Saturday, December 15, 2018

Something to Read

You probably know the gift-giving saying: "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read." A fun one to add to this that my friend Carrie suggested is "something to experience." Following this little plan actually really helps with Christmas shopping. I am by no means a good gift-giver, but I do know my strengths...

One being that I love books! I just do. It's me! CB! I like to reeeeead. So if you need a little gift-giving help, here are some suggestions. One can NEVER go wrong with giving a book.

One thing to note, my favorite gift I'm giving this year is a book for someone in my family. But since that certain someone will most definitely read this post, I will write about that book after Christmas.

Got to throw in some kid pics that have nothing to do with this post, naturally.

Here we go!

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles -- this book is one of my very favorites of all time. You can't read it without wanting to live your life with more joy. I also loved learning about Russian history, an area I knew very little about. It's a great novel to give to any book lover, both men and women.

Peace like a River by Leif Enger -- Also one of my favorites of all time. I haven't read this in years so the plot is hazy, but it still remains probably the #1 book that I always lend out and/or that I always recommend wives getting their husbands to read. I am currently reading Enger's new novel called Virgil Wander. I'm only at the beginning, but it's great. Something about Enger's beautiful writing always hooks me.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover -- everyone has seen this book at the top of the bestseller list this year. It is CRAZY and hard to believe that Tara's memoir is true. It's about her upbringing in the hills of Idaho by survivalist Mormon parents, and how she ultimately escapes to create her own life. It is heartbreaking, real, insane and heavy, but I couldn't put it down. It reminded me of Hillbilly Elegy, but way more crazy.

September by Rosamunde Pilcher -- I know I am prone to superlatives in recommending books, but Rosamunde Pilcher is just the best. The Shell Seekers, already mentioned in a long-ago post, is my favorite book maybe ever. September is another Pilcher classic set in Scotland that has loose ties to The Shell Seekers. Coming Home is another fabulous Pilcher novel set in Cornwall amidst the beauty of the land and sea. I absolutely treasure anything that Rosamunde Pilcher writes!

Elizabeth Goudge - The Dean's Watch, Green Dolphin Street, The Little White Horse -- Elizabeth Goudge is an author introduced to me by a dear and wise friend here in Durham. She and I are kindred spirits in our love to read, and her introducing me to Elizabeth Goudge is something I will always be thankful for. Goudge is a British author from the early and mid 1900s whose writing truly captures the depth of human character and gets to the core of who we are as people.  The Dean's Watch and Green Dolphin Street are magnificent. The Little White Horse is a children's fantasy novel that I absolutely loved, and it's one of the books that directly inspired J.K. Rowling to write the Harry Potter series.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight - Nike's founder writes about how it all started. It's the story of how a rowdy band of skinny track kids selling shoes created what is now one of the world's most highly recognized brands. I loved this book, and a lot of my friends' husbands did too.

Charlie's face

Here are a few children's books we love:

A Sick Day for Amos McGee - The sweetest story about a zookeeper and the animals he cares for. I love this book so much. The illustrations make me emotional... I can't explain it! Sometimes I take this book while the kids are sleeping and flip through the pages. I just love it. It's great for a boy or girl.

A New Coat for Anna - I read this book a lot as a child and recently was re-introduced to it. Reading it to Liza Love is so special.

Where's the Ballerina? - I got this for Liza Love for Christmas. This is a fun and beautiful book if your little girl loves ballet. There are ballerinas hidden on every page as it takes the reader through several classic ballets as you look for them.

"This is my cabinet house" - LL. "Wave to your subjects." - Charlie

And lastly, some Christmas books that we love:

The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers - beautiful illustrations of the classic ballet.

A Night of Great Joy by Mary Englebreit - simple and sweet from a childhood favorite of mine

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett - Liza Love and I enjoy singing this song and of course anything Jan Brett illustrates is just gorgeous.

Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer - we love all Olivia books!

Birthday cake for me. 33 and feeling fine.

Last thing I'll say: Michael got me Michelle Obama's new book for my birthday a few days ago because according to Michael I am "real tight with Michelle and the girls since [I] shared ice cream with them that one time." Ain't that the truth.

Pics or it didn't happen...
Secret service looking real secret.

Merry Christmas and happy reading.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Charlie at 10 Months

Well well well.

It's been almost a year to the date of my last blog post....

But it turns out, I still know how to use my fingers and punch out some words on this here thing.

So, I've had it on my to-do list for 10 months to sit down and write about Charlie. And then I started wondering:

If a blogger never mentions she has a son, does he even exist? {If a tree falls in a forest but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?}

But then I really was like, "Don't kid yourself, honey. You are not a blogger."


Here is my sweet baby, Charles Fischer Catalino, today at 10 months old -- loving life as he brunches with his fam.

Mom. Ima put this basket on my head.


Give it back! 

Do you like me teeth?

Let me squish up my nose for you and make your heart melt

Oh sorry, don't really melt

Well maybe melt just a little

Find me a happier baby with a plastic basket. 

Charlie is a dream baby. He was born two weeks early (thank you, Jesus!) on November 20, 2017 and my labor was so quick, he almost popped out in the hospital lobby. My water broke at home at 4:00pm and Charlie was born at 4:33pm. I have a lot of memories in that short little 30 minute window but let's just say that having a natural birth was not ever my plan. Michael does often remind me that upon running into the delivery room, I immediately tore off my shirt, but then yelled out, "DO I NEED TO TAKE OFF MY PANTS????"

So yea...

I was in the zone.

Not sure what zone, but I was there.

I will say that now having experienced both an epidural birth and a totally nothing, no IV, no drugs, no laughing gas (they offer this at UNC), barely getting my clothes off kind of birth, I would totally DEFINITELY go for the natural birth. Of course, I was only in killer pain for 30 minutes though.... not sure how I would have fared had it been a longer ordeal.

From the minute Charlie arrived, he has just been so sweet and just perfect. Ok ok, no baby is perfect and Charlie has never been the best napper, but I mean everything else is wonderful. He sleeps, he eats, he plays, he ADORES his big sister, he laughs, he's content nearly always unless he's hungry. He was the snuggliest little newborn. He packed on the pounds between 6 and 9 months and is loving that food life. He self-weened at 9 months which definitely surprised me but neither of us have missed nursing. He is now pulling up on everything and dusting my floors with his funny belly crawl. I can't get over how fast time has gone since Charlie was born. The first 6 weeks were a blur with Thanksgiving and Christmas, but even so, I am aghast, alarmed and in complete shock that my little boy is going to be 1 in two months. Here are some pictures from the early days:

Goodness, I don't even recognize that little baby. Oh, do stop growing!

Meanwhile, big sister Liza Love is my spicy little chatterbox who makes me tired way more so than her little brother. She spent her day in various phases of time-out and also riding her balance bike while refusing to change out of her dress.

that booty tho

LL asked me today while watching football on TV and seeing the cheerleaders, "Mama, why don't they have on their shirts?"

Honey, that's a good question, and I don't know all the answers.

But I do love you!

First dance class. I mean...