Thursday, February 27, 2014

Niner Niner

It's hard to say when the bigger change happens, between these nine months:

Or these:

Personally, I think going from a microscopic little bead of life to almost nine pounds of life is the bigger change.  But even so, Babycakes has come so far from his sleepy, snuggly newborn days.  Sometimes I think it would be fun to spend the days holding him again, but it's so fun now I can't complain!

I love that little be-denimed bum.
"I see you have a camera, do let me take it."
I still got him once!

Mostly this month was a lot of "mores" continued from last month--crawling more (and faster), climbing more (and faster), cruising more (and faster), pulling up and down more (and faster).  Also more teeth!  First came the top right, followed rapidly by the top left.  Boo Boo is a good teether, I must say.  He's eating more solids and is a little chatterbox.  He says things like "dadadada" and "nananana" but doesn't really direct them toward anyone yet.   

Do not be deceived--he's been on a sweet potato strike all month.
At his checkup there were no shots (hurray!) and his stats are currently thus: height is 29 1/4 (80%), weight is 19.3 (27%) and his head is at 18.4 (87%).  I was surprised his weight wasn't up more, but then what can I expect when he is zipping around constantly?  He loves standing, loves crawling onto the dishwasher, loves books (to eat or read), loves the clamp on the door jumper (???), loves his bath toys, and loves to squirm away when I make him lie down.  He's also figured out how to fake cry, which is quite amusing.

Thank you, Target clearance, for this sweater.
Tearing things apart is also a big hobby.
So studious!
He's a happy little fellow, full of funny sounds and funny things.  Who knew babies could be so funny?

...and that they could grip so tightly...?

Sometimes I think about those days when I used to go to work every day.  There's more than one reason I'm glad I don't do that anymore, but mostly I'm happy I get to stay home with this fellow.  Even if he does sometimes try to pull my face off.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Secret Garden (Book Review)

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Year: 1911
Genre: Awesome
Reading Level: Intermediate

Plot Summary: Mary Lennox is left orphaned in India after a cholera outbreak, and is sent to live at her uncle's lonely Yorkshire manor.  So far she has lived a spoiled, unpleasant existence, but things start to change for Mary when she explores the manor's gardens.  There is one garden that especially piques her interest, a hidden garden with a tragic past, locked up long ago...

Red Flags: None.

My Rating: A
This is one of my favorite books from my childhood days, I couldn't say how many times I've read it.  As I was reading it this time I realized it's probably the original source for my longtime fascination with moors and England and pet foxes.  

It's been several years since I read it last, and it didn't disappoint!  It's just a lovely reading experience from the rather eerie beginning to the triumphant finish.  Mary is so incredibly sulky and bratty, but she goes through such a great change.  It's natural and gradual, but also exciting to read about.  I sit there thinking, "Ohhhh, Mary, just you try that skipping rope!"  Dickon is my favorite because come on, he is Magical.  I love to read about how the garden is discovered and brought back to life.  It makes me want to roll around on the grass and plant some bulbs and, yes, skip rope. 

Overall, what can I say?  This is a classic piece of children's literature--really just literature, plain and simple.  I'm sure I will be reading it periodically for the rest of my days.  

Memorable quotes:

"At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done--then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.  One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts--just mere thoughts--are as powerful as electric batteries--as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison.  To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body.  If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live."--p. 281

Thursday, February 20, 2014


There are some people in the world who spend thousands of dollars on a baby's room.  I cannot even fathom having thousands of dollars to spend on a baby's room, nor can I imagine actually doing it, if I had those hypothetical thousands.  Needless to say, we did not spend thousands on Babycakes's room, so here is a little tour of his economically sound room.  (Also, seriously guys, this is the LAST time I'll let his name slide into pictures!  For realsies.)

Pretty exciting right?  I found the crib on Amazon, but Walmart had the best deal (plus no shipping!).  I'm sure we could have found a nice used crib, but I really wanted to get exactly what I wanted.  I DID get the mesh bumpers used though.  

The chair came on loan from Drew's parents.  It rocks and reclines and has an ottoman, which is just what we wanted.  We have spent much time in it.  The bulletin board is one I've had since I was, oh, thirteen or so.  And is in sore need of updated pictures.

We bought this light on the pier at San Francisco.  It is amazingly bright, so it is not actually used right now, but I couldn't resist how perfect it was for our aquatic theme. 

Crafts are for babies! 

Boo Boo loves books.    

The corner, featuring an IKEA shelf and boxes, as well as arts from several of his relations--paintings by my sister, photos by Drew's sister, art from Drewbles and word art from me.  Also, Drew's other sister made the striped blanket hanging on the crib.  We have such artsy relations!

Photo books!  I love them.  Also Drew's praying bear from when he was a wee thing, and a jar of shells we have collected from assorted beaches.

I keep this fellow in here too.  Get back to work!!!!!1

And now for gratuitous baby-in-his-natural-environment pictures:

Pirate face?

 Starfish is the clear favorite in these parts. 

This was the very first time he pulled himself all the way up to standing!  Also, nice photobomb from the yellow fish.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Oldsoul (Book Review)

Author: Dan Haring
Year: 2012
Genre: Supernatural/suspense
Reading Level: Young Adult

Plot Summary: Growing up, Jason Gouvas never knew he was an Oldsoul--a person that holds the souls of the dead.  Not only do they share his body, he can share in their knowledge and experience.  He's going to need all the help he can get when he finds himself in the middle of war between Oldsouls and the immortal Athanatos. 

Red Flags: Some blood and violence

My Rating: B
I had trouble getting into this book.  The idea is creative, the writing is fine and the action is exciting.  But I just didn't really connect with it.  I think the world building was a little wobbly, and the main character never seemed terribly concerned about the upheaval around him.  I'm not opposed to a mellow protagonist, but if the main character is cracking jokes it's hard to feel the tension.  The love interest was a little flat and overall it was a bit predictable--not unpleasantly so but predictable nonetheless.  Also it could do with some finer editing, as I found a number of typos.  I promise I don't look for those things!  But I do have eyes and all, ha. 

Overall, this had some original ideas and exciting action, but it didn't really grab me. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Orange with Orange

Last year for the 30 day art challenge, I did this design of oranges for the pattern day challenge. 

I brought it back again for the nature inspired challenge.  Wouldn't this just be the best dress?  I want someone to make it.  Unfortunately there is no fabric with my oranges. 

A few weeks ago a friend on Facebook linked to the Spoonflower website, who was doing free custom fabric samples.  So I ordered my oranges, and soon enough they arrived.  I think they look pretty neat!

Now will someone make me that dress?  I will pay in oranges.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

On Books (Again)

2013, my year of Young Adult reading, has come and gone.  It went really well, and I enjoyed having that theme.  YA books are great options for when time is short and concentration is sketchy.  I tried reading Mansfield Park when Baby was a few months old and it was too soon for my sleepy brain--maybe this year.  Anyway, here's a round up and a few conclusions I've made:

The best book of the year was The Fault in Our Stars.  Lately I've been wanting to read it again, and I'm really excited for the movie.  It may break me, but I think I will love it anyway.  Other winners were Stargirl, Just Listen, The Graveyard Book and The Magician's Elephant.  

The Forest of Hands and Teeth gets an honorable mention for scaring me--not actually when I was reading it, but long after.  *quivers*

For all the good and great reads, there were some that, well, let's say they fell short of the mark.  For instance, the entire Divergent trilogy, Matched and, ironically enough, Looking for Alaska.  

Outside the YA realm, my winners for the year were Life of Pi and The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  The clear loser was The Rathbones.

So what did I learn from this year?  Well, like most book categories, there are a lot of terrible YA books.  Bad writing, poor plotting and cliche characters abound.  And yes, some very popular books are not good.  I cannot explain this mystery of the universe, but there it is.  

At the same time, there are some wonderful books as well.  I am always a fan of reading outside your age range and preferred genre/s, and I read some books that I think are just as worthwhile for adults as they are teenagers (maybe more so).  Good books are just good books, regardless of who they're marketed for, right?  (Of course content and age appropriateness is an important consideration too.)

What else did I learn?  I miss literature.  I miss my 19th century English authors, who are masters of writing in ways no one is today.  I can only hope my brain is up to the challenge this year.  Speaking of this year, I want to spend my reading time rereading some old literary classics.  And maybe--MAYBE--this will really be the year I finally read I Capture the Castle.

In the interest of housekeeping, here are the books read in 2014 (in reverse order):
  • The Hobbit, A-
  • Ender's Game, B-
  • The Rathbones, C
  • Cheaper by the Dozen, A-
  • On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave, B+
  • "When Did You See Her Last?", B+
  • The Magician's Elephant, A
  • Anya's Ghost, A-
  • The Dollhouse Asylum, B-
  • The Graveyard Book, A
  • Keeping the Moon, B
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane, A
  • Someday, Someday, Maybe, B+
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond, B+
  • Looking for Alaska, C-
  • What Happened to Goodbye, B+
  • A Curse Dark as Gold, B
  • Revenge Wears Prada, C
  • The Fault in Our Stars, A
  • Dreamland, B
  • Icefall, B+
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, B+
  • The Goose Girl, A-
  • Anna and the French Kiss, B+/A-
  • Matched, B-
  • Insurgent, B-
  • The Truth About Forever, A-
  • Stargirl, A-
  • The Law and the Lady, B
  • Life of Pi, A
  • Just Listen, A-
  • Divergent, B-
  • Bringing up Bebe, A-
  • "Who Could That Be at This Hour?", A-
  • The Lightning Thief, B+
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth, A-
  • Shiver, B+
  • Where It Began, C-
  • The Haunting of Hill House, A