Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Today I was inspired by my friend Jessica's post about the book she just finished to post about some of the reading I have been doing lately. A few months ago my mom bought me The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.

I love mysteries and was hooked right away. I've read a lot of mysteries but I've never read anything quite like this. The author weaves such an intricate web of stories, skipping around from one time period to another, and shifting storytellers with each chapter. I loved every minute! And when I finished, the author had successfully tied up every loose end she had created, leaving me feeling very satisfied. I liked it so much that I checked out her 2 previous books at the library (The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden). They were all 3 quite lengthy but I had no trouble finishing them in a matter of weeks. I love stories that simply transport you to another time and place. I can't wait to see what Kate Morton comes up with next!

After that I decided to see what all the hype is about and read The Hunger Games.

I will not say that this was my favorite book I've ever read. However, it has an addictive quality that I've never really experienced before. I literally could not put it down. I finished it in 24 hours. It's very easy to read and extremely compelling. But reader beware: there is a lot of violence. I am in the process of reading the sequel right now: Catching Fire. There is a third book too which I will probably read called The Mockingjay.

Do you have any good recommendations??

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Life Lately

Here's what new with the Allens: Graham and I are taking every opportunity to enjoy this weather; the kind of weather where you can go outside and enjoy nature any time of day. Including: regular trips to various playgrounds, the zoo, daily walks, and daily playtime in the backyard. We are also enjoying random get-togethers with friends and family and our play group. Graham is really enjoying speech, to him it is just more playtime.

I have been spending some of my free time (when G is asleep) filling orders for my etsy shop (click here to check that out, if you haven't already!) and coming up with several fun new designs. Chad has some wonderful news: beginning in January he will begin teaching part-time as an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University. We are so thankful that this opportunity has come our way!

We are looking forward to a mini-getaway next week when we will travel to Atlanta, GA Wednesday-Sunday for the Thanksgiving Holiday. I have a feeling that spending several restful days with loved ones will be just what the doctor ordered. However.....I can't say that I am looking forward to the 2 hour plane ride with a squirmy, 30 lb, 19 month old on my lap....not to complain or anything! :)

I took this sweet boy to get his hair cut today (he did so good! Hardly any crying!) and he looked so handsome afterwards so I snapped some pictures. By the way, getting pictures of him these days is really quite difficult!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Feeling a little sad...

because it's dawned on me that somewhere between Graham's 1st birthday and now he stopped being a baby and became such a big boy! He has become so much more strong willed and independent (maybe it's the red hair??). We definitely have a toddler on our hands! He is now fully capable of playing by himself and entertaining himself (even outside with the door open, his favorite) for 20-30 minutes at a time. He knows what he wants now and doesn't like to settle for what mommy wants him to have most of the time! There have been tantrums. Oh yes, there have been tantrums. And I am starting to see that this embarrassing behavior is going to be a part of lives for a while (he's not even 2 yet!). We are doing our best to teach him to be obedient and self-controlled, and hoping that some of it is sinking in. Part of the problem is Graham's inability to communicate with us much verbally. He understands most everything we say, but still has very few words. He is, however, picking up new signs everyday and communicates with us through sign language. He is receiving speech therapy through ECI at our house (LOVE Graham's therapist!). A perk of this new toddler stage is getting to see the joy on his face as he learns and discovers. He is so curious. For instance, this week Graham learned the sign for bird. Since then, he has been spotting birds everywhere! In books, on TV, on walks, and in our backyard. So we are taking the good exciting things with the hard challenging things as Chad and I embark on a new season in our lives: disciplining a toddler. Lord, give us wisdom!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween 2011

We dressed Graham up as a farmer for his Halloween costume this year. He was comfortable in it and it turned out really cute! The only bad part was that he didn't want to wear the hat. Good thing I only spent $3 on it! We didn't really take Graham trick or treating this year. We took him for a walk around the block (with him walking, no stroller) which he loves. We knocked on a few of our neighbors' doors, but I think we were a little too early because Graham goes to bed so early... and because Graham's daddy was too excited to wait. =) Afterwards we sat outside (we had gorgeous weather!) and handed out candy, we always have lots of trick or treaters in our neighborhood. I had Halloween music playing which Graham loved, he likes dancing. I let him have his first bite of candy, a reese's peanut butter cup which he really enjoyed. I think that Halloween will probably be a little bit more exciting for him next year.

Graham helping me carve our pumpkin:

The finished project:

Hope you had a happy Halloween!