Maybe Matilda

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday List: Easy Listen Audiobooks

I’m relatively new to the world of audiobooks. Between household chores and meal prep and running, I have so many opportunities to listen to audiobooks, and I was determined to make them work for me. It took many false starts and failed attempts to figure out the formula of audiobook that clicks for me.

I struggle to listen to books that are very heavy or serious, or anything terribly detailed that requires me to pay close attention. But on the other hand, I often get annoyed by books that are too ‘fluffy.’

Here are a few of my favorite audiobooks that make for great easy listening—they don’t require you to pay oodles of attention, they’re entertaining, they’re well written and wonderfully narrated.

6 great audiobooks

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty // I just finished this audiobook earlier this week, so keep an eye out for a more thorough review in my end of the month reading review post. Between a mysterious story line, complicated relationships, and dark family secrets, it has everything I want from an audiobook.

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling // If you’ve read and loved Harry Potter, you will love them on audio. (If you haven’t read and loved Harry Potter, you will love them on audio.) This series made me love audiobooks. The narration is perfection, and they are a joy to listen to.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor // Here’s a series I’m glad I didn’t hear any buzz about beforehand. I’m not sure I’d have read it if I’d known what it was about or what a cult following it has . . . but I’m so glad I gave it a go. Such a fantastic series, whether you read or listen (I’ve done both . . . multiple times).

Bossypants by Tina Fey // I tried to read Bossypants right when it came out, and couldn’t make it more than a few chapters in. But friend after friend after friend kept telling me I haaaad to read Bossypants, so I gave it a second chance, this time on audio. Hearing Tina Fey read it herself made all the difference—I loved it.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows // In my opinion, some books are markedly better either in print or on audio. This one? I don’t care whether you read or listen to it. I’ve done both, and it is perfectly charming and lovable either way.

I Am America by Stephen Colbert // I don’t think I ever watched The Colbert Report, so I’m not sure what motivated me to listen to this book. But who cares—it is flat-out hilarious, and I was sad to hear it end.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Half Marathon Training Update: Week 13

The half marathon approacheth! We’re only 7 weeks out from race day, and things are getting real.

My longest run to date has been 9 miles, with a 10 miler coming up this weekend (eep!). And for the past few weeks, my training plan has had me running about 28 miles per week—numbers that I never in a million years thought I’d be able to do. I have to admit that I’m surprised at how not a huge deal the increase in distance has been.

Every week, without fail, I look at my scheduled runs for the week and think to myself, HOLY SH!T, this will be the week I keel over and die, there is NO WAY I can run five days and cover all those miles . . . but then the week goes plugging by and, well, I haven’t died yet. And every single Saturday (the day of my longer runs), I look at the new, long, ridiculous distance I’m supposed to run and I think I WILL NEVER MAKE IT BACK HOME, GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD, but then I’m out and I’m running and sometimes it stinks but more often it doesn’t, and then I’m home again, and somehow I’ve done it and survived.

ryan gosling running

I’m getting there, one little baby step at a time. I’m starting to reach a point where I’m thinking, my gosh, I’m only 3 miles away from being able to run 13 miles, I’m actually going to be able to handle this! And compared to the start of my training, when I thought I will probably be rushed to the hospital before I even come close to 13 miles, that’s pretty good progress.

Since the last time I wrote about running:

These long runs take it out of me. No huge revelation there, but I cannot believe how exhausted I feel after a 7+ mile run . . . even if the run itself went great. The way I feel for the rest of the day after a long run reminds me of the way I felt during the first trimester of my pregnancies—100% drained. I actually haven’t been sore (yet!) after my long runs, but I just feel dead tired. Jeff tells me I need to eat more protein. I’ll work on it. Burgers FTW.

My runs are getting harder and harder to schedule. Squeezing in a 3 or 4 mile run around Jeff’s schedule (which is very busy and rather inflexible) hasn’t been a huge deal . . . but trying to plan 5 or 7 or 9 mile runs around his schedule so he can be home with the kids? Not nearly as easy to work out. And I’m not a fast runner, so it takes me a good long while to get these longer runs completed. I’ve had to do more treadmill running recently, which I’m not crazy about. Last Saturday, I did 9 miles on the treadmill because Jeff worked all the livelong day and I had no other option. Woof.

Baymax captures my running perfectly:

baymax i am not fast

Physiologically speaking . . . I doubt that I’ve lost much, if any, weight while running, but it’s hard to say because I don’t weigh myself (I think my last journey onto a scale was at least a year ago). I kind of think maybe my face looks a little thinner? But other than that, any changes must be minor, since I haven’t particularly noticed. (I asked Jeff, who claims I look ‘more fit now,’ whatever that means.)

My butt is more or less butt-shaped now, which is a new development (I’ve had a flat, pancake-ish mom butt since I was about 6 years old), so having one that is round is a bit exciting. (Is it okay to blog about my butt? This feels weird.)

I briefly had some foot/ankle issues early on in my training, but having a chiropractor for a husband comes in awfully handy--he worked on it for me and it cleared up fairly quickly, and hasn’t been a problem since. Hopefully they stay in the past.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Baby Hair x2

After spending 18 months sporting the skimpiest, sparsest, and wispiest of peach fuzz atop her noggin, Darcy’s hair is starting to grow in really nicely. I gave her her first haircut a few weeks ago, and am kicking myself for not taking glamour shots of her mullet before I lopped it off. I’m sure you’ve seen the look, though—male pattern baldness on the top, wispy on the sides, and a glorious mullet in the back. A very popular look for the under 2 crowd.

I am probably not qualified to be giving my children haircuts, but that hasn’t slowed me down yet. And a weensy mullet trim seemed like something that I could probably handle myself, and luckily it came out fine. I didn’t touch it anywhere else—just took about an inch off the mullet (which flipped up adorably on its own for pictures—very Mrs. Brady-esque, don’t you think?).

trimmed baby mullet

She has a good amount of hair in the mullet region, and a fair amount right at the top of her head, but next to nothing around the front and sides, so I can’t really do anything to style her hair other than slap a headband on. We’ll get there. She usually doesn’t mind wearing headbands, and absolutely loves getting her hair brushed. Almost as much as she loves brushing it herself.

 baby hair

Never one to let a child steal the spotlight, I am also pleased to report that my postpartum hair loss is growing back in, in a terrifically bizarre-looking way. Darcy is not the only one cultivating a crop of wispy, scraggly baby hairs.

postpartum hair loss yo

I’m not sure how what ‘typical’ postpartum hair loss looks like (if there is such a thing), but I seem to have lost basically all of the hair around my face, which is now growing back in thin and uneven and, best of all, gray. I’ve always had some little baby hairs around my hairline, but this is just nuts. Even my hairstylist, who is absolutely the sweetest, kindest soul walking the earth, commented on it at my last haircut: “WOW, you lost a LOT of hair after Darcy was born, huh?” Yes. I really did.

wicked postpartum hair loss

^ apparently it is bad enough that Darcy would rather poke out her own eyeballs than look at it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Embrace Your Chill Time

Tracking Pixel

After posting about a typical day at our house last week, a few people commented that they were impressed/surprised by the kids’ daily nap and quiet times. And I have to admit, as pathetic as it makes me sound, their nap/quiet time is always the most wonderful part of the day. For today’s sponsored post brought to you by the Joe Boxer Inactivity Tracker, can we chat about how awesome it is to have some chill time, and to use it to actually chill?

It’s all fun and games . . .

chill time

. . . until someone tries to play puppy and lick your face.

Much like my lofty (and unattainable) goal of setting my alarm and getting up before the kids in the morning, I often start the idea with ideas of spending nap/quiet time productively. I will scrub my bathrooms! I will mop the floors! I will weed the flowerbeds! Optimistic thoughts, indeed.

After a few hours with the kids—changing diapers, wiping noses, handing out snack after snack and sweeping up mountains of crumbs—those optimistic thoughts evaporate like a water droplet in the Sahara.

The moment I close their bedroom doors, all activity ceases. I plop on the couch and it’s a rare day that I get up from it before they wake up. And I can’t overemphasize the mental benefits of not working during their down time. Some days, of course, it is unavoidable. But on the days I can get away with simply relaxing while they rest? BLISS.

chill time

 Don’t interpret this photo as an endorsement for that book—I haven’t even started it yet.

As a serious supporter of down time and chill time and nap time and quiet time and whatever name you call it by at your house, I’m pleased to introduce to you the Joe Boxer Inactivity Tracker. Everybody’s wearing fitness trackers on their wrists these days . . . but for the first time ever, what we have here is an inactivity tracker, a new band that monitors the activity you’re not doing.

It’s a fun, silly way to relax and get rewarded for your chill time. The band pairs up with the Inactivity Tracker App via Bluetooth, measures your movement throughout the day, and rewards you with achievement badges for living life in the slow lane. Let’s not take things so seriously—we all could stand to relax a little,  amiright?

inactivity tracker

Enter to win your own Inactivity Tracker using the rafflecopter below!

 

 

This program is brought to you by the Kmart Joe Boxer Inactivity Tracker…because the couch isn’t going to sit on itself.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday List: Crocheters of Instagram

Well, it has been ages since I’ve crocheted, and now that we’re headed toward summer, it’s probably going to stay that way for a while. Crocheting in the winter? Cozy and pleasant and warm. Crocheting in the heat? Sticky and sweaty and disgusting. But I can still appreciate it on instagram, so that’s something.

For today’s Friday List, I want to share a few of my favorite crocheters on instagram—lots of beautiful crochet inspiration to be found here!

Awesome crochet accounts on instagram

1. EBLittleCreations: Oh, just the cutest dang amigurumi you’ve ever seen. From bears to turtles to mermaids to cacti, she crochets it all, and does it so very well. I’ve only been following this account for a few weeks but I love her versatility and the charm of her little creations. You can also find Erika at her Etsy shop here.

2. CypressTextiles: I’m a little on the boring side when it comes to color choices in crochet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate amazing color when it’s done well. Rachele’s color choices are always inspiring, and she designs such creative and unique blankets. See more of her work (including patterns) at her site here.

3. DarlingBeBrave: Right off the bat, you’ll love Megan’s bright and minimalistic photography, but of course her crochet is fantastic as well. I love her chunky and cozy designs. Visit her blog here and Etsy shop here.

4. RebekahLaw: I think Rebekah’s cute patchy monkey pictures prompted me to follow her account, but she also does the cutest range of animals and dolls (those dinosaurs?! #cutest). You can find her on facebook here.

5. HeyBanjoPants: I’m not sure how Lauren packs so much personality into her animals. She consistently picks out color combos I would never choose in a million years, yet her work always turns out beautifully and makes me wonder why I’m so nervous around color? Plus she is hilarious and wonderful and quite possibly my soul mate. Find her Etsy shop here.

6. LinaMarieDolls: Michelle’s dolls are always gorgeous, with the prettiest little details from their hairstyles to their accessories. Although her dolls sell in the blink of an eye, you can visit her Etsy shop here.

I’d love to hear some of your favorite instagram accounts, too!

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