Friday, August 30, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 3)
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A big thank you goes out this week to Dr. Richard Ferber.  Yes, sir, I was skeptical of, or even hostile to, your methods, but thanks to the prodding of my sleep-deprived husband, I gave your method a shot.  You have rescued me from a life of sleeping in 1.5 hour chunks.  For that, you have my unending gratitude.

Are you a mom?  Do you want to laugh out loud?  Then go here.  First I just scrolled through to read the comics, which are pretty funny on their own, but it was when I went back and read the text that coffee nearly shot out my nose.  For example,  "I salute the mothers who have literally poured out themselves into providing the best for their baby, only to accidentally knock it off the kitchen counter. I salute those of you who have had husbands jokingly tell them not to cry over spilled milk. And I salute you if you did, or did not, throat punch him."

How many days have I wasted throughout my life looking for my cell phone?  I hope I never find out the answer to that question because it would seriously depress me.  Fortunately, this website, which I only had to use once this week, might help in the future.  Thank goodness its free. 

A few months ago, I started reviewing books for The Kindle Book Review.  Authors send me their digital books, and I read them and review them on Amazon.  Aside from getting a free book, I don't get paid.  It's been cool to interact with authors and read somethings I wouldn't ordinarily choose.  You can see the books I have reviewed (and what I had to say) by clicking on the book reviews tab above.  The page is pretty bare-bones for now, and is mainly so that I can keep track of my reviews, but feel free to click over.  I will be keeping it updated.

In regards to the book reviews, the last two books that I have read shared a common problem.  One was fiction and one was non-fiction, but both were bor-ing.  I blame Facebook and Twitter.  Here's why:  we have now become so enamored of sharing our every thought and movement with others that the natural outgrowth would be a book that basically does that, but in long form.  The craft of writing?  Meh.  I'll just publish a blow by blow account of my life (or that of a character).  Sigh.  There's nothing wrong with these books;  they are just tedious.  And I fear that social media means there are more like this to come.  

If you are reading this and you haven't yet entered my giveaway, shame on you!  Only two days left... 

Finally, our family said a big prayer of thanksgiving this week when we came home from our trip to find our dear friend and neighbor, Papa Luke, sitting on his porch.  When we left, he had been in a nursing home recovering from a stroke, and we dearly missed seeing him as we came and went each day.  He is the unofficial mayor of our block, the supervisor of our garden, and one of Elijah's favorite and oldest friends.  Welcome back Papa Luke!



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

You think

Some background:
One of Elijah's current favorite phrases is, "You think." (On a side note, it sounds exactly like, "You stink", another oft-used Elijah-ism.)

 "You think," is what Elijah says when a) he can't decide something, as in:

 "What color popsicle would you like?"
"You think."
 "How about purple?"
"No.  I want red."

or b)  he can't remember something, as in:
"Elijah, what did you see at the zoo today?"
  "I don't know.  You think."
 "Yes.  And naked mole rats."

So, today was the first day of school.  Aside from a little separation anxiety (on my part), things went smoothly.  Then, we were in the car on the way home, and I said, "What did you do at school today?"  The response from the backseat?  "You think."

And that's when it hit me.  I could not fill in the blank today.  Until now, almost all of Elijah's experiences have been our experiences.  On the rare occasion that we aren't together, he's usually with Daddy, who is equally skilled in jogging Elijah's memory after the fact.  But school is different.  School is his, not ours.  I've considered asking his teacher to live blog the morning, but I am relatively sure that is not part of the Montessori method.

Eventually, over the course of the afternoon, more information trickled out of my little man.  He did a puzzle that had a bee on it.  He made shapes out of yellow playdough.  He cried, but only a little at the end of the day.  And so continues the separation that began at birth, that all mothers dread and cherish.  My big boy is doing another big boy thing, and he's doing it without me.  School. 

(PS Don't forget to enter my giveaway!)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More Toddler Magnetism + A Giveaway!

 During our lovely vacation, in addition to getting some extra sleep (thanks Kurt!) and eating way too much delicious food (thanks Todd!), I did manage to finish a second set of snack magnets for Elijah's friend, Asa.  You will notice that they are similar to Elijah's but not the same.  A few of the snack are different, plus, you know, I made them by hand, so they are unique.  This time around, I learned a few things.  The final products are "laminated" with clear contact paper, and for the magnets, I have switched to adhesive magnetic tape.

I am not sure if I've got them exactly right, yet, and I think a few more practice sets are in order.  That's where you come in!  Simply use the lovely form below to enter my giveaway before midnight on Sunday Saturday. (Oops.  Still getting the hang of Rafflecopter).  This is my first giveaway, so hopefully I am doing it right.  Two winners will be chosen randomly, and will receive a customized set of 12 snack magnets (you choose the foods) and a nifty magnetic nameplate.  You can only enter once, but feel free to tell your friends about it too.  The giveaway is open to all readers in the United States.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 26, 2013

And we're back

Two-thousand miles and ten thousand crumbs later, here we are, back in Washington, DC.  I was totally going to blog from the road, I swear!...but then I didn't.  Actually, we hardly even took any pictures.  Guess we were too busy enjoying ourselves.

If you are asking yourself if you should attempt a four-state road trip with two small children, my answer for you is...maybe.  There were a few tense moments (West Virginia barfing, Atlanta traffic jam), but ultimately, they were outweighed by all the fun we had, and all the friends and family we were surrounded by. 

So, now we're back.  And tomorrow, I will attempt my first giveaway on this here blog.  See you then!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Away We Go

In a few short hours, we set sail on our epic road trip around the southern United States.  I won't have my computer, so I can't promise frequent updates (try not to cry), but I'll do what I can.  We'll be back on August 25, just in time for the start of...(dun dun dun)!  More on that to come as well.  May your last weeks of summer be fun-filled!

Friday, August 9, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 2)
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Today, we are fortunate to have our dear friend Sam spending the day with us.  Sam turned one in January, which puts him right in the middle of my two cherubs.  Mathematically, it is possible that I could have a child Sam's age right now in addition to mine.  And while I am sure I would get in a rhythm and have lots of hilarious adventures, a la Grace...whoa.  It is major crazy town up in here today.  Particularly because one of Sam's favorite activities is throwing toys behind the couch, which in our house also means behind the radiator.  I know what I'll be doing tonight after the kids go to bed.  I hope I have a long enough stick to reach everything.
Way back in college, when Kurt was a biology major, he took an entomology class wherein he had to collect all sorts of bug samples.  He rode around campus with a net on the back of his bike to catch them.  This is horrifying to me.  Insects basically terrify and disgust me, which I am certain indicates that I am more evolved than my dear husband.  And, much to my relief, Elijah shares my distaste for our six-legged co-creatures.  Nature or nurture?  Both, no doubt.  It is a little disconcerting when Elijah shouts, "No!" to every tiny bug as we're walking down the street, but you cannot be too careful.

  Kurt has been making extremely delicious hummus every weekend lately, and a huge bowl usually lasts us until Wednesday or so.  Invariably, we also end up with a container of leftover chickpeas.  We have tried some new recipes to use them up, like this one and this one, but other suggestions are certainly welcome.  Seriously, though, Kurt's hummus.  So good.

Our downstairs (female) neighbor got the Victorias Secret catalog in the mail today, and while I knew that it was basically soft-core porn, there's nothing like actually seeing it to make me a little ill.  Really, there is no way that thing is intended for viewing solely by women.  I can tell perfectly well whether or not I like a swimsuit without having the model thrust her pelvis at me while giving me a come-and-get-it look.  You feel me?
 I have previously classified graham crackers as a food that only a toddler could love, and despite the fact that I regularly eat them (because of the fact?), I stand by this.  It is even worse when I call them a cookie in front of the kids because seriously, how can a depressing, dry rectangle possibly be in the same category as an Oreo?  But, when Iz and I were away, Kurt and Elijah went to Trader Joe's and bought a bucket of Ginger Cat Cookies.  Genius.  They have a similar nutritional profile to graham crackers, but they actually taste good.  As Elijah says, "They're a little 'picy."  Yep.  Dee-lish.

One of our current favorite books around these parts is The Cat and the Hat.  It's been a few years since I last read it, and I forgot how good it is.  Dr. Seuss was clearly a genius.  If I ever set out to write a rhyming children's book, I would probably just give up because really, what's the point?  Nothing could begin to measure up to the stories of the good doctor.
   Finally, and most importantly, our family welcomed a new member this week, our nephew Luke William.  He was born early in the morning this past Tuesday to Kurt's sister Beth, her husband Ryan, and their two sweet girls, Grace and Sydney.  Luke has had a bit of a rough landing, and all of your thoughts and prayers for him and his family are much appreciated.  St. Luke, patron saint of physicians, pray for us.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Just call me Mom-gyver

I feel like if my life these days were a movie and I were nominated for an Oscar, I would only qualify as Best Supporting Actress.  Which I am totally fine with.  These days its basically all about the kideroos, as it should be.  And while I (mostly) embrace the mundane tasks without complaint (mostly), what I really love when I can rise to a challenge posed by my dear ones.

Despite the fact that Elijah has lots of toys, he is always trying to invent new ones.  Toilet paper roll rocket ship? Check.  Overturned diaper basket step stool?  Check.  Drum mallet/bubble want parking gate? Almost check.

Fortunately, before his frustration reached its screaming point, I was able to jump in and save the day, Mom-gyver style.  (In case you are confused, Mom-gyver is a combination of my title, Mom, and this guy, mullet model extraordinaire.)  A little play dough, a rubber band, and voile! Problem solved.

As you bask in the glow of my awesomeness, please kindly disregard any crumbs that may have sneaked into the pictures.  The dark wood floors are very unforgiving.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

For love of the series: Henry and Mudge

Way back when I was in second grade, I loved The Babysitters' Club books.  Loved.  So did some of my friends, and we would swap them, share them, and have deep conversations regarding which of the characters we most resembled.  (Years later, I would do this again with different friends and Sex and the City, but that's a story for another day.)

Here's the thing...they were not good books.  And I'm not even saying that in retrospect.  Even as a wee lass of seven, I knew this. I read good books.  I knew good books.  These were not good books.  And yet, I devoured them by the pile, combing the library shelves for the next number in sequence.  By the time I stopped reading, the books continued well past number 100.  By the time I moved on, the girls of the Babysitters' Club felt like dear friends (albeit dear friends who never seemed to get past the eighth grade).

 If you've been over to visit lately, you may have noticed that Elijah has found his first serial best friends as well.  (Not to be confused with his first cereal best friend, which was Cheerios.)  Those best friends are Henry, and Henry's big dog Mudge.

For the uninitiated, some background: Henry and Mudge are the stars of a series of early chapter books by Cynthia Rylant.  In addition to the fifty or so book in this series, she has somehow written tons of others as well.  The drawings by Sucie Stevenson are childishly perfect for the simple stories, which deal with such seminal childhood moments as a trip to the beach, a visit to Grandma's and a day spent playing in the snow.

Elijah loves these books.  Fortunately, our library is well-stocked with them. As any series reader knows, there is no need to own all the books.  Better to check them out by the pile and return them the next week.  There is also a spin-off series about Annie, Henry's next-door cousin, that Elijah also enjoys.  As for me, I am just relieved that Elijah can now sit through books that last more than five minutes.  The other night after dinner, we sat on the couch and read books for an hour.  And for that, I give a bit chunk of credit to Henry and his giant, furry friend, Mudge.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Elsewhere: Toys in Ice

I'm still in Chicago for another day, but to tide you over until I resume my DC adventures, check out my latest post over at Voices from the Ville.  Fortunately, it's not quite so hot in Washington these days as it was when we played with the frozen car, but I fear that those scorchers may not yet be behind us for this year.  Ah, summer in DC.  By which I mean: Agh! Summer in DC!

Friday, August 2, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 1)

So, lately my {this moment} pictures have been feeling a bit uninspired.  I blame this on two factors.  1) Life in crazy-town is such that I just never remember to take out the camera and, 2) Elijah is working on potty training right now, so if I were to take pictures, they probably would not be Internet appropriate because he prefers to run about the house these days without any bottoms on.  Poor sofa.  So, until I get my picture-taking mojo back, I'm going to try linking up with Jen on Fridays instead.  Hopefully I can find seven interesting tidbits to share.

On the subject of subpar blogging, this post brings this week's total  Yep.  Big apologies go out to my biggest fans, namely, my mom, my sister and my mother-in-law.  And I'm leaving this morning on a four-day trip to Chicago with no camera, so don't expect a marked improvement anytime soon.  At least my mom and sis will be seeing me in the flesh, so hopefully that will be almost as good as reading about my life online.

One random thing that it is important to know about me is that I do not like facial hair.  Sometime I will see a man with a beard/mustache and think, that doesn't look too bad.  But then I ask myself, would he look better without it? And this answer is always yes.  

Also, 10 bonus points if you can name the movie that featured the manscaping seen above.

This CD is currently in our car on heavy rotation. On our epic 14-hour car ride from Peoria, IL, to DC last month, we listened to the first track, "Bling-Blang" by Arlo Guthrie about 200 times (gross underestimate).  At least now, we have moved on to a few other songs on the same CD, but very specific ones, and not in order, so I spend a lot of my drivetime playing DJ.

My favorite blog discovery of the week is Ain't No Mom Jeans.  Though I myself will never be fashionable, I enjoy reading about my fellow moms out there who are making it happen.  You go, sisters.  I am proud of you.
Have you seen this commercial yet?

 Love it.

 Yesterday, I was listening to Fresh Air on NPR, and while I was listening I flipped open the New Yorker to a cartoon that mentioned Terry Gross (the host of Fresh Air).  At first I thought that this was some kind of crazy coincidence, but then I realized that its just confirmation that Kurt and I are officially east coast snobs, except we didn't go to Ivy League schools and we are nice.

So, there you have it, folks.  My first 7QT Friday.  If you have your own, feel free to add a link in the comments.  Happy Friday!