Thursday, August 29, 2013

Baby in White

Babycakes had his blessing day on August 4th.  He was a perfect little gentleman and didn't make a peep during it--well done, baby.  Anyway, Drew did more of a play by play on his blog so I won't get into it too much.  Suffice it to say that Drew did a great job, just like I knew he would, and said many good things.  It was also nice that my Dad happened to be in town for it so he could join in and represent our side of the family.  

We changed Boo Boo soon after, to avoid the risk of ruining his little outfit and then I realized later that, duh, I didn't take any pictures of him in it!  So we fixed that the next day.  It was a team effort to get smiles AND pictures (he is often distracted out of smiles by the camera), but we got some great shots.  Here are our favorites:








 Way to be cute, Babyface!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Rundown

I have always been partial to the number three, and now that Babycakes is three months old, I am extra fond of him.  Haha, just kidding.  I am always extra fond of him.  We haven't seen the doctor this month so I can't say how much longer or heavier he is, but suffice it to say that he is longer and heavier.  I put a few of his 0-3 months clothes away, alas, and got out some 3-6 stuff.  It's crazy to think that by the time he grows out of that size it will be almost Christmas!  Hurray for Christmas.

Back to Boo Boo.  I've already posted about a lot of the things he's been doing in the last month (like rolling), but it seems like he's always doing something new.  Here is this little giggle we caught on camera a few weeks ago:
  video

When he's not laughing, he often likes to talk.  Sometimes he likes to make the same sound over and over again, which he does here:
video

Kicking is one of his favorite things to do.  He often talks and kicks at the same time, but since my phone is dumb (??) all you get is kicks from this video:
video

I don't have a video of this, but he has started kicking like mad in the bathtub and thinking it is the best thing ever.  He'd sit in the there forever, just kicking away.  During tummy time lately he also kicks, and if he could just get his arms to do something, he'd be on the go!  But as it is, he just kicks a lot. 

He hasn't fully experienced a pool yet, as swim diapers aren't in his size, but he likes to put his legs in.  He especially likes it when we go to the indoor pool and he doesn't have to deal with me always covering him up in the sun.  I think he will be quite the water baby!

He also discovered his reflection, which amuses him to no end:

 
What a little imp!  I just love that little hospital hat. 

His big event this past month was his blessing day, which Drew has documented already.  He looked super cute and we took some pictures of him after, which are also super cute, but I will post them on their own.  To celebrate his three month mark, I made him this blanket:

Okay, maybe I made it because I saw the fabric and COULD NOT RESIST.  But either way, win-win.  Here are some other cute things he's done this past month: 

I love the hand on the knee.  He's all, "And now I will tell you a story..."

 
 
 
See how he loves his blanket, Mama? 

So, overall, he is still a most excellent baby and is still generally happy.  He doesn't sleep through the night, but I am not really trying too hard to make him.  He is still wee after all.  But he did start sleeping in his crib full-time, which is fun and probably more comfortable for him.  Kind of sad to not have my little end-of-the-bed buddy though.  He also likes being jumped, sitting in his swing, looking at his mobile and reading books.  I love the rustly sound of his diaper when he's moving around and that little pointed bit of gums that will eventually be between his front teeth.  Random.  Also we are finally defeating the cradle cap!  Plus he has some new hair growing in, which is neato.  Grow, baby, grow!  

(Also, people often say how big he is, but he doesn't seem overly big to me...he's not wearing 6 months clothes or anything.  But then again, I sometimes see babies his age and he IS bigger.  Or maybe they're just smaller?  WHO KNOWS.)

Just for fun, here's a comparison shot from a picture when he was exactly a month old:


Happy three-month birthday, Babyface!  You are excellent.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Book Review)

Author: Elizabeth George Speare
Year: 1958
Genre: Historical fiction

Reading Level: Young Adult

Literary Awards: Newbery Medal (1959)

Plot Summary: After the death of her grandfather and guardian, Kit Tyler leaves the sunny shores of Barbados for a small settlement in Connecticut.  There she joins her only remaining relatives and struggles to fit in their strict Puritan society.  When she meets a lonely widow living near Blackbird Pond, she finally feels at home, but their friendship may cause more harm than good when the townspeople discover it.
 
Red Flags: Prejudice, a long winter

My Rating: B+
I first read this back in fourth grade, and didn't really like it (I don't remember why).  Lately I started thinking I ought to reread it, since I didn't always have the best taste as a fourth grader.  And yet...I still never really got into it the second time around.  I know, I know, it's a classic, it's a Newbery winner, it's historical.  These are all good reasons to like this book, and while I do think it's a good book, it didn't wholly win me over.  

But like I said, I think it's a good book.  It's well written, it has a lot of historical information and the time and setting are vivid.  So my feelings have more to do with my own preferences and less to do with any technical flaws.  Though I must admit, I didn't really like Kit.  I wish I had rooted for her more.  This is also one of those books that make me wonder if it would have been published today, just because these days books have so many more constraints from publishers.  By that I mean things like plot development, length, etc.--Lord of the Rings is another book like this.  Just something I wondered about. 

Anyway, it's a book worth reading, if only for the historical setting.  I have a soft spot for things about America in its pre-United States days (see also: The New World, anything by James Fenimore Cooper) so I enjoyed that aspect a lot.  I just wanted a little more oomph from the story. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Myself by the Letters

After giving updates about the little one, it seemed like I should do an update for myself.  It's not so alliterative as the CAG's and doesn't come with a bunch of cute pictures, but...well...um...that's just how it is.

S is for Sweat:
I'm always sweaty!  I thought that was just supposed to be pregnancy symptom (which I did not have), but no, I am just a sweaty, sweaty thing now. 

F is for Feelings:
I feel good!  I'm not going to get, like, precious and goobery about motherhood...I like my Babycakes and, well, that is all there is to it.  The transition hasn't been as hard as I expected, and really, dare I say it, hasn't been hard at all.  Thank you, baby, for being so pleasant.

H is for Hair:
It hasn't started falling out yet, but I am TERRIFIED of that day.

D is for Drew:
Just because. 

W is for Weight:
Confession: I gained 50 pounds growing this baby.  It was an accident!  But it was also kind of unavoidable since I was hungry ALL THE TIME.  Also, cruise.  Also, cheese.

E is for Exercise:
I've been going running a few days a week and ran a whole 5K last weekend!  Running is fun.  I've been doing Pilates again too and it feels so nice.  Both of these activities are much easier when one is not carrying around a baby in one's body. 

D is for Dieting:
I'm too busy eating milkshakes to do this.  Okay, I stopped having so many milkshakes, but I am not dieting at all.

F is for Fit:
I have some pants that fit, but most of my regular shirts are just too short.  They have, ahem, more area to cover.  But I'm getting great wear out of all my t-shirts that were always a bit too big!  Ha.  Ha?

W is for Work:
No more work for me!  Paid work that is.  I am really, really liking being home and doing things like laundry.  

I wish I could spell something witty with these letters, and Drewbles and I play so much Words with Friends you'd think I could think of something.  But no (No!).  Here's a picture of me though, just to make this whole affair more interesting:
Well I didn't say it was a NEW picture, did I?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Skills

In anticipation of the nearly-eve of his three month birthday, Babycakes has been expanding his abilities.  While he yet to master nunchuck skills and bow hunting skills, he has been hard at work at these others:

Talking to Grandpa skills:

Reading skills:

Looking at his mobile skills: 
(He loves it!  Hurray!  Phew.)

Missouri pride skills:
(Thanks, Mama!)

Sleeping skills:

Spit bubble skills:
(He is a true proficient.)

Piano playing skills:

Smiling and general cuteness skills:

Caterpillar love skills:

Shopping skills:

Sleeping skills:

Motor pool skills:

Thumb sucking skills:
(Not his of course, but mine, old boy!  Now that'd be just fine.)

Hand eating skills:

Bumbo sitting skills:

Tummy time skills:

Did I mention sleeping skills?

Not pictured: laughing skills (it's too sporadic to get on camera but it's super cute [OF COURSE]) and cradle cap skills.  I am...less pleased with that last one, but I am developing my get-rid-of-cradle-cap skills.  Anyway, here is a last big skill he's working on:

video

Go, baby, go!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Looking for Alaska (Book Review)

Author: John Green
Year: 2005
Genre: Novel

Reading Level: Young Adult

Literary Awards: School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (2005), Booklist Editors' Choice (2005), NYPL Best Book for the Teen Age, An ALA/YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (2006), Los Angeles Times Book Prize (2005) Printz Award (2006), ALA Teens' Top Ten (2005), Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award Nominee (2006), Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis Nominee for Jugendbuch (2008), ALA's Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2006), The Inky Awards for Silver Inky (2007), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2009) 

Plot Summary: In search of something more, Miles Halter transfers from his Florida high school to Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama.  There he finds his something more in wild child annoying Alaska Young.  She turns his life upside down, and where Alaska goes, change is sure to follow. 

Red Flags: Lots of language, teen drinking/smoking/canoodling, sexual content, death
 
My Rating: C- 
I had mixed expectations for this book, but it wound up missing even my lowered mark.  I was kind of peeved at John Green while reading it because it felt so...beneath him.  He is a talented writer, but there was so little to like about this book.  For one thing, it was such a crude book, especially for YA, and that bothers me.  But also I didn't like the characters or even the story.  I spent most of this book wringing my hands and wailing, "Don't these people have any hobbies???"  I swear these teenagers just sit around smoking and being all "introspective" about life and their self-created issues.  Also I am tired of YA characters saying they don't smoke or drink and then they get new friends who say "Hey, come smoke" and they're all "Cool thanks bro."  Don't they have any steadfastness of principle????  Yes, apparently I am an adult now.  But seriously.

ANYway, I just didn't care for this book and didn't really enjoy reading it and was glad when it was over.  I still think John Green is a good writer, and he is certainly a better writer than this book would indicate.  Also, can we just talk about irritating Alaska is?  What is her appeal?  I get that she's supposed to be kind of a basket case, but if so, then why does everyone love her?  She was exhausting to read.  

ANYANYway, the last ten pages or so were pretty good and I did get into it at that point (hence the slightly higher rating than it would have had).  But were those pages worth slogging through the rest of it?  No.

Memorable lines:
"The only thing worse than having a party that no one attends is having a party attended only by two vastly, deeply uninteresting people."--p. 4

"I hated sports.  I hated sports, and I hated people who played them, and I hated people who watched them, and I hated people who didn't hate people who watched or played them."--p. 45

"'You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imaging that future keeps you going, but you never do it.  You just use the future to escape the present.'"--p. 54

"There were so many of us who would have to live with things done and things left undone that day.  Things that did not go right, things that seemed okay at the time because we could not see the future.  If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions.  But we can't know better until knowing better is useless."--p. 218

"I believe now that we are greater than the sum of our parts.  If you take Alaska's genetic code and you add her life experiences and the relationships she had with people, and then you take the size and shape of her body, you do not get her.  There is something else entirely.  There is a part of her greater than the sum of her knowable parts.  And that part has to go somewhere, because it cannot be destroyed.
"...one thing I learned from science classes is that energy is never created and never destroyed...awful things are survivable, because we are as indestructible as we believe ourselves to be. When adults say, 'Teenagers think they are invincible' with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are.  We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken.  We think that we are invincible because we are.  We cannot be born, and we cannot die.  Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations.  They forget that when they get old [OLD??].  They get scared of losing and failing.  But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail."--p. 220-221

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Achoo!

The other night, we were lying in bed talking about the Veronica Mars movie, which led us to talking about Jessica Chastain (who was in a season 1 episode), which led us to wonder what her next movie would be, which led us to talking about The Help and how she'll be in the (non-existent) sequel.  Apparently we were a bit loopy because we spent ten minutes thinking of sequel titles and laughing until we cried.  In the interest of, well, nothing, here is what we came up with:

Even Helpier
Abilene's Revenge
The Footes at Home
Whatever Happened to Stewart?
Little Skeeter in the Big City
The Wrath of Minny Jackson
It's Not About Jackson
The Revenge of Mae Mobley
No More Outdoor Toilets
We Clappin' for Somebody Else
Celia and the Mile-High Meringue
Not So Smart, Not So Kind, Not So Important, or, You is Dumb, You is Mean, You is Worthless 
Hilly and the Small Town Band 

And let's not forget Minny's cooking show, Minny Don't Burn Chicken.  

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Baby by the Letter

Lately I have been thinking about parenting.  I don't have any brilliant insights or new theories but there are a couple of things I aim for, in terms of my own behavior.  They all happen to start with the same letter too, which means I should probably make a meme or something.  Anyway, here is what I've come up with:

Present!
Since Babycakes was born, I have been trying to be present when I'm with him.  Right now, when he's immobile and just kind of staring at stuff, it's easy to let him sit and stare while I Facebook or whatever, but I'm trying to avoid doing that.  For one thing, I'm paranoid about him not getting enough interaction and turning out weird and underdeveloped.  But mostly I want to enjoy his babyhood, since it won't last forever or even very long, in the scheme of things.  I'm sure no matter what, I will wind up wailing about the time and where it has gone, but I don't want to look back and realize I left him to entertain himself for hours when we could have had quality time.  

(Of course, sometimes I do just lie on the couch and dabble on my phone while the little one plays on the floor with the dogs.)

(It is also true that I could do better with being present in my life in general, instead of focusing on the unpredictable future and what I'll do after X, Y and Z [possibly] happen.)


Patient!
It is a truth universally acknowledged that babies can be frustrating.  Babycakes is pretty mellow, but even he sometimes weeps and wails for no apparent reason.  What I have learned is that the more upset he gets, the more calm I must be.  In some ways I think this will be easier now than later, when he's two and throwing himself on the floor because I won't let him eat cheese for dinner. 



Positive! 
A positive outlook helps everything, right?  This is hard when one is overly tired, which leads me to...


Passing off!
Once in a while, usually in the early morning, I just have to hand this baby off to Drewbles because I'm so tired I think I might die.  But besides the literal passing off, we also have to take turns being the positive one, the diaper-changing one, the rocking one, the patient one or what have you.  



Praise!
I try to consistently praise three people: myself, Drewbles and Babycakes.  (Okay, to be honest, I am more likely to berate myself, but Drew praises me.)  I praise Drewbles for being good about the passing off and being a good Daddio.  I praise Babycakes for being such a good and happy baby.  He is a good baby on his own, but I figure the more I tell him that the more it will be true.  



Playful!
We always try to have a good time.  


Obviously!

Friday, August 02, 2013

What Happened to Goodbye (Book Review)

Author: Sarah Dessen
Year: 2011
Genre: Novel

Reading Level: Young Adult

Literary Awards: ALA Teens' Top Ten Nominee (2012)

Plot Summary: Mclean Sweet has spent the last three years moving from place to place with her recently divorced father.  At each new place she reinvented herself then shedded her new persona with every move.  But with their arrival in Lakeview, for the first time in three years Mclean is simply herself, but it turns out that being herself creates new complications while bringing up old issues.
 
Red Flags: PG-13 language, some very mild teenage partying/drinking, general drama
 
My Rating: B+ 
Not my favorite Sarah Dessen book--it seemed like she was trying a bit too hard.  Nevertheless, this was basically more of what I like reading her for and I happily plowed through this book.  As usual, the characters are interesting and fun, and the writing was good overall (the Meaningful Things were a bit forced).  I liked the relationships, whether friend, family or romantic, and I liked that the romance with the unfortunately named Dave took a back seat. 

Overall, an enjoyable read, even if it wasn't anything groundbreaking.