Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Presidential Reading

When I was a kid I was surprised to come to the realization that I loved reading historical fiction. It started with some books about the civil rights movement and then the Salem witch trials. That's when I stumbled across Ann Rinaldi who wrote historical fiction for young adults. I read quite a few of her books and was hooked. For some reason I somewhat forgot about my love for reading historical books as a child and have mostly read fiction and classics as I've gotten older. Then in June I stumbled across the book Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies by J.B. West. I found the book fascinating and loved the glimpse into the lives of the first ladies as well as the presidents. West's relationship with Jackie Kennedy and his obvious adoration for her in particular stirred my interest in reading more about her so I went off on a tangent reading books about Jackie Kennedy which led to some books about JFK and then Bobby Kennedy. During a map learning theme I was doing with Carter we talked a little bit about explorers and read a book about Lewis and Clark. That led to me reading an adult book about Lewis and Clark's expedition which led to a greater interest in Thomas Jefferson which in turn led to reading a book about Thomas Jefferson. Once I read about Jefferson, I wanted to read about Washington and Lincoln. It also piqued my interested in James Madison and James Monroe, both proteges of Jefferson who were mentioned in the book about him.
Elise loves to read almost as much as I do!
Carter is my little reader!
I decided it would be fun to read at least one book about each president, either written by or about him. I'd like to keep track of this list separately from my reading list I've been tracking through my 30 for 30 and 31st year birthday reading lists. Below I'm listing the books I'm considering reading for each president. I'm not sure which I'll pick for each president since I haven't checked availability with our library. The books listed in bold are ones I've already read and the presidents with highlighted names are ones I consider completed. I'm going to include some books that are about family members to presidents just for fun. It will take me awhile to get through the list since I don't plan to simply read presidential biographies for a long string of time. I will weave them in throughout my other reading. There are too many books I want to read to pigeon hole myself into one area for a long period of time! Most of the books listed below came from a list I found here. If you know of any great presidential biographies, I'd love your input!

George Washington:
Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow (this is the next one I will start and I know our library has it because I have checked.

John Adams:
John Adams by John Ferling, John Adams by David McCulloush, Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams by Joseph J. Ellise, Abigail Adams by Woody Holton, First Family: Abigail and John Adams by Joseph J. Ellis, A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign by Edward J. Larson

Thomas Jefferson:
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham, A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign by Edward J. Larson, Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen E. Ambrose 

James Madison:
James Madison: A Biography by Ralph Ketchem, James Madison by Richard Brookhiser

James Monroe:
The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness by Harlow Giles Unger, James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity by Harry Ammon

John Quincy Adams:
John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life by Paul Nagel, John Quincy Adams by Paul Nagel, John Quincy Adams by Robert V. Remini

Andrew Jackson:
American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham, The life of Andrew Jackson by Robert V. Remini

Martin Van Buren:
Martin Van Buren by Donald Cole, Martin Van Buren by Ted Widmer, Martin Van Buren: The Romantic Age of American Politics by John Niven

William Henry Harrison:
Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Times by Freeman Cleaves, Mr. Jefferson's Hammer: William Henry Harrison by Robert Owens, William Henry Harrison by Gail Collins

John Tyler:
John Tyler by Gary May, John Tyler: Champion of the Old South by Oliver P. Chitwood

James K. Polk:
The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America by Walter R. Borneman, A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk by Robert Merry 

Zachary Taylor:
Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest by K. Jack Bauer, Zachary Taylor by John S. D. Eisenhower 

Millard Fillmore:
Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President by Robert J. Rayback, Millard Fillmore by Paul Finkelman 

Franklin Pierce:
Franklin Pierce by Michael Holt, Franklin Pierce by Michael Holt

James Buchanan:
President James Buchanan: A Biography by Philip S. Klein

Abraham Lincoln:
Lincoln by David Herbert Donald, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin, With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen B. Oates

Andrew Johnson:
Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy by David Stewart, Andrew Johnson by Annette Gordon-Reed

Ulysses S. Grant:
Grant by Jean Edward Smith, Grant: A Biography by William S. McFeeley, Ulysses S. Grant by Josiah Bunting

Rutherford B. Hayes:
Rutherford B. Hayes: Warrior and President by Ari Hoogenboom, Rutherford B. Hayes by Hans Trefousse, Rutherford B. Hayes and his America by Harry Barnard

James Garfield:
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard, Garfield: A Biography by Allan Peskin

Chester Arthur:
Gentleman Boss: The Life of Chester Alan Arthur by Thomas C. Reeves, Chester Alan Arthur by Zachary Karabell

Grover Cleveland:
Grover Cleveland: A Study in Character by Alyn Bordsky, Grover Cleveland by Henry F. Graff

Benjamin Harrison:
Benjamin Harrison: Hoosier Statesman by Harry Joseph Sievers, Benjamin Harrison by Charles W. Calhoun

William McKinley:
The President and the Assassin by Scott Miller, William McKinley and His America by H. Wayne Morgan, Presidency of William McKinley by Lewis L. Gould

Theodore Roosevelt:
The River of Doubt by Candice Millard, Power and Responsibility by William Harbaugh, Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt by David McCullough, Theodore Roosevelt Trilogy by Edmund Morris

William Howard Taft:
The Life and Times of William Howard Taft by Harry F. Pringle, The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Woodrow Wilson:
Woodrow Wilson: A Biography by John Milton Cooper Jr., Wilson by A. Scott Berg

Warren G. Harding:
The Shadow of a Blooming Grove: Warren G. Harding in His Times by Francis Russell, Warren G. Harding by John W. Dean

Calvin Coolidge:
Coolidge: An American Enigma by Robert Sobel, Calvin Coolidge: The Quiet President by Donald McCoy, Calvin Coolidge: The Man From Vermont by Robert Sobel 

Herbert Hoover:
Herbert Hoover: A Biography by Eugene Lyons, Herbert Hoover by William E. Leuchtenburg

Franklin Roosevelt:
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom by Conrad Black, No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Eleanor and Franklin by Joseph Lash, 

Harry S. Truman:
Truman by David McCullough, Harry S. Truman by Robert Dallek

Dwight D. Eisenhower:
Eisenhower: Soldier and President by Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith

John F. Kennedy:
A Thousand Days by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK's Five-Year Campaign by Thomas Oliphant and Curtis Wilkie, An Unfinished Life by Robert Dallek, Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill, The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore H. White, Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy interviews by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story by Barbara Leaming, he Secret Memoirs of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Ruth Francisco, The Kennedy Detail by Gerald Blaine
Although I've obviously read A LOT on Jackie and JFK, I'm interested in the books listed first which I have not read.

Lyndon B. Johnson:
Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin, The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years by Joseph A. Califano Jr.

Richard Nixon:
Nixonland by Richard Perlstein, Nixon Trilogy by Stephen E. Ambrose, The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore H. White

Gerald Ford:
Gerald R. Ford by Douglas Brinkley

Jimmy Carter:
Jimmy Carter by Julian E. Zelizer

Ronald Reagan:
President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime by Lou Cannon, My Father at 100 by Ron Reagan Jr.

George H.W. Bush:
George H.W. Bush by Timothy Naftali

Bill Clinton:
First in His Class by David Maraniss, The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House by John F. Harris, What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton, It Takes a Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton

George W. Bush:
Decision Points by George W. Bush, Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush

Barack Obama:
Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss, The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama


Related Books I'm Interested in Reading:
RFK: A Candid Biography of Robert F. Kennedy by C. David Heymann
The Revolution of Robert Kennedy by John R. Bohrer
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson
Treating People Well by Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard

Friday, January 19, 2018

Elise Update

This little girl is just beyond amazing! She makes me laugh so hard and is so sweet and kind. She keeps me sane and brings so much love into my life. I adore her sweet little hugs where she wraps one arm around my neck. I love listening to her stories and take-aways from our day. It cracks me up hearing what she feels is important and needs to be shared. I got home from my run one morning and I walked in to her coloring as Ty finished packing up to head out. She told me, "I eat eggies. Daddy said, 'meow'." I just started cracking up and asked Ty if he had meowed. He said Skippy walked by so he meowed at him. I just loved that Elise felt like it was important for me to know that Ty had done that. Listening to her retell a story or talk about a book is the best. I also love the questions she asks as we are reading a book. We were reading Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch which is a sweet story about Mr. Hatch who is a quiet loner. The postman delivers a huge heart full of candy to Mr. Hatch on Valentine's Day and Mr. Hatch feels so loved he starts talking and interacting with others. Then he finds out the delivery was an accident and the heart was supposed to go to someone else which causes Mr. Hatch to feel sad and go back to his old ways. The story has a happy ending but Elise's only concern throughout the entire story was where all the "candy canes" went. I turned back to the page where he shares the candy with all of his co-workers and told her Mr. Hatch's friends ate the candy, but to no avail. All she would talk about was the "candy canes" and where they'd gone. Eventually she decided it was all Carty's fault that the candy was missing. Carter and I were dying laughing by the end of the book!
Something she's started saying a lot is, "I didn't eat good!" Anytime she's hungry she starts saying she didn't eat good. It cracks me up that she says that instead of saying she's hungry. She says cute in place of little. If you tell her she's a big girl, she'll tell you that she's cute. In a book if she sees a character that is much smaller than the others, she'll ask why it's cute. At the end of the day when Ty gets home and she's telling him about what happened I crack up over what she decides to share with him. It's rarely what we did, it's usually something about her kitty or her Harpy or what Carty said or what I said. When we were in the car and a truck honked she was so concerned over what the noise was and whether they were honking at us (they were not) and why they did that because it hurt her ears and she wanted to know if it hurt my ears too. She blows me away with her empathy and ability to make me feel better when I'm upset. Her sweet little voice saying, "I'm sorry that happened to you," or "I'm sorry you got hurt," never fails to lift my spirits. There have been so many times where I was feeling blue and her sweet words immediately lifted my heart. It has definitely opened my eyes to the huge power of something small like a reaffirming phrase. Even knowing she says it because she'd heard me say it, it still makes me feel better! It makes it easier to understand why when she gets hurt, all the sudden it feels better simply because I told her I was sorry she got hurt.
We've been slowly but surely working on colors. Sister is so proud that she has blue down! The only color she wants to point out is blue. She also more or less knows pink, green, and yellow. Occasionally she'll get mixed up on them though, blue is the only color she correctly identifies every single time. If I ask her what color something is and it's blue, she screams it out with excitement. If I ask her what color something is and she's not sure, she typically replies with green. For the longest time she said her favorite color was green but if I showed her a set of colors and asked which she liked best, she'd pick pink. So I added in learning pink's name so she'd be able to tell people her true favorite color. She counts pretty well and has even counted all the way to 11 before! For the most part she'll get 1, 2, 3 down and then just says that over and over. She loves to point at pictures in a book and count them by counting up to 3 over and over. Next year she will start a shorter preschool program to get ready for school. I think she'll enjoy it because she always wants to stay and play when we drop Carter off at school. I would have thought she'd do better with being dropped off than Carter because he was much clingier to me than she is, but she has struggled. We started leaving her in the children's area for Sunday School when we go to church and she would cry so hard they'd text us after 15 minutes. It took a few times before she didn't cry after we left. Ty has done a great job with her because she just loses it when I'm the one to drop her off. He'll go in and play with her or read to her for a little bit. Then when she is busy, he sneaks away. At first when she'd realize he was gone she was hysterical, but last week her teacher said she didn't cry so we are making improvements!
Recently she's started struggling with staying in bed at night. She wants to come out to potty which we allow once, but then she wants to come out over and over. I've noticed she has a harder time staying in bed on nights when Carter had school that day so I had to wake her up from her nap to pick him up at the end of school. When she's over tired she has a harder time. Some nights she comes out once to potty and other nights she comes out 3-4 times. The crazy part about it is that Carter is typically already asleep when she's doing it and just sleeps on through it! It helps that he doesn't nap anymore because he passes out the minute his head hits the pillow at night! Although Elise is pretty much fully potty trained meaning she rarely has accidents and will stop what she's doing to run to the toilet, she still has accidents in her car seat. She can potty before we leave the house and then 10 minutes later when we arrive at our destination, she's wet. It is frustrating to me but I don't know if she can control it or not. She'll be really upset and not want to get out of the car and then I realize it's because she doesn't want me to know she pottied, so I don't think she wants to be doing it. It makes it tricky because she could be in underwear full-time but I'm so tired of cleaning up messes in her car seat! She doesn't mind sitting wet in her car seat so leaving her like that isn't causing her to stop. I know she'll figure it out eventually but I kind of figured at this point it would be better since it's been the same story for months. But I keep reminding myself that it seemed like Carter would never be fully potty trained but now he has no issues and has never had an accident at school.
Elise loves to play with her tea set she got from her Uncle Paul and Aunt Amanda for Christmas. It's so cute to hear her ask if I want milk and sugar in my tea. She loves pouring tea for everyone. She also loves playing with the PJ Mask headquarters Carter got for his birthday and their Paw Patrol toys have been a huge hit. She likes to carry the little kitties that came with her Paw Patrol set all around with her. I'm always finding them in random places! One time she even snuck them into the store in her pocket and was showing them off to the people behind us in line. She loves to color and pretty much anytime she sits down to draw she makes a picture for her best friend, Charlee. Then she wants to make one for Charlee's mom and Charlee's sister. It is so cute! She drives me nuts with never putting the caps back on markers. It wouldn't be too bad if she'd set the cap down where she was coloring but that isn't the case. She'll finish coloring and then wander around the house carrying the cap! I feel bad because Carter got a bunch of fun markers for his birthday and Elise has already caused a few to dry out because we couldn't find the cap when she was finished coloring. I want to keep the markers up where she can't get to them and just get them down when Carter wants them, but he has asked to keep them down and says he likes to share with her. He's very sweet with her about it and will kindly remind her to put the cap back on when she's done coloring and he's sitting with her. She also loves to fill her backpack with books off her book shelf and pretend she's going to the library. Uncie Taco got her an Owlet jacket for Christmas and she runs around while wearing it and yelling out, "Flap, flap, flap!"
She adores her brother and is so darn sweet to him! One day she found a penny at Wal-Mart and gave it to him. She won $2 from the lottery ticket in her stocking and when Oma gave her the money, she turned and gave one of the dollars to Carter. In her mind if she has 2 of anything, one of them should be for Carter. She got a balloon today and asked if she could also have one for her brother because he was at school. I love that she is always thinking of him. When she hears him crying she will bee line it, running to him!

She is wonderful about doing her chores and will always go do them for us when we ask. She loves to feed Harper and will always go do it no matter how cold it is in the garage. The only problem is that sometimes she likes to scoop out the food and then feed it to Harper one kernel at a time from her hand. It takes forever! She does a great job helping Carter put the clean silverware into the silverware holder and he encourages her and compliments her work as they go. It warms my heart to hear him congratulating her on putting all the silverware in the correct compartments. She isn't the best about picking up and will often times try to get out of it by saying she has to go potty or even flat out refusing to help. It's a struggle but I know it was also a struggle with Carter when he was her age and he does a wonderful job now, so making her do it even though it would be faster to exclude her will be worth it in the end.

Elise is finally getting to where she'll let me put her hair into a ponytail on occasion. She won't sit still and often cries while I'm doing it but she leaves it in for the most part. Sometimes she'll tug at it and pull some strands out, but it still looks cute just a bit messy. Her hair gets crazy on the back of her head. I brush it and then comb it with a wet comb but she must rub it against her car seat in the car because when we get to our destination it looks as though I didn't even bother to comb it! I try to comb it out with my fingers but often times it still looks pretty unruly! Her hair looks the absolute cutest after a bath when I've used conditioner in it. It curls up so beautifully and looks adorable! I wish I could bathe her in the morning so her hair would look like that during the day, but it would just take way too long! Once she's slept on it, it's wild in the morning and there's not much hope for regaining the evening's picture perfect curls!
I love Elise beyond words and I am so glad she is our little girl. Every time I look at her I am filled with love. I find myself actually feeling thankful we had a miscarriage in between her and Carter because that miscarriage brought us Elise who is the perfect, most wonderful little girl for our family. I just know she was the baby we were meant to have and I am so thankful we have her! She is the sweetest, most loving, little girl and I can't imagine our family without her in it! She is the sunshine to my days and fills me with so much happiness, hope, and love! I can't believe she will be 3 in 2 short months! Time sure does fly by!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wordless Wednesday

Coloring at the library.
Carter loves his read aloud PJ Masks book.
Decorating our Valentine's Day tree.
The kids with their special blankets from Oma and Opa.
A picture from Carter's teacher, playing in the snow sensory bin at school.
Carter with his marshmallow snowman he made at school.
Riding her book to the library.
New Valentine's Day jammies from Oma and Opa.
Elise getting a cupcake at her friend's party.
Elise wanted to sit on her Uncie Taco's lap.
Elise took a picture of Carter cuddling me in the morning.
Tea party with Elise.
Carter working at school, picture thanks to his teacher.
Carter at school, picture thanks to his teacher.
Carter at school, picture thanks to his teacher.
Carter at school, picture thanks to his teacher.
Touching the horseshoe crabs at the aquarium.
Feeding the turtles at the aquarium.