Final list: Books 2011

1. After the Diagnosis: Transcending Chronic Illness by Julian & Betsy Seifer

2.  The Darcys and the Bingleys by Martha Altman

3. What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown

4. Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception by Charles Seife

5. In the Forests of Serre by Patricia McKillip

6. The Sons of Heaven (The Company)  by Kage Baker

7.Not Less Than Gods (The Company Series)  by Kage Baker

8.The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker

9.The House of the Stag by Kage Baker

10.The Bird of the River by Kage Baker

11-17. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordin

18. Mr. Chatworth

19-21. The Callahan Chronicles

22. The Time Travelers (The Gideon Trilogy)

23.The Time Thief (The Gideon Trilogy)

24.The Time Quake (The Gideon Trilogy)

25. The Hounds of Rowan (The Tapestry Series) by Henry H. Neff

26. The Second Siege (The Tapestry Series) by Henry H. Neff

27- 39  The Albert Campion Series by Margery Allingham

40. The Rythym of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons by Amanda Blake Soule

42. The Lover’s Dictionary: a Novel by David Levithan

43. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

44. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

45-61. The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold  (All of it all over again.)

62. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

63. The Last Little Blue Envelop by Maureen Johnson

64. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

65. A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

66. An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

67.  Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire

68 -82. The Liaden Books (Yes, all over again, all of it, just so I could read the last two books.) by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

83. Seven for a Secret by Elizabeth Bear

84. The White City by Elizabeth Bear



I know I left out a few library books, but since they weren’t either a) still in the ToBeReturned pile or b) listed out somewhere helpful (like in Calibre), they don’t get listed.  But still, 84 books this year.  No wonder the year passed by so quickly.  I had my head in a book for most of it.

Week of craziness

(One day soon I hope to come up with better titles…we’ll see.)

Thursday last we had a double crazy day.  I baked 6 dozen cookies over the course of the day, those yummy apple caramel cider ones I did last week, but this time with the chunk caramel rather than the bits.  Oh what a difference the chunk caramel made!  They went from yum to superextrayum!  After the kids came home from school we decorated the cakes they baked the night before and that morning.

Ben’s cake:

Ben's green car cake

David’s cake:

That night Nick took the kids to their cake auction while I went to a cookie exchange party at one of the newer neighbors houses.  I didn’t know most of the people there, but the kids did enjoy playing together and I came home with some fabulous cookies.  (photos to be added once I find them)  Nick came home with some other kids cake, as he was outbid on our kids cakes.  They totally loved that!

Friday was the quadrupaly crazy day.  Ben had eaten  one of the caramel chunk cookies without warming it first and his crown came out so he had to be taken into the dentist first thing in the morning.  Also in the morning there was a concert at school for all the kids and parents that hadn’t gotten to see/be in the big performance the week before.  My mom took Ben to the dentist and my dad, Greg, and I went to save seats at the concert.  Ben and my mom got back before the concert started but too late to sit with us.  David got to play his violin in public for the first time and did very well.

From there we went home and got some breakfast real fast before gathering stuff up for the class parties.  I’m the homeroom mom coordinator for our PTA this year, so I’d spent the week contacting all the homeroom moms and their teachers, trying to make sure all the room parties were being taken care of and that people were all signed up to bring stuff.  I brought a cartload of extras and put it in the school office in case anyone was lacking anything, as I had two parties of my own to help out with.  Fortunately for me, the other moms involved in the parties were awesome, so I was able to run back and forth between the two parties a bit.  While I was running around, I noticed this hanging in the bathroom:

Isn’t that amazing?!

Anyways, Ben’s party had bingo

and a Left/Right gift exchange (I wrapped extra gifts in case they were lacking some and passed them out to younger siblings afterwards).

David’s party made ice cream cone Christmas trees (idea from Pinterest, naturally)

and also played bingo (yes, Greg was everywhere all at once, too!)

It was a great afternoon, but I was exhausted and out of breath by the time I’d climbed all those stairs a half dozen times (sometimes I’d walk the extra distance and take the elevator, but it was pretty far away).

My parents picked us up straight from the time the bell rang and drove us down to Palestine for our annual trip to ride The Polar Express.

Mom and I dressed up in our robes for the event

The kids were likewise dressed in pajamas.  This year it was freezing cold, so everyone wore their jackets, except Greg, who tried to live inside my robe.

Looking down at the train

Sitting together

The other half

Mr. Conductor came and punched our tickets.  The kids continued to be sad that they weren’t punching words like in the movie. The elves came out and danced with Ben

and to our great surprise, David danced with her, too.  (Even more surprising actually was that Greg said “no.”)

Hot chocolate

The North Pole.  We decided to be nice and let another family that hadn’t been there before sit on the side with all the lights.  🙂

After the train ride we changed up tradition a little and ate dinner at Giovanni’s, which is right next door to Little Mexico (where we normally go).

We have no photos of Saturday at all.  Aren’t you feeling happy about that by now?

Sunday Santa’s helper Elmer the Brownie visited our house.  When he saw we were all decked out for the holidays, he brought us yummy cookies.

Monday we made some graham cracker houses (and used up all the leftover candy from the class parties).

Yesterday we got The Call and left for College Station a day early, thinking that Steph’s baby was on his way.  Sadly, he wasn’t yet (she was more than a week over due), but we did get in a little visit today and she opened his present from us (which was partly something to be used on Christmas day).  Tomorrow I’ll post some more pictures.  Aren’t you excited?

Oh so tired…

…but trying to catch up. In case you were wondering, I’ve gone back and finished up a few posts and hit “Publish” today, so in case you’re reading from a feed-reader you might want to visit the site and see what’s gone up lately (I’ve noticed that sometimes Google Reader doesn’t update when I hit “publish” on back-dated posts. Or sometimes it just pops up all 8 billion all at once. YMMV.). I’ve been saving posts on the theory that someday I might upload the photos and add the photos to them. Hahahah. Today was that day. But let’s not let me get ahead of myself.

Last Friday we got up and did…something, who knows what, until it was time to go to playgroup. This week they texted me that they wanted to do the library, which was fine by me, as we’d had to skip on Wednesday. The library’s Circus Day was different than we’d expected, more like an indoor winter carnival than a circus. It was fun for the kids, though. There was hand stamping and face painting (strangely none of our children wanting either thing done). Punching dolls and snowmen were set up to throw hula hoops around.


There was a Bobbing for Bears booth and Snacks & Storytime as well.


Greg’s favorite part was the Puppet Theatre: “And they lived happily ever after. The End.”

But really, it was all a little too loud in there because there were so many school groups and day cares in there. The kids asked to go to “the real library” so we headed over to the side with books and let them play in the regular story room and to look at books:

After the library we came home and I was exhausted. It was lunchtime. Nick looked at me and suggested a nap. So I reminded him of the kids rescheduled piano lessons, put my ear plugs in, and went to bed. I slept until 4:30 when the piano teacher rang and asked if we were still planning on coming. Apparently no one else remembered piano lessons. So I got up, drove the kids over, and stared out the window until it was time to go home. I got to officially meet her daughter and chat about pinterest for a few minutes, which was nice, but I was so out-of-it. Took the kids back home and tried to get things done, but really was not awake enough for anything.

Saturday we got up and blissfully had nowhere we needed to be. I rested all morning, as I was still exhausted, but things did not improve for me. Everyone else went to church and I stayed home and slept. By the time everyone got home I was doing well enough to load & unload the dishwasher, but not much else.

Sunday we got up and had a busy day full of cleaning and repairing. Nick and David worked on repairing the light fixture in the kids room:

Then I found Nick the dishwasher guide and he tried to fix the dishwasher. He got as far as I did the day I tried and also couldn’t get the part off that I couldn’t get off. So we read the guide and decided to try the suggestion to run hot water in the sink before we run the dishwasher. It’s seemed to help somewhat.

We washed and cleaned and swept and cleaned some more until dinnertime. It wasn’t a really exciting day, actually. Just productive.

Monday was yet another A. day. He was cranky. Greg was cranky. I was cranky. The less said the better, probably. The big kids had scouts in the evening and I got them to go together again like last week since it worked so well. 🙂

Yesterday I got the big kids to draw me their plans for their Scout Cake Auction cakes. They’re supposed to design and make their own cakes with a scout-like theme. We looked online for some ideas to enhance our designs, made a list of supplies needed, and then it was time for the big kids to be dropped off at school. Greg and I went shopping for those supplies, plus a few others for other baking related things we have going on this week (piano recital, gift cookies, cookie exchange cookies). We did not get the film that was developed because the film area was not open until 9am, which I find ridiculous, especially this time of year. Grr. Got home in time to pick up Greg’s school stuff. Once I got him settled at school, I came home and baked my first batch of cookies for the week, courtesy of Pinterest (recipe here and using stamps to press cookies here). Nick called and said he was leaving for Houston before lunch so he never got to sample them.

At that point it was time to head out for the PTA meeting. I brought them some cookies and some for the office staff as well. We had our meeting and then put together staff appreciation gifts (scented candles and hand-signed cards with candy canes attached with ribbon). I got out in time to grab food from home to eat on my way picking up Greg from MDO. Picked him and the big kids up, got them to practice their piano pieces one last time, then gathered up my kids plus an extra that was coming to be the audience for the mini-recital. Since our local family doesn’t celebrate Christmas and my parents are in BCS during the week, we asked friends from school & their moms (one mom not pictured) to come hear our little recital.

The recital went pretty well. The kids were a bit nervous and made a few mistakes here and there, but they were so happy to have their friends there it didn’t matter. The kids in the audience sang along to the songs they knew words to, which was super fun! I had thought about bringing my piano books with in case I was asked to play, but after all that PTA work, my hands weren’t up to playing by that point in the day. It would have been nice, though. After the recital we exchanged gifts with the teacher and the kids ran outside to play on the stumps in the front lawn (and were joined by a random kid on a bike):

It was a really good evening! At home I made a really simple dinner and we watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to wind down before bed.

Today we got up and I did a mini recital of my own for my own kids while they got ready for school. It was nice to play through my Christmas music for them and they enjoyed singing along. 🙂 Got the big kids off to school & then A. came over. The kids played in the back yard most of the morning, digging for dinosaur bones and looking for T-rexes over the fence in the creek.

I, of course, sat where I could see them and set about uploading photos and finishing inserting pictures into blog posts so they could finally be “published.” 🙂 Today was our awkward in-between day before a bunch of things happen. Tonight we’ll bake the cakes for scouts so we can decorate them tomorrow. I have to go to the store now and buy 2 more items that I couldn’t find at Super-Walmart yesterday for the cookies I’m baking for tomorrow nights cookie exchange party (which is happening at the same time as the Scout Cake Auction). Then the next day will be a school program in the morning, a coffee date, then all the class parties, followed by a trip on the Polar Express (on the Palestine to Rusk train), and ending up with dinner at the yummy Italian place in Palestine. I think I probably won’t be updating until Sunday or so, after I’ve had a chance to catch my breath. Y’all have a fun next few days! 🙂

Pinterest Addiction

I fully admit to it: I am addicted to Pinterest.  I haven’t posted much craft-like since I really started looking around there, I know, so here’s my round-up of what I’ve done inspired by things I saw on there.

I saw some baby pacifier moustaches and made those (pictured in the previous baby shower post), then adapted them for big boys as well.  They’ve been quite the hit.

I posted this one to Facebook, but this was the T-shirt scarf I made.  I’ve since made it in two other colors.  I have to say: 1) it looks so much better with a new t-shirt rather than an old faded one and 2) make sure your fabric is absolutely regular t-shirt material.  I did one that had extremely subtle ribs in the fabric which I didn’t notice until I did the stretching.  It wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t as cute, in my opinion.  I also tried the other one linked here where it’s manymany stretched bits of cut shirt, but it was not cute at all, so I took no pictures.

I got the idea for placing the poster board on the TV screen and tracing my cartoon character to make a poster off pinterest.  (Yes, you’ve seen this before on the birthday party post, but I didn’t give pinterest the credit.)  I didn’t keep the link or I’d post it here.

I made a reading nook for the kids (& their friends) behind Greg’s bed using the edge of the shelf and the edge of the nearby dresser for the curtain to spring-rod into.  The curtain is kid height, so parents can look straight in, but they are curtained off from brothers.  🙂

I had this old cork board that has lived various places in our house for years.  It was never quite big enough for hanging regular sized pieces of paper on, but it’s perfect as a board for notes on who we’re praying extra for this week.  🙂

Used my Pinterest-enhanced spray painting skills to paint this TV tray so it can go with my living room in my new reading nook.  🙂

Ok, so you can’t see it too clearly, but I had never thought about hanging extra seasonal stuff from my chandelier before Pinterest.  Sad, but true.  I don’t have a link to go with this.   I’ll post another photo later of it decked out for winter.

I did my hair differently for Thanksgiving, using a suggestion I found on Pinterest.  I think it turned out cute.  🙂

I thought these signs were so cute, so I made one of my own.  I used an old project (the scrapbook-paper covered cookie sheet with clothespins I made in MOPS a couple years ago, but never used for anything) and made it new with a little sign and socks.  Sadly, these were the cutest socks to be found in our household.  Also sadly I still have a whole basket of mismatched socks in my bedroom.

I saw lots and lots of glitter painted branches on Pinterest.  I thought I’d grabbed a can of silver glitter, but alas it was red inside.  It’s a really subtle look, very hard to see or photograph.  The branches are sitting in the broken-topped compost bin.  (Nick bought a new one already that’s bigger and easier to clean.)

I know most of you see something like this every day, but I’ve lived in this house 8 years and never had a vehicle that fit into our ridiculously short garage. (I’d hoped to get this done after the garage sale in August, but the garage was still too full.)  I read an article through Pinterest on just getting over yourself and getting the work done.  So I did.  🙂

You might have seen this in one of the other photos, but I found this image on Pinterest.  The link itself lead to nothing (sometimes they do that), but the image was cute, printed out okay, and looks nice matted & framed in my hallway.  (Sorry for the bad photo.)

We discovered on Pinterest that you could use regular metal cookie cutters as pancake shapers.  We used a moose cutout for this one, but the legs fell off as we took it out.  I say “we” but really it was Ben poking the moose out.  😉  He was a great helper!  🙂

I made these t-shirt pom-pom necklaces for friends this year.  (Sorry if you’re seeing this before being gifted.  We had a random extra mom at playgroup this week and it felt awkward to gift the old friends without gifting the new one. ) They were a wonderful use of the extra bits of shirts leftover from the scarf making.

I made these from another one of the dead-end posts on Pinterest.  I saw the pattern, but there were no instructions, so I made it up as I went along, adding leaves, beads, & pins on the back.  The first couple were made out of tail ends of other projects, but the rest were made to purpose.  They’re for teachers gifts this year (well, all except one teacher.  David reminded me that a man probably wouldn’t appreciate these. *sigh* )

Another kind of dead-end post activity.  This one was linked to a blog in another language.  I think this may have been something she purchased.  In any case, no instructions there.  I made mine out of a cardboard box that was destined for the recyclers, some silver paint from another project, recycled ribbon from a gift bag, other ribbon that I never could find a use for due to it’s weird color, and a photocopy of the Sugar Plum Fairy music for easy piano, one of my favorite childhood pieces.

We made these shrinky dinks from #6 plastic, the kind you generally find pastries in at the grocery store.  It can’t be recycled in our area, so up til now we’ve been tossing these on the rare occasions that we buy pastries.  (My parents buy them more often, so I’ve been dumpster diving over there.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.) Anyways, the kids have LOVED this activity, so we’ll be on the lookout for bigger pieces so we don’t have to use the crinky edges again (those weird looking ones in the middle.)

This last one was probably the least successful of my Pinterest inspired things.  The instructions said to use a protractor, and I’m fairly certain we didn’t have one.  That’s not what bugged me about it, actually.  What bugged me was the super fine glitter I used.  It went everywhere, stuck to everything BUT the snowflake.  Then the leftovers didn’t want to go back into the jar.  So, the moral of the story, don’t buy cheapo Wal-Mart glitter.  (Also, I need a better way to hang it from the brick.)

So there it is.  You’d wondered where I’d been: Pinterest.  Looks pretty good, yes?

The beginning of the insanity

So after the Boring Post of Boringness, things finally got interesting.

Thursday morning I kept Ben home from school because he had to go in and have a pulpectomy, which is basically a smaller version of a root canal. His little tooth was mildly infected, so they drilled it and put a silver cap on it. He said “it was terrible” and promises to floss more now. Here he is with the funny mask they put on him for the nitrous oxide:


We were going to go straight home for him to rest, but he was antsy so we went to the mall and looked for a present for his grandparents while we waited for him to stop being drooly and start being able to eat. Once he’d regained feeling, I fed him lunch (his lunch time is really early and he wasn’t done being numb by then)and took him back to school. I took no pictures of his drooliness by his request. Then I headed off for my piano lessons and the rest of the day.

Friday morning I got a text from my long lost friend Monaca asking us to go out for coffee, so we headed out to Einstein’s bagels. (If you sign up for their e-club they’ll send you a coupon for a free bagel with schmear with any drink purchase. I also have a refill cup there, so my refill only cost $1, which wasn’t quite as good as the promised 50c refills, but better than $2+ for coffee. No, I’m not being reimbursed by them to say this. I also signed up with Panera Bread for their card and got a free pastry coupon from them, too.) Greg got an “everything” bagel with strawberry cream cheese on it. It was pretty gross. My whole wheat with onion spread was delicious. From there we left for our regular Friday playgroup. This time we met at Pollard Park, which we’ve been going to since before Ben was born. It’s gotten pretty run down in its wooden seating areas, but the playground itself is in great condition, so the kids love it there.  It was much cooler at the park than it was at my house.  I’m surprised Greg didn’t freeze to death (he had a jacket and refused to wear it).  I ended up wearing someone else’s blanket as a shawl the whole time we were there.


My parents came into town again, so we hung out with them after school (though not that night, as Nick was making chili and I was baking cookies) and the next morning helped them put up lights outside. The kids, naturally, ran around and tried to drown each other in leaves.



That night was the Chili-Cook-off and Sing-Along at church. Nick made a super yummy, super spicy chili for the event. He won 2nd place!



We all had a great time singing along and enjoying the entertainment afterwards as well. I love live music, so it was a super fun event for me.



I admit to not taking any of these photos. I was too busy enjoying the event. They were either taken by Lupe Gonzales or Laura Moody or maybe even both. I am so fortunate to have facebook friends who take event photos and let me mooch off of them.  The kids sitting in front of us (I don’t know their names, as they’re not from our immediate church,but were visiting from nearby) were hysterical.  They danced and danced.  Our kids actually got up on stage and sung with the whole group at some point as well.





Sunday my mom, dad, and I left the boys at home with Nick and went off to do our Christmas shopping. It was CRAZY out there. I hate shopping near the holidays. Afterward we came home and the kids and I cleaned up the house while Nick cooked. Then my parents came over for our special birthday dinner for my dad.


I love this next photo because my dad figured out that if you time it just right, it seems like you’re blowing out the light-up candles on this bag. He’d press the button, let the song play, then say “Blow them out!” and Greg would blow on the bag and the lights would stop. It was so cute!


Here’s a little preview of our winter décor (another post on that another day, I promise):



Monday was another day with A. It was, of course, raining, so we had to figure out some indoor things to do.


I was beginning to realize at this point that I was having an RA flare, so I convinced everyone to go to scouts all together in one car at one time that night instead of me coming up and bringing someone halfway through the evening and taking someone else home. It was so very nice not to drag myself out of the house again. Oh so nice. Incidentally, the kids got all their reading done this week. Haha. Evil mommy plan worked.

Tuesday I spent getting my stuff ready for gifting. I did all the purchasing and cutting for crafts I planned on gluing on Thursday. I did not take pictures of this process. Aren’t you surprised? Teehee. Afterwards I went to the library for volunteering and took a picture of my favorite literary tree:



Tuesday night was a joint performance between our school and one other’s 2nd & 3rd graders of a program called “Flakes.” Ben was sad he didn’t get a speaking part, but he’ll have other chances.

Ben before with friends (they were supposed to be dressed for cold weather):


Ben during (see why it’s a good thing I took a before picture – my camera couldn’t handle the lighting differences and distance):


Nick and Greg watching the program (I thought I took one of David and the friends we sat with during the program, but can no longer find that photo. I wonder if he deleted it. He was cranky that night.):


I was going to post a video of the program, but I’ll be honest here: you can’t see my Ben (or the kids next to him, for that matter) at all. The kid in front of him was a) taller than him and b) wearing a huge hat (which they’d said they wouldn’t let kids wear, but with 300 kids up there, no one was paying attention to that). It was ridiculous, but there’s nothing I could do about it. The program was cute enough, but you don’t want to spend 20 minutes watching a shaky video where you don’t see Ben, right? Right. Moving on.

Yesterday was another day with A. It was freezing cold, literally, as evidenced by this ice we found in the back yard flower pots:


We were supposed to go to the library again, but it was Circus Day and A. professed a fear of clowns, so we stayed home and played inside and sprayed ourselves with colored hairspray.  And told each other silly secrets.  That was important.  And silly.



This morning we got up and, inspired by a friends pictures on facebook, made fancy pancakes.


We also made heart shaped ones and a reindeer. Ben helped me with a lot of the process: measuring, mixing, pouring batter into the pan, and keeping the already made pancakes warm while I made more.

And now I must run off and finish my gift crafting or no one will be getting presents for Christmas. 😉

Last of November, First of December

This week has been pretty boring. I know I should be thankful for boring because the next few weeks will be anything but, but really it was just not that exciting.

Monday we had A. over again for babysitting. The kids played, watched TV, ate lunch, all that kind of stuff. Nothing to report, really. No scouts that night because Nick was off talking to his mom’s class. The kids and I watched another Christmas movie.

Tuesday, after a few notes in the mails and calls, I went in for my free one year follow-up endodontic appointment. I was in and out in literally 7 minutes. They asked why I came in. “Umm…because you kept contacting me about it.” “We only sent one card.” “Then who has been calling me?!” “Not us.” It was…weird. So, since I had so much free time left I went home and cleaned before hitting the library for my volunteer time. You would think after all the cleaning this weekend there’d be nothing left to clean. You’d be wrong. Winking smile

Yesterday was another A. day. We took him to the library and he did really good. As we walked in he yelled “SHHHHH!!! WE”RE SUPPOSED TO BE QUIET IN THE LIBRARY!” and then was quiet ever after. I laughed hysterically. We did story time, a craft, picked out books, all of that. It went well. Got home, ate lunch, and off he went back with his mama.

p_00217 - Copy

We spent the afternoon splashing in puddles outside and taking pictures of our toes. After school we had a triple playdate with two of Ben’s friends and one of David’s. Mostly they played Sonic: The Black Knight (or whatever it is called; I bought it, you’d think I’d know, but nope).


And now you are all caught up.