Thirty-Six Books

I read thirty-five books last year!  I far exceeded my expectations as far as how many books I would read in 2012 - I thought for sure it would be a slow reading year with a toddler and being pregnant and all.  But after reading eighteen in 2011 and nineteen in 2010, I'm pretty impressed with myself!
I like to keep a record of the books I read and my thoughts on them, so I'm just going to do a few words on each book - like a super-brief mini review.  If you want more of my thoughts on any of these books, just let me know!  Here we go.  In no particular order...

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Miss Billy by Eleanor H. Porter - The same author that wrote Pollyanna.  Loved it!

Our Last Great Hope: Awakening the Great Commission by Ronnie Floyd - Very good, read my full review here.

The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lillian Jackson Braun - I liked it!

Decorating Schemes by Ginny Aiken - Pretty good, liked it.

Last Light by Terri Blackstock - Intense plot, I liked it.  I want to read the next book.

Kisses From Katie: A Story Of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis - Very good, inspiring!

When The Cradle Is Empty: Coping WIth Infertility by John Van Regenmorter - Very good, I'd recommend it to anyone struggling to get pregnant.

Simple Secrets to A Happy Life by Luci Swindoll - Loved it, lots of good wisdom, read my full review here.

Scrapping Plans by Rebecca Seitz - Didn't like it, wasn't well written or researched - read my review here.

One Thousand Gifts A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp - Overall I thought it was good and thought-provoking.  Didn't like the way she put certain things, but the poetry of her writing was inspiring.

Misconception: One Couple's Journey from Embryo Mix-Up to Miracle Baby by Paul and Shannon Morell - Wow, I can't imagine going through this - very interesting read.  I just read "Inconceivable" by Sean and Carolyn Savage, the other couple involved in the mix-up, and I couldn't put it down.  I'd recommend reading both books if you read this one, it was interesting to read both sides of the story.

Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam (not pictures because I remembered this one later) - A few situations that I didn't quite want to read about in the book, but overall I really enjoyed it.

Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings - Liked it.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Meh.  Read my review here.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (audiobook) - Obviously it was good.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis - Excellent, a must-read.  I love C.S. Lewis's writing.  He was such a deep-thinker.

Common Sense by Thomas Paine - Classic.  You can't review American classics.  It was good!

Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne - Read it to Wyatt, loved it!

Take Three by Karen Kingsbury - First let me say that thesis the third book in the series, and I did not like the first two books in this series which I read a couple years ago.  I didn't like reading how one of the characters falls into sinful relationships, and though Karen Kingsbury can write about these topics tastefully most of the time, I felt her descriptions in the first two books were bordering on inappropriate, for me.  But I picked up the series again this year, and I thought this book was appropriate, and her books are always hard to put down.

Take Four by Karen Kingsbury - It was good.

Leaving, Learning, Longing, and Loving (Four books, Bailey Flannigan series) by Karen Kingsbury - This series builds off of the previous series, which is the whole reason I read the two books above.  I wanted to find out what happened to Bailey Flannigan.  This series did not end like I expected, but I enjoyed it, and after I got used to the idea that it was not going to go the way I thought, I was very happy with the story.

The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch - Note: There is  language, descriptive violence, and a couple other things in this book that I wanted to include a warning on.  Just be aware.  Not sure I would recommend it because of the above warning, but the plot had me on the edge of my seat, and it was well-written.  I think if they cleaned it up a bit it would make a great movie.

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble - Kind of slow-moving, but it was good, read my review here.

Dreaming In Black and White by Laura Jensen Walker - Christian Chic-lit, I enjoyed it.

Fatal Distractions: Conquering Destructive Temptations by Kay Arthur - Bible study, very good, read my review here.

Blind Dates Can Be Murder by Mindy Starns Clark - I love this series, good book.

Elementary, My Dear Watkins by Mindy Starns Clark - Same series, last book, I liked it!

Covenant Child: A Story Of Promises Kept by Terri Blackstock - Good, but one of those stories where you get really frustrated with the characters until the end of the book when they come to their senses!

Beyond the Farthest Star by Brock and Bodie Theone - Okay, kind of depressing, I thought.

Miss Match by Erynn Mangum - Christian chic-lit. I enjoyed it, though I wasn't quite sure if the author was trying to send a message about predestination through some of the book . . . which is a completely different topic, but if you might get frustrated by that, be aware.  But I thought it was humorous and fun!

Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement For Those Shaping the Next Generation Of Women by James Dobson - It was very good!  Definitely would recommend it to moms of girls.

Parenting Isn't For Cowards by James Dobson - Excellent parenting book, easy to read, I'd recommend it.

How My Soul Yearns by Ashley Wells - An Infertility story by a fellow blogger, I enjoyed it, though my heart broke for her too.  However, I tracked down her blog, and the story has a happy ending - she is now the foster (and hopefully soon, adoptive) mother of four precious children!

And that's it!  Once again, if you want to know a more detailed opinion from me on any particular book, let me know!

Star-Themed Baby Shower!


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass


Last weekend I threw my sister a baby shower. For those new readers out there, my sister is pregnant with her first baby, a BOY!  My first nephew!

When I first thought about throwing her a shower I knew I wanted to do a  cute theme, but I needed something cost-effective. So I went on a hunt and finally settled on a "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" theme!  It ended up being perfect because it was easy to do a lot of cute decorations, without having to spend a ton of money on custom pieces.  I made the invitations and decorations myself, and the star shapes were easy to incorporate into the food. 

Overall, I really like the way it turned out!  Thank goodness for my mom and cousin though - they came over to help me clean.  There is no way I could have pulled the rest of it together without their help!  And my family pitched in sandwiches, salads, etc. to round out the food - it was a team effort, for sure!

Without further ado, here are some pictures!

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

(The blank spots on the invitation are just where I removed name, address, etc.)


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

(I made stars out of scrapbook paper and also used some gold star ornaments I bought.)


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Star-shaped jigglers.


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Star-shaped cookies with jolly ranchers in the center.


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Pinapple punch.


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

"Congratulations on Your New Little Star" - thanks to my mom for getting the cake!


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

The spread!  You can't see here, but I had little star cutouts scattered on the table.


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

 Presents!


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

My grandma always makes a diaper cake for her grandbaby and great-grandbaby showers.


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

My beautiful sister!


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

 Doesn't she have the cutest little baby bump?  It's so fun seeing my sister pregnant!


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

 We played several different games, including the string-measuring game (pictured above), "break the water" with ice cubes and plastic babies, the clothespin game (a baby shower classic for our family), a drawing contest (drawing a baby with the paper on top of your head), and a baby item memory game!

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Present-opening!  She got most of the things she needed!


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

My mom with Gwen.


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Me and my girl.


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Me and both my kiddos!  Couldn't get Wyatt to sit still though - he was trying to squirm out of his chair here!


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

My sister, mom, sister-in-law, and me!


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Baby Shower | Through Clouded Glass

Me and my sis!


Overall I think the shower was as success!  I can't wait to meet my sweet nephew - I'm pretty sure he's going to be pretty much adorable.  Only a couple more months at the most!

Gwendolyn At One Month

 My sweet Gwendolyn turned one month old on Sunday!

 

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She's grown so much in one month!  She passed her birth weight at her one week checkup, and I'm curious to see how much she weighs the next time we go in.  She's generally starting to outgrow some of her newborn outfits - the other day I found a sleeper that I forgot I had, and I put her in it only to realize that it was pretty much too small - so she only got to wear it once!  I just look at her, and I can tell she's gotten so much bigger.  They grow so fast.

 

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Some fun happenings this month . . .

Gwen had her first real bath shortly after we came home.

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(She obviously is not a fan of baths.)

Gwen's cord fell off on January 2nd.

Gwen got her first piece of mail!

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We had our first family outing (you know, somewhere besides church, errands or visits to people's houses) to a stock show.  

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I wouldn't say she's had her first real, intentional smile yet, but she sure has some cute fake ones. 

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As I mentioned in her two week update, Gwen's first few nights home were pretty rough, but since then she's been sleeping pretty well.  She usually goes at least four hours between feedings at night, 4-5 hours on average.  The other night she actually went 7 hours between feedings!  I looked at the clock and then went to check on her because she had me worried - she might have slept longer, but I woke her up. It must have been a fluke, because she hasn't done that since, but I'm hopeful that she'll start stretching out her night feedings more soon.

 

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I think the poor thing has some sort of food sensitivity/allergy.  Around two and a half weeks old (on the 15th, I think) her diapers turned a funny color - and they've been going back and forth between that and normal ever since.  I cut out milk about a week and a half ago, trying to see if that was it, but it hadn't cleared anything up - then it occurred to me that it might be peanuts, so I cut out that a few days ago, and she seems to be doing better so far.  So I'm thinking it might be peanuts.  I ate dairy again and now I'm waiting to see if that affects her, and if it doesn't I'll try having a little peanut butter to see if that's it.  

 

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I honestly wouldn't even have thought "allergy" when I saw the change in her diapers, but I googled it and then it made sense - one of my young family members has food allergies as well and her mom said changes in the diapers can be one of the first signs.  I'm hoping that if it is an allergy we caught it early enough that we can avoid the allergen, and hopefully she'll grow out of it or only have a mild allergy.  We shall see.  


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On a completely different note, I'm so curious to see who she looks like as she grows!  I think she has Derek's eye shape, and she'll probably have his eye color.  But several people have declared that she looks like me, and it makes me feel good!  I feel like she has such delicate, pretty little features.  I can't imagine her face as a boy - she just looks so girly to me.  I hope she never feels like she's not pretty (even though I know at some point she probably will), because I think she's so beautiful.

 

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She's so alert - she just looks around at everything with this quizzical expression on her face.  It's so cute!  She's also aware of who is holding her - I handed her off to Derek the other day, and she leaned back and looked at him, and then once she realized she was with her dad she snuggled her little face into his neck.  It was adorable.  It's fun to me to watch Derek with her - he's so protective of her already.

 

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She'll turn her head when she hears my voice, or sometimes she'll be fine until I walk into the room, and then she'll give out a cry to let me know she's hungry - she knows who feeds her!  She'll just stare into my eyes sometimes, and I'll stare back, like we're trying to memorize each others' faces (which I actually am trying to memorize her face).  She's precious.

 

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It's interesting to me to see how different Gwen is from Wyatt as a newborn, and also how they've been the same.  Wyatt ate a lot more.  Gwen eats less, more often.  They both got stomach aches in the first month, but Wyatt's were more related to gas bubbles, and I think Gwen's are related to the food sensitivity issue.  They're both pretty good sleepers, but it's a little harder to get Gwen to go to sleep initially.  Wyatt didn't really care if his diaper was dirty - Gwen will let us know.  Gwen has more sensitive skin.  They both were snuggly, and they both do/did okay being by themselves for periods of time as well, but Gwen definitely prefers being held (more noticeable with Wyatt).  


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They both have good heads of hair, but Wyatt's was blond and more fluffy (can't think of a better way to describe it), and hers is darker and lays in perfect swirls against her head.  I think her hair might have a slight wave to it too.  

They both are so expressive, and when I look at pictures of Wyatt and then look at Gwen, I can definitely see the resemblance - their bright eyes, their little noses, their facial expressions.  It's so fun to see the similarities and differences coming through at such a young age.  I love every way they are different, and every way they are the same.  

 

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Speaking of Wyatt, he has been such a good big brother, and it's fun to see him interact with Gwen.  Mostly Gwen just stares at Wyatt right now (obviously), but Wyatt tries to give her the pacifier, rocks her carseat, pats her back to help burp her.  He still likes to puts his face really close to hers and stare at her.  The other day I was holding Gwen and Wyatt came over, and I told him he could give her a kiss - he pursed his lips and leaned forward like he was going to, and then he got a little shy, grinned, and backed away.  Watching them together melts my heart.

 

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I can't believe she's already a month old.  I keep thinking back to Wyatt's one-month picture that I took with his elephant, and when I think of that picture I think about every other monthly picture I took his first year - and it reminds me how fast babies change.  She's already changed a lot from when she was first born - her face looks different to me, she's most definitely gotten bigger, and when I watch her looking at the world around her it just strikes me again.  It's hard to see them grow so fast, but it's also exciting - each stage is so much fun.  I can't wait to watch her little personality develop, and I love getting to know my sweet daughter as she grows!

 

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My Precious Gwendolyn,

You are a month old, Pretty Girl!  On the one hand the last month seemed to fly by, but on the other hand you fit so naturally into our family that it seems that you've been here longer than that.  Your sweet, just-born self is still fresh in my mind, and I look at you now and it strikes me how much you've changed already.  You are so precious to me.  I love the way you snuggle into my neck when I pick you up.  I love the way you lean back and stare up at me with your beautiful eyes.  I love the way you still curl your little legs up to your chest when we snuggle.  I love that you can be so upset, but I'll pick you up and within minutes you are fast asleep in my arms.  I love your sweet little cheeks and button nose. I love the way you look when you're sleeping, and I love the way you look when you're awake.  I love the sweet little noises you make. I feel so blessed to have you as my daughter, and I thank God every day for giving you to me.  So grateful you are mine, Pretty Girl, and we're just soaking up this time while you're so little.  I love you more than I can tell you.

Love Always,

Your Mama

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