12.23.2014

Christmas Eve Eve



KJN HERO KA 1s w4.0It's Christmas break and we're partying over here! It's been a long month. A long, long month for our family with two demanding work schedules sandwiching the holidays. So, we're kicking off the next couple weeks of holidays and time off to spend together with a King Julien viewing party for the kids. Party hats, popcorn, hot chocolate, smiling faces, and even a fever (it is flu season after all).

We generally try to limit the kids screen time, however holiday time means lots of special things and that means binging on episodes of their favorite shows (we knocked these out in two days) and watching plenty of holiday specials on Netlix.

We have previewed lots of them.. Our faves?

Santa Buddies, Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas, Santa Paws, Santa Paws 2, and Happy Holidays From Madagascar. Clearly my kids have a thing for talking animals, huh?

So, here's to a couple of weeks of indulging in movie time, special treats, together time, and I'm sure plenty of new toys...


Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team. All opinions are my own.

10.31.2014

Happy Halloween from the Hannemaniacs


Happy Halloween! Halloween is one of our favorite holidays here at the Hannemaniac house... And, though a stomach flu almost sidelined B, this year did not disappoint. We've created a few little traditions so far and one of them is sitting the kids down for some Halloween specials.

This year we found a few goodies on Netflix that I hadn't seen before... The kids were excited to mix it up a bit after watching the Great Pumpkin about 20 times earlier in the month.

This year we found a few goodies that were new to us: Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest, Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkin From Outer Space, and episodes of Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated.

Netflix, popcorn, and a dip into their Halloween candy stash made for three happy munchkins.

This year we had to skip our usual chili (in case the stomach flu continued to take down victims in our house) and opted for a pizza party with friends.



We do love us some holiday specials... And now it's time to start digging around the Christmas specials. Stay tuned!

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix Stream Team. All opinions are my own.

9.30.2014

Movie Night with Netflix #StreamTeam


MOVIE NIGHT! It's a favorite around here and as we get the school year started we're watching less and less tv. So, movie nights are becoming our tv time and our kids love it. We have an early dinner, everyone gets a cup of popcorn, and we scroll through our Netflix choices. There are plenty of "no," "up," and "down" until we find a good compromise for all of us. A usually mimics the boys and the boys argue until we can get them to agree. Finding the movie can take as much time as watching the actual movie sometimes.

Our recent favorites: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 and Free Birds.W is still quoting Free Birds two weeks later.

Some of my favorite recipes for movie night snacks: Pizza Muffins (I blend up veggies and hide them in the sauce) or Nachos (easy chips cooked with shredded cheese baked, then topped with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and sour cream). Next up, we're going to try Pizza Nachos to merge the two of them.

Now that school is in full swing and the days are getting shorter and chillier, our weekend movie nights are the cozy answer to together time for the Hannemaniacs and we luckily have lots of choices to make with Netflix.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team.


9.28.2014

Sports... We're Getting There

My sister was the athlete in our family. I was an OK athlete, but she was a very talented and driven swimmer that blew us all away. So. it made it easy for me to not put in a ton of effort since the title of best athlete was claimed in our house and there was really no competition to begin with. But, I played all kinds of sports... My mom made me try everything and I stuck with a few things for a while. Looking back I can really appreciate that I had the opportunity to learn a foundation for everything.

Now that we're getting closer to the age when kids start getting involved with sports, I'm a little freaked out. W has no interest. He has been in swimming lessons for more than two years and it has been slow going. We did a couple of soccer classes over the last few years that had me spending more time convincing him to cooperate and give it a try than actually participating. We don't play a lot of catch or watch many sports. We enjoy sports, but it's just not really a focus in our house.

So, I didn't sign W up for anything this fall. I asked last spring and he said no. And then he said it again this fall, so I backed off. Now he wants to play soccer, so we're looking toward the spring season. Honestly, I'm thrilled, because I love soccer. But, I've seen some of the kids his age play and they're ACTUALLY ABLE TO PLAY SOCCER. And then I worry that about my good-natured goofball who has a pair of left feet and very little drive. How is that going to come out on a soccer field?

I've never wanted to force my kids into doing anything, but I firmly believe that they have to play a sport for a whole long list of reasons. I just hope that we find the right one for each of them. I want to see them excel, sure. But - more so - I want to see them feel confident and happy and at home with what they're doing.

This post was inspired by Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas, a novel where former Olympic hopeful Dan destroys his swimming career and his attempt at redemption after prison. Join From Left to Write on September 30th as we discuss Barracuda. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

9.15.2014

My Girl

Having two boys and then a girl gives you a unique perspective on gender and raising kids. My big, healthy, vibrant, deep voiced little girl is a force. She doesn’t back down, is stubborn to complete break down, and leaps into everything with no fear. She literally has NO fear and that in itself is scary, but I try to celebrate it where I can. And there is something so refreshing about a girl just being free and fearless, isn't there?

I’m not into pink, which seems to bother other people more than it bothers me. I never intended to have a pink, bedazzled, tutu-ed little girl. A wears some of the boys’s clothes mixed with some new things and hand-me-downs from friends with girls. She gets excited about dresses, but is equally happy to wear a super hero t-shirt and I don't get any excitement from dressing her up like a doll... So, it's a win for all of us.

I encourage her to play with her brothers, whether it be cars or trains or super heroes. I love hearing her yell “Darth Vader!” while keeping up with the boys during light saber fights. Every now and then she’ll pick up a doll, proclaim it to be her “baby,” give it a hug, and then swiftly throw it to the ground and I see a bit of what could be pre-programmed gender moves coming out.

Will I encourage her to do "girl" things? Yes, in a way. I loved dance lessons, so will want her to give it a try. I equally loved soccer and swimming, so those will be encouraged as well. For me, there is safety in a girl who is taught she is strong and capable. It can't just be when they're little and don't know any better.

There is this idea that little girls explode from their baby chub as a fawn-like ballerina… graceful and quiet and sweet. That’s just not my girl. Nor would I want it to be.


This post was inspired by The Underground Girls of Kabul by journalist Jenny Nordberg, who discovers a secret Afghani practice where girls are dressed and raised as boys. Join From Left to Write on September 16th as we discuss The Underground Girls of Kabul. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.



8.28.2014

Teaching Kindness? Netflix Can Help.

Kindness. It's something I really hope we're all trying to teach our children. Not because it's a fad, but because it's the way we should live. We should live with kindness. I try so hard to teach and remind my kids when and how to be kind. But I know it's not just me.

I can try to instill their behavior as deep as possible and tip their moral compass in the right direction, but I know so much more depends on their classmates, friends, and the things they watch and hear around them.

Have you watched The Fox and The Hound as an adult? I put it on for the kids on Netflix. It was a random choice on a night when I just needed something sweet for the kids (love Netflix for this times). I remembered really loving it as a kid, but once I sat down to a room totally silent as their stared at the screen, I realized it is one amazing movie. Heart wrenching and a reminder of what it is to develop early friendships and how they change over the years... I see W's future. He's like the fox. Sweet, committed to his friends, doesn't always get it when social dymanics change... I just hope he always learns to be sweet, but also learns when he needs to defend himself and when he needs to move on. That is one of the hardest things about being a parent -- trusting the world to be good to our babies.

Going back to school, I know that's the best thing I can teach him this year. While his teacher focuses on math and reading, I'll keep focused on keeping him kind - just the way he is now. We won't let kindergarten change that sweet, open smile.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team.

8.26.2014

8 AM at the Hannemaniacs' House

W has always been musical. He can sing on key, quickly get acquainted with a tune, give it his own twist for a remix. He loves music. It doesn't come from me, mind you. I am not musical, but love that he seems to be so far.

When we moved in the fall we found ourselves with a lot more space and devised a plan to one day get a piano. Little did we know my aunt would be downsizing at the same time and needed a place for my cousin's gorgeous baby grand to live until he is at the point in his life that he's ready to take it back... Perfect timing for all of us. We hired piano movers, found a piano teacher, and W fell in love.

I hate feeling like I'm bragging about my kids... But he's good. It just comes naturally to him. He hears a song on the radio and works on it until he has figured out the tune on the piano. Is it perfect? No. Does it usually just involve his right hand? Yes. Has he only been taking piano lessons for seven months? Yes. Does his teacher get excited when she's here? Yes. And that in itself is exciting.

For now, we've found his thing. Will he be a professional musician? Who knows. Will he even still be playing by the time he gets to high school? Likely, but not for sure. But for now listening to him work a song from inside his brain to a tune on the keys is the best gift. I can't thank my aunt and cousin enough for sharing this gift with us. As someone told me recently... "Whatever he is going to be... He's going to be SOMETHING." And maybe that something might just be a musician.




This post was inspired by 2 A.M. At The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino, a novel about hope, love, and music in snow covered streets of Philadelphia. Join From Left to Write on August 28 we discuss 2 A.M. At The Cat’s Pajamas. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

7.31.2014

Brain Melt? Netflix Helps Keep Us Sharp

With all of our kids in the pre-kindergarten age group we're not quite at the stage of being concerned about brain melt during summer break. It's not that we don't work at it - it's just that our kids have so much to engage their little brains every day. Their summer days are perhaps more stimulating than the rest of the year.

In a normal day they wake up between 5 am (yes, early birds!) and 6:30 am. They get to watch a show on Netflix (lots of negotiation about WHAT show since it has to be appropriate and appeal to all three of them) like The Magic School Bus, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories, and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, for instance. Then they have breakfast and play for a bit with each other. Once the happy play time turns into scrappy play, W heads to camp or swimming or plays with a friend and the younger two get a trip to the park or lake or tag along for errands. After it's lunch time and naps for the little kids and W practices piano, does some reading, and then gets a "show on Netflix that the little kids can't watch," like Monster Math Squad or Clone Wars (ugh). Then it's back out to the park or a walk or scooter ride around the block or plans with friends. The kids have been thriving this summer.

W has started to read, as in really READ. B has mastered his knowledge of songs, colors, and numbers. A is talking up a storm. Summer her been good. They're moving full steam ahead.


Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team.

7.22.2014

Reading Aloud... The Moment I've Been Waiting For

Just. Can't. Stop.
I'm a book lover - clearly - and I've been one as long as I can remember. My mom read aloud to us a lot. She would sit on the ground with her back supported by the bed and my sisters and I would lay in various positions and listen. My favorite position was hanging over the bed, reading over her shoulder... I remember her reading Little Women so clearly. I still love that book. And I learned that books can touch you so deeply to bring you to tears and give you such a true connection to characters. Beth's death. Ugh. My heart still breaks when I think about it and remember my mom crying as she read it aloud to us. It was beautiful.

Being read to, being introduced to the beauty of stories and words are some of my most vivid memories. It was such an important part of the time I spent with my mom and my sisters. To sit and listen and learn and connect. It was a gift and I can't wait to share the same moments with my own kids. It's hard to believe we're getting there.

W has already proven to be a deep lover of books as well. I've been sensing it could be the right time to pull out some classics. Like real, intense books... books that are big on words and low on pictures. I have a long list. We're in the middle of getting through Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and he loves it. He begs for more, but it's hard to find the time to get through a chapter or two. It just makes me so excited for all the books I'll get to read to him in the next few years. Because - man - this boy loves a good story.

What are your first memories of books as a child?

This post was inspired by the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To celebrate, Penguin Young Readers Group, in partnership with Dylan’s Candy Bar, the world-famous candy emporium, and First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides books for children from low-income families, is launching a year-long international celebration.

Head over to From Left to Write to learn how you and your child can have a chance to win the Golden Ticket Sweepstakes where the grand prize is a magical trip to New York City plus much more! For every entry submitted, Penguin Young Readers Group will make a donation to First Book. Then, join From Left to Write on July 24 as we discuss Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As a book club member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

6.26.2014

Currently Streaming On Netlfix: Orange Is the New Black

The other day we were hanging out with friends who wanted to discuss some of their favorite tv shows, but we could only say we heard they were great but hadn't seen them. They looked at us rather shocked. And then asked about when we decompress and we couldn't really answer. We're not big tv watchers around here. Mostly because we binge watch and can't control ourselves and get a little obsessed. We get through a show and then feel guilty and wait a while... Dexter was our last show, but then between renovating this house and moving we just never had time for tv. We have a really long list of shows to watch, but I didn't want something too heavy. Sometimes life just feels heavy enough. So, we started Orange is the New Black two weeks ago.

We're both busy at work and have house stuff piling up. Bedtime can take an hour. AN HOUR. And then we have to clean up and get some real stuff done. Get stuff ready for the next day, catch up on work, laundry... do all the adult things we do every night.

So, we came to an agreement... After an hour of getting stuff done, we watch an episode... or two. But never three. We just wait for 9:00 to roll around the next night and get to watch it again. We're bingers, what can I say?  It's been nice to decompress.

5.18.2014

Trying To Create Our Low-Key Summer

I'm trying to figure out a good summer for W who starts kindergarten in the fall. He's going through some separation anxiety. We've had a lot of change for an emotional kid like him and change usually sparks something in him... And his last couple weeks of preschool are stirring up lots of emotions.

So, I'm trying to figure out how he should spend his summer. Most kids in our area have been scheduled out for a couple months. Most kids have camp and plenty of fun activities. I haven't been able to pull a few minutes together to do anything. I was on the fence on whether we should put him in a camp with kids that will go to his school next year, but where he is likely not to know many (or any) other kids. OR a camp with a friend or two, but would not have kids he'll go to school with next year. Think I'm over-thinking this one a tad bit? I opted for the camp that is most convenient and that's the one most likely to have kids he won't know.

Once I got over dragging my feet, I decided tonight would be my deadline. And I forced myself to do it... Our park district schedules camp by the week, so I had to go through a four step process for EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Just as I was registering my last week I was kicked out due to inactivity. INACTIVITY. My shopping cart was cleared. I lost 20 precious minutes. I started again... Three weeks in and I was kicked out again.

This does not set a good tone for the summer I'm hoping for W. This simple little summer that I have in my head, but can't seem to get him registered for... And it turns out simple might not be so simple. Three days of half-day camp, plus his swimming, piano lessons, and maybe a sport... Maybe that isn't quite as simple as I thought it would be. And - wow - he is five.


This post was inspired by Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, a novel that exposes the gothic underbelly of an American dynasty, and an outsider’s hunger to belong. Join From Left to Write on May 20 we discuss Bittersweet. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

4.30.2014

Flashback to Care Bears


My super hero-loving boys are suddenly into Care Bears. And I love it. Totally love it. Honestly, I sometimes get tired of super hero cartoons and the like. I can't preview everything before they watch it and I'm tired of hearing them run around the house play fighting each other. The easiest answer for me was to introduce them to the cartoons that I remember from my childhood on Netflix... Like Care Bears.

My expectations weren't high, but they actually liked it and asked to watch it again. It's not an every day thing, but hearing them sing some of the songs later in the afternoon is pretty sweet. Since then they've watched Robin Hood, Strawberry Shortcake, and Dragon Tales. Is it just me or are these blasts from the past a little sweeter than what kids are watching today?

Here's your opportunity to introduce your kids to your favorites... I'm giving away a THREE MONTH NETFLIX SUBSCRIPTION! Cool, right?

Here's how you can enter the Netflix giveaway... Tell me your favorite old school show! It's that easy.

If you want to be nice and follow me on twitter and Facebook and all that jazz, then cool. But, I'm just more interested in hearing new ideas for shows I can look for on Netflix!

A random winner will be chosen on May 21st.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team.

4.22.2014

Life According to William: Mom Is Big, He Has Somalia, and Our Old House is Better

One day after I had A W walked into my room while I was changing... His eyes widened and he froze: "Mom, you're big!" 

I cringed. He probably thought that I would have the baby and then just be normal again. So, I explained it took time. Then I explained that he shouldn't say those things to people because it can hurt feelings and it's complicated.  But I told him that I appreciated his honesty.

Just to never repeat anything like that to anyone again.

-

The other day B  and A had diarrhea. It was gross. Matt and I were openly talking about it, wondering what it was from... A touch of the flu? Some bad food?

A little while later I hear a little voice from the bathroom... "Mom, I had a big poop. Do I have Siberia?"

-

W constantly asks whether we can move back to our old house, but keep this one so he can still use the swing set. He insists that he doesn't care that it was small and there were three kids sharing limited space. It was tight. But none of that matters to a five year old.

This post was inspired by the novel Dad Is Fat by comedian Jim Gaffigan who riffs on his adventures co-parenting 5 kids in a two bedroom Manhattan apartment. I also wrote a post about a conversation that this book provoked on Chicago Parent.

Join From Left to Write on April 22 we discuss Dad Is Fat. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

4.14.2014

Reason Beckett is Crying


 Reason My Son Is Crying: He is wearing a belt.

This was B the morning of my grandpa's funeral last year. His pants were too big, but the belt put him over the edge.

I had recently seen the blog Reasons My Son Is Crying and did what any responsible parent would do... pulled out the camera. B is my most dramatic child. Tears over something like a belt aren't that big of a deal. The belt stayed. The tears continued for a while.

My plan was to send in the picture to site, but I never got around to it. You know how it goes around her. I always have really good plans.

I never got around to posting it. But how could I miss this opportunity?

This post was inspired by the novel Reasons My Kid Is Crying by Greg Pembroke who captures frustrating yet hilarious parenting moments through perfectly captioned photos of unhappy kids. Join From Left to Write on April 15 we discuss Reasons My Kid Is Crying. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

4.07.2014

My Opposite of Maybe



I just got back from spending five nights in Charleston, SC with my sister and four week-old nephew. I had a great time in an awesome city with some of my favorite people. It went by way too fast as days tend to do with newborns.  It takes time to get out of the house, the days revolve around feedings, and then you look at the clock and it is already 4:00. The greater majority of the last five years of my life have been filled with days like these. And I have loved every second of it (well, maybe not while I was in the moment all the time), but I can honestly say now that those days are behind me.

I’ve said it before, but this week pretty much solidified it… This baby shop is closed for business. Not only does my sister have all of my baby stuff, but I’m just not interested in going back to the newborn phase. Been there, done that, bought the frumpy maternity clothes… And now I know I’m done.

Don’t get me wrong… I loved the snuggling and baby time. I loved his smell and soft skin and his sweet little face while he slept. But, I also loved that I could give him back. I’ve heard it a million times, but now I get it. And it’s the first time I’ve ever felt that way. I’m far enough from that phase that I can look back on it fondly without any sort of longing for just one more. I’m good with what I am so lucky to have. I’ll encourage my friends and family to keep popping them out so I can get a little fix from time to time, but that’s pretty much it. I’m excited for the next phase of my life.

At the same time I’m so excited as my sister starts this new phase of her life. It’s so fun to watch her and she is doing awesome with a baby who is a little more fussy than most. She’s totally keeping it all in perspective – something I was totally incapable of doing with my first newborn.  And I’ll keep cheering her on… from my next phase of life with a cocktail in my hand.

This post was inspired by the novel  The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson. At the age of 44, Rosie finds herself suddenly single and pregnant. She tries to hide in her grandmother’s home, but meets two men that will change her life forever. Join From Left to Write on April 8 we discuss The Opposite of Maybe. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

3.31.2014

The Idea of... A Working Mom

Ahhh, the life of a working mom. It's really glamorous. I get to rush from one place to the next... Rushing to get to the office on time to squeeze every moment of productivity out of my day and then rushing to get home so I can squeeze every minute left with my kids from the evening.

Trust me, I'm not complaining. But there is this fantasy that you get to dress nice and someone brings you a latte when you sit down at your desk and then you have lunch at some fabulous place while discussing important things and running into other fantastic people you know... Maybe that's someone's reality - just not mine.

I know I have it good compared to a lot of working moms. And I do love my job, which is something very few people can say. Since having W I've had the flexibility to work from home a couple days each week. I try to keep my calls to within the hours I have a sitter, but sometimes a volunteer or donor calls me back after my sitter leaves and I have no choice but to answer and apologize up front for the screaming children they might hear in the background. Or the clanging of pots as I try to get dinner together while discussing whether a corporate sponsor would be upset if we accept sponsorship from their competitor (we agreed they would).

And, you know how it is... Your kids see you on the phone and decide that is the exact moment they need to talk to you, have you pick them up, are STARVING, etc. etc. etc. I sound really professional as I'm shushing kids while switching on and off mute. 

It's a constant juggling act. How cliche is that? But, it is. I check my email while the kids are happily playing or eating breakfast. I bring work home and do it from my couch after the kids are sleeping for the night. I fill in my days around these two things. It doesn't leave room for a ton of other stuff. And because I'm now part-time I don't have that awesome, reliable sitter who helps make my world go round. So, my kids still like to throw fits every now and then when I leave the house in the morning or hang onto my leg and wipe their yogurt-covered-hands on my just-cleaned-sweater in protest as I try to sneak by them. How's that for glamorous?

This post was inspired by the novel The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson. Allie thought she had the perfect husband, until she finds him and another woman in a compromising position in their own apartment. Join From Left to Write on April we discuss The Idea of Him. Join us for a live chat with Holly on April 3.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

3.28.2014

How An Egg Drove Me To A Time Out

I nearly lost my shit tonight. It was over an egg. I'm serious.

The kids wanted hard boiled eggs and fruit salad for dinner, which they told me over lunch. Easy enough, I thought. Lucky me! This means easy dinner night! That was my first mistake: thinking that dinner could possibly be easy.

I made the fruit salad during naptime and boiled the eggs as soon as we got home from afternoon preschool. I was ready to start plating at 5:00. But, it's like the kids have an internal radar to go into hunger meltdown mode exactly 15 minutes before dinner is ready. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. No matter what time I'm prepared they will always beat me to the punch. Always. Tonight they were starving as soon as I pulled the plates from the cabinet.

Tonight's drama struck a nerve in the worst way... Why? Because I hate unpeeling hard boiled eggs. I'm terrible at it, which is actually something I didn't know people could be bad at... But, trust me, I am terrible. Imagine how well I unpeeled eggs while three kids screamed about how starving they were and how they needed their eggs NOW.

And for the first time ever I excused myself. I told them I needed a minute if they couldn't stop whining. I went up to my room and took a deep breath. Looking back I can't believe I was that close to freaking out over peeling a few stupid eggs.

So, my question now is... What comes first the meltdown or the egg?

3.27.2014

Staying A Step Ahead

Help. I think my child is smarter than I am. It's W... He's like a sponge, always looking to learn more about everything. He loves animals and dinosaurs and space and geography... We were watching the Olympics and they did a little piece about Siberia. He was consumed by it. Like he couldn't look away. It only lasted ten minutes and as soon as it was over he asked how he could watch more shows like it. So, we started searching... We found some great options on Netflix, like How The Universe Works. The only trouble... I can't answer his questions.

It's been years since I studied the solar system and now he's learning about it in preschool (preschool isn't just about sharing and eating graham crackers anymore, people). He has a basic knowledge about space, but wants to know everything. The trouble is I can't really tell him more than he already knows. Yes, I just admitted that my 5 year-old son knows more about space than I do. Science just isn't my strongest area. I remember being placed in AP Bio in high school and my mom and I looked at each other with a WTF look before WTF even existed. 

Is it just me or are kids so much smarter than we were at their age? I didn't know half the stuff he knows when I was five (or ten for that matter). We parents need to band together and start having wine and geography nights or something, because I have a feeling it's just going to get worse. 

Anyway, I digress... It's hard to stay a step ahead of a bright kid. I need all the help I can get. Oh, and I'm totally screwed in 10 years.

3.18.2014

Emails Help Piece Together Our History

You could piece together some of my history with the emails and cards between my best friend and me... This would most definitely be true for the years she was living in Africa and I was here dating Matt, getting engaged, working a day job, and all that jazz. Our email correspondence was pretty epic. Seriously, it should be a book. It tells the story of our lives - including a lot of our real, honest feelings on what was going down and most of the details that we've each forgotten by now. I'm so thankful to have this trail of my life.

There was a time when getting cards in the mail wasn't such a big deal, but they still seemed worth saving. You know, thrown in a shoe box or a drawer of a bed side table. Something that you can find a few years later to remind you of a specific time in your life.

Now I feel like so much of it is buried in our inboxes, co-mingling with our Daily Deals and LinkedIn requests. I have a hotmail account that I check every few months... Buried in there is my history. If I were to go through it I can't imagine what I would find. I can't bear to ever actually close the account. But it could be lost so easily.

Should I go through and print them? Or visit every now and then? I may never do either, but it's comforting to know that I can if I want to. The string that means the most to me... the one between me and Britt... those are already printed and read. And maybe one day you'll read them too... Until then I'm thankful to have someone I can be honest with - who can talk me down, boost me up, and read my notes with the same voice that's in my head when I write them. Everyone should be so lucky.

This post was inspired by the novel The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger. Young lawyer Sophie unwillingly takes her first divorce case with an entertaining and volatile client in this novel told mostly through letters and legal missives. Join From Left to Write on March 18 we discuss The Divorce Papers. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.