Old Salem | Christmas Family Pictures

I’m so excited to share our family pictures with you! My sister-in-law Erin was kind enough to take some pictures for us with my camera and I could not be happier with how they turned out! We went to Old Salem a few days after our big snow and got some pictures at the bridge with Moravian stars and on the main street. Here’s some of my favorites:

Becoming a Better Reader: The Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge

“Fiction is the human attempt to discover, understand, and apply truth through stories.” -Karen Prior (see a helpful video about why Christians should read fiction here)

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Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved reading. In college, I studied English literature at Clemson and was constantly reading multiple novels and then I went on to get my MDiv and was constantly reading theology books. Unfortunately, I have found in the years since completing school, my reading has steeply declined. I still love reading but I find myself wanting to to a "mental rest" and just watch Netflix or a I get distracted by my phone or a million other things. It makes me sad to think about the time I have wasted and the books I have missed out on and I really want to purpose to be a better ready.

Some months ago, I discovered Modern Mrs. Darcy's blog and podcast.  She has inspired me to be purposeful about my reading and to make goals. Without goals, it is so easy to get sidetracked by everything else that is going on or to becoming lazy. She has a one year reading challenge that is supposed to start at the beginning of the year but I'm going to start it now and go by "school year" so this challenge will take me from August 2018-August 2019. Here's the challenge:

Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge

My hope is that by sharing my choices with you, it will give me accountability to actually complete this challenge! I would also love to start a dialogue and perhaps even inspire some of you to read a little more this year.

Without further ado, here are my choices:
A Classic You've Been Meaning to Read: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
A Book Recommended by Someone with Great Taste: The Secret History by Donna Tartt
A Book in Translation: A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos
A Book Nominated for an Award: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A Book of Poetry or Play: Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (*technically an allegory but I felt it was close enough!)
A Book You Can Read in a Day: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
A Book that's More than 500 Pages: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (*Actually 464 pages but close enough!)
A Book by a Favorite Author: Persuasion by Jane Austen
A Book Recommended by a Librarian: Great Expectations by Charles Dickins
A Banned Book: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
A Memoir or Biography: Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas (*on Audible) and Spurgeon by Arnold Dallimore
A Book by an Author of a Different Race, Ethnicity, or Religion than Your Own: Night by Elie Wiesel

Other Non-Fiction Christian Books I Plan to Read this Year:
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs
Keeping the Heart by John Flavel
John Newton by Jonathan Aitken (*on Audible)
Newton on the Christian Life by Tony Reinke
Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson

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Other Books I Considered by Didn't Make the Cut for This Year:

Non-Christian:
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
The Count of Monte Cristo (*I've listened to about half of this on Audible and gave it because it's so long but it's one of my favorite stories and I want to get back to it at some point!)
Beloved by Toni Morrison
I was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhorn
Transcription by Kate Atkinson
Guernsey and the Potato Peel Society by Shaeffer and Burrows
The Time Quintet by L'Engle
When Life Gives You Lulumons by Lauren Weisberger
The Clockmakers Daughter by Kate Morton
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover
Louise Penny novels

Christian:
A Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbs
The Heart of Christ by Goodwin
Communion with God by John Owen
A Quest for Godliness by J.I. Packer
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Baiton

I would love to hear what books you're hoping to read this year or if you've read any of the books listed above in the comments below!

9 Months with Dom

Dom 9 months

I may or may not have missed Dom's 8 month pictures and taken both his eight and nine month pictures today....terrible I know! A LOT has changed in the last two months.

Dom weights 18lbs & 2oz and is 27.5 inches long. He started crawling at around 8 months and crawls crazy fast now! He's also pulling up on everything and he is officially weaned completely from breastfeeding and eating formula & 3 meals of solid foods a day. He also got his first two teeth a few weeks ago (the bottom front two teeth).

One other big update: He started sleeping completely through the night at about 8 months!!!! I honestly think that weaning him from nursing helped because he no longer expected to nurse in the middle of the night. Also, I let him cry it out several times and he eventually learned. He now *usually* sleeps 12 uninterrupted hours at night...it's been life changing!

Dom loves:

  • Bananas and fruit purees (his favorite meals is still bananas with oatmeal)
  • Crawling EVERYWHERE
  • Playing with everything he's not allowed to touch, mainly cords and electrical outlets :)
  • Playing with his toys in the bath
  • Going for walks in his stroller
  • Teething crackers
  • The beach! He went on his first beach trip and did great!

Dom doesn't like:

  • Non-pureed food...I've been trying really hard to get him to eat pieces of avocado, puffs...anything! And he freaks out if it's not pureed, I guess he doesn't have chewing down yet!
  • Men in hats...he seems to have a fear of men in hats or men who make abrupt noises...haha!

Dom's current schedule is as follows:

7:30am- Wake up and have bottle of formula

8:30am- Breakfast (usually oatmeal and bananas or greek yogurt with fruit)

9am- Nap

11am- Second bottle

12pm- Lunch (usually 4oz of fruits/veggies)

1pm- Second nap

3pm- Third bottle

4pm- Dinner (usually 4oz of fruits/veggies/meat)

6pm- Bath and fourth bottle

7pm- Bed

7 Months With Dom

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Well I'm just now managing to post Dom's 7 month update one week before he'll be 8 months because this is one of my busiest seasons of the year! Better late than never, right?!

Dom currently weights 16lbs 9oz and he still wears 6-9 month clothing. Dom is so much fun and it's been amazing to watch him change and grow! I feel like he changed a lot this month and has shown a lot more personality. I would say that, overall, he's a very laid back baby who seems to love people!

Dom loves: 

  • This video...haha
  • His doorway jumper
  • Ice cubes (I put them into a baby food strainer) 
  • Sitting with mommy and daddy on the patio
  • Bananas (but thankfully he's eaten everything I've given him...bananas still seem to be his fave though!)
  • Anything crinkly, especially plastic bags
  • Being tickled by daddy
  • When we count to five (random, I know!)

Dom doesn't love:

  • When mommy walks out of the room (he's started getting a little seperation anxiety)
  • Formula; I've needing to start supplementing some formula for breastmilk and unfortunately he has refused to drink it so far! 
  • When mommy & daddy are eating and he doesn't have food
  • Being put down for a nap...he's always fighting sleep! 
  • Sudden, loud noises

Firsts this month:

  • Sitting up on his own! He still falls down a lot but he started being able to completely sit up with no support this month...woo hoo!
  • This month he tried prunes and spinach for the first time and likes them all.
  • Went to the splash pad for the first time and he wasn't a big fan...I think he didn't like the cold water. I'm hoping to take him to the pool for the first time soon!

6 Months With Dom

Dom is six month old! He weighs 15lbs 3oz and is 26.5 inches long. Basically, he's long and skinny...no surprise there! ;)

Dom now wears 6-9 month clothes and he still wakes up two times (or the past week...several times...yikes!) a night. He's been waking up a lot more lately, I'm wondering if it's from teething. We put a pause on solids for a little while because he wasn't interested but he's just started showing more interest in the last week and so I'm trying to feed him one to two meals a day. 

Dom loves:

  • Music- he's gotten really into music this month. Specifically "Old McDonald" for calming him down and "The Stable Song" for going to sleep (what can I say, he has refined tastes?!)
  • Teething banana- he LOVES this
  • Real bananas ;)
  • Grabbing and chewing everything, especially his socks and toes!
  • Going on walks in his stroller
  • His activity center and doorway jumper (for about 15 minutes...then he gets tired)
  • Smiling- seriously, he pretty much smiles every time you look at him (unless he's hungry or tired!)
  • Making a pouty face- when he's not happy and smiling, he's often doing a super dramatic pouty face

Dom doesn't love:

  • Getting stuck on his tummy- Dom can roll front to back and back to front, but he seems to often forget that he can actually roll from his tummy onto his back. So he gets stuck and frustrated and cries until I flip him over. :)
  • Peas- so far, he just makes a grossed out face every time I try to feed them him!
  • Naps- yep, still not a good napper. ;) Most of his naps are STILL 45 minutes!

Firsts this month:

  • Sitting up unassisted (only last very briefly then he falls back over)
  • Holding a bottle on his own (with some help!)
  • Noticing food- he's noticing when we eat now and always seems like he wants some of whatever we're having!