How Do I Love Thee- Parenthood style

(This was a joint collaboration on the part of my superman and myself. He started it, jokingly, I added a couple lines and posted it here. We really do love our kids ūüėČ )

I love thee like a morning, that you’re not awake.¬†
I love thee like a diaper, that thou didst not poop in. 
I love thee like a little girl, that actually goes to bed when she is told.
I love thee like a trip to the library, without a tantrum when we must depart. 
Oh yes, sweet toddler, I love thee. 

I love thee like the sound of silence, when thou hast gone to bed. 
I love thee like the peaceful cup of coffee and reading the news before thou awakes. 
I love thee like the moon–all the way to it and back.¬†
Oh yes, Sophia my sweet, I love thee. 

20140707-210916-76156476.jpg

Kids Book Reviews ~ Library Haul #2

Throughout this summer, Sophiapea and I are participating in our library’s summer reading program. ¬†That doesn’t really change anything about our reading habits, except that there are incentive prizes, and who doesn’t like incentive prizes? ¬†Anyways, since we’re reading so much now anyways, I thought it was high time that I introduce a weekly post about the kids books we’ve read from the library. ¬†Obviously, these aren’t the only books we read, I just want to make a note of the kids’ books that I end up liking, and which ones I never, ever want to read again.

what_does_the_fox_sayFirst up this week is “What Does the Fox Say?” By Ylvis

As you may be guessing, this is just an illustrated version of the Youtube hit song. ¬†I thought it was tremendous fun, both reading and singing. (Who knows what all the words are now?! ¬†This girl…) ¬†Fun fact that is probably instigating a healthy amount of my interest in this book: We taught Sophia to say “Ding, ding, ding” when we ask her what the fox says. I love having kids! ūüėÄ

The illustrations were kind of quirky, but entertaining.  Like the song.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

crafty_chloeSecondly, we have Crafty Chloe by Kelly DiPuccio

This was pretty cute. ¬†It’s all about a little girl creating a present for her friend, and I like the idea of encouraging kids to make presents rather than having to buy everything. ¬†Sophia got it into her head that Chloe was a princess, and so we had to read the “princess” book several hundred times. ¬†I didn’t completely hate it by the time we took it back to the library, so that is always a bonus. ¬†It had some cute dialogue, and I think it stretched Sophia’s attention span, which is always a good thing!

The illustrations were great too, and there were plenty of little things to discuss in the pictures. Dogs, stars, and LOTS of colors.

 

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

find_the_constellationsFind the Constellations by H. A. Rey was fantastic. ¬†It ended up being a little beyond Sophia, but it was such an amazing, educational book, that I’ve added it to a list of books that I actually want to buy when my kiddos are a little bit older. ¬†It had great illustrations of the constellations, tips on finding them in the night sky, and short quizzes throughout the book. ¬†I think it will be a fun summer “class” in a couple more years.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

its_a_firefly_nightIt’s a Firefly Night by Dianne Ochiltree was another cute one. ¬†It made me really nostalgic, because I remember loving the fireflies and being so excited the first night they came out in summertime. ¬†It makes me a little bit sad that there don’t seem to be any fireflies in Washington State, but we’ll be back in the south in a few years, Lord willing, and there will be plenty of time to show the kids the wonder of fireflies. ¬†Plus, it rhymes. ¬†I love kids books that rhyme!

My rating: 4 out 5 stars

This Moment

This moment.  This bleary-eyed, early morning moment, is only here once.

It’s easy to forget, and settle into a routine of wishing. ¬†Sometimes I wish¬†the baby would sleep through the night. ¬† I really wish Sophiapea would get through her latest ‘difficult toddler’ phase. Somehow I wish there was both more¬†and¬†less time in the day.

But this moment, this coffee-fueled, quiet moment of morning is only here once.

Sophia will be happy and sweet today, for the most part. ¬†She will also throw tantrums that try my soul, and make short work of re-messying everything I clean. ¬†Klaus will win me with his smiles, and make it difficult to deal effectively with Sophia in her dramatic moments by his seemingly incessant need to eat. ¬†But the thing I’m going to remember–the thought fueling my reset button–is that this moment, that is consumed with childhood and babies, is only here once.

I’m going to look into the chocolate brown eyes of my toddler and remember that she is only two before I snap at her about something inconsequential. ¬†Because I won’t remember these heavy-lidded, exhaustion-toned mornings in a few more years–I’ll remember the sweet moments with my babies

So, my now-cold cup of coffee is lifted in toast to this morning. ¬†Here’s to coloring, dancing music, and beautiful princesses. ¬†Here’s to the weird little things Sophiapea fixates on until I verbally acknowledge her fascination. ¬†Here’s to the sweet warmth of a snuggly baby, and the smiles that greet me. ¬†Here’s to the piles of dirty laundry and the messy floors.

This sweet, chaotic, kind of sticky, definitely sleepy moment is only here once.

 

20140620-065133-24693805.jpg

20140620-065215-24735067.jpg

BOOK REVIEW: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

mazerunnerBook: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Genre: YA, Dystopian

Description (from goodreads)¬†“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.”¬†

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

 

I have generally been a big fan of the YA dystopian society genre. ¬†Series like The Hunger Games and Divergent really opened my reading horizons to include just about any YA books that look like they might exist in a dystopian setting. ¬†For some reason though, I had a really hard time getting into The Maze Runner. ¬†I probably wouldn’t have finished it, except that several people in an online book group recommended sticking it out. ¬†Kind of against my better judgement, I kept reading and just prayed that the story would pick up and I wouldn’t feel like I’d wasted a couple hours of rare free time. ¬†They were right. ¬†The story did pick up. ¬†It just took me a while to get into the writing style, on top of the fact that it seemed like the story was just free-floating down a river for ages. ¬†You knew the river was supposed to end in a waterfall, but there was no way of knowing when the calm, steady flow of water was about to disappear off a precipice.

I did learn something from this book.  Namely, I despise made-up profanity almost as much as I despise normal profanity in writing.  I understand that Dashner was probably making some kind of point, either about how ridiculous it is that we assign different levels of good/evil to completely arbitrary words, or possibly insinuating that people will just always find a way to curse, whether they remember the s-word or the f-word, or not.  Either way, my skin crawled each time I read one of those words.

All things considered, I’m glad I read it. ¬†I also read the second book, and have the third book out from the library right now, so stay tuned for my reviews of The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

KIDS BOOK REVIEW: Oh No, Gotta Go! By Susan Middleton Elya

oh_no_gotta_goBook: Oh No, Gotta Go! by Susan Middleton Elya

Genre: Children’s, Bilingual

 

Oh No, Gotta Go! Is the hilarious and entirely believable tale of a car ride and a child who realizes, shortly after the departure, that she¬†has to go. ¬†Parents everywhere understand the fear that arises when this phrase pops up during a roadtrip–usually right after you pass the last exit for two hundred miles. ¬†Oy. ¬†Gives me cold chills just thinking about it. ¬†Anyways, this is a book, so it’s not scary.

What makes this book double the fun is that it is bilingual. ¬†What makes this book triple the fun is that it isn’t boring bilingual. ¬†You know the type… you have to read one page in English, and then the same page again in Spanish. ¬†Nothing exactly wrong with that, except that it is incredibly difficult to coax the average toddler¬†who does not already know Spanish into maintaining interest in the book while you stumble through a page of rudimentary Spanish words.

Oh No, Gotta Go is a riotous rhyming romp in English, with Spanish words punctuating and fitting into the rhyme no matter how horrible your Spanish accent is (you can trust me on this because mine is dreadful). ¬†I laughed out loud while reading the book to Sophiapea. ¬†And then my husband started listening to me read it, and he laughed out loud. ¬†And then when I was done reading the book to Sophiapea, he started reading it again, for his own benefit. ¬†It is one of those books that is¬†fun¬†to read aloud. ¬†You can trust me on this–I have read plenty of children’s books that were¬†not¬†fun to read aloud, aloud. ¬†This was a true gem.

It was good enough, funny enough, and unique enough, that I strongly suspect my daughter will find herself gifted with it at some point in the near future. ¬†I’m such a thoughtful mother. ūüėõ

If you have children who are of an age for picture books, this is definitely one to check out.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Multiplication and Fractions

Two years.¬† Two first breaths.¬† Two bright pairs of eyes.¬† Two sets of perfect fingers.¬† Two sets of exquisite toes.¬† Two brand new smiles–one with dimples, one without.

Two is new, for us.

IMG_1163

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are twice as many dirty diapers.  Twice as many bottles of baby shampoo.  At least twice as many wakeful nights.  Two times as many pacifiers.  Double the lost socks.

Half the amount of “free” time, and I daresay the floors will be dirty twice as quickly as before.¬† The dishes will pile faster, and probably sit longer before I manage them, and the same for the laundry. Grocery shopping will be more of a three-ring circus act than before.¬† Naptimes will be more precarious.¬† There will doubtless be more sick days, and nights spent wiping drippy noses and worrying over winter coughs.

But, that’s only half the story.

IMG_1183

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are twice as many giggles.¬† Twice as many hugs.¬† More rounds of sweet “good-night” wishes, and happy kisses.¬† One more to fill an arm, hold a hand, and take possession of your heart with a strength you never imagined.

Twice as many laughs. Two subjects for photography, and treasure troves of truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories.

There are two now, and altogether we are four.  Who knew multiplication could be so sweet?!

IMG_1211

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing the New One–Klaus Daniel

Born April 9th, 2014

IMG_1173

BOOK REVIEW: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

hex_hallBook: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Popular

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. ¬†It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. ¬†Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father–an elusive European warlock–only when necessary. ¬†But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a. k. a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. ¬†By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. ¬†Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. ¬†As a series of blood-crudling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her. ¬†(Description from book jacket)

 

As you’ve most likely guessed from the title and description of this book, it is a bit of a silly YA book. ¬†As a general rule I try to shun books that openly use the word “crush” in the description. ¬†But, I was reading the description very quickly, with a baby in my arms and a toddler running wild… somehow it slipped through the cracks. ¬†As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the book, despite the indication of angsty drama. ¬†I actually laughed out loud within the first couple chapters. ¬†Definitely was not expecting it to be quite so humorous, but it really was a fun and funny quick read. ¬†I finished it in a couple of hours.

As far as the plot goes, it was a little predictable, but still managed to catch me at the end with a bit of surprise. ¬†It is the first book in a trilogy, but I have no idea where it will possibly go from here. ¬†It seemed like a nice, self-contained story, and it really surprised me that there was more to the series. ¬†I guess I’ll just have to read the next two books and see what happens. ¬†I’m at least curious now, if for no other reason than to see how on earth the author plans to make the story move forward from the grinding completion¬†it came to at the end of Hex Hall.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The New One by Josh and Elizabeth P.

The New One: Klaus Daniel Peterson

Est. 4/9/2014

The New One is decidedly cute, and much adored by The First One–both are doted upon by The Mom One and The Dad One, and also by A Grandma One and an Aunt One who have come to visit.

Aside from adjusting to The New One’s strange distaste for sleeping during normal sleeping hours, all the P.’s are doing well and looking forward to bringing you more book reviews in the beginning of May.

The sabbatical was unintentional, as The New One chose to arrive a week ahead of schedule.  The Mom One was very grateful to be released from whale status early, but did not manage to get her quota of blog posts written and scheduled early.  Oops! But thanks for your patience!

IMG_1183

BOOK REVIEW: Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole

letters_from_skyeBook: Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

 

Genre: Historical, literary

 

In early 1912, a fan from Illinois writes a letter to the little known poet, Elspeth Dunn, who has never left the tiny island of Skye. ¬†They begin a correspondence that spans several years, and ¬†ultimately leads to their falling in love in the midst of the first World War. ¬†In 1940, London is under siege, and Elspeth’s daughter Margaret finds the hundreds of letters her mother has kept ever since those first world war days. ¬†Elspeth won’t tell her what happened, and mysteriously disappears after Margaret discovers the letters. ¬†It’s up to Margaret to try to unravel the secret of what exactly happened between her mother and The American all those years ago.

 

Letters from Skye is a gorgeous¬†book. ¬†The story of Elspeth and David’s relationship in the earlier part of the century is told entirely through their letters back and forth. ¬†I know it’s a lot more difficult to make a story feel multi-dimensional when told from a limited medium like that, but this book was truly beautifully done. ¬†The story was fleshed out with the tidbits you glean in the later time period of the story. ¬†It’s a complicated love story, in spite of the fact that you really only hear about what happened from two very biased parties as they relate to one another. ¬†In the end though, they did the right thing in the resolution, and at the very end, though it was long belated they fulfilled their destiny.

This is one of those books that just¬†fits¬†me. ¬†I love the style it was written in. ¬†I love the language. ¬†I love the time period. ¬†If I don’t particularly love some aspects of the story, it’s okay because they all do the right thing in the end and everything turns out happy. ¬†Have I mentioned lately how much I love happy endings? ¬†I do. ¬†I really do.

Letters From Skye was a pretty quick read. ¬†I finished it in an evening or two. ¬†Partly because–let’s be honest, here–once I started I could hardly put it down.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

BOOK REVIEW: Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini

mrs_lincolns_dressmakerBook: Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker chronicles the friendship that sprung up between Mary Todd Lincoln and her dressmaker, Elizabeth Keckley–a free black woman–during the Lincolns stay in the White House. ¬†A skilled seamstress, ¬†Elizabeth Keckley built a business for herself, fashioning gowns for the elite ladies of Washington D. C. ¬†Mary Todd Lincoln was among her clients, and during the time the Lincolns spent in the White House, Keckley became a well-known, if not integral, part of White House society. ¬†In later years, she compiled a quilt with scraps from the dresses she made for Mary Todd Lincoln, naming it the Mary Todd Lincoln quilt, and also compiled a memoir entitled 30 years a slave, 4 years in the White House. ¬†Though the friendship between Mrs. Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley fell out over some scandal after Keckley’s memoir was published, the memoir remains as proof of a unique friendship in history.

 

Once again, Chiaverini has taken a piece of actual history and fashioned it around a novel. ¬†While she is unparalleled in her research and writing stle, I do not think Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker was her best work. ¬†I’ve loved a lot of her other books, but this one just didn’t do it for me. ¬†Ordinarily, I really enjoy the historical fiction books that are crafted around actual people and events. ¬†I still think they take a great deal more finesse than just about any other book. ¬†This one just felt too slow. ¬†I never got a real sense of what the plot actually was and it just felt like pages, upon pages, of descriptions and events going nowhere. ¬†Lots of historical facts–not a whole lot of interesting plot. ¬†It was painfully slow. ¬†Things just kept happening for no apparent reason. ¬†I know, I know, it’s real history–every moment isn’t necessarily a roller coaster. ¬†But, to be considered good fiction, it has to have¬†some¬†elements of a plot. ¬†Feeling something for the main character would be a start. ¬†I never felt attached to Elizabeth Keckley. ¬†Her son dies fairly early on in the book, which could have been a big deal, except that it was so far removed from the story itself that it felt more like a footnote. ¬†Didn’t know him, didn’t really understand the dynamics of the relationship between him and his mother, and didn’t particularly care when he died. ¬†Plus, it was all but forgotten a chapter after it happened, except for a few other random mentions. ¬†The same goes for the death of Keckley’s husband. ¬†Granted, he wasn’t even living with her at the time, and apparently he was a bit of a scumbag, but all that goes to prove is that his death did nothing for the story. ¬†It was just a random fact. ¬†Honestly, I feel like this book would have been better if it had just been a biography of Elizabeth Keckley, and written like a biography. ¬†If I hadn’t been expecting a novel, I would have enjoyed this book a lot more.

If you want to read a really great historical fiction book about somebody real in history, try Chiaverini’s The Spymistress before you read this one. ¬†At least then you’ll know how good history-based historical fiction¬†can¬†be.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars.  I would give it just 2 stars, but the history was exceptionally well-researched, so that at least has to count for something, I guess.