About Me, reading

Slumpish and bookish

May 17, 2017

As in, slumped on the couch, writing slump, summer not in any hurry to arrive and weather still rainy and 50 ish degrees out. Just slumping, all around.

I’ve been a bit absent the past couple weeks, between kid wrangling and house hunting and a quick little jaunt out to California where I got to hug thee Blythe Fike in person (and Michaela and Jenna and Erica and an entire assembly of their lovely local crew. But my favorite new friend is definitely Augustine Darr.)

It was a lovely, short weekend and the first time we’ve successfully left the kids for longer than a quick overnight in the mountains AND I didn’t freak out. Didn’t allow a single freak-accident-leads-to-death scenario to play out in my brain. Just slept (but not enough), read on the beach (but it was cold. Whimper.) and rode cruiser bikes by the ocean like the fine tourists that we were. Already dreaming of doing something similar next year, but maybe in Florida because I like my beaches to sizzle. Though Ventura, where we spent most of our time, is beautiful.

Aside from that though, I haven’t actually been all that busy. At least with anything I can show for the effort put in, but I feel as if I’m standing on the cusp of that mysterious season where great mom bloggers disappear into a 10 year vortex of homework assignments and late nights with wakeful kids who need to talk and endless loads of laundry and suddenly the hours that were available to write each day are sucked away into the absence of nap time and the presence of phonograms.

Not that I’m down for the count, yet, but just that I really (ha) expected the pace to slacken as the kids get older and instead it’s exponentially intensifying. Dave calls the dinner to bedtime shift “the treadmill” because once you get on, the pace doesn’t ease up until the program is complete.

He’s not wrong.

I have also just felt so blah about writing lately. It seems that there’s someone already saying everything there is to say, and my desire to add to the conversation has vanished. Maybe it’s the reduced amount of social media I’m consuming or the absence of adult conversation most days but I just feel like a battle wearied dullard with no further comment.

I just want to hug my babies and take a nap. And find a house to live in. We’re closing in on month 3 of what I naively believed to be a temporary (super temporary!) and extremely generous arrangement, living in a friend’s home while they work overseas. Their house is lovely and the kids are happy to have a new set of toys to play with and we’re so fortunate to not be in the insane rental market, but we’ve seen 20 houses in the last week and a half alone, and it’s just a depressing and grueling process. That we, um, did last summer. Determined not to panic myself into a case of shingles this go round. But it is unpleasant. Speaking of unpleasant, Luke just unscrewed and harvested several peppercorns from the grinder and is now dragging his tongue  across the floor soooo…we’re firing on all cylinders this morning.

What are your plans for the summer? My kids are out in 2 weeks and I’ve got a wide open calendar absent of even a single swim lesson. Do you plan things meticulously and schedule out month by month, or just kinda roll with it? Last year the 2 oldest had swim lessons for a month and it was great (for them) and kind of a pain (for the rest of us) so I’m a little wary of repeating the experience. I’ve also let my fantastic and beloved mother’s helper go, since she’s about 45 minutes away and doesn’t drive. So call me Ma Ingalls, but I’ve got to get on the ball and get some summer scheduled up in here.

I have read some great books the past month or so. My favorite fiction of the bunch was “Within the walled city” which I devoured in 36 hours, thanks to time on the plane. I’m also loving “The family that overtook Christ” (thanks, Julie!) which was preceded by the excellent “Three religious rebels.” I had to sign up for Kindle unlimited to access them, because they’re out of print and I didn’t want to pay a million bucks for the e version. (But both were free with unlimited!) I’m working through a great (albeit disturbing) novel right now about a doctor falling on the wrong side of the euthanasia issue, “Do no harm” by Fiorella de Maria. It’s tightly written and engaging but disturbing because it’s a little too true to life. I also enjoyed a light, quick little read by a new author, Carolyn Astfalk, who reached out to me and said based on my blog bio, I might just be her target audience. Dave Matthews Band + Theology of the Body. If you can believe it, she managed to weave both those concepts into a sweet, readable love story called “Stay with me” (spoiler alert: every chapter is also the name of a Dave Matthews single. Loved it.)

Right now I’m delving into “The highly sensitive child” and learning all about my little melancholic weirdo who memorizes life in all it’s exquisite detail, while concurrently reading the 2 mentioned above plus “Hannah Coulter” (my pathetic suburban library finally coughed up a copy 8 months after I first started asking). Any good titles caught your attention lately? I’m all eyes. For all my plaintive cries of “no time” I do seem to have enough to read a lot more now that the phone is out of commission. Especially in carline.

15 Comments

  • Reply Carolyn Astfalk May 17, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for mentioning Stay With Me! There are only so many bands with a song catalog big enough to fit 20+ chapter titles. Luckily, Dave Matthews Band is one of them.

    Summer activities – we’ve got swimming lessons. Oldest is going to Scout Jamboree. Other than that and a week of Vacation Bible School, we’ll partake of all the library and community freebies we can! No money for anything else, and I like having some flexibility for hikes and day trips. It goes too quickly!

    Also, I hear what you’re saying about the blogging slump. Other than talking about books, I feel like everyone else can go ahead and say the stuff and say it better than me. I’d just like to retreat into my little fictional worlds and deal with home and family stuff too.

  • Reply Dominika May 17, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Ah don’t tell me it gets crazier when they get older 😉 all the clinginess and tantrums are making me ill-advisedly wish away these toddler days.

    Wendell Berry is one of those writers who is forever on my to-read list. I’m currently, slooowly making my way through Middlemarch. I’ve heard and read such glowing reviews including one that said if God wrote a novel, it would be like Middlemarch. So it must be worth it.

  • Reply Lorna May 17, 2017 at 11:06 am

    We still have a few weeks to go until the school holidays here – just about when my husband will start to work away more often!! We then have 6 nearly 7 weeks I think off!! Nothing major planned here – I’m not much of a planner, more of a wishing I’d planned something and trying to react to the major gripes from 2 small boys with too much time on their hands! (I will still be cleaning toilets and floors and beds and windows and wishing for inspiration for how to pass the time until school goes back!)
    I’m approaching a tear fest tonight, found out that oldest child did something monumentally stupid at school yesterday – husband is away and I’m on the dinner to bedtime treadmill by myself!! I’m longing for everything to fall into place and I can get them into a Catholic school and some of my battle can be shared!!
    We thought that summer was here and then the rains came – a little bit of a reprieve today but its back on tomorrow – kinda gets you down a little, but the plants have sprouted and the lettuce is growing so its not all bad!!
    My book choices make you squirm so I’ll keep them to myself!!
    They get older – the battles change and slowly slowly you get less bottoms to wipe – its the little things in life that can make all the difference to your day!!

    Keep writing – I need to keep reading it.

    Keep on, keeping on.

    Prayers for a house to appear soon.

    Sorry to one and all for the rant!!

  • Reply Kathleen May 17, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Jenny, I love hearing your thoughts on whatever! But I know how hard it is to write when kids don’t go to sleep or nap! I am still contemplating going smartphone free because of your example, but just haven’t take the plunge yet!!!!

    Oh Hannah Coulter! Have you gotten to the room of love, yet?

  • Reply Nicole May 17, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Our summer plans = pool membership, popsicles (kids), iced coffee (me), give birth (late July). I feel like we deserve to recover from 2 hours of driving a day to and from school.

  • Reply Kati May 17, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    One recommendation re swim lessons – sign up for the two weeks of lessons that run M-Th., same time every day, and finish the whole session at once!! We have tried once a week for a month, twice a week for several weeks, and this intensive two weeks and the two weeks is definitely my fave. Feels like camp for them, you still get Fridays off, and it doesn’t drag on through the whole summer.

  • Reply Colleen May 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Good books

    “Doing School”
    “Overloaded and Underprepared”
    both by Denise Clark Pope

  • Reply Virginia May 17, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Talk to me more about that Melancholic book. I got me one of those. I’m married to one too, so I got the best of both worlds. 😃

  • Reply Chelsea Clarkson May 17, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Hi! I reverted thanks to blogs like yours. I learn so much from you- I absolutely think you make tired topics your own. Even if it doesn’t feel like it’s

    So anyway when you DO feel called to write again, I need help understanding Heaven and Hell. In fact, I can happily submit a list of things I need help understanding whenever you need a little challenge 😉

  • Reply Arenda May 17, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    “Hannah Coulter” is so good! Enjoy! I also really enjoyed “That Distant Land” by Wendell Berry. I listened to it on an audiobook and found the gentle southern accent of the reader really deepened my appreciation for the details of the story.

  • Reply Stephanie Rodriguez May 18, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Any series by Alexander McCall Smith – ANY! – is delightful, easy, and fun. He transports you into the characters’ world with ease.

    Personally, I think you’d enjoy the Isabel Dalhousie series (the sunday Philosphy Club). Love it.

    • Reply Stephanie Rodriguez May 18, 2017 at 7:06 am

      Oh!! And “The Christ Commission” by Og Mandino. 👍🏻👍🏻

      The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

      Father Jonathan Morris’ Serenity Prayer book

      Looking for Mary by D’Onofrio

  • Reply Allison Howard May 18, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Ah, I feel like you write my heart out and all the zaniness of my life coalesces on my computer monitor when I read your posts … I will pray for that house hunt and that the vortex of motherhood doesn’t suck you in too soon.

  • Reply jeanette May 18, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Jenny…we are (still) hunting for houses right along side of you. My husband despairs every time that we find one we like and the realtor says: Offers are due on Tuesday. We aren’t writing an offer and sitting around waiting for them to tell us to cough up more money so that they get multiple offers above asking price. Our market is just crazy.

    House hunting is time consuming, but in the end, I hope you find something that meets your family’s needs and something they can grow into and love to call home, not because of the features of the house, but because of the beloved parents who provide the warmth of family life within that home.

    As for summer activities, if you don’t want to be tied down to a program that you have to sign up for, just schedule a day that is library day or park day or something like that so that no matter what else you do during the week, that is one thing that is planned as an outside activity. Keeps it simple for you, but breaks up the home routine for the kids.

  • Reply Janet May 19, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by The La Leche League good read for Mother’s not done!!!

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