love. 

Last week I wrote about having a case of the winter blues. I don't tend to like to feel that way, but it seems inevitable every January. But who wants to feel down? Not me. It's not really my style. And after I wrote that post I started thinking about how I get myself out of it? How do I shake off the winter blues?

winter blues

Turn up the Radio and literally shake it off. While my preferred music is currently fangirl Taylor Swift pop and I highly recommend turning Shake It Off on loud and dancing around the kitchen. But whatever your preference is find your favorite tunes and dance it out.

Revamp your wardrobe. I was raised on the adage that when the going gets tough the tough go shopping. I generally hate my winter wardrobe. It's never warm enough, but I also hate long sleeves and sweaters, so I'm always perplexed as to what to wear in the winter which then puts me in a bad mood. I've been using Fabletics to keep me comfortable and stylish this winter and I love that the outfits come already put together so that I don't have to put any thought into it.

Try a subscription service. I don't know about you but getting things in the mail is still as exciting to me as it was when I was a kid. My favorite subscription service is Stitch Fix I love getting a box full of clothes picked out just for me. I just signed up for another fix and now that the holidays are over the wait is not nearly as long.

stitch fix

Start an event, like a monthly game night or a weekly rotating dinner with friends. A few years ago my friends and I did a monthly game night and each of us took a turn hosting. It gave us all something to look forward to. I've been tossing around doing Sunday Suppers with friends and having different friends over for dinner each week.

Plan for warmer days. I love planning things and now is the time to start thinking about the things you want to do once it's warm out. We have a little vacation planned for the end of April, plus I want to plan a trip for this summer.

Work out. I know it's a New Years cliche but exercise does produce endorphins that generally make you happier.

winter blues

Get out of the house. I know the urge to hibernate is strong. Every day I fight the urge to pull the covers back up over my head and hide in bed till spring. But getting out of the house is necessary and it helps if you have some fun planned. Last Saturday we visited the Academy of Natural Sciences and this weekend we went ice skating at the Blue Cross River Rink in Philadelphia. Find attractions that are local to you and take advantage of them.

Keep your friends close. I made a photo album for my friend for Christmas and noticed that we do so little during the winter months. There are no memories of these times and maybe it's because we all tend to hang home during these months but this year I want to change that. I want to fill the winter with memories and events. This morning I shook off the winter blues by making plans for wine tastings, beer tastings and a painting class with friends.

winter blues

Find the joy in winter. Sure it's cold, sure it's grey and sure the sun sets entirely too early but think of all the cozy things you can do in the winter. It's the perfect time of year for getting lost in a book or having a movie marathon, going to the movies or learning a new hobby. Take up a new craft like knitting or work on your photo albums or get working on that novel you dream of writing. Take advantage of the social downtime.

Winter will never be my favorite time of year and every January I will find myself fighting the winter blues. I will never be able to hibernate till spring like my mind really wants me to. But I can do everything in my power to shake off the winter blues and make the best of these months.

winter blues

How do you shake off the winter blues?