Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book Review: The Goose Girl

The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1) The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is fantasy writing at its best! I enjoyed the story very much and was totally drawn into it. The "moral of the story" was really well-done too, without being overly saccharine and obvious. I wish I'd read this years ago when I first heard about the book. Now I'm looking forward to reading the other two books in the series. I bought the second one at Barnes & Noble yesterday and have added it to my too-high stack of books to read.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Wisdom of the Ottoman

When I was cleaning up the house one evening back in the fall, I noticed that the things that were scattered on the ottoman in the family room constituted a random but very accurate microcosm of what my life is about right now:

They are all things for John (my 4-year-old) and Sam (my 4-month-old): John's preschool books and craft project, part of an Aquadoodle pen, and his current favorite movie. Sam's bottle, diaper, bib, socks, and little baby slippers. This is evidence of how my life right now revolves around taking care of these two boys. I haven't lost myself in this process; it's simply that they are my full-time job. My husband gets up and goes to his office in the city in the morning; my office is my home, nurturing, feeding, and caring for these two future citizens of the world.

If I didn't have kids, the things on the ottoman would be completely different, representing the life that I used to have when I wasn't responsible for anyone but myself and could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to do it. Sometimes I really miss that freedom and that way of life. But I love where I'm at right now and the phase of life that I'm in. This is the time and the season for me to be a mother of young children. I wouldn't change the objects on the ottoman for anything.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Paying Homage to My Christmas Tree

It happens every year: the post-Christmas January blues. They're officially here. I guess it's not really January's fault. It just has the misfortune of coming after "the most wonderful time of the year." After the festive excitement of the holidays, January seems cold, dark, and bleak by comparison.

In order to help alleviate my blues, I want to pay tribute to our wonderful Christmas tree, because it was pretty amazing this year. We got it on December 5th and took it down on January 2nd--almost a full month--and to the end, it wasn't dropping many needles, and it had retained its fresh piney scent. And this with it sitting right in front of the heater, and with us being gone for four days and not being there to water it. In fact, when we got home on New Year's Eve after being away, we found that the tree had done this:

It actually started sprouting new buds! For being dead for a month (when it was lopped from the ground), this is pretty amazing. We've never had a tree that has done that. Peter says it must be the mineral content in our well water. If that's the case, those are some pretty potent minerals!

Look at those healthy, glossy pine needles!

It was sad to take the tree down when it was doing so well. I wish we could have planted it in our yard. But instead, it's now laying on its side in the woods behind our house. I can see it whenever I look out the kitchen window. John and I are going to pay it a little visit soon. Sigh.

There is now a big void where the tree stood.

I wish we could keep a tree in our house all year long!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Review: Kids and TV

Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children from Birth to Age Five Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children from Birth to Age Five by Lisa Guernsey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is an informative, interesting book about a subject that I think about a lot--young children and the benefits/drawbacks of TV viewership for them. The author addresses many good points on this topic and her research and resources are good. Her overall findings from delving into numerous studies are that the less TV the better, while also recognizing that good-quality children's programs can have definite benefits for the kids who watch them. My only problem with the book was how she went into too much detail about many of the studies she researched, citing the details of how they were conducted and the methodology behind them. I don't think it was necessary to include all of that. Otherwise, it's a very helpful book, with some great resources in the back too.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New Look!

In honor of the new year and the new decade, I've given my blog a new look. Alright, so I've been meaning to do that for a couple of months anyway, but I finally got motivated to actually do it with the advent of the new year. I changed the background because it became pretty bland when my last background disappeared in the fall. I also wanted to change the font and style of my blog title to something cool that I created in Word, but I can't figure out how to do that (anyone know how to do that?).

So anyway, welcome to 2010! I hope it's a good year for you. I have a feeling that it's going to be quite an out-of-the-ordinary year for my family and I. There may be a big announcement to make in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

(A random picture of Sam and I from last month.)