Monday, February 28, 2011

Five & Six

This is so overdue, I sorta don't even want to post it. I'm craving forward motion, and this feels like... lingering. HOWEVER, I like complete sets of things, and I feel like I can't start my next book until
I post about these books, and I'm REALLY excited about my next book. So, here we go.

During the past two weeks of sickness, (oh, Henry did indeed get sick. ugh. we are all better now. the end) I finished Madeline L'Engle's Time Quintet.
Many Waters and An Acceptable Time.
They were so lovely. And whimsical. And reminiscent of childhood. And, just, well, just lovely.
And, the books smell really good. Weird?
LIKE: The loveliness.
Also, that each book focuses on another member of the Murry family, so things never get monotonous.
Also, I love how her spirituality and her conceptions of good and evil and God flow so seamlessly into what she writes. It's completely beautiful, and so unexpected (perhaps unfairly) in YA fiction. It's just lovely.

NO LIKE: Eh, well, if I HAVE to say SOMETHING I don't like... there were a few spots in An Acceptable Time where the action was lagging, and in Many Waters, there were a few plot holes.

FAV QUOTES:
"We human creatures can make watches and clocks and sensitive timing devices, but we don't understand what we're timing."
"Yesterday's heresy often becomes tomorrow's dogma."

Now, on to the next book- and it's an ADULT book!
Not like that, you guys! Come on!
I'm a nice girl.


THE BEST PICTURES OF THIS WEEK
This is where it gets good, ya'll.
This is where it gets good.

To enhance your viewing pleasure, and to make up for going so long between posts, I will title all of these gorgeous photographs for you.

It's like I'm a real arteeest!

Sometimes It Hurts To Be Loved So Much

The Wisdom of Youth

It's Hard to Be a Bassett   or   How Can I Compete With That Kid??

It's My Birthday! Put That Camera Away And Get Me Some Cake!

How To Be An Adorable Springtime Baby in 7 Easy Steps

Monday, February 21, 2011

Don't Judge Me

Oh my gosh, don't judge me!  I know, I know, I KNOW I owe you a book post.  I know, okay? And, I've even read two books! Aren't you proud?!

But, David & I both had the stomach flu this weekend. Which, let me take this opportunity to veer off from the point of this post and say: if I thought being sick was awful in my pre-parent life, it's TERRIBLE in my parent life.
Super awful.
No good.
Very bad.
Throwing up is exponentially worse with a baby sitting on the bathroom floor happily unrolling the toilet paper.
Plus, no matter how bad you feel, you still have to FEED them! And CHANGE them! And you might even have to pretend to PLAY with them, or READ to them!!
Seriously. Babies are extremely inconsiderate.

With the exception of meeting Henry's most basic needs, I pretty much laid on the sofa and let him do whatever the heck he wanted all day. Thank you Jesus for PBS Kids. I love Sesame Street with my whooooooole heart.
(Also, please take a minute to pray that Henry does not catch this tummy bug from us. So far he seems fine, but... well... I'm afraid. Very afraid.)

Anyway,  we did survive. (Hold your applause.) That is my Very Good Excuse for not posting. I will do my best to remedy this. Very soon. As soon as I catch up on the laundry and grocery shopping and disinfecting every surface in the house and... you know... life.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Birthday Letter

Dear Henry,
You are one.
HOLY CRAP! I don't even know what to say to you!
You have totally transformed over the past year from a tiny, helpless, cuddly, dark-haired little infant into a tow-headed, crawling, cruising, pointing, hollering, cackling, adorable little guy with absolutely no instinct for self-preservation. It is unbelievable that you are the same child we met a year ago today. It seems like there have been about 6 versions of you in the past year. And I love them all! All of your selves, you bizarre little changeling, you.

I loved you teeny and tiny and helpless. I loved you all bobble-headed, learning to look around and roll over. I loved you trying to sit up, flopping over in all directions. And, I love you right now! Big and talkative and freakishly fast. Pulling up on tables and my legs and the dog, reaching everything with your go-go gadget arms. Using your baby radar to identify the most dangerous or mess-producing thing in the room and then zooming over to it.
I love you just waking up, all hot and snuggly and smelling like baby sleep.
I love you in the bath, pulling up on the sides of the tub, crawling from one end of the tub to the other, dunking your head under the water, on a mission to drown yourself before my very eyes.
I love you banging on your high chair, screeching for MORE MORE, whatever that is in your hands, give it to me NOW, WOMAN!
I love you exploring the house, crawling down the hallway, pushing on every shut door, just flat-out looking for something new to get into.
I love you giggling over a new discovery or a favorite toy. Cracking up at yourself because you have cornered Sweet Potato or Mrs. Pattie and are petting them within an inch of their lives. You have the best laugh ever, and you are totally your father's son, because the only thing you like better than laughing is making ME laugh AT you.
I love you babbling! You don't say any words yet, but you love to talk to us and imitate sounds like dada, baba, and these little tongue-clicking noises. (You refuse to say mama, which is so cruel and spiteful of you. Stop it right now.) You wave byebye and give us kisses and stick your tongue out on command. (Bet we'll regret teaching you that one...) Recently you have started pointing at everything to find out what it is, and then pointing and hollering if it is something you want to hold. Oh, did I say hold? Excuse me. I meant consume and destroy.
I love you making faces, too! You are so expressive these days. My personal favorite is this distinctly impish grin you get whenever you get ahold of something you know isn't for you. I'll be honest with you- it's a little scary. How do you know I don't want you have it when you've never even seen it before?!?!

In case you can't tell from the previous paragraphs, I... um... well, I love you! And, I would love to be able to tell you how much I love you in this birthday letter. Get it down on paper, record it for the future, to remember what it was like to love this version of you, to recall it for you someday, to remind myself. But, I think it is impossible. How could I explain it? How could I ever make you understand?
I could try, though.
I could tell you how I love spending my days with you. How I get excited when I hear you babbling to yourself in your crib after a nap (unless I'm still watching the Real Housewives, then I really need you to play in your crib just a liiiil' bit longer.)
I could tell you how I let you do annoying things like pull every tissue out of the box, toss every book off the bottom shelf, or tear up all the junk mail, just because you are so freaking cute doing it!
Maybe I could tell you again what it felt like to hold you that first time, to feel your tiny baby body in my arms, to feel the whole world just float up above us, to feel my entire life refocusing.
I could tell you that I'm afraid to have any more children, because, how could I possible love this way twice?
Maybe I could tell you that I'm also afraid I will NEVER be able to say NO to you if you really want something! How could I ever break that sweet little baby heart?!?!  (I will work on this, I promise.)
I could tell you that you have completely changed me. The way I think about life. The way I set priorities. The way I make decisions. The way I consider the future. The way I pray. That you have made me see the beauty of living selflessly. The hidden pleasures of sacrifice.
Or, maybe, I just shouldn't even try to explain to you how much I love you.
Maybe I should just accept that this is a dual blessing and curse of motherhood, to love in such a way that swallows up any words I might use to describe it.

Maybe I should just settle for saying something simple. How about this...
I love you. You are the most precious thing I have ever been given. Now, seriously, stop eating things you find on the floor. No good can come of it.

Love,
Mama

P.S. And Happy Birthday! Cake is so good. Just wait and see.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Four

Remember how in my last book post I said that I really liked Gabaldon's novels, but I'm not really a fan of the fantasy genre? Well, I think I lied. 

Because, now I'm reading A Swiftly Tilting Planet, which is book 3 in Madeline L'Engle's Time Quintet. You remember A Wrinkle in Time, right? The best book of your entire childhood? Yes, that's the one.  Well, theres a WHOLE SERIES of those books! I bought the whole quintet at a used book store last summer, because I needed them, and I re-read A Wrinkle in Time, and the second book, A Wind in the Door, but then I got distracted by my life, and didn't ever start the third book. Until now.

And it's awesome! And it's fantasy! How weird! Two in a row! When I mentioned this fantasy-loving aberration to David, he looked at me funny and began listing all the fantasy books that I have read and loved... The Twilight series, Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials (waaay before the movies and wild controversy, thankyouverymuch), Harry Potter!!!, Watership Down, all those Redwall books, The Chronicles of Narnia, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy... I could go on, but I already feel embarrassed.

Uh, whoops. I guess I DO like fantasy. But in my defense, MOST of those are young adult fantasy novels, which just have a different feel to them than adult fantasy. Plus I don't want to admit I like fantasy, because then I feel like people are going to think I live in a corner of my sofa and wear things like this:
And I really don't!!! At least, not since middle school!!! Not in public!!! (Also, side note, if you want to have a really good time today, follow this link and read the reviews on Amazon about this shirt. Oh man, pompom.)

OKAY, so, da book.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet, by Madeline L'Engle
LIKE: It's a great YA novel, quick & easy to read, and her characters are so darn likeable.  It also raises some great theological questions about the agency and will of humans, the power of evil, and the strength of people living in transparent community with one another.

NO LIKE: In this particular book, you see 5 different families living at 5 different points in time, and they ALL have similar names and it is sooooooo hard to keep track.

FAV QUOTES:
"Ananda, " Mrs. Murry said thoughtfully. "That rings some kind of bell."
"It's Sanskrit," Charles Wallace said.
Meg asked, "Does it mean anything?"
"That joy in existence without which the universe will fall apart and collapse."
"That's a mighty big name for one dog to carry," Mrs. Murry said.

Describing the beginning of time: "Darkness was, and darkness was good. As was light. Light and darkness dancing together, born of each other, neither preceding, neither following, both fully being in joyful rhythm."

"She sighed achingly for a time so full of joy that it was difficult to realize it had once been real."

I'm already halfway through the fourth book in the series, Many Waters. Which is good, because that will be Book Five for me, and this is Week Seven, so I still have a lil catching up to do.

PICTURE OF THE WEEK:
The Sweetest Potato! Did you guys forget that I even had a dog?? I know, I know. Baby pictures have gotten much higher billing lately, but Sweet Potato is still here, still the sweetest baby basset, and still SO photogenic! She looks a little sad in this picture, though. Maybe because she's still a liiiiitle upset about the whole 'new baby' thing... Let's try another one.  She looks much happier here:

LOOK AT THOSE EARS!  What? Still not happy enough? Okay, how about here:

Sweet Potato in motion! So cute! Look at all that skin! Huh? Still kind of a sad face? Guys, thats just how Basset Hounds look! It's not my fault! Okay, we'll try one more: 

Happy Valentine's Day! Love, Henry & Sweet Potato.
 Ahh. Now THERE is a happy dog.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Dream

Warning: This post is not about a book, and there are no cute baby pictures. Feel free to stop reading now.

I had a dream last night, and I HAVE TO TELL YOU about it. It was a dream, so you know, don't be picky about the details. Just go with it.

DREAM
   It was my 35th birthday. For my birthday present, David got me voice lessons. I went to the lessons, and it turned out, I was an AMAZING singer. So, obviously, David convinced me to try out for American Idol.  I was so awesome, that I got a golden ticket and went to Hollywood. When I got there, I was the only middle-aged contestant with children. OH, and I had 4 kids, ALL BOYS! And, even more impressively, I WAS OKAY WITH IT! (And in my dream, Henry was 7. So, my dream self can do math. Holla.)
 So, in my dream, I do all these interviews, and sing all these songs, but the BEST part of the dream (and the end, of course) was that I was onstage singing that Pink song about raising your glass and, in my dream, I KNEW ALL THE WORDS! And my outfit was awesome, and the crowd was going wild and I could see David & all my kids bopping around in the audience, and I was a STAR!
END DREAM.

Okay. Now. Dreams are just dreams, blah blah blah, I know, but here's the thing: I was not all the way asleep as this was happening.
You heard me.
I was sort of awake.
I had the dream AS I was falling asleep last night. But, I was awake enough that I remember thinking "I have GOT to tell David about this." And, awake enough, that when I got onstage to sing Raise Your Glass, I didn't like the outfit I was wearing, so I changed it.  Not like, went backstage and changed it, but thought to myself, "No, no, this isn't right. I should be wearing this." and POOF, I was.

What does this mean?!?!?!  Do I have a secret urge for stardom that has been hitherto untapped into??  Will I have 4 boys? And no girls?? How did my dreamself know all the words to the song? Do I really know them in my subconscious brain? And, most importantly, SHOULD I TAKE VOICE LESSONS?

(This post has a lot of caps. I am sorry.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Three

Note to self: if you plan to read a book in a week, don't pick one thats 900 pages long.
But its done! And only one day late!

Book 3: Drums of Autumn, by Diana Gabaldon
Okay, now, I DID say that I was not going to include any genre fiction on the list. NOT because I do not love & respect genre fiction, just because I don't need any encouragement at all to read mysteries and romances. Not at all.
I would rather read them than make dinner, clean my house, talk to my husband, watch TV, go to amusement parks... you get it. However, I DO need encouragement to read 'real' books. You know, like, literature and stuff.
I'm telling you this because Gabaldon's books are definitely toeing the line of genre fiction. But, seriously guys, they are SO good. A little romance, a little adventure, a little fantasy, and quite well-written. Plus, I'm 4 books into the series. I'm just not stopping now.  So, to the great detriment of my household, I read Drums of Autumn this week. Laundry piled up, dishes went unwashed, I may or may not have bought a freezer pizza for dinner one night so I could read instead of cook. My husband is so tolerant.

LIKE: I sort of already told you what I like, but don't worry I can tell you more. Gabaldon's characters are spectacular. They become flesh and blood, and she tricks me into thinking they are my friends.  She handles the fantastical elements so smoothly- I'm not a huge fantasy fan, but it totally works in these books. Also, she writes great... ummm... romantic scenes. Enough said.

NO LIKE: Uhh, that they ever end? The way my house looks (utterly neglected) while I am reading them? That one day I will come to the end of the series and cry?

FAV QUOTE:  "But the years between now and then had been hard ones, and compassion was a soft emotion, easily eroded by circumstance. I had thought he still had his kindness, though; and felt a queer pain at the thought of its loss."

Big time props to my friend Suz for getting me hooked on the Gabaldon series. Even BIGGER props because she's letting me borrow them all from her.

Now, please don't worry about me. I've started my next book and it's much shorter. I may even fit in some house cleaning this week. Because, you know, I'm an overachiever.

Picture of the Week!  (Should we just rename this segment 'Cutest Baby Ever in the History of the Known Universe'? Let me know.)

Cutest Baby Ever in the History of the Known Universe
Here he is even closer:


Do you need me to bring you smelling salts? Have you lost consciousness due to the cuteness? No? Just me? Fine.

I really tried to get a picture of Henry reading for this week's pic, but although I took quite a few, none of them were quite what I wanted. But, I just want to document what a nerdy child we are raising. Scout's honor, I do not pose him for these shots!



Please ignore the tangle of cords in the background. I am extremely safety conscious.

In other pictoral news, I went to go see my family this weekend, and while we were there, Frank asked if he could borrow my camera. After admonishing him about how expensive it is, and how much I love it, and how I would dismember him if he hurt it,  I let him wander around the house and take a few pictures. Then, I got home, went to upload pics from this weekend and found FOUR HUNDRED PICTURES on my camera that I did not take!!! Yes. You heard me. 400. Here is a very small sampling of what Frank apparently thinks is photo-worthy.
 Me, pre shower. Something no one should have to see.

 Annie, looking entirely too old for her own good. Somebody put that girl back in pigtails and overalls!

 Nancy, cowering. (She always cowers. Its her thing.)

 My parent's cuckoo clock. Riveting.

 Frank's toes. The boy has no shame.

 The photographer himself. Very scary.

 The photographer again. (What? Why? I don't know.)

Oh! Look!  A cute baby! Frank has redeemed himself! Hooray!