Learning to Read

At the risk of sounding simple and uncultured, I have never fancied myself a reader.

In high school, I skimmed my way through many of the classics. I'm tempted to pat myself on the back for remembering characters and plots of Lord of the Flies, A Separate Piece, The Crucible, Jane Eyre and the like. Back in the day before the internet (gasp!), we actually had to read the book to pass the tests (or at minimum, buy the Spark Notes).

In college, I developed a small penchant for reading in Sweet Eugenes Coffee House, where all the good little Aggie Christian's studied. I'd lug my piles of textbooks with me, hopeful to get school work done. But when it came down to it, the time I spent actually studying paled in comparison to the hours I spent catching up with friends or with my headphones on reading the latest books by the all the relevant pastor-turned-authors... anything by Donald Miller, John Piper, Francis Chan. If I was feeling particularly astute, I'd open the pages of some Oswald Chambers or C.S. Lewis. I cherish those days and learned a lot from what I read.

Then life happened. I graduated. I moved to a big city where the stiff chairs in the corner Starbucks were no match for the decades-old couches that graced the dark corners of Sweet Eugenes.  Full time work took the place of full time play (I mean school.... Mom, I know you're reading). Then I had a husband. And then some kids. There hasn't really been much room for reading.

Along came last Fall... Ian and I were packing to go on our first cruise with a few other couples. If I had learned anything from social media, it's that when you go on a cruise as an adult, you have to take pictures of your book resting on your tanned legs overlooking the ocean from the Lido Deck. So as I packed my bathing suits, sun screen, and fancy dresses, I threw in a couple books I'd been meaning to read. Then guess what!! I actually read them. And, even more shocking to me, it was enjoyable. Fiction books, contrary to my former beliefs, didn't seem like a waste of time. Instead, it was relaxing and quiet. Having a toddler at home, and another baby on the way, relaxing and quiet were right up my alley.

On that cruise, I read The Hobbit, Tina Fey's Bossy Pants and finished Francis Chan's Forgotten God, after starting it 2 years (!!) prior.

I returned home and opened to page one of The Hunger Games. Katniss and company drew me even deeper into my new found hobby. The Hunger Games Trilogy, followed by Bob Goff's Love Does, and a quick reread of The Great Gastby before it hit theaters. {Enter the new Kindle I received for Christmas} Then all seven in the Harry Potter series. Onto an easy memoir called Sparkley Green Earrings. In three days time, I knocked out Redeeming Love. I'm currently a couple chapters into Francine Rivers' A Voice in the Wind, but paused to read a new autobiographical cookbook called Bread and Wine (which I hope to finish tonight after bedtime).

Not counting the infinite readings of Pat the Bunny, Berenstain Bears and other toddler lit, that's 19 books in the last 10 months. A far cry from my former nonreading self.

While my taste seems pretty eclectic at best, I'm taking recommendations on books that should be added to my queue.

TK Newborn Photos

The best advice I have to offer... Go to your entry closet (maybe your back bedroom closet, if you have that sort of thing). Pull that fancy-schmancy camera that you NEEDED a couple years ago out of its dusty camera bag. Turn it on to make sure it still works. Oh, who are we kidding? The battery is dead, and needs to charge. Whew! Charging the camera battery is already too overwhelming for me. And we can forget about all those teeny tiny buttons and microscopic dials. Place the camera and dead battery haphazardly back into the bag and slowly back away. Do yourself a real favor, and find a friend who is a real, live photographer. If she's anything like mine, she will be super talented, live moments away, love you and your kiddos, and take the most incredible pictures of your littles for you to cherish forever. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from just days after Tyler was born.

I could stare at her sweet lips and ears and eyes and nose and fingers forever. What a doll she is, and what a treasure the pictures have become.

And just for fun, let's take a peek back at Sawyer's newborn pics.


Catch Up

I hear a neighbors' lawn being mowed in the distance, the white noise from the sound machine in the back hallway, and the repetitive cadence of the baby swing swishing back and forth... It's a peaceful moment in the Rock house. These are a rarity!  I figured now is as good a time as any to attempt to crawl out of my proverbial blog cave and knock out a post or two.

Despite her lack of presence on the ole' blog, we did, in fact, have a baby. Hopefully you knew she arrived and assumed I have just been busy, lest you think I am now 53 weeks pregnant and still waiting. Ain't nobody got time for that! I can assure you, Tyler is no longer in utero. She is actually a whole 3 months old! She made her grand entrance into the world a week ahead of schedule on March 26th.

I'm thankful for the false alarm just before she was born. The Lord used that to really prepare my heart and forced me to prepare my house for a newborn to arrive ahead of schedule.

Tyler's here. She's healthy. We're in love, and having too much fun as a family of four. If you don't already follow me on Instagram, click on over and please feel free to do so @ginarock. If you do, I apologize for the redundance of the following photos. Here's the easiest and quickest recap I can offer of the last three months of our lives.

Stay tuned. I plan to share some newborn pictures and a peek at Tyler's nursery and Sawyer's big boy room soon. (Disclaimer: Don't put your money on my "soon" being anytime too soon. Thanks for the grace!)


The Final Countdown

I can't hear that phrase and not picture Gob Bluth dancing on stage preparing to do magic tricks  illusions in front of a crowd of co-eds. (If that reference is lost on you, do me a favor and watch all of Arrested Development at your earliest convenience. You'll thank me later.)

The final countdown has begun. Tyler will be making her debut April 2nd, if not sooner. Our hospital bags are packed. The car seat is in the car. Her room is nearing completion. The only thing missing is our sweet baby girl.

We had a bit of a practice run with the hospital last weekend. Sunday after church, I was having really frequent contractions. They weren't very painful for how close together they were, so I was almost certain it was false labor. At Ian's insistance, I called the emergency nurse line and they had me go to the hospital and advised to be prepared to come home with a baby.

We quickly finished packing our bags, dropped Sawyer at a friend's house, and called parents to let them know they may or may not be having another grand baby that afternoon/evening.

I told the receptionist at the maternity ward that I was really hoping they would send me back home, and she laughed and said usually women were begging to stay! Contractions ranging from every 2 to 10 minutes with no other indication of labor had the doctors stumped, but after a few hours of monitoring, we were on our way.

We prayed she would stay put for just a little while longer, and I'm so glad she has cooperated thus far. This week, I think I've crossed the line into feeling ready. There will always be more errands to run, more areas of the house to organize/clean, more adorable outfits to buy, but my mind and heart are at ease knowing she is full term, and we're ready when she is!

Sawyer thinks everyone should have cake pops for their birthday, so his main concern is that we make some before she's here. That's my big 'to-do' this week, and I think we can handle it!

I'll leave you with a few family/maternity pictures my friend Julie took a couple weeks ago. We just got them back, and I feel so blessed/proud/overwhelmed by how much I love my little family. Thanks for stopping by, and keep us in your prayers as we welcome this little one in the next several days!