Thursday, May 12, 2011

seven.

Scenes from a seventh birthday, 7:30 a.m., May 12, 2011:

pancakes

riapancakes

gifts

card

card2

tie

gryffindor

height

(If you can’t read that, it’s 49”, an inch and three-quarters grown since November.)

{six}
{five}
{four}
{three}
{two}

Monday, May 02, 2011

books 25 - 32

Here’s a list of what I’ve read since posting last with a yes, no, or meh (good for the beach, but nothing very satisfying) rating:

Lord John & The Brotherhood of the Blade – Diana Gabaldon: Yes
Lord John & The Hand of Devils – Diana Gabaldon: Yes
Lord John & The Private Matter – Diana Gabaldon: Yes

Keep A Little Secret – Dorothy Garlock: Meh

Solomon’s Oak – JoAnn Mapson: YES (more emphatic when I use all CAPS, right?)
Blue Rodeo – JoAnn Mapson: Yes
The Wilder Sisters – JoAnn Mapson: Yes

The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver: YES YES

I realize I’m probably the last person on earth who hadn’t read The Poisonwood Bible.  I have no idea why I resisted for so long!  It was a phenomenal book.  Hey, did I ever tell you guys that once my in-laws were in the Unclaimed Baggage store in Alabama (where all lost/unclaimed/misplaced airline baggage and freight goes to die), and in their book area, they found a copy of The Poisonwood Bible right up there on the rack with all the other Bibles for sale?  That story will always make me laugh, just like this comic I saw recently:

rock paper scissors

And these quotations from my children may amuse you, too:

Timon: Why don’t you go do one of your puzzles?
Henry: No, I have greater plans.

Maria (after draining her cup): Now, I want some more water and I said the magic word already.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

books 18-24

Um, hi.  I am still here.  And I’m still reading a lot, which might explain why I don’t think about getting a post done.  Whoops.  Ok, are you ready?

1. Hank & Chloe, by Jo-Ann Mapson.  I’d never heard of this book or this author before – one of the sweet ladies who helps care for Maria while I work gave me a sack of books and this one was in it.  I really liked it!  Chloe is a horse trainer, riding teacher, and café waitress and Hank is an adjunct college professor.  They’re both messed up, and neither of them knows how to be in a relationship – but they’re in one together.  This is a great book.

2. The Owl & Moon Café, by Jo-Ann Mapson.  When I end up enjoying one book by an author I hunt the library for the rest of their stuff.  I liked this one as well – it’s the story of 4 generations of women and how they seem to make the same mistakes and learn the same lessons the hard way.  Man, who can’t relate to that?

3. The Year My Son and I Were Born: A Story of Down Syndrome, Motherhood, and Self-Discovery, by Kathryn Lynard Soper.  Oh, this was gorgeous.  This is a memoir by an accomplished mother of 5 whose sixth child is unexpectedly born with Down Syndrome.  It’s so, so real, so raw, and really, truly beautiful.  I wept over and over while reading this, and I can only slightly attribute that to the hormonal fluctuations accompanying my first natural cycle in many months.  (TMI?  Sorry.)

4. Pictures of You, by Caroline Leavitt.  Two women traveling on the same foggy road have a horrific accident, resulting in one woman’s death.  The mystery of why each of them were on that road to begin with is revealed in this book, and the intertwining of the survivor with the dead woman’s family gets pretty interesting.  I loved this book.

5. Winter Garden, by Kristin Hannah.  I’ve read a few of her other books and have liked them all.  Despite the surprising and totally improbable ending, I enjoyed reading this story of a mother and daughters, trying to connect for the first time in their lives.  The mother is a Russian immigrant who married an American soldier at the end of WWII, and she has never expressed any warmth to their two daughters at all.  Her husband’s dying wish is that she finishes telling the girls a fairy tale she used to tell them as children.  Turns out the fairy tale is actually the story of the mother’s tragic early life in Leningrad, and all the strange behaviors over the years start to make sense.  This is an excellent book.

6. Rush Home Road, by Lori Lansens.  Addy Shadd is a woman who was raised in a Canadian town founded by runaway U.S. slaves.  She leaves there as a teenager after becoming pregnant after a rape and being shamed by her family and friends.  As an adult she lives in a small trailer and agrees to take in a 6 year old girl abandoned by her mother.  Told in both present-time and flashback, we learn why Addy Shadd is who she is, and why she’d want to take in a stranger’s child.  This wasn’t my favorite of Lansens’ books, but I’m still glad I read it.

7. The Wives of Henry Oades, by Johanna Moran.  I just finished this when I woke up too early this morning.  What a great book!  Of all these I’m reviewing today, it’s my favorite.  A British accountant is sent overseas with his wife and children to New Zealand on assignment.  After a year and a half there, the wife and children are abducted by the indigenous Maori and eventually are presumed dead.  Henry tries to make a go of it and search for them, but soon the grief is too much so he moves to California, where after a couple of years he meets and marries a young widow with a baby.  Well, lo and behold, wife #1 and 3 of the 4 children are alive and escape the Maori, survive smallpox and the long journey by boat to the US to get to their husband and father.  Soon bigamy charges are brought against them and a new family dynamic must be worked out.  It’s a great book, I highly recommend it!

For my own sake, I hope I post again soon.  Remembering what to write about so many books is too much.

Monday, March 21, 2011

angry.

You guys, I'm really, really angry.  I'm also very sad.  My friend Jen birthed her baby at only 16 weeks, 5 days early Sunday morning.  Jen is mom to the wonderful Dibits, and also previously had an early miscarriage some years ago.  I have spent hours over the past few days shaking my fists at God for allowing this.  Now, notice I didn't say God caused this.  That's not His style, you know.  But ever since humanity went from perfectly created sinless beings to creatures in a broken relationship with God, our bodies haven't worked as they were designed to all the time.  Babies die before they're on the outside, sweet-as-pie grandmothers get cancer, healthy kids are born to parents that don't want them.  Life isn't perfect any more, and (even though it sounds bizarre to lots of people) I've accepted that as part of the covenant I became part of when Jesus took up residence in my heart. 

One of my favorite parts about being a follower of Jesus is that it's okay to be angry with God.  It's okay to ask questions of Him.  Believe me, one of the first ones on my lips as I enter Heaven's gates will be, "Why all those babies, Lord?"  And I hope I'll be able to understand His answers.  Currently, my earth-bound humanity prevents me from fully understanding one damn thing about Jen's baby, or Amy's baby, or anyone's loss(es).

(Please click on Jen's name above and leave your support for her on her blog.  She is ALWAYS there to uplift others in their times of need, and most richly deserves as much love as the internet can provide.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

books 14-17

Well, I certainly did not mean to go so long in between posts.  I had to go back to my online library reading history to double check what I had read!  Once a book is finished, unless it was a truly amazing one, it flies right out of my head.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve picked up a book at the library, thought it sounded interesting and brought it home, only to discover about 5 pages in that I’ve already read it.  Whoops.

1. The Girls, by Lori Lansens.  This book was phenomenal!  It’s the story of conjoined twins, attached at the side of the head.  They each have a voice in the book (represented by different fonts, although she made them sound so individual it wouldn’t have taken long to know who was speaking even without the font changes), and it chronicles their short 30 year life.  And it’s a pretty thorough life, at that.  Definitely read this one!

2. The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, by Heidi Durrow.  This was a pretty forgettable book.  Meh.

3. Thank You For All Things, by Sandra Kring.  I just finished this one two days ago and it was really, really good.  It’s the story of a girl and her twin brother and their single mother who return to live with the mother’s divorced parents as the father (who had been seriously abusive) is nearing the end of his life.  Lucy (the young girl) is the narrator of the book and as she discovers family secrets through her mother’s journal entries, she figures herself out a little bit too.  I loved this book and was just WEEPING with Lucy.

4. A Special Relationship, by Douglas Kennedy.  Ay yi yi, I should have known.  I truly should have known that this book would raise my blood pressure and make me want to throw it across the room.  This author also wrote The Pursuit Of Happyness and while I haven’t read the book, I saw the movie and LORD, HAVE MERCY, was it depressing.  I don’t necessarily mind the parts of this man’s life that involved deep despair and suffering, just DON’T force us to watch this little boy suffer too.  Anyway… In A Special Relationship an American female journalist meets a dashing male journalist on assignment in Egypt, quickly fall in love (or so it seems), she gets pregnant, they get married and settle in London.  She has a difficult pregnancy and birth and then suffers with a terrible case of Post-partum psychosis.  Her seemingly loyal husband then betrays her in the worst way.  And I can’t write any more about it – I feel my heart rate going up and my anxiety level on her behalf is probably more than what’s appropriate.  Only read this if you can take this kind of thing and not internalize it, like I do.  I will say, there is a happy ending if you’re able to make it that far.

I really do have a couple of posts I want to do – one on the kids and their recent antics, and one on my views of a future pregnancy, people who boycott Planned Parenthood, and the Save-A-Lot cashier.  Intriguing, no?

[who am I kidding, no one reads this blog anymore!]

Sunday, February 20, 2011

books 12 and 13

Hey all!  After a few days off from reading (for pleasure at least – it seems I read quite a bit for work) I gobbled up a couple of books over the past few days.  First up was Meridon, the final book in the Wideacre trilogy by Philippa Gregory.  You may remember that the first book received a rating of “meh” and the second was much better.  Boy, am I glad I didn’t give up after the first one – Meridon was excellent and now I can recommend the series fully.  (To be fair, I think Wideacre was her very first published novel, and she’s a gazillionaire today.)  Last night and this afternoon I read Reproduction Is The Flaw Of Love by Lauren Grodstein.  Earlier this year I read another book by the same author.  This book was good and very real.  It also cemented my opinion that most couples should not live together before marriage.

We’ll thankfully be getting a new clothes dryer soon – ours has been out of commission for months now and the lint, THE LINT is out of control around here.  The tax refund has been deposited and will help out with that purchase.  However, I believe I’ve become addicted to having my bedsheets dried outside.  That smell is worth the work.  (And to be fair, Timon does most of the clothesline hanging all by himself.  Love that man.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

book 11

I’ve been looking on different book list recommendations for new finds I can get at our library.  Don’t by any means think that I’ve actually PURCHASED all these books I’m reading.  Only one of the eleven do I own, and that was on the $4 table at Borders.  Our library system is phenomenal and they have just about anything a voracious reader could want or need.  ANYHOO… One book recommended by Amazon.com was The Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens.  This was an excellent book!  It’s the story of a woman waiting at home for her husband to arrive after work on the eve of their 25th wedding anniversary.  Needless to say, he doesn’t get there, and the novel explores the wife’s actions afterwards.  It was a fast and interesting read.  I’ve got two more of her novels to tackle soon.

I won’t have much reading time for the next several days.  Timon and I (and two other adults) are taking the youth group on a retreat about 2 hours away this weekend.  We leave tomorrow at 5:30pm.  The kids are staying the weekend with their surrogate grandparents and couldn’t care less where we are or when we’ll be back.  We are so blessed to have these lovely people in our lives.

Henry did something last night that just threw me.  We were reading an assigned book for school about Electricity, and in a photograph there was a boy who obviously (to me, anyway) had Down Syndrome using a light switch.  Henry paused in his reading, looked at the boy closer and then said, “Uh, Mom?”  pause pause pause (meanwhile I’m thinking he is going to ask why that boy looks different or strange to him, and preparing to explain Down Syndrome to him) “That boy has reddish hair, just like mine!”  *sigh*  Of course he only sees what’s the same about that boy.  Once again, the kid teaches the parent something.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

books 7-10

Hey all.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to update my books, but rest assured, I have several to tell you about now.  But I think I’ll save you the time and quickly tell you if you should bother reading these or not.

7. Wideacre, by Philippa Gregory.  Meh.  Not as good as her other books.  Plus it’s got kind of a smutty element, more so than her other books.  However, you might want to read it in order to better understand book 10 below.

8. A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick.  Awesome.  Dark and intense.  Read it.

9. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.  Very, very good.  Read it.

10. The Favored Child, by Philippa Gregory.  This is book 2 in the Wideacre trilogy, and it’s much better than the first book.  I really liked this and finished it this afternoon. 

It’s Saturday night and Maria just went to bed.  Henry’s reading on our bed, with no tv for the night because he had a hard time listening this afternoon.  My man is (NO LIE) watching Lawrence Welk and I’m wishing I could eat what we had for dinner every night.  [Chicken coated in french-fried onions, roasted carrots, wild rice]  I had rehearsal this morning, and then played with the kids and read and napped with Timon.  We are expert nappers.  Church tomorrow, then more relaxing.  Next weekend Timon and I head out with the youth group on a retreat and the kids will spend the weekend with their surrogate grandparents.  For now I’m just soaking up and relishing this time with the kids and with Timon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

book 6

Earlier this week I finished the novel Everything by Kevin Canty.  The story revolves mainly around two people, RL and June, friends who are grieving the loss of Taylor, June’s husband and RL’s best friend.  It takes place in Montana and the scenery is gorgeous in its descriptions.  This book was kind of “meh.”  It definitely rambles all over the place. And, Canty doesn’t use quotation marks to set off speech, a practice which drives me totally bonkers.  There are only a few books I’ve started and not completed (coughDombey&Soncough), but that’s exactly what led me not to finish Cold Mountain.  I really enjoyed the movie and had heard that the book was just phenomenal.  I couldn’t get past the first few chapters due to the lack of quotation marks.  I know, it’s a style choice, but BLEH.

Henry had a random stomach virus which woke us up at 2:30am Tuesday.  That was fun.  Fortunately he kept that gift to himself.  He had no school Monday from the holiday, and has no school tomorrow for teacher in-service, so he only went 2 days this week.  It was the easiest green week he ever had.  Tonight at dinner he stated (with great force) “I need a DRINK!”  Son, after that night of sick, you don’t even know how many times I thought that in my own head.

Now Maria’s got a nice head cold.  I wrote on FB earlier today about how I defied the AAP’s restrictions on giving cold/cough medicines to children under age 6.  I think the claim that they are not effective is doubtful, considering she went from completely lethargic, feverish, and mopey with no appetite back to nearly her normal self within an hour of getting 1/2 tsp of Robitussin and 1 tsp of ibuprofen.  See, parents can be trusted use their judgment and to give their children an appropriate dose.  No need to take the products off the shelves in hysteria, AAP.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

book 5

Here we are on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon – the sun is shining, the windows are open (although I am cuddled up under a fuzzy blanket) and the kids ARE BOTH ASLEEP.  *sigh*

Yesterday I finished The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel Of The Italian Renaissance, by Jeanne Kalogridis.  It was all right, and if you like Philippa Gregory’s English historical novels (such as The Other Boleyn Girl), you would like this one, too.  It’s the mostly true story of Caterina Sforza.  I have to confess to skimming rapidly through some of the more boring parts.  So, if you read it and are bored to death, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I was able to finish this book yesterday because I was able to laze about most of the day.  Timon got up and made pancakes with Maria for us all, and she was so cute as she “helped.”  After a while Timon said that she decided to cut out the middleman (the pancake) and just eat the blueberries.  When he flipped them she would exclaim “Wow!  Awesome!”  In the afternoon Timon and Henry played the LEGO Star Wars video game.  During one section, Henry paused the game during one rough firefight with the stormtroopers and told Timon “WE HAVE TO KILL THE BAD GUYS, DAD!” in an extremely serious tone.  Well, then.