Five Faves? Well, four books!

There’s no Mark and Mama this week as Ryan has the week off for Spring Break and we’ve been doing LOTS of stuff with the three of us all together. One of the things we did was go to Toddler Time at the library and I picked up a few books about being a big brother and expecting a new baby. I thought it would be fun to do a quick review of the four we picked up (I’ll ruin #5 for you and tell you it’s the link for the link-up… we ran out of time at the library… near freak-outs happen).

1. Baby on the Way by William Sears, M.D.

This book would probably be a lot better for older kids than Mark. It’s SUPER informative and goes into a lot of detail about where babies are from and how they grow, etc.

There are really good pictures and some nice hints about how to help mom out when she gets tired:


Overall, it’s good, but definitely meant more for kids older than Mark.

2. Babies Don’t Eat Pizza by Dianne Danzig


Another good book, but a little long to keep Mark’s attention the whole time. A LOT of information here about what it’s like for babies in the womb, what they might look like when they’re born, what they eat (not pizza), and good other facts.


The one thing I wish this one had was some sort of narrative. The book “talks” to the reader, but I think it would be better if there was some sort of story to help keep the reader more interested (well, the smaller readers more interested).

3. I’m a Big Brother by Maxie Chambliss


This book is a little different than the other two. The focus is on after the baby is born and focuses much more on the older sibling and their feelings. When we read this one, Mark liked it and wanted to read it one more time.


It’s also a lot shorter than the other two and Mark was able to keep his attention on it. I don’t know how much he was able to understand about everything, but he liked the story for sure.

4. Waiting for Baby by Harriet Ziefert


This was probably my favorite of the bunch! The story focuses strictly on the time right before the baby comes, about the last week or so. The boy, Max, is so excited to have his little sibling come that he tells the baby (at all different levels) that it’s time to come out now! Mark really liked that we got to be louder as we were reading.


The last page of the story is just a picture of Max, his parents, and the new baby. Mark loves this page and turns to it over and over to talk about all the things he sees.

We’ve read this book probably about nine times in the last three days. It’s great for toddlers, but I think kids a year or two older would probably like it too.

5. Other Faves!

I promise to do more of these books (Mark really likes reading them!), but I’m going to leave you a link here to check out some other five faves this week. 🙂 Happy reading!


Five Faves: Summer Part 1

It’s only the first week of summer, but already I have several faves.  They run the gamut, so be warned there’s no real rhyme or reason other than it’s SUMMER!

1. The free section of Craigslist!

We’ve been searching for a play structure for Mark for a few weeks now.  Most of the ones we liked online that were new were SUPER expensive, or they were the wooden ones that would take up literally our entire yard.


When I was searching Craigslist the other day, I found one of those really sketchy listings where it doesn’t show the picture of the “free” thing; you just have to come and check it out yourself.

Naturally, I sent my husband.  🙂

After it got the Ryan seal of approval, he brought it home, employed the power-washer from the farm, and voila!  This will be where he plays for the whole summer, I think.

2. Sunriver Resort, OR. 

Recently, my mom came to visit, and she watched Mark while Ryan and I went and stayed at the beautiful Sunriver Resort just South of Bend, OR.  It was the first time that we have been away from Mark, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the trip.  There were some rough times where I missed Mark tons, for sure, but it was really nice to be able to connect with Ryan as just a couple instead of couple-but-mostly-mom-and-dad.  Here are some photos (and if you ever find yourself in Oregon, you should definitely check out the resort):


We were playing bocce.  He’s explaining something about triangles and geometry, but all I can hear is that I didn’t score any points this round.


This is Tumalo Falls just outside of Bend.  Beautiful hike!


The marina at Sunriver.


While we were playing bocce, there was a deer not ten yards away from us. So cool!


Mark obviously had a great time with his Grandma while we were away.

3. All the delicious green things.  

I know I said green things, but I LOVE salads with berries.  This is the first one I made this year (baby greens, berries, almonds, olive oil, and white balsamic vinegar).  Why, yes it was as delicious as it looks, thanks for asking!


4. This yarn.  

I’ve been trying to de-stash my yarn by making baby hats to donate (to the hospital? a maternity home? I’m not sure yet), but I’m swooning over this yarn that I found on Etsy.  You should totally go check out this girl’s store.  It’s amazing.

Hand Dyed Yarn-DK weight MCN-"Glacier"

5. This guy.


Today, I’ve been married to Ryan for three whole years.  I know in the world (even the blogging world), that really isn’t too long.  But, it’s important to recognize our commitment and love to each other, so that’s what we’re doing tonight.  Soon, we’re headed out to our favorite dessert place and having something that is totally going to destroy my calories for the week.  Oh well.  🙂

If you’re up for reading some other faves, go check out Heather’s host-post.  

Five Faves Vol. 8: Little Man Faves!

It’s incredibly hard to believe, but Little Man is almost a year old.  Before we get into toddlerhood (when does that happen, exactly? a year? I’m saying a year), I thought it might be fun to talk about Little Man’s Five Faves for the last few weeks.  I considered asking him, but I wasn’t sure how that would go.  Instead, here are my observations of his Faves.  (P.S. — There are no links to buying any of these things anywhere because, well, most of them are just parts of our house and not the tens of toys he has at his disposal at all times.)

1. Doors


They open.  And they close.  And they open.  And they close.  Really, he could do this all day, every day (and he kind of does).  I know, I know, he’s probably going to get his fingers caught in the door and he’s probably going to cry and be a little hurt.  But, I’m fairly confident that’s going to happen at some point in his life, be that now or when he’s an adult (his mother, after all, is a complete klutz).

He really likes thinking that he can close the door on us and leave us out in the hallway.  Probably not a great standard to set, but oh well for right now.

2. Lights

For the last two months or so, Little Man has been able to say “ight!” for light.  Over and over and over again.  He points them out wherever he sees them.

I have even managed to make him the weird kid, a little bit.  For a while, we played that game where the adult switches the light on and off when blowing at the light.  So, Little Man would see lights all over the place (like in the store) and would try and blow them out.


3. Dogs

He is still in love with the ruff-ruffs all the time.  He will see them on the street and just want to follow them and pet them and kiss them.

We don’t have to work on stranger-danger in our house.  We have to work on stranger-dog-danger in our house.

I’m just praying he’s not going to be the weird kid who barks at people.

4. Cars


Little Man and I play cars at the coffee table in the mornings.  Also, since we live right down the street from three different schools, 7:40-8:00 in the morning is prime Looking At Cars Out The Front Window time.  That’s what we do.  And it’s awesome.  His little head goes back and forth and back and forth…

5. The-thing-he’s-not-supposed-to-have-that-is-just-out-of-his-reach

Like all good babies, Little Man wants what he can’t have.  At any given moment, this includes my computer, dada’s keys, the cheese grater, the old piece of food on the floor, chocolate bunnies, or shoes.  Whatever it is, though, it’s his MOST FAVORITE THING THAT HE MUST HAVE.


He says, “Can I have the camera, please?  I wants it!”

If you want to read some takes of what some real-life adults like, go check out the other Five Faves here.  

Five Faves: Vol. 6

This Five Faves doesn’t really have any rhyme or reason to it.  There’s no theme here.  It’s sunny out and things are just a little more awesome than usual.

1. The best way to store sheets ever in the history of the world  

I am the WORST when it comes to folding a fitted sheet.  Seriously, the WORST.  Whenever I fold one, it always ends up in one big jumbled mess and I ask myself why I even bothered folding it in the first place.  Until this tutorial.

It’s the single greatest way to fold and store your sheets, no matter the size.  And my linen closet looks so much neater (well, the shelf with all the sheets looks neater, anyway!).

2. The Original Broadway Cast recording of “Fiddler on the Roof”

I wrote in one of my posts last week about how I’ve started the long training process for a 5K (hey! I once walked a marathon, but running is faster — go figure– and I kind of hate it, so I have to train).  I also mentioned that I listen to the “Music Man” station on Pandora when I train.

I’ll have you know that “To Life” got me through the portion of my run with hills yesterday and it was glorious.  (Note: this isn’t the best version, but it’s what I could find. )

If you think that there’s no difference between the Original Broadway Cast and the Movie Cast recordings, you are wearing crazy pants.  Nothing and no one come close to Zero Mostel when it comes to Tevye.

3. Speaking of running, use this app!

In no way does anyone over at MapMyFitness know who am I and even if they did they wouldn’t want me to be the poster child for endorsing their product.  But, this app is pretty cool.  You can use to track all kind of fitness on your smarty-phone and it will tell you via your earphones how far you’ve gone or how long it’s been since you started!  It’ll even do it in different intervals.

Trust me on this one; so much better than continuously looking at your watch and praying that it’s been two minutes, already!

4. The GoodReads widget

I’m probably the last person to get on the GoodReads train, but I do kind of like it.  I’m not sure that I like all of the notifications about who added me as a friend, but I’m sure that I could change that if I bothered to change my settings on anything ever.

But!  GoodReads also has a widget!  Which you can conveniently find right over there. –>

In case you were wondering what I’m reading or how many stars I gave Green Eggs and Ham, wonder no more!

5. Suits is back!

I know I already mentioned it in my post from last week, but Suits is back!  Hooray!  If you haven’t been watching the show, you can catch up through Amazon’s streaming video or On Demand.  Do it!  Get Litt Up!

Linking up with the other ladies for the Five Faves here.  

Five Faves (vol. 5): Comfort Reads

I’ve been busy lately (I know, nothing I haven’t said before) and I’m struggling to find things to post about.  Little Man is still his sweet, awesome self, but the rest of my days aren’t particularly exciting.  What to write about?

While I ponder that for the next short while, here are my Five Faves for the week.  I was thinking about books that I return to and read over and over.  Teacher Man doesn’t understand why someone would want to read a book more than once.  I love reading books and watching movies over and over.  If it’s a really great book or a really great movie, you get to know the characters and you feel like you’re visiting old friends when you re-read.  These books aren’t in any particular order and I promise more than a basic plot summary.

Also, I think maybe the title is a little misleading.  These aren’t all books that I find comfort in.  But, they are the books that I turn to time and time again.  Also, feel free to click on the photos to get to the link for the books on Amazon.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Is it bad for me to say that if you don’t like this book you must be made of cold, hard stone?  Whatever.  I don’t even care.  I’ve read this book pretty much every year since I was in 6th grade.  Every time I read it, I learn more about myself (cue the cheesiness) and a new perspective on the world.  Also, it’s just a beautiful book and practically perfect in every way.

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

If you want to get really freaked out about where we’re going as a society, read 451.  I’m always astonished at how even though this book was written, what, forty years ago, that it’s amazingly accurate to how we live our lives.  There’s no mention of the Internet and we aren’t quite to the level of burning books yet, but it’s creepy how close we are.  Bradbury also as amazing style that is very much his own and makes his characters sound so real it’s amazing.

3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This book was in the bag that I brought with me to the hospital when I had Little Man.  I’ve read it over and over and over and over.  The March sisters are the people that I feel like are my friends (in a totally not-creepy way) and I love visiting them every few years.  Even though I know the story and it’s completely predictable, I never tire of it.  Each of the sisters is different in their own way and seeing them go through their struggles and achievements at times when I’ve gone through my own makes me feel even more connected to them.  Also?  I want to be Jo, but I’m pretty sure that I’m Meg.

4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Gatsby is complete perfection in every way.  This is a book that I’ve taught a few times and I each time, there’s another layer; it’s like an onion.  Fitzgerald has a remarkable ear and every single sentence is perfect.  The clash between the life of Nick and the life of Gatsby is one that stands the test of time.  The yearning of Gatsby to relive the past is something that all of us can relate to.  We all have parts of us that show up in Gatsby, even if we don’t want to admit it.

5. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

I hear Crutcher speak as an English teacher conference that I went to during my first few years of teaching.  He read a selection from this book (when you read it, it’s the part about the little girl knocking the Happy Meal on the floor) and he explained that it was a real story that he witnessed when he was working as a counselor in Spokane.  It was a heartbreaking story, and I picked his book up right away.  While this book was the first one that I read of his, all of them are great reads and would be worth picking up.

Be sure to go Moxie Wife and check out the other faves for the week.  

Five Faves (vol. 4)

There’s no rhyme or reason for these Five Faves, friends.  I know many of you out there are at the Walk for Life in D.C. (or wishing you were there or praying, as I am here, for all of the babies aborted since Roe v. Wade), but this post has (almost) nothing to do with abortion or the Walk for Life.  I decided that I needed a little pick-me-up, so I’m trying to focus on a few things that have brought me joy in the past couple of weeks.

1. Okay, ONE post. 

I know I said nothing to do with the Walk, but I always love reading this post by Maggie.  This year, my Little Man’s name made the list and it makes the whole thing more real for me than before.

2. Mrs. Meyer’s

You know you’re an adult when you get excited about buying a mop and some new cleaning solution.  Yesterday, I got both.  I haven’t gotten into the whole natural/green/dyi cleaning solution craze, but someone on the Internet  (so it must be true, right?) that I could use this multi-purpose solution on my kitchen floor (laminate) AND my hardwood floors.  Gasp!  So, I went to my local store and smelled all of their different flavors (which were DELICIOUS) and chose the lavender scent.  I used it last night in the kitchen and early today in the living room and I’ll agree that this works great!  Excited to try some of their other scents at some point too!

3. My Sisters The Saints: A Spiritual Memoir by Colleen Carroll Campbell

I know I promised that I would devote a whole post to this, but I also know that there’s no way that I’m going to have time for that in the near future.  So, the book gets the bump here!

For those of you who are Catholic moms, you’re going to love this book.  Campbell weaves her own personal story with her discovery of different female saints and how their paths relate to hers.  One of the things I really liked about it is that she switches back and forth between herself and the saints pretty seamlessly and she spends a good amount of time on both.  As a young Catholic, I can relate to her personal story in many ways.  The saints she chose (you’re going to have to read to find out who!) are ones that I knew a little bit about, but I was pleasantly surprised but how much I learned.

Altogether, it’s an enjoyable read, and I highly recommend it.

4. Clean My Space 

Clean My Space

I’m gradually starting to sense a bit of a theme here.  But, seriously, you can spend some serious time on this YouTube channel.  There are videos on how to clean just about anything!  While I haven’t tried all of them (okay, or any of them), it’s fun to watch and she makes everything seem so simple!  Click on the photo for the link.

5. Shabby Apple Dress

Sorry, I couldn’t make it bigger for some reason and I’m WAY too tired to try one more time.  

Swoon.  Just… swoon.

6. Happy!

I pretty much have no opinions whatsoever about Pharrell, but this song makes me want to dance.  Turn it on, clap along, and have a mini dance party!

When you’re done dancing, head on over to Moxie Wife and check out the other Five Faves!

Five Faves (Vol. 3): Five favorite things to do during naptime

Okay, so this Five Faves doesn’t have anything to do with Things so much as it does with Time.  As many other Mamas know, naptime is precious, precious time that should never be squandered on frivolous things like Facebook, coffee in peace in quiet, or oggling Project Life stuff on Pinterest or Amazon.


But, really, I do try to make Little Man’s naps as constructive for me as possible.  Here’s what I find myself doing the most often when he naps (or, what I find to be most valuable).

1) Schoolwork.  

When I found out that I was going to be working part-time at school this year, I made a promise to myself and Little Man that, if I could help it, I wouldn’t work on grading or prepping or e-mailing or whatever for school while he’s awake.  I have so little time with him as it is (well, at least that’s how it feels!), that I want to make sure when he’s up and with me, I can focus completely on him.  So far, we’ve been able to swing this pretty well, and I find myself getting my schoolwork done first thing when he naps.  Then, I feel completely productive and anything else I manage to get done feels like a bonus.

2) Prepping for dinner.  

We’ve been getting A LOT of use out of our crock pot the last couple of months, so sometimes my role is to get everything prepped and in the pot before I leave for work so there’s one less thing for us to think about when Teacher Man and I get home.  There have been a couple of times when I’ve tried to do this while Little Man is up and underfoot in his walker (he’s not crawling yet… have we talked about how great and not-great this is?), and it works okay… but it’s much easier to do when he’s asleep.



5) Facebook.  Twitter.  Instagram.  Blogging.  

C’mon, you know that sometimes you just need to de-stress and look at a screen for a few minutes.  🙂

To read some other Faves, go see the link-up with MoxieWife here.