Monday, June 30, 2014

With bells on

video

Sometimes it doesn't take much to keep her entertained.

Of course it could be that in a previous life she had a bell pull in her room.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Concert

Veda's first concert is . . . . Tom Pease at the Public Library!!!


We only got to see the second half.  When we arrived the auditorium was full so we were funneled into a room where it was playing on a screen.  Unfortunately due to the general noise level you couldn't really hear him singing - which made it just a video of a crazy guy jumping around.  Definitely not very satisfying.  So I went out in the hall and lo and behold some people were leaving the auditorium.  I asked the librarian there if I could go in and see if there were available seats.  She said "No, those people are just using the restroom."  So I went and asked a different librarian if I could go in, and she said I could try the doors on level 3 since no one was guarding those.  So I did, and there were a dozen empty seats - easy.  So we enjoyed the rest of the concert - Veda danced to the belly button song, and we had a good time.  Afterward she even met the star!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Thought #2

Showering isn't that tough when you are at home with a kid . . . unless you wanted to shower alone.



We have a tooth!






It's just a very thin line of white, but it definitely broke through the gum line today!  It just took 14 months and 1 week!  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

From Three Feet off the Ground: etc. etc.

From Three Feet Off the Ground: The Year My Children Taught Me How to See the World . . . and MyselfFrom Three Feet Off the Ground: The Year My Children Taught Me How to See the World . . . and Myself by Christie Havey Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book is made up of many inspirational, Christian anecdotes. Is it for everyone - no. Which is why I can't give it the full five stars. Teenage me would have skipped large parts of the book. Men probably would have a hard time relating. HOWEVER if you are a man that feels like you are having a hard time relating to your wife now that you have a kid - you may want to give this a read to get in her head a bit.

For me, at this particular point in my life, this book was great. As a mom of a 1 year old I related to the author and appreciated her viewpoint. Her children sound darling, and anyone who spends a large amount of time with a child, truly appreciating them, cannot help but see that their viewpoint has a different focus than adults. They remind us that the truly wonderful things in life are simple. Joy, happiness, and love are all things that we insist on making complicated.

I will probably read this book again, and I would recommend it selectively.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pinkslipped

PinkslippedPinkslipped by Romina Wilcox
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, I think all the other reviewers (at Goodreads) probably know the author or are being paid for a favorable opinion. One thing I enjoyed about this book is that it is definitely a story based on real life. You will be reminded of people you know by the characters in the book, and it chronicles the mundane things in life that most of us have experienced in one way or another. Unfortunately the book doesn't quite know who it wants to be yet.

Let's talk about characters for a moment. The main character is probably a typical American stereotype. Which means she is almost despicable. She has run up her credit card debt. She opts to not pay it. Then spends the rest of the book complaining about creditors calling. That's what happens when you owe people money! She looks at her house as a status symbol and can't imagine living in something smaller. When she can't find a job and claims to be working full time at finding one she turns down moving to another city where she is offered several jobs, even though her husband can pretty much work in any city in America. She complains about how all the jobs go to people with connections, but when one of her connections offers her a job she turns it down. I didn't empathize or pity this character at all. Do you? I mean she has an au pair while she is unemployed, and renews the contract while still unemployed. There's ignorance and then there is entitled, willful stupidity.

Meanwhile her long suffering husband just agrees with her and tries to steer clear of her sh*t storm. It's obvious that their past is made up of her constantly getting her way, and blatantly ignoring his guidance. The kids don't have the slightest impact on the story. Any other characters are mentioned for no more than a segment before being completely dropped.

Then suddenly at the end there is an attempt to make this Christian fiction by having God fix all her problems in a day because she finally learned to appreciate how lucky she is.

The writing style is rambling, the time line and facts don't all line up, it could use a bit more proofreading as there are many instances of words missing from sentences or wrong words use for example change instead of chance. In the end, I would not read this book again, I would not look for this author, and I would not recommend it.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Story Time at Jacolyn Park

Today we packed the stroller and headed down the road for story time at Jacolyn Park. There were so many people there to wave to - VF hardly knew where to start!


After everyone had found a place to sit, Mary Beth got the group focused.  The first book she read was called Rocket to the Moon by Lerryn Korda.  It's about a boy who wants to get to the moon. 


But as everyone knows to get to the moon you need a rocket.  So Mary Beth led the group in building a rocket that way everyone was able to go to the moon.  Zoom!


The second book of the day was called The Marvelous Toy by Tom Paxton.  You probably know this book best as a song!  Everyone got to help with the fun words Zip, Bop, and Whirrr!


After story time a lot of the kids stayed to make paper airplanes with the library staff - but we decided to try out the splash pad instead. 


What a fun day!  Can't wait until next time!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Parenting Thought #1

Just because the baby is smart enough 
to open the kitchen drawers
does not mean that she can close them 
without pinching her fingers.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Edge Series - Ilona Andrews

On the Edge  Bayou Moon  Fate's Edge Steel's Edge 

I am reviewing these as a series because sometimes the way a series progresses can make you really happy you decided to read it.  But if it goes wrong you can be contemplating the next book while regretting all the time spent to get there because halfway through the series it all went wrong.  So I will discuss the series as a whole.  As usual, if you are looking for a synopsis, look elsewhere.  These are just broad thoughts.

Book 1 - On the Edge 
This book was easily the best book in the series for me.  It was an urban fantasy modern fairy tale that hit on all the right notes.  The characters were well thought out, and each had their own conflicts, and at the end of the book I couldn't wait to hear about the next adventure. The realm that is created in this series is very fun, which makes the 4 book commitment worthwhile in my opinion.

Book 2 - Bayou Moon
This book started as a bit of a letdown because I really wanted to just keep following Rose and family from Book 1, and while the characters throughout the remainder of the series are somewhat related to each other, each book chooses its own hero.  Once over the initial disappointment I happily jumped right into the story of the Mar family.  There are a lot of people to keep track on in this book - so if that is something that sometimes messes with you, I would recommend keeping a cheat sheet.  

Book 3 - Fate's Edge
Ok, I originally just reviewed this as weak.  Really, weak.  And it was.  The ending was so contrived, and I didn't believe in their love story at all.  It was clear that they were made for each other, I just needed a bit more to believe that they really overcame their personal issues to accept the love from each other.  I really didn't like this book at all.  The whole staring at her butt, and over the top physical attraction was really off putting as well as her whole I'll kiss him and like it but then I'll slap him for overstepping attitude was very crass.  This is what perpetuates the idea that women don't mean no when they say it.

Book 4 - Steel's Edge
This book gave a strong enough ending for me to forgive Book 3 - ALTHOUGH  the one complaint I had was that the love story reminded me too much of 3 and therefore didn't feel original.  There was just too much "Could she/he really love me after seeing me because I don't think I am deserving."  The book more then makes up for it though with a solid plot line, and a great conclusion.  So many loose ends were tied up in ways that made me smile that in the end I very much enjoyed this book.

Would I recommend the series?  If you like creative fantasy and you have some time on your hands - definitely.  If this isn't your genre to begin with, these aren't books I would start with.  There are better options out there. 

Walking

video

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tri and Tri Again

Sunday June 1st was S's 4th Pigman Triathlon out at Palo Lake.  He had signed up to do it with 3  of his high school buddies.  You can see the beauty of that idea I am sure - a chance to reunite and pit their aging skills against one another.  Despite the challenge I would say that this year is arguably the least trained he has been. Ultimately that didn't matter though because one by one each of the other friends chickened out, leaving S the uncontested champion.

The race itself though is where the drama all happened.  The morning began with S standing on the shore of Palo Lake testing out the water.  After a toe dip and hearing that the water was a temperature of 73 degrees S made the decision to not wear his wetsuit.  This is the first time that S raced the Pigman without the wetsuit, and it may have cost him a few minutes time.  Without the buoyancy to help out S had a swim time of 16:03.

Next up was the bike ride.  S really felt comfortable on this stretch of the race.  He felt like things were going along at a fast pace, and about three quarters through the bike portion he lowered his head on a downhill coast and just enjoyed the road flying past.  When he brought his head up he was right on the back wheel of the female competitor directly ahead of him.  His tire kissed hers and down he went.  The other competitor continued unaffected.  S picked himself up, gathered his water bottles, rechained his bike and tried to compose himself for the rest of the race.

For the rest of the bike, and certainly through the run as he passed people and they saw his back he could hear the ewws following him.  His final bike time was 53:09 and run time of 22:54.  After the race he headed to the first aid tent where he felt he may have been the only customer of the day.   

Here's what he looks like 24 hours later!




Yea, I bet you said Eww too!  When you are a triathlete the one thing you can't do is quit - you gotta pick yourself up and just tri again!  Have you ever had a sporting event not quite go as planned?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Behind the Beautiful Forevers


Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo 
Wow.  Behind the Beautiful Forevers is a non-fiction by Katherine Boo.  And you need to read it.  Don't be intimidated that because it is non-fiction it will be difficult to wade through, it reads like a novel and has a good pace to it.  
It is essentially the story of a slum in Mumbai and a closer look at a few residents and their attempts to improve their lives.  And it reminded me of so many other stories that it really proved that people are essentially the same all over the world.  
Mostly I would say that the book shows the many different layers of society and its divisions in India.  There are religious divides, caste system levels, and financial classes.  People don't unify, instead they find reasons to separate, and this makes it much easier to take advantage of other people.  Even in the slums there are the families that are better off and therefore a source of envy to the people with less.  Who would think that a simple kitchen shelf would be a source of contention?
Is this so different than the people that you interact with daily?  We all have the labels that we assign to others, and sometimes ourselves.  Right vs Left, Religious vs Agnostic, Straight vs Gay (etc.), gym rats, couch potatoes, these are all labels that separate and they all bring to mind a specific type of person.  But how many of us truly fit into a single box? 
Don't even get me started on the corruption!  The haves are constantly taking advantage of the have nots.  The politicians lie, the police can be bought, and the system is full of people that are experts at beating the system.  It's not an India problem, this is a global problem.  The money that people donate to the needy rarely ends up in the intended hands.  It's enough to make me sick, is it any wonder that  so many people feel like charity is a waste of money?
Here's just a couple items that I was struck by, and I will be vague to try and avoid spoilers.  Isn't it interesting that even after the schism Abdul's family aided their neighbors?  How about the books that students were described to be studying?  Now I clearly love a good book - but aren't there more useful things for them to work on than memorizing a synopsis of a classic book?  And finally, just think if all of these people behaved honorably and truly put the money and effort, into the systems that they are intended for - how much would that impact be? 
This book was really wonderful, and I would definitely read it again - and recommend it to others.