Thursday, April 30, 2009

Book List: An (Imaginary?) Love Triangle, A Mermaid Tale and The Three Musketeers

Three more library books read. Here's the details:

Imagine You and Me by Billy Mernit: This is the story of Jordan, a novelist who is trying to get his novel (a romantic comedy) made into a movie. He's recently been left by his wife and is struggling to deal with life without her. He tries to win back his wife by creating a fictitious girlfriend to make her jealous. The plan backfires when the new woman shows up in his life with her own agenda. It's a strange concept, but it was an alright book. I generally like female authors/main characters better and this is no exception to that rule. The book does have some good twists. In my opinion, it's a little overly intellectual at times, but generally a decent read.

Swim To Me by Betsy Carter: This is the tale of Dolores, a teenage girl, who leaves her disappointing home life in New York to go to Florida and be a "mermaid" at Weeki Wachee Springs. This is a story of lives reinvented and dreams fulfilled. It's a fun, quick read although the ending left me wanting a little more closure.

Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger: This novel is by the same author as The Devil Wears Prada. I wasn't sure if I would like it as I didn't like The Devil Wears Prada. But I did like her other novel, Everyone Worth Knowing, so I decided to give this one a try. This is the story of three friends who are about to turn thirty--Adriana, a beautiful rich girl who lives off her trust fund and good looks, Emmy, who wants nothing more than to be a wife and mother, but has just been dumped by her boyfriend of five years, and Leigh, a book editor who has the seemingly perfect life. I had a little trouble getting into the book at first (was tired of hearing how beautiful Adriana was and how she could get any man she wanted), but soon got sucked into the lives of these three women. I liked this book. It was a good example of the type of "chick lit"/"beach read" that I enjoy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday: Nostalgic Edition

Top Ten Tuesday.... Hmm... that sounds kind of familiar... oh yeah, I used to do those on a regular basis. I'm scared to look back and see when I actually did one last. I know it's been a while.

Anyway, N is getting closer and closer to his 1st birthday--less than a month away! We're in the process of weaning. He's down to nursing twice a day and drinks milk out of a sippy cup the rest of the time. I remember doing this with J. With J, one of my goals was to finish breastfeeding so I could get pregnant again. This time I just want my body back to myself. I'm a little sad that I'm not trying to get pregnant again, but I think we've decided that two is enough for us. I'd love another child, but know that my sanity is probably safer with just the two--and I'm not getting any younger.

Anyway, the weaning has made me think about being pregnant and I've been waxing nostalgic about pregnancy. So this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is...

Top Ten Reasons I Love Being Pregnant

10. Eating whenever I want and whatever I want without feeling guilty or getting dirty looks.

9. Not feeling guilty about passing out dead asleep by 8 o' clock every night.

8. Clear skin. (Why, oh why, do I have to be pregnant or nursing to have clear skin?)

7. The round belly. (I love to pet my belly. Weird, but true.)

6. Feeling the baby move and realizing there is a little person inside you.

5. Big boobs. (When you are normally flat-chested, you take them happily--even if they are accompanied by a big belly and butt.)

4. Sense of accomplishment. (I made a baby.)

3. Sense of expectation. (My baby is on his way. What will he be like?)

2. Sense of purpose. (My body is doing what it was made to do.)

1. Sense of awe. (How in the world is my body doing this? Amazing!)

But I'm not totally crazy, so here's a little bonus reality check:

Top Five Reasons I Hate Being Pregnant

5. Not drinking beer, wine or bourbon.

4. My butt's need to keep up with my belly.

3. Puking (a LOT).

2. Suddenly becoming public property. (Why are you, a complete stranger, touching me? And why do I need to hear your horrible labor story?)

1. Maternity clothes. (Seriously, they are that bad.)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A grain of rice

Well, it's been a few days since I've reported on J and the One Bite Rule. Overall, J's eating more of his food without as much fight. He's tried a few foods that he didn't want to eat. In general, I was feeling like we were having some small successes... until last night. Last night we decided to eat dinner early so we could do some fun things together as a family before bedtime. B thought he was giving J an easy night by making his "new" food be white rice. I had my doubts, but was hopeful. J ate a great dinner, but refused to eat even one tiny grain of rice. He touched it with his tongue, but would not put it in his mouth. He chose to go to bed over an hour and a half early, to skip all the fun we had planned, just so he wouldn't have to put a tiny grain of rice in his mouth. I was (am) so frustrated! Will keep trying, but don't see much success with new foods in my future. That's disheartening.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Anyone know how to analyze dreams?

J decided to tell me about his dream this morning. It included Mama bear, Daddy bear, Brother bear and Sister bear catching butterflies outside with a net. He felt it was very important that I understand they were outside and using a net. It was really adorable. I didn't even ask him about his dreams, he just started telling me about this one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

While You Were Working...

Our neighborhood pool opened this weekend, but the weather was too cool and rainy to enjoy it. But today was in the 80s and sunny so the boys and I met some friends up at the splashpad. We weren't quite ready to dive into the pool yet, but the splashpad was perfect!

At first the boys weren't ready to get wet, they just watched their friend Kaden.

But then J joined in the fun.

And then N got tired of watching and crawled on in. He LOVED it!
They both had so much fun!
It was a really fun time. Can't wait to do it again soon. So, in case you were wondering, this is what I did while you were working today. Being a full-time mom is the best!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More J-isms

If we go to the grocery store on Saturday morning, a local fire engine is usually there and the firemen are inside shopping. So J always asks where the fire truck is when we go to the grocery store. If it is not there, we tell him the truck is at the fire station. Today is trash day. J and I were talking about the garbage truck. It often comes early in the morning so I told J to listen and he might hear it. Apparently, the truck was running late this morning and it hadn't come when we left for school. On the way to school, J asked me where the garbage truck was and I told him I didn't know. He told me, "Maybe it's at the garbage station."

Then we saw some men working on the side of the road. They both had shovels and one man was digging. J asked me a question from the back seat. I thought he asked, "What are they digging?" but it might have been "What are they doing?" Anyway, I answered, "I don't know what they are digging." J then answered me in his most "duh" tone, "A hole, Mommy. A hole."

This little guy is priceless!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quite Possibly My Favorite Baby Blanket Yet

I finished the pinwheel blanket for my good friend's little baby boy. I really like the way it turned out. I love the colors, the stripes, and how light weight it turned out. I purposely used a thinner yarn with slightly larger needles to get a nice light weight blanket. The round shape was fun and the pattern was simple enough to make this a very relaxing knitting project.

Pattern: Pinwheel Blanket by Genia Planck (from Knitalong)
Yarn: Sirdar Click (double knitting with wool) (70% Acrylic/30%Wool)(50g/164yd)
1 skein brown, 1.1 skein blue, 1.2 skein white (The colors are actually a little lighter than they appear in the photographs.)
Needles: Size 8 (doublepoint, 24" circular)
Finished size: 30 inch diameter

Modifications: I totally ignored gauge and just did the yarn and needle size that I liked. I ended up adding a few extra rounds just to fit my stripe pattern. I had just enough brown yarn, but had to buy a second skein of both the blue and the white. I had to use the new skein for the last 2 rounds of blue and about 4 rounds of white.

Pepper jumped up on the bed during my photo shoot and I immediately thought of Jadielady and her cats who are always jumping into her finished project photo shoots.

Notice the paws in the top one and, of course, all of her sweet puppy self in the bottom one.

Fear of New Foods Not Yet Overcome

J went to bed without playing again tonight. Just wouldn't eat a pea. I thought I had him convinced to eat one. We had it on his fork completely buried in ketchup, but at the last minute he just couldn't bare to try it and chose to go to bed early instead. Oh well. We're not there yet, but I hope we will one day get him to realize that new foods aren't that scary after all.

We Got to Play Last Night!

J finally ate one bite of everything on his plate for the first night since we instated the "One Bite Rule." Our "new" food for the night (we're trying to put one new food on his plate each night) was homemade home fries (sliced potatoes fried in a pan). This was a little bit of a wimping out on our part as we did get J to try these once before. Anyway, he didn't want to eat any, but he finally did eat one. So for the first night in four nights, we got to play after dinner instead of going straight to bed. We went to the playground. We had a blast! I hope the trend continues tonight. We are hoping that a successful night with good consequences will help J realize what good comes from following the One Bite Rule. We will see how tonight goes. On a positive note, J is eating more of his other food now that this rule is in place. Often, once he takes the one bite, he remembers he likes that food and eats more of it.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Little Bit Stubbon, A Little Bit Adorable

Or maybe a LOT stubborn and a LOT adorable. Had to share two quick J stories before I forgot them.

First, we had a rainy, stormy morning on Friday. It was actually really nice. Both boys slept in. We didn't go anywhere or try to do anything. I let J stay in his pajamas until noon. It was wonderful. Anyway, during N's morning naptime, there was a lot of thunder. J asked me what the noise was and I told him it was thunder. He said that he didn't like thunder (which is not surprising, he doesn't like loud noises). I told him that I liked it and that I thought it sounded cool (because I am so eloquent and well-spoken). He then told me he thought the thunder sounded "happy." Love him!

J has entered the age where he is dreaming more and often remembers his dreams. B likes to ask him about his dreams. This morning B asked J what he dreamed about last night. J replied that he dreamed about "jelly beans, Christmas trees, and bunnies." He went on to explain his dream something about the Christmas trees being knocked down and having to take the jelly beans to Joe's house. I forget how the bunnies worked into the dream. Watching him explain his dream to his dad was so adorable!

And for a little bit of bonus adorable, here are a few pics of J and Pepper hanging out in her crate this morning.

Hope you all have a little "adorable" in your life today!

Book List: A Romance with Lots of Southern "Characters," Seven of the Longest Days Of My Life and 4 Sweet and Short Romances

Book list time again. Here are three more random finds from the Fiction display at the library.

The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Rosina Lippi: This was a fun read and a nice break after the seriousness of Show of Hands that I had read just before this one. This is a romance set in a small town in South Carolina. It is chockful of interesting Southern "characters" and, although a little too stereotypical at times, they add a lot to the story. Interesting to read about the interplay of different personalities where everyone is a little bit crazy. Overall, a fun book.

A Week of This (a novel in seven days) by Nathan Whitlock: I was sold by the idea of a novel where everything happens in seven days. That seemed interesting. Perhaps I was thinking of seven seasons of 24 rolled into one novel--that couldn't be farther than the reality of this book. A Week of This tells the story of Manda, her husband and various relatives. Every single character in this story had a horrible childhood and is now an unhappy, economically strapped, stressed out adult. Realistic? Maybe. Depressing? Definitely. Had to force myself to finish this one. I was slightly motivated by the idea that maybe something good would happen--it never really did.

Sweet Treats by Wanda E. Brunsetter, Birdie L. Etchison, Pamela Griffin and Tamela Hancock Murray: This is actually four short stories--each written by a different author. All four stories are romances based around an online cooking class called "Sweet Treats." Each story is around 90 pages long and follows a somewhat predictable girl meets boy storyline. One unexpected surprise for me was that all four stories are about Christian characters and include little "lessons" on living a Christian life and trusting in God. I'm a Christian who usually feels my faith is a very private matter so I am sometimes turned off by too much "preaching." However, these did not turn me off and I really enjoyed these simple stories. It was like reading four little mini-novels. Apparently there is a whole series of these four story books. Apparently there is also quite a bit of this Christian fiction out there, but I never ran across it in my library in Ohio. I've read a couple others by accident since I moved to Texas including Stranded in Paradise.

I just grabbed five or so more novels when I went to the library this week. Will keep you posted on how they turn out.

For Baby Ike

There's an online auction going to raise money to help Baby Ike and his family. Click here to check it out.

Oh Yeah, and I Knit Too

I finished putting the buttons on Oscar's sweater. I did end up redoing the button band to make tighter button holes. More details on the sweater here. I followed the pattern for a size 2, but it seems a little on the short side. Oscar's a little on the short side so hopefully that will be okay.

I'm getting closer to finishing my pinwheel blanket, but I ran out of blue yarn so it's on hold momentarily. I'm doing it on circular needles and it looks like a giant beret.

So I had to be silly and try it on for B. He thought it was very Rastafarian.

While I'm waiting for a chance to run back to the knit shop for the blanket yarn, I started on my second Ike-a-saurus for Ike's older brother.

That's all the news for now. Happy Knitting, everyone!

Round Three: Man, This Kid is Stubborn

J went to bed an hour early again tonight. He passed up a Sponge Bob ice cream treat and playtime because he wouldn't eat one piece of peach. He didn't even care that his little brother got to stay up and play for almost an hour after he went to bed. I know it's only been three days, but I am disheartened. I will stay strong. I will stay strong. Must stay strong.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Round Two: Another Draw?

J went to bed an hour early last night because he wouldn't eat one kernel of corn. Sad, but true. The one bite rule continues. Two nights down. Still no vegetables eaten (unless you count ketchup--which I hope to not count for much longer). Two nights of no playing and early bedtimes. Will let you know how tonight goes.

Friday, April 17, 2009

11 Months: Always Moving, Mainly Baldy, but Loves Hair, Still a Smiley Peanut

N turns 11 months today. I can't believe my littlest man is 11 months already!

N's so much fun these days and is growing up so quickly. He's constantly on the move. N loves to be active and is a huge fan of the play place at the mall. He crawls so quickly that it's a little scary. You blink and he's at the other side of the house. He's also doing a lot of walking with improvised walkers like the grocery cart and J's tricycle. And this week, N has started taking 2 or 3 steps completely on his own. It's very cool! He seems totally unaware that he is doing anything exciting. He's also learning to climb shorter stairs like the ones at the playground.

N is drinking from a sippy cup on his own now and this week has even started drinking some milk (instead of formula or breastmilk) and he seems to like it. We are still nursing 3 times a day. Part of me is ready to give it up, but I know when I do I will miss the snuggle time as N rarely slows down long enough to cuddle.

N continues to be a big fan of finger foods--especially hamburger, ham, chicken nuggets, American cheese, Nilla wafers and cheerios.

N is slowly but surely gaining weight although he's still on the small side and definitely still my peanut. He's still looking like a baldy although the hair on the back of his head is thickening up and often sticks out in an adorable way. Unfortunately, even though he doesn't have much of his own, N is captivated with hair and loves to grab handfuls of other people's hair. This does not make him very popular with other little ones. We're working on it. Even J can often be heard saying, "No hair, N. No hair!"

N's favorite toys right now are the ones he can walk with or stand at--the grocery cart, J's trikes, the play kitchen. He also likes his gumball machine toy and the farm animal puzzle that makes sounds. N has also gotten into the touch and feel books. Now whenever I read him a book, he runs his pointer finger along the pages to see if there are any fun textures. It's pretty adorable.

N continues to smile a lot and is generally a very sociable little guy. His favorite "people" are J and Pepper. N is very ticklish and J knows just where to tickle his neck to make him laugh hysterically. He's starting to get a little stranger anxiety and is more likely to cry when I walk away, but is generally easily soothed. He fights his morning nap occasionally, but is generally a good napper.

And now you know more than you probably ever wanted to know about my precious little N. Since I don't have a baby book for N, I'm trying to record as much as possible here so I can share it with N when he gets older.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Battle of Wills: Round One

Round one of the Battle of Wills between J and me occurred last night. I think it was a draw.

As many of you know, J is a notoriously picky eater. He eats a very limited variety of food including cereal, waffles, bacon, apple, banana, apple sauce, mac n' cheese, chicken nuggets/strips, grilled cheese, string cheese, yogurt, raisins, french fries/tator tots, fruit snacks, chips/pretzels, crackers, toast, ice cream, pudding. As you can see there are NO vegetables on this list. He does eat corn once in a blue moon and likes ketchup (which I am desperate enough to try and count as a vegetable). Most other foods he insists he doesn't like even though he's never tried them. He's always been this way. It's actually improved quite a bit--this list of food is long compared to what it used to be. He used to cry hysterically until we took any unwanted food off of his plate. Now he'll at least leave the food on his plate (most of the time). Even when I fix food he does like, there are still meals where he doesn't touch most of it. This is really frustrating!

Anyway, I have decided enough is enough. I'm tired of feeling embarrassed and guilty about my child's eating habits. I do think he has some legitimate issues with food texture (I had a milder form of the same thing and still do with certain foods), but he is not eating really good food simply because he won't even try it.

So last night I introduced the new One Bite Rule. Every night at dinner, J has to take at least one bite of everything on his plate before he can be excused.

Last night J had chicken nuggets, french fries, applesauce and peas. He immediately ate some applesauce and fries. After twenty minutes of discussion, he ate a chicken nugget. Almost an hour later and after much crying, it was 7:20PM and he still refused to eat a pea--one pea! So I took him straight from the dinner table to bed.

So I don't think either of us really won that round, but I don't think I lost either--so that's something. We'll see how the battle goes tonight. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Puppy Post or "She Chewed on What?"

I realized it's been a while since I've given an update on the girls so I thought I'd do a quick puppy post.

It's been over 2 months since Zoe had her surgery and so far she seems to be doing well. She's definitely looking older and she's still spending extra time outside, but she doesn't seem to be in any pain. She still plays with Pepper and eats well and seems to be herself most of the time. The average post-surgery lifespan for her kind of cancer is 2 months, so I guess Zoe's proven again that she's no average dog. We feel blessed to have this bonus time with her.

Pepper continues to be a great and fun part of the family. She's definitely still a puppy (loves to chew, jumps too much, gets wild at times), but she's done great with house-training and she's really sweet with the boys.

Jumping on people is probably our biggest challenge, but the second biggest is chewing. Pepper is no longer chewing on furniture which is good, but she is still destroying her toys on a regular basis. She still likes to take her toys outside to chew them so our backyard looks like some sort of disaster zone.

Here are a few of her toys left around the yard.

Yes, that's half a brick--she started carrying that one around recently.

Until she decided that the whole brick might be more fun. We keep finding this one in different places around the yard.

The final straw was when I caught her chewing on this today...

Yes, that's the corner of my house!

So I had to do a quick run to the pet store to stock back up on toys and bones.

As you can see, they were a big hit with the girls!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Photo Eggs-travaganza

Well, despite the fact that we didn't get to spend Easter with family, we had a wonderful, wonderful Easter.

I only did one little Easter knit--this bunny nugget (free pdf pattern here). It was knit quickly the night before Easter because N's basket was looking a little bare.

The festivities started a week ago with the neighborhood Easter egg hunt and continued with John's Easter party and egg hunt at school...

decorating Easter eggs at our good friends' house...

and then a fun Easter morning at home...

and Easter lunch and egg hunt back at our good friends' house. They are our honorary "family" here in Texas.

In honor of the holiday, we did some quick family portraits.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and weekend!