Wednesday, October 1, 2014

From the Book Nook: September 2014

Somehow, without even an inkling of a plan to do so,  I spent September feasting on and [mostly] delighting in award winning children's books.  I used to feel a sort of guilt in reading so many children's books, but then realized that a good story, no matter what age it is crafted for, is still a good story and worth reading.

September Reading List

  I spent a few weeks reading Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff.  Set during World War II, this novel is not about the typical heroine.  Lily is quirky, a self-proclaimed liar, and honestly a little hard to like at first.  As the story progresses, she befriends Albert, a Hungarian refugee, who is staying with a nearby family. It is through her interactions with Albert that I came to enjoy Lily. I would recommend this book to both children and adults.

This book was a surprisingly fast read (1 day!).  The Wanderer is written in diary entries by two of the books characters, Sophie and Cody.  It takes place on a sailing ship adventure from the United States to England.  Although I enjoyed the book, I don't know that I would make a sweeping recommendation for it.  It seems to be a book written for middle school girls that doesn't intend to gain an audience from the grown-up reading sector.

When I saw that Ann M. Martin, of Babysitter's Club fame, had written a Newbery Honor Book, I was honestly a bit shocked.  Like many women my age, I spent a good many childhood hours reading Babysitter's Club books, and although I enjoyed them, they aren't exactly literary masterpieces.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story of young Hattie Owens and the summer that she met her psychologically unstable Uncle Adam. This is a true coming-of-age tale, but I would actually hesitate to call it children's literature. Amazon has it listed for ages 8-12 years, but I would not hand it to even the most mature 8 yearolds due to some of the situations and themes presented in the later part of the book.  I could see recommending it to a twelve year old at the very youngest.

I was honestly disappointed by Kathryn Erskine's Mockingbird.  I had read a glowing review of it in a magazine, and actually purchased it new (a rarity for me).  I felt like this book was trying to do too many things at once.  It was trying to be a book about a school shooting and its aftermath, which it managed to do quite poorly.  It was trying to be a book that gets into the innerworkings of what it is like to be a child with Asperger's  which it does an okay job at, but it doesn't ring completely true to my experiences working with children who have Asperger's.  It also tries to deal with what happens to the family dynamic when a family member dies.  Somehow making Caitlin, the main character, lose her brother after she has already lost her mother to cancer seems like overkill.  It doesn't manage to fully handle being a book about loss either.  I cannot recommend this book.

Currently Reading

 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Apples!



 


















Yesterday morning started off strained complete with one particularly grumpy child.  And, as I often do when we have a special outing planned, I started questioning why I ever thought the outing was a good idea in the first place. As the morning and the grumpiness progressed, I was inching ever closer toward making the decision to cancel our apple-picking trip. I think the only thing preventing me was the knowledge of just how much worse the grumpiness would get if I called it off. 



As we were getting ready Little Ish declared that he needed to wear his pirate costume to go apple picking; the outside temperature and the nature of apple picking made wearing such a costume impractical.  After a bit of convincing, he had resigned himself to just wearing a pirate hat and not the entire costume.  Of course, since Little Ish got to wear a hat, Lily insisted that she too be allowed to wear one.  She unsurprisingly chose the hat I made her last winter.  Several verbal tug-of-wars and 2 hats later, we were finally out the door.



When we arrived at the orchard, I popped Atticus in the Boba and all 5 of us made our way down to the u-pick area.  When we finally got in amongst the trees, Liliana looked up and declared, “Apple picking is so beautiful!” And really, it was.  All the frustration of the morning melted away as Ish and Lily had fun finding apples that were just right for picking.  Unlike last year, we did not have to constantly remind them not to pick up the apples lying under the trees. About halfway through our trip, Lily looked up at me and in her sweet little way asked if next time we could go banana picking.  Atticus enjoyed all the time outside, and was content for most of the trip.



As we journeyed back to the front of the apple orchard, Little Ish reminded me that he wanted to “pretend to be an apple”.  This consisted of taking a couple of pictures with the orchard’s face cut-out sign.  He and Lily thought it was great fun, and it made it so they didn’t have to wait in line while Ish paid for the apples. 



After paying for the apples, we staked out a lovely area with a huge tree to sit under as we enjoyed a midmorning apple snack.  Lily got a huge kick out of getting to eat a fixed apple—that is Lily-speak for an unsliced apple. Atticus spent his time taking bites of apple from anyone who would let him, and eventually commandeering the remains of Lily’s apple for himself.  Little Ish seemed to be basking in the whole experience.  Watching the children enjoy themselves made me really thankful that we had persevered through the morning grumpiness.  Hopefully we will make it back to the orchards one more time before apple picking season is over. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

7 Quick Takes Vol. 6

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There was excitement at home this week when I was out and about. A neighborhood cat decided to walk into our house uninvited. Ish managed to get the cat to leave without having to pick him up or use food to lure lure him out. Hearing Liliana and Little Ish recount the tale is just shy of hilarious. It also inspired Lily's request to be face painted as a "tiger tomcat"--she doesn't know that a tom is a boy cat.

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The only things that could make this tiger tomcat any cuter are pigtails and glasses.

Sorry for the blurry photo, but I am trying yet gain to figure out shooting in manual.

-3-

Well that might explain why the dishwasher was not working so well.  That was a wide mouth mason jar lid...

-4-

Atticus has been thoroughly enjoying his ventures into solid food.  He has started to say apple, and this evening when he spotted a tomato at Ish's parents' house he started shrieking "appa! appa!"  He definitely thought it was an apple.

-5-
He asked to be the daytime sky. 


-6-
Little Ish has been curious about so many things lately.  In the past few weeks he has started to learn to read (at his request, asked about and started to investigate basic addition via word problems, experimented with magnets, tried to figure out telling time on both analog and digital clocks, and so much more.   It's been an intense but exciting few weeks.

-7-

Books are kind of popular around here...

Linking up at Conversion Diary

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Friends and Donkeys









One of the things I enjoy as a parent is watching my children form friendships.  I do not know why, but I never expected them to have friendships with other children at such a young age.  Sure, I knew they would play with other kids, but I didn't realize they would have friends that they would care about outside of the time and space of a play date.  My totally strange expectations aside, all three children have formed friendships with both the children and adults in their lives.

On another note,  Donkeys!  Aren't these two donkeys absolutely lovely?  The white one is still less than a year old, and his antics are quite amusing.  His mother is not nearly as silly and is a much gentler creature than  I expected.  


Monday, September 15, 2014

Help Fund a Stork Bus in Delaware



You may have noticed that I don't often use my little corner of the blogosphere to engage in any sort of discussion of hot button issues.  I don't often bring to light things that are important to me because, honestly, I don't want to argue.  Today, however, I am sharing with you a letter from my mother-in-law, who is far more fearless in her activism.  She is hard at work trying to gain funding for  to bring a mobile pregnancy center to Delaware; the need for this Stork Bus is apparent to me as both a Catholic and someone who is trained in birth work, and that is why I  whole-heartedly welcomed her guest post.   Here is what she writes:



Dear Catholics,
           How would you like to participate in a stunt that, if it comes off, will REALLY piss the heck out of the folks who profit from abortion, like Planned Parenthood and their kin?

My name is Rae Stabosz. Some of you know me. Most of you don’t. I would like to interrupt your kitten videos, your reddit snark and your all-purpose interwebs fun and bring you a bold display of naked desperation.
  
You don’t have to label yourself “pro-life”. Labels can sound like polemic. This is a non-political stunt for anybody who holds to this equal care principle: in an unwanted pregnancy, both the pregnant woman AND her unborn child deserve equal respect and care.

            Here’s the stunt:
  
Between now and Sunday, November 30 – we internet White Hats will pool our resources and fund a SINGLE mobile pregnancy center equipped with ultrasound!

·       It will be beautifully appointed and staffed by professionals; it will park outside of abortion clinics in Delaware and offer FREE ULTRASOUND, FREE PREGNANCY TESTING and FREE COUNSELING to women in crisis.
  
·       It will also park at fairs, church festivals, and other happy community events, educating the public to the marvels of ultrasound technology and what it shows of intrauterine development.

·       All we want to build the bus and put it on the road is $120,000 in capital expenses. We will get the operating expenses on our own! (there’s a reason for that).
  
                You may have heard of Save the Storks, the national organization founded by Joe Baker in 2011. Save the Storks is taking the country by storm. Its mission is “to equip pregnancy centers to more effectively connect with abortion-vulnerable women ... by providing Stork Buses — mobile medical units — so that pregnancy centers can offer free sonograms and pregnancy tests wherever women need them.”

                Two months ago, an eclectic group representing two of the three counties of Delaware founded the Delaware Stork Bus, Inc. Our intention is to carry out the Save the Storks vision in Delaware. We have signed a contract with Joe and Co.  We are ready to rumble. And we want your help.
  
                We have put together a crowd sourcing campaign on GoFundMe with a goal of $120,000.

 BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT... I can hear you say.

·         “Why should I help you?  Aren’t there other groups in the country trying to get a Stork Bus off the ground?”

·         “I live in Kokomo, Indiana, home of the Kokomo Mantis. Why should I care about little Delaware?”
  
Fair enough. Here’s where “stunt” part comes in.  I DO live in Delaware, and I DO want to pull out all the stops to get this Stork Bus up and running. I freely admit that it is self-serving.

But if the stunt takes off we could scare the pants off of Planned Parenthood and fund more than just one little Delaware bus!
  
 “For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light, “ Jesus tells us in the gospel of Luke.  And isn’t it the truth?

No Stork Bus project has used crowd funding to our knowledge, and we hope to establish a precedent.  The secular world has been a lot quicker to harness the power of crowd sourcing than we have been.  Witness the success of the ALS Bucket challenge. In two weeks’ time it made four million dollars for the ALS Association and its 38 chapters. It did this by harnessing the power of social media and the fun of seeing people (especially celebrities) have buckets of ice dumped on one another.
  
Yet the ALS Association supports using human embryos for stem cell research, and so Catholics and others were not able to embrace this as readily as some.

$120,000 is just 4800 donors giving $25 each. What if the White Hat blogosphere gives more??
  
Here is the deal, and it’s a good one:

If we raise more than $120,000 between now and the end of November, we will give 100% of all additional monies collected to the national Save the Storks project!
  
That’s right! We are not greedy. This is our first fundraiser, and we are targeting our capital expenses only.  We will trust in our fundraising acumen to raise the first three year’s operating expenses on our own. We came up with this stunt not just for Delaware Stork Bus, but for all of us. We want to show the abortion industry that we can get a fully-outfitted Stork Bus on the road in a little more than two-months time. That will have them shaking in their stylish yet affordable boots!

We don’t want this to be a Zero Sum Game.  If YOU give to US, we don’t want you to worry that other Stork Buses will suffer.
  
Save the Storks gives grant money as part of its mission. So if our little stunt goes anywhere, and we collect any extra we make above our capital goal of $120,000, we will give the rest to Joe and his good people to give in grants as they see fit.

Most of you don’t know me from Eve, even though I’ve been an internet presence since before there was an Internet! (international PLATO system in the late 70’s, anyone?) I have left a 20+ years trail on the Internet.  Look me up and see if I seem trustworthy.
  
Look our entire Board of Directors up! You’ll find some surprises!


Yes, you will find that we have paid our dues. We are trustworthy.  Children of light: allons-y!  No need to be less sensible than the children of the world!




Rae Stabosz, with the Delaware Stork Bus Board of Directors:


Evelyn Baldwin
Susan Bullock
Nicole Collins
Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich
Ed Taubert
Tim Werbrich


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Problem With Blogging

The problem with blogging is that, at least for me, it does not have any due dates.  I know there are professional bloggers who, much like other journalists, have deadlines, but as an amateur blogger this is not the case.

 Now, there are a couple of reasons that this is problematic.  The first being my Pavlovian response to due dates that was cultivated by 13 years of public schooling.  People who have known me since grade school may laugh as I was notorious for not getting homework in on time, but with the exception of a single 11th grade journalism paper that I made a very calculated decision not to write, I had a fairly good record for handing papers in on time. I consider blog posts, at least the ones that aren’t just cute pictures of my children, to be in the same category as papers  as my writing process for both is very similar.

The second reason has to do with my writing process itself.  A lot of my writing is created and refined before I ever put a pen to paper or open a new word document.  During my school years, I would often to sit down to write papers, even the 10 page ones, the night before and have very little trouble finishing them in time to hand them in.  This is because as soon as I would read the instructions for a paper I would begin to write the paper in my head; by the time I sat down to actually write the paper, I was typing up the product of days and weeks worth of thought.  Under the constraints of deadlines, this writing process works beautifully, but without a deadline to reign me in, I can think and think about how I will write about a topic, but I never get to the sitting down and writing it out part. 

Now that I have realized what the problem is, I am actively trying to get to the writing it out step in my process so that I can share more here than just a handful of pictures every few weeks.  I can’t promise anything brilliant, but hopefully in this space I will start maintaining more of a balance between words and images.

Friday, August 8, 2014

7 Quick Takes Vol. 5

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Atticus and I attended the Delaware Big Latch On.  There were 129 babies from 2 weeks to 3years old nursing at the same time.  It was pretty amazing how incredibly silent the room got at the moment they all latched on.  If we are still nursing at this time next year, I plan to attend again.

-2-
Atticus has moved out of his cosleeper and his swaddle wrap.  He now crawls in circles in his sleep before he decides to either sprawl  out on his back or snuggle up by my side.  He now taps me on the shoulder or face to wake me up so he can nurse. I never thought I'd see the day that I actually enjoyed cosleeping, but it is here.

-3-
Ish brought home fresh basil from the garden at his work and instead of doing the obvious and making pesto, I made basil chocolate chip ice cream.  It is so good and since the kids are weirded out by it, I will get to enjoy more of it.

-4-
Little Ish and Lily have been on flights of the imagination all week.  The most often played game is Money Shop, but my favorite to overhear them playing is Christmas Eve.

-5-
Atticus had his 6 month well baby  visit (a month late) this week.  He is perfectly healthy and growing well!  Can I take a pause and celebrate 7 months of exclusively breastfeeding not accompanied by a failure to thrive diagnosis?  Woohoo!  Third time is a charm.

-6-
I signed up as a consignor for my favorite local consignment sale.  We have been needing to purge some stuff, but I've also given myself a tiny budget to help bolster my inventory as well.  I have a couple months to prepare, but I'm already getting super excited.

-7-
I am slowly working through The Right to Write by Julia Cameron.  It's been a pleasant yet challenging experience.  I am hoping it will help me get back into the swing of writing again.  I feel wildly out of practice, and my anxiety surrounding putting my writing out into the world has been crippling for the past couple of years.  Maybe over the next few weeks I'll actually manage to post something with substantial content (not just pictures of my kids being cute).

Linking up over at Conversion Diary!