Category Archives: Uncategorized

Things I Hear in the Gym Sauna

I’ve added sitting in the sauna as part of my gym activities. The purpose is threefold:

  1. I take a book in there to read and leave my phone in the locker. Leaving the phone is mostly because my phone can’t handle that much heat for that long, but I also appreciate the break from all electronic devices.
  2. It helps with my break from mama-hood. I get 2 hours of childcare each time I go in, and you better believe I use all 120 minutes.
  3. It’s supposed to help with hormone blah blah blah and workout recovery.


There were several things I did not know before I started this practice:

  1. The majority of sauna users are men.
  2. I feel very vulnerable and unsafe when I’m in there with multiple men and no other women.
  3. When you read a physical book, older people tend to engage you in conversation about it, but not younger people
  4. People (mainly the men, but some women too) talk about things in there as if they are in the privacy of their own homes or participating in private phone calls and this is so bizarre to me.


I’ve decided to start collecting sauna stories and sharing them here because they must be shared.

  1. I heard a man talk about how he lied to his wife about the benefits of some food supplement because she wasn’t going to believe the real benefit
  2. I heard another man tell his buddy that sometimes daughters just need to be told that they aren’t smart enough to do something
  3. I heard a man who was probably in his 40s trash talk the young guys for not stretching in the sauna prior to working out IN FRONT OF some said young guys
  4. I watched a young man try to hit on a young woman awkwardly in front of about 8 other people in the sauna
  5. I overheard that same woman talk about her modeling photo shoot with her friend in that same sauna with 8 or so strangers

So…do what you will with all of that. You can imagine how I felt at times.

In a more positive report, I had a lovely conversation with a colleague of Shirley Brice Heath whose book I read in graduate school. He chatted me up because he saw me reading Anne of Green Gables. He first complimented my use of a “real” book rather than a device, and then told me about his work with a Taiwanese linguist and Anne of Green Gables and how it related to Shirley Brice Heath’s work. Let’s just say I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation as opposed to things I was thinking when listening particularly to #2 above.


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Posted by on April 5, 2016 in Grad School, Uncategorized


Book Club: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

This book fulfills the “Banned Books” category in my reading challenge. Reports of why this book was banned include reasons such as the description of rape, the hatred toward whites in the book, and profanity. Yup. That’s all in there. I also think this is an important book to read. It’s important to read about the experiences of people who aren’t like you. I am nothing like Maya Angelou. Nothing about my upbringing is similar to hers. Reading her book was enlightening to me. It was hard, and it was beautiful. The most notable moments in the book to me were as follows:

–The molestation and rape were obviously disturbing, but I have lived with an elementary aged child for almost two years now, and I have my own sweet little daughter. I can guarantee that my reaction to these parts of the book were more so than they would have been over two years ago. I was so disturbed that I practically had a physical reaction of disgust in wanting to protect little Maya.

–The experiences she had living with and without her parents. These were just so very indicative of the differences in our lives. Again, something important for people to wrestle with.

–The ending, which I think was just one of the most beautiful endings to a book, but perhaps I’m biased after having a little one.

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Posted by on March 14, 2016 in Book Club, Uncategorized


Book Club: Overdressed

This book doesn’t meet any of my reading challenge specifications, but I read about it on a blog and decided I had to read it. I’ve been working on minimizing my wardrobe for a while now for simplification and living more of a minimalist lifestyle generally, but I have been thinking about how I vote with my dollars when it comes to buying clothing. I need to start building my professional wardrobe again–not because I’m graduating any time soon, but because I want to save to buy better clothes that have been responsibly made. The vast majority of the clothing I have purchased in the past 5 years has been second-hand, which is great, but it’s hard to find professional clothes that fit well with limited choices at the Good Will.

This book talks about the idea of “fast fashion” and how it plays into our own economy as well as the economies in the countries we outsource clothing/textile production to. I found it interesting and relevant to my shopping goals.

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Posted by on March 9, 2016 in Uncategorized


Preschool Research: Step I

So…it’s potentially time to start researching preschools. Really? Yes. Really. Only because sometimes there are ridiculous waiting lists. Step 1: make a list of all the preschools within a few minutes of our house. Check. There are 14. 14 preschools within 6 minutes of our house! That’s crazy. I’m sure we won’t be able to afford at least half of them, which will make the latter parts of this process go rather quickly. Updates to follow.

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Posted by on February 12, 2016 in parenting, Uncategorized



Book Club: All the Light We Cannot See

This book fills #11 in the reading challenge–a book that intimidated me. For some reason, I’m not into period books during this season of my life. I remember reading plenty of them in years past, but I just haven’t really been drawn to them recently. As a result, even though EVERYONE was talking about this book last year, I had pretty much zero interest. I was sure it would depress me, I wouldn’t get into it, and I wouldn’t finish. For these reasons, I labeled it as “intimidating”.

So here are my quick thoughts. Like everyone said, it is BEAUTIFULLY written. The descriptions are poetic and simply delicious, for lack of a better word. The narrative is carefully crafted and interwoven over several years and characters but neatly connected at the end. Did it depress me at times? Certainly. It’s a book about war. Depressing is not a deep enough word for what war does to humanity. Did I get into it? Yes. Did I finish? Yes.

Did I think it was amazing? Not exactly. It’s the sort of book that you should relish in. You should enjoy the beautifully written descriptions and the careful themes that are brilliantly present through every chapter. For me, it was a bit slow. I didn’t want to indulge in these things that require indulging. My consumption of this book was sort of like wolfing down a $30 teeny tiny dessert at a fancy pants restaurant. One of those things you should take small bites of and relish and enjoy carefully, follow-up with a sip of coffee, and then carry on to the next. Instead, I was on a race to finish this book before my library rental came up. I knew that if that rental ended, and I had to wait to get the book again, I likely wouldn’t borrow it again and it would remain unfinished. I simply needed to know what happened to the characters, so I cheapened this beautiful book. I don’t regret it, but I acknowledge that I didn’t enjoy this one the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

All that said, I think a big part of why I did this was because it was a book that made my heart heavy, and at this point in my life, I really read to escape. This is not where I wanted to escape to. I don’t want to escape to the scary places, places where I’m fearful for my daughter. Places where I put her in the role of the vulnerable characters and desperately want to protect her. I want to escape to lighter, fluffier, and “safer” places, even if they are completely unrealistic.

Regardless of my own need to escape to a fantasy land where everything is safe and happy, this book really is very good. It’s as good as everyone says and certainly worth the read.

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Posted by on January 18, 2016 in Book Club, Uncategorized


Book Club: Redeeming Love

The first book I read for the 2016 reading challenge was Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. This book was suggested by my dearest friend, so fulfills number 6 on the challenge list.

The short summary of this book is that it’s a retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea during the Gold Rush era in California.

If you’re familiar with the story of Gomer and Hosea, which I am, and if you assume that Rivers was faithful to the basics of the story, which she was, you pretty much know what’s going to happen from the beginning.
My review is pretty simple. As an allegory for the love given from Christ to the church, this is a pretty great book, albeit kind of weird and cheesy at times. As a romance novel, it does all the things romance novels are intended to do, so I found it pretty awful. Ha! The main male character is totally unrealistic, which makes sense as a stand in for Christ, but problematic to me when thought of as a potential “real” person. Call me a cynical realist, but I’m not a fan of characters like Michael Hosea. Yeah yeah escapist literature and all that, I get it. I also think that some of the really unrealistic expectations women have for men come from books and characters like this. I know I’m raining on some parades here. Almost everyone I know who read the book loves it. As a friend pointed out, I’m just not really into “frilly” books.
All of that said, I will confess that I shed a tear at the redemption and pursuit that is described here, but it was in light of the redemption I have received from Christ and the way that He pursues me time and time again.
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Posted by on January 5, 2016 in Book Club, Uncategorized



To Read

I set a goal of reading 20 books this year. Here are the books I have queued up so far:

  1. Redeeming Love–Francine Rivers. I technically started this book in 2015, but I won’t finish until 2016.
  2. Year of Yes–Shonda Rhimes. Because I love all of her shows, and I think she’s a great storyteller.
  3. All the Light We Cannot See–Anthony Doerr. The description of this book doesn’t do it for me, but all of my reading friends read it and gave it wonderful reviews.
  4. The Aeronaut’s Windlass–Jim Butcher. Because I haven’t read any fantasy in a while, and my fantasy-reading friends are excited about this one.

A friend also recently shared this reading challenge:


I’m pretty stoked about this challenge.

  1. I rarely ever read books the year they come out, so this will be fun.
  2. Not sure what book I will read for this one. I read Annabelle books all the time that fit into this category, but I’m thinking more like a short little book for older people. Thoughts?
  3. Year of Yes fits into this category.
  4. Looking forward to talking to my local librarian to see what is suggested to me!
  5. There are SO MANY books I should have read in school but didn’t. Pretty much if you think I should I have read it, I probably haven’t. Possible considerations for this category include the following: Fahrenheit 451; 1984; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; Night; The Bell Jar; The Catcher in the Rye; The Outsiders; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Note that this is definitely not an exhaustive list.  Just some ideas I’m considering.
  6. Looking forward to ask my spouse & BFF for recommendations for this category.
  7. Lots of options for this one. Several cross listed from #5 for sure.
  8. Looking forward to choosing this one. There’s a lot of overlap between this category and #5. Potential considerations include the following: Beloved’ Go Ask Alice; The Chocolate War; The Color Purple; Bless Me, Ultima; Lord of the Rings.
  9. Go Set a Watchman. I didn’t finish this before it was due back to the library and never requested it again.
  10. Anne of Green Gables. The movie is one of my absolute favorites, but I don’t recall ever actually reading the book. I remember my grandma giving me the boxed set as a girl, and I’m relatively certain I never made it through any of them.
  11. Will have to think on this. My first thought is Moby Dick, but I’m not reading that one. Ha!
  12. Will have to think on this as well. My immediate thoughts are Ender’s Game, The Screwtape Letters, Alice in Wonderland, or any (all?) of the Chronicles of Narnia. Haven’t read them since my first year teaching.
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Posted by on January 4, 2016 in Book Club, Uncategorized


Whole 30: Day 2 Check-In

Well I’m exhausted. Although the vast majority of the meals I cook in our home are Whole 30 compliant, I typically cut corners like using store-bought mayo and BBQ sauce. More frequently than I would like, we throw cheese on a meal to make it tastier.

So to kick off this Whole 30, I made sure to have plenty of snacks on hand so it’s not as tempting to decide to fail. In addition to regular meals, I made mayonnaise, sausage coins, kale chips, and hard-boiled eggs yesterday. I think I cooked for about 4 hours. What made it exhausting is that my little munchkin decided she needed to be close to mama all day, so this happened.

2016-01-01 10.45.44

So I cooked for about 4 hours with a 20 pound backpack on. (Please ignore the lack of make-up or shower).

It’s the end of Day 2. I’m feeling tired, but good. I’ve noticed a desire to snack or find “fun” foods, but it’s definitely not too bad. A fun thing we’ve discovered is that Miss Annabelle really enjoys kale chips. Since she’s only had a few non-paleo meals in her life, this isn’t too bad for her. I keep a cooked sweet potato on hand just in case she isn’t a fan of a meal, but so far, she’s eaten at least a bit of each meal. I’m really hopeful that her food preferences that are currently in existence will follow her through life.


Posted by on January 2, 2016 in paleo, Uncategorized


Parenting: Months 13-15

I love my kid. I love her desperately. I have experienced love, joy, and worry for another person different than any other emotion I felt before having a child. Watching her grow and learn and develop is fascinating and endearing. She is my heart, and I cherish her. I would be devastated if something tragic happened and we lost her.

But there are hard days. I’m not really a stay-at-home mom. I’m a work from home mom, and I have a PILE of work to be doing every single day. That’s work that I have to do to make money and work toward graduation. That doesn’t include keeping the house going, cooking the food, and trying to be a balanced person. I know I’m not special in this. All moms have a lot on their plates. All moms struggle to get it all done. This is not a competition. I’m not trying to prove I have more to do than any other mom. I’m just saying it’s hard. There are days when I wish my kid didn’t need me so much. I have shed tears wishing for the ease of my life before my child, and then I have felt guilt for wishing those wishes.

Being a mom is a daily opportunity to become a better or a worse version of myself. I’m thankful for the opportunity to love more deeply than I ever had and to be molded in ways that were not possible before she was in our lives. And if I’m very real with you right now, I’ll be really excited when I get to consistently sleep past 5:30 again…whenever that may be.

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Posted by on December 29, 2015 in parenting, Uncategorized


Whole 30: January 2016

Ok, here’s the deal. I’ve done plenty of Whole 30s. At least 6-8 times. We went Paleo in 2009 and have “generally” lived that lifestyle since then. However, issues related to pregnancy and breastfeeding mean I haven’t done a strict Whole 30 since before I got pregnant with my daughter in December of 2013. That means it’s been over 2 years since strict Whole 30, y’all. From 2009 until that point, it was AT LEAST once a year, and several times it was twice. Needless to say, I know this is going to be my hardest run at this since the beginning. So like any good Whole 30-er with a blog, I’ll be checking in here on occasion. Not sure if it will be daily or weekly or what, but I definitely want to keep account of the whole thing. I’m going to share my new favorite recipes, and I’m hoping others will share with me as well. Day 1 on January 1. Let’s do this.

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Posted by on December 27, 2015 in paleo, Uncategorized