About hazzeltoz

I'm a librarian, wife, mother, third-culture kid, and Apple fan girl with too many degrees.

Around Here

Summer is almost over and it feels like it just started. In no time at all, P will start 1st grade then we’ll blink and he’ll be in high school. At least that’s what it feels like. 

Maybe I’m feeling the passage of time more acutely right now because my birthday is next week and I have decided this one feels like “almost 40” and I’m not taking it very well. 

Summertime has passed quickly because we’ve been on a lot of trips. Hawaii in April; I made a quick trip to CA to meet my new nephew in May and then the whole family made the trip in June; we had our 2nd annual friends trip to Sunriver the following week; and then the weekend after that I was in Texas for work for 5 days. 

On top of that, we adopted Poppy from my brother and sister-in-law, which meant a quick trip to Tacoma to pick her up, with a stop in Olympia to show the boys where Daddy is going to work someday. 

P also had basketball camp, the boys attended VBS, we had a lice scare, and somehow I managed to stay off Facebook. 

This weekend good friends from Utah are coming to visit, and my brother and sister-in-law are coming to say goodbye before they move back to Alaska. 

What’s coming up the rest of the summer? P has soccer camp, we’re going to a wedding, I’m planning a new class to teach in the fall, and we’re celebrating our 12th anniversary. It’s going to be a busy few months! 

Celebrate Audiobook Month!

June is audiobook month, so to celebrate, I’m listing my top 10 audiobook picks. Need more suggestions? Check out these links to other bloggers from the Audio Publishers Association. You can also win prizes during the month of June!

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan. Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend are the other two titles in this series, and they are all delightful. The narrators are gifted linguists and breeze through multiple language with ease. It’s truly amazing to hear.
  2. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) as well as books 2 and 3 in the series are delightfully evil crime novels that had me on the edge of my seat. These are the types of books that make me take the long way home after work, just to keep listening.
  3. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I was surprised I loved this book so much, as the premise isn’t one I’d normally pay attention to, but the narrator’s voice is soothing, and the topic of an elderly man walking 600 miles to deliver a message to a dying acquaintance is much more touching than you may think.
  4. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.  This book made me so nostalgic for college, and yet so thankful I’m not 20 any more. However, there are many days I wish I was still an English major, reading and writing most of the day.
  5. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I know almost nothing about baseball, but that doesn’t matter even though this novel’s protagonist is his college’s baseball star. This book also made me nostalgic for college, and I was impressed with the author’s ability to capture complicated relationships so well.
  6. The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner. I love Jennifer’s books and have read all of them, but this one is my favorite. I also love the narrator’s voice, and this is a book I revisit in both print and audio.
  7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Another college-era novel that I loved. Can you see a theme here?
  8. Taylor Stevens’ Vanessa Michael Monroe series starts with The Informationist and continues with four fantastic and gripping titles. This is a series I can only listen to – not read in print – and I think you will understand why once you read them.
  9. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes is the best self-help book you’ll ever read. It’s on my list to read yearly, I find it that inspiring.
  10. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham. Did you know Lauren Graham is not only a fantastic actress but also a talented writer? And that she wrote this book while shooting Parenthood? It makes me love it even more.

 

Affiliate links to Amazon hyperlinked above.

 

My Little First Grader

On Friday, P celebrated his last day of school with pancakes made by his teachers, and on Sunday we celebrated with his classmates and their families with haystacks and lots of sugar. 


If you had told me at the beginning of the school year that our shy, uncertain, and highly uncoordinated kindergartener would turn into the confident kid he is today, I would have wanted to believe you but I would have also been a little skeptical. 

He got first place in high jump for his class during track and field day. He got a “super scientist” award for his never-ending recitation of facts about the natural world. And he willingly goes up front at Childrens’ Church to lead out during song service. 

This summer he’s going to basketball and soccer camp, and my mother-in-law has big plans for math and reading and writing homework. We might enroll him in piano lessons. Of course he will also play, bother his brother, go to some movies, and go camping, and at the end of the summer he’ll be ready for first grade, and next year I won’t be so surprised at all he’s ready to learn and do. 

Friday Reads

Here’s a little link roundup to close the week. I haven’t done one in ages because I’ve been so busy at work (I’m doing two jobs, training students, etc.) that when I get home I just want to read. Lately it’s been Ilona Andrews’ new release White Hot. Ignore the cover and ignore the title. This book, the second in the series, is SO good. Thanks to Lag Liv for introducing me. (P.S. I can never comment on her blog because she’s on Blogger and I’m on WordPress and even though I’m very tech savvy, I just can’t figure it out, so “hi!” LL!)

This Design Mom conversation about sex is a must-read if you were raised in a conservative religion. She is so thoughtful in her answers to the 18-year old who wrote her to ask about sex. 

Why are donut boxes pink? And who makes the little clips that close the loaf of bread you bought at the grocery store? Life’s mysteries, answered

Read about the woman, who despite being deaf, blew the socks off of Simon Cowell. And watch the video of her singing the song she wrote. I watched it in Starbucks and started crying right there. 

This punctuation card is everything. As is this anniversary card

My baby finished Kindergarten today. We have a 1st grader in the house! I am simultaneously awestruck and sad. 

Happy weekend, friends. 

Fiction Monday

I’m writing a book in my head. The first two chapters are in my Notes app on my phone. Until I get motivated to write it down in a place that won’t disappear the next time I drop my phone in the bathtub – you know, like on a computer with a hard drive, or on Google Drive where it can live blissfully in the cloud – here’s a bit I wrote in my head this morning:

***

Lisa stared at the car scent in her hand. She hadn’t meant to wander into yet another Bath and Body Works, but the FREE ITEM coupon was burning a hole in her purse. Her basket was full of hand soaps she didn’t need, but Maggie did. Maggie’s kids were always dirty. Or maybe all kids were always dirty, Lisa didn’t really know.

The car scent in Lisa’s hand smelled exactly like her ex-boyfriend’s cologne, the cologne she had bought him right before he left for London, the cologne she had sprayed on his old t-shirt and stuffed under pillow case hoping he wouldn’t notice how sentimental she was after just a month of dating. But there it was, in her hand, and now it was in her cart, and she was going to put it in her car and smell him on her way to work, on her way home, on her way to Maggie’s house to drop off the 3 for $18 hand soaps she’d bought, hoping that the scent of her ex-boyfriend would distract her from Sam.

***

 

 

The 3-Hour Bedtime Routine

At 5:33 I looked at the clock and sighed. Bedtime was at least an hour away but the boys were already acting up and even an episode of Paw Patrol couldn’t keep them occupied. 

I sat down to eat supper while G occupied them on the couch. Tonight was anything but family dinner night. Everyone ate in shifts. 

At 6:30, we tried to put P to bed but after being told he couldn’t have a long book for story time, he started wailing and would not be pacified. Granted, he ran a mile at school today, so he was extra tired. And when he is extra tired, all hell breaks loose. 

We put the baby to bed and P was still wailing. He finally calmed down when G told him a story. We thought we were in the clear until an hour later he came out of his room itching. We convinced him to try sleeping in our bed. When G moved him an hour later, he woke up, itchy again, so I gave him Benadryl, rubbed lotion on him and switched blankets. He then started crying so hard he almost threw up. The reason? I have no idea. 

I am trying to have more perspective this week. I arrived back to work from a 5-day vacation to the news that a former colleague committed suicide last month. Yesterday a coworker decided to bring her mother home from assisted living so her mother can die at home as she is failing rapidly and hospice care at home is the best choice for their family. 

These are heady things, and I fought tears as I drove home from work today. And then my 6-year old wouldn’t go to sleep and I just about lost it. Because he wouldn’t go to sleep. 

I’m trying to be patient. I’m trying to be more loving. I’m just not very good at it. 

On Mother’s Day

When my grandma was dying from stroke-related causes, she was inconsolable at night. A few days after my grandfather died in the nursing home room they shared, my parents moved her home; her new resting place a hospital bed in the room that had been my gradnfather’s for years after his own stroke had severely disabled him. 

As my husband and I lay upstairs one night after my grandfather died, I could hear her cries for help and sobs. My mom had spent hours with her mother, consoling her, calming her down, but it was the middle of the night and she needed to sleep. So I took a turn. I crept down the stairs and opened the door. “Nanny,” I said. “It’s okay.” 

“Help me!” she cried, “Help!” 

“Would you like me to read to you?” I asked. A Bible was laying next to her bed. I picked it up and somehow ended up in Revelation, hoping to find something in those words to comfort her. I ended up skipping entire chapters. Revelation is not a comforting book. 

“Let’s sing some songs,” I told her. 

Amazing Grace. Jesus Loves Me. What a Friend We Have in Jesus. 

It’s amazing how entire verses were stored in my memory. I sang and sang as she quieted down. She was comforted. 

Hours went by. I sang. I stopped, and tried reading again from the Bible. I couldn’t read anything out loud without crying, not even from the Gospels. This is the book she read faithfully. This book – the reason she tithed and volunteered at church, despite her husband’s apathy to religion. Even with her faith in this book, she wasn’t sparred a devastating end to her life. 

So I sang some more. She quieted down enough to sleep, however restless, and I went back to sleep. 

A few months later, my mom called me with the news that Nanny had passed away in her sleep with her son and daughter at her side. As devastated as I was by the news,  I could not imagine a better way to die: in your sleep, surrounded by your children in your own home. 

It should have been no surprise that when I had my first son, I sang these familiar, comforting songs at bedtime, songs I knew the words to, songs that meant something to me and my family history: Jesus Loves Me, Amazing Grace, What a Friend We Have on Jesus. 

There are still days that I don’t believe any of it, that a loving God would not have allowed my grandmother to suffer the way she did. By I am certain of this: when I die, I hope I am with my children and grandchildren and that they are singing to me.