Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Birthday Deep Thoughts

The night before...

Hubby: "Where should we go for Mommy's birthday?"
C: "Well, we have to go to my soccer, and then how about we just come home."
Hubby: "Don't you think we should go out and do something else for Mommy's birthday?"
C: "OK, fine...(sigh)...How about Disney World?"

Now that's what I'm talking about!!!!!! Too bad we don't live anywhere near there!

*         *         *

6:22 AM on the big day...

O: "Happy Birthday Mommy!"
Me: "Thanks..."
O: "What?"
Me: "(Yawn) Uh, Mommy kind of wanted to sleep later on her birthday."
O: "But.......No."

*          *          *

Well Hubby came through (as he does every year) and helped the boys make me a delicious cake. C gave him specific instructions and an illustration to make sure the heart cake came out exactly right.

I  think Hubby captured C's vision quite well.

*         *          *
The boys were very excited to give me my present...something that may just help me achieve this 50 books a year challenge! We'll see...

I chose Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue as my first e-read. So far so good! Now if only the boys would stop climbing all over me to push the buttons, I might make some progress.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

50 Books in 2010--update #4 (38 weeks, 30 books)

Oy! I am really falling behind in this book challenge!

It was harder to get a chance to sit down and read during the summer than I thought it would be. I envisioned lots of lazy afternoons where I could read in the backyard while the boys frolicked around. And the boys did indeed do a good amount of frolicking. The problem? They wanted to me to watch closely while they did it! So after a whole afternoon, I'd usually be only 4-5 pages further along in my book. Hopefully I can play catch up now that I'm getting back into the routine of school, waiting in pickup lines, going to the gym, etc. There are lots of brief, hidden moments for reading, and I just need to capture them. Because finishing another 20 books this year is going to be a tall order!

C already said "It's OK, Mom! You can just do the challenge again next year!" Somehow, I think Baby #3 might be a little disruptive to that plan. While I definitely want to keep reading more frequently, next year may not be the best year for a challenge like this one. We'll see...

At any rate, here are my thoughts on books 21-30.

21. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
I had never heard of this book before, but I picked it up for 50c at the local library's book sale. Can't beat that price! It was an easy but slightly strange read about a band of children who discover a mystical secret.

22. The Summons by John Grisham
I think I've read all of John Grisham's books over the years, and I've found that I don't enjoy them as much as I used to. I'm not sure if that's because I've personally moved on from this genre, or if they aren't as original as they used to be. Another easy read, but not one that was particularly satisfying. Honestly, I can barely remember the plot at this point.

23. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
This book was wonderful! An interesting look at the scientific and social history behind the development of HeLa cells, one of the most commonly used cell lines in research today. I think this book would be an interesting read for anyone, not just people with a scientific background like mine. 

24. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
The final book in the Swedish trilogy that I discovered through this year's challenge.  A satisfying wrap up to the series, but I still think I enjoyed the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo the best.

25. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
A fictional account of one English village's experience with the plague. An easy read, but I didn't enjoy it as much as People of the Book, a book by the same author that I read earlier this year.

One of the hardest things about this challenge has been figuring out what to read! There are tons of books that are interesting, but which to choose? When I saw a book list on The Underwear Drawer, a medical blog that I've been following for several years, the problem was solved, for a few weeks anyway! I picked up the next three books on this list based on her recommendation, and thoroughly enjoyed them all. I've always loved medical nonfiction and these are three good ones.

26. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
A fascinating exploration of the clash between Hmong and medical cultures and a good reminder to always be mindful of the many influences that exist in each doctor-patient encounter.

27. Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
Very easy to read, thought provoking, and well written. I will have to look into more of his books.

28. Walk on Water: The Miracle of Saving Children's Lives by Michael Ruhlman
Another great read, delving into the world of congenital heart disease, as experienced by both physicians and families. This book was a particularly interesting read for me as I had a congenital heart defect, and I've actually personally met or heard a great deal about several of the physicians referenced in this book. 

29. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I was so excited for this book that I preordered it, and raced through it as soon as it arrived. I think I need to actually sit down with it again and read it through more slowly to really process it. This is the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, another set of books I would never have discovered if it weren't for suggestions I got through this book challenge.  The Hunger Games remains my favorite of the three, if only for how mind blowing the whole concept was.

30. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Another find for 50c at the library book sale! I don't know much about art, but I have heard of Vermeer and this painting, so it was fun to read this fictional account of how it was produced. I generally enjoy historical fiction, and this was a satisfying read.

*       *        *

If only I could count all the books I've read with the boys over the last month! I'd be well over 50 by now. We've discovered a new "easy reader" section at the library, filled with all sorts of great books. The boys especially like Cynthia Rylant's series "Mr. Putter and Tabby", "High Rise Private Eyes", and "Henry & Mudge". I'm also having fun introducing them to books that I remember fondly from when I was young like "Miss Nelson is Missing" and "Rotten Ralph." I love seeing the excitement in their eyes when we come home with a pile of new books because I always felt that same thrill on library day when I was a kid!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Birthday Cake

Conversation in the car...

C: "Mom! Mom! What kind of cake do you want for your birthday?"

Me: "Oh, I don't know. What do you think?"

C: "How about a heart cake?"

Me: "A heart shaped cake?"

C: "Yeah! Because you love us!"

Me: "That's nice...but how about it's a heart shaped cake because YOU love me?"

C: "Ok...that too. Good! So you can make a heart cake for your birthday!"

Me: "Wait a minute! I have to make my own birthday cake? I'm not going to make my own cake."

C: "But who else is going to make it? We don't know how to cook."

O: "Yeah, mom. We don't know how to make a cake."

Me: "What about Dad? Dad could help you make a cake."

C: "I think Dad's too busy for that. You can just make your own cake."

O: "Yeah! A heart cake...because you love us!"

Indeed I do...but why is that again???

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Future...

A conversation during bath time this evening...

C: "Hey Mom! I'm more than half way to 10!"

Me: "That's true. But don't rush to being 10. Let's just enjoy being 5."

C: "Why?"

Me: "Well, I don't want you to rush to grow up! Because now is so much fun! And eventually you'll get really big and grow up and move away, and then I'll miss you."

O: "But then you can still take care of me and the baby! And that will make you happy, right Mom?"

Me: "Right! But I hope C will still come and visit even when he's grown up. That would be nice too."

C: "Maybe..."
"...but I might forget where you live."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to make an Apple Pie...

Step 1: Go apple picking! Insist on using the ladders even though there are tons of apples easily within reach while on the ground.

Step 2: Fight with your brother about whether to make apple pie or banana bread, even though your mom already went out and bought all the fixings for homemade pie crust, but has no ripe bananas.

Step 3: Agree to make an apple pie when your mom threatens to cancel baking altogether.

Step 4: Eagerly help mix flour, salt and shortening for the dough.

Step 5: Lose interest all together and go watch TV while your mom peels, cores, and slices lots of apples.

Step 6: Return when it is time to mix the apple slices with cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. This part smells good!

Step 7: Inform your mom of the many ways she is rolling out the crust wrong. Remind her that the recipe calls for making a "lattice crust" with one inch strips of dough, and ask "But Why?!!" a thousand times when she says that's too hard.

Step 8: Load the filling into the imperfect pie crust.

Step 9: Humor your mom and tell her that perhaps the regular pie crust will turn out OK, even though you really wanted the lattice crust.

Step 10: Whine about how hungry you are and ask "Is the pie ready yet??" every 30 seconds for the next hour, until your mom finally takes it out of the oven.

Step 11: Whine for the next 20 minutes about how you don't want to wait for the pie to cool!

Step 12: Dig into a big slice of pie at 4 in the afternoon and completely spoil your dinner.

Step 13: Talk with your mouth full. Your mom won't mind since you're yelling, "Do I like it? Yes I do!" and "Thanks Mom!"

Five minutes later, ruin the post-pie bliss by pushing your brother into the edge of the table, so that he gets a big goose egg.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Winding Down

Since the boys have now started school, summer is officially winding down. I know there are still technically a couple weeks left, but I always feel that once school starts, fall is here! We've done most of the things on our "Summer Adventures" list, and since we'll be busy with school and our fall extracurricular activities, I don't think we'll cross off anything else.

  1. Move (yikes!)
  2. Explore all of the playgrounds in our new neighborhood (not sure if we've hit them all, but we've been to at least 4!)
  3. Take a family vacation
  4. Swimming lessons
  5. Join the library's summer reading program and read, read, read
  6. Go Strawberry Picking
  7. Go Blueberry Picking
  8. Go on a Treasure Hunt in the Woods
  9. Have a beach day
  10. Go to a minor league baseball game
  11. Go to a local racetrack and see a real car race
  12. Play Minigolf
  13. Bowling
  14. Go for a hike
  15. Visit local Children's Museum
  16. Visit local Science Museum
  17. Visit local Aquarium
  18. Go to preseason football game
  19. Visit Gramma and Grampa
  20. Visit the local farm
  21. Visit Zoo
  22. Host BBQ  
The weather was really beautiful this summer, unlike last year when weeks on end were rainy and cold. So I didn't really feel like taking the boys for indoor adventures. I think we'll save those for the fall. Bowling & Museums here we come!

And don't forget apple and pumpkin picking. I think fall will be pretty fun too!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Big Day!

Today was the first day of school for both boys. They both woke up early and were dressed and ready to go about 20 minutes before we needed to leave. I need to figure out how to make this last through the dregs of winter, when getting out the door always becomes a nightmare.

C is clearly comfortable after two years in school, and was happy to be left on his own to check out his new classroom. O was thrilled to go to school for the first time, and I thought that he would have an easy transition since he went to camp over the summer.  I was very surprised when he dissolved into tears when it was actually time for me to say goodbye. I guess the difference is that his brother was at camp with him, and this time he was really on his own. I left feeling like a terrible mom, but was reassured by the huge grin I saw at pickup, and the eager chatter about books, snacks, and art.

I can't believe that I have a kindergartener and a preschooler! 

I'm excited for them, but do wish they weren't quite so eager to head off away from me...

Can't time slow down just a little?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Body Parts

O studies my belly intently.

Me: "Are you looking at the baby?"
O: "Yes. Where's his foot?"
Me: "I'm not sure. Where do you think it is?"
O: "I think it's here!" (poking me in the side)
Me: "Maybe! Where do you think his head is?"
O: "Hmmm....maybe over here." (poking my other side).
"But I know his bum is here!" (poking the lowest part of my belly).
Me: "Really?"
O: "Yes. So he can poop on the floor!!!"

Sigh. Why does it always come back to poop?

Friday, September 3, 2010


I have suffered from insomnia with all of my pregnancies. I am always tired and can fall asleep quickly, but if I wake up in the middle of the night, it takes hours for me to fall back to sleep. Between Hubby coming to bed late because he fell asleep watching TV on the couch, having to pee, or one of the boys waking up, it seems that almost every night I am wide awake around 3-4AM. It's very quiet at that time of night...except for my brain, which, once awakened, seems unable to shut up.

Tonight I was sound asleep until I heard O crying in panic at 4AM. I had forgotten to turn on the hallway night light, which caused him a great deal of distress. "WAAAAH, Mommy!! It was too dark and I didn't know where the door was!!" He's now sound asleep with Hubby in our bed, and after 30 minutes of lying awake staring at the ceiling, I gave up trying to fall asleep again and came downstairs. Might as well do something productive with my time, like making lists of the phone calls I need to make when it's a more reasonable hour, what C & O each need for the first day of school, etc.

I've been feeling very stressed these last couple of weeks because both boys are starting new schools this year. C is heading off to kindergarten, and O will be going to preschool for the first time. Because C has a significant dairy allergy, any transition like this is very scary for me and most of my recent insomnia has involved worrying "what-ifs". I had grown confident and comfortable with his care at preschool, and it is hard to start again with new teachers and staff.  The lateness of class assignments hasn't helped my worries. It was only yesterday that I was finally able to meet his new teacher and speak with the school nurse! They both seem very nice and receptive to working with me to keep him safe in the classroom, so that is reassuring, but we will see how it all irons out once school starts. I haven't been worrying too much about O starting school since he seems ready for a new experience, he is going to C's old school, where I already feel comfortable, and so far he has no known food allergies. All of which are good things. But then I feel midnight "mommy guilt" that I am spending so much time trying to get things in order for C and I haven't really given O's transition much thought at all. With myself, I just can't win.

I keep hoping that once the boys settle into school, I'll be able to settle back into sleeping well. But if history is any indicator, I'll be suffering from this early morning waking for the rest of this pregnancy. Perhaps my body is just getting me ready for all those midnight wakings with a new baby. I guess that's not a bad thing.

But really, I'd rather get some sleep.