Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013 Book List

Has everyone been waiting with bated breath for my 2013 reading list?  My goal for the year was 50 novels and I'm happy to say that I actually made it to 60 this year.  Considering I now have a 7 week old baby and a 3 year old, this won't be happening again for a couple years, at least.  I've given the books below "stars", 5 being the best and 1 being the worst.  I would say that all my 4's and 5's are books that I would definitely recommend to read.  This is not to say that the 3 star books weren't good, they just weren't as memorable.  Don't bother with the 1's or 2's.  There were plenty of great ones this year and I'm looking forward to what 2014 will bring reading wise, even if it isn't in mass quantities!    

And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman – 4 star
Bridget Jones: Mad About a Boy by Helen Fielding 3 star

Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews – 3 star
Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman – 3 star
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro – 4 star

The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson – 4 Star
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell –3 star

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan – 5 star
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty –3 star
The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank –3 star
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – 1 star
The Hypotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty – 4 star
The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro—5 star

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwak – 3 star
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Gilbraith – 3 star
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison – 4 star
The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon – 3 star

What Alice Forget by Liane Moriarty – 3 star
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – 1 star
The Widow Waltz by Sally Keslow – 4 star
Sisterland: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld –4 star
The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth Silver – 1 star

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp For Girls by Anton DiSclafani –3 star
The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls – 4 star
Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger – 3 star
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams – 4 star
And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini – 3 star

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner – 3 star
The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood – 4 star
The Smart One by Jennifer Close – 3 star
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell – 5 star
The Burgess Boys: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout – 3 star
The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes – 3 star

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler – 5 star
Wild by Cheryl Strayed – 4 star
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – 5 star
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight – 4 star
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah – 3 star

The Playdate by Louise Millar – 2 star
The First Husband by Laura Dave – 3 star
An Innocent, Abroad by Ann Leary – 4 star
Wonder by R.J. Palacio – 5 star
Last Night at the Chateau by Lauren Weisberger – 2 star
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green – 5 star
Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner – 2 star
The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner – 2 star
Outtakes From a Marriage by Ann Leary – 3 star

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini – 3 star
A Week In Winter by Maeve Binchy – 3 star
The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin – 5 star
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan – 4 star
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan – 4 star
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – 4 star

The Liars Club by Mary Karr – 2 star
The Good House by Ann Leary – 4 star
Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres – 5 star
Life Among Giants by Bill Boorbach – 3 star
The Sky Is Everywhere by Janda Nelson – 3 star
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson – 2 star

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Little Piglet

No one in either the Gleaton or Deaner clans have ever been accused of being a dainty eater.  Charlotte is not going to be the exception to this rule.  After three consecutive days of weight loss (completely normal just like any newborn) she appears to have turned the corner.  She was born at 3 pounds 12 ounces or 1700g.  After day one she lost 50g or 1.7 ounces, the second day 20g or .7 ounces and day three a loss of 10g/.35 ounces more, weighing in at approximately 3 pounds 9 ounces.  As of today she was back up to 1680g or 3 pounds 11.2 ounces.  I think by tomorrow, knock on wood, she will be back up to her birth weight.
Above is the first time that Deaner and I got to watch her take a bottle.  I am pretty sure it was on Tuesday night but honestly all my days are blurring together right now.  I couldn't believe that she took the whole thing but she did, and I was impressed.  The NICU nurses told us that they feed her from a bottle every time she is wide awake but that she gets milk through her feeding tube if she is drowsy or sleeping.  I've been pumping and while I'm not producing much at all, I think she started to get my milk today.  Since she is under 33 weeks my milk has to be frozen for 24 hours before she can have it.  
I don't think that Charlotte has that alien look that many preemie babies but seeing her next to Deaner's hands sort of gives an idea of just how small she is.  It always surprises me when they lift her out of her "carrying case" for me to hold, just how tiny she is.  Those are preemie diapers that practically wrap around her twice.
 The preemie binky practically takes up her entire face.  It's a huge difference from having an almost eight and a half pound chunker the first go around.
Here is her scary live long and prosper greeting.  Evans was very concerned that the picture was blue but it was just the light from someone else's bilirubin light.  We have been trying to make it up the hospital twice a day on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays when Evans has school but Tuesdays and Thursday we take one long visit.  Imagine Deaner's surprise when our across the street neighbors came through the hospital doors this afternoon while we were there visiting.  He initially thought perhaps they were there to see us (though this didn't make any sense since no one but us can see Charlotte) but it turns out that their three year old had a Lego stuck in his nose.  Pretty comical (probably not as much for them).  

We are looking forward to seeing if Miss C gained any weight tomorrow morning and getting to snuggle with her the best we can.  It's sad to leave her there every night but at this point, I would be way too scared to bring her home even if that was an option.  For now we will just keep having positive weight gaining hopes for Charlotte!!  I'll post more when we have some more updates! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Well That Was Interesting

Well, someone was a little bit impatient about making her entrance into the world.  Oh what a whirlwind the past few days have been.  I've gone from crying that I have to stay in the hospital for 3 weeks to keep this baby in, I've cried because I supposedly had the worst gas pain known to man, I cried because no one believed that I was in as much pain as I was claiming to be and FINALLY I cried when the third doctor actually announced that I was in fact in labor, had been in labor and that I was going to need a c-section immediately!  Nothing is ever routine in this family, that is for sure.  It all started on Friday night when Richard and Evans were about to leave for the evening.  I told them that I was having some weird pains in my stomach but we wrote it off as gas pain.  The pain continued through the night until I finally called a nurse at 5:30am.  These so called gas pains were coming every 5-8 minutes yet no one seemed concerned because no contractions were registering on the fetal heart monitor.  I saw the monitor myself and the contractions were a flat line.  This story is way too long to type as I sit here waiting for Deaner to pick me up at the hospital to go home but the bottom line is that two doctors were completely dumbfounded that I appeared to be having contractions but not on paper.  Thank god the third doctor made the swift decision that I was going to have the baby, and have her immediately.  Deaner had already left the house WITH Evans in tow to come visit me.  It was a FRANTIC ten minutes of calling neighbors and friends to take Evans so Richard could make it up to the hospital in time.  I feel badly for the people that I actually spoke to on the phone because I was in such blinding pain at that point I was yelling at everyone.  Our savior neighbor Nina was able to grab Evans as Deaner dumped him off in their driveway and speed to the hospital at the speed of light.  I was on the OR table about to get an epidural when I finally heard his voice that he has made it.  Charlotte arrived about 12 minutes later.  Whew.  I am out of breath just typing that.  I saw her in a blur of them rushing her to the nicu doctor and couldn't believe how small she was.  She weighed in at 3 pounds 12 oz and 16 inches long.  I don't need to point out that this is less than HALF the size of her 8 pound 4 oz and 21.7 inch long big brother however, this size is fairly remarkable for a 30 week 5 day old baby girl.  She is perfect in every way and has been doing wonderfully.  She has been breathing on her own since birth and has a pretty spunky personality for such a tiny baby.
This birth, while FAR more dramatic than the last one, has been 100% easier for me.  I don't know what the difference is between this c-section and the last one but I have not once felt like I was going to die from the pain this time around.  Perhaps it was better doctors perhaps it was my mindset but I was up and walking on Saturday evening and by Sunday I was feeling like a million bucks.  I'm sitting here waiting for Deaner to pick me up now because I have been released from the hospital.  I can't wait to be in my own house with my two boys.

Charlotte won't be so lucky and we are looking at several weeks in the NICU you, at least.  We are looking forward to watching her grow and get stronger and are praying that we have her home with us by Christmas.  Poor Evans can't see her and this whole baby thing has been sort of anti climatic for him since we are talking about this baby who he hasn't even been able to see yet.  I feel badly for him but hopefully she will be worth the wait!  I'll have more updates as we get them and I have plenty of pictures to post.  Keep us all in your prayers.  We are going to need them!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Unexpected Events

To say that we have really been gearing up and getting ready for baby Charlotte to make her entrance into the world after the New Year would be an understatement.  I've put the finishing touches on the nursery, including my friend finding this awesome rug that works perfectly with the colors we already had, bought diapers in bulk and purchased new Dr. Brown's bottles etc.  I've had several people laugh at me and comment on my OCD but it doesn't really bother me, better to be safe than sorry, right?

I was pretty pumped to find out that in Germany I would be able to schedule a repeat c-section at 38 weeks instead of 39 like in the States.  When you are 30.5 weeks pregnant things start to become significantly more uncomfortable with each passing day and a week early sounds like a dream come true.

I saw my doctor two weeks ago and Charlotte looked great weighing in at 3.5 pounds already!  WHAT?  I started to freak out a little that I might give birth the first 18 pound child ever on earth.  What would I do with such a giant baby??  She better not come out too big for all those precious gowns I've been stock piling!  After fretting for a few days and basically getting over my fear of a huge baby, imagine my surprise when I woke up yesterday morning, got up to pee for the 8th time that night, and felt my water immediately break.

This couldn't be right.  All I could think over and over was that I was only 30 weeks and this is way too early.  After I decided that this was not something that could be ignored I was able to rouse Deaner awake after only a short conversation about how I was not trying to tell him "his clock was broken" but that in fact, my "water had broken" and yes we did need to go ahead and get up.  This shot him into action.  A quick call to my doctor confirmed that I needed to go by ambulance to the hospital immediately.  A little dramatic for me, and I would have preferred the paramedics not track mud inside and all over my rugs, but what. ever.  Evans was shipped to the neighbors and we were off to the ER.

To make a very long story shorter, it was confirmed that my water did break.  Not the news we were hoping for but Charlotte was looking good.  The docs explained that we have several goals over the next few weeks.  Thankfully my cervix is still closed and I was not having contractions.  They immediately started the steroid shots to help develop her lungs so she can breath on her own when she does decide to come.  Keeping her inside for the next 72 hours will allow those drugs to take full effect.  The next goal is to stay infection free until 34 weeks when they will deliver her no matter what.  This gets tricky since my water has already broken so I'm on an antibiotic drip for the duration.  They said there is a small chance that the membrane will repair itself and my fluids will replenish.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I personally don't think that is likely.  I am also not a medical professional.

So, here I am.  Lying in a hospital bed.  Peeing in a pot because I'm not even allowed to get up to use the bathroom.  Missing my hair appointment this afternoon and fantasizing about how my hair will look when my highlights grow out to my ears.  This thought is second only to how bad my hair must currently look after not being washed for two days and just how much worse it will look it is going to look if they seriously don't let me shower for a week.  I honestly can't imagine anything worse.  Except the prospect of being here for three weeks with hospital food for three meals, crappy wi-fi, and no husband or son.  Sigh.  Things are rough right now.  The silver lining is that Charlotte is still a little piggy and weighed in yesterday at over four pounds, so if she does decide to grace us with her presence sooner rather than later, she at least will be a decent size for a 10 week premature baby.  I'm still hoping to hold out until 34 weeks AND keep my sanity but............we will see.  I should have plenty of time on my hands to blog and I'm taking any and all book suggestions right now.  I may set a record for reading more in 2013 than ever before!  Keep us in your prayers!  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Room Excitement

Anyone who has read this blog for an extended period of time will remember my obsession with Evans's nursery decorating.  It pretty much consumed all my time for four months but in the end was totally worth it.  With baby GIRL arriving in January I needed to start thinking about switching some things up in the nursery.  First line of business was to get Evans' new big boy room situated.  Thankfully we had two extra spare bedrooms on the 4th floor of our house (yes, 4th floor, God help me if Evans' ever falls asleep in the car and requires carrying upstairs).  One room became the playroom (which one day I'll post pictures of the finished product, when I actually finish it) and the large guest room is now Evans' new play wonderland.  The above picture is how the room looked to our guests who have stayed with us over the years.  The room will continue to serve as the guest room when we have people come to stay however, they will have to deal with the train theme that has replaced the plain-ness.
The process of getting this room ready to redecorate was not without obstacles.  When we moved in here four years ago the military issued us several of these hideous, large, disgusting "schranks".  They are free standing closets because German geniuses don't have built in closets.  Except when Georg (remember him?) built our house 30 years ago, he actually WAS a genius and therefore we DO have closets.  We took the schranks from the base as extra storage but as the years have gone by, they have eventually ended up stuffed in this corner, in the last space available in the furthest corner of the house. These were the topic of several hot debates in our household.  Do we keep them or lose them?  Move them down to our basement and use as storage or call the base to come haul them away?  After weeks and weeks of discussion I made the final decision that if I wanted them moved to the basement, I would need to get a different husband.  Back to the base they went.  No love lost.
So we had just a little bit of a disaster as I prepared to paint the entire room (including 15ft ceilings).
I really really wanted to sand all this natural wood and paint it a color to go with the train theme but Deaner vetoed this idea saying that "it wouldn't look right" and that I "might not know what I was doing".  I guess we will never know.  I am quite thrilled with the way that the room turned out.  After a fresh coat of paint (it's sort of irritating that y'all can't tell how much better it looks since it is white) everything looked refreshed.  Since Evans has had a small obsession with trains for the better part of his short life, it was the obvious theme.
I could not be more thrilled with how the bedding from Pottery Barn Kids turned out.  I bought this bedding when we were home at Christmas after much hemming and hawing but I love it.  I bought navy sheets to match and I'm currently looking for some nice cozy flannel sheets for our subarctic winters.  You can see the one thing that doesn't match in the room but the Lightning McQueen light fixture was a must (and I couldn't find a train light).
 I love the train station clock that we ordered from Hobby Lobby and mounted on the exposed beam.  The light fixtures are train station-esque and I found them at the German equivalent to Home Depot for seven euro a piece.  A steal, in my opinion.  The canvas above the bedside table was done by my awesome friend Melinda at The Tiny b.  She originally painted it for Evans' second birthday party but it's perfect next to his new bed.
I can't wait to see the name canvas that she is painting for baby girl.  Stay tuned for that one.
After a small debate (my mother didn't think it was a good idea) we moved Evans' train table into his room from the play room next door.  I partially made the decision because I think that the table makes the room and partially because we need the space in the playroom to set up the single bed that will be Evans' temporary home while we have guests.  Either way, he loves it and hardly ever wants to come downstairs these days.  
The last great part of the new room are these vintage train posters that I found on ebay.  They look awesome on what would otherwise be a big blank wall.  They are train line advertisement for different lines in Europe.  I love them!  The huge wooden choo-choo from Buddy and Susie for E's 2nd birthday also has a home on top of the armoire.  
Yes, that is our new "eye in the sky".  Otherwise known as the new video monitor we finally broke down and bought.  With Evans being on a different floor than us and not caged into a crib anymore, we need to make sure there is no night wandering going on.  
All and all I am super pumped with how it all turned out.  We moved Evans up for his first night in his new room on Monday night.  It was rough going and after three trips upstairs I finally fell asleep with him and we had a slumber party.  The next afternoon he cried and cried to go back into his crib and I let him.  Tuesday evening Evans informed Deaner that the reason he would not sleep in his new bed is because he was very scared of the.........wait for it.........alarm clock on his bedside table.  Really?  The clock?  We made a big production of taking the alarm clock out of his room, he announced he was no longer scared and he went straight down without a peep.  Go figure.  Deaner has since figured out that the first night we spoke to Evans over the new monitor two way talk feature, telling him to lie down, and he thought it was the alarm clock talking to him.  Needless to say we will NOT be talking to him again through the monitor.  :)  We are all set for night three and are hoping for a repeat of good behavior.  There were a few attempted jail breaks today during nap but I'm hoping it was an isolated incident.  Maybe one of these days I'll get around to blogging about the rest of our trip to Provence!  We'll see!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Gleatons Do the South of France

A more accurate title would be The Gleatons, Deaners and Lukes do the South of France but that was a little bit long winded.  When my Mom had the idea for a family European trip this summer I was all for it.  What could be better than all my family coming to our side of the pond for a visit?!  Provence was settled upon and tickets booked.  Deaner and I decided it would be best for us to drive the 8 hour drive so that we would have my giant car once we arrived.  An 8 hour drive isn't so bad....right?  We decided to break it into two days and spend the night in the champagne region of France in Reims the first night.  We figured we would drive 5 hours the first day and 3 hours the next day on to Isle Sur La Sorgue.  Piece of cake.  We did not anticipate that our departure date would coincide with every single other German and French person on earth.  Our simple 5 hour drive turned into a NINE HOUR trek.
Evans didn't seem to mind once we got to the hotel and he was able to stretch out on our huge bed with the Mama pink kindle.  He was such a good traveller, even pulling his own suitcase (full of toys).
Saturday morning we set off for L'sle Sur La Sorgue with high hopes of meeting Buddy and Susie at the villa by noon.  Damn those other vacationers!  Our simple three hour drive turned into a FIVE HOUR drive before we FINALLY arrived.  Thankfully the villa and the company were worth the wait!
Evans got to enjoy appetizers by the pool sans clothes.  Lucky for him that his preference is very Euro and widely acceptable.
No one seemed to mind!
Who knew our child loved Boursin so much?  He adjusted nicely to the French wines and cheeses!
Ok, it was only sparkling water but I didn't even like sparkling water when we first moved to Europe!
Saturday night we stayed in and waited for the rest of the crew to arrive.  We hit up the grocery store in town to stock up on wine and when I say we stocked up, I'm not playing.  Too bad I couldn't partake in any of it.  
Our first full day in Provence was spent at the l'sle sur la sorgue antique market.  I'm still wondering where all the antiques were but they had the next best thing!  TEA TOWELS!!
And stunning views.
Deaner was my official tea towel holder.
I know he was thrilled.  Evans was in heaven having "Omple Sam" to tote him around.
And cars to ride!  This is the child who has never been interested in a carnival ride in his life.  Buddy took him over the cars and bought him 5 rides.  I thought, well, that was a waste of money!  Lo and behold, Evans got right on and even handed the ticket man his own ticket.
This was just the beginning of his new car ride obsession that Dada is happy to indulge.  I need to find my iphone cord so I can transfer the rest of the France pictures to my computer.  It took way too long to email all these to myself from my phone.  I promise to get that done asap but considering Evans wet the bed at 4:30am and I was up changing sheets, I think I will allow myself a nap this afternoon (who am I fooling really?  I nap everyday).  Stay tuned for the rest of the week!  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Walt Disney Toon Studios and the "Real" Lightning McQueen

Day two in Disneyland Paris dawned BEAUTIFUL and clear and slightly warmer than the three days previous.  Evans was primed and ready to find the "real" Lightning McQueen which he kept warning us was "somewhere around here".
We started out at the cars stunt show as we arrived just in time to catch the first one of the day.
Oh the joy when Lightning McQueen made his appearance!
Doesn't get much better than that.  
Oh wait, it does.  Toon Studios has it's very own Lightning McQueen ride.  This was the equivalent of the Casey Junior from Day one. 
Daddy was required to go on the dizzy rides though I did get roped into this one at least once. 
I think they liked it.  
After a quick lunch in a Mickey Mouse high chair (this was the 37 euro fast food lunch I was referring to in my post yesterday) it was right back to Lightning McQueen.
And happy to be back.
I actually got suckered into riding this go around so I was able to include myself in a picture. 
It is safe to say that while we really really enjoyed all of Toon Studios, we really took advantage of the Lightning McQueen attraction.  E loved the live Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show as well as Handy Manny etc.  It was a little harder to get pictures inside the live shows but I would highly recommend them to anyone with little ones.  After spending most of the day at the Toon Studios we heading back to Disney for a few more hits on the Casey Junior before snagging a good spot for the parade. 
A quick ride on It's A Small World.
A stop for a $15 balloon.  (which I should at least disclose lasted close to a month)
A little dinner at Planet Hollywood.
And an excruciating visit to the Disney Store where so many things were purchased that I don't even want to see the American Express bill from May.  Daddy is such a sucker!  
Yes, that is a Lightning McQueen rolling suit case.  Only my kid would go into a store full of toys and pick out a suitcase as his souvenir!  He is a very practical traveler.  Not to mention that there was a case full of tub toys inside the suitcase! 
We were pretty much packed to the gills coming home with Disney paraphernalia.  See the suitcase right next to him?  All in all I would say that it was a great family weekend getaway but if you want to try this same trip, beware that it all adds up quickly.  I simply laugh to myself now when I see that there are actual books written on how to do Disney on a budget.  Those folks are in denial.  
I think that we all felt the same way after this vacation but it was totally worth it.  Now if I can just talk the boys into going to the beach next time.  They are already starting to talk about Disney again and while I liked it enough................