Friday, June 29, 2012

Reading Elsewhere

So, it turns out I really like doing that brief book review post, and found several of my friends on Facebook recently were asking for book recommendations. So...I finally joined Goodreads, and I'll save my reviews for that site. Follow me at CClaiborneL if you'd like.

I've heard from most of my friends that as much as they like the idea of Goodreads, they don't stay active on it. Clearly, as this blog shows, I'm inconsistent with updates, but I'll do my best, and I have motivation: with my first child, I watched a LOT of bad TV as I nursed her every 1.5 hours for months. I was stuck to that couch. This time, I hope to integrate some more reading into the mix so that my brain doesn't go to mush as much as it did last time. Famous last words, I know...but it's a goal. Help me keep it -- publish good reviews of the books you love, please!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Where I've Been

It has been quite a week. Quite a month, actually. I am exhausted, though thankful that we were able to fit in so many adventures and see so much family. I'm also thankful that my kid travels well. Our schedule has been as follows:

My mom and Sylvia take on the Outer Banks

  1. At the end of April, a moving van showed up with the remainder of my mom's furniture and decor that she is sloughing off giving to me. Some furniture made it into the house, but the garage filled up with boxes that need sorting. Some of them are exciting (new dishes! some nice art!), others not so much (high school yearbooks, like I really want to store those now). The garage can now only fit one car, and piles of boxes await my precious free time for sorting, moving into the house, or processing through consignment.
  2. Classes ended that week, and Sylvia and I flew to Dallas to help care for my dad after rotator cuff surgery. We stayed 5 days, and I finished up my grading, did some house care, and took Sylvia out at least once a day for running around time. I'm proud that we rather successfully managed the Atlanta airport, two flights, and the same bed together. Not sure we helped my dad much with logistics, though I hope we provided some entertainment value.
  3. We were then home for 3 days, and hosted a big multi-family BBQ one night.
  4. Our family (minus dog) then drove 10.5 hours to the Outer Banks of NC for a mini-vacation at my mom's house (she now lives full-time in the family beach house). We stayed for a relaxing 5 days, read a lot of books, ate a lot of seafood, and pushed Sylvia in the neighbor's swing ad nauseum.
  5. D and I left Sylvia with my mom and flew to NJ for a dear friend's wedding (which also served as our mini-babymoon). By the time we drove to Norfolk, flew to Newark with a layover in Philadelphia, and took the train from Newark to Long Branch, we realized we could have driven in the same amount of time (oy). The wedding was a gorgeous, happy event, we had a great time catching up with college friends, the hotel was mediocre but had a great location right on the beach, and we actually felt like grown-ups for a few days.
  6. D flew back home (for work and a bachelor party) and I flew back to the Outer Banks to hang out with my mom and daughter for 10 days. I was working on a big travel guide update with a looming deadline, so I frantically hit the computer any second that my mom could spare from her job. Luckily, she wanted more time with Sylvia, so it all worked out -- though it was weird to spend days at the beach house hunched over my laptop. I should also mention that pregnancy finally caught up with me big-time, so those two hours in the middle of the day that I usually work while Sylvia naps got replaced by my own needed naptime. It's so hard to be productive when you're exhausted and feeling like an overstuffed pinata.
  7. Sylvia and I drove 11 hours home (in torrential rains!) and stayed for all of 2 days.
  8. The whole family (minus the dog again, poor buddy) drove down to Atlanta to meet up with D's sister and her two kids before we all flew to Indianapolis to visit his father's side of the family. We missed our flight there (they shut the door in our face, despite our arriving at the airport 1hr10min early and hustling -- the airport was insanely busy). AirTran, though initially our enemy, corrected course quite nicely and rerouted us through Tampa at no fee -- though it did mean a longer day and an extra flight with 3 children under age 6. The kids were champs, even though we arrived in our final destination (3 hours from the Indy airport) at 11:30 p.m. We visited with D's 96-year-old grandmother and several cousins and their families for 1.5 quick days before heading back home (direct flight this time).
  9. One week at home. We learned that D's maternal grandmother, who lives with his parents (same town as us) in the winters, has been getting sicker. After a few days, she was admitted to the hospital with a failing digestive system. In the middle of dealing with that change, I hosted a bridal shower for one of D's oldest and dearest friends and his awesome fiance. It was chaotic but turned out pretty nice, if I do say so myself (the bride enjoyed her first ever ham biscuits, and I pulled off a layer cake topped with lovely blackberry buttercream frosting made from berries Sylvia and I had picked).
  10. It became clear that Grandma was not going to recover. One of D's aunts flew in, and his sister decided not to go home after the shower. The family began spending time at the hospital 24/7 and saying their goodbyes. D was out late several nights, but enjoyed some very dear time swapping stories and sharing memories with family around Grandma's bed. I stayed home, needing to tend to Sylvia but also wanting to avoid hospitals while pregnant. I helped by sending some food and coordinating phone calls with hospice and family. Grandma was moved to a wonderful hospice facility on Wednesday morning, and we all visited her there. I got to say goodbye to a strong, classy, smart woman. She was an avid reader, a former English teacher, a lover of genealogy, and a great conversationalist. She passed away Wednesday afternoon at age 97. The family had a lovely dinner in her honor Wednesday night.
  11. I cancelled the baby shower I was supposed to host on Wednesday afternoon and decided to spend Thursday thoroughly cleaning my chaotic house (it only got halfway done). Tomorrow, we leave again for our last adventure for the summer -- and probably for a long while. 
Sleepy during our 2nd flight to IN
I have always loved travel and grown weary of too many days at home, but I admit that I am Done. The physical and emotional toll of the past month has been a bit too much for this lady, and I find myself fiercely drawn to my bed, my books, my quiet routine. I've neglected phone calls to friends and family who need checking in on. I've neglected house projects, both the regular tasks and the bigger ones that need completed before Baby arrives. I've neglected care for self and Baby. It's time to turn inward, and as such, I look forward to July.