books, of late

I’m on a reading binge again.

I have no idea what order I read these in, as I entered them into all at once in some cases, but here’s the list:

7. Halting State by Charles Stross

This was really interesting, but took me forever, it seemed, to get through because of the multiple viewpoints.  I wasn’t really emotionally invested in any of them, which may have been part of the point.

8. Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks

Surprisingly, I was unable to finish this book.  In part because it’s listed at “New Fiction” at my public library and I’d had it out, then renewed it once, then tried to recheck it out the day I returned it (but they don’t let you do that).  But really it was because all the case studies sounded freakishly the same after a while and I was tired of hearing about people with perfect pitch whining about no longer having it.

9. The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong

Another book I didn’t finish, but by choice.  It just went on and on and I found that I wasn’t really that interested.

10. Atonement by Ian McEwan

I loved it up to the last section and then I loathed it.  Read it, you’ll see why.

11. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

The usual, pretty muchly.

12.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus 2

More yummy extra stories to my favorite vampire series.

13. Magic’s Child by Justine Larbalestier

You know what?  While I loved this book, I was still disappointed by the lack of tying things up at the end.

14. Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen


16. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

I’d seen all the movie versions (and loved them all in their differentness), but never read the book.  Wow.  This was sooo boring.

17. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen


18. The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards

The movie was coming on in 24 hours, so I sped through this one.  It was readable, but not as outstanding as the recommendations would have had me believe.

19.  Devilish by Maureen Johnson

This was so good & cute and I wanted so much more.

20. Mozart’s Sister by Rita Charbonnier

Umm, I was once again thwarted by our library’s weird check-out rules (although I guess since I’d had it a month and hadn’t finished it, I can see their point a bit), so I didn’t finish it, but by about half-way through I was annoyed with the “And so yet again, while I was more talented, my brother got all the credit/attention/women/etc.”

21. The Forgetting Room by Nick Bantock

Either his books are A)getting predictable or B)lost they’re magic or C) I’ve just read too many of them now.  (I’m thinking the answer is A.)

22. A Year Without ‘Made In China’ by Sara Bongiorni

This was an interesting look at one family’s decision to stand up for what they believed in.  I learned a lot about where a bunch of products come from.  It was entertaining, too.

23. Sky Coyote by Kage Baker

Steph warned me that this one would be harder to get through than the first one and it was, sort of.  Technically I got through it faster than the first book in The Company series, but it wasn’t as interesting.  I felt like they just made up the tribe and location (though they didn’t) and the language versus the setting was a bit weird.  Still I’ll read the next book (the worldview it’s set in is very interesting to me)

I’m currently reading: 1) The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and 2) The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

This week at the library…

Books we checked out this week:

For the kids:

Ellsworth’s extraordinary electric ears and other amazing alphabet anecdotes  by Fisher, Valorie.

Izzy and Skunk  by Fitzpatrick, Marie-Louise. *

Grandpa takes me to the moon  by Gaffney, Timothy R.

Dinner at Magritte’s  by Garland, Michael,

The stupids take off  by Allard, Harry.

There’s something at the mail slot  by Alborough, Jez.

Ida and the wool smugglers  by Alderson, Sue Ann.

Miss Nelson has a field day  by Allard, Harry.

Henrietta the clumsy hippo  by Greaves, John.  *

Basil Brush builds a house  by Firmin, Peter

For me: 

The monsters of Templeton  by Groff, Lauren.

The *’s are for books we’ve checked out more than once.  Here’s our method of choosing books.  It happens one of three ways; either a) Ben or David has a subject in mind.  We spend forever finding books in this category that are actually on the shelves.  This does not work often.  b) Ben &/or Greg go through the shelves and drag things out at random. c) I get fed up, pull off anything I can find in either New Kids Fiction or in the Awards Kids section.  My own method of choosing books is either a) looking endlessly in the catalogue & find something I want & then search fruitlessly through the shelves, where the book is never at or b) go to “New Fiction” or “New Non-Fiction” and laugh maniacally when I find things from 1998 or 1993, then check them out, because really, it could be worse.

a whirlwind kind of week…

Last week & the weekend went by far too quickly.  To sum up (this may take a while):

Wednesday: Three playdates in one day=crazy lady Lisa.  We had one at the park with a mom’s group + a friend with two kids.  Then in the afternoon we had our first-ever bring-a-kid-home-with-us-from-school playdate for David.  After dinner we had a playdate for Nick, sort of.  My friend B’s husband is a gamer and Nick went over to try it out, while the kids and I hung out with B & her kids.  It was a very long evening and things did not go quite as planned, but we did get to see a fabulous lightning storm on the way home, so that was at least something.

Thursday: I dropped the two older boys at school and ran five errands (with the baby & all the in-and-out nonsense with the carseat) and then collapsed in a heap.  I had a 101 fever and could not stop coughing.  It was bad.

Friday: Still sick.  Thought I might have to skip the bookstore/wedding extravaganza weekend.  Took the boys to Putt-Putt in the afternoon after I started feeling better.  They loved Putt-Putt.  Oh my.  (The Wii Sports package made my children so much more interested in sports, oh yes.)  At some point Nick realizes that he left no money in the account after bill-paying for me to take anything with me on the trip.  I was not amused.

Saturday: Not sick anymore.  Birthday money in hand, I left for DFW & bookstores & wedding.  Whirlwind crazy day with many bookstores & food at the Great Outdoors & Macaroni Grill & seeing two of my favorite people (Steph and Mikie).  Eventually got to the wedding of Gooch & Christi, after hotel map/google insanity and not-nearly-enough-time-to-get-ready (so if my hair was weird, now you know why).  The wedding was awesome, with Star Wars music & wookie sounds at the end and “We’ll talk about that later” in the vows.  The reception was even better.  There were pages for everyone to “be creative” with for the guest book.  Many people did not bother doing both sides, but mine was filled up front and back (one side with “old style paper blogging” of naughty quotes and the other nicely done for the scrapbook page.  There was an enormous amount of enthusiastically bad dancing.  Nothing was set on fire, but a lot was toasted over those little candles.  Saw lots and lots of people I haven’t seen in ages, which was fabulous, and a Girls Day Out was mentioned for the future, which I am looking forward to.  We headed out around 10:45 because we were exhausticated, but apparently things didn’t go on much longer than that.    (my meager amount of photos at flickr)

Sunday: Got up far too late and started the day at another bookstore.  Went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch, which I’d never been to, but had heavenly cheesecake (Nick will learn to make the one I had; it was Lemon Raspberry).  Then I had to leave for home.  Came home, we each played one game on Wii Play (which was David’s present from Aunt Steph), then turned around and left for Bible study.  Discovered our IRS refund in the mailbox (which would have made the weekend less worry-making.  oh well, that’s what credit cards are for.).  Had pizza for dinner, watched the very first episode of the Care Bears tv show, and went to bed.

Today: Woke up late, in a panic, but not too late.  Took big kid to school, went to the bank, the gas station, the grocery store, and took a walk, all before 9am.  Then we cleanedcleanedcleaned and ate lunch.  Then I put the baby in his crib and told Ben not to bother me because it was “quiet time” and wow, I haven’t heard a peep for an hour now.  It’s so cool!  (He’s asleep, btw.)

This week

Books we checked out:

For the kids:

  • A Froggy Fable

This was Ben’s favorite.  The afternoon after we got it, he handed it to me and said “I’m doing reading ‘A Froggy Fable,’ Momma-mema,” which was amazing, as I’d not yet told him the title, nor read him the book.  I asked about how he knew the title and he said “Sometimes I can just read things inside my head.”

  • You are special, little one
  • Let’s pretend

Greg loved this one.  It featured kids dressed up as mommies, daddies, firefighters, dragons, etc. and tried to maintain a storyline throughout.

  • Sleepers
  • What is that?

For me:

  • A year without “Made in China”
  • The Palace of Illusions: A novel

We’re trying to track favorites and such.  Usually I’ll be copying/pasting from my library account, but this week I made due off the print-out they gave me, so there’s no authors listed.  Most of the kids books this week were board books, since it was just me and Greg doing the picking.  A Froggy Fable was not a board book.

oh happy day!

It’s been a good week.  Aside from the hacking cough and looming threat that it will turn into pneumonia, everyone’s been really quite happy and not having too many of the meltdowns we had last week.

In other happy news, a certain very-soon-to-be-married lady sent me computer parts to repair the old computer, so instead of spending $500 for a new one, we can spend about $50 for a power supply and call it done.  (They are sooo getting a good wedding gift!)

Also in the mail came a care package from a certain beagle loving lady in Austin.  The kids loooved their little Just Add Water! toys and we’ve listened to the cd many many times now.

We got two contradictory things in the mail as well: one a letter stating that no, you can’t have money out of your medical cafeteria plan and one a check from that plan in the exact amount the previous letter said we couldn’t have.  It was exciting, really.

Ben wants you to know that his new name is Prince Swimming Pool and my name is Princess Mommy Sunglasses and David’s is Prince Magic Rings and Gregory is the Dread Pirate Baby Booty.  He would like to rename his daddy King Baseball Cap, but Nick was not responding to it, so he gave up on that idea.  (Oh, and since I’ve started typing this my name has changed to Princess Mama Mema.  The other names he gave out a few days ago, but apparently I get a new one now.  woo-hoo!)

I got a birthday card in the mail yesterday, as did David.  We’re conspiring to put our birthday money together and buy something fabulous.  We don’t know what.  But we only have $28 dollars now, as he had to put some of his money towards replacing something he broke in the backyard, so we may have to wait for another holiday to get more money for our something fabulous.  That’s okay.  We can be patient (we keep repeating that to ourselves, as we’re really not all that good at being patient.).

In other news, every time I turn my back on him Gregory does something else naughty.  This morning alone he has drank water from the toilet (using a medicine cup), eaten enough of my toothpaste that he might be minty for life, climbed inside the oven (one rack was set low and the other high and there was just enough room for him to climb in the middle.), taken all my money out of my purse and strewn it around the house, attempted to eat a beer bottle top that he dug out of the trash can, and dragged down the guitar (which he attempted to put on and play) & used the nunchuk from the Wii as a pick.

We had another successful playdate the other day.  Today we’re going to the park with a group of ladies not from my personal mom’s group, but from another one (my group doesn’t have anything scheduled that works with my calendar, but another group has graciously taken me in on their scheduled outings), and we’re also meeting friends there (who we’ve recently found out is the sister of another person we know).

Sorry if this post is scattered; I’ve been interrupted more times than you can imagine while typing.  (Plus the sound of Wii Bowling combined with the wild orchestral music from Yanni is a bit much to think over, especially when your ears are stuffed up enough that everything sounds like it’s inside a tin can.  FUN, I tell ya.)

I’m double-16 today!

I like even numbered birthdays.  I can always be double some really small number and today’s is especially happy cause it’s my double-sixteenth birthday!

I haven’t really gotten any presents yet.  My camera isn’t in the budget at the moment, so I’m waiting on that and …well, I think everyone else may have forgotten my birthday.  But that’s all right.  I realized the other day that I don’t really have many friends in town any more (and the ones I have are always sooo busy)  and I haven’t really celebrated my birthday since David was born, so …I’m okay with that.  *shrug*  It’s not like anyone else I know celebrates their birthdays either.  (I’ve totally missed several friends birthdays this year.  Maybe I should give them gifts today.  It’ll be like Hobbits-meet-MayDay.  You’ll just find something on your doorstep and wonder if it was from me.  woo-hoo!)

To celebrate, so far I’ve eaten some cake, cleaned up several largish messes, played some Super Mario 2 & SuperMario 3, and then hosted a playdate (wherein several of the messes took place).  Nick brought me some pretty flowers during lunch.  After lunch I had a bit more cake (Ben wanted some: it’s his fault) and now I have one sleeping child and one child who is content to sit in a chair with his blanket & some books.  It’s nice.

This evening is a boy scout night, so we’re having easy food, but food that we don’t normally have lately: ravioli!  I love ravioli!     And then afterwards we’re having Rocky Road ice cream. Mmm…

(while I’ve been typing, child-in-the-chair has fallen asleep.  hooray!)

Happy Birthday David!

David started out his day at Nana’s house going room to room, whispering “Wake up! I’m 7 years old today!” to everyone he came across. After a long time of waiting, he finally got to open his birthday presents (from us: two small lego sets, from Nana & Pa: a Sudoku board game; he also got a Wii from us and Nana & Pa and Grandma & Grandpa). Then we had a huge brunch with lots of things he loves to eat. He ran around with this crazy hat on all morning long, indoors and out.

In the evening he came home from church to a small party all set up in the kitchen.  Our theme: revisiting birthdays past.  (In other words: we used up all the napkins, hats, blowers, cups, plates, etc from all the kid parties & baby showers we’ve had in the past.  It was actually really really fun!)  We had a backwards me: birthday cake first, then nachos & tacos.  Afterwards the kids each got to pick out a 30 minute show and we had a movie night.

Later this week he’s going to have a couple friends over to play on the Wii (we weren’t able to get in touch with them up til now–I think they gave out bad phone numbers).  It’s been a pretty good birthday for this boy.

More photos can be found here.

looking through new eyes at old things

Today has been interesting so far.

1.  We had Gregory’s 18 month well-child check-up.  He’s barely gotten bigger, height or weight-wise,  in the last six months.  The doctor said we’ll keep an eye on that.  (yeah, yeah.)  Also, he’s more bow-legged than he should be. (uh-huh, I know that; I do have eyes). The doctor is sending us on to a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon.  Yay. Cause we need more specialists in our lives.  Lastly, he’s got water on the ear.  “On the ear?”  Yeah, I don’t really remember the correct term at the moment.  In any case, it’s not infected, it’s not hurting him, and it’ll more-than-likely go away on its own (hello?  have you met our family?  when do our medical issues ever ”go away on its own?”)

2.  We had a playdate with my friend BB and her kids CB, SB, & bb.  She came in and looked at my small living room (with all the furniture in the universe in it) and said “I LOVE THIS ROOM!” and proceeded to point out all the features that I do, in fact, LOVE and oftentimes forget that I love them.  She noticed the kids art and made much of things.  Her kids ”showed” my kids toys that my kids never touch and now, several hours later, my kids are still playing with those things (and in ways they’d never done before).  She also exclaimed over the kitchen gadgets that I take for granted (built-together steamer basket for my medium pot, 6-sided grater with rubber bottom; I feel like I cheated her somehow by not using the mandolin-look-alike for the carrots). She was encouraging about my scrabbled-together craft space.  She even invited my husband out to play games with her husband (who is a history-gamer geek) while us and the kids do something else together.  Anyways, our kids got along famously and one of hers didn’t want to ever go home again, which is a huge compliment, playdate-wise.

So now I’m looking at my kids and my house and my stuff with new eyes.  It’s refreshing, actually. *

* I have to admit here that I am totally helped along in this “seeing things with new eyes” phase by the fact that having one of my friends here totally made me want to finish up putting up the art & stuff that I still hadn’t gotten around to before the party.

Our yard…


Originally uploaded by awamiba.

…not only has a new fence, but the roses are trying to take over. Yesterday we only had three blooms, but today there are over twenty!

Plus we have tiny corn sprouts in the side yard and something that I can only describe as a “cone” of wysteria forming in one corner. Nothing else has sprouted yet, but I’m sure it will any day now.