Silver Lining

September 28, 2016

our backyard desert

When we first moved into our apartment three months ago, the farthest we explored on foot was the mailboxes and the pool. I blame this on being hugely pregnant with twins during the hottest part of the year, being on modified bedrest, and then being in the trenches of two newborns plus a very energetic toddler.

Now that the twins are two months old and we're getting a little more sleep at night, we've been trying to emerge from our summer hibernation and explore where we live. We heard that behind the business park next to our community were a few South Mountain hiking trails, so we decided to see for ourselves.

You guys. It is so gorgeous. I keep being surprised by these Arizona deserts. From far away they look dead and blah, but they are anything but dead. These deserts are colorful, alive, incredibly beautiful, and literally humming with energy. (Actually they're humming with various unseen bugs, but still - it's a crazy energy.)

^^I've tried so hard to capture Link's Worried Old Man face, and I finally got it! This kid cracks us up.
^^Oh hey Phoenix
^^This picture captures the two things Claire loves most: rocks and her new shoes, which she likes to wear while running and shouting, "I so fast! I so fast!"

We had the best family night walking these trails, and vowed to go back often as it gets cooler -  and now that we know it's a 10 minute walk from our house. Arizona, you've done it again.

September 26, 2016

What to Read: Halloween Short Stories

I'm the first to admit: I'm a wimp when it comes to scary things. Scary movies freak me out, I haven't read a single Stephen King book, and I've been to exactly one haunted house in my life (although I actually found the haunted house more tacky than terrifying). 

But scary short stories? Those I like. They're a great way to get you in the Halloween mood and you can read each in one sitting. They rate really low on the evil and overly graphic scale too. Here's a list of my favorite scary short stories that will get you in the Halloween mood!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Graphic Novel)
Washington Irving
I haven't actually read the novel version of this story, but I read a shortened graphic novel. It was the perfect blend of scary and short, even though the illustrations were a little distracting in my opinion. I like the cartoon version of this one, too :) It's about a superstitious man who takes an ill-fated trip into the woods.

The Cask of Amontillado
Edgar Allen Poe
I remember reading this in middle school before Halloween. Edgar Allan Poe is the master of horror short stories, and this one was perfectly sinister. It's about a single-minded man with a terrible plan for revenge.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Alvin Schwartz
This is a collection of very short scary stories. Some of these are scarier than others, but overall, this is a good collection of horror stories. The stories are appropriate for younger audiences, and the illustrations are creepy too.

The Tell-Tale Heart
Edgar Allen Poe
Another perfectly scary short story about a paranoid murderer trying to prove his innocence. They just don't make stories nowadays like they used to. This is one of the classics.

The Tailypo
Joanna Galdone
This is an illustrated children's book about an older man who lives alone and cuts off the tail of an animal to eat for dinner. But then the animal wants its tail back... This one is good for younger audiences, too.

The Raven
Edgar Allen Poe
The Raven is a short poem by the classic Poe. This is probably one of the most iconic Halloween stories of all time. It's not my personal favorite of his, but hey, you can't make a list of scary short stories without including The Raven.

The Ghost-Eye Tree 
Bill Martin Jr.
This book is beautifully written and illustrated. It's really not too scary, and actually has a good message to it, but it had to be included here because it gets the reader instantly in a spooky Halloween mood. It's about two young kids who have to pass by a haunted tree on a dark night. A great read-aloud to kids.

The Most Dangerous Game
Richard Connell
I read this short story in middle school first, and loved it. It's about a hunter who stumbles upon an island. On that island is a dangerous man who has a passion for hunting the most cunning game...

What are your favorite Halloween short stories?
Which ones am I missing?
And are there any other horror wimps out there, or is it just me? ;)

A previous version of this post was first seen on my blog two years ago here

Follow me on Goodreads for my most recent book reviews!

More book recommendations you might like:
Strong female leads
Great book club books
Stand-alone fantasy
Light-hearted clean romance books
Beautiful literary WWII masterpieces
Best books for the new parent

What to read next if you loved Wonder
Easy classic novels

September 22, 2016

my different twins: him vs. her

There's a widely held expectation that twins, even if they're not identical, will be very similar. I mean, they grew and developed at the same time in the womb, and their life experiences are incredibly similar when they're babies. I was convinced my twins would be very similar as newborns.

Oh how wrong I was. From day one my babies were incredibly different - in looks, in size, in personality. Now that they're two months old and starting to express tiny bits of their budding personalities, I feel like they grow more and more different every day. Here are some similarities and differences I want to remember at this stage:

him: big and chunky
her: tiny and light

him: no pacifier
her: all pacifier all the time

him: pretty bald
her: pretty bald

him: usually stressing
her: usually calm

him: wearing 6 month clothes
her: wearing 0-3 month clothes

him: loves bathtime
her: loves bathtime

him: yummy thigh rolls
her: skinny chicken legs

him: dimple smiles
her: wrinkled nose grins

him: olive skin
her: fair skin

 It's fun to see how unique and individualistic these twinners are. I sure love 'em. And it's a good thing too, because the sleep deprivation times two is no joke! ;)

Happy (almost) Friday!
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