It’s porch season, friends! Whoo-hoo! Y’all know this makes me happy. And, truly, I hope wherever you are has given you some beautiful porch days too. We’ve had dinners and conversation and popsicles and dirt and sticks on our porch – and that’s just how I like it.
We started the month with a much-needed Spring Break, which included much down time, time with friends, and a semi-annual trip to the allergist who told Ben he can be finished with allergy shots. After FIVE YEARS of shots, that was welcomed news for both the patient and his taxi driver. We’ll see how this summer goes, but I already know he’s better for having endured all those shots.
The week after Spring Break, Cate and I got to spend two whole days together with her class in Frankfort. The middle schoolers had been studying state history and government, so it was a great field trip for them. And it was a great trip for this momma, who loves state government and welcomed the time with just my oldest.
The following weekend we joined with our best friends for a fundraising trivia night that’s become a favorite tradition. We’re six years in with this team, including matching T-shirts the past two years. And we’ve won three times, including the current two-year streak. We also came in second one time after losing on the tie-breaker.
We also celebrated Greg’s 41st birthday, Cate and three classmates qualifying for the state National History Day competition with a documentary they made about the 1893 Chicago World Fair, and Greg’s grandma’s 90th birthday.
Splash swim goggles – These goggles are the best googles there ever were in any pool (or bathtub – yep, my kids have used them there this winter!). They don’t get stuck in hair or fog up, plus they stay on well. My kids (who are almost 12, 9, and 3) obviously have different sized heads and these work well for all of them.
Minivan Moments Family Podcast – The conversations Cate and I have had lately about technology, friendships, and school are important, but I’m realizing I need other people to echo the same truths. Yet I’m picky who speaks into my kids’ lives. When I find a resource that works well, I want to share it. This new podcast is for teenagers and their parents.
The podcast host, Nick Calhoon, is the student pastor at what I call my bonus church – it’s not where we attend, but I go to Bible study there, Cate is going to camp this summer with some of her school friends who go there, and my big kids have been to VBS there. (Read more about this podcast in Nick’s words.)
From the bookshelf
“Say You’re Sorry” by Melinda Leigh – I love discovering a new-to-me author who has a series and then reading one book after the other. I was introduced to this first book in the Morgan Dane detective series because the Kindle version was free with my Prime membership. I’ve read three books in this series and plan on reading more.
“Faith, Hope, & Connection: A 30-Day Devotional for Adoptive and Foster Parents” – Are you a foster or adoptive parent needing hope for this complex and sometimes lonely journey? Do you love your kids but feel discouraged? Are you misunderstood by people around you? In this book, you’ll find real, often raw, stories from adoptive and foster parents in the trenches (including me!); scripture and faith-filled hope, pointing you to Jesus; and honest reflections speaking courage to your soul and reminding you that you are not alone. (Read an excerpt of my devotion that’s included!)
“It’s A Love Story” by Lincee Ray – Author Lincee Ray had me laughing, thanking God for all the little things I love in my life, and remembering where I feel at home. I especially loved the chapters on serving others and how we don’t have enough romantic comedies these days. And I’ll never hear Black Eyes Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” the same. That’s what Lincee does. She takes a pop culture reference and makes it relevant to a bigger picture and more entertaining than it would be otherwise. Plus, like me, she’d choose Pacey Witter over Dawson Leery any day.
(GIVEAWAY ALERT!) This is a new book that officially releases next week, but you can read my full review and enter to win one of two copies I’m giving away in a post earlier this week.
“Those Who Save Us” by Jenna Blum – I read this World War II novel in the cracks of my days. I started it in a hotel room one week, had it out with me on the porch two afternoons the next week, read a little bit while I was drying my hair and as I could in parking lots between commitments and errands on the day I had to finish it. “Had to” because I was so completely pulled in. This is a hard story. I mean, what novel set in a war isn’t? But it was certainly worth stealing time as I could to take it in. There’s love and loss and grief and fear and silence and hope in these pages. PLUS I was able to read it free on my Kindle with my Prime membership.
“Joyful Surrender” by Elisabeth Elliot – I’m in the middle of this one, but I’m glad it caught my eye because it’s a breath of fresh air in this do-it-all, be-all-you-can-be culture. It’s like sitting down with a kind, wise friend who is willing to tell you where she’s been and what she learned along the way. Elliot writes about discipline, freedom, obedience, and sovereignty in conversational tones that draw the reader in and point to Jesus. (Read my full review here.)
(As always, here’s a list of a recommended reads, if you’re needing a new book!)
On the screen
“Unplanned” – I knew Abby Johnson’s basic story before I watched this movie. Her story involves two abortions, ascending from volunteer to director of a Planned Parenthood clinic, having a baby, quitting her job, campaigning for pro-life causes, and having more babies. Even knowing where this movie was going, it was hard to watch. Yet I’d recommend people watch it. It’s educational and the story involves such redemption. And I went with friends, which was fun! There’s also a book by the same name, if that’s more your thing.
“Nancy Drew and The Hidden Staircase” – We started off Spring Break with a movie that seemed well suited for both my sixth-grade girl and third-grade boy. I was right – they both enjoyed it.
After the death of his wife, Carson Drew decides to leave Chicago behind and make a fresh start with his daughter in River Heights. But for 16-year-old Nancy Drew, life in a small town is mighty dull. She longs for excitement, adventure, and the chance to make a difference. Nancy gets that opportunity when she is asked to help solve the ghostly activity at the Twin Elms mansion.
Ben said it reminded him of the Hardy Boys books. Cate, who has read several Nancy Drew books, said Nancy didn’t look like she expected her to but she did play the part well. Cate also considered the books more serious than the movie. (Read the whole review here.)
What’s happening on your porch? Tell me your stories from April!